RadioDNS Certification – What and Why?

Nick Piggott,

Last week, Xperi (one of our members) announced that their Connected Radio platform had certified compliance with RadioDNS standards for Project Logo functionality. Whilst our testing and verification process has been running for a while, this seemed like a good time to explain why we offer this service to our members.

RadioDNS is a collection of open technology standards that allow anyone to build platforms and services around hybrid radio, without a licence or similar agreement with RadioDNS. It’s free in both senses of the word – unrestricted and without cost.

To broadcasters and manufacturers looking to buy RadioDNS solutions from technology providers we have one clear message – make sure that what you’re buying is a proper implementation of RadioDNS by looking for the RadioDNS logo. As more suppliers come to the market, some of the less scrupulous ones will offer solutions that aren’t interoperable and create technology lock-ins.

RadioDNS certification is a service we offer to our members that allows them to test their implementations against a reference implementation, and if they pass, receive certification. Once certified, a provider is allowed to use the RadioDNS logo in the marketing of their service or platform. So if you see the RadioDNS logo alongside an implementation, it means it’s been verified as working correctly.

There’s some points to be aware of:

  • Testing and validation isn’t exhaustive, so you should make sure that your technology provider will make good for free any faults that they find in respect to implementing our standards
  • Technology providers aren’t required to implement all of the RadioDNS standards – there’s a lot of them. So check the details to see what functionality has been verified with RadioDNS, and what might not be.
  • Some technology providers might offer different levels of RadioDNS service. Ask how much it will cost you if you want to enable more functionality than their baseline offering.

We currently offer automated testing of client implementations (that’s radio receivers), and we’ll be implementing automated testing of server implementations (which is what radio stations use) during 2018.

Automated Fault Reporting

Once we’ve have rolled our both client and server testing, we’ll also enable automated fault reporting. If someone spots a problem with a RadioDNS service on a receiver, the manufacturer can use the platform to work out if the problem is with their client implementation, or a fault at the broadcaster. If it’s a broadcaster fault, then they can raise a fault report quickly and directly with that broadcaster. We think this is valuable to manufacturers, and helps improve the quality of RadioDNS powered experiences.

Licensing of Broadcaster Content and Metadata

Certification tests the technical performance of the system, including functionality like expiration of assets and documents. This will sit alongside the requirement for manufacturers to abide by licences offered by broadcasters for their metadata and content, which we’ll explain separately.

This diagram explains how everything fits together; the licence for metadata and content offered by a broadcaster to a manufacturer; the compliance of the technology providers to their customers; the test points for compliance, and the ultimate protection of the interface between both systems using our open standards.

So look out for RadioDNS certified solutions from technology providers when you’re choosing to invest in hybrid radio. It’s your guarantee of durability and interoperability.

WorldDAB and RadioDNS announce guidelines for the use of broadcaster logos in car

Nick Piggott,

WorldDAB and RadioDNS have produced a set of guidelines for automotive manufacturers and broadcasters. The guidelines outline best practise for broadcasters with services on FM and DAB to supply and update brand logos, and guidance to automotive manufacturers for downloading and display of these logos. Based on open standards, the guidelines aim to provide clarity and certainty to help deliver the best radio experience to drivers.

As modern automotive devices evolve, drivers are accustomed to interacting with larger format screens, able to show richer visual information. With automotive manufacturers looking to improve the user experience, the use of brand logos to enhance radio service navigation becomes more commonplace and it’s essential that logos are up to date and the correct format for the screen.

For broadcasters, the document sets out how to provide logos over both IP and DAB/DAB+, including the correct format and defined sizes. For automotive manufacturers and suppliers, it shows how to acquire these logos and how they can be refreshed and updated.

“Radio is still hugely popular in cars and must continue to offer the best possible experience to drivers as cars go digital and get connected – part of which is displaying consistent, branding and content,” said Laurence Harrison, Chair of the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group. “WorldDAB has worked together with RadioDNS, EBU and several other key industry groups to produce these guidelines and provide clarity and reassurance to both car manufacturers and broadcasters on how to work together.”

“Too often in cars we see out of date or incorrect logos, or broadcasters not making the most of the screen space available – this set of recommendations will help both broadcasters and automotive manufacturers deliver the best experience to drivers and listeners,” said Nick Piggott, Project Director, RadioDNS. “The document will continue to evolve over time and we’d encourage any interested parties to get in touch if they’d like to contribute or find out more.”

The document can be downloaded from our Project Logo page and anyone interested in contributing or with questions can contact logo@radiodns.org.

WorldDAB and RadioDNS will be hosting a joint Automotive Workshop during EBU’s Digital Radio Week. The workshop takes place on Tuesday 13th February at 14:00 and more information on this, and the RadioDNS Hybrid Radio Seminar, can be found here.

HbbTV and RadioDNS working together to enable hybrid TV

Nick Piggott,

Our mission is to promote and enable hybrid radio by using DNS to seamlessly join together broadcast radio and IP. We use IP to deliver enhanced content and functionality for broadcast radio. That mission is very similar to that of the HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) Association.

We’ve been working with them to add DNS discovery of IP applications for TV, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re now going to be doing for TV what we’ve been successfully doing for radio – operating DNS lookup servers.

All the details are in this release from HbbTV. We’ll continue to offer exactly the same high-quality reliable service for radio stations, but alongside that we’ll be offering the same for TV.

It’s a really exciting development for RadioDNS, and it’s great that our strategy of using DNS to link broadcast and IP is being adopted by the TV industry.

RadioDNS Hybrid Radio to be included in new Audi A8

Nick Piggott,

First line-fit automotive deployment showcases an outstanding hybrid radio experience

We are excited to have reached a significant milestone with an announcement from Audi that they are the first automotive manufacturer to adopt our open standards for their new line-fit hybrid radio platform, which debuts in the new Audi A8, and will follow soon into more cars. Audi have adopted RadioDNS’ open and interoperable standards because broadcasters and manufacturers are not locked into using any one technical provider’s proprietary solution, guaranteeing durability across the life of a vehicle.

Audi’s hybrid radio implementation is market leading for both functionality and quality of experience. There’s a single intelligent station list which always picks the best way to receive the station, removing the need for the driver to decide between FM, DAB or streaming. That intelligent decision making also means that station presets can always recall the radio station, regardless of whether the car is in the broadcast coverage area.

Reception switching between broadcast and IP can be entirely seamless as the car drives in and out of broadcast coverage, and the driver can enable it to happen automatically. The receiver adjusts time delays and audio levels to create the perfect transition without interruption.

Station logos are kept updated automatically using the RadioDNS standards, and displayed at high quality on the large high-resolution touchscreen display used for station navigation.

The internet component of the hybrid radio experience can use a SIM card embedded in the car.

Any radio station can use all the exciting new functionality simply by publishing their metadata and content using RadioDNS’ open standards, and as other manufacturers implement our standards, that same metadata and content will automatically appear in their vehicles.

Nick Piggott, Project Director of RadioDNS said – “Audi have embraced our open standards because it guarantees that every radio station can have a place in their new radio experience. We’re here to help broadcasters take advantage of that, and to help manufacturers create great implementations of hybrid radio. We encourage every radio station to take the first steps today to implement RadioDNS”

Christian Winter, Engineer at AUDI Infotainment Development, and RadioDNS Steering Board member, said – “Internet Services come and go in the consumer world. To build a Hybrid Radio which will function throughout a car’s lifecycle, we decided to use the ETSI technical standards created by RadioDNS”

 

Find out more at our dedicated RadioDNS + Audi A8 pages