Radio Pop, Olinda prototypes… its all connected
A few months ago, BBC Audio & Music interactive commissioned a project investigating future forms of physical radio devices. The successful company was Shulze & Webb and now they have finished the feasibility study of their proposal, Matt has posted some information on the project.
The prototype, codenamed Olinda, is essentially a very simple, very social radio; simple in interaction, modular in design. Through the inclusion of a hardware API and additional module, S&W propose to allow users to connect with their friends as they listen to the radio.
To fully achieve this, Olinda requires a web site to connect friends and devices. This is where a once-separate prototype comes in. Radio Pop.
Radio Pop is the result of our latest six week semi-rapid prototyping project in the R&D team. At its core is a database which stores radio listening, upon which we can build various views. By introducing friends lists, schedule information and the ability to simply bookmark, or ‘pop’, a particular point in time, Radio Pop generates a great deal of information about listening habits. We purposefully kept the database very simple and specified an input and output API so that the repository could be accessed using web and desktop widgets as well as through the Radio Pop web site.
This is only my second Ruby on Rails application (my first will be going live in a couple of weeks for a trial, more on that very soon) and as such it is a little slow. However, the flash graphs we created demonstrate the sort of information a service like this could provide, both historical and live, as demonstrated by my Radio Pop live blog badge:
It is this ability to get live listening information which makes Radio Pop a perfect extension of the Olinda prototype (and vice versa). Olinda will provide a very simple way of listening to what your friends are listening to using Radio Pop as the method of communication. While you listen (using Olinda, through a desktop widgets or through Radio Player), a pulse event is sent to Radio Pop every minute, discretely tracking your activity.
Tristan has much more about the background to Radio Pop and our thinking around it.