BBC development studio selects South African team’s idea for pilot stage

RLabs CatchUp offered a very simple and elegant solution that we hope will lead to an increase of digital consumption of BBC audio. Reaching out to the local tech scenes to drive innovation on our behalf is one way of complementing our renewed digital investment into covering Africa better.Dmitry Shishkin, Digital Development Editor, BBC World Service Group
Date: 15.05.2015     Last updated: 18.05.2015 at 10.10
Category: World Service
South African innovator RLabs Catch Up has been selected as part of the BBC development studio challenge. The Cape Town-based team was chosen from 12 teams which took part in the BBC development studio in South Africa in April.

The teams participating in the two-day event worked with various technologies exploring new ways of delivering audio in a cost-efficient way to reach younger audiences. The selected idea from RLabs is based on a simple digital widget that can easily be placed on websites. By activating the widget, the user can hear short clips of BBC audio content without distraction. The judges felt that this idea took into consideration cost efficiency, simple navigation and working with external BBC partners.

RLabs team leader Kurt Appolis, 25, said: “We are all so happy to have got through; we were excited from the start to take part in a BBC event. It was a great experience and we are now looking forward to the next phase of the pilot.”

The development studio in Cape Town was organised by BBC World Service and the BBC’s digital innovations team, Connected Studio, to find the most efficient ways to distribute audio content to younger audiences.

The BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor and judging panellist, Dmitry Shishkin, said: “RLabs CatchUp offered a very simple and elegant solution that we hope will lead to an increase of digital consumption of BBC audio. We recently had a very rewarding experience with a BBC hackathon in Nairobi, where two ideas were selected to be built into a prototype. Reaching out to the local tech scenes to drive innovation on our behalf is one way of complementing our renewed digital investment into covering Africa better.”

The Head of BBC Connected Studio, Adrian Woolard, adds: “We were impressed by the enthusiasm of the participating teams, the breadth and variety of the innovative ideas they generated in Cape Town. We are now exploring ways of developing those concepts into innovative services that will help grow the BBC World Service audience across Africa.”

The six-month pilot stage will include the creation of prototypes and user testing.

MF