HLAA Showcase Webinar: Is Bluetooth Technology the New Standard for Assistive Listening Systems? *

HLAA Showcase Webinar: Is Bluetooth Technology the New Standard for Assistive Listening Systems? *

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Good afternoon, everyone, welcome  to the HLAA Showcase Webinar,   Is Bluetooth Technology the New Standard for  Assistive Listening Systems? With Chuck Sabin.   Thank you for joining us today, my name is  Melissa Kruse and I'll be your host today.  I'm going to start by sharing my  screen and giving you some tech tips.  First of all, to see captions on the webinar,   you're going to need to click on the  CC icon and click show subtitles. 

You can change the font size in the  subtitle setting, and to view the sorry.  You can choose the font settings in the  subtitles, and to view the view transcript   in a separate window, you're going to open   a new window in your browser, paste the StreamText  URL into the browser. The StreamText URL is going   to be in the chat box. I think Tim Browning  is going to put it in the chat box right now,  

and then resize your windows so you see both  the StreamText window and the Zoom window.  The chat feature is going to be open today solely  for technical issues and for the panelists and   Tim from HLAA may be putting some links in. But  you're going to want to use the Q&A feature to   ask questions. We'll be using this to facilitate  questions and answers after the presentation.  And if there are any questions that we don't get  to, Chuck has graciously offered to go ahead and   if you go ahead and put them in the Q&A box,  he will go ahead and answer them off line   and we'll post the questions and his answers  when we post this webinar to the HLAA site.  To if you joined by computer, the presentation  should be in side by side mode. Your slides should   be on the left, and the panelists on the right in  the gallery view. You can change the size of your  

presentation by hovering between the two screens  and moving the gray bar to adjust the size.  If you join by mobile device or phone,   your view may be slightly different and you  may need to scroll to get to the desired view.  And just a disclaimer, that HLAA does not endorse  any product featured in this webinar. HLAA is   providing an educational opportunity to learn  about new products, an opportunity on how they   can benefit people with hearing loss. As I mentioned today, Chuck Sabin from   Bluetooth is our presenter, and Chuck,  I'm now going to turn it over to you.  >> CHUCK SABIN: Great, thanks,  Melissa. Let me share my screen.  

So you should be able to view  my screen at this point in time.  So hello, and thank you for attending today,  and I want to thank the HLAA for allowing me to   present for this technology showcase webinar. Again my name is Chuck Sabin, I'm the senior   director for market development at  the Bluetooth special interest group. 

Many of you through a variety of resources and  presentations may have all been introduced to   Auracast broadcast audio and we do  anticipate that Auracast to be the   next generation of assistive listening,  and more in terms of its capabilities.  But today I want to walk you through a bit  more detail about Auracast and what you may   need to know, how it works, how it will be  used, how to identify devices and locations   with Auracast. Some of this may be familiar.  Some of this may be new for many of you.  As far as learning objectives are concerned,  I want you to come away with a clear   understanding about three things, all right? First I want to give you a clear understanding   of the new features of LE Audio and how they  enable the use cases for Auracast broadcast audio.  Second, I want you to have a clear understanding  of the impact that LE Audio and Auracast will   have on Bluetooth hearing aids and how  Auracast is enabling audio accessibility. 

And third, I want you to come away with an  appreciation for the importance and the user   expectation for a consistent infrastructure  and support for Auracast in public spaces.  Now, as Melissa mentioned, I am planning  for Q&A time at the end, but there's a lot   of content to share here, so I do want to  if we don't have time for the questions,   that I will answer those questions off line and  post them as well as part of the as part of the   posting of this webinar later on. So please put  those Q&A questions into that section in Zoom and   I'll do my best to help answer those questions. So let's start off first with just a quick   reminder of who we are as the Bluetooth  special interest group. Now, we are the   organization at the heart of Bluetooth technology,  servicing industry leading companies around the   globe in specification development, device  qualification and testing, and promoting the   Bluetooth technology and the Bluetooth brand. As an organization, we're based in Kirkland,   Washington. This is just outside Seattle,  Washington, in the United States. 

