Introducing the Sonic Live platform, Powered by the Sonic Notify Technology

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Launched at Cantora Labs’ smartlounge at CMJ 2011, Oct 19-20, 2011

The smartlounge application in use at the event

Sonic Notify introduced its Sonic Live platform last week at the CMJ 2011 smartlounge, a 2-day event that bridged the gap between music and technology with a totally immersive physical and digital live music lounge. Sonic Notify powered the event with the smartlounge application using its patented technology. Sonic integrated partners including Spotify, Turntable.FM, SoundCloud, Sol Republic, and Plus Music into a single application, all interconnected with audio.

Sonic Notify’s technology is a first of its kind audio encoding format that allows for the transmission of significant information through any audio system, whether a purpose built emitter, a classic AM/FM radio, a television receiving a cable or satellite signal, or a computer streaming video over the Internet.

Sonic Live is built with this technology, which enabled Cantora to unify unique interactive experiences for the smartlounge attendees through the audio system already at the venue. Sonic developed and powered the smartlounge mobile application for the iPhone and Android that was used as guests’ required entry passes into the event. Encouraged to keep it open throughout the event, the application read the Sonic code that was being transmitted over the venue’s speaker system. As guests’ smart phones heard the code, guests were presented with contextually relevant content delivered in real-time based on the guests’ physical location within the venue.

The first of its kind application and its integrations were a huge success, shaping how guests experienced the smartlounge. Across the 700 guests in attendance, 667 (over 95%) engaged with the application, receiving at least 17 unique pieces of content each. Over the event’s two days, the application delivered 11,867 pieces of content with 1,077 unique interactions. Comparing this to the classic “Internet Click-thru Experience” draws a stark comparison; guests chose to engage with 10% of all activations they received, making the smartlounge a blockbuster release for Sonic Notify and Sonic Live.

Activations were tailored to highlight each technology partner to the greatest extent. Spotify provided artist-curated playlists that attendees received while bands were performing. Guests were notified within the application that a playlist was available (passively through the audio system), and were taken directly to their mobile app to listen to the playlist. Knowing the audience at the lounge was highly targeted, the contextual relevance of the content was compelling and enabled content engagement with over 375 people.

The Sonic technology was also used to give away free Sol Republic headphones. At various points through the event, a special Sonic code was emitted passively through the audio system to notify a random number of application users that they had won free headphones. More examples of activations can be found in the case study.

Users continuously kept their application open in hopes of receiving the next piece of content, or for the chance of winning one of the giveaways. The unique activation of Sonic garnered countless exclamatory tweets by music and tech writers in attendance, and its innovation in the live event space was written about in major publications.

Sonic Notify was founded as a collaboration between then Columbia University Electrical Engineering student Alex Morgan Bell and the successful technology development firm Densebrain, as led by Jonathan Glanz. By utilizing advanced decoding algorithms and low cost hardware, the team has put together a patent pending technology for delivering content to smart phones through any speaker. The cost point and versatility of the product open up what was once a niche field of location advertising, to the wide world of possibilities. The end product promises to revolutionize how companies reach people, by allowing contextual and proximity specific marketing and messaging that can target a consumer within a foot of a product, a room in a venue, or in front of the television.


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Jonathan Glanz
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