The Audioverse In Your Pocket - Invited Talk at ABC Radio National - Harries - 2009 07 11


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Public radio, and radio in general, is at risk of disruption by new audio technologies (podcasts, etc). However there are interesting opportunities when a longer-term technology-strategy view is brought to bear.

This presentation is from an invited talk at the Australian ABC Radio National ( August 2009) as part of their strategic process.

Here's how they describe themselves: "With over 60 distinct programs each week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National is different from any other radio station in Australia. Where else could you hear, for example, an exploration of ideas in science, followed by the latest in books from around the world, then a program about the mind and human behaviour?"

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The Audioverse In Your Pocket - Invited Talk at ABC Radio National - Harries - 2009 07 11

  1. 1. An invited talk given to ABC Radio National staff. ( 11 July 2009 The Audioverse in your pocket: A listener’s views on ABC Radio National, the mobile internet and the future Dr Michael Harries @michaelharries
  2. 2. Consider a future where every phone or car “radio” streams The future podcasts live from a global pool, where your device is smart enough to know and adapt to your preferences. For me, the device might immediately stream the latest NPR ‘All things considered’, then transition to BBC news. I ask it instead to play a children’s program (as I’m driving with my kids) so it finds and plays the very most popular children's program globally at that moment.
  3. 3. This future is already here for music; and Pandora are applications that select music based on: 1. Similarity to the kind of music you like 2. What people who listen to similar music to you like.
  4. 4. Why listen to me? I work for Citrix, a global software company. Citrix = IT as a Service Delivery Controllers Receivers Repeaters Gateways SSL 001000111010101 SSL 001000111010101 SSL 0010001110 10101 SSL 0011010101000111 SSL 00100011 On the At the At the network In the endpoint to branch to edge datacenter simplify and “amplify” for secure to control the enhance the delivery for access to delivery user branch applications and process experience offices desktops of application, server and desktop resources
  5. 5. Citrix technologies are broadly used in companies large and small. 99% of Fortune 500 200,000 customers 100M Corporate Users 75% of Internet Users Engine of Cloud Computing Top 5 SaaS vendor
  6. 6. Citrix is unusual in having a technology futures organization managed from Sydney. I am part of that Citrix Labs: team. Sydney, Redmond, Cambridge
  7. 7. And the reason I care about Radio National is that I grew up with my parents playing ABC Radio on car trip; whether on short trips to Garie Beach, in the Royal National Park, NSW, Australia ...
  8. 8. ... or on the long Lots of audiences holiday drives from Sydney to Adelaide.
  9. 9. Technology Strategy 1. Where are we now? 2. What will the world look like in the future? – How do we want to play? 3. How are we going to get there? Part of my role at Citrix is technology strategy. This is about ensuring that strategic choices are compatible with the technologies of tomorrow. Radio National should be going through exactly this exercise.
  10. 10. Two books that have shaped my thinking are: 1. Innovators Dilemma – how well run organizations can find it near impossible to respond to certain types of change. 2. Blue Ocean Strategy – about finding new uncontested opportunities, rather than following the crowd into direct competition (the red ocean).
  11. 11. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Wayne Gretzky In a nutshell: technology strategy is about having a view on how the ‘game’ will change – and building assets that meet the challenges of that future.
  12. 12. Let’s start with the state of play today. Today ...
  13. 13. Great radio Great web presence ... Radio National is well known for amazing quality content and has built an incredible web presence. I also love that it’s still possible to listen on this 1954 transistor radio.
  14. 14. Lo Love the podcasts ... Where are the archives? Podcasts are an acknowledged strong point – with an amazing presence on the Australian iTunes. (But I’d like to see MUCH more historic content.)
  15. 15. User Driven content I love the experimentation with user driven content. This ranges from the pool – calling for mash-up creations of all kinds to blogs like that have garnered the most incredible level of audience participation. This is important, and a large part of the story. Yet, for me ...
