Bluetooth Integration is becoming big business for many manufacturers, Partly due to government regulations introduced in the early 2000’s and secondly due to the increasing emphasis on safety. The recent surge in bluetooth car kit sales has allowed manufacturers to develop new systems designed to make these systems much more use-able and integrate into the vehicles stereo & entertainment systems too provide greater control.
Previously, integrated Bluetooth car kits consisted of a stereo mute function that auto-mutes any sound being played through the stereo at the time of a call. These kits don’t actually integrate into the stereo system they just override it when a call is made or received. New systems being introduced into the market from Dension allows complete integration into the stereo system. So you can control your phone through the steering wheel controls to browse phonebook & recent calls, and also make and answer calls. Information is displayed on the cluster screen (near the rev gauge & speed gauge) or on the stereo in some occasions.
The New Kits show how far the technology is developed in recent years as it was previously thought too difficult to create a system that integrates as all vehicles software and hardware are different. Creating a dilemma, either produce one product which is universal, and installs via a unique vehicle specific lead (SOT Leads) or create multiple product SKU’s (Stock keeping Units) of the same kit for compatibility into each different vehicle manufacturer, and sometimes models.
However Dension acquired good knowledge of vehicle hardware & software systems from creating iPod integration kits. The same or similar technology is used for Bluetooth which also include iPod connectivity as well. Setting them in good stead to compete with Parrot bluetooth systems for dominance over the market.
One problem with the integrated kits from Dension, called the Gateway five or Gateway 5 is that they are vehicle specific and not available for every vehicle as of yet. The vehicles must Run CAN Bus system in the vehicle to work, so older vehicles (except some BMW’s) will not be capable of using them.
One thing is for sure, the Dension Bluetooth kits offer much better integration and quality over other kits currently available on the market and although they don’t offer any voice control commands like the bury and parrot bluetooth kits, they are easy to use & functional. Making them to kit to compete with over the coming years.
When you think of bluetooth car kits you automatically think of parrot bluetooth. Parrot have a dominance over the market in terms of brand recognition and selling power, however does this mean they produce the better products?
There is a lot of competition in the bluetooth market, with the majority of manufacturers producing very similar kits, in both style and design. Its an important element when designing products. After all it does have to sit & integrate into your vehicle. However the one thing you cant replicate is the functionality and usability. Each brand operates slightly differently from others and has different compatibility with phone sets and how you can interact with them when paired.
Parrot are no different from other manufacturers when it come to this. They have some good points and some bad ones too. However on the whole parrot offer a good package, as you would expect from a market leader. This doesn’t they lead the field in each area of bluetooth and phone integration. Infact you could probably choose a hand full of products and pick a feature which performs better that the parrot counterpart. For example when it comes to music the parrot offers iPod integration. Although its only through the front two speakers of the vehicle in most cases. The Bury Music kits offer the same iPod integration however you can control & navigate choices by voice commands (which stops when you get to the music) however this is especially useful when your driving. So you can concentrate fully on the road and not the iPod / iPhone.
Other brands like the Novero range of products also offer full music streaming via A2DP bluetooth protocol. Something that parrot does not support fully. However its the handsfree element that is ultimately the most important feature, and something in which neither of the three manufacturers mentioned previously fail. Each has different quirks and slightly different way of navigation and phone book browsing which ultimately results in the same thing. If you choose Bury, Parrot Or Novero you should be happy with your choice. After bluetooth car kits make the roads a safer place.
There are two ways bluetooth car kits can be installed, one is the difficult way, the other is easier (however can still be fairly difficult dependant on vehicle). The problem is, Bluetooth kits are made with ISO connections as standard. ISO is an older industry standard which determins the locations of various wires (which perform different functions) For example, the front left and right speakers, back left and right, power, mute and ignition. If your vehicle is ISO, then the kits will install fairly easily.
The problem is, the ISO standard is now fairly old. More modern vehicles utilise systems such as CAN bus & fibre Optic MOST systems which do not use conventional wires. If this is the case you will either need to splice into the wires (where possible) or use a mute cable, ISO2CAR, Drive&Mute or Audio2Car. They all perform the same task, however each has a slightly different compatibility. For example Audio2Car work particularly well with amplified systems.
