We have to admit, when Fraunhofer IIS announced its partnership with Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network Plus to make Fraunhofer’s text-based news service, Journaline, available in the US, it was the first we had heard of the German company. It likely won’t be the last.
Meeting with the Fraunhofer folks at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, we learned that the company is actually a non-profit based in Germany which focuses on basic research in various fields of technology, including audio codecs, which it has been working on for over 20 years. And it has had quite a bit of success. For instance, it developed the MP3 and played a major role in development of the Eureka 147 DAB system for digital radio (which the US passed on).
All Fraunhofer technology is offered as an open standard – anyone who pays the license fee can use it. So, any other US broadcaster can do the same type of thing that Clear Channel is doing to utilize Journaline to deliver text-based, real-time information.
Most of Fraunhofer’s funding is from those license fees. You can guess that MP3 fees are substantial. As a result, it depends on the German government for only about 20% of its budget.
“From transmission to the receiver, Fraunhofer IIS develops and implements all technologies and components needed to build and support radio systems, standards and devices along the digital radio broadcasting chain,” the research institute said in its pitch. “Fraunhofer IIS offers ready-to-use products, as well as flexible technology options, to cater to the specific requirements of broadcasters, broadcast industry manufacturers and component suppliers.”
Fraunhofer said its complete one-stop shop line of technology offerings and dedication to ongoing research and design is complemented by the institute’s contribution to the design and standardization of many digital radio systems in the western hemisphere, including Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) as well as US and European satellite radio systems, such as Sirius XM Satellite Radio, ESDR and DVB-SH. Yes, the name may not be familiar, but Fraunhofer has been busy in radio for a while.