Sentinel Content and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) revealed today that they have successfully begun live demonstration broadcasts of real-time traffic information on digital radio.

Digital radio services will begin in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth in the first half of 2009. Digital radio will provide a platform for Australians to have superior sound quality, greater listening choice, as well as a new visual aspect to radio with the introduction of scrolling news, sport, traffic and weather text and the ability to transmit a picture of a radio host or band, the cover of a CD or an animated logo on screen. Additional information such as detailed traffic reports and traveller information can also be streamed as data directly to satellite navigation systems or portable navigation devices.

Sentinel, an Australian live content and service provision company, has been working closely with CRA since March this year to access and develop the first live Australian demonstration of traffic reports and other traveller information broadcast over Transport Protocol Experts Group (TPEG) Traffic using digital radio technology.

The demonstration service and technology will be on display at the National Radio Conference, at Conrad Jupiters Hotel on the Gold Coast on Friday 10th October 2008.

With the rising cost of motoring and transport services, having access to LIVE and real-time information about traffic congestion, latest petrol prices and journey planning will save Australian commuters and businesses time and money.

“We offer more than just traffic information” says Sentinel Content’s General Manager, Danny Woolard. “Through the next generation of digital radios, the information we can provide to people on the move will allow them to plan the best time to leave and what route to take to a destination, taking into account traffic incidents, road-works, travel times and road safety information.”

“You will also get real-time petrol pricing, not just where you are, but where you are going,” Mr Woolard said. “And when you get there you can get information ahead of time about how many parking spots are left in a car park as well as accommodation pricing and vacancies.”

“It is all about arriving at your destination safely, efficiently and more cost effectively”.

Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, said Commercial Radio Australia has worked closely with Sentinel in the development of the demonstration of this exciting use of digital radio technology. “Digital radio will enhance the radio experience for listeners, broadcasters and advertisers. The Sentinel demonstration is just the start of broadcasters and listeners understanding the many and varied applications of this powerful and compelling technology.”
Sentinel has been working with German technology partner GEWI, to deliver the technical TPEG Digital Radio standard. With their joint experience they have been extensively involved in the development of the new broadcast data service standards and deployments of traffic services. The new Australian service uses a similar technology platform which is proven and widely deployed throughout Europe.

Mr Woolard says “Europe’s success in deploying digital radio, and developing and implementing these types of valuable services means that Australians would also be able to benefit from the time, efficiency, lower cost and safety benefits that our services provide”.

Sentinel’s Road Sense® Traffic and its other live information services cover major population areas in all Australian States. The information services have been constantly improved and moved into live production systems over the past twelve months. They can be accessed through Sentinel’s demonstration web site and; a premium rate SMS text message service. The company has also recently released a GPRS-TMC server to server service which delivers traffic information direct to mobile phones and in-vehicle GPS satellite navigation devices.

Source traffic information for Road Sense® includes real-time data from Australia’s road authorities and independent sources of road incident data. Sentinel’s journalistic traffic editors and data entry staff based in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, also check and collate information for accuracy and quality as incidents occur on the road network. The information also includes planned and scheduled events that affect traffic flow.