Networks

IT Life: Martin Woolley, Technical Program Manager At Bluetooth SIG

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Bluetooth SIG’s technical program manager Martin Woolley talks us through his career in IT and the three apps that he couldn’t live without

How long have you been in IT?

33 years. I’d love to pretend I was a child prodigy and got my first IT job, aged five but that wouldn’t be strictly true!

What is your most interesting project to date?

I absolutely loved being a member of the BBC micro:bit team. It was not only technically interesting, but this was the first time I actually felt so connected with the purpose and expected benefits of a project.

The project also had a social value which resonated strongly with me, both as someone who has had a positive experience of computer science education at school, and as a parent whose kids had not had the same experience as me.

Martin Woolley

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

Insufficient hours in the day syndrome. It’s a really busy time for us at the Bluetooth SIG. We released Bluetooth 5 only a few months ago and soon we will be announcing big news involving mesh networking, so most of my time at present is spent ensuring the announcement goes smoothly and that the team are fully prepared.

Along with this, I also spend a lot of time presenting at events, recently I spoke at events across three different continents in a space of five weeks. So, my constant challenge is trying to find a balance. It does help that I love my job though.

What technology were you working with ten years ago?

SMS, message-oriented middleware and security systems relating to authentication were the main areas I worked in back in the day. I also spent some time working with the somewhat niche subject of “ringback tones”. Whenever I think about the value the BBC micro:bit is bringing to the world, I contrast it with “ringback tones” which I have a sneaking suspicion the world doesn’t really need anymore.

What is your favourite technology of all time?

I think electricity probably has to win that prize. Most of us completely take it for granted, just as we take for granted the water that comes out of our taps. That’s not the way it is in all parts of the world, of course, so we’re lucky in that respect. But despite knowing what I know about the physics relating to electricity, it still holds a complete fascination. Invisible. Powerful. Makes incredible things happen. Sounds a lot like magic, doesn’t it?

How will the Internet of Things affect your organisation?

It’s something which has been affecting the Bluetooth SIG and our members for years already. It’s a world changing phenomena which I think history will record as such. It’s one of the driving forces behind the direction Bluetooth technology has been taking. Consider the changes in Bluetooth 5. Range is now over a kilometre, for example, making it ideal for all manner of IoT scenarios.

What smartphone do you use?

I’m a mobile apps developer so I have quite a collection. I have iOS and Android devices of course, but also a few BlackBerry 10 devices and even a Tizen smartphone. But day-to-day I use a Google Pixel and would readily confess to being quite the Android fan.

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