What to do with HD Radio (Besides the Jukebox)
The BTC system begins with the collection of data by a given source such as Navteq. The system is a TCP-based client-server model with SaaS (software as a service) capability, fulfilling the server function for providing the data source. Nokia is the data aggregator for highly advanced, automated services for location-based data and commerce, traffic, weather, and map-related services. It automates the data collection and formatting for RDS-TMC (Traffic Message Channel), HD/TMC and HD/TPEG; those messages are then sent via the public Internet to member stations for broadcast. The BTC and Nokia have collaborated to build capability into the HD Radio Importer so they can operate more efficiently and consistently on the station side of operations.
According to Brenner, "[The] BTC has performed proof of concept capability of HD Radio data services with e-reader companies and automakers (independent of our efforts with Nokia). FM/HD broadcasting is a highly efficient and economical solution for delivering mass-market data to high volumes of consumer devices. We continue to look for opportunities to make HD Radio data services a business solution where perhaps, satellite or mobile broadband were the only two considerations."
The other large traffic distribution service is Total Traffic Network (which is a subsidiary of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment). TTN services more than 100 markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico, providing traffic data to more than 3,000 radio stations, in addition to 200 television affiliates.
The traffic information comes from 20+ local operations offices; the operations staff is trained in traffic data aggregation and use a combination of resources including (but not limited to) real-time flow data from several partners, DOT cameras and sensors, Aerial and Mobile traffic spotters, proprietary cameras, social media and traffic Tip Lines. All of that information is entered into TTN's software platform called TrafficNet. TrafficNet can be accessed via the Internet from any location, and has the ability to sort and filter the information by type, time, region and severity. This information can be classified primarily in two categories: flow alert data and speed data. Flow alert data typically defines an average speed across a linear segment of TMC locations in a particular direction at a given time. Speed data typically defines an average speed found at a single TMC location at a given time. TrafficNet collects congestion data from providers, translates the data into a common data schema, aggregates it temporally, spatially, and finally, generates a flow alert feed ready to be consumed by various applications.
TrafficNet is, however, independent from the distribution means inside of Clear Channel. Servers at the CC facility in Cincinnati pull data from TrafficNet, format it for RDS-TMC, HD/TMC, as well as HD/TPEG, and send it to the targeted stations via the CC WAN. Once the messages arrive at a studio facility, they're forwarded over the LAN to the appropriate RDS encoders, and/or HD Radio importers.
HD-TMC gives stations a huge increase in the number of messages that can be transmitted with respect to RDS-TMC. TPEG messages allow for even greater granularity than TMC messages.
- continued on page 4
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