Research & Development

Posted by Lianne Kerlin, Ian Forrester on

In 2018 we will showcase a live engagement event and demonstrator of the ‘Future of the Living Room’ at FACT in Liverpool as part of the States of play exhibition and at the Western Balkans Culture Summit.


We are working on designing and creating an exhibition for a future immersive living room experience. This novel experience will explore the relationship between object based media (OBM) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, taking advantage of the hyper-connected nature of our homes to provide new media experiences. Within this living room, we will demonstrate how a range of internet connected objects will adapt and personalise to people and to groups of people in several different ways within the shared space. We aim to show how we can create a personalised, immersive and engaging environment that is both entertaining and educational. This public engagement event and demonstrator is a piece of research that aims to demonstrate and evaluate the concept of IoT augmented experiences through broadcast media, as well as identify the implications of bi-directional, immersive and social broadcast media. There is the potential of this research helping to inform and establish a new framework for the future of media in a living room setting.


When talking about the IoT there is a clear fear that personalised media (enabled by OBM) could potentially damage the social experience. When personalisation occurs in a shared space a range of research questions arise in light of how it will impact on the people sharing the space. For example, how will it impact on the social experience and how will it effect the issues around personal data, privacy and the exchange of data?

To achieve this we are embarking on a joint project with The British Council, Nottingham’s Databox team and the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) Liverpool to create an exhibition for showcasing ideas for the living room. The live demonstrator will be open to the public and capture real-time IOT data and feedback to inform our understanding and to answer important research questions about personal data ethics, privacy and the social impact of the experience.

The Partnership

The partnership will support a residency programme for two talented individuals from the Western Balkans to join us in February 2018 to develop the demonstrator. These individuals will be hosted and supported by both the BBC R&D in Manchester and FACT in Liverpool during their stay.

The residency will host a talented filmmaker and technologist working with IoT to focus on the development of content in the emerging field of OBM and IoT technologies.

What is object based media?

OBM is a way in which a programme can be presented as a collection of media objects as opposed to traditional linear media. In traditional media, sources of metadata are packaged and presented to viewers in a linear way, but with OBM these sources of metadata are re-assembled as media objects which enable a device to produce personalised media to the viewer. This personalised media can be adapted based on factors such as time, location, device, environment and viewer. Read more about OBM here.

OBM is future-facing and will explore the limits of what can be made possible when broadcast media engages with and responds to IoT devices within the home. The experience focuses on how IoT devices can be personalised within the context of the living room and builds custom experiences for cross-generational families or households of people.

The selection process for the residency

The British Council placed an ad and call out for potential candidates to enrol on a two-day selection workshop, held at Sarajevo Unlimited 2017 in November. 18 successful candidates will have the opportunity to showcase their talents by working in small teams to a set proposal and brief.

Over the two days of the workshop, candidates will gain valuable knowledge from researchers in the field of OBM, IoT, databox and data ethics in order to think about new ways of broadcasting. Candidates will be treated to a range of presentations from researchers in these fields and learn how to use the Databox platform to connect IoT devices situated around the home. Ultimately they will work in groups to design an immersive living room that will adapt, personalise and engage the audience. At the end of the workshop, they will get an opportunity to pitch for the unique residency programme in the UK and two will be selected.

The living room will be open to the public at States of Play in May 2018 at FACT, Liverpool and at The Western Balkans Culture Summit in August 2018.


Photo used under Creative Commons: cocokelley

This post is part of the Future Experience Technologies section