And the Bluetooth SIG operates as a not for  profit trade association with over 38,000 member   companies that are working to advance Bluetooth  technology in a variety of markets and solution.   And each year Bluetooth member companies ship  over 5 billion Bluetooth enabled products   worldwide so it's clearly a technology  that's widespread throughout the world.  Now, just getting to the heart of the discussion  for today, you know, Bluetooth has been leading   innovation in wireless audio for over 20 years.  However, it has been recognized that developers   have stretched the classic Bluetooth as we like  to say, the classic Bluetooth audio to its limits,   and that's where LE Audio comes in. LE Audio is the new flexible architecture   from Bluetooth to support the next 20  years of audio innovation in the market.  Now, just to be clear, and I've heard people  talk about this before, but just to be clear,   you will see both architectures in the market for  quite some time. This is not an instance where you  

need to throw out your current device because it  won't work with the new phones or tablets or PCs   or TVs in the market. That's not the case at all. Classic audio and LE Audio will coexist in the   market as the ecosystem continues to look for  transition of use cases for the new LE Audio   architecture. So both architectures will  exist in the market for quite some time.  Now, LE Audio, that said, LE Audio will first  bring a number of initial enhancements to   help relieve some of the challenges that have  been seen by developers in the market today.  So along with the traditional use  cases, there are four key enhancements   for the LE Audio release for the market. The first is a new modern codec for higher   quality audio at lower power requirements for  much smaller devices, so again think hearing aids.  Second is multi stream support for  earbuds and binaural hearing aids,   where you're moving some of the processing that  is required for supporting those types of devices   from the hearing device itself to the source,  so there's new standardization in that area. 

There's new standardization for interoperable  hearing aid support and we'll talk about that.  And the fourth innovation for LE Audio is  broadcast audio, specifically support for   Auracast broadcast audio, and we'll talk about  that for a majority of the presentation today.  And we're very excited about these  new capabilities for Bluetooth,   especially in the areas of enhanced listening,  experiences and supporting the next generation   of assistive listening systems and more. And so I want to first start off with the   standardization for hearing aids and cover  that just a little bit, cause many of you   have probably experienced this as we speak. Right?  Regarding standardization for hearing aids, it was   quite frankly the hearing aid ecosystem and the  manufacturing that first approached the Bluetooth   SIG several years ago and said that they wanted  to standardize Bluetooth audio for hearing aids,   because the biggest challenge in the market was  that for them was that there was no specific   adopted Bluetooth specification for hearing aids. You know, different hearing aid suppliers and  

manufacturers had to develop proprietary  extensions to their technology in order   to enable the capabilities that  went into hearing aids today.  Now, what happened is this caused  compatibility problems in the market,   which many of you have probably  experienced with some level of frustration.  And that led to having Apple with their MFi, the  made for iPhone program or Google ASHA hearing aid   program and they put together specifications to  help revolve some of these issues with proprietary   implementations but that also made it difficult  for true multi platform handset interoperability.  And this drove challenges in the  market. Including interoperability   between hearing aid and mobile devices, and  that ultimately limited selection and drove   potentially higher costs to the end consumers. So the LE Audio specification is meant to change  

this. Right? Standardization and this comes  through a standardized profile for hearing aids,   and so standardization through LE Audio  and the hearing access profile will bring   better performance to your hearing aids for the  future and standardization will drive through   global interoperability for the future as well. And through that, standardization should deliver   more selection, more choice, and increase overall  accessibility for people with hearing loss.  Now, regards to that area around accessibility,  right? Today I want to specifically focus on what   you need to know about Auracast for devices  and public spaces and assistive listening,   and if you ask me what will Auracast broadcast  audio deliver to the market, you know,   Auracast is set to deliver compelling new audio  experiences direct to your hearing device that   enhance the way that you may engage with others,  as well as with the world that surrounds you.  So while there may be many ways that Auracast  will be used in the market, the simplest way to   explain the primary usage is through just  a few use cases and use case categories. 

The first is share your audio. And this is  an area where you are sharing your audio   experience with others around you. In this case this means smartphones,   tablets, laptops, PCs, allow you to  share your audio experience with others   that are around you to listen to music  together, and to watch videos together. 

