Bluetooth SIG's certification of LE Audio means big things are coming to wireless sound

The organization's certification paves the way for technologies like Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids and its recently-announced Auracast protocol to make their way to the public.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer
The Auracast logo on a speaker
Bluetooth SIG

Bluetooth SIG, the trade association that oversees the creation and certification of protocols and standards for Bluetooth wireless technology, announced the official completion of a full set of specifications defining LE Audio. The organisation calls this technical document a "new architecture for supporting audio applications using Bluetooth technology" that the organization believes "sets the stage for the next 20 years of innovation in wireless audio."

The LE Audio standard, which was originally announced back in 2020, includes a set of overarching protocols that define Bluetooth's operational parameters for audio stream management, media and call control, common audio settings across multiple devices, coordinated device (like pairs of truly wireless earbuds) communications, and microphone and speaker volume levels. 

It also paves the way for Auracast. As we've previously covered, Auracast allows an unlimited number of Bluetooth-enabled devices to tap into a single audio source. Think of it like the Bluetooth equivalent of broadcast radio. But, instead of turning a dial, you'll only need to scan a QR code with your phone to be presented with a list of available Auracast audio streams. 

Bluetooth SIG sees this technology powering gate announcements at airports, audio streams for public video screens at places like gyms and malls, and broadcasts such as amplified audio and descriptive audio for the hearing and vision impaired. 

Also: Bluetooth 5 official: Faster data transfer, increased range for seamless IoT

This final use is only one of the ways in which the trade association intends for the certification of LE Audio to positively impact the hearing impaired, with Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids also expected to get a boost from the protocol's new connectivity options.

With this final approval of LE Audio's specifications, device manufacturers and developers can begin applying for qualifications for their products and can begin integrating technologies like Auracast into consumer-facing releases. Bluetooth SIG expects the first products to "come to market in the coming months" and predicts the availability of LE Audio products will ramp up quickly as we approach the holiday season of 2022. 

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