Ready For Roadcasting?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Just as commuters are catching up to the idea of satellite radio for their cars, former graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a next-generation radio concept that allows users to tune into music from iPods and other digital music players in nearby cars.
The idea, which the students developed for an unidentified “major automaker” last year, is called Roadcasting. Using it, you could tune your radio to music playlists coming from other cars within a 30-mile radius. Or you could transmit your own list of songs for people in other nearby cars to listen to.
Perhaps best of all, the Roadcasting software would learn what songs or musical genres you like. Using those preferences, it would sift through all the broadcasts available at any one time and choose the ones you should like best. Every time you turned on the Roadcasting apparatus, it would find an ad hoc radio station — or create a mix of songs — with your tastes in mind.
That kind of matching — called “filtering” — is what makes the idea special, and ties it to an important trend in how people are experiencing technology and culture.
The technology is largely theoretical but would probably work like this: Besides having traditional radios or CD players, cars would also have a Roadcasting feature. When it is turned on, it would search for all the digital playlists being played nearby, probably over some kind of mobile Wi-Fi network, the same kind of technology that allows you to flip open your laptop and check e-mail at a coffee shop or airline terminal.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.