FERNDALE (WWJ) — Livio Radio has rolled out two new products aimed at automakers and car audio makers as it completes its transition from Internet radio company to software company.

Production of the nifty Livio Radio, a table radio that automatically sought out a Wi-Fi Internet connection and offered tens of thousands of audio streams, is no more.

Instead, Livio is concentrating on its relationships with the auto industry as it markets Livio and Livio FM Weather.

Livio Keys is a Web-based system that allows automakers to offer deals through car audio systems — for example, a free six-month trial of a new music app, or a free oil change at a particular shop. Livio manages the relationships between OEMs and companies offering deals. The system allows companies and app developers to offer deals to consumers through the OEM audio system. The OEM can say yes or no to the proposed deal — and can even tailor it by vehicle model, trim level or geography.

The system works with Bluetooth through smartphones or proprietary link protocols, which includes compatibility with HTML5 sites, mobile apps from iTunes, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and OEM-installed dashboard apps.

Nicole Yelland, marketing and communications manager at Livio, said the company has both hardware and software teams out in the marketplace meeting with OEMs and app developers, “showing them the possibilities.”

Livio’s other new technology is called the FM Traffic Button. It’s a single button that can be placed on a radio touch screen. When it’s pressed, the smartphone in the car connects to the Internet and the car audio system. Then, a commercial preroll is played — a commercial that can be sold and controlled by the automaker. Then, the system links to local traffic from Total Traffic Network, a subsidiary of the Clear Channel radio station group.  When the traffic report is over, the radio automatically switches back to the station the user was listening to.

“Every time that button is pushed, the OEM makes money,” Yelland said. And the fact that the system requires no confusing menus or hardware upgrades makes the automakers and regulators happy, she said.

Yelland said Livio continues to grow. It’s currently at 17 employees at its Ferndale storefront headquarters, with five open full-time positions (and one internship) at http://livioconnect.com/jobs/.


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