Bluetooth SIG Announces LE for Audio
Better Audio is Here!
In CES 2020, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced a new “LE Audio” standard which not only enhances Bluetooth audio performance and power-efficient but also adds assistance for hearing aids and enables audio sharing. Low-Energy exists in Bluetooth since 2012 known as Bluetooth Smart or BLE which allows devices such as wearables or environment monitoring sensor which requires lower bandwidth for data transmit and stay connected. Bluetooth audio devices require high bandwidth for data audio transmission which consumes more power.
New Bluetooth audio devices will support two modes. Classic Audio operates on the Bluetooth Classic radio while LE Audio will operate on the Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) radio. These advancements in the new standard for the Bluetooth audio are truly remarkable and credit goes to SIG for making our lives easier. Now it’s up to vendors to create the most efficient devices using the new Bluetooth standard.
Audio Codec LC3
LE Audio contains a new high-quality audio codec. Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3) is a new standard that implements a more efficient data compression algorithm. This allows high-quality files stream over low data rate. The lower data rate requires low power with a 50% better battery life. This means future buds have double battery life with the same size or battery size can behalf with the same life and it will also reduce the weight and size of earbuds. LC3 is claimed to improve audio quality over the SBC codec included with Classic Audio, even at a 50% lower bit rate.
Multi-stream audio is another key Bluetooth LE Audio feature, for the first time it will allow to stream audio between multiple Bluetooth devices.
Multi-stream makes it easier to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, while connected with more than one device it makes switching smoother between sources. Smoother switching means that while listening to music and connected to multiple devices to say smartphone and PC you can get updates from Alexa Google voice assistant or any other voice assistant without interrupting your music.
Bluetooth multi-stream audio will also improve earbuds experience allowing each bud to connect to the device directly which makes better synchronization and stereo imaging.
All New tech for Earbuds
Earbuds use current Bluetooth iteration, known as a single-stream connection one earbuds connect directly to the device and then it transmits the signal to the other bud. This can often result in a delay in sound between the two buds, loss of synchronization and dropouts. And with only one stream new audio source interrupts the playing audio. LE Audio aims to fix these issues using Multi-Stream audio.
Hearing Aid devices
With the capabilities of high-quality audio, low power consumption and multi-stream, LE Audio offers assistance to people with hearing loss. LE Audio devices will improve the audio experience particularly for hard of hearing people and enable them to listen to music and fully aware of surroundings. It will be the most significant improvement for the hearing aid devices and in a few years, new devices like phones and TVs will be equally accessible to those users.
LE Audio also allows Location-Based sharing means a public place like airports, stadiums, and museums can broadcast announcements wirelessly to everyone. This means instead of straining to hear relevant announcements you can tune your device to your specific channel to get updates only related to you. Real-time language translation for listeners of different origins. So, in a conference hall, people can listen in their native language and understand it better or in a cinema movie can be translated into any language which will improve the movie experience.
It will also be a great help for students with trouble hearing in lectures halls. Students can tune their devices to hear professor who will be speaking into Bluetooth microphone with audio broadcasting mode. It will also make it easier to listen and understand the lecture and with Real-time language translation it will also help students with different native language
The complete specifications of LC3 and LE Audio are expected to release in the first half of 2020 and compatible hardware is expected later this year. LE Audio requires new hardware so old devices will not be fully functional with it and it requires both devices with new hardware to work properly. LE Audio devices are expected to emerge later in 2020 broadcasting options on the public place are expected in three years or so.
“Tirich Labs” has been working in the field of Bluetooth communication for years and currently working on Beacon technology for visually impaired people. Beacon technology uses beacons to help people with vision impairment to navigate surroundings. Beacons are placed in places like shopping malls, bus stations and interact with a Smartphone app. The user navigates using the app by telling it where he wants to go and beacons around him help him with the directions. This makes it easy to get from one place to another for people with visual impairment.