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BBC Research & Development wins Queens Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2011

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Matthew Postgate Matthew Postgate | 10:58 UK time, Thursday, 21 April 2011

I am always immensely proud of the work of the teams within BBC Research & Development and still marvel the impact the group manages to have upon international broadcasting.

Today I am particularly proud as it has been announced that our sports graphics system Piero has won a "Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2011".

These awards are extremely coveted; they are made annually by Her Majesty the Queen and are only given for the absolute highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category. I'm very happy to say that Piero certainly lives up to these accolades. Since it debuted on Match of the Day in 2004 Piero has been used to enhance the coverage of RBS Six Nations Rugby, last year's World Cup in South Africa and thanks to Red Bee Media who licensed the technology is now used by broadcasters in over 40 countries.

Although it is not the first time the department has received this honour, it is the first time we have received a Queens Award since 2001 so I would like to take this opportunity to thank the superb team of engineers and technologists who have made this happen by working on Piero during its development. Led by Graham Thomas these are: Peter Brightwell, Jigna Chandaria, Robert Dawes, Hannah Fraser, Oliver Grau, and Chris Pike. I'd also of course like to thank the Piero team at Red Bee Media for taking the Piero technology to the world. RedBee have been a great partner in the process of technology transfer that turns the ideas created in BBC R&D into things that shape the world around us.

Finally I would like to acknowledge the wider effort it takes to achieve engineering excellence at this level. Within the department we recognise that creative engineering is about a team working together. It is in the chance interactions between engineers where the best ideas are created and when one team is engaged in a deep investigation their colleagues often support them by taking on the day-to-day activity that many other parts of the BBC rely on BBC R&D providing.

Finally we are really lucky in that we have a great support group around our researchers who amplify their efforts through providing everything from the right working environment to securing the budgets we need for the work. In this instance I would like to thank Caroline Green and her team for helping the Piero through the application process.

To celebrate the win Graham Thomas has written an excellent post about Piero on our BBC R&D site and you can also access the official BBC press release here.

I'm looking forward to some of our other innovations sharing similar success in the future!

Matthew Postgate is Controller, Research & Development, BBC Future Media


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