Weekly Bluetooth Industry Report (Jan 10, 2020)

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Bluetooth LE Audio: multistreaming, new codec (but no lossless)
Active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones have been around for a number of years but in 2019, the technology made the leap to True Wireless Earphones (TWE). First came the Sony WF-1000XM3, then Apple’s AirPods Pro. From the floor of CES 2020, Klipsch, Panasonic, Technics, 1MORE and Audio-Technica are joining the TWE ANC party; lest they are left behind by an ever-expanding corner of the personal audio market where consumer dollars are often won on feature set alone.

New Bluetooth standard copies best features of Apple, Qualcomm’s proprietary tech
Bluetooth SIG, the industry group that maintains the Bluetooth wireless communications standard used in numerous devices, announced a major update to the standard called Bluetooth LE Audio this week.
Bluetooth SIG previously introduced Bluetooth LE with a focus on power efficiency, but that emphasized improvements for low-bandwidth devices. Even though audio is one of the most common uses of Bluetooth, it still faces some frustrating bottlenecks and pitfalls. Bluetooth LE Audio brings improvements specifically oriented toward audio devices.

CES 2020: Votion’s HomeKit lineup includes a soil sensor, breaker switch, and more
HomeKit looks to be starting to finally hit its stride at this years CES, with tons of announcements from various manufacturers making the rounds. Votion is one such company, which is introducing a total of 11, yes 11, HomeKit accessories, spanning smart home staples such as light switches and plugs, as well as including some unique offerings.

Podcast: Everything that mattered at CES
This week Kevin and I went to Las Vegas for the annual CES event showcasing thousands of technology products under dozens of roofs. We recorded the show before we had the chance to see everything, but we did pull together this show with some of the big themes we saw developing and the news that we felt would matter most to our smart home listeners.

Allegion launch new ISONAS Pure IP access control to UK market
Allegion UK has launched the ISONAS Pure IP family of access control solutions in the UK. ISONAS believes access control belongs on the network and should have the ability to be managed from anywhere across an unlimited number of facilities, that is why ISONAS created Pure IP Access Control Hardware.

The future of IoT
Will the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to grow in 2020 or has it hit its peak? Bruce Lancaster, CEO of Wilson Electronics, a manufacturer of cellphone boosters for both commercial and consumer use, said in a recent interview that IoT means different things to different people, but if you boil it down the basics — electronic devices communicating with each other wirelessly — he sees it as still going strong.

Bluetooth LE Audio could be the biggest news out of CES 2020
Bluetooth is the wireless transmission protocol that comes standard in millions of devices all over the globe from wireless headphones and speakers, to car audio and smart home tech, so it’s pretty significant when the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the standards organization that develops the technology, say they’ve come up with a new technology.

Nordic Semiconductor launches a Bluetooth LE Audio Evaluation Platform ahead of Bluetooth SIG LE Audio specification release during H1 2020
Nordic Semiconductor today announces it has launched an LE Audio Evaluation Platform in partnership with San Diego, CA-based Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) stack developer, Packetcraft. The LE Audio solution demonstrates the benefits of LE Audio and is designed to support the new LE Audio specifications that are expected to be released by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) during the first half of 2020.

Bluetooth LE programmable robot allows coders of all skill levels to create their own sensor-based applications
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Sphero, a Boulder, CO-based consumer robotics and toy company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52832 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) as the primary processor and low power wireless connectivity solution for its ‘Sphero RVR’. Sphero RVR is a programmable robot for beginners to advanced coders, STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) educators and students, as well as makers, hackers, and hobbyists.

Brilliant adds a dimmer switch and smart plug to its smart home ecosystem
Until now, Brilliant only offered its relatively high-end smart switches with a touchscreen, but at CES this week, the company is expanding its product lineup with a new dimmer switch and smart plug. Both require that you already own at least one Brilliant Control, so these aren’t standalone devices but instead expansions to the Brilliant Control system.

CES: Bluetooth mesh software stacks extend network use cases
With the release of Bluetooth mesh software stacks for the BlueNRG family of Bluetooth Low Energy chips and modules, ST will demonstrate the capabilities of Bluetooth mesh networks during CES, The demonstrations will show how ST’s BlueNRG mesh software and BLE-enabled Wireless Sensor Platforms, together, enable to form pervasive and scalable networks of sensors and actuators that can support new use cases extending throughout smart buildings and smart factories.