The only other difficult task when installing the bluetooth kit is to route the microphone into position. This routes from the back of the bluetooth unit. Usually installed behind the car stereo. From here its usually best to route the opposite direction from the driver. Remove the glovebox where ever possible (Different for each vehicle, but usually fairly pain free when the screws are found).
Remove the fascia from the A pillar in the vehicle, they usually un-clip, however sometimes they are screwed in, if so you should be able to pull out the airbag clip plate (a little plastic clip showing where the air bag is) a screw is usually found beneath this. There may be a couple more hidden screws to remove before the fascia can be removed. A little pull on the rear-view mirror fascia should allow you to install and route wire through the lining of the roof. (Dont pull too hard as you may pull the mirror off, and they can be a pain to reinstall) a metal coat hanger will do nicely when pushing it through. From here wire down the A pillar, avoid the air bags at all costs and do not tangle the wire around them. And route behind the glove box to the bluetooth unit.
After this do done double check you have the Power, Ground (when required) & Ignition wires are active. The Ignition is a must to check, the kits will not work with out it. In fact thid is the number one cause for people thinking they have a faulty unit. If your harness doesn’t have an ignition (not all do) the best point is either the fusebox, or the Cigarette lighter wire. A simple way of testing is by turning the ignition on when the wires are connected. The unit should power up.
Assuming the kit is working tidy up behind the stereo and re connect the dashboard & fascias and position the microphone to exactly where you want it near the mirror (make sure is doesn’t obstruct it). Pair your phone using the manufacturers instructions and you will have a fully working Bluetooth car kit at your disposal. (If you choose well, you’ll wonder how you ever lived with out one).
All in all the job shouldn’t take longer than an hour of your time, unless you have a particulatly difficult vehicle such as a BMW X5 (Due to the location of the unit) or most Porsche’s (Because of the firewall).
Bluetooth Car Kits are known to improve driver safety when using the mobile phone, if you dont have one installed in your vehicle. Don’t use your phone. If you think this is too difficult contact In Car Installer for advice.
Its a well know problem that parrot have major supply issues of parrot bluetooth goods in the UK, The genuine stock is readily available and ready to distribute through the correct channels. However this side of the business is not the problem. The problem is there is so much grey stock in the UK at the minute it is very difficult to recognise genuine items from the Grey stock which is generally priced extremely low online.
So why does this matter?
Well if you purchase Grey stock the UK warranty is void & you don’t have technical support from parrot. This is obviously a big issue if you run into any problems with the installation or further down the line with the product. Maybe this is not a big issue for some of those willing to take the risk. But consider this, over 50% of the Grey stock is being purchased from channels with Europe who deal with faulty and returned products then import to the UK when fixed, and a considerable amount is imported from china when its debatable whether its genuine parrot stock at all. As you can see the odds are not in your favour if and when you buy them.
The Performance of the Grey stock is the same as genuine Parrot stock (assuming it is a working unit). You get the same features and functions, In fact you wouldn’t necessarily know if you have purchased Grey until its too late.
Genuine Vs Grey Parrot Kits
Both parrots kits are technically the same, one a new product manufactured and distributed to the UK through reliable sources. The other you could be getting a second hand product which has been re-flashed with software. You could get the grey stock up to £30 cheaper than the genuine product online however without warranties.
Parrot are aware of the problem of illegal importation of their products and have launched an new initiative to reduce the fraudulent products entering the UK market place. This consists of a unique serial number containing the number “55” added to the exterior packaging on the box. From now, If your parrot product does not have 55 in the serial number I would be worried about the quality and return to the retailer as soon as possible.
With this system the Supply of Genuine parrot bluetooth stock is improving, however keep when ordering the parrot online the cheapest is not necessarily the best deal. You don’t want to be stung by an immoral retailer.
Most people are aware of the advantages of having a Bluetooth headset – no more searching for the phone when it rings, you never miss a call, and using a Bluetooth while driving is far safer than using a handset. However, what are the differences between using a Bluetooth earpiece, and having an installed car kit? How would you decide which one to purchase?
The Bluetooth earpiece is inexpensive, and its functions are simple; for most earpieces, one button will dial the last number and answer calls, and then there are volume buttons. That’s it. Also, if you get out of the car for some reason – to pump gas, go into a store, et cetera – the earpiece goes with you, making it slightly more versatile than a car kit.
