Bluetooth helmet communication systems have become ubiquitous in the past few years. From accessory add-ons like the Cardo PackTalk series to the fully-integrated Sena Outrush R modular lid, brands are always finding ways to improve the features, connectivity, and options. However, the Bluetooth communicator market doesn’t have an industry-wide standard to help drive the technology forward.
To help the industry form regulated guidelines, Cardo Systems, Midland, Uclear, and Sygn House have supported the Universal Communication Solution (UCS). The proposal calls for the standardization of comm unit speaker dimensions and plug compatibility. Backers hope the criteria will help helmet manufacturers to create interior liners to accommodate all speaker systems. The standard could also reduce research and development time for communication system manufacturers and expand options for consumers.
At the moment, comm unit makers set their own proprietary specifications and brand partnerships to get a step up on the competition. A collaboration between Shoei and Sena for the GT Air II is a perfect example of the practice, but UCS regulation could reduce the possibility of one manufacturer cornering a specific market. That would obviously increase competition among brands, but it would also increase the models available to all customers.
Due to the industry’s non-regulated practices, most comm unit users encounter connectivity and compatibility issues across different brands. If you’ve ever repeatedly attempted to pair Cardo and Sena units, you’re well aware of the problem. Of course, leveling the playing field with specific dimensions will ease installation for customers and amplify competition among comms companies, but the UCS should also set a standard for software and connectivity across multiple platforms.
This isn’t the only time we’ve seen a push for more consistency in the tech sector. The European Union announced that it will require all smartphones to use USB-C connectors for charging. That news shook tech giant Apple, as the brand relies on proprietary software and hardware exclusive to its ecosystem. Similar to the smartphone world, Bluetooth communication manufacturers may need to adopt a set of rules if the industry enacts the Universal Communication Solution plan.