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BBC Research & Development
 Hacks and Hackers October 2011
 George Wright, Head of R&D Prototyping

 @georgie




Future Media                              © BBC MMXI
What I'll talk about


•   Intro to BBC R&D and my team
•   How we work
•   Who we work with
•   What we do
•   Some recent projects
•   Working with us
•   Corporate R&D in the Web era
•   Questions




    Future Media                   © BBC MMXI
BBC R&D


• 160 staff across 3 labs
• Been in existence since 1930
• Incorporated by Royal Charter: “..maintain BBC’s position
  as a centre of excellence for research and development in
  broadcasting and other means for the electronic
  distribution of audio, visual and audiovisual material, and
  in related technologies.”
• “The UK's NASA” (House of Lords Select Committee on
  the BBC Charter Review 2005-6)




   Future Media                                    © BBC MMXI
Some highlights of BBC R&D's history



    Noise-cancelling mic (1927)

    VHF/FM transmitter(1945)
•   Colour TV (1954)
•   Digital TV standards proposed (1964)
•   Digital audio recorder/playback demonstrated (1971)
•   CEEFAX (1974)
•   NICAM (1986)
•   BBC Internet service (1989-1995)
•   Multicast internet streams (2004)
•   Freeview HD (2008)




     Future Media                                  © BBC MMXI
Who my team are


• Prototyping and Audience Experience section within BBC
  R&D
• Working at the audience end of the broadcast chain
• Full range of skills (Engineers, designers, producers)




   Future Media                                © BBC MMXI
What we do


• We build new prototypes, demonstrators and services
  across all digital platforms
• To try things out
• To explore things
• To solve problems
• Focus on user-facing things

• Also, protocols and standards for emerging platforms
• Engineering and UX/HCI research

• 5yr time horizon




   Future Media                                  © BBC MMXI
Who we work with


•   BBC programme makers (Dr Who, Springwatch)
•   Mobile and TV Platforms product development teams
•   Academia
•   SMEs
•   Collaborative partners (TSB, EU FP7, EU PPP)




     Future Media                                © BBC MMXI
A typical short term project


• Research
  Talking, reading, data
• Exploration
  Workshops, ideas, sketches, proofs-of-concept
• Build
  lo-fi to hi-fi
• Test
  Lab studies, remote home trials
• Review
  and repeat if necessary

• Average 8 weeks, with exceptions



    Future Media                                  © BBC MMXI
Autumnwatch Viewing Companion




   Future Media                 © BBC MMXI
Autumnwatch Viewing Companion




   Future Media                 © BBC MMXI
In-depth: ABC-IP

• Automated Broadcast Content Interlinking Project
• TSB funded
• What can we do with the World Service English language
  archive?
• Working with an SME
• Making sense of a massive archive




   Future Media                                 © BBC MMXI
ABC




  Future Media   © BBC MMXI
In depth: Twitter firehose

•   Granted access to the Twitter firehose
•   Technical opportunity=Open usage question
•   Workshops, discussions, existing work in this space
•   How can we track Twitter conversations to build
    something useful?
•   Disaggregate links (bit.ly, bbc.in etc)
•   Build service for colleagues and end users
•   Massive dataset
•   “Needle in haystack”




     Future Media                                  © BBC MMXI
Future Media   © BBC MMXI
P2P-Next: large scale collaborative project




    Future Media                              © BBC MMXI
In depth: multi-broadcaster, device ODM, worldwide
standardisation project: RadioDNS and RadioTAG




   Future Media                                  © BBC MMXI
RadioTAG in action




             Photo James Cridland james.cridland.net

   Future Media                                        © BBC MMXI
Future Media   © BBC MMXI
We work in the open


Site http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/prototyping
Blog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/rd
Code: http://github.com/bbcrd
Weeknotes http://bbc.in/rdweeknotes
White papers http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/
Conferences (IBC, W3C etc)
Standards bodies (W3C, DVB)




   Future Media                                      © BBC MMXI
Issues and questions


Corporate R&D traditionally has a different pace to it
30 years ago, competition came after 5-25 years of
  preparation (Channel 4, BSkyB, commercial radio)
Now, a service can be conceived, developed, tested,
  deployed and acquired in <12 months
Many new user-facing services come from the West Coast
Most are either PPU or ad-supported
Where does this leave BBC R&D?