Bluetooth kits, on the other hand, have far more functionality. Many have voice-recognition software that allows you to dial a number or contact verbally; some will automatically mute your car radio when you have an incoming call; there are even models with touch-screens, or steering-wheel mounted remotes, which allow you to perform multiple functions without touching your mobile phone. Some models have text-to-speech functions that allow the driver to hear a received text message. You also don’t have to wear an earpiece.
Essentially, Bluetooth earpieces are a good choice, if you want simplicity, if money is an important factor, or if you want to be able to leave your car and continue using a hands-free device. However, Bluetooth kits are usually the better option, if what you’re looking for is functionality and style, along with convenience.
A Bluetooth Car Kit is a device that provides a safe and convenient way to communicate whilst driving. Your Phone can connect to the Car Bluetooth system and ensure you and other road users remain safe. If your going to phone drive, please make sure youdo it safely
There are obvious complications involved with manually answering or dialling out numbers while driving, all of which may cause the loss of control of the vehicle at any point. The logical solution to this problem is a Bluetooth car kit.
The Sales of Bluetooth and Handsfree Car Kits have certainly risen. This can be attributed to a variety of different reasons including a change in the law, the increase of mobile phone sales, the improvement in mobile phones & the improvement of Bluetooth kits. The increased Sales of the devices has lead to a growth in the market which in turn has allowed manufacturers to improve the next generation of kits making them more user friendly and safer to use.
The Devices on the market today are fully functional with minimum contact. The use of various voice commands operate the devices and allow you to navigate your way through menu systems to find contact’s, incoming text messages and voice mail. This allows the users to concentrate on driving instead of trying to find your phone if it’s ringing, or if you want to dial out.
Although bluetooth kits offer massive improvements driving with them rather than without them, Bluetooth car kits may not be a good solution for you. There is a counter argument that the devices can also cause accidents indirectly as some people lose concentration and become too involved in the conversation.
Its the drivers responsibility to remain in control of the vehicle at all times and if the use of Bluetooth kits restrict you from doing this they should not be used.
A lot of aftermarket products are produced and designed to connect via a ISO harness, certainly the majority of Bluetooth car kits are provided with ISO connections as standard. These kits are designed by their manufacturers specifically because ISO is a standard connection used in a lot of older (and some more recent) vehicles. This system is used for several reasons, but mainly for reducing costs & to keep the products standard without too many SKU’s (Stock Keeping Units) e.g. to remove the need for one kit for each type of vehicle or radio per manufacturer. You can see these will soon add up to a lot of different versions of the same products (SKU’s).
ISO is a universal system that was used by a lot of vehicle manufacturers up to several years ago. The ISO connection is made up of a group of wires, which all have a standard and specific position within the harness. Each wire within the harness represents a specific connection to a device within the vehicle. For example the front right, back right, front left and back left speakers always hold the same position within the ISO harness no matter which vehicle it is located in. This allows the manufacturers of the products to produce a kit that operates in exactly the same way no matter what the device is connected too. By using ISO harness’s you negate the need to piggy back and/or solder connections when fitting the product.
However more and more manufacturers are starting to use their own wiring systems within their vehicles, this creates a small problem when installing the kits as connections will have to be made manually if the harness is different. So connecting specific speaker wires to the correct equivalent within the harness (each case will be different for the majority of vehicles) there is an easy alternative to this problem, the ISO2CAR adapter.
ISO2CAR wiring harnesses are made specifically to avoid this problem. There are around 20 to 30 different types of harness’ available covering the vast majority of vehicles. The ISO2CAR harness is a connection device that will connect into the products ISO harness, then into the vehicle harness making the installation much more simple and pain free. The vast majority of vehicles now use their own wiring systems so ISO2CAR adapters are more important when installing aftermarket devices into your vehicle.
ISO2CAR harnesses can be used when the vehicle doesn’t have an amplified or upgraded audio system, if this is the case a Drive and Mute cable will be needed where available.
