Buy Now and Avoid the Rush Hour

It happens to most of us. You're tooling down the road, listening to the radio, and you hear some music that captures your interest. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to easily find out who the artist is and what label they record for without waiting for the announcer, so you can head to your favorite music outlet and buy the disc? But how about pushing a button and ordering the item right there on the spot—from the driver's seat?

To that end, Sirius Satellite Radio has just announced a marketing and technology alliance with ATX Technologies that is expected to lead to the integration of ATX's two-way cellular communications and location-based technology, and Sirius Radio's satellite audio entertainment system (see previous story), into a set of services intended to bring shopping to the automobile.

Sirius and ATX say they are planning to deliver a full range of automated telecommunication functions and e-commerce options as part of Sirius's In-Vehicle E-Commerce (IVEC) initiative, which focuses on giving consumers the ability to make purchases directly from their cars. Sirius's Ira Bahr states that "ATX plays an integral role in Sirius Radio's In-Vehicle E-Commerce strategy, giving us the tools to conduct interactive transactions with our customers. Furthermore, by creating a two-way link with our subscribers, we are delivering on our promise to create radio programming driven by the needs of our listeners."

"For example," says a Sirius press release, "with the touch of a button on their radios, listeners will be able to buy music, books, video, and other goods and services being promoted on Sirius Radio. It will also be possible for Sirius Radio users to voluntarily give real-time feedback on programming and convey their usage and preferences for the up to 100-channel service." Sirius adds that other applications include remote vehicle diagnostics; downloading navigational information; enhanced, nationwide traffic reporting; and remote control of specific vehicle functions such as doors, windows, lights, etc.