CES 2009: Time for Some Internet Standards!

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imda_logo_big“Hey, will that play on my iPod? How about my cell phone?”

These are common questions these days. Internet no longer means being tethered to a computer. A bewildering array of devices out there are now able to tap into the power of the web. Unfortunately, there is no set standard for streaming media or podcasts at this point, a situation that is a fly in the ointment for audio media consumers at best.

Enter the Internet Media Device Alliance (IMDA), an organization that is having its debut meeting at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Jacqueline Emigh of BetaNews sums up their mission nicely in her current article:

[…] a new association established to improve device interoperability across music, podcasts, on-demand content and other applications used in Internet radio and other media services

As I am sure our readers realize, the enacting of standards will allow for a much faster and and broader range of growth for all who deliver audio over the Internet. The rate of proliferation that we see in Internet audio makes this an even more important effort, and one that seems to be gathering a hefty amount of initial momentum.

Via the IMDA Website:

The number of Internet-connected media services is rapidly proliferating, representing a diverse range of offerings including: broadcast radio stations, personalised music services, podcasts, on-demand content and on-demand jukebox services. With so many varied services available, it is becoming increasingly important for consumers to be able to confidently purchase a device that works simply and reliably with their favourite content provider. The IMDA Certification and Logo programme will provide increased confidence to consumers and retailers, and allow manufacturers to clearly and consistently co-market their support for such services.

The nascent membership of the IMDA represents this diverse media eco-system, including representatives from the leading radio broadcasters, music services, technology providers and device manufacturers, bringing an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise to the new body. In addition to the process of standardising the technology base, the IMDA plans to bring consistency to the marketing of internet connected devices, increasing consumer awareness, understanding and willingness to purchase.

Nascent it may be, but the IMDA membership rolls already contain some pretty well known names in the field. The steering committee for the Alliance is comprised of the fllowing notables:  Harry Johnson (vTuner),  John Ousby (BBC),  Anthony Sethill (Frontier Silicon), Colin Crawford (PURE),  Nick Piggott (Global Radio),  Ben Terrell (Reciva), Olivier Carmona (AwoX),  Oliver Depardon (Orange [France Telecom]),  Stephan Noethen ( TerraTec) and Todd Beals  (Audiovox).

The inaugural meeting of the IMDA will be taking place today at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during CES. Kicking off at 8AM,  it will outline the Alliance’s mission, objectives, organizational structure, as well as pitching the benefits of membership. This, to me, is one of the most interesting things to come out of this year’s CES — at least so far!

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