reverse innovation: Orange's Liveradio example


online TV and radio: two revolutionary ways of staying tuned

Here are two interesting innovations I’d recommend. It’s not every day you buy a product and once you’ve unwrapped it you think that it’s made your day.  It’s not every day you buy a product and switch it on and find out that it works well and that you are ready to use it and feel quite exhilarated.  It’s not every day you fulfil a requirement at €129 (£99 UK price). And this is exactly what happened last Saturday when I went to buy Orange’s Liveradio, an Internet radio that works — and works well — is user-friendly and doesn’t force you to switch on your computer.  Who would want to do that when one has just woken up, is hardly awake, and poring one’s cornflakes in a bowl.  I am not even mentioning fighting one’s computer addiction which is one of the major drawbacks of having to work in computers all day long. Liveradio is selling like hot cakes in France and has also been introduced in England.  At the end of the day what is willing revolutionary about it is not its website which you may want to use to configure your radio, although it works reasonably well.  What is revolutionary is that this appliance is well and truly a computer but you can’t see it and don’t have bear its flaws.  In essence it is sort of innovation in reverse.  Instead of having a radio plugged or emulated by a computer, it’s a computer that is integrated and hidden within the body of a radio, that is to say a computer with fewer functionality but just the basic functionality that a radio needs. Its menus are versatile and customisable and you can browse the radios much more easily by using the simple straightforward jog dial than using a mouse on a computer.

At the end of the day, Liveradio is the only way to listen to France Inter in England or the BBC in France, or any other combination of countries/radios.  It’s a very comfortable and no hassle way of using Internet radios.  Similar products exist or will be produced and made available soon, but they are  not so many and not so easily available.  One could also recommend Liveradio to that group of strangely eccentric fanatics of FIP radio, a 70’s style music-only Paris-based channel belonging to Radio France. This group of fans is based in Brighton and they are constantly fighting to gain access to it from across the Channel.

Another revolutionary online entertainment option is that of watching Internet TV on one’s mobile, and this is not fiction, it does work well. I found it on a French Geek’s blog and I can advise a very good link to sky News here.  The link to the BBC doesn’t work though, unfortunately.  French TV channels all work well with 3G/3G+ for what they’re worth.

We are just a few months/years away from mobile entertainment anywhere, any time for the masses and it’s not difficult to imagine what kind of sociological changes will be triggered by such technologies which will enable you to connect at any time in any place.

Yann Gourvennec
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