Voice-Controlled Hybrid Radio Demonstrated at 2018 IBC


PILOT, an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), is partnering with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), to co-fund the development of a prototype voice-controlled hybrid radio. Hybrid radio combines broadcast radio with Internet connectivity to offer functions such as voice controls. The prototype is being unveiled and demonstrated Friday in the EBU stand at IBC2018.

The prototype developed under this joint project shows how existing voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can be utilized to make smart decisions about the best way to listen to a radio station. The technology can apply the voice commands of a listener to determine whether to use over-the-air (OTA) or streaming to tune the station based on broadcaster parameters and the available hardware in the device. With success, PILOT and the EBU intend to release the proof of concept code on a royalty-free basis to manufacturers for use in production implementations of voice assistant devices.

"Voice control and smart speakers are experiencing tremendous growth in popularity, and this prototype effort demonstrates how hybrid radio and OTA delivery can be a part of this evolution," said NAB Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny. "We are delighted to partner with our friends at the EBU on this collaboration and we believe it can benefit broadcasters around the globe."

EBU's Ben Poor added, "Radio reaches 85 percent of European citizens every week, overwhelmingly through free-to-air broadcast FM and DAB+. But smart speakers and other voice-controlled devices are becoming an important platform for innovation in radio. By demonstrating that combining the best of broadcast and the internet generates value for both content producers and audiences, the EBU and NAB are working to ensure that the vital role of radio and its benefits for communities and societies are maintained."

Following IBC2018, PILOT plans to demonstrate the prototype voice-controlled hybrid radio at the 2018 Radio Show.

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