As the First Public Auracast™ Broadcast Audio Solutions Arrive, How Can Adoption Be Accelerated in 2024 and Beyond?

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By Andrew Zignani | 3Q 2024 | IN-7432

Two years after the introduction of Low Energy (LE) Audio, more and more transmitter and receiver devices that support Auracast™ broadcast audio are starting to emerge. Meanwhile, the first public venue solutions have just been announced. This ABI Insight provides the latest perspective on Auracast™ broadcast audio and the outlook for 2024, as well as offering key recommendations on how Auracast™ broadcast audio technology can be accelerated.

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Ampetronic and Listen Technologies Demo First Auracast™ Broadcast Audio-Based Assistive Listening Solution


Just prior to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) 2024 Convention in June 2024, Listen Technologies, a provider of wireless listening technology, and Ampetronic, a leading provider of induction loop systems, announced that they would be demonstrating their Auri™ solution at the convention. First announced in December 2023, Auri™ marks the first complete installed assistive listening system that will utilize Auracast™ broadcast audio technology. The solution will include networked transmitters capable of supporting any size space, alongside multi-channel broadcast capabilities and the option for secure or open transmission. To meet local accessibility requirements, this solution will also include dedicated receivers and charging solutions to enable venues to provide users without Auracast™ broadcast audio devices to be able to utilize the system. This announcement marked a critical moment in the development of an Auracast™ broadcast audio ecosystem within public venues, and the product is expected to start shipping later this year. However, ABI Research argues that there is much more that can and needs to be done to accelerate adoption and make it a widely deployed technology over the next 5 to 10 years, for both consumer and public settings.

The Growing Auracast™ Broadcast Audio Ecosytem and the Need for Retrofit Solutions


This announcement comes on the back of several that highlight the burgeoning Low Energy (LE) Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio ecosystem. In addition to chipset support for LE Audio from numerous vendors, including Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek, Airoha, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, Realtek, Telink, and Bestechnic, some recently announced LE Audio earbud solutions include the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 (and LE Audio case), Jabra Elite 10 Gen 2 (and LE Audio case), the Creative Zen Air Pro, the Marshall Minor IV (LE Audio Ready), the Marshall Motif II (LE Audio Ready), the Marshall Major V (LE Audio Ready), the Sony INZONE buds, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 (via a firmware update), the JLab Epic Lab Edition, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Alongside this relatively rapid adoption of LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio capable receiver devices, including true wireless earbuds, headsets, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, there is also a new emerging opportunity for Bluetooth® solution providers to develop retrofit Auracast™ broadcast audio solutions for public venues that can be simple to install, take advantage of low-cost transmitter devices, and enable a valuable combination of new audio experiences and improved listening for both the hearing impaired and the wider users of Bluetooth® audio technology. In its most basic form, wherever there is a power and audio source that can be connected, a retrofit Auracast™ broadcast audio transmitter could be deployed. These solutions can be as simple as a Universal Serial Bus (USB), 3.5 Millimeter (mm), optical, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) dongle solution that can be plugged into any existing audio source. Within these public environments, Auracast™ broadcast audio transmitters could be simply connected to a wide range of existing audio sources, including:

  • Public address systems across a wide range of environments, including transportation hubs, education, and healthcare campuses
  • Conference room speakers in offices, hotels, smart buildings, and convention centers
  • Audio mixers and racks in theaters, cinemas, and other public entertainment venues
  • Lecture halls and classroom communication systems
  • Place of worship communication systems
  • Televisions (TVs) deployed in airports, bars, gymnasiums, hotels, and other public venues
  • Departure gate speaker systems
  • Stadium audio systems
  • Tour guide systems within museums, galleries, and other tourist attractions

These solutions can help bridge the gap between this early adoption period and the time it will take to develop and deploy dedicated, fully integrated Auracast™ broadcast audio equipment, such as Audio Visual (AV) systems, public address and voice alarm systems, and specialist assistive listening infrastructure, which, as this first announcement highlights, is very much in its early days. These retrofit solutions can enhance audio for both hearing aid users and the broader Bluetooth® user base, expediting deployments across a wide range of public venues and enabling a sizable new opportunity for Bluetooth® solution providers to capture before the market transition to embedded solutions is completed.

