▪ Sena Universal Intercom Announcement
Sena Technologies, Inc. announced today the version 5.0 firmware update for the SMH10 intercoms (review).
The Sena "Universal Intercom" version 5.0 firmware upgrade (report) was first described on webBikeWorld in November of 2013 during the 2013 AIMExpo (report) in Orlando Florida.
This is one of the most important motorcycle intercom news items ever -- the new (and free!) SMH10 firmware update version 5.0 allows Sena SMH10B intercoms to connect with other brands of Bluetooth intercoms for cross-compatible communications!
"The new firmware upgrade brings a great deal of improvements to an already incredible product. Version 5.0 firmware will allow SMH10B owners the ability to use the intercom feature with other brands of headsets in addition to bringing advanced Bluetooth technology and noise control, making this one of the best motorcycle Bluetooth headsets on the market" said Tae Kim, President and CEO, Sena Technologies Inc.
"Timely firmware upgrades like this allow us to keep our product up-to-date and compatible with all of the latest Bluetooth devices available on the market."
Sena is forging a unique path in the motorcycle intercom sector by providing free regular firmware upgrades that ensure that its entire line of Bluetooth Headsets remain compatible with the latest Bluetooth technology.
Since Bluetooth technology is constantly evolving, Sena said they want to keep the firmware updated to ensure compatibility with everything from the latest smartphone operating systems to the Bluetooth devices like GPS units, motorcycle audio units and more Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The version 5.0 firmware update provides a total of three new major features to the Sena SMH10B:
Universal Intercom: Provides the ability to connect with and communicate with non-Sena Bluetooth headsets using the Universal Intercom function. Here's the Sena description of the Universal Intercom feature. Note that the Universal Intercom feature will be included in the next firmware release of other Sena products, including the Sena SMH10R (review), the Sena SPH10 (review), the Sena SMH5 (review) and Sena SMH5-FM (review).
Advanced Noise Control: New wind noise suppression and intelligent "Noise Gate" limits the interference of wind noise and background noise while riding.
Sidetone: If this feature is enabled, you can hear your voice in the speakers as you talk during an intercom conversation or a phone call. This can be an extremely useful monitoring tool for those who talk too loud or too softly or want to hear the outgoing audio.
The Sena "Universal Intercom" function, first reported on webBikeWorld in the description of the Sena Universal Intercom, can be a bit tricky to use since it is using the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile used in cell phone connections. And don't forget, there are many different Bluetooth motorcycle intercoms available today, so each one may have slightly different quirks.
The Universal Intercom feature affects both the phone connection and the multi-point connection (called the dual phone connection support, mostly used for GPS connections for riders). The bottom line is that you cannot use a multi-point device connection while you are using Universal Intercom.
Notes on the Universal Intercom provided to us from Sena:
We are currently working on a more in-depth report and first impressions that will describe the Sena version 5.0 firmware update. In the meantime, here are some notes on installing the firmware on the SMH10B intercom:
As soon as the version 5.0 firmware update was released, we decided to do a quick update and test on one SMH10B intercom unit.
The Sena Updater uninstalled my current version and installed the latest version of the Updater application, followed by connection of the SMH10B to the PC, which initiates the firmware update process. So with firmware v5.0 and all pairings deleted (device reset) and the iPhone deleted and re-paired, I then took one of the HBC200 systems as the initial interoperability test.
The Sena instructions in the new manual release on how to connect with other intercom brands are adequate but you have to read the text carefully to determine how to get the non-Sena intercom ready for pairing (as the standard intercom setup is not used on the other device for Universal Pairing).
The basic steps that are required are:
When the Sena initiates it is almost instantaneous, while initiating or ending from the UClear takes an extra second or so and it wasn’t 100 percent reliable. But once the link is established, quality is excellent. More details on the update coming soon!
UPDATE (February 26, 2014) - Sena added a patch to the version 5.0 firmware to address reported compatibility issues with the Garmin zumo GPS.
Publication Date: February 21, 2014
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