panasonic

"Radio futurologist" Cridland will give Summit's "feature presentation," then lead mobile panel

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 11:50pm

Those who follow Internet radio -- like RAIN readers -- are likely familiar with Media UK managing director James Cridland. The self-described "radio futurologist" will give the featured presentation at RAIN Summit Europe (now less than two weeks away).

He was digital media director of Virgin Radio in London, and joined the BBC in 2007 to work on the BBC iPlayer for radio. Since then he's worked with various audio and new media companies (including receiver manufacturer Pure and stream aggregator UK Radioplayer) He organizes the nextrad.io radio conference, and is a founder of hybrid radio tech association RadioDNS.

Cridland's "The Future of Radio: Mobile and Personalised" will examine the medium's future on portable devices, in the context of case studies of broadcasters from all over the world.

Later in the afternoon Cridland (right) will return to moderate a panel discussion on a very similar topic. "Mainstream Mobile" participants will share their views on "best practices" for building listenership on mobile devices and monetizing it.

Two CEOs, both from Germany, join this panel. Based in Hamburg, Christian Richter leads Spoiled Milk, an international digital agency and consultancy on brand management and user experience. Richter (left) is a serial-entrepreneur: he's co-founder of Net radio tuning guide radio.de, and also founder of digital and marketing solutions wathory.com.

Holger Weiss is Berlin-based AUPEO! CEO. AUPEO! is personalized Internet radio with over 120 channels, available in over 40 countries. Weiss (right) joined AUPEO! in 2010 after working for Nokia. He's a specialist in business development, contract negotiations, strategic alliances, leadership, and sales. He spoke at RAIN Summit West.

Interestingly, just after RAIN Summit West, came news that AUPEO! had been acquired by Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America (a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America and an integrated supplier to the automotive industry in North America) (see RAIN here). Hakan Kostepen (left, who also spoke at RAIN Summit West) is that company's executive director of product, planning & innovation. He's part of the leadership behind the company's in-car integration and development of all Panasonic Company technologies and products to optimize the "in-car user experience." Kostepen was responsible for "industry first" Jaguar S-Type Voice Recognition Infotainment System. He's based in the U.S.

Also an engineer by training, Ulrich Köring (right) is head of new media for Austrian hit music broadcaster Kronehit. There he handles all digital products, including the website, side-channels, podcasts, and social networks. His experience also includes work at Radioszene industry trade magazine.

"Mainstream Mobile's" final panelist is online audio distribution platform Soundcloud VP/business development Dave Haynes (left), from the UK. Soundcloud, originally started in Stockholm, but established in Berlin, launched in 2008 and now boasts over 10 million registered users. Hayes himself is a former DJ who has run a record label, a record store, and worked in digital music distribution. He writes a blog and hosts the OpenMusicMedia meetups in London, and organizes Music Hack Day events.

Limited space is still available for RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 at Brussels' Hotel Bloom. All the details, including registration links, are on the RAIN Summit Europe page here.

Panasonic automotive systems division acquires webcaster Aupeo! for in-dash music

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

Panasonic did more than talk about in-car Internet radio at RAIN Summit West this weekend.

Panasonic Corporation of North America and its Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America have acquired Berlin-based webcaster Aupeo, with the aim of "enhanc(ing) the leading-edge technology and customer relationship tools Panasonic is able to offer its automotive customers."

"Conventional consumer-focused music and content services do not address all the needs of car manufacturers," said Tom Gebhardt, president of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. "Aupeo’s technologies and content delivery platform provide a solution that is complementary to Panasonic’s automotive, business-to-business and business-to-consumer product lines."

Holger Weiss is CEO of Aupeo. Hakan Kostepen is Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America Executive Director of Product Planning & Innovation. Both took part in discussion panels Sunday at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, just a day before the acquisition was announced.

Weiss commented on the deal, "Aupeo was founded with a clear vision to deliver online and seamless content services to internet-connected devices. At that point, we saw the car as our most important focus."

Summit panel examines the steep challenges the "connected dashboard" brings

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 1:00pm

Delivering Internet audio to the car is hard. Everyone on the "Dashboard Discussions" panel, which led off yesterday's RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, agreed on that.

So far, implementations are all unique and different, and it's expensive to work with carmakers. Entercom Director of Digital Operations Amy Van Hook (top right) explained that's why her company is sticking with aggregations like TuneIn, or Entercom's mobile apps, to connect to cars for now. Chia-Lin Simmons, Aha by Harman VP/Marketing & Content, said it can cost a million dollars to get integrated into the car "head unit." Moderator Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics verified that automakers make hard to "scale" integrations.

But it's incredibly important to be in the car. Broadcasters can't walk away from this vital listening "theater," and newer audio sources need that audience to grow. jacAPPS president Paul Jacobs reminded the crowd that the car is both radio's number-one listening location, and carmakers are radio's number-one client.

Simmons said we're living in a world now where customers expect their content to be delivered everywhere (and introduced the concept of "round tripping," where a listener can bookmark a place in their listening in the cloud, and pick it up where they left off once they're in the car).

"The DVR has changed consumers' expectations," agreed Van Hook. She also reminded the crowd that radio's dominance in the car won't be a given.

Of course, safety is a top priority. TuneIn's VP of Business Development Carl Rohling (lower right) explained his company's "car mode" interface, which simplifies and limits the controls to only the most basic (like "favorites"). But Panasonic Executive Director/Product Planning & Innovation added some historical perspective: in the 1930s, authorities were afraid audio entertainment in the car (that could travel at speeds of 40 mph!) might be a dangerous distraction. He predicted many of the safety concerns of Internet-enabled cars will be addressed by very exciting -- and somewhat futuristic -- advances in dashboard displays in just a few years.

So what are the strategies? Simmons' company is trying to bring the interactivity we've learned to expect from the desktop and mobile, in a safe way into the vehicle. The data her company collects can help content providers like webcasters better program, and better target ads. Rohling's TuneIn is also working at ways to help broadcasters monetize streams outside their local market.

But it's still that "local imperative," Jacbos said, "that makes radio important."

Look for more coverage from RAIN Summit West 2013 later today and in the coming days.

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