IoT 201: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI branding requirements

Editor’s note: As we discussed in our last IoT 201 post, the challenges of getting your Samsung ARTIK IoT-based product to market aren’t just technical and managerial. In order to sell your product in most world markets, there are regulatory and compliance issues to consider. This installment of our IoT 101/201 series looks at getting branding certification for brand standards like Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, and HDMI. This post does NOT substitute for the advice of a compliance authority or the relevant licensing groups; it is only intended to familiarize you with some of the issues involved and give you a rough idea of the costs involved.

From our post IoT 201: EMC Compliance for IoT Devices, you now have a better idea how to sell your radio-based IoT device legally. In this installment let’s talk about how to sell it successfully. If your target customers know about IEEE 802.11x and IEEE 802.15 network standards, and trust your promise to meet them, you’re ready to go to market. But if you think you can sell more product if you advertise that you have Wi-Fi® or Bluetooth® certifications, you still have some work to do.

Nothing in the EMC compliance process proves your radios are useful, it just demonstrates they’re not harmful. To be useful, your radios need to meet network protocol standards, including IEEE 802.15 (PAN) and IEEE 802.11x (WAN). As in the EMC compliance process, that means passing a suite of tests performed by a trusted authority.

Samsung ARTIK IoT modules have already passed the appropriate tests for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and you can download the certificates demonstrating that. The Samsung certifications are necessary but not sufficient for you to advertise Bluetooth or Wi-Fi compatibility for products based on ARTIK modules. If you implement HDMI using an ARTIK 520 module, for example, you also have a licensing responsibility for that technology stack.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Wi-Fi Alliance and HDMI Licensing LLC are marketing organizations. These organizations maintain brands that are trusted by consumers and enterprise decision-makers, and the organizations protect (and profit from) those brands. For you to associate your product with any of these brands, you’ll need to meet two requirements:

  1. Demonstrate your product satisfies functional requirements so as to protect the organization’s brand. In most cases, for you that’s as easy as referencing the Samsung certifications.
  2. Pay the organization’s fees for the rights to use the brands. There’s also a little paperwork involved.

Let’s see what it takes and how much it costs to use these brands to market an IoT hub based on an ARTIK 520 module.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth SIG website includes a page describing the process for qualification to use their branding. You’ll need to:

  1. Become a member of the Bluetooth SIG. Any company can become an Adopter Member of the Bluetooth SIG for free. This membership level includes a license to sell products using Bluetooth technology and a license to use Bluetooth trademarks on qualified products.
  2. Purchase a declaration ID for each product you want to market. If you’re an Adopter Member, each Declaration ID costs a one-time fee of $8000. If you release three or more Bluetooth products per year, or if you’re a start-up releasing your first Bluetooth product, there are ways to reduce your cost.
  3. Complete an online application process starting at the Qualification and Declaration page of the Bluetooth SIG website. You’ll need to supply either the Declaration ID or the Qualified Design ID (QDID) Samsung obtained for the ARTIK module you’re using.

There are two ways to decrease the $8000 per-product declaration fee. If you’re a startup with less than $1 Million in annual revenue and you are bringing to market your first Bluetooth product, you qualify for the Innovation Incentive Program. Under the program you can qualify up to two Bluetooth products for $2500 each.

If you expect to release three or more products per year, you should consider upgrading your Bluetooth membership to the Promoter Level which cuts your per-product qualification fee in half to $4000. Membership at the Promoter Level costs $7500 per year if your annual revenues are less than $75 million ($35,000 / year for companies with more revenue). Other benefits available to Promoter Level members are presented on the Bluetooth benefits page.

Here is a listing of ARTIK module Declaration IDs as of the posting of this tutorial, with links to the certificates. For a current list see the Certifications page.

Module

Bluetooth Declaration ID

ARTIK 020

D030732

ARTIK 520

D030547

ARTIK 710

D031894

ARTIK 1020

D030652

 

Wi-Fi

There are no per-product qualification fees to use Wi-Fi branding with IoT products based on ARTIK modules, only an annual Wi-Fi Alliance membership fee. The least expensive Wi-Fi membership is Implementer Level at $5000 per year. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance Brand Style Guide, the two key requirements are “The company must be a Wi-Fi Alliance member in good standing” and “The product with which the Certification Mark is used must have successfully completed testing under the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED certification program and any additional programs corresponding to a particular certification program.” Noted ARTIK modules qualify as “previously certified Wi-Fi products” which you can embed in your IoT offerings.

Here is a listing of ARTIK module Wi-Fi Certifications as of the posting of this tutorial, with links to the certificates. For a current list see the Certifications page.

 

Module

Wi-Fi Certification ID

ARTIK 520

WFA63340

ARTIK 710

WFA66780

ARTIK 1020

WFA66123

HDMI

If you implement HDMI in your IoT hub, licensing is mandatory. The Bluetooth and Wi-Fi brands are built on open source technology stacks, therefore licensing is required only for use of the brands. In contrast, the HDMI technology stack is proprietary and licensing is required whether you want to use the HDMI brand or not. In fact, you pay less to license the technology stack if you prominently display the brand on your product and your marketing material. Even though the legal environment is different, the licensing process is quite similar for HDMI compared with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi:

  1. Show your product meets the technical requirements of HDMI LLC. You meet that through the certification Samsung obtained for the ARTIK 530, 710, or 1020 module.
  2. Pay an annual HDMI fee plus a per-product royalty.

As of the date of this posting, the annual fee for HDMI licensing is $10000, or $5000 + $1 per shipped product. For each product sold to an end user (business or consumer) you will also owe a royalty share, payable quarterly. The royalty is at most $0.15 per end-user licensed product. They royalty drops to $0.05 if you use the HDMI logos according to their guidelines, and drops an additional penny if you implement HDCP copy protection.

For more information watch HDMI videos covering basic licensing and fees and royalties.

Marketing realities

The costs in time and cash required to use Bluetooth and / or Wi-Fi brands should count against the marketing budget for the IoT hub we’ve been discussing. The ARTIK 520 module, as an example, is pre-certified to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standards; the total cost for marketing rights to both brands ranges from $2500 to $8000 for Bluetooth plus $5000 per year for Wi-Fi. That’s not trivial, but the increased authority in your marketing pitch is probably worth it, especially if you’re selling into a consumer or small business customer base.  In addition, if you implement HDMI you’ll pay between $5000 and $10000 per year plus royalties of $0.04 to $0.15 per end-user licensed product.

 

About the author: Kevin Sharp has been an engineer since long before he got his engineering degree, and has extensive experience in data acquisition and control networks in industrial, retail, and supply chain environments. He’s currently a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona.

Disclaimer

Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samsung. All Samsung names and trademarks are the property of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

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