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R&D North Lab Open Days


I’m Adrian Woolard the Project Director, North Lab, BBC R&D.

Last week, we were pleased to open the doors of our recently completed Research & Development Lab in Dock House, MediaCity:UK to a wide variety of visitors to showcase our work and introduce ourselves to some of our new neighbours who have recently arrived in the North. We have produced a short film which captures some of the energy of the Open Days.


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We had well over 150 visitors from the Chairman & members of the BBC Trust, Journalists, Online & Digital SMe’s and BBC Staff from all BBC North departments take a tour of the facility and look at a selection of the work within our workplan.

A couple of reports have already been posted online by The Guardian and The Register and during the days we had a lot of feedback via social media.

Technology journalist ruskin147 enjoyed our friend the Dalek: 

Brilliant demo at BBC R&D - the toy Dalek moves in concert with the telly one pic.twitter.com/593cr1hT 

A few of the of the BBC ONLINE external suppliers SMe group tweeted and Ralph Rivera, Director of Future Media referenced the tour:

"The Dalek was my favourite one too ... a $bn idea": @RalphRivera at #BBCOnline Briefing video 

vikram_rajan said:

#bbconline R&D on bringing television experience to the disabled. Kineaesthetics was really nice.

em_cooper was interested in universal control:

Really interesting day at media city, loved tour of r&d, going to go read more about universal remote API & think re my screens #bbconline

ShapingCloud reflected on where we live:

At the #BBCOnline industry briefing at their new MediaCity HQ. The tour of the R&D department was a geeks' paradise!

Finally a member of Future Media staff graemegoulden kindly commented:

Interesting couple of sessions with BBC R&D - these guys take intelligent and crank it to 11. Mind blowing stuff.

We have previously posted updates on our progress on the project from a humble start in Oxford Road through various phases of work and building until our actual final move back in the summer.

Back in July, just after we moved in, we launched the audio research partnership and in September we helped BBC North hold the first ever Barcamp in BBC.

However, last week felt like a real launch of the facility by showcasing the reason we exist – the work!

Big thanks to the team for effort on making days a success and on the great engagement from our visitors. For those interested, here is a list of the work that was showcased:


R&D / Innovation in User Experience & Accessibility

R&D on IP end to end from Production to the Connected Home 

R&D/ Innovation in Audio

R&D / Innovation in Content Production

Extra points are given for the spotting a Canadian Mountie, the number of Dr Who references in our demos and the 5 R&D Movember ‘taches (please donate at:  https://uk.movember.com/mospace/1957686/).

Finally, if this has been inspiring to you then BBC R&D is now recruiting (2 South & 2 North) for its next generation of BBC R&D heroes.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice round up Adrian. Thanks!

  • Comment number 2.

    What is the point of doing research into the presentation of sport when the BBC's sport output is decreasing both is quality and quantity.

    As for surround sound the BBC's output is minimal compared to the number of surround sound programs on Sky. The BBC is also continuing to support the legacy DAB system which does not support surround sound at all.

    The BBC continues to distribute the lowest quality HD service.


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