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HD Radio as a Platform for Killer Apps

Jackson Wang reminds stations to use their “unfair” advantage

In Radio World’s new eBook “HD Radio and the Connected Car,” we gathered commentary from a number of industry experts about the outlook for the platform.

Jackson Wang is founder and CEO of e-Radio and holds numerous patents in broadcast-based datacasting; he also is co-chairman of the National Radio Systems Committee’s Digital Radio Broadcasting subcommittee.

RW: You’ve watched the development of digital radio as an executive of eRadio and as a member of the NRSC. Speaking for yourself here: At this stage of the development and implementation of HD Radio, what role can we expect the technology to play in the “connected car” environment?
Wang: The role of FM broadcast such as HD is to provide a default layer of information (traffic/weather etc. as in traditional audio info, but for machines) that is useful in the car and its intranet (in-vehicle data bus).

RW: Are there future revenue streams for broadcasters in HD Radio that haven’t been developed?
Wang: Many of us at the NRSC believe there are application-specific classes of revenue that is possible with HD Radio, for example location-based services. An investigation into this work resulted in the 2014/2015 work NRSC-R208, Characteristics of Location-based Services Transmissions Using Local Radio (PDF).
Click on image to access the NRSC report on location-based services transmissions using local radio.

RW: What did you see at CES that we should know about?
Wang: At CES 2016 — as it was over the last two decades at other CEA and standards committees at standards developing organizations like SAE — it’s a Wild Wild West gunfight for real estate on the dash and access into the in-vehicle data bus.

HD Radio can provide a platform from which killer apps can clearly help separate it from the maddening crowd of wireless carriers, based on inherent strengths of point to infinite simultaneous multipoint, i.e. broadcast-based architectures.

RW: What steps should a radio manager take?
Wang: Radio managers should be open and supportive to new opportunities for demonstration and, if appropriate, not shy in using the “unfair” advantage of the audio promotion for new technologies and services that can benefit their local communities while strengthening the long-term, hard-earned “trusted advisor” relationship to their local listener.

RW: How do you see eRadio playing into all of this, if at all?
Wang: We are heavily involved in development of new digital applications that is intended for a broadcast-based architecture that includes but not limited to FM broadcasting. We expect to unveil a series of public demonstration of these digital apps in the not-too-distant future with our broadcast partners.

As a preview, we are particularly excited about our patented CRM technology (US 7809342 et al), which enables VIN filtered messages to targeted vehicles or groups without the need to keep track of where or to whom the vehicle is sold to; i.e. the technology could enable nationwide broadcast of CRM messages directly to consumer devices such as vehicles and let them decide what pertains to them and directly display/disseminate to the user via OEM on-board software.

RW: Is the future of “free, over the air terrestrial radio” assured in the car environment, or is it at serious risk?
Wang: I believe there is still time, the window has not closed, but the trend is negative unless we as an industry take affirmative steps to continue provide new and appreciated value to the listener and their devices.

Jackson Wang heads the Broadcast subcommittee of the Home to Grid Domain Expert Working Group of the US Smart Grid Interoperability Panel and was a founding committee chairman of Advanced Traveler Information Systems of the Society of Automotive Engineers and past chair of International Organization for Standardization TC/204 WG10.1 subcommittee on advanced traveler services integration.

Read what observers like Sam Matheny of NAB, Erica Farber of RAB, Scott Burnell of Ford, Mark Ramsey of Mark Ramsey Media, Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics and Geoff Snyder of Pandora have to say about HD Radio and the greater world of the connected car. Access the free eBook “HD Radio in the Connected Car.”