XM, Sirius aren't the only ones playing in Traffic - Orbitcast

XM, Sirius aren't the only ones playing in Traffic

| 11 Comments
Nooo! Traffic!Sirius and XM introduced their real-time traffic services in 2004, but even though they were fairly early to the game, they're definitely not the only ones focusing on the space.

Last week a group of broadcast corporations - comprised of Cox Radio, Entercom, Bonneville, Emmis, Beasley, Greater Media, Radio One, and NPR - formed a joint venture called the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium. The goal? To help monetize the HD Radio spectrum (which is in dire need of monetization). And they're working with NAVTEQ to make it happen.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Microsoft Research laboratories spent the last five years developing a complex software model to avoid traffic jams, called Clearflow.

Clearflow will be freely available as part of Live Maps, with support for 72 cities. It doesn't just reroute you around traffic jams, because in some cases rerouting off the highway can send you into even more congested areas. Instead, Clearflow will figure out whether its worthwhile to stick it out on the freeway, rather than taking a detour.

Of course Clearflow was created to help Live.com compete with Google, but how long before Microsoft applies the Clearflow technology to MSN Direct?

MSN Direct has snuggled up with Garmin over the years, and the folks at Redmond have even partnered with Clear Channel to deliver MSN Direct HD over - you guessed it - the HD Radio spectrum (note that Clear Channel isn't part of the consortium).

And then there's the ICO mim service - which yesterday enjoyed a successful launch of their ICO G1 satellite - that will be going online in the near future with a trial service. Their setup will be similar to Sirius and XM, using a hybrid satellite and terrestrial network (as opposed to HD Radio's pure terrestrial setup). ICO is still in its infancy when compared to these other technologies, but shouldn't be discounted either.

The bottom line is that the current solution for avoiding traffic congestion (i.e., listening to your local radio station) is a subpar one to say the least. By the time an accident is mentioned on the radio, it's usually too late. And the daily commuter will be more than happy to plunk down a few bucks a month when they're stuck in a mile-long jam.

Don't get me wrong, Sirius/XM were pretty darn smart in seeing this need and getting a shoe-in with automakers nearly 4 years ago. But this is still extremely new technology as far as the consumer goes. And as a need arises, there will be plenty of companies willing to profit from fulfilling it.

11 Comments

"playing" is a good way to put how accurate xm and sirius traffic is. Nothing so far from either is close to local traffic from terrestrial radio. xm and sirius reporters don't even know how to say the names properly of the places or roads much less give traffic reports worth anything.

"playing" is a good way to put how accurate xm and sirius traffic is. Nothing so far from either is close to local traffic from terrestrial radio. xm and sirius reporters don't even know how to say the names properly of the places or roads much less give traffic reports worth anything.

"playing" is a good way to put how accurate xm and sirius traffic is. Nothing so far from either is close to local traffic from terrestrial radio. xm and sirius reporters don't even know how to say the names properly of the places or roads much less give traffic reports worth anything.

FTE - what do you know about this? Reporters saying the names? You are thinking about the audio traffic stations and not the real-time traffic data that is displayed on a navigation map. XM created this segment which it would be interesting for someone to recognize. FM-RDS had been around in Europe for a awhile but the US was a very differnent (and bigger) market. Therefore, with several map providers out there- NavTeq, TeleAtlas, and GDT - XM knew that it had to have a commin map database to which traffic information could be sent as it would not be efficent to send the data multiple times over the network - one time to one map standard. XM pulled these players into a joint meeting to agree to this common data spec.

It was XM that made thse partners agree (reluctantly ad none of them were "friends") as XM made the case on the OEMs and the aftermarket needing this standard and needing it the same across all. XM launched in the service on the 2004 Acura RL as the first entrent with NavTeq as the data aggregator. Sirius was trying to the do the same with TeleAtlas (the sore loser in the XM aggregator selection process) but after trying for a few years, they could not make it work. Chrysler/Mercedes was sick and tired of Sirius failing to get it done that they told Sirius to go to NavTeq to make it happen. So, only through the efforts of XM did Sirius get traffic data and it was not in 2004 as noted - it was 2006 or 2007 before Sirius offered this. The XM role also enabled all of the FM-RDS, MSN Direct, etc to flourish as once the location codes were in the map database, anyone could use and reference them. The challenge today is in getting the best data and there has been a lot of jockying around on this with historical information, probe data, cell phone tracking, cameras, road sensors, etc. New technology will make it better but there is only one source where all of this began and it was XM and the small team that made it happen.

trafficguru
xm is desperate for a merger has never made a profit not something to base buying choices on. Nav, auto, electronics companies hardly need a near bankrupt industry organizing anything.

trafficguru
xm is desperate for a merger has never made a profit not something to base buying choices on. Nav, auto, electronics companies hardly need a near bankrupt industry organizing anything.

AC, who said anything about the merger?

Traffic reporting is a commodity. XM's traffic uses little bandwidth. It sounds like the reporters are sitting in a swimming pool, on the bottom.

I did not mention merger - not relevant in the thread. My post was on recognition of the role of XM in the GPS market for traffic service. I know there are axes to grind on the merger but that was not relevant to post. I sincerly doubt that many have the level of insight into what I related which is why I posted it.

We are talking about xm and sirius and their role the in the traffic reporting, of course the merger needs to come up, as does the health of the satrad industry. If xm holds the role trafficguru claims it seems the industry better be looking for a stronger and better off leader. Bravo for xm helping the traffic reporting industry forward BUT if the head of the line is in big trouble (like xm and the satrad industry) Investments, innovation, and customers will suffer

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