I've always been a fan of audio APIs / mobile SDKs. For example, if you're watching the Conan O'Brien show and you have the Team Coco app open at the same time, it'll listen to the show and sync up with the show's content, showing the same content or ads on the app as on the TV. That kind of thing feels like magic to the end user, because there's mystery around how the app is staying sync.
But yesterday, Tim, the founder of ShareThis, showed me something that takes audio APIs to a new level, called Lisnr. Although it's marketed as a standalone app, my understanding from Tim is that it's also available as an SDK that app publishers can put into its app.
Think of the Lisnr SDK as "Shazam meets a dog whistle." Tim described it as an audio QR code. The content (whether on a video or a live concert) sends out a sync timestamp audio signal that's outside of our hearing range, but that the microphone on the phone can pick up. This syncs the phone to the content.
Here's a video of Tim showing this technology off:
At the beginning of the video, the app is "unlocking" content in the app after we listen to an audio track. Then, after that, the app is syncing its playback to the video on the laptop. As Tim mentioned to me later, imagine thousands of phones at a concert being held up in the air showing sync'd content on each phone.
Lisnr is a great example of the power of an audio SDK. I expect that we'll see a lot more innovation in this area -- it's hot.
This is a fascinating post. There are several companies that are using this type of technology for various types of applications. Check out Sonic Notify: http://www.sonicnotify.com/
Also, I think this is how (though I could definitely be wrong) Misfit Wearable's Shine device syncs with the iPhone: http://www.misfitwearables.com/shine
There's long been a raging debate going over HTML vs. Native Apps. Just Googling the debate returns over 3.7 million results.
I'm here to tell you, that's the wrong way of thinking of things.
It's like debating whether oil or water will win when mixed. You can't get the right answer if you're asking the wrong question. While oil and water don't mix well, they can co-exist in the same bottle, and there are valid times you might want to use each.
Let's dive into the right way to think about mobile, and specifically about the role native apps will play. A better analogy of the mobile landscape is from the point of view of a car manufacturer like Honda. Honda makes a lot of Honda Accords -- they're its bread & butter. But for years, Honda had a Formula One team. A Honda Accord will never compete at the Formula One level, nor was it meant to. And conversely, if Honda only had a Formula One team, it wouldn't have the massive market share in the auto market that the Accord and other bread & butter models provide it, but Honda did learn a lot about how to make really great engines from its Formula One program.
In the same way, mobile apps are the "Formula One" of mobile, and HTML is the Honda Accord. You can get wide distribution across many phones by having a mobile HTML presence, but you can't do the sexy, progressive types of things that you can do with apps, because an app is typically compiled software which can leverage the specific hardware functionality of the phone (the camera, the address book, geolocation, the microphone, and many other things).
Podcasts are usually recorded and edited using home equipment and done for the love of it. There is specialized podcasting software available like Apples Garage Band or QuickTime Pro. These packages make it quite simple to record, mix and format the audio files correctly. Just like bloggers, though, many podcasters are trying to figure out ways of making money from their podcasts and turning listeners into revenue. A lot of people are producing music podcasts. This has meant a huge move to circumvent traditional rights issues about downloading music from the Internet. There is now a large body of music that is classified podsafe. This has either been composed, especially for podcasts or the artist has specifically decided that they want their music to be available via the net for all who want to hear it.
Radio stations have realized that they have a whole new way of using their content. They began packaging their output so that fans could listen to their favorite shows whenever they wanted to (without the music). NPR was one of the innovators of supplying their shows via podcasts, now almost every radio station around the world does the same thing. Educators and teaching institutions have latched on to podcasting as a way of sharing content and providing tuition for learners who cannot be present at lectures or tutorials.
The corporate world is also realizing that podcasting can add huge value to their communications mix. The term podcast is increasingly being used to cover any audio or video that is embedded in an organizations web site.
Podcasts offer an incredible opportunity for marketers. The bottom line is that you now have a way of getting content to your target markets without having to persuade a media channel to carry it or to pay huge advertising rates.Podcasts are:
However, the content must be: