BBC R&D

Posted by Ant Miller on , last updated

Happy new year to everyone out there, and straight off, let's look at the imminent relocation of the R&D (South Lab) from Kingswood Warren to Centre House. As you might imagine, such a massive programme of work is having a huge impact on the department right now, so we thought it was worth giving you a quick update on progress over the Christmas and New Year break.

Site Preparation
No one would expect a standard 1980's office block, and one that's been out of use for two and a half years at that, to be immediately ready to accommodate a world-class broadcast engineering research laboratory, but what may surprise is the speed with which the site has been converted for our needs. It was only in July of 2009 that the final greenlight for this work was given, and since then what was the home of BBC Drama has been radically overhauled.

Huge amounts of air conditioning have been added to the building to accomodate the extensive computing facilities that will occupy one whole floor of the reconditioned facility. We've also had power supplies upgraded- the digging up of the site to add new cabling uncovered one of the little surprises this part of town has to offer!

Phase 1
So right now we have Phase 1 completed, which thanks to the sterling efforts of BBC Workplace and the main contractor, was achieved a day ahead of schedule and to an impeccable quality standard. Now the very first sections of the building are in our own IT specialists' hands being rapidly configured to support the first research teams who will move on site on the 12th of February. This work will include turning what was a very run-of-the-mill building into one of the BBC's most connected facilities ever- with more data connectivity per square metre than any other building. Of course, if we're going to be developing the media technologies of the next decade and beyond, we need to be ahead of the curve in terms of the infrastructure we use. Also going ahead in the period from now until the 12th February is the installation of new digital TV test-chain facilities (aka the "Transmission Suite").

Still to come is the addition of the satellite farm on the roof to give us the facilities to continue to contribute to the development of that method of distribution.

TC 0
In addition to the laboratories and offices being built out in Centre House, we've also been given the go-ahead to set up TC 0 as a research space. TC 0 (pronounced tea-sea zero) is a smallish television and radio studio in Television Centre, just across Wood Lane from Centre House, that we'll be using for our continuing work on advances in production technology. Even with the best efforts of the architects and designers from BBC Workplace, there were some facilities we were never going to shoehorn into Centre House, so taking on this space at Television Centre allows us to continue to provide cutting edge research and development in the studio environment. It may also be a great space to demonstrate projects to colleagues at TVC!

TC 0 will be ready for occupancy at some point around the end of February this year, but Centre House occupancy is just five weeks away! And within two weeks of that, we'll all be there!

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Exciting times indeed!