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In an exclusive interview with Telematics News, James Cridland from RadioDNS discusses their technology, benefits and potential use in cars:
Telematics News (TN): What is the goal of RadioDNS? Why do we need this technology?
James: Broadcast radio, whether FM, DAB or HD, is loved by listeners because it’s reliable, free, and works excellently on the move. The internet is good for additional, personalised information, impossible to provide over broadcast radio: but it’s inefficient, unreliable and expensive to use as a mainstream broadcast medium. RadioDNS is open technology that lets traditional broadcast radio and the internet work together: enhancing the listener experience, and making radio better.
Of most interest in-car is the possibility of service-following: so if you drive away from a city, the car radio can switch away from a failing FM signal to the internet when it needs to; and switch back to FM when FM is available again. Automatically switching between these different platforms ensures no driver distraction, and is good news for broadcasters too.
Tagging means you can press one button on your steering-wheel to bookmark a piece of radio you’d like to hear more about: from a news story to a commercial message or a song. Later, when it’s safe to do so, you can review what you tagged by visiting a radio station’s website or mobile app.
Additionally, RadioDNS is currently used in a variety of home radio receivers for images and additional information while you’re listening.
TN: What hardware, software and infrastructure are needed for RadioDNS to work?
James: RadioDNS and its associated applications have been specifically built to be really simple to implement by broadcasters and OEMs alike. The technology isn’t new - it’s built on the DNS system that makes the internet work. A receiver manufacturer will probably find they already have all the building blocks to use RadioDNS; and there are no patent or licence fees. The specifications are freely available at radiodns.org
Mobile phones increasingly include FM chips; and as long as there is an API to make the FM tuner visible to the host OS (like Android or Windows Mobile), then it’s easy to implement. Our experience is that more mobile phone manufacturers understand the benefits of broadcast radio, and of documenting an API into the FM chip, to enable smarter apps.
Clearly, broadcasters also need to produce information for RadioDNS applications to find. Getting into the RadioDNS nameserver is currently free, and providing relevant information is quick and simple; and there are many third parties who can offer to do this for broadcasters.
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