We all know that driving and using a mobile phone is a big no no, nearly all of us (if not all of us) know that doing so is illegal. Yet a lot of the public continue to do so. Legislation was introduced in the UK in December 2003 that allows police officers to punish drivers if they are caught using a hand held device whilst driving. Originally this figure was £30, but has since been raised to £60 with a maximum of £2000 if the offence goes to court and 3 points on your licence, as the offence is seen to be dangerous.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) know that between 1998 and early 2003 there have been 20 deaths on Britain’s roads involving mobile phones. This doesn’t sound particularly high however a spokeswoman for RoSPA states this could be the "tip of the iceberg" as road accidents are not recorded systematically & on most occasions its extremely difficult to detect if a mobile was being used at the time of or before the accident. Further in-depth searching into phone records can be carried out by the police if they believe this to be the case.
David Jamieson, Road Safety Minister at the time stated: "You are four times more likely to be involved in an accident when using a mobile phone and driving – and this new offence will help make our roads safer" Its thought that the physical act of using the mobile phone and breaking contact with the road induce a lack of concentration while the offenders drive, which is ultimately the cause of the accident.
However David Jamieson goes on to say "Today’s new offence applies to hand-held mobiles – but using any type of phone while driving increases the risk of having an accident. Remember the police can use other powers to prosecute a driver if they are distracted by a call on a hands-free phone."
Bluetooth Car Kits are seen as a better and safer option than manually using the mobile, however it important to remember that distractions can come in many forms especially when we become engrossed in a conversation, it’s the drivers responsibility to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Modern bluetooth car kits allow the drivers to control devices in a much more user-friendly way, many of which can now be operated via voice command & without having to remove your hands from the steering wheel. However it is the drivers responsibility to drive safely and judge road conditions, if the conditions are dangerous its wise not to use your mobile phone at all.
The aftermarket bluetooth car kit has been around for some time, but its over recent years that we have seen the largest improvements and developments in technology. The first kits invented were very much a one trick pony, in that the functionality and design of them was limited and some what basic. Obviously as technology has improved so have bluetooth kits, and now many bluetooth kits offer more than just bluetooth connectivity, for instance the parrot mki range offer iPod connectivity, bluetooth streaming and excellent voice recognition software surpassing previous voice to speech and recognition technology.
There’s a lot hype around at the minute regarding bluetooth kits, especially after recent government laws prohibiting the use of hand held mobile phones while driving, but not too many people are sure what they do or how bluetooth car kits operate?
Parrot are given a lot of credit for introducing bluetooth car kits to the main stream, Parrot kits are seen as the leaders in the field and for good reason. However all bluetooth car kits offer one function that is common through out, That is the transfer of the incoming or outgoing calls made on mobile phone via Bluetooth streaming to an independent speaker system. This allows the user to communicate handsfree away from the mobile handset and still have the ability to drive and talk simultaneously. Vitrually all mobile phones have Bluetooth built into the handset, bluetooth car kits use this protocol to transfer the incoming / outgoing call to either the speaker unit (in universal bluetooth handsfree kits) or to the processing unit in the fully integrated kits. The audio stream is then conveyed through the speaker and microphone rather than the phone its self.
So Why they are useful? Well this system simplifies the whole system, meaning it’s much easier and safer to answer, talk and hang up the conversation while driving. Previously the driver had to route around to find the phone, pick it up, physically answer the phone and keep one hand off the steering wheel while in conversation, obviously this is made even more difficult when driving a manual gear shift vehicle. Bluetooth car kits allow you to do all of the above without taking your hands from the wheel.
The Bluetooth Kits allow you to concentrate on driving while you talk, you also have full use of your arms and hands while you drive so you can react as and when you need to. New research shows that you are 4 times more likely your be involved in an accident in an accident while using your mobile phone and have 50% slower reaction times. This is a major reason why more and more people are involved road accidents when using there mobile.
There are two main types of bluetooth kit, Fully integrated kits and Universal kits. Integrated kits are connected into the vehicle stereo system and speakers, this provides excellent incoming sound quality and echo reduction on all modern microphones ensures you receive no feedback. Universal bluetooth kits are usually a speaker and microphone built into one unit. This is usually connected to the sun visor or around the driver area. Although these don’t have the same features they do provide a purpose and can be changed from vehicle to vehicle as and when you need.
All Bluetooth kits improve driver safety rather than using a hand held phone, its important to avoid accidents while driving you must concentrate on the road whether in conversation or not, but you must use a bluetooth car kit if you choose to talk and drive.