Project Overview

Impulse  logo

IMPULSE was a commercial research project in TSSG’s Digital Media Centre (DMC) funded by Enterprise Ireland under grants IP/2005/0669 and IP/2006/0669e. The original working title was “Red Button on the Radio”, by analogy with the “red button” service offered by Sky. The purpose of IMPULSE was to consider several approaches to enable terrestrial radio stations to provide simultaneous contextual information on their broadcast output and thus to generate more income.  The listener would benefit from a richer experience (having more attractive services) with participating radio stations. The participating radio station would benefit from increased audience engagement and additional commercial opportunities, e.g., marketing direct to listeners (“impulse” buying) and attaining larger market share to offer more valuable slots to advertisers, etc. The commercial partner was Hash 6 Ltd., founded by John Shiel.


The project started in 2005 and finished in 2007.

Project Achievements

The project produced several prototypes and one patent application (US 20060089914: Apparatus, systems and methods for compensating broadcast sources). These prototypes were pitched to several radio stations in Ireland and the UK.  The major technical innovation was to combine several services, notably the radio station playout system and third party affiliate marketing and payment systems to create a seamless listener/customer experience.
The main technical challenges were to
- create a robust scheme to merge these time-critical data sources into a consistent feed to listeners/customers, and to
- present this data in an easily digested and actionable form to these listeners.
The commercial business proposition was refined by the commercial partner, notably by building partnerships with radio stations, online merchants, licensing authorities and advertising agencies. In 2007, IMPULSE was spun out by WIT when it licensed the intellectual property to Hash 6, which immediately launched its Catch service. Initial customers included Spin 103.8 FM in Dublin.


Enterprise Ireland.