Now, this could also include other  applications that are in the market,   like tour systems and other group listening  use cases, you know, where you're trying to   share your audio with the people around you. The second category of use cases is around hear   your best, where you can improve the listening  experience at a location and in public spaces.  Now, one of the things that we have heard is  overcoming loud sort of ambient noise can be   a challenge in public spaces for everyone, and  this is especially true with people with hearing   loss. And where Auracast broadcast auto comes  in is that it enables direct audio listening   to things like public address systems and  other transmitters to help you hear your best   using your listening or hearing device, and this  includes augmented audio experiences at theaters,   and assistive listening in public spaces and  locations like places of worship, transit centers,   conference centers, and other public gathering  places, and this can also include assistive   listening capabilities for public counters  or other one on one type listening use cases.  The third use case category for Auracast is around  unmuting your world, and this is in waiting rooms,   restaurants, bars, gyms, and so on. 'Cause  silent TVs and monitors are everywhere,   and simply stated, Auracast allows you  to join the audio broadcast of a program,   or monitor rather than watching in silence to  create what we could consider a more complete   watching experience, not just the silent TV,  but the actual audio associated with that as   well in the public space, and this can also  include things like multi language support,   depends on the manufacturer, depends on the  deployment, or listening to any audio source that   provides a simulcast in an alternate language. These are only some of the ways that Auracast  

will be used in the market in the near future,  but they do provide you with sort of a clear   direction on the thinking that we have  around where Auracast will come into play.  And I want to emphasize that Auracast  applies as we think about it to more   than enhanced audio and assistive listening.  It can apply to all manner of accessibility.  One of the challenges around this, of setting  up let's say a location with a loop system,   is that the impact is the overall impact  that you have on the venue or the location,   especially for a retrofit  for the existing building.  You know, this can ultimately, depending on  the installation, can limit the installation   to a single use case, and limit the overall  accessibility at that particular location. 

Now, the point in our system like Auracast can  be simple and easy to reconfigure to any of the   changes that happen in that environment versus  becoming obsolete because it's a stern and firm   installation like a loop system. Now, that with an RF system,   it can work right alongside an existing loop  system, so this is not about pulling out loop   systems and putting in RF systems. The two will  coexist and the two can and will work together,   because similar to deploying like a Wi Fi  network, essentially you have affixed an Auracast   transmitter to the ceiling or the wall and plug  it into the audio system, and you're ready to go,   and with unlimited end points, and there's and  no need to sit in a specific area to receive   the audio experience or the signal that you  want, Auracast can easily cover a large area   or be configured to cover any area that you're  looking to deploy an assistive listening system.  And additionally because it supports multiple  channels and multiple broadcasts, you can improve   the overall user experience with multiple audio  options and potentially multi language support   as I mentioned earlier, all from one technology  and deployment. And all this has the potential   to improve the overall user experience and  increase the location value to more people. 

So let's talk a little bit more detail about  how Auracast broadcast audio actually works.  Now, this may be a little bit more detailed than  you're used to, but I want to touch on this,   because there are two questions that I  consistently hear the most during these types   of presentations in talking about Auracast. The first is does Auracast use the standard   Bluetooth pairing methods that you  know today when it comes to audio?  And the second question is, is this the  smartphone required in order to listen to   an Auracast broadcast audio stream? So to answer the first question,   the simple answer is no. You know, this is not the  standard Bluetooth pairing between two devices.  Auracast is meant to be accessible by everyone  in the area, not just you. For broadcast,   a transmitter advertises the ability of a  standard quality broadcast audio stream,   and any Auracast receiver or assistant can listen  for that broadcast and join based on the request   of the user. So you have the choice to join. Now, some of those broadcasts may be encrypted   and may require additional input by the  user depending on the implementation,   but at the heart of an Auracast broadcast,  the transmitter or source has no idea what   or how many devices are listening to the Auracast  stream at any given time. And what this allows is  

one transmitter to broadcast effectively to an  unlimited number of people that are within range   and within that venue or within that location. Ultimately the transmitter broadcasts audio to   everyone to listen and people listen  depending on their desire to tune in.  On the second question, is the smartphone required  to listen to an Auracast broadcast audio stream,   the simple answer is no. Once joined,  the receiver, whether it's the hearing   aid, earbuds, cochlear implant, and so on,  they listen to a direct audio stream from the   transmitter. The smartphone is not involved. The  stream comes direct to the hearing device itself.  Now, that said, you know, there are effectively  two common models for finding and joining an   Auracast broadcast audio stream that will  available in the market as we see it.  These are, as I like to say, you know, with  an assistant, and with a without an assistant,   right? In both cases, it starts with the  transmitter advertising the availability   of a standard quality Auracast audio stream. And when you have an assistant like a smartphone,  

