Really cool presentation by Matt Webb (blog and business links starting from here) about the prototyping of a kind of “Social Radio” – in the hardware sense. And if you think to something similar to Last.fm, yes, Matt says that it’s “Bringing the social features their software as to a hardware product”. Actually a prototype and not a product, it’s a project they are doing for BBC. And the BBC will be releasing it with a “Creative Commons-like” license to consumer electronic manufacturers. So who knows if an actual product will ever hit the shelves, but it’s a really interesting approach.
The idea starts from the fact that radio, in Britain, is still (or, better, again) very successful. Recently took over the audience of tv for the first time after 50 years. So what about creating a complete new kind of hardware stuff, being able to understand and save your preferences, compare them to your friend’s one, and with open APIs? E.g., their prototype has a two-function physical rolling button. The first function allows you to find stations, the other let you switch between the ones you listen to frequently.
I find the idea of pulling down software function from the Web and crafting them in hardware, and then collect data to push on the web again is really fascinating. And even more powerful are the perspective emerging from the Co-creation principles that Matt used for explaining his work.