Something to look forward to: Bluetooth audio devices are more popular than ever, but until now their sharing capabilities have been limited to transmitting audio to one or two devices. Thanks to a new technology called Auracast, Bluetooth devices will soon be able to stream audio to all other Bluetooth devices within range.
This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) quietly announced a new Bluetooth capability that will be a boon to everyone from audiophiles to the average consumer who loves the convenience of wireless audio.
The new technology is called Auracast and builds on the existing audio sharing feature that is part of the LE Audio protocol. The latter only allows point-to-point communication and audio sharing with up to two headphones or speakers, but Auracast will allow Bluetooth devices to stream audio to any number of other devices within range.
Simply put, a Bluetooth device will be able to advertise its ability to stream audio to nearby Bluetooth receivers and those devices will receive instructions on how to join the Auracast transmission. Bluetooth SIG says the user interface will be similar to that used by public Wi-Fi networks, and streaming can also be limited to specific devices that have the correct password.
This means you’ll be able to do things like tune into a TV in a public space, share a presentation with multiple people, or listen to one of the many music playlists at the gym by simply tuning into it. Plus, it will improve the audio experience for people who need hearing aids.
Peter Liu, System Architect of Pixel Ecosystem Products at Google, said in a statement that “we are proud to work with the Bluetooth SIG and are excited to see this capability giving consumers imaginative new ways to connect with each other and to hear their world. This seems to suggest that Auracast functionality could be added to devices such as Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6a.
Organizations like the Hearing Loss Association of America are voicing their support for Auracast, and companies like Google and Xiaomi are already working to support the new standard, which should make it easier to adopt. Bluetooth SIG says the final Auracast specification will be released in the coming months.