Here's another buzzword to add to your techie dictionary – Podcasting. So what is it anyway?
Podcasting is online audio content delivered via an iPod that can be delivered on demand. Just like radio on demand that you listen to when you log on to a radio station's Web site and listen to through your computer, Podcasting offers the same features, plus a lot more.
Podcasting uses a technology called RSS ("Really Simple Syndication") feeding to deliver audio content to listeners through their iPods or other audio players that support MP3 formats. This feed can serve a large number of purposes from delivering music and talk shows to radio listeners to content for self-guided walking tours, and even informational or instructional training sessions for companies where employees are in remote locations or are traveling.
Like the Internet, Podcasting is a communications medium that gives one person or an entire company an unparalleled opportunity to reach the masses. As it evolves, users will find more creative kinds of content to deliver.
The best advantage of Podcasting is that content can be heard at a time and a place of the listener's choosing.
Consider the benefit of work-related tutorials or training – lessons can be listened to during the morning or afternoon commute to and from the office. And think of the advantages that it poses for businesses – no more gathering employees for company-wide training sessions; they just download the material, listen, learn and go.
And consider the benefit of educational lessons and foreign-language instruction. You can fly to another country and learn its language while on the way there. Even better, imagine the unlimited collection of books that can be read aloud to children, the elderly or the visually impaired.
A Driven Following
Companies are quickly jumping on the bandwagon and realizing the full potential of Podcasting.
Two months ago, for example, Gary Cowger, the president of GM North America, launched a Podcast introducing the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne luxury sedans at the Chicago Auto Show.
Implementing Podcasting at your office is relatively easy and inexpensive, too. Investment in a good microphone is a great first step, and will ensure that you get the highest-quality audio possible for your listeners. When you get all of the right equipment and a good bandwidth connection to the Internet, you can download or purchase the software to create the Podcast feed.
If you are feeling brave or are technologically savvy enough, look for audio-editing applications that will enable better compression rates. Compressing your Podcasts not only produces a better-quality sound, it allows you to deliver more content in a smaller amount of space.
If you're interested in creating your own Podcasts, check out the following Web sites: www.feedforall.com, www.feeddemon. com or www.podcastalley.com.
The ease of use and the simplicity of implementation are going to allow Podcasting to grow exponentially over the next few years. What it becomes may be as extravagant and varied as those who create it.
Michael Trantas is CEO, e-Safe Solutions, Inc., and can be reached at: [email protected]