nēdl's Story

There are more than 100,000 radio stations broadcasting content globally, and media and entertainment startup nēdl set out to make each and every one of them easy and fun to find. The company’s name, nēdl, is inspired by an idiom: it helps you find a “nēdl” in a haystack.

nēdl’s end goal? To give the world instant, searchable access to any currently broadcasting song, news story, sporting event or interview.

nēdl’s CEO and co-founder, Ayinde Alakoye, was no stranger to radio technology. His past accomplishments include creating the Clear Channel mobile app that blossomed into iHeartRadio. He also created the Hitch Radio app. But when it came time to develop a market viable product (MVP) for nēdl, Alakoye approached Distillery for assistance.

Our Work

To develop nēdl’s MVP, Distillery assembled and placed a small-but-mighty team of proven experts consisting of the following professionals:

  • Lead QA engineer
  • Full stack developer
  • Project manager
  • Technical advisor

Jason Medeiros, nēdl’s CTO, led our team and spearheaded the MVP development project. We started by providing several months of development assistance. We began with the necessary infrastructure setup, then moved on to setting up the application’s backend of nēdl’s own Amazon Web Services (AWS) server. Next, we created the appropriate intents for handling users’ spoken commands and configuring the intents’ handlers for the app.

After that, we integrated APIs of AWS, Audials and Elasticsearch to extend the scan by song, artist and keywords functions, all of which were pivotal to launching a market viable product.

Then, we continued work on the backend server, setting strict criteria for it. The server must:

  • Receive a stream of user speech and convert it to text using automatic speech recognition software
  • Store that text in a search index
  • Provide a search API that supports the Amazon Alexa skill

The last piece of the puzzle: creating a nēdl API that performed search against the search index and integrating that API to play the stream.

Finally, after rigorous testing, nēdl was ready to launch.

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Results

Every step of the way, our Distillery team has been committed to make nēdl the world’s premiere radio app. That has meant carefully pausing to make adjustments post-launch to both backend technology and user experience (UX). Some of the updates we have made include:

  • Updating the mute button to meet traditional mute expectations
  • Automatically putting nēdl in a muted state upon returning to the app
  • Playing audio without interruption even when headphones are unplugged or an aux cord is plugged in

Some of the post-launch features added include:

  • User-created broadcasts, where every word spoken becomes searchable in nēdl’s index
  • A live-commenting feature so listeners can communicate with user-broadcasters in real-time
  • Ability to save favorite stations for effortless access later
  • In-app suggestions regarding where a user might later hear his request, if no station is playing that request at the moment
  • Custom breaking news alerts based on individually-selected keywords

Distillery is proud to have helped nēdl push the limits of broadcast technology using AWS and Amazon Alexa functionalities. nēdl enjoys a 5-star rating in the App Store, encouraging users to listen to what they love or start their own nēdlcast right away.