Laurence Harrison, Digital Radio UK and Chair, Automotive Working Group, WorldDAB
Drivers love radio, to the extent that 82% of people in the UK wouldn’t buy a car without it – so we need to make sure that the next generation of radio delivers the best possible experience to drivers. With this in mind, the last 12 months have perhaps been the busiest and most productive in the history of the WorldDAB Automotive Working Group, with several outputs that have already had a significant impact with automotive OEMs and broadcasters.
This time last year we were faced with a challenge – everyone had strong opinions about what constitutes the best user experience, but there wasn’t clear evidence available to support them. At the 2017 WorldDAB Automotive Event we announced the first results of our consumer research and these have since been used to develop a set of digital radio UX guidelines for both broadcasters and OEMs.
Launched in February, the guidelines give clarity to both sides of the industry, ensuring the driver has the best experience with digital radio. The design guidelines are based on seven consumer use-cases, ensuring they reflect the actual experience of consumers.
We have also been working closely with RadioDNS, EBU and other industry groups on developing guidelines for automotive manufacturers and broadcasters to outline best practice for broadcasters with services on DAB+ and FM to supply and update brand logos, and guidance to automotive manufacturers for downloading and display of these logos. Feedback from industry suggests the guidelines, based on open standards, have provided much needed clarity to industry.
Meanwhile, a task force focused specifically on the impact of Antennas and other factors on Receiver Performance has been collating and analysing research before sharing the findings in meetings with broadcasters and major car manufacturers, continuing the collaborative efforts to improve performance of DAB+ in vehicles.
The response from the car manufacturers we have visited so far has been exceptional and have led to even greater collaboration between the two sectors. We are working hard to ensure the issues put forward by the car industry are on the agenda for the Automotive Group going forward to ensure the best possible digital radio experience for the driver.
One upcoming area of focus is the creation of drive test routes in several European countries. These will allow for the real-world testing of in-car digital radio and will be supported in each country by relevant stakeholders from the Performance Group.
Next week at WorldDAB Automotive 2018, I’ll be summarising our work in the last year, outlining the next areas of focus and how both the broadcast and automotive industries can work together to deliver the best possible experience to drivers around the world. Our work in this area is a long-term commitment to collaboration with broadcasters and car manufacturers on great digital radio UX design. My thanks to all of those who have helped and contributed to the work of the Group and its Task Forces.