Linking related content across multiple media platforms is a hot topic.
RTP Holdings is a two-year-old software startup based in Radnor, Pa. Its primary focus is location-based content engagement via mobile apps. The company’s systems integrator name is Lokita Solutions. It also consults to large corporate entities, educational institutions, broadcasters and multichannel video program distributors.
Lokita Solutions came to the attention of radio when it was named as a finalist in NAB’s recent Pilot Innovation Challenge. It says it uses FM radio, TV broadcast and on-demand clips to provide broadcasters with a “branded content companion application.”
Founder and Managing Director Chet Dagit describes how Lokita Solutions’ hyper-local content engagement can work for radio: “Someone listening to radio in their car may hear about a celebrity attending a local event. They can pair the Lokita Solutions mobile app with the radio for on-demand listening, replaying the news as desired. When they arrive at home, they can pair the app with the TV to see what companion video content is available. They can also watch live video of the event’s local news coverage. Finally, they can check out related video content that is available both on TV and online.”
He said the emphasis for Lokita Solutions is to unify radio and TV broadcast, by using the mobile phone as a bridge between the two.
Lokita Solutions allows users to engage with content on the car radio, pair it with a mobile app, and later pair the app with the TV to see related video, and then discover other content both on TV and online.
According to Dagit, the Lokita Content Companion, currently in concept demonstration phase, is designed to work with both AM and FM stations and with support for analog and digital transmission.
There are two program sync methods used by the mobile app for the two primary functions. The first function is identifying the station, the program and its time. This can be done with audio watermarks and/or audio and speech recognition, or with RDS when the phone is already paired with the car radio. Then the mobile app optionally can activate the second function for extracting data from the radio signal for use by the mobile device. This second function is best done with RDS/RBDS car radios with Bluetooth on board or can also be executed with audio watermarks.
Once the Lokita app has executed either of these functions, it can operate independently from the station’s broadcast signal using its mobile data connection and can receive further updates from the radio signal passed on through the radio receiver.
The most important thing, according to Dagit, is to have the Lokita app do all of this in the background for the user, so it is a one-click or one-gesture function with the phone by the user, so that there are no distracted driver implications.
TV APPLICATIONS TOO
On the TV side, the Lokita Solutions mobile app takes advantage of the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s ATSC 3.0 standard, which really comprises about 20 standards. Included are specifications for mobile TV, 3D television, 4K UHD, high dynamic range color, high frame rate and wide color gamut. Rollout has begun in Korea, and in the U.S. is expected to start in 2017.
Since the Lokita technology depends on ATSC 3.0, it needs to wait for early deployment before field trials can begin, but plans are underway, Dagit explains. “We are already working on lab systems in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., areas, and have support planned for field trials and deployments in several U.S. markets in 2017. For those systems, we are leveraging our South Korean strategic partnership with DigiCAP, whose ATSC 3.0 server architecture is already in pre-production deployment with South Korean broadcasters.”
THE PILOT INNOVATION CHALLENGE
Pilot is an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters. It received about 150 ideas in response to its first Innovation Challenge.
Companies were invited to respond to a challenge question, “How might local television and radio broadcasters engage their communities with next generation content on any device, whether big, small or moving?” Some 50 judges narrowed submissions to 10 finalists (Lokita Solutions among them). A panel of five from media technology and broadcast industries selected three, who presented ideas at the NAB Futures event this fall. Attendees determined placement of the winners. The first-place winner receives $20,000, second place $15,000 and third place $10,000 to assist with prototyping their concepts and will have the chance to demonstrate prototypes at the NAB Show. Read more at http://nabpilot.org/challenge/.
1st Place — In Your Shoes: Robinne Burrell and Trina DasGupta, Redflight Mobile Innovation. In Your Shoes is an immersive storytelling platform that utilizes virtual reality to document the lives of multiple people involved in a single situation or issue.
2nd Place — History Go: Jordan Sales, Elise Hackney, Alberta Lin, Eric Asencio, Mike Le, Claire Lohn, Texas A&M University. History Go is an application that connects to user’s current location and utilizes augmented reality to display relevant facts, pictures and videos about the area.
3rd Place — The News Call: Chandra Clark, The University of Alabama. The News Call is a DVR-type phone service that calls the user at a pre-determined time with pre-programmed customized news.
Dagit adds that there are upsides for all involved parties. “Pairing these mobile apps with TV and radio unlocks new revenue opportunities for content makers and distributors. It also opens new communications channels for improved public safety in emergency situations such as dangerous weather events.” Recently, the FCC ruled to allow Wireless Emergency Alerts to include embedded links to rich media.
As the Lokita Solutions software was being developed, the RTP Holdings team utilized multiple Philadelphia-area resources, including the international startup collaboration service Impact Hub. Dagit also partnered with a local university’s Broadband Wireless Lab for the development of their software. Initial funding was raised by friends and family. Now that their first patent has been awarded, Dagit said that they will begin to seek external capital.
The patented technology covers methods for interacting with video displays using a handheld mobile device, along with a system for creating position and orientation relationships between interactive devices. The company expects new and further continuation of patent applications will generate a larger patent portfolio within the next five years.
While its technology enables location-based content delivery via mobile apps, RTP’s initial market was precision indoor positioning. Its core premise was to give shoppers and/or tourists an optimized route to their favorite store or attraction to help them find their shopping wishlist items in the fastest possible way. Later, RTP added the emphasis for its technology to radio and TV broadcast.
Dagit said he was pleased to be one of the finalists in the Pilot Innovation program. “It has given us a lot of additional exposure to potential clients and the media, and is also a validation of location-based content delivery concept in the broadcast arena.”