Latest on BBC's social networking radio project

Olinda - the future of digital and internet radio?
Olinda - the future of digital and internet radio?

The BBC has released more information on the Olinda radio – an intriguing design concept that marries digital/ internet radio with social networking.

Olinda is a prototype digital radio, designed by Schulze & Webb that “features customisable hardware which could let listeners make VOIP calls to friends or send audio clips to their social networking profiles.”

“The radio used to be the social heart of the home,” the BBC informs us. “As audiences change, increasingly the Web is the place where people chat and play or watch together. But why sit in-front of computers: can the radio itself become our virtual living room?”

Friendly LEDs

Lights on the radio show you when one of your mates is online and you can choose to listen along with them – the idea being that you will discover new stations that your friends like, via your extended social network.

Mark Friend, Controller, Multiplatform & Interactive, BBC Audio & Music, says: “Olinda demonstrates that Web-like ideas can be incorporated in DAB radio sets and, by choosing not to protect the designs, we hope to encourage development of the ideas and stimulate the market.”

Modular design

Olinda is also a modular design, with various modular add-on concepts in development such as ‘Push to talk’ which uses VOIP technology to let you speak with your mates or ‘Klippit’, “a button that lets listeners add clips of songs they hear to their social network profile, and offers them the ability to buy songs or follow up on adverts.”

Another important design concept of Olinda is the double tuning dial, with one dial that finds stations alphabetically in traditional-DAB fashion and a second dial that finds your most-listened to stations.

Generation C

Matt Webb, Director, Schulze & Webb Ltd, says: “Olinda shows how to meet the needs of Generation C, those connected, creative and community-focused people who care less about technological features and more about making and sharing blogs, photos and music. Putting the social network in the radio lets people build relationships, discover new stations, and, for the manufacturer, builds loyalty.”

The BBC has announced that the Olinda ideas, concepts and novel solutions are free for any manufacturer to use under a simple license. It’s certainly a bold move on behalf of the BBC and we will be keeping a close eye on Olinda developments.

Adam Hartley