Last year, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) released Auracast™ broadcast audio. This next generation of audio innovation promised to propel audio streaming forward by letting you hear your best, unmute your world, share your audio, and enhance the way you engage with the world around you. This week, at Mobile World Congress Barcelona (MWC) 2023, that promise became a reality.
On 28 February 2023, the Bluetooth SIG provided an in-depth look into what it will be like to experience Auracast™ broadcast audio in the real world. The Auracast™ Experience was an exclusive demonstration of some of the new audio use cases Auracast™ broadcast audio will enable. Visitors who participated in each simulated location were able to hear for themselves how Auracast™ broadcast audio will help the world sound better.
How It Works
Auracast™ broadcast audio is a new Bluetooth® capability that enables an audio source device – such as a smartphone, laptop, TV, or even a public address or sound system – to transmit Bluetooth audio to any number of in-range Bluetooth audio receivers – such as headphones, earbuds, or even hearing aids.
Each person was provided with a pair of Auracast™ enabled earbuds and a smartphone with an Auracast™ app that allowed them to scan for, join, and listen to the Auracast™ broadcasts in three sample environments (In the future, we will all be able to seamlessly use our own devices to experience Auracast™ broadcast audio).
“The Auracast™ Experience from the Bluetooth SIG at MWC23 gave an insight into the wide-ranging opportunities for the technology in multiple end markets. It’s viability in markets from hearing impaired support services to mass information systems, hospitality and entertainment, and industrial safety shows it has the potential to become another horizontally pervasive technology under the Bluetooth SIG banner.”
– Stuart Carlaw – ABI Research
LE Audio: The Future of Bluetooth® Audio
Get new forecasts about when and which audio devices will adopt Auracast™ broadcast audio, along with predictions for when public locations will deploy this new Bluetooth capability to enable new audio use cases in their venues.
Hearing Your Best in Auditoriums
Public venues like auditoriums, lecture halls, cinemas, theaters, and transit centers will soon add support for Auracast™ broadcast audio to the existing sound systems, enabling us to hear our best in the places we go and promoting better living through better hearing for everyone. Visitors to the Auracast™ Experience had an opportunity to directly hear how Auracast™ broadcast audio will enhance existing sound systems.
Placed at the back of an auditorium during a mock lecture, participants could not clearly hear the presenter on the venue sound system alone. However, by joining the audio stream via the Auracast™ app on their smartphone, attendees heard the same audio emitting from the auditorium speakers directly into their Auracast™ earbuds.
“MWC is one of my favorite times of the year and, for 2023, I got to check out the Auracast™ Experience enabled by Qualcomm-based earbuds. What does this actually do? Imagine a future where you can tap into any audio around you, for example, in a bar, at the airport gate, or when at home and you want to listen to your TV all to yourself or share a movie on a flight wirelessly over Bluetooth®? It’s pretty awesome. I’ll even go as far as to saying it was my fav tech out of MWC this year.”
– Tomi, GadgetsBoy
Unmuting Silent TVs at the Airport
Next, event guests had a chance to experience how Auracast™ broadcast audio can unmute silent TVs in public spaces. Locations like sports bars, gymnasiums, transit centers, restaurants, waiting areas, and more will soon add support for Auracast™ broadcast audio to their silent TVs, allowing visitors to unmute what was once silent and providing a more complete watching experience.
For this demonstration, participants visited a sample sports bar in an airport terminal. As is typically the case, the bar had multiple TVs showing different games with the sound turned off, so guests could not hear what was happening on any TV. Fortunately, this simulated bar added support for Auracast™ broadcast audio to all their TVs. Using the Auracast™ app on their smartphones, participants could choose which TV audio stream they wanted to join and hear the sound in their Auracast™ earbuds. Guests could even seamlessly switch between TV audio streams at any time and with no delay.
“Auracast™ broadcast audio was an MWC highlight for me – the use case demonstrations were clear and compelling. Auracast™ broadcast audio has the potential to be a game changer in terms of hearables use cases across large and important vertical applications such as professional audio vertical environments, including PA systems, live audio, and events but also hearing health management and quite a bit more.”
– Simon Bryant, CCS Insight
Sharing Your Audio With Family and Friends
We have all experienced situations where we are using our earbuds to listen to music from our smartphone or watch a movie on our laptop, and we want to let someone we are with hear what we are hearing. Instead of having to take one of our own earbuds out and hand it to them, it would be great if they could connect with their own earbuds and listen at the same time.
Soon, smartphones and laptops will be adding support for Auracast broadcast audio, letting others around you use their own Bluetooth® earbuds to join in when you are listening to music on your smartphone or watching a movie on your laptop.
For this demonstration, visitors at a modeled airport gate experienced how Auracast™ broadcast audio lets you share your audio with your friends and family. Participants simultaneously watched a movie on a single laptop using their own Auracast™ enabled earbuds. The person with the laptop used the Auracast™ app on their device to invite others around them to watch at the same time. Using the Auracast™ app on their smartphone, participants scanned for nearby Auracast™ broadcasts, selected the laptop, and the audio from the movie began directly streaming into their Auracast™ earbuds.
What Product Developers & Public Locations Need to Know About Auracast™ Broadcast Audio
Watch this discussion on how Auracast™ broadcast audio will introduce new opportunities for wireless audio developers and allow public locations to enhance their visitor satisfaction while increasing audio accessibility for all.
Hearing Gate Announcements in the Terminal
Even in the best circumstances, boarding and gate announcements in an airport terminal can be difficult to hear. At the modeled airport gate, participants also got to experience a similar situation as they did in the auditorium. As with auditoriums, venues like airports will be able to add support for Auracast™ broadcast audio to their existing sound system so visitors can hear high-quality public address audio in their Bluetooth® earbuds or hearing aids.
For this demonstration, participants used the Auracast™ app on their smartphone to scan for and join Auracast™ broadcasts for their gate. The same announcements made over the gate speakers then streamed directly to their Auracast™ earbuds.
Not Just for Earbuds
For each demonstration at The Auracast Experience, participants listened via their earbuds, but this same capability and experience will also be available to someone using an Auracast™ enabled hearing aid. In this way, Auracast™ broadcast audio has the potential to be the next-generation assistive listening system, increasing accessibility and helping people with all levels of hearing health to hear their best.
“Auracast™ broadcast audio really struck me as one of the best things I’ve seen this week (at MWC).”
– Leo Gebbie, CCS Insight
Learn more about Auracast™ broadcast audio.
Auracast™ Broadcast Audio
Auracast™ broadcast audio will deliver life-changing audio experiences that will enhance the way you engage with others and the world around you.
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