Dashlight first came to life in January 2003 as Dashlight Systems, LLC. The founding objective of the company was to create wireless sensor devices using Bluetooth in ways not contemplated before. Tom Nault formed the company to become both an intellectual property holding and technology commercialization company with no plans to ever become a patent troll.
Bluetooth was still in its infancy and the name was hardly a household word just yet. Most of the uses thus far were limited to desktop peripherals such as keyboard, mouse and printer and some mono headsets. Even though the Bluetooth SIG ratified the standard in 1998, the technology was having difficulty gaining mainstream traction as first contemplated. There was wide speculation that UWB, ZigBee and various other fledgling technologies, were going to surpass Bluetooth in popularity.
Dashlight’s core idea was to marry Bluetooth with low power sensors to be able to give otherwise mute machine conditions a voice for the first time. We pondered devices such as wireless leak detectors and emergency shut-off valves, and the remote broadcast of various household conditions, such as an overheating electrical panel, etc. The term “Dashlight” was chosen because of the similarities to fault conditions in an automobile.
As the company began to file patents and search for product development partners, it began to work closely with Open Interface North America, Inc. (OINA). At the time, OINA was a Japanese-owned struggling Bluetooth protocol stack software company, and the US division of Open Interface, Japan (OIJP). Tom Nault thought very highly of the management and engineers of OINA and in spite of national press claiming that Bluetooth would soon be a dead technology, OINA and Dashlight held very different beliefs.
In May of 2004 Dashlight Systems, LLC acquired controlling interest in OINA from OIJP. Dashlight folded its intellectual property into OINA and became simply the parent to what was then the operating company, OINA.
OINA’s outstanding engineering team led by Greg Burns created many firsts using Bluetooth including:
· The demonstration of Bluetooth and UWB combined functionality
· HDTV streaming using Bluetooth and UWB
· Bluetooth based combination of WiFi and UWB
· Bluetooth 2.0+EDR qualification of upper protocol stack by an independent company
· Bluetooth 2.0+EDR stereo headphone
· Bluetooth on a 3G phone
· Bluetooth ported to embedded Linux
· Bluetooth on a notebook computer as a standard feature
· Commercially available Bluetooth watch
· Bluetooth 2.0+EDR multicast headphone solution
OINA licensed its software to companies such as Qualcomm, Motorola, Bose, Sennheiser, B&O Sony, STMicroelectronics, and many others, including Apple.
In December 2007, Dashlight sold OINA to Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, Inc. Dashlight dropped “Systems” from its name after it transitioned into an asset holding company with some small investments in various technology start-ups.
Dashlight provided the initial funding to start Exotics at Redmond Town Center (E@RTC) as a gift to the local community. Beginning in February 2009, E@RTC as an all volunteer organization has grown to become the largest and now oldest continuous weekly gathering of exotic cars on the West Coast, drawing some of most valuable and unique cars in the world. The weekly event attacks hundreds of cars and spectators together to share their common love of exotic, old and unique cars.