In early 2020, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiled plans for a new feature: Wireless audio transmission to a virtually unlimited number of receivers. Now the concept has a name: Bluetooth Auracast.
Being able to transmit music or information wirelessly via Bluetooth has many advantages. Until now, however, the number of receiving devices was clearly limited. Listening to music together via headphones was therefore not possible. The Bluetooth Special Group (SIG), which is responsible for developing the wireless standard of the same name, wants to address precisely this problem and has now specified the plans already formulated for this purpose. The planned new function is called Bluetooth Auracast and is to be included in the specifications for Bluetooth LE Audio. What exactly should the function be able to do and when should it come?
Bluetooth Auracast – listening together
So far, it has been possible to connect two devices that support this standard via Bluetooth. Theoretically, more connections are possible, but if you couple a smartphone with several speakers, for example, the music is only actively forwarded to one of them. With special adapters and/or apps, this problem can also only be partially circumvented and anything but interference-free.
With Bluetooth Auracast, SIG now wants to introduce a function that theoretically connects any number of Bluetooth headphones or speakers to one device. The function would of course be spatially limited by the range of the Bluetooth signal.
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When will the function be available?
It is still difficult to estimate when the first smartphones, notebooks, televisions or systems with Auracast will be launched on the market. SIG is talking about a release in the coming months. They could then share their sound wirelessly with Auracast-enabled headphones, speakers or hearing aids in the vicinity from release.
In any case, the Bluetooh SIG sees potential for Auracast not only in private environments, but also in public spaces. The technology could, for example, make audible on headphones what was previously silent, such as the sound from TV sets and displays at train stations, squares, airports, gyms, restaurants or waiting rooms.
In addition, audio transmissions or announcements that were previously only heard over loudspeaker systems could also be received directly with Auracast-enabled Bluetooth headphones or hearing aids. For example, at conferences or even in the cinema.
With information from dpa