Motorola to test voice-activated Web access in radio deal

The Virgin and Chrysalis radio groups have signed an agreement with Motorola to test voice-activated Internet access through mobile and fixed-line phones.

Motorola’s PersonalOffer service will allow radio listeners to access information on, or make purchases from, ads or music played on the station.

The system uses voice commands from the caller to search the Net for details on recently played songs, allow people to buy a requested record and provide information on things such as forthcoming concerts or products advertised by the radio station.

The only human intervention will be to welcome first-time buyers and register them for the service.

The trial will soon be expanded from 20 to 150 people. It is expected to go live by the spring.

Chris Jackson, vice-president of marketing at Motorola’s personal network group, says: “Such a service could be easily extended to address the needs of the ad industry by providing information for direct response campaigns.”

Radio companies are increasing their investment in the Net. Many people listen to the radio while surfing, allowing radio to have a visual element. Making the Net available through mobiles will allow car radio listeners to use the service.

Chrysalis, owner of the Heart and Galaxy brands, Capital Radio and Classic FM parent the GWR Group have all created online divisions.

Virgin Radio, owned by the Ginger Media Group, was the first radio station in Europe to broadcast over the Web and offer online shopping and links to advertisers’ Websites.

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