A start-up called AudioStreamTV is taking another crack at getting the sound turned up at countless sports bars and hotel and airport lounges by using speakers and ear buds of smartphones.
The company has developed an app called Tunity which grabs network audio feeds and makes them available through the cloud – so users can zero in on that feed and hear what broadcasters are saying. The app seems to use the smartphone camera to scan and recognize the broadcast signal, and that’s pair with geo-location to sort out what and where.
Yaniv Davidson, the former Intel executive behind Tunity, told the New York Post he got the idea for the app simply by traveling and observing people. “I saw all these people in airports watching TV with no sound and I started thinking about it. What if I could create a technology that will solve a consumer problem and help a brand solve a huge problem?”
The Post reports the company already has 80,000 app users, and the tech is working with TV channels such as ESPN, Fox Sports, CNN, Bloomberg and Fox News, among others. There are no broadcast networks on board and the threat of copyright infraction looms large.
“We are prepared for that,” Davidson told The Post. “It’s one reason we are introducing ourselves to the networks. We see it as a service to them, we are enhancing viewership and there’s data that we can bring.”
Something similar has, and is, being tried already by companies like Hear My Lips, which has tried bringing its tech into the digital signage market.
Hard to say if this sector would ever have much appetite for adding this capability. It’s largely a short-form, glance-driven medium, so how many people would make the effort to tune in?
Then again, it could work back of house for training, fitness machines, as well as in some medical settings.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.