The future of radio? The digital Dab, personalization and the metaverse

The future of radio? The digital Dab, personalization and the metaverse

The future of radio? The digital Dab

It was July 1897 when Guglielmo Marconi patented the radio in London. It will take a few decades to transmit the human voice from one device to another, but since then the radio medium has never stopped evolving. Up to the present day, when the challenges come above all from the digital world. The greatest innovation of recent years in this sector is certainly the Dab + (Digital Audio Broadcasting) system, an evolution of a first digital technology born twenty years ago: by exploiting the performance of MPEG-4, an equal audio quality is obtained with a bitrates. lower and at the same time it is possible to transmit on a single multiplex (or frequency) up to twenty different programs with superior quality.

The dear old Fm is retiring, in short, or rather for now it continues to integrate with Dab + and also with the IP protocol (transmission via internet), to guarantee listeners an unprecedented fluidity through a hybrid technology: "If we imagine a route from Milan to Courmayeur, in which, on the motorway section, we cross several tunnels, hybrid technology allows you to switch automatically from digital to FM, and when this channel is also interfered with, it automatically switches to the IP ", says Massimiliano Montefusco, general manager of Rds, a radio that is part of the Dab Italia consortium: "This allows for unprecedented continuity of contact and content".

The Dab + system currently has 10 million estimated listeners, against 34.5 million of those in FM, but the figure is destined to grow considerably after, starting from 1 January 2020, the Union Europea has imposed digital reception systems in all new vehicles no longer as an option but as an automatic integration. The advantages of this system, then, are many: "In addition to perfect sound, Dab + allows each player with their own band to provide more channels, such as our Rds Relax, a channel dedicated to lifestyle for an adult audience", continues Montefusco : "You also have the ability to customize the displays with slideshows, obviously static images so as not to distract from driving in accordance with the Highway Code, but still useful for indicating the talents on the air, the covers of the tracks that are passing and again to insert Qr codes that are an excellent opportunity for content but also commercial ".

A showcase in the Rds Auditorium

In terms of content, Rds is developing so-called vertical brand extensions: if the radio is a medium dear to adult generations, digital natives such as millennials and generation Z are intercepted thanks to Rds Next, an ecosystem that lives on multiple platforms (Twitch, Instagram, the audio-video app, etc. .) and speaks their language, because the programs are made by well-known influencers and creators among the young audience. In short, the radio continues to expand outside the radio itself, developing additional audio content (such as original podcasts) and audiovisual content, i.e. mobile first content designed for viewing on the move, on social networks or apps, and finally also with Rds Social TV, to channel 265 of digital terrestrial, which allows users to interact by expressing their liking, obtaining information and song lyrics, accessing on demand and so on.

Radio innovation, in addition to content, also passes behind the scenes, or rather at the level of technology: “We at Rds have always invested heavily in technology and innovation, as in the realization in our Auditorium in Rome, unique in the world and created by Professor Plato of the University of La Sapienza ", explains Montefusco:" Or as the same back-end platform of our Social TV, which we have patented in 153 countries and allows you to create content in disparate situations, as in the past World Ski Championships in Cortina, taking advantage of features such as facial recognition of talent and automation of filming. All functions that will also lead us to personalized or customizable audiovisual flows ".

All this innovative momentum also reverberates externally, thanks to the collaborations with Consorzio Elis and Open Italy, initiatives aimed at promoting or accelerating start-ups and young talents in the field of innovation, or with Digital Magics for the development of new retail applications. The prospects of the radio of the future, however, also pass through collegiality, as in the Radioplayer project, that is the app which, loaded on smartphones, smart TVs, connected cars, smart speakers, etc., offers all the radio in a single fluid and integrated solution. national and local. But above all, for Montefusco, the future of radio also passes through the metaverse: “The market for digital objects is currently estimated at 54 million dollars, more than doubts than the amount of the music market. As in the past we have integrated professions such as social media or community managers, we are preparing to welcome Metaverse managers, also because this ever-growing market will be the one that most intercepts digital natives ", he imagines:" We will start by integrating NFT into our physical initiatives in the area, to provide our users with increasingly unique and particular experiences ".

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