OnQ Blog

Is Wireless Audio the killer app for the Internet of Everything?

12 nov. 2014

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Does the Internet of Everything play a big role in your house yet? We’re hearing lots of use cases around the connected home, like regulating your use of electricity, switching your lights on and off remotely and having your appliances talk to one another.

Those are good ways to run your home wirelessly, but what about enjoying it wirelessly? What about having your music streamed wirelessly to different rooms in your house and controlling it from mobile devices?

That kind of wireless audio is a killer app for the Internet of Everything, says Gary Brotman, Director of Product Management at Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. During his presentation at our Uplinq™ 2014 conference, Gary discussed the Qualcomm® AllPlay™ Click SDK for iOS and for Android, which allows anyone who develops a media player or provides cloud services to discover AllPlay speakers and stream to them with full control around the home.

We’ve posted Gary’s presentation and I’ll summarize some of the highlights for you.

Why Wireless Audio In The Home?

To get to mass consumer adoption, the Internet of Everything will need a use case that is non-threatening, non-technical, fun and exciting. We think music in the home will induce people to try advanced control of devices, in the way that fitness has boosted wearable computing.

Look at some of the trends pointing toward wireless, in-home audio:

Advanced use cases, like music coming from the cloud, appeal even to non-technical users.
Consumers are comfortable controlling media (music player, TV remote) from their mobile devices.
After years of favoring price and compactness, the pendulum has started swinging back toward quality in both audio (headphones vs. earbuds) and connectivity (Bluetooth® vs. WiFi).

Then there’s the content factor. Consumers are shifting from music they own to music they subscribe to and stream, and mobile is making that music easier to access. The cool-factor in consuming music is shifting from the size of your collection to how much you curate and share.

Streaming From The Cloud Through The Home Router To The Speakers

These are the current scenarios for streaming audio in the home:

Streaming from one source (usually a smartphone or tablet) to the speakers of one audio device.
Streaming from one source to multiple speakers around the house (party mode).
Streaming from multiple sources to multiple speakers; for example, a PC with a media server to speakers in the den, a tablet to speakers in the living room, a smartphone to speakers in the bedroom. Sources and speakers can all be on the same network.

What’s next? As the diagram above shows, we see these evolving to the point where all cloud-based music services are available for streaming through the home WiFi router directly to the speakers. Instead of carrying the music, the mobile device will act as a remote control for in-home, wireless audio.

Up to now, the problem has been in the technical underpinnings. The manufacturers of audio devices have had no end-to-end wireless platform to build on. They’ve faced obstacles like sound quality, WiFi quality, network configuration and competing wireless standards.

Enter The AllPlay Smart Media Platform And AllPlay Click SDK

To address the technical underpinnings, Qualcomm Connected Experiences has released the AllPlay Smart Media Platform for integrated hardware and software music streaming. Any manufacturer of routers or sound equipment can incorporate AllPlay, which is built on AllJoyn™, open-source software that binds speakers, TVs, door locks, appliances and other smart devices in the home. AllPlay gives you access to media through supported services, like Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Consumers can now buy AllPlay-enabled products at retail. Manufacturers like Panasonic, Monster, Fon, Altec Lansing, Lenco, Medion and Musaic have already announced compatible equipment.

For the rest of the ecosystem, we’ve released the AllPlay Click SDK for iOS and for Android. If you’re developing a media player or providing cloud-based content, the APIs in the SDK will help you discover AllPlay-enabled speakers and stream content to them. Spotify, Rhapsody, Napster, Tunein, iHeartRadio and DoubleTwist are among the apps, services and media players that have already integrated the AllPlay Click SDK.

The SDK lets developers like you reach consumers most interested in music quality and most willing to pay for streaming audio. AllPlay gives you the inside track as in-home wireless goes mainstream. Instead of making one-off arrangements with each manufacturer, you can write for a single platform.

Next Steps

As Gary put it, “Consumers are no longer locked to a smartphone with earbuds.” Whether you’re building your company’s business case for wireless audio or just thinking that it sounds like a cool idea, you’ll find plenty more details in Gary’s 40 minute presentation, “Wireless Audio: A Killer App for the Internet of Everything.”

If you’re ready to start writing code, get the AllPlay Click SDK for iOS and for Android. You can also the Wireless Home Audio Forum so you can have your questions answered and find out how other developers are using the SDK.

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Lauren Thorpe

Senior Director, Developer Relations

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