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Hacks & Hackers BBC R&D


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Presentation George Wright gave at Hacks and Hackers, around BBC R&D's history, activities and research

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Hacks & Hackers BBC R&D

  1. 1. BBC Research & Development Hacks and Hackers October 2011 George Wright, Head of R&D Prototyping @georgieFuture Media © BBC MMXI
  2. 2. What Ill 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. 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 UKs NASA” (House of Lords Select Committee on the BBC Charter Review 2005-6) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  4. 4. Some highlights of BBC R&Ds 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 9. Autumnwatch Viewing Companion Future Media © BBC MMXI
  10. 10. Autumnwatch Viewing Companion Future Media © BBC MMXI
  11. 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. 12. ABC Future Media © BBC MMXI
  13. 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 (, etc)• Build service for colleagues and end users• Massive dataset• “Needle in haystack” Future Media © BBC MMXI
  14. 14. Future Media © BBC MMXI
  15. 15. P2P-Next: large scale collaborative project Future Media © BBC MMXI
  16. 16. In depth: multi-broadcaster, device ODM, worldwidestandardisation project: RadioDNS and RadioTAG Future Media © BBC MMXI
  17. 17. RadioTAG in action Photo James Cridland Future Media © BBC MMXI
  18. 18. Future Media © BBC MMXI
  19. 19. We work in the openSite papers (IBC, W3C etc)Standards bodies (W3C, DVB) Future Media © BBC MMXI
  20. 20. Issues and questionsCorporate R&D traditionally has a different pace to it30 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 monthsMany new user-facing services come from the West CoastMost are either PPU or ad-supportedWhere does this leave BBC R&D? Future Media © BBC MMXI
  21. 21. How do you work with us?Apply for jobs :) ( on our stuff ( part in the debate (@bbcprototyping, I am @georgie)Come to our hackdaysBecome 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