Automakers support DAB+ future
Both Fiat and Audi confirmed strong support for DAB+ at the WorldDAB Automotive 2019 event which took place in Turin, Italy, on 20 June. Attended by more than 200 delegates from the broadcasting, automotive and technology sectors, the event offered information on future plans for digital radio in countries across Europe and Australia, information on technical developments, an in-depth look at the hybrid solution for radio in the car, and, importantly, for the auto industry the implementation into law of the EECC Directive and what this will mean going forward. As the host country this year, particular focus was placed on Italy, and the large amount of work this market has and continues to undertake when it comes to development of digital radio in the car.
If you missed the event, here is a summary of what was discussed in each of the sessions. Presentations from the event are available from the WorldDAB Project Office.
Italian receiver legislation amended for new cars without DAB+ to be sold until 21 December 2020
Italy was one of the first countries to legislate on mandatory DAB+ in all new cars by 1 January 2020. This was 12 months before the stated change in the EECC Directive.
Italy has long been preparing for digital radio and at the WorldDAB Automotive 2019 event, all of the main players – including the Italian regulator, AGCOM, DAB Italia, EuroDab Italia and Rai – spoke in support of digital radio, and specifically digital radio in the car.
DAB Italia Director Sergio Natucci announced that following an amendment in the Italian legislation, up to 10 percent of vehicles produced and registered in 2019, and that are not factory-fitted with DAB+, can be sold up to 21 December 2020. For the car industry in Italy, this key point clarifies the timeframe in which DAB+ is to be implemented in new cars.
Find out more about the Italian legislation on DAB+ in cars here.
The EECC Directive – ensuring all new cars have digital radio by end 2020
Passed in December 2018, the EECC Directive requires all new car radios in the EU to be capable of receiving digital terrestrial radio by the end of 2020. At the event member countries of WorldDAB laid out their plans for passing this directive into law in their markets.
Italy and France already have legislation in place to ensure that they comply with the Directive in 2020, and several other EU countries are working on transposition of the EU Directive into national law.
In the UK, the government has recently announced the launch of a review and programme of work to ensure a healthy and vibrant digital future for UK radio.
Norway has switched off its national FM networks, and Switzerland is planning on doing so no later than in 2024, and possibly as early as 2022 – in these two markets, the number of new cars already equipped with DAB+ already stands at 98 and 91 percent respectively.
Patrick Hannon, President of WorldDAB said the EECC directive “ensures that millions of car drivers across the European Union will have access to the various benefits presented by digital terrestrial radio — including an increased number of radio stations to choose from, more consistent audio quality and enhanced data services.”
Read about the EECC directive and the rollout of DAB+ across Europe here.
A look into the future – DAB+ UX, the best radio experience for drivers
WorldDAB Automotive Group Chairman Laurence Harrison presented the significant work undertaken by the WorldDAB UX Working Group over the course of this year, including the launch of the updated User Experience Design Guidelines.
The new guidelines provide clearer direction towards hybrid radio as providing the best UX, with DAB as the backbone delivery channel. He advised that the UX Group has initiated work to investigate the opportunities for radio in cars with IP connectivity, artificial intelligence, voice, larger screens and further in to the future, autonomous driving.
Also presented was research carried out by the WorldDAB UX Working Group on the ‘Future of Radio in the Car’. This research included input from car manufacturers, broadcasters and automotive service providers. It looked into what the industry felt were driver expectatoins for radio in the car of the future. The conclusion from this research iss that drivers want more personalisation, more content and more functionality.
Further work is being carried out by the WorldDAB UX group on the areas covered in the research – more details here.
Service following around Europe – who is doing what, where?
Service following – linking together transmissions of the same or similar programmes so that a listener does not have to manually retune when moving between coverage areas –featured high on the agenda at the event. With different countries requiring service following to give the listener a continuous signal, countries from around Europe discussed the conditions required for service following in their market – Norway, Switzerland, UK and Germany.
To assist broadcasters and ensure that receiver manufacturers worldwide implement service following correctly, WorldDAB will be producing a factsheet on service following in coming months.
More information on service following here.
Hybrid radio: working together to provide the best possible experience for drivers
WorldDAB members Xperi, RadioDNS, Radioplayer Worldwide, Pluxbox and Radioline joined together on stage in Turin, highlighting the industry’s willingness to work together to provide the best possible experience for drivers – a hybrid solution with DAB+ right at the heart of it.
Martin Koch reiterated Audi’s commitment to integrating DAB+ at the heart of the Audi hybrid radio solution to offer rich, relevant and personalised radio with seamless multi device transition.
The importance of metadata, and the need for broadcasters to get this right for the car industry, was also a key focus point of this panel. Further work it was felt is needed in the broadcasting community to ensure the metadata is correct.
Strong communication and rollout plans for DAB+ across Europe
WorldDAB Automotive 2019 included an update from countries rolling out DAB+ across Europe, and car manufacturers were reminded that each country has a national rollout body charged with promoting digital radio to the consumer. These national bodies provide a single point of contact in each country for the auto industry.
With national DAB/DAB+ services on air across Europe (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK, and next year, France) it’s safe to say that DAB+ has well and truly established itself on the continent, both in and out of the car.
All presentations from WorldDAB Automotive 2019 are available to download here.
More to come at the WorldDAB General Assembly, taking place in Brussels, Belgium on 5-6 November 2019.