Bluetooth® technology now supports Auracast™ broadcast audio, a new capability that enables an audio transmitter to broadcast to an unlimited number of nearby audio receivers. Auracast™ broadcast audio promises to deliver life-changing audio experiences, enhancing the way people engage with others and the world around them.
With its release, the possibilities Auracast™ broadcast audio will enable is creating quite a buzz throughout the industry, and there are questions about the impact this innovation have on the wireless audio market.
Below are answers to some of the commonly asked questions about Auracast™ broadcast audio.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
Will cell phones operate as an Auracast™ Transmitter?
Yes. Cell phones can qualify using the Source role from the Public Broadcast Profile (PBP) to enable Auracast™ broadcast audio transmissions from the smartphone. Primarily this will be used in the personal sharing use case mentioned in the presentation.
In case of a private audio broadcast, is there any authentication feature to only allow access to authorized listeners?
The specification does allow for an encrypted broadcast code for private listening.
What types of devices will send out Auracast™ broadcast audio into a room? Dedicated transmitters or built into other devices like WiFi access points?
For public spaces, it will be a central broadcast transmitter. This can take on many forms. It can be a dedicated Auracast™ transmitter, or it can be integrated into other devices, such as a WiFi AP. Auracast™ broadcast audio can even be directly integrated into an audio source like a microphone for live audio events and tour systems. This is up to the innovation of the device and system manufacturers.
Does Auracast™ broadcast audio work with current Bluetooth hardware, or do all devices, both receivers and transmitters, have to be replaced?
The new specifications allow for upgradability of existing products in the field. Whether field upgrades occur will depend on the underlying Bluetooth® capabilities already in a device and the supplier’s product strategy. We do expect some product types will be upgradeable but do not have visibility into specific product strategies.
How can I connect to an Auracast™ broadcast?
There are a number of ways to provide the Auracast™ transmitter info to the Auracast™ receiver via the Auracast™ assistant. The Auracast™ assistant can be an app or it can use an NFC/QR code to capture the broadcast info necessary for the Auracast™ receiver to join. See how it works.
What is the range of an Auracast™ broadcast?
The range of the broadcast depends on the implementation. For example, a single Auracast™ transmitter can reach an area of 30,000 square feet, depending on the transmit power and antenna design.
How is an Auracast™ broadcast encrypted?
Broadcast transmissions can both be private (encrypted) and open (unencrypted). You can set up a passcode, similar to Wi-Fi, to join personal Auracast™ transmitters. For Auracast™ transmitters in public spaces, unencrypted broadcast audio streams are recommended.
Do you see a possibility to create public alerts (in broadcast) that act as push notifications for smart devices like a smartphone? (e.g., to alert flight delay or other specific information)
These are all good use cases for Auracast™ broadcast audio. The example of a flight delay does not need to originate from the smart device. This can originate from an Auracast™ broadcast public address (PA) for the specific gate, as an example.
How can we make sure that no manufacturer will make proprietary variant of Auracast™ broadcast audio?
Auracast™ broadcast audio, by definition and requirements, is universal. A proprietary variant will not carry the Auracast™ name or trademarks. We are working closely with the ecosystem – including Pro AV, hearing aid, consumer source devices (e.g., phone, tablet, PC, and TV), consumer hearing devices, and audio infrastructure suppliers – to ensure wide adoption and deployment of Auracast™ broadcast audio.
How many channels can be used for Auracast™ broadcast audio?
Theoretically, the number is unlimited. However, this may be limited by the resource availability of the hardware. Please consult the individual manufacturer.
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.
Could you please share details about home speaker use cases?
A simple use case for a smart home speaker is to have direct audio to earbuds and hearing aids for alarms, alerts, or when a “Hey Siri..” question is answered. This can significantly benefit those with hearing loss. The same applies for other alerts in the home like doorbells, etc.
Is the Bluetooth SIG working with the ADA to address ALS hearing requirements for Auracast™ broadcast audio ?
Yes. The Bluetooth SIG is engaging with advocacy organizations like the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and other key stakeholders on direction and strategies to address ADA and ALS hearing requirements.
Auracast™ broadcast audio looks like a profile on top of LE Audio. Do you foresee LE Audio replacing standard Bluetooth Classic, especially for the audio streaming profile?
Auracast™ broadcast audio is a specific set of requirements that uses the Public Broadcast Profile (PBP) specification for a universal format and availability of a public broadcast. PBP is one of the LE Audio specifications. For LE Audio, along with new use cases like broadcast, it will support all use cases currently supported by Bluetooth® Classic Audio. However, transition and timing will be determined by manufacturer roadmap and consumer demand.
Does an Auracast™ transmitter that is meant for private (home) use have to follow same guidelines as the ones meant for public use?