the assistant can scan for available broadcasts  and provide an interface for the user to choose   which broadcast that they ultimately want to join. And once the broadcast is selected by the user,   the assistant directs the receiver,  your hearing aid, on where to go   and the receiver joins that broadcast your  hearing aid joins that broadcast directly.  Now we anticipate that this will probably be one  of the most common methods for users to find and   join a broadcast. Very similar to discovering  an available Wi Fi access point as an example.  Now, the second model is without an assistant.  This is on the right hand side here. But the   process is very similar. The difference here is  that the receiver, the hearing aid, or the hearing  

device, can both scan for available broadcasts  and provide the mechanism on the device, whether   or not it's a button or a swipe or a switch of  some type to ultimately join the broadcast that's   available. Again no smartphone or assistant is  required for the listening of that broadcast.  For devices that are really size and  resource constrained or when multiple   streams are available, this may not be  the most practical method for the user,   meaning the switches on the device itself,  but the choice to use an assistant or not   is actually up to the manufacturer and  the capabilities of the receiving device.  Now, there are additional methods for discovery  that are under discussion, like getting within   proximity of a broadcast or, you know, using  QR codes or NFC is another technology that may   also be used by developers in the future, but  these are all still under development or and   are all being developed by the manufacturers  and those that are deploying Auracast systems.  Now, you may have noticed that I kept saying  standard quality Auracast audio stream or   standard quality public broadcast audio stream,  and why is this important? You know, why do I   keep emphasizing that? And why the emphasis  on standard quality public broadcast audio?  The standard quality audio stream is  the universal and common denominator   for accessibility of Auracast to all  transmitting and receiving devices. You know,   whether or not it's your earbuds, your headsets,  your headphones, hearing aids, cochlear implants,   you know, it is required for those devices  to support standard quality audio streams.  It's also required for all Auracast  locations to support the broadcast of   a standard quality audio stream. So if it is  a location that says it's Auracast, it will  

broadcast in the standard quality audio stream. So transmitters at those locations that support   the standard quality audio stream ensures that  Auracast support and audio accessibility is   available for all receiver types at all locations. So effectively, global audio accessibility hinges   for Auracast hinges on devices and locations  following the Auracast brand requirements, and   it's your advocacy and your emphasis is important  in helping drive this global audio accessibility.  So now, how do you know a device or a  location actually supports Auracast?  Well, there's two paths to identify support  for Auracast broadcast audio. First is on the   device, and second is at the location. First let's start with the device. Now,  

this past June, we introduced the Auracast  brand and trademarks to the market,   and similar to the core Bluetooth trademarks,  any device is eligible to use these Auracast   trademarks, as long as it is qualified, and proven  it follows the Auracast brand requirements, right?   That's the promise of the logo on the device. And the Auracast word mark and associated   trademarks can coexist with the core Bluetooth  trademarks as depicted in the product pictures   that you see here on this slide. Now,  these are just pictures. They shouldn't   be construed as actual product just yet, but  for both device manufacturers and locations,   we're encouraging them to use the Auracast  trademarks to help convey back to consumers   their support for Auracast within that device. So now let's talk about the support at   the locations. How do you recognize  support at the locations themselves?  For the locations, we're introducing a new  stylized identity for the use in a public space.   Now, having looked at location branding and  identification of services that they support, we   felt that the Auracast trademark needed to stand  out a bit further for simple consumer recognition   and easy spotting of support in public spaces. Now, different from Auracast combination mark,  

the new stylized identity is designed to  depict support for assistive listening,   but also capable of showing support for new  enhanced and augmented listening experiences   and we're encouraging promises display of this  identity to quickly display to consumers that they   have access to these new audio capabilities at  the location and we're providing the capabilities   for service providers to help ensure that they  have ample opportunity to support installers and   installations with Auracast branding materials. Now, clearly we recognize the tremendous   accessibility of hearing loop and  successful hearing loop deployments today.   Auracast and hearing loops can and will coexist  in the same location for years to come. Right?  And in this case, what we are recommending  for locations is to use both the Auracast   and loop signage to signal the availability  of both systems at the location and let the   user determine which experience they're  looking for at that particular location. 

