The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the trade association that oversees Bluetooth technology, has announced a new consumer brand for an upcoming audio broadcasting capability based on Bluetooth technology.
This new capability, previously known as Audio Sharing, is now Auracast broadcast audio. Auracast broadcast audio enables an audio transmitter, such as a smartphone, laptop, television, or public address system to broadcast audio to an unlimited number of nearby Bluetooth audio receivers, including speakers, earbuds, or hearing devices.
“The impact of Bluetooth audio has been massive. A simple, wireless audio connection between two Bluetooth devices has helped make our roads safer, our lives more productive, and our relationship with music, podcasts, video streaming, and all types of personal audio more convenient and joyful,” says Mark Powell, CEO of the Bluetooth SIG. “The launch of Auracast broadcast audio will trigger another massive change in the wireless audio market. The ability to broadcast and share audio using Bluetooth technology will reshape personal audio and enable public venues and spaces to deliver audio experiences that will improve visitor satisfaction and increase accessibility.”
He says that Auracast broadcast audio “will deliver life-changing audio experiences that will enhance the way we engage with others and the world around us” by allowing us to:
Share Our Audio: Auracast broadcast audio will let us invite others to share in our audio experience. When using wireless earbuds to listen to a song or movie playing on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, Auracast broadcast audio will allow family or friends to join in and listen using their own Auracast-enabled Bluetooth earbuds or hearing device.
Unmute Our World: With Auracast broadcast audio, we will be able to enjoy televisions in public spaces, unmuting what was once silent and creating a more complete watching experience. Silent televisions in public venues like airports, gymnasiums, restaurants, and waiting rooms will be able to broadcast audio that any visitor with Auracast-enabled Bluetooth earbuds or hearing aids will be able to hear.
Hear Our Best: Auracast broadcast audio will allow us to hear our best in the places we go. When visiting a public venue such as a transit center, cinema, conference center, or house of worship, visitors will be able to receive audio broadcasts from the public address system directly into their Auracast-enabled Bluetooth earbuds or hearing device. Travelers at an airport, for instance, will be able to receive essential flight announcements such as gate changes, boarding schedules, and other travel information directly to their personal audio device. When used in this manner, Auracast broadcast audio will function as the next-generation assistive listening system (ALS) technology.
“While current assistive listening systems, such as inductive loops, have been providing great benefit to people with hearing loss, they suffer from a number of challenges that have limited their deployment, including poor quality, high cost, and lack of privacy,” says Nick Hunn, CTO of WiFore. “Auracast™ broadcast audio is well positioned to become an advanced, new assistive listening system that will be significantly easier and lower cost to deploy while offering higher audio quality and greater privacy, improving audio accessibility and promoting better living through better hearing.”
The Bluetooth specifications that define Auracast broadcast audio are part of the Bluetooth LE Audio specification suite and are expected to be released within the next few months. Audio product developers and venue operators can learn more about Auracast broadcast audio at bluetooth.com/auracast.