Fulfilling growing demand for the de facto consumer audio connectivity solution.
For years, Bluetooth audio technology has been a standard feature on laptops, tablets, phones, headsets, speakers, cars and many other common consumer products. Although Bluetooth suffers the same vulnerabilities as other wireless technologies in the ever-more-crowded 2.4GHz spectrum, its proliferation and end-user acceptance has driven it to become the de facto consumer audio connectivity solution. Until now, however, it has failed to make significant inroads into the commercial AV “fixed install” market. We like the robustness of wired audio sources because we like not getting calls from our customers complaining about intermittent problems caused by wireless solutions.
Although most of us in the commercial AV sphere can agree that wired audio is preferable, our customers are living wireless and digitally connected lives. The ubiquitous smartphone is the single most common of BYOD devices, and users of installed sound systems understandably want to use their personal devices for content delivery. Because we ignore our users’ desires at our own peril, the question becomes not if, but how to integrate Bluetooth technology into the commercial systems integration toolbox without incurring endless service and operational headaches. This is where Bluetooth for commercial AV can offer a solution.
Bluetooth for commercial AV offers:
• the ability to customize Bluetooth-friendly names: no confusion with multiple Bluetooth interfaces in close proximity. This is particularly important in installations like stadium skyboxes or exercise studios where close co-location of multiple Bluetooth interfaces is required by the layout of the venue.
• no auto-reconnect: As annoying as it is sitting at home and having your phone automatically reconnect to your wife’s car when she pulls into the garage, the repercussions in a commercial setting can be far worse. Bluetooth for commercial AV solutions limit this feature of Bluetooth connectivity to provide added security to user privacy and the audio system, and further limit the chance for errant user connections.
• configurable usage modes, including standalone, whereby a user pairs/connects via a simple one-button interface. The interface remains invisible to all users until this initiation occurs, and once the Bluetooth connection is made, the interface again becomes invisible to all other devices. In many venues, like restaurants or spas, Bluetooth pairing has to be quick and simple for nontechnical users; standalone mode is aimed squarely at this use case. Third-party control mode, whereby local button pairing can be defeated and remote connection can be initiated through a control system interface (touchpanel/tablet), is for use in venues where Bluetooth access to the sound system must be more closely controlled. This mode allows the system designer to tailor Bluetooth access specifically to the security needs of the venue. User privileges can be set through control system programming.
• install grade audio I/O: Balanced analog audio output or Dante networked audio outputs allow easy integration into commercial-grade audio gear, without the complications introduced by consumer-level unbalanced audio connections. Native Dante integration allows the local Bluetooth audio to be instantly routed anywhere else on the Dante network, giving the ultimate in system audio routing capability.
• control system compatible: Real-time remote control and status monitoring via RS232 or over the network allows systems integrators to use industry-standard control systems to precisely tailor the user’s Bluetooth experience to the requirements of the venue.
• standard Decora form factor: Allows in-wall installation using standard US wall boxes (with or without mud rings) or old work brackets.
Bluetooth audio connectivity to commercial, retail, house of worship, and other professionally designed and installed sound systems has seen a growing demand from end users who, after all, are paying for these systems. Using Bluetooth for commercial AV products, consultants and systems integrators can give their clients the modern wireless audio connectivity they want, using products specifically designed for the needs of professional installations.
Bluetooth audio connectivity can be shaped specifically for the requirements of the commercial AV market by adding unique form factors and control features to Bluetooth to make a compelling commercial installation product.