Now, you may have noted earlier that I mentioned  sticker designs will be available for registered   locations, and the reason for that is we are  actually encouraging all Auracast locations to   register their location with the Bluetooth  SIG. 'Cause not only does the location gain   access to the Auracast brand and trademarks and  promotional materials, but that location will be   showing its support for the global community,  you know, looking for audio accessibility.  That location can stay up to date, and  that a location will ultimately appear in   an upcoming consumer searchable database  for Auracast broadcast audio locations.  So in the future, we have intentions to help  publish this location information on mobile   mapping and search services to help increase the  overall consumer awareness and availability for   specific locations, and this upcoming database can  also be a place for advocates for accessibility to   see and track available locations in your area,  and again it will take time to build out this   database, but as you can imagine, developing  and delivering a new consumer audio capability   like Auracast from Bluetooth, it has been a  monumental effort so I do want to reinforce   with you that this is a global and an ecosystem  wide effort to deliver Auracast into the market.  You know, the Bluetooth SIG is not  acting alone. The Bluetooth SIG has   brought together key stakeholders and  the consumer and the audio ecosystem. 

And this graphic shows some of the many  companies and organizations who have   supported this development effort, and many more  have already pledged their support for Auracast   broadcast audio in the devices that they're  going to deliver and their distribution models.  So as much as I'd like to snap my fingers and  say that global support for Auracast will be   in all public locations overnight, it will  take time, and we do recognize that it will   take time for this type of capability to make  its way into the market, but I'm encouraged,   and I'm encouraged because analysts' estimates  show that the speed and uptake of opportunity   for LE Audio and the use cases for Auracast  broadcast audio to be quite significant.  In a recent published market research note in  partnership with ABI, ABI is estimating that   there will be over 3 billion LE Audio enabled  devices shipping each and every year within   the next five years. These are your phones,  tablets, PCs, hearing aids, earbuds, and so on.  ABI also estimates that there are 61 million  establishments that could benefit and take   advantage of Auracast broadcast audio, and  while it's still early to track trends,   ABI estimates that roughly 2.5 million  Auracast broadcast audio deployments will be   available in the next five to seven years. So this information is all available in   a new market research note titled LE  Audio, the future of Bluetooth audio,   and this is available on Bluetooth.com or  through the link you see on the slide here. 

And I'm confident that with your advocacy  and your support of the many companies and   organizations that Auracast will ultimately  change the way we engage with others,   through audio and the world around us. And so this kind of concludes the core part   of the overall webinar. So if you are curious,  and you want more information on Auracast,   or wish to stay up to date on new information,  I encourage you to visit Bluetooth.com/Auracast,   'cause I've shown a number of resources  through this presentation, and there are   multiple resources that are available supporting  both developing Auracast products as well as those   deploying Auracast in public locations. So again I invite you to go to  

Bluetooth.com/Auracast. I want to thank you for  your attention and taking your time with me today.  If you have any questions, please do not  hesitate to reach out. I'm an advocate   for audio accessibility and I'm committed  to doing, you know, what it takes to make   this happen for everyone. So thank you very much. 

Now, I know we're out of time, and we don't  have time necessarily for the Q&A, but as I   mentioned before, I'm committed to answering  your questions that you've put into the Q&A,   and we'll have those published as part of  the output from this particular presentation.  Melissa, I'll hand it back over to you. >> MELISSA KRUSE: Thank you, Chuck,   as you mentioned unfortunately I think we are  out of time to take Q&A. But we have quite a   few questions, it looks like over 50 that were  put into that, so we will be publishing those   with a full copy of this webinar in a  couple of weeks at the HLAA website.  And I want to say thank you for participating,  and thank you Chuck for presenting.  Thank you Lisa, for the interpretation, and Jo for  the captioning. I hope we answered some questions  

again, and please check out all of our webinars,  upcoming and previous ones at the HLAA website,   and thank you again. >> CHUCK SABIN: Thank you,   everyone. I appreciate your time  and your attention. Thank you.

2022-12-05 09:24

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