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Fraunhofer IIS – Jan Nordmann

Thoughts from Fraunhofer IIS Head of Marketing & PR Jan Nordmann about the upcoming NAB2007 convention.

Q. What kind of products or services does your company offer for radio broadcasters?

A. Fraunhofer IIS core business and the development, standardization and implementation of audio coding schemes. We are the inventors of MP3 and the co-inventors of AAC and MPEG Surround. Currently we are offering audio/video encoders and decoders (including MPEG Surround, the AAC audio family and more), broadcast system technologies such as DRM/DAB ContentServers, Internet radio streaming solutions (including MP3 Surround audio) and Digital Rights Management systems.

Q. What you do is very specialized, yet your technologies are involved in the broadest consumer products as well as broadcast gear. Why does Fraunhofer exhibit at the NAB convention, what do you hope to accomplish here?

A. Basically we are at NAB to meet our partners or customers in order to introduce them to our current broadcast products and ongoing research activities. We do present the latest results of research in several speeches and take part in industry events and panels. Of course, we are also gathering a lot of information on the broadcast business in general and the American customer and market demands in detail.

Q. What’s new that you will show at NAB2007 and that radio broadcasters should look for there?

A. MPEG Surround for HD or Satellite Radio – The high-quality multichannel audio coding scheme used to enhance existing stereo or even mono broadcasting systems to full multichannel surround sound without additional costs in terms of bit rate and infrastructure. Digital Radio Mondiale ContentServer Release 4 and MP3 Surround Internet Radio; the surround extension for all mp3 Radios.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?

A. MPEG Surround: The world’s first surround audio coding scheme offering best 5.1 and stereo sound simultaneously at 48 kb/s while being backward-compatible to existing stereo/mono receivers. MPEG Surround is standardized as part of MPEG-D guaranteeing fair and reasonable terms of licensing for everybody. MP3 Surround for Internet Radio: The natural fit to surround over-the-air broadcasts or for radio stations that want to offer additional value to their listeners. It features 5.1 within a standard MP3 file at almost identical bit rates and is backward-compatible to all stereo MP3 players. DRM ContentServer: The only product worldwide supporting all features of the Digital Radio Mondiale standard including EPG, AFS, service encryption and all kinds of data services.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?

A. Founded in 1985 the German Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, today with 470 staff members, ranks first among the Fraunhofer Institutes (Europe’s largest organization for applied research) concerning headcount and revenues. With the development of the audio coding methods MP3 and AAC, Fraunhofer IIS has reached worldwide recognition. It provides research services on contract basis and technology licensing. The research topics are: audio and video source coding, multimedia real-time systems, digital radio broadcasting and digital cinema systems, integrated circuits and sensor systems, design automation, wireless, wired and optical networks, localization and navigation, imaging systems and nanofocus X-ray technology, high-speed cameras, medical sensor solutions and communications technology in transport and logistics. The budget of 58 million Euro is mainly financed by projects from industry, the service sector and public authorities. Less than 20 percent of the budget is subsidized by federal and state funds.