RadioScape marked its 10th anniversary this week by hosting a celebratory event for the industry at the Getty Images Gallery in central London. The event included a special exhibition of images entitled ’100 Years of Radio’ selected from the Getty archive together with demonstrations of some of the very latest digital radio technology.
Guest of honour, John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, in his keynote address, praised RadioScape for the impact that the company had made on the digital radio industry in recent years and said that he was delighted to see a British company at the forefront of this exciting new technology. In particular, he highlighted the Company’s initiative in the development of multi-standard radio technology to address both the DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) market as well as the emerging DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) markets in Europe that will bring digital radio to wider audiences. He also congratulated the Company on recognising the importance of establishing a presence in the Chinese market where almost 50% of the Company’s workforce are now located.
The company also used the event to call for closer cooperation between industry players to more aggressively address the factors that will make digital radio a ‘must have’ consumer item.
John Hall, RadioScape’s CEO, commented:; “Today we are not just celebrating RadioScape’s 10th anniversary, but also the significant achievements the digital radio industry has made during this period.” Hall cited the emergence of DAB as a global standard with over 500 million people now within range of a DAB broadcast, and, with the prospect of many Asian countries such as China coming on line, these figures could increase sharply over the next few years.
Hall added: “We can now see that DAB digital radio can truly become a mass market consumer proposition as more countries adopt the standard. In the UK, the industry has worked hard to drive the entry level price point for digital radio down below £29 at retail, to bring over 400 DAB radio services on air and to ensure that DAB has broad population coverage at over 85%.”
But, Hall added a note of caution: “Even with hundreds of DAB radio products now available and the strongest ever consumer awareness at over 65% of the population, DAB digital radio sales still only make up around 20% of all radios sold at retail. As an industry, we have to accept that digital radio still lacks the ‘must have’ factor for certain demographics, and do something about it.” In particular, Hall identified that compelling content available on DAB-only channels would now be the most significant factor in increasing audience size.
“We have virtually every form of device now equipped with a DAB receiver from mobile phones, MP3 players, and in-car audio to the more traditional portables, but this is only half the equation. The other half is content and, in particular, the more sporting events, live concerts, and popular shows that are made available only on DAB to open it up to whole new audiences, the faster this transition from analogue will be.”
Hall said that RadioScape was playing its part and looked back on some recent achievements, in particular:
- The introduction of a new entry level DAB/FM module, the RS220, which is now available in L-Band format (RS221)
- The introduction of the award-winning, RS500 module that powers a new class of multi-standard radios for DAB, DRM, FM, AM, which are now at retail in Germany and other European countries
- The provision of a large number of broadcast systems into new countries, in particular China, that will significantly extend the DAB footprint over the next few years
- The development of conditional access solutions that work seamlessly between RadioScape’s broadcast systems and receiver modules
- The establishment of new operations in Hong Kong, building on the company’s earlier investments in commercial and customer support functions, to now include R&D
On this last point, Hall commented: “By the end of this year, we will have over 50% of our organisation based in Hong Kong and China. This reflects the significance of the Asian market in our future growth plans and our belief that proximity to our customers and manufacturing partners is of paramount importance.”
Finally, Hall added: “We are all hoping that in the next ten years we will really reap the rewards from the first ten years of investment and leverage our unique position of end-to-end solutions using Software Defined Digital Radio. The next decade will be less about technology per se and more about bringing new audiences into the digital world. The provision of unique content, interactivity and accessibility to consumers on the move will be the biggest factors in the success of digital radio worldwide.”
RadioScape(R) Plc. is the world’s only developer of end-to-end digital audio broadcasting solutions giving RadioScape unmatched systems knowledge and enabling it to ensure that customers receive the highest levels of quality, robustness and reception at all stages.
Its Digital Radio Broadcast Suite is used extensively throughout the world including the largest DAB installation to date — the UK’s commercial DAB network. This is also being used to roll out Mobile TV services using Digital Multimedia Broadcasting in many countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region where there are already many installations in China.
RadioScape’s innovative Software Defined Digital Radio(TM) approach has made it a leader in DAB and DMB technology with its DAB receiver modules being extensively used by many of the world’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers. The company has recently begun shipping its first generation of DRM/DAB modules, enabling multi-standard consumer receivers to reach retail this year.
Founded in 1996, RadioScape’s investors include Atlas Ventures, Royal Bank Ventures Investments, Scottish Equity Partners, JAFCO, Texas Instruments, Yasuda Enterprise Development, iGlobe Partners, Psion and Arqiva. RadioScape is headquartered in London, England with offices in Hong Kong.
RadioScape is a registered trademark and Software Defined Digital Radio is a trademark of RadioScape Plc.