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Is Sound the BLE Alternative?

Imagine a world where you can make payments and transfer data through sound. It may seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but advancements in technology have brought us closer to this reality. As we dive into the world of sound-based technology, let’s take a fun trip down memory lane and explore the evolution of Bluetooth, and why sound is emerging as a compelling alternative.

From Humble Beginnings to Reliable Connectivity

Over the past five years, Bluetooth has evolved from a convenient wireless solution for connecting devices (like pairing your smartphone to your Bluetooth speaker at a backyard barbecue to musically entertain your guests with oldies but goodies) to a viable business option for proximity use cases, leveraging bluetooth beacons that have been adopted in multiple industries around the world. This type of technology, known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), has revolutionized the way we interact with our devices, enabling seamless communication over short distances.

As technology continues to push boundaries, sound technology is proving to be a viable alternative to BLE. By harnessing the power of near-ultrasonic sound waves to transmit data between devices using a speaker and a microphone, such innovative solutions are paving the way for mobile, contactless payments in the retail, ticketing and transportation industries.

Today, leading retailers and merchants are placing necessary emphasis on the customer experience from first contact to final purchase. Yet retailers could be missing small moments that have a big impact on the overall customer journey. These “micro-moments” bridge the gap between the online and in-store experience.

To take advantage of these micro-moments, retailers must turn to the mobile device to unify the customer experience across multiple touchpoints. To do so, they need to be able to rely on a method that offers more range and more security. Merchants need a modernized method of payment they can trust in the age of digital transformation. They need sound technology.

The Challenges of BLE in the Age of Digital Transformation


One of the key limitations of BLE is its range, operating within a limited distance of typically up to 100 meters. BLE can’t be used for long distance wireless communications unlike cellular and wifi devices, it supports up to 200 meters in line of sight (LOS). This can prove problematic in certain scenarios due to wireless transmission or reception making this method vulnerable to interception and attacks.

Data over sound technology offers an extended range, allowing for communication over longer distances without the need for complex infrastructure. By leveraging sound waves, businesses can enable mobile payments and data transfers that extend beyond the confines of traditional BLE.


Another challenge with BLE is signal bleed into unwanted zones when it comes to optimizing the control of the range of data transmission. With this flaw, login credentials and digital identity can be compromised or shared to the wrong devices. With that said, LISNR can set a broadcast to a specific range, thus eliminating bleed and providing an enhanced security benefit to enterprise businesses 

Battery Consumption

In a  head to head comparison, BLE has a more direct impact on battery life than data over sound. BLE requires devices to constantly search for nearby connections, leading to increased energy consumption. Data over sound technology, on the other hand, operates on a different principle. By utilizing existing speakers and microphones in devices, it eliminates the need for energy-intensive BLE operations combined with data over sound being initialized at the proper time for data transmission. This means improved battery life for users, making sound technology an attractive option for businesses and consumers alike.

Breaking Barriers: The Benefits of Data Over Sound Technology

Data over sound is a technology that offers exciting possibilities for secure and reliable communication. This technology allows data to be transmitted through sound waves, providing an alternative channel for mobile, contactless authentications. Unlike BLE, which relies on radio waves, data over sound offers a different layer of security. Sound-based transactions can be encrypted, making them less susceptible to hacking and interception.


Sound technology offers the flexibility to support encryption, cryptography and a key exchange alongside full duplex, multi-channel features. Data over sound offers the most secure transmission method for contactless payments, making it far less susceptible to interception or cyber attacks.

Seamless Transactions

Merchants and consumers alike, can enjoy faster, secure, seamless checkout experiences enabled with the combination of range and experience control. Device agnostic data transmission and software allot for full control of the user experience, transport layer & business model. Additionally, sound technology helps merchants reduce costs by offering the flexibility to support favorable transaction fees and cost structures in payment experiences, due to security and control.

Range & Proximity

Sound technology can be used to transmit data from device to device ranging from a few centimeters, to many meters with best-in-class transmission, reliability and confirmation. Sound is the only secure, dynamic, non-captive near-field transaction solution for proximity payments. Near ultrasonic sound waves are optimized for long range control and reliability of data transmission or for close range transactions. Data over sound can support unlimited range with one-to-many long-range, ultrasonic data transmissions between devices greater than 10 feet or between devices up to 3 feet.

Experience the BLE Alternative with LISNR

When it comes to security, both sound technology and BLE have their strengths. BLE utilizes encryption and authentication protocols to ensure secure communication. However, data over sound technology offers an additional layer of security through its unique transmission medium. While BLE has made strides in the past few years, sound technology presents a promising opportunity to overcome the limitations and embrace a new era of secure and efficient transactions.

As we witness the evolution of technology, sound could very well be the BLE alternative that revolutionizes the way we make payments and transfer data. By leveraging near-ultrasonic sound waves, businesses can add an extra level of protection against unauthorized access and potential data breaches, making it a compelling alternative to BLE. Compared to BLE, LISNR Radius provides:

  • Extended range
  • Less bleed
  • Added security
  • Seamless user experience
  • Proximity control
  • And so much more…

LISNR’s ultrasonic data-over-sound technology enables proximity verification and contactless transactions for merchants, financial service providers and mobility companies. For contactless authentication done right, contact us today or experience LISNR now for a live demo.