Introduction

RadioVIS is a standard protocol that allows us to deliver images and text to Internet-connected radios alongside broadcast radio.

What we're doing

BBC R&D works with the RadioDNS consortium to develop the RadioVIS protocol. In 2008 and 2009 we participated in the development of this protocol, and built a client application to demonstrate the technology. The code is available on our GitHub page.

In 2011 we built a prototype RadioVIS service, with image slides designed by our design team and using real-time data feeds of programme and track information, as well as news and sport headlines. We ran an open user trial to test this service, and subsequently have worked to transfer the technology into production with BBC Future Media.

More project info

Why it matters

RadioDNS aims to significantly enhance the experience of radio listening using scalable and resilient broadcast technology in tandem with additional information via the Internet. In the case of RadioVIS, we want to provide information such as the name of the current programme, presenter, and in the case of music radio, the currently playing artist and track in a way that is visually appealing.

Our goals

Our goals for this project are:

  • To develop a standard protocol for delivery of images and text messages to Internet-connected radios
  • To demonstrate the viability of the technology and test the user experience
  • Following successful trials, to transfer the technology to BBC Future Media for implementation as a live production service

How it works

RadioVIS is an example of server push technology, and is based on STOMP and HTTP Comet.

RadioDNS specifies how client devices discover associated services, such as RadioVIS and RadioTAG, for the radio station they are currently tuned to. A blog post from 2009 describes this in more detail.

Once the client has established a STOMP connection to the server, it subscribes to receive image URL and/or text messages. The server generates these messages periodically and pushes them to all connected clients.

RadioVIS also provides a simple interaction mechanism by allowing a hyperlink to be associated with each image.

Outcomes

Following standardisation by the RadioDNS consortium, RadioVIS-compatible radios are now commercially available from several manufacturers, and RadioVIS is available as a live service for all national BBC radio stations, on FM and DAB digital radio. BBC R&D continues to be involved in further development of the protocol.

People and partners

Project team

Project Partners