Bluetooth helmet communication systems have become ubiquitous in recent years. From add-on accessories like the Cardo PackTalk series to the fully integrated Sena Outrush R modular cover, brands are always finding ways to improve functionality, connectivity and options. However, the Bluetooth communicator market lacks an industry-wide standard to help drive the technology forward.
To help the industry formulate regulated guidelines, Cardo Systems, Midland, Uclear and Sygn House supported the Universal Communication Solution (UCS). The proposal calls for standardization of communication unit speaker dimensions and plug compatibility. Backers hope the criteria will help helmet makers create interior liners to accommodate all speaker systems. The standard could also reduce research and development time for manufacturers of communication systems and expand options for consumers.
Currently, manufacturers of communication units establish their own specifications and brand partnerships to stand out from the competition. A collaboration between Shoei and Sena for the GT Air II is a prime example of the practice, but UCS regulations could reduce the possibility of one manufacturer cornering a specific market. This would obviously increase competition between brands, but it would also increase the models available to all customers.
Due to unregulated industry practices, most users of communication units experience connectivity and compatibility issues between different brands. If you’ve ever tried to pair Cardo and Sena units multiple times, you’re well aware of the problem. Of course, leveling the playing field with specific dimensions will make installation easier for customers and amplify competition among communications companies, but UCS should also set a standard for software and connectivity across multiple platforms.
This isn’t the only time we’ve seen a push towards more consistency in the tech sector. The European Union has announced that it will require all smartphones to use USB-C connectors for charging. This news has shaken tech giant Apple, as the brand relies on proprietary software and hardware exclusive to its ecosystem. As in the world of smartphones, Bluetooth communication manufacturers may need to adopt a set of rules if the industry adopts the universal communication solution plan.