Identifying your Internet Radio services
We are seeing many devices that have been associated with traditional broadcasting methods starting to capitalise in the IP world to give listeners new experiences either not provided by, or that improve on, traditional broadcasting methods. We've seen a lot of activity recently around Internet Radio devices and the IMDA has released their first device profile setting out the functional features of these devices. The IMDA has also been working, in parallel, on some metadata guidelines.
I chair the IMDA's Metadata Working Group (MWG). We've been hard at work trying to specify how broadcasters, big or small, can expose their Internet Radio services in an agreed way - quite a challenge. Members include device manufacturers, aggregators of internet radio streams and broadcasters. It has been great to see the views from the different angles of the industry and see them working together for a shared purpose: to make the internet radio experience better for listeners.
Working for a broadcaster, I understand that in order to maximise the potential of our media we need to be able to support its delivery by exposing appropriate metadata - ranging from a completely low-level functional aspect, through to services experienced directly by the listener. Through the MWG we have been able to begin specifying how the industry could do this. Initially we've been focussing on how to identify a broadcaster's live internet streams. For example, how does the BBC properly expose the various formats, transports and metadata of our live internet streams that would allow device manufacturers and aggregators to consistantly give our listeners the best experience through their Internet Radio device? It requires all those involved in the chain to be aligned to certain working practices, and perhaps standards.
It's early days yet, and the IMDA is reviewing existing standards to see if anything is suitable or could be extended - no point in re-inventing the wheel. They want to make sure that any hurdles to adoption for broadcasters are small or non-existent, so that broadcasters across the world are able to follow these guidelines and make their media available in the same way.
I should have an update in January about this.