Torian Wireless, the Australian developer of the world's first universal Internet radio platform, iRoamer, has agreements with manufacturers that will see the first commercial batch of products with the iRoamer technology launched next month.
Torian Wireless developed the iRoamer platform to give wireless Internet radio capabilities to almost any consumer electronic device, such as portable media players, Hi-Fi systems, set-top boxes, IP-TV units, car radio products, mobile and VoIP telephones.
Providing the interface between the iRoamer platform and the user is miRoamer, a customisable Internet media aggregation portal that gives users access to tens of thousands of Internet radio stations all over the world.
Torian provides a software suite which manufacturers can embed into their products, allowing access to the miRoamer.com back-end infrastructure.
Each device is registered with miRoamer, allowing users to listen to live radio in real time from anywhere at any time, manage content through folders, and share content with miRoamer "buddies".
Torian Wireless CEO and iRoamer developer George Parthimos, said the driving force behind the technology was a realisation that millions of users worldwide were streaming radio stations online. "In the USA alone, 33 million people listen to iRadio every week (up from 19 million in 2005). Most of these users are tied to their desktop computer, and are seeking an alternative method for accessing the vast amounts of content available," Parthimos said.
"miRoamer.com is a free service. Users simply need to register an account to use the service on their desktop. The service is also free to purchasers of miRoamer-enabled devices, who can configure their device using the online portal."
miRoamer isn't just targeted at end users, with corporate content available via a user-pays model. Users can also subscribe to specific content, such as the Bloomberg stock market summary, as well as tutorials, eBooks and other podcasts.
The company is also working on a car radio service expected to be launched as early as 2009 in "several global markets across multiple continents" according to Parthimos, who believes the impact of Internet radio will be similar to the introduction of the FM band.
"We believe that the traditional radio model will not necessarily change with the growth of Internet radio take-up through connected devices. In fact, the compelling reason for users listening to radio remains 'programming'," Parthimos said.
"As with the launch of FM in the 1980's in Australia, AM stations retained their place in the radio landscape due to their programming. Advertising will support iRadio content. The model is being defined now, and miRoamer is at the forefront of working with several global advertising and content companies to build an appropriate advertising and delivery model.
Parthimos cites the growth in wireless broadband as a key driver of connected devices, and expects user's desires for compelling Internet content on those devices to drive Internet radio's popularity.
However, on the local front, Parthimos believes that limited availability of suitable products in retail channels compared to countries like the USA, UK and Germany, and expensive and restrictive monthly broadband download fees could stifle the popularity of iRadio compared to the rest of the world.
But the iRoamer platform's popularity will significantly increase once manufacturers begin pushing out devices.
"There are several license and distribution agreements in place with manufacturers in China, Singapore and USA, and the first commercial batch of miRoamer-enabled products is due to begin shipping from July/August."