The author of this commentary is SVP, Broadcast Radio at Xperi.
At the start of a new year, it seems like many people are wondering about what’s next. After all, in 2020 — otherwise known as the Year of Utter Uncertainty — the idea that something else was going to happen took on an entirely new edge, with memories of lockdowns and Zoom calls. It should not surprise anyone that radio has been vital through it all.
Radio creates a feeling of personal connectedness, community and belonging. Expanding that value around the world, and across content channels, is what has driven our work innovating radio through DTS Connected Radio, which this month changes its name to DTS AutoStage.
It converges technology and partnerships to make possible engaging, rich, multimedia content that is global, accessible, consistent and relevant.
If that sounds impossible, well, for the right company, with passion and commitment to broadcast radio, it is not. Here we are, with the only global connected hybrid radio ecosystem — just launched in the new Mercedes S-Class, with more to come.
DTS AutoStage’s ecosystem comprises tens of thousands of radio stations globally, our TiVo metadata catalog and so much more.
Synergies gained from our merger with TiVo have accelerated deployment, enhanced our offerings and helped ensure unsurpassed security and operational support. TiVo’s massive music metadata platform and Xperi’s hybrid radio platform make an entirely new radio experience possible with premium radio content enhanced with visually rich data and deep content descriptors.
Especially notable is TiVo’s content aggregation, discovery and recommendation engines, which make content easier to discover for a richer listening experience — all harmonized through an ecosystem that delivers a unique, consistent and verified content experience from broadcast to in-vehicle.
Importantly, DTS AutoStage’s platform is the only one in the world that caters to the unique requirements of both broadcasters, who retain content control, and automakers, who get a turnkey, secure and global solution.
Always delight the consumer
DTS AutoStage is all about delighting the consumer.
Because the content is so engaging, and interactive, radio can outclass pure-play digital audio platforms that are crowding out space on vehicle infotainment systems.
It starts with the ecosystem: built on rich multimedia metadata experiences sourced directly from broadcasters, enhanced with our content library and harmonized to deliver a unique end-user experience in the car.
The listener enjoys an immersive experience where they can “favorite” a station, get detailed station information, give a thumbs up or down on programming, as well as access a global events database for concerts, performances, museums, festivals and more.
Quality, accuracy and completeness
Back when we started developing what was then called DTS Connected Radio, we shared the concept with automotive clients who offered detailed requirements. Paramount was global support and consistency across nearly 50 countries.
Meeting this initial requirement wasn’t easy, but we’ve exceeded it with over 75,000 stations, in nearly 80 countries. All this content resides in a global ecosystem that is fully integrated, secure and ready to meet the high expectations of automakers and radio listeners around the world.
Here’s a bit of insight into how we’ve made that happen:
Content Aggregation: To do this globally requires an entire infrastructure that includes content management, station integration, content distribution, service optimization, operational support and more. Radio station partners can join our platform through a variety of approaches. Most have chosen robust direct integrations, others have leveraged aggregation platforms. We also ensure that all publicly available information from regional sources is included. This first step of content aggregation is critical, but is only the beginning of delivering a global, commercial hybrid radio solution.
Content Validation: This is where the real work begins, as the content takes shape within the DTS Connected Radio platform. The validation process starts with ingesting radio station feeds and ensuring accurate matching and integration into the platform. This process is supported by automated analytics and assets verification, as well as hand curation, localization and confirmation by a dedicated team of subject matter experts.
Content Enrichment: We enhance the user experience through premium content integration, including leveraging our TiVo music metadata library of over 40 million tracks, artist biographies, song lyrics in 14 languages and global events that have been curated by location, station format and programming.
Infrastructure: Network Operations and Security: To meet automotive requirements, we’ve built a global network, geographically deployed and redundant with 24x7x365 support. The system has coverage wherever a vehicle may need to connect, and an unmatched level of security. That includes rigorous requirements such as recurring third-party security audits (we consistently achieve an A rating). Given the scope of the deployments, and number of concurrent connections, we’ve ensured the platform is dynamically scalable, able to handle 5 billion queries daily, and architected to meet the peak-loading requirements of local markets.
Services API: Our unique services interface is designed to ensure exceptional response time, security and privacy, while offering flexibility to our automotive partners. It’s the integration and connection point with consumers, and includes adherence to privacy regulations (GDPR, CCPA), copyright enforcement, content stream protection and content moderation at a localized level. It also enables us to infer consumer engagement to provide consistent metrics and analytics to our broadcaster partners.
A new connected reality
We believe that at the heart of DTS innovation is the ability to harmonize and do so securely — worldwide. It’s what drives the user interface and the interactivity of the experience.
In a world gone mad by the noise of social media, this is the “what’s next” that creates a consistent and rich experience, validated by our experts and bolstered by our content. For broadcasters it puts the real value of radio on a global scale and in a personalized way for each and every listener.
That’s what’s next. And now.
View Joe D’Angelo’s Radio Show presentation “DTS Connected Radio: Looking Under the Hood.”