Lenbrook International has announced a major update to its BluOS® hi-res distributed audio platform. Integrating voice control, new music services, a slicker firmware update interface for devices running BluOS, and a host of new custom integration features, keeps this award-winning platform at the cutting edge of audio streaming. The new firmware will be automatically rolled out to all Bluesound streaming products, as well as BluOS Enabled devices from Bluesound, NAD Electronics, and DALI.
BluOS has specifically chosen to implement voice control differently than other platforms, opting to be a skill as a software-defined custom implementation. This allows BluOS the flexibility to remain agnostic regarding which voice assistant platform is integrated, but also allows for the inclusion of richer skillsets and user experiences as voice control becomes a more widespread and common way for consumers to interface with their home electronics.
Having integrated Amazon Music as a streaming service in 2017, Amazon’s Alexa voice control platform was chosen as the first one that BluOS 3.0 would support for English-language users in the US, UK and Australia. Exact functionality is defined by Amazon in each territory, but features include the ability to play local library content in the US, and all BluOS presets, as well as playlists from most of our integrated music streaming services in all three territories. This represents a richer voice control experience than competitor platforms can currently offer.
“As a premium product in the marketplace, it was important that we could go beyond the basic voice control skills to incorporate real-world music listening behaviors into the experience, and also ensure that consumers could use whichever voice assistant they prefer,” says Andrew Haines, BluOS Product Manager. “That is why a skills-driven approach was taken in our voice control strategy, and of course, the bonus in all of this is that it also means that voice control is backwards compatible with all existing BluOS Enabled devices.” Haines also added that as feedback, new services and additional options become available, voice control functionality will continue to be enhanced and evolved.
Home Control Integration
Smart home and control integration has always been a strong component of the BluOS platform and version 3.0 sees a host of deeper integrations with leading CI control platforms Crestron, Control4, and RTI.
Integration with Crestron continues to grow, bringing forth exciting new opportunities for system engineers and custom integrators. A selection of NAD products will be among the first to be compatible with PYNG OS2, Crestron’s industry-leading smart home operating system, with the implementation of the corresponding chassis driver updates that have been announced at the 2018 CEDIA Expo in San Diego, California.
Additional Crestron updates on BluOS include support for preset controls, while RTI installers can now quickly add BluOS Enabled devices with the new Integration Designer APEX module. Caseta Pro and RA2 Select now join Radio RA2 and HomeWorks as certified Lutron integrations on the BluOS platform.
As well, NAD Electronics was among the first brands to build on ELAN’s open API platform, having announced a new driver earlier this year at the Integrated Systems Europe show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The brand has continued to build on the open API and is now announcing at CEDIA Expo 2018 the addition of features like access to album artwork when browsing music through streaming services like Tidal, as well as other fine tuning to improve control and ease of use.
“We are excited to be continually expanding home control support with key partners like Crestron, RTI, ELAN, and Lutron,” says Haines. “It is also a testament to the strength of the platform in the home control space with Crestron selecting us to be a launch partner for its upcoming PYNG OS2.”
New music services in BluOS 3.0 include Baidu, one of China’s largest music services with over 150 million active users, and SoundMachine. SoundMachine, is a music subscription service geared towards light commercial environments, with over 10,000 locations in 65 countries. SoundMachine provides users fully licensed access to professional curated stations and the ability to schedule promotional messages.
“Together with SoundMachine, we want to give commercial businesses a licensed music solution and make it effortless for them to play music throughout waiting rooms, restaurants, retail stores, or any other place of business,” added Haines. “Now, a business can outfit their space with BluOS enabled products and access and control SoundMachine’s full-featured service directly through the BluOS app, giving customers and employees an enjoyable environment filled with music.”
Easy Set-up Improvements
New users to BluOS will also experience a more streamlined set-up process for their BluOS Enabled devices, automatically prompting the new device to retrieve the latest firmware prior to setting up the device on the network. This will ensure that all devices have access to the latest features and configurations and allow end users to get to their music faster after the device has been added to the network.
Customers will automatically be prompted by BluOS in late September to update the software on their BluOS Enabled devices to version 3.0 or higher and download the latest BluOS apps, version 3.0 or higher, for smartphones, tablets, and desktops.