All devices that carry the Auracast™ brand name will need to follow the requirements in the Brand Guide for Bluetooth Trademarks. We believe it is important that the home transmitter and the public transmitter follow the same Auracast™ requirements. This way, consumers are assured they can listen to both public and private Auracast™ broadcasts from their same receiver devices.
Hearing aid accessories that convert Auracast™ broadcast audio into a neck loop can give users with older hearing aids access to the Auracast™ broadcast audio. Hopefully, someone will develop this.
Yes. We believe this to be an Auracast™ product type that should be available in the market. Availability will be driven by consumer demand.
Is Auracast™ broadcast audio mandatory for a Bluetooth LE Audio-compatible device?
No. Auracast™ broadcast audio is an optional capability and brand. However, we encourage all source and sink devices to support Auracast™ broadcast audio to ensure the widest set of capabilities for consumer devices.
Are there plans for television manufacturers to build in LE Audio?
It is our understanding that TV manufacturers are implementing LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio into their products and solutions.
What is the practical coverage area of Auracast™ broadcast audio in public space, such as an airport gate?
There are many factors that determine coverage, including location architecture, antennae design, location and output power of the transmitter, and others. With a centrally located, high-output power transmitter, it is anticipated that coverage will be far more than what you may experience normally with personal source and sink devices (e.g., smartphone and headphones).
What is the main difference between LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio?
LE Audio is the underlying Bluetooth® audio architecture for the LE radio. LE Audio contains specifications for using broadcast audio. Auracast™ broadcast audio is a specific and unified implementation of broadcast audio for personal audio sharing and broadcasting audio in public spaces. Following both the LE Audio specification and the Auracast™ requirements ensures all Auracast™ transmitters and receivers will interoperate together, globally.
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.
Are test houses ready to get first Auracast™ designs certified?
Test house are prepared to test and qualify for LE Audio. Auracast™ requirements are contained in the Brand Guide for Bluetooth Trademarks. Any test house should be able to verify your implementation meets the Auracast™ broadcast audio requirements.
As someone considering new assistive listening technology deployment in their location today, say within six months, would you recommend Auracast™ broadcast audio as an option?
Yes. Currently, depending on your use case, we recommend you consider Auracast™ broadcast audio along with other ALS systems to ensure the broadest availability of ALS technology to the user. Several assistive listening system providers are developing Auracast™ transmitters and systems along with existing technology.
In big public areas, would it be needed to also indicate where the broadcaster is located to avoid the user moving too far away and lose quality/audio?
Helping the user understand the intended coverage area is important. Depending on the size, location, and architecture of the public space, the intended coverage area can vary. It is recommended you test the intended coverage area to maximize your deployment.
Any estimate when Auracast™ broadcast audio may be available on Android or iOS?
Android has already announced its support for LE Audio in Android 13. Apple has yet to make a public announcement.
Is Auracast™ broadcast audio part of the operating system or will it be a third-party app?
We anticipate settings and configuration for Auracast™ broadcast audio will be integrated into the OS user experience, similar to WiFi and Bluetooth® technology today. Applications may also take advantage, depending on the developer APIs exposed by the OS.
Are there any expectations around when we will start seeing LE Audio features, including Auracast™ broadcast audio, BASS, etc., become readily available to the public in mobile devices and other CE devices?
We anticipate the availability of LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio devices will ramp up in early 2023.
Would venues like schools, auditoriums, and theaters that could not afford technologies like T-coils find Auracast™ broadcast audio more economical?
It is our belief that the implementation of an Auracast™ system can greatly simplify installation and support for assistive listening. This will depend on the implementation. We recommend consulting an ALS system provider and installer for more detail.
Can an earbud support Bluetooth Classic (for streaming and phone calls) and Auracast™ broadcast audio only for broadcast reception?
Yes. This will be dependent on the manufacturer’s implementation and capabilities.
How does multi-language work? Do you broadcast multiple audio streams in each language?
Yes. Each language would be a separate broadcast stream that can be identified by an Auracast™ assistant or the receiving device.
How many streams can a location support, and are there any restrictions?
Theoretically, there is no restriction to the number of streams or the number of transmitters that can be supported at a location. There may be resource limitations on the transmitter itself. However, that does not preclude another transmitter from broadcasting additional audio streams at the location.
Can Auracast™ broadcast audio share not only for audio but video in the future?
Today, Auracast™ broadcast audio is focused on broadcasting the audio from a video, not the video itself.
Can we control the overspill when using Auracast™ broadcast audio as a one-to-one counter system so others nearby cannot listen in?
Auracast™ broadcast audio is capable of using broadcast codes for secure conversations. Managing output power and spillover alone does not guarantee privacy. The use of broadcast codes is recommended for private access.
Can Bluetooth technology and Auracast™ broadcast audio work at the same time?
Yes. Auracast™ broadcast audio is a Bluetooth® technology. Auracast™ broadcast audio will work alongside traditional Bluetooth use cases.
To learn more, check out these great Auracast™ resources.
Auracast™ Broadcast Audio
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