What is Bluetooth LE Audio and why does it matter? Higher quality, audio sharing and more
It was two decades ago, in 1999, that Bluetooth first appeared, revolutionishing wireless connectivity over short distances. These days, many people use Bluetooth wireless to listen to music, alongside Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) for their accessories to communicate with one another. We’ve had many Bluetooth advancements over the years – the most recent, Bluetooth 5, increased the range – and for 2020 Bluetooth is evolving once more, with Bluetooth LE Audio. But what is this new technology and what does it offer?

T2 Labs to Participate in Bluetooth LE Audio Launch Event at CES 2020
T2 Labs www.T2Labs-llc.com announces their participation in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) LE Audio Launch Media Event at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on January 6.  The private event at Portofino Banquet Hall at the Mirage Hotel, hosted by the Bluetooth SIG, will be attended by over 150 tech/business journalists and analysts from all over the world. A small group of 11 Bluetooth SIG member companies were selected to participate to share demonstrations and discuss different aspects of the soon to be released next generation Bluetooth LE Audio specifications.

Tempow Launches Partnership Program for Chipset Manufacturers to Accelerate Adoption of Bluetooth LE Audio
Tempow, creators of software-only solutions to enhance core Bluetooth protocol, today announced the release of a new Bluetooth Software Stack for hearables and speakers, with an early prototype of the freshly revealed LE Audio, the next generation of Bluetooth audio. It is also opening an exclusive partnership program for chipset manufacturers to use Tempow’s implementation.

The next version of Bluetooth will let you share your music wirelessly
Bluetooth LE Audio is coming later in 2020, and it will radically expand what’s possible when using compatible devices like smartphones, wireless headphones, and even hearing aids. Introduced today at CES 2020 by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the new Bluetooth specification includes the ability to share audio wirelessly from a single smartphone to many Bluetooth headphones. It also includes a new standard audio codec known as LC3 that the group claims will sound better and use less power than the previous standard, called SBC.

New Secure Bluetooth 5.2 SoCs Enable Ten-Year Coin Cell Battery Operation
Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) announces a new Bluetooth® system-on-chip (SoC) solution delivering a market-leading combination of security features, wireless performance, energy efficiency, and software tools and stacks to meet the market demand for high-volume, battery-powered IoT products. Expanding Silicon Labs’ secure, ultra-low-power Wireless Gecko Series 2 platform, the EFR32BG22 (BG22) SoCs provide developers with an optimized Bluetooth connectivity solution supporting the new Bluetooth 5.2 specification, Bluetooth direction finding and Bluetooth mesh.

Goodix to Showcase the Latest Bluetooth LE Audio Solution for True Wireless Stereo at CES 2020
Goodix is showcasing an innovative demo based on its latest Bluetooth LE audio solution for TWS (True Wireless Stereo) applications at Bluetooth LE Audio Launch Media Event, hosted by Bluetooth SIG (Bluetooth Special Interest Group), during CES. As a joint effort with OnePlus, Goodix’s demo is Bluetooth 5.1 compliant and supports the next-generation of Bluetooth LE ISOC (isochronous) architecture, delivering high quality wireless audio performances. This innovative solution helps manufacturers develop a new generation of ultra-low power and feature-rich TWS wireless earbuds with the latest Bluetooth LE audio technologies.

Synopsys Releases Industry’s First Bluetooth LE Audio Codec for Power-Sensitive Audio and Voice Applications
Synopsys, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) today announced availability of the Bluetooth LE Audio LC3 Codec optimized for Synopsys’ DesignWare® ARC® EM DSP and HS DSP processor IP. The LC3 codec is an important feature of Bluetooth LE Audio, the soon-to-be-released next-generation audio standard defined by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) that enables system-on-chip (SoC) designers to efficiently implement high-quality voice and audio streaming in a wide range of applications, including mobile, wearables, and home automation. The LC3 codec for ARC processors is based on an implementation by Fraunhofer IIS that is designed to meet Bluetooth SIG requirements. The new LC3 codec, running on ARC EM and HS DSP processors, allows designers to rapidly integrate a complete, pre-verified hardware and software solution for voice and speech processing into Bluetooth-enabled devices requiring minimal energy consumption.

BIC’s prototype Bluetooth smart razor collects data on how you shave
No, BIC doesn’t have any plans to sell a smart razor quite yet, but the shaving giant is giving away a new Bluetooth-equipped prototype to learn more about how people are shaving. Part of collaboration with French smart device developer Invoxia, BIC’s new AI-enabled razor is designed to collect data about how you shave, analyzing everything from how many strokes you use on either side of your face to the temperature and humidity in your bathroom.

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