  16. 16. ... the RN experience is mainly about my daily commute. It’s what I do when my hands and eyes are busy, but my ears are available and I’m looking for “brainfood”.
  17. 17. For me, and probably many other listeners, the killer differentiator for radio content is that you don’t need to look or to type. (Experiments with audience contributed content and multi-media remain critical – you need to explore and stay fresh. This listener would love to hear regular audio programs that draw from the outcomes of these explorations without needing to visit on the web.)
  18. 18. Change is the new normal. Let’s look at some of these changes. Technologies
  19. 19. Observation1: Twitter is the hype technology of the moment; it provides the ability to micro- blog the moment, and, as a result, content has a very short half-life. Twitter is very different to web pages and Twitter the content Google generally indexes. Web/Google
  20. 20. Twitter Radio Web/Google ≈ Text/Libraries This relationship is much the same as the difference between live radio and traditional text and libraries. Yet – the amount of innovation around twitter is astonishing – with very little around radio... Is that because the medium is harder to index? Novelty? (I don’t know!)
  21. 21. Observation 2: The iPhone changes the game! That is, it’s not necessarily the device of the future, but it certainly shows the way. Ubiquitous internet connectivity, contextual sensitivity, easy downloads, ambient applications (for more see my deck on future of the mobile internet). U Shape of the future
  22. 22. Tech Adoption for the masses = Simplicity Observation3: The iPhone is also a tremendous lesson about simplicity. Unless something is push button simple – utility-like, consumer adoption is very hard to achieve. Online radio (the podcast) is still, by and large, too difficult for the masses!
  23. 23. Future Radio? Putting these observations together. 1. I see a future “radio” with permanently internet-connected devices providing the audio content I want, when I want it, with the same simplicity achieved by today’s radio. I see some of the ‘twitter’ enthusiasm applied to building these audio offerings. 2. I also see an opportunity for networks like ABC Radio National to bring today’s audience into that future by offering a personalized – “curated” – program of quality ABC programming for EVERY user.
  24. 24. website Stated differently, the audio only experience will offer all the choice and customization of the browser experience. This has certain implications.
  25. 25. Website/Station Rules • Minimize Bounce • What’s the next most interesting thing The first implication is the goal of keeping people on your site or station for as long as possible by making it easy and appealing to navigate though your site – either with clicks – or, for the ‘audio only’ experience – by asking the user for voice commands.
  26. 26. To this end, Google’s Marissa Mayer recommended (to newspapers) putting links to ‘suggested next articles’ immediately after the text of each article. Today you can’t do this with a podcast, but there’s no reason this can’t change – at least to offer a stream of audio, personalized, or optimized for the listener. “... related stories and related videos ... were up on the top. ... <the reader> is now looking at the bottom of the page with nothing to do.“ -- Marissa Mayer, VP Google
  27. 27. There are great precursor technologies already available demonstrating what’s possible. This is
  28. 28. Digg recommends links based on votes (diggs) from it’s audience for each link. Digg operates on the basis of universal popularity across the whole Digg audience.
  29. 29. uses a more sophisticated method ...
  30. 30. They build their recommendations from the behaviour of people like you.
  31. 31. Finally, is an online radio.
  32. 32. finds other people who also like your music collection and makes recommendations on that basis. In short, user profiling is a well known technique for building recommended media. (also known as crowd-sourcing)
  33. 33. Lots of audiences These technologies can be used to make sure that ABC RN survives the disruption. I'd like ABC RN to be available for long drives for many years into the future.
  34. 34. For every VISITOR - Pages visited - Podcasts downloaded - Likes and Dislikes ... For every LISTENER - A custom experience - A SIMPLE experience All this is straightforward and - A changeable experience achievable.
  35. 35. 1. You already have Great content (radio and web) 2. You should be Adding ‘listen next’ for all content Building expertise with automated collection of crowd- sourced preferences and groupings of listeners 3. Prepare for the radio of the future Personalized, audio-only content ‘browsing’ across the ABC RN world of content
  36. 36. "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." --Nils Bohr @michaelharries