These Auracast™ broadcast audio transmitters can also capture significant opportunities in the consumer market. There is already a wide range and well-established market of retrofit Bluetooth® Classic transmitter and receiver devices on the market that target automotive, gaming, and TV applications. As LE Audio headsets become more widely available, there will be a greater desire to retrofit existing owned devices such as smartphones, Personal Computers (PCs), TVs, games consoles, and AV systems for high-quality, low-latency connectivity, enabling Auracast™ broadcast audio personal sharing use cases until embedded LE Audio penetration increases. Dedicated USB-C, HDMI, auxiliary dongles, and transmitter and receiver devices can help enable Auracast™ broadcast audio and LE Audio connectivity within existing devices such as smartphones, PCs, gaming consoles, TVs, and other sources.

Furthermore, on the receiver side, vendors are starting to embed LE Audio functionality in charging cases to help enable broadcast audio experiences. For example, the Jabra Elite 8 Active Gen 2 and Jabra Elite 10 Gen 2 come equipped with a LE Audio charging case that enables users to plug in their case to an audio source via USB-C or 3.5 mm jack. This could include in-flight entertainment systems, TVs, PCs, gaming consoles, and other devices that do not yet support LE Audio as standard.

Accelerating the Adoption of Auracast™ Broadcast Audio Solutions


According to ABI Research, more than 60 million venues globally could potentially benefit from assistive listening or augmented audio experiences. Some of these venues may support multiple use cases, ranging from assistive listening solutions to silent TV use cases, or the emergence of new audio experiences. With the potential for multiple audio transmitters per venue, this equates to a very large potential Total Addressable Market (TAM) for retrofit Auracast™ broadcast audio solutions.

Long replacement cycles mean that it will be several years before these audio systems, silent TVs, and other public audio sources embed Auracast™ broadcast audio capabilities as standard. Retrofit solutions can enable both new consumer-facing and assistive listening experiences without the need to wait to replace existing audio systems with ones embedded with Auracast™ broadcast audio technology. When compared to alternative assistive listening technologies, Auracast™ broadcast audio solutions can be deployed simply, at a comparatively low cost, and provide unique audio experiences to users of both assistive listening devices and mainstream consumer headsets.

Auracast™ broadcast audio-capable retrofit transmitters for consumer and public venue applications are already starting to emerge, and some vendors are already noticing and targeting the large potential opportunities in this space. For example, Qualcomm’s QCC3086 is designed to support a range of consumer LE Audio features, including gaming mode, unicast voice or music, and audio sharing, while Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can also utilize this platform to enable Auracast™ broadcast audio functionality to dongles and adapters for use with source devices such as phones, laptops, TVs and a wide range of other audio equipment.

These solutions will be critical in forging the initial LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio ecosystem system before mainstream adoption occurs toward the second half of the decade. To help accelerate this, there is a need for the further development of retrofit Auracast™ broadcast transmitter devices that can be readily integrated into various audio systems, TVs, PA systems, speakers, microphones, and other audio source devices already deployed in these public venues. While the first of these have come to market, ABI Research expects that many more solutions will emerge over the next 12 months. These devices will be critical in raising awareness of Auracast™ broadcast audio technology and help accelerate wider adoption of the technology and ecosystem within both consumer and public venue applications. Venues and solution providers currently looking to deploy alternative Radio Frequency (RF), Wi-Fi, and other audio systems for both consumer and assistive listening use cases should consider the numerous potential benefits of deploying Auracast™ broadcast audio technology as a future-proof alternative.

In addition to increasing the availability of retrofit solutions and accelerating wider LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio adoption in receiver devices, ABI Research offers the following recommendations to help further develop the Auracast™ broadcast audio ecosystem in 2024 and beyond:

  • Continue proliferation of LE Audio and Auracast™ broadcast audio hardware and software support.
  • Emphasize both consumer and assistive listening use cases.
  • Incentive Auracast™ broadcast audio adoption in new buildings and within assistive listening regulatory frameworks across different regions.
  • Partner with System Integrators (SIs) to help roll out Auracast™ broadcast audio solutions across larger venues and entire market segments.
  • Develop intuitive User Interfaces (UIs) for Auracast™ broadcast audio.
  • Raise greater awareness of what Auracast™ broadcast audio can do, where and how easily it can be deployed, and how it can be used most effectively.
  • Offer diverse transmitter and integrated solutions spanning both larger-scale public assembly systems and portable transmitters, countertop solutions, and solutions that can be easily connected to the widest variety of sources.
  • Ensure that all Auracast™ broadcast audio experiences are high-quality, intuitive, and standardized, regardless of where they are implemented.
  • Ensure a standardized approach to security for Auracast™ broadcast audio solutions deployed in one-to-one and private settings.
  • Deploy Auracast™ broadcast audio alongside maintaining or rolling out additional hearing loop assistive listening infrastructure to ensure the widest possible compatibility and to help future-proof these rollouts as more and more devices support the technology.