Connected Studio: the first pilots

Tuesday 9 October 2012, 17:41

Adrian Woolard Adrian Woolard Director

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The Connected Studio Ideas Wall

The ideas wall at a recent Connected Studio event

As we enter the autumn and Connected Studio starts its next wave of Studio events, I'd like to bring you up to date with the first 10 concepts that have been selected to be developed into functional pilots. The following were all pitched at the first three Creative Studio events held earlier this year - HPSN, Weather & Travel and CBeebies.

Before we get into the detail I just want to state a little disclaimer that these all are working titles, and in various early stages of development. The concepts are not necessarily going to become future products and their pilots will be testing certain key unknowns - some of which will be going through user testing.

So without further ado I am pleased to announce the following:

Connected Studio One: Homepage, Search & Navigation

BBC Genius - Kent Lyons

A one click personalised view of the BBC based on your browsing history. BBC Genius provides users a service that allows personalisation the BBC Home page based upon their browsing history across multiple devices. By scanning the user's history of BBC services, BBC Genius provides a personally defined home page with content dependant on the amount of time a user has visited different sections of bbc.co.uk offering a tailored page pertinent to every user.

BBC Now! - Red Badger

'BBC Now!' offers a dynamic updating element to the homepage to encourage the audience to discover new and latest content in real time.
A vision of a Homepage that is more dynamic, updating in real time so that users don't have to leave the Homepage to see new content. The longer users spend on the Homepage, the more they will 'discover' what it has to offer. The future of this would provide automated personalisation and surface content more relevant to the user without the user having to manually personalise.

BBC Pocket Page - BBC internal team led by Fiona Iglesias

The Pocket Page pilot will create a compact version of the BBC homepage - a Pocket Page.
Presented in a "block" that can be embedded on any third party webpage, the Pocket Page will be populated with BBC content chosen specifically to support the topic or theme of the host page.

Website owners will be able to configure Pocket Page to 'fit' their own site. They will be able to choose how the 'block' looks ie the number of results per slide and the number of slides as well as the type of content to be shown

BBC Wander Wall - Goss Interactive

The Wander Wall focuses on the user experience of a 4 way scroller, infinite scroll and hover to be used on the homepages of an extended programme such as Strictly Come Dancing or events like Sports Personality of the Year and Glastonbury.

Connected Studio Two: Weather & Travel

Weatherbot - Nixon McInnes partnering with BBC internal team

A personal forecast, on demand, by sending a tweet or direct message to @bbcweatherbot
Users can request a personal forecast for a particular time and place by sending a tweet to @bbcweatherbot. The user receives the forecast via a tweet

Weatherapp - Milky Tea & CTI

Weather application giving real time geo-located reports based upon UK location or venue
A crowd sourced weather application showing a simple weather forecast, and real time geo-located weather reports from real users, so that you can find weather right now at any UK location or venue.

Connected Studio Three: CBeebies

"Are we there yet?" Journey App - Aardman Animations & Profero

Are we there yet?" A mobile application that delivers a contextually relevant and compelling CBeebies experience to be consumed during a car or train journey.
A collaborative mobile app for parents/carers that transforms car journeys into adventures made up of contextually relevant CBeebies songs, stories, games and radio content.

The Playguide - Mudlark, Dean Vipond, Tom Morgan

The Playguide is a way for grown-ups to understand how children use CBeebies, and help them tailor a child's development.
It enables them to learn about the child's use of CBeebies and what that means in terms of skills. By feeding back a child's activity to a grown-up in real time it provides a simple, clear and understandable summary. From this the parent is given a way of guiding the child's activity, shaping the experience without dictating it. It provides the opportunity to create playlists based upon likes, loves and development aims.

CMeebies - Fettle Animation, Thought Den, We Are Thought Fox & BBC Internal

A CMeebie is a digital CBeebies friend app that goes with you across all 4 screens and beyond....
Think of your CMeebie as a much-loved toy or invisible friend in the guise of a favourite CBeebies character. It's a companion guiding you to the website, finding the stuff you like and showing you new stuff that you might like and it's a friend that plays with you and sets you challenges via a mobile app.

Playroom - Codegent, Everyday is like Sundae & BBC internal team

Playroom is a place where children and their parents, can discover curate and create content around CBeebies brands that they love. Playroom offers the opportunity for children to add elements to an online 'Toy Box' from in and around the CBeebies sites in the form of bookmarking. The Playroom 'Toy Box' provided children a space they can save their favourite features of their CBeebies brands within their highly personalised space - a space that is shared by child and grown up, where voice recognition can be utilised by the parent to make them a greater part of the experience.

Scribbles on the Connected Studio ideas wall

Scribbling on the Connected Studio ideas wall

As the first slate of pilots, I am very proud that these ten are now progressing towards piloting & testing. Not all will prove viable but we are confident a number of these will make it into BBC Online within the next 6 months.

We have been blown away by the creative and technical skills that all of the attendees have shown to date and what can be achieved in such a short amount of time. I am particularly excited by the openness of a range of companies and individuals who have agreed to collaborate together to develop a joint concept- in many cases without ever meeting before the Studio. This desire and flexibility to combine skills and passions is a bonus - particularly when we have matched BBC staff with externals.

Finally, I am sure that a number of you reading this will think "I can do better than that", "that isn't innovative", "that won't work" or "I had that idea five years ago" which are all fair comments and are part of the challenge of innovation but I'd encourage you to sign up to future events to come and do better!

The studio is OPEN TO ALL creative technologists, freelancers, editorial producers, technology start-ups, digital agencies, designers, coders, inventors; all from inside and outside the BBC. See you there.

Adrian Woolard is Programme Lead, BBC Connected Studio

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