   Future Media                                © BBC MMXI
How do you work with us?


Apply for jobs :) (jobs.bbc.co.uk)
Hack on our stuff (github.com/bbcrd)
Take part in the debate (@bbcprototyping, I am @georgie)
Come to our hackdays
Become a collaborative partner (TSB, FP7, PPP)
Build cool stuff yourself (free software pls) and share with
  us – we may hack on it with you




   Future Media                                      © BBC MMXI

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Hacks & Hackers BBC R&D

  • 1. BBC Research & Development Hacks and Hackers October 2011 George Wright, Head of R&D Prototyping @georgie Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 2. What I'll talk about • Intro to BBC R&D and my team • How we work • Who we work with • What we do • Some recent projects • Working with us • Corporate R&D in the Web era • Questions Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 3. BBC R&D • 160 staff across 3 labs • Been in existence since 1930 • Incorporated by Royal Charter: “..maintain BBC’s position as a centre of excellence for research and development in broadcasting and other means for the electronic distribution of audio, visual and audiovisual material, and in related technologies.” • “The UK's NASA” (House of Lords Select Committee on the BBC Charter Review 2005-6) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 4. Some highlights of BBC R&D's history  Noise-cancelling mic (1927)  VHF/FM transmitter(1945) • Colour TV (1954) • Digital TV standards proposed (1964) • Digital audio recorder/playback demonstrated (1971) • CEEFAX (1974) • NICAM (1986) • BBC Internet service (1989-1995) • Multicast internet streams (2004) • Freeview HD (2008) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 5. Who my team are • Prototyping and Audience Experience section within BBC R&D • Working at the audience end of the broadcast chain • Full range of skills (Engineers, designers, producers) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 6. What we do • We build new prototypes, demonstrators and services across all digital platforms • To try things out • To explore things • To solve problems • Focus on user-facing things • Also, protocols and standards for emerging platforms • Engineering and UX/HCI research • 5yr time horizon Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 7. Who we work with • BBC programme makers (Dr Who, Springwatch) • Mobile and TV Platforms product development teams • Academia • SMEs • Collaborative partners (TSB, EU FP7, EU PPP) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 8. A typical short term project • Research Talking, reading, data • Exploration Workshops, ideas, sketches, proofs-of-concept • Build lo-fi to hi-fi • Test Lab studies, remote home trials • Review and repeat if necessary • Average 8 weeks, with exceptions Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 9. Autumnwatch Viewing Companion Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 10. Autumnwatch Viewing Companion Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 11. In-depth: ABC-IP • Automated Broadcast Content Interlinking Project • TSB funded • What can we do with the World Service English language archive? • Working with an SME • Making sense of a massive archive Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 12. ABC Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 13. In depth: Twitter firehose • Granted access to the Twitter firehose • Technical opportunity=Open usage question • Workshops, discussions, existing work in this space • How can we track Twitter conversations to build something useful? • Disaggregate links (bit.ly, bbc.in etc) • Build service for colleagues and end users • Massive dataset • “Needle in haystack” Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 14. Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 15. P2P-Next: large scale collaborative project Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 16. In depth: multi-broadcaster, device ODM, worldwide standardisation project: RadioDNS and RadioTAG Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 17. RadioTAG in action Photo James Cridland james.cridland.net Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 18. Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 19. We work in the open Site http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/prototyping Blog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/rd Code: http://github.com/bbcrd Weeknotes http://bbc.in/rdweeknotes White papers http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/publications/ Conferences (IBC, W3C etc) Standards bodies (W3C, DVB) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 20. Issues and questions Corporate R&D traditionally has a different pace to it 30 years ago, competition came after 5-25 years of preparation (Channel 4, BSkyB, commercial radio) Now, a service can be conceived, developed, tested, deployed and acquired in <12 months Many new user-facing services come from the West Coast Most are either PPU or ad-supported Where does this leave BBC R&D? Future Media © BBC MMXI
  • 21. How do you work with us? Apply for jobs :) (jobs.bbc.co.uk) Hack on our stuff (github.com/bbcrd) Take part in the debate (@bbcprototyping, I am @georgie) Come to our hackdays Become a collaborative partner (TSB, FP7, PPP) Build cool stuff yourself (free software pls) and share with us – we may hack on it with you Future Media © BBC MMXI