Lindsay Cornell, Principal Systems Architect, BBC and Chairman, WorldDAB Technical Committee
The role of the Technical Committee (TC) is to provide a focal point for members to discuss technical issues that affect the DAB system and its various interfaces, applications and protocols. It has representatives from almost all WorldDAB member organisations and meets three times a year to progress the various tasks that form its workload.
The tasks in the TC can be divided into three main areas: monitoring developments and resolving problems; discussing, developing and disseminating best practice; developing and revising technical standards and guidelines. The activity in the TC is driven by its members, and many are active, making regular contributions to the discussions, Task Forces and ad-hoc activities. As Chair, I have been helped especially during 2015 by Mathias Coinchon (EBU), Andreas Gorsak (JVCKenwood), Mark Sutcliffe (Arqiva) and Alex Erk (IRT) for organising the work and hosting TC meetings, and of course, last but not least, by the WorldDAB Project Office who ensure that all runs smoothly.
Technical Committee activities in 2015
In the last year, the TC has been working on a number of specifications that will make life better for digital radio users in the future. The completion of the work to revise the EBU Character Set, to provide full coverage of all European languages written in Latin script, will mean richer experiences for listeners in the emerging East European markets. The Task Force Service Lists has been examining the requirements for creating rules of behaviour for both service providers and receivers to ensure consistent and accurate service selection lists, which change dynamically according to the available services, without duplicate services appearing, part-time services disappearing or new services needing button pushes and rescanning to access. We are well on the way to completing the work, with the final draft specification expected to be approved at the February TC meeting at the EBU in Geneva.
Actions for 2016
Some new ideas have also emerged during the year, and these will be followed up in 2016. Positioning systems have become common place and not only in automotive navigation systems, but greater and greater accuracy is demanded, and this cannot be achieved from the satellites alone because they drift a little in the sky. The idea of using the DAB networks to provide correction data has emerged recently – for this a new data application will be required. And staying with the automotive area, another idea has been floated to provide car manufacturers with a framework application to deliver targeted information to their vehicles.
2016 is also the 21st birthday of the DAB system standard – ETSI EN 300 401, and it is also 10 years since the last revision. In the intervening time, many new DAB networks have been built, and new capabilities – DAB+, for example – have been added to the DAB family. The TC has collected and reviewed members suggestions, based on their experience of building receivers, transmission equipment and networks, for updates and clarifications to the system standard and a new Task Force, TF Clean, has been set up to carry out the necessary drafting. Some of the actions will be to remove features that have never been used, or which have been replaced with better solutions.