ERTICO: As Chair of the Content and Service Provision Committee of TISA what do you think the biggest challenge in the provision of real time information services will be in the near future?
Thomas Kusche: We are currently facing the biggest changes in the Telematics market since the late 90s of the last century. Traffic information and navigation has become a part of daily life – and new technologies are being deployed continuously. Mobile Internet plays a more and more important role for the end-user – with all the opportunities to use navigation and traffic apps. That’s our real challenge for the next few years – because the communities within TISA and ERTICO as well have to position themselves as keepers of high-quality technology and services especially regarding safety-related information. Not easy to create such a team spirit – but very charming…
ERTICO: Digital radio recently became reality in Germany following early deployments in a few European countries like the UK. Do you think that the German case might boost the roll-out of digital radio in the rest of the European Union?
Thomas Kusche: Due to the number of inhabitants Germany is the biggest Radio Market in Europe. The German audience listens 251 minutes per day – of which 30 minutes is in the car. If we succeed in creating a strong demand for digital radio in such a radio orientated market of 80 million people that must have an impact on the European market.
Receiver makers expect to ship 11 million units in Germany in 2015 alone.
Radio is going to leave the analogue island…
ERTICO: Concerning the broadcast of traffic related information how do you see the transition between analogue and digital happening?
Thomas Kusche: Public service broadcasters have always supported widely distributed and mature technology. In Germany we have about 24 million TMC receivers in operation – they need a guarantee that they will get traffic data as long as possible. To deliver more detailed information to the audience you need a digital distribution channel – and this channel demands a more advanced technology – DAB needs TPEG. From our perspective it doesn’t make any sense to migrate TMC technology in the digital radio world.
There are no digital (traffic) data receivers so far – so why should brand new devices start with “traditional” technology?
ERTICO: Do you think that connected services would be a threat or an opportunity for broadcasters?
Thomas Kusche: A threat? Not at all! Connected services are really a huge step towards the future. But there’s a slight disadvantage in connected services: they need mobile data capacity – which is not endless. Therefore the future of services will be hybrid: a broadcast channel for basic and safety related information and a bidirectional channel for individual services. No doubt about this!
ERTICO: In the ITS Directive the European Commission confirmed its intention to enforce a minimum traffic information service that should be available free of charge to the end-user on a European scale. In that respect Germany is an example to follow but do you think that this will be possible everywhere else in Europe?
Thomas Kusche: If we want to reach the aim of increasing road safety we don’t have any option but to give that kind of information for free. Markets like in the UK with encrypted services only will have to solve some problems of course – both technical and structural. But the European driver will be quiet vociferous in demanding his rights. Until a Europe-wide solution became reality the good old radio has a key role.
Spoken service in the radio will never be unnecessary – it gives you emotional orientation in a mechanised world. Even here the future is hybrid…
TISA is a market-driven membership association with worldwide scope established as a not-for-profit company focussed on proactive implementation of Traffic and Travel Information services and products based on established standards including primarily RDS-TMC and TPEG technologies.
TISA was founded on synergy among previously separate member organisations and it now ensures an international framework for the coordinated development of future standards and services.
TISA supports the maintenance and development of standardised technologies leading to economic implementation and rapid market acceptance across a wide range of travel information services and products. In addition to road traffic information for example public transport points of interest weather and environmental data will continue to be in the TISA focus of important topic areas.
For more information visit TISA website.
Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR West German Broadcasting) is a German public-broadcasting institution based in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia with its main office in Cologne.
For more information visit WDR website (in German only).
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Original Publication Date: Fri 16 Dec 2011