This was 2015 (and will be of great importance in 2016)

 

VRT is innovating in a sandbox”, the Belgian newspaper De Tijd stated recently. About a year ago we launched VRT Sandbox. Together with starters and established businesses we began exploring new technologies and processes at VRT. The past year there were about twenty Sandbox cases and they brought to light some pungent media trends.

 
 

Adoption of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality was without a doubt talk of the town in 2015. We’ve seen plenty VR experimenting going on, differently is the growing consumer adoption. As VR production material and VR software have become accessible to everyone, more and more production companies and startups put their focus on immersive media. We see VR campaigns popping up, while VR glasses find their way to everyday consumers.

 

At VRT Sandbox we produced two VR recordings in cooperation with Sporza, the sports brand of VRT. The production company Fisheye captured a 360° video at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, while the startup Yondr reported the Memorial Van Damme. Several other editorial offices at VRT are likewise performing VR trials. VRT’s innovation department takes part in a European project dealing with 360° experiences at live sports events. You’ll definitely hear more about it in the coming months.

 

dashboarding

Trend reports everywhere have been talking about it for some years now: big data. Is it the new oil? We notice in any case how broadcasts and other enterprises put effort into it. To VRT it is meaningful as well, taking into perspective how easily our access to data is. Yet, without a solid interface big data are hard to understand and give meaning to.  For some time there’s been research performed in this field. How can we formalize data so they can be put to use? VRT’s research project Providence for instance aims to predict the viral nature of news on social media. 

In a world that’s become more and more digital, hence, less linear, insights in consumer behaviour are vital. Thanks to the technology of CoScale VRT’s digital production center was able to control and measure the performance of the television and radio system.

There exist several dashboards customized to editors’ needs. It can be different, however. SmartOcto and GraphyStories are such divergent dashboards. Both are developed by startups. SmartOcto measures the impact of content at various digital channels. Sporza’s editors who took it to the test were very pleased. GraphyStories on the other hand is a content discovery platform that determines the most engaging stories at a certain time.

 

Interactive video

The number of experiments with interactive stories and interactive video increases noticeably. We’re definitely just scratching the surface. Thanks to Zentrick we were able to add an online poll in the video stream of our children’s network’s award show. Together with Moovly we created an animated video about the Paris Climate Conference. It turned out a great way to integrate current affairs in classrooms.

 

We ended 2015 with a very exciting project. During the De Warmste Week, a charity organized by our radio network Studio Brussel, we set up an interactive live stream. Viewers were themselves in control of the several cameras present at the site. Moreover, everyone could pick and choose video snippets to share on their preferred social channels.   

It is no coincidence that these two Sandbox cases were in cooperation with VRT’s children’s and young-adult’s brand. Typical of interactive videos is the way screens are transformed into interfaces. This simply feels more self-evident to younger people. Did you know that some video pioneers are part of VRT? Hannes Coudenys is one of the Snapchat whiz kid, while Tim Verheyden created an interactive story about a sugary diet. There’s more to it, VRT Start-up built a tool to assist journalists creating interactive news stories.

 

 

Virtual reality, interactive video and dashboards will continue to evolve in 2016, without a doubt. To VRT important questions are discovering how to integrate these trends in its production flow, and how to reach its audience in a better way.

 

and of course, the move to ip...

Another VRT Sandbox case with a to-be-continued status is the Live IP project. Together with industry leading technology companies we built a Live TV production studio, using state of the art IP-based and IT-centric hardware and software. At IBC the project was honored with a IABM Design & Innovation award for being ‘a great example of collaboration’. It is indeed for this reason, this great want to work together, we’re so proud of this project.