Posted by & filed under Tech Review, Tech Tuesday.

Originally posted on the Newsroom 360 website, I’ve decided to post the series on my blog starting with the most recent first.

History

The fact that this app’s name is pronounced I-pay-dio gives some clue to its origins. Long before the iPad was even a glint in Steve Jobs’ retina this tool was originally created to host IP Radio, making it easy for people to broadcast from their mobile phone. Instead of just being designed for the slick multimedia prowess of the iPhone, ipadio was way more utilitarian, enabling people to be able to broadcast on many mobile phones with a reception of 2G or less, and even from satellite phones. At news:rewired they announced the launch of an iOS app which like its Android equivalent also has the ability to livecast across a broad spectrum of social media channels.

How it helps you

According to ipadio’s CEO Dr Mark K Smith there are over 200 uses for ipadio but there are plenty of features useful for journalists. It’s particularly good for live news stories because of its efficiency in low bandwidth areas. The fact that you’re able to phone in your report also means it can get past internet restricted events, which is why it was used during the Egyptian revolution and is currently being used by someone climbing Everest. It also has a mapping function which makes it perfect for travel journalism or filing back reports from a march. Journalism.co.uk have also shown how this phone call function can be used as a conference call to record an interview – which is partially transcribed via Spinvox.

In practice

I installed the new iPhone app onto my phone and did a quick quiet test. The system is straightforward to use and you can attach up to four pictures before uploading.

I also uploaded an old John Paul Jones interview with pictures or “Phlog” to the site. This offered more customisation including the ability to add tags and alter the location.

After I’d done this Dr Smith (CEO) got in touch with me in person and said he liked the John Paul Jones interview and allowed me to video stream on my phone. I tested out this function with a video that was broadcast and also uploaded to YouTube almost instantly.

Although this ipadio video Flash embed (which is still in Beta) disturbs my the HTML on this page.

Finally, I tested the audio from both the iPhone recording function:

And by phoning my broadcast in:

As expected, the phone-in audio was more condensed than iPhone but both uploaded very quickly, with the latter actually beating the former despite having to run through Spinvox’s transcription.

Further conversations with the very helpful Dr Smith led me to the discover the Beta Admin function which allows you to fully customise the privacy settings of each broadcast. This means you can keep your phone interviews private but can still report “as live” if need be. I was very impressed by the support community around this app including the blog and training videos.

Drawbacks

Only a few minor gripes, I’d say that the audio quality is not as good as Audioboo and that the video doesn’t allow you to add metadata on-the-hoof like Bambuser does.

Summary

A great tool for filing multimedia stories from the field no matter what device you’re on.

Rating

  • Vadim

    Thanks for the overview Dan,

    It’s exciting to see whether ipadio and some of close competitors (Audioboo and Mixlr) will really catch on.

    Anyone
    interested in streaming live audio can also try a new free service
    that lets anyone host live broadcasts through their own website or blog
    using a simple widget at http://croice.com/

    -Vadim