It’s an idea whose time has come. Actually, the idea’s time came years ago, but at least we’re finally seeing it happen. Three of the largest helmet communicator manufacturers have teamed up to announce a cross-brand Bluetooth compatibility standard.
The announcement came from Cardo Systems, Midland and Uclear this week, saying they’ve worked out a way for all their comms to talk together. Such technology is already available, with so-called universal pairing, but sound quality is often sketchy, and the connections unstable and finicky to set up at times. It works, but just.
Now, all these manufacturers have launched Open Bluetooth Intercom, improving cross-brand communication. It’s a bonus, if you’ve got one brand and your riding buddy has the other. However, this tech is still limited to duplex connectivity, meaning user-to-user chats, instead of the mesh technology that allows massive group chats. These manufacturers’ comm sets will always work their best when used Cardo-to-Cardo, Midland-to-Midland, Uclear-to-Uclear, as it allows better sound quality and more users. The new Open Bluetooth Intercom system should be an improvement, though.
It’s an important second step towards cross-manufacturer cooperation, too. Earlier this year, these manufacturers announced a plan to work together on standardized sizing, to make it easier for helmet manufacturers to design a helmet that integrated the comm sets. Notably, Sena was absent from that announcement, as well as this latest announcement.
The press release announcing this recent development did not say when the new Open Bluetooth Intercom standard would become available, but presumably it will be included in the next firmware update for all these manufacturers.
CARDO SYSTEMS, MIDLAND AND UCLEAR LAUNCH ‘OPEN BLUETOOTH INTERCOM’
Industry-wide agreement aims at eliminating cross-brand intercom incompatibilities
Plano, Texas (June 14, 2022) – Cardo Systems, Midland and Uclear, have today jointly announced the launch of the ‘Open Bluetooth Intercom’ (OBI) – an open industry-wide Bluetooth Intercom standard, allowing seamless cross-brand Bluetooth Intercom connectivity.
The partnership will help overcome many of the common frustrations experienced with traditional ‘universally connected’ devices and foster a new era of significantly improved cross-brand experience.
While ‘universal connectivity’ enables pairing between cross-brand communicators, the experience for users is often inferior when compared to if they were connected to a device from the same brand. The pairing process can often be complex, previous connections forgotten and not always possible to make phone calls or listen to music in parallel to the intercom connection. All of these challenges are overcome with the introduction of the ‘Open Bluetooth Intercom’ agreement.
hSpeaking on behalf of the partners Shachar Harari, VP of Business Development explained: “Having just launched our ‘Universal Communication Solution’, the announcement of our ‘Open Bluetooth Intercom’ further cements our commitment to providing motorcyclists with the best solutions to communicate while riding. The new partnership will enable riders to fully enjoy seamless Bluetooth intercom connectivity across the brands and will further foster the penetration of communication solution among rider world-wide.”
‘Open Bluetooth Intercom’ describes various extensions to the ‘Bluetooth Handsfree Profile’, designed for direct duplex communications between Bluetooth-capable devices – enhancing the interoperability of different partnership brands in the Bluetooth communicator market, meaning that riders no longer have to agree with fellow riding partners on a brand to buy.