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CES 2018: Gracenote Unveils Apple CarPlay Concept; Nagra Spotlights OpenTV Signature Edition

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LAS VEGAS – Gracenote used the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to spotlight a concept designed to overcome the dilemma of consumers not being able to use the popular Apple CarPlay application to navigate traditional broadcast radio stations in their vehicles.

Although iPhone users can currently use CarPlay’s digital interface on their car head units to choose between streamed music and other audio services via apps available for the iOS operating system, CarPlay can’t be used to find traditional radio stations. If iPhone owners are using CarPlay and want to switch between music on the Pandora app to an AM or FM radio station, they must now switch to the car radio’s control system. That’s both an annoyance and a potentially dangerous distraction while driving.

Gracenote’s concept integrates with CarPlay and enables users to not only search for local U.S. broadcast radio stations, but save favorites, and also switch between broadcast radio and streamed music services seamlessly, Brian Hamilton, Gracenote GM and SVP-music and automotive, showed the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) during a demo at CES. It was the first time the concept was shown publicly, he told us.

The Gracenote concept “solves a huge problem” for CarPlay users, he said. The concept will also make radio programming more discoverable and engaging for consumers, according to Gracenote.

But it remains just a concept for now, the Nielsen division stressed. Just when, or even if, it will be made available to consumers – and by what company — remains unclear.

Gracenote also provided CES attendees with a preview of its soon-to- be launched data product that it said will drive more personalized music discovery and search experiences.

The latest evolution of Gracenote Global Music Data includes new artificial intelligence (AI)-derived descriptive data that the company said will redefine the modern music playlist.

Other highlights of the Gracenote Lounge at CES included data-driven voice search, real-time smart TV data integrated with the Nielsen Marketing Cloud that Gracenote said enables advertisers to better target their audiences across each form of media, and sports data connected to live event airings that it said will drive tune-in and engagement for top sporting events, including the Winter Olympics (Feb. 9-25) and 2018 FIFA World Cup.

“We’ve grown both organically and by acquisition over the course of the last three to four years,” Simon Adams, Gracenote GM-video & sports, told MESA at the show.

The company plans to continue “building out our infrastructure” and “broaden our footprint,” he said, adding: “We plan to add another five to eight countries in the coming year.”

Also at CES:

Nagra

The content protection firm turned the spotlight on its new OpenTV Signature Edition software platform, which will commercially launch at the end of the first quarter of 2018, according to Simon Trudelle, senior director of product marketing. “We are very much in contact” with prospective customers about it, he told MESA at CES.

OpenTV Signature Edition integrates an Android TV Operator Tier solution and, for the first time in the U.S., the company allowed CES visitors to “learn how it delivers a unified, intuitive and seamless user experience across all screens,” the Kudelski Group division said ahead of the show.

Signature Edition’s “key feature” is that it provides a “multi-journey user experience,” letting users “navigate through content using either” a traditional TV channel watching approach or an approach in which one starts with one’s preferences and then receives additional recommendations on either linear TV channels or over-the-top (OTT) service content, Trudelle explained to us at the show.

The platform uses AI, data analytics and recommendation technology “to really drive the experience and increase the consumption of content,” allowing users to “watch what they want to watch, when they like,” he said.

Nagra Insight with AI is the company’s data intelligence that it said “powers” the OpenTV Signature Edition user experience and other Kudelski Group offerings.

The “big challenge” in the industry now isn’t the availability of good content, but instead making sure viewers can easily find good content on whatever device they like, Trudelle said.
Supporting Android TV at this point was important because that smart TV platform has “gotten a lot more attention in the past 12 months” within the industry, he said.

Also spotlighted by the company at CES was Nagra’s end-to-end content value protection for defeating piracy through active security. Combined with Nagra’s software and hardware CAS and DRM solutions, Nagra Anti-Piracy Services and NexGuard watermarking technology help service providers and content owners 
“create the ultimate closed-loop approach to secure and mark content, monitor for piracy, and quickly and decisively act against it from a unified Security Services Platform,” the company said.