Profile: senior technologist

Senior technologist Robert Wadge on his work with the IP studio team

As more and more devices appear on the market, the BBC needs to ensure that its infrastructure is flexible enough to deliver programmes to all of them. Robert Wadge, a senior technologist in the IP studio team, researches new methods of programme delivery at the BBC’s Salford-based research and development lab. A large part of Robert’s job is investigating the pros and cons of replacing traditional studio kit and infrastructure with internet protocol technology.

“We’re in a position to influence the wider broadcast industry” - Robert Wadge

The IP studio team’s key innovation is a system where pieces of video and audio content are represented as individual objects streamed over the studio network. Alongside these are streams of data that describe the media, their relationship to the real world and to the production process. This data can be used to generate a live display to the director and production manager, allowing them to make quicker and more informed decisions about what content they want to use.

As well as benefiting production staff, Robert and his team hope that this technology will ultimately lead to viewers having more control at the user end. The aim is that a programme and all its relevant data will be sent directly to the user device, and the viewer can then create their own tailored version of a programme. This presents new opportunities for personalisation, such as dynamic data-driven graphical overlays and re-mixing driven directly by the viewer.