BBC director-general, Tony Hall, has emphasized the company’s strong focus on VR voice control technology, as it seeks out new technology to hold its strong position amidst a growing number of online competitors.
The BBC has always floated between traditionalism and pushing for future technology. The company’s previous innovations resulted in teletext, FM Radio, digital radio and integrating microcomputers into TV programming. Early innovations led to iPlayer, the BBC’s streaming video service. It is therefore logical that VR would be its next frontier. The publicly funded TV network wants to provide a more custom service, where people can watch whatever they want, just like when they are Netflixing. VR is in this sense a necessity.
Progressive and traditional
Up until now, the tv network’s VR efforts have been minimum. But the company has big ambitions, including plans to customize experiences, using a blend of VR, artificial and voice control. There are ample proposals for customized programming built around 360 Video, VR and a user’s individual demands. Much of the labor is at present experimental, with short clips and experiences, and brief commuter-friendly program versions, as well as cooking shows that adapt to your cooking skills and the ingredients in your pantry. The enterprise has created a VR app for its BBC Taster program, which enables people to test new and experimental ideas. The next step will be the launch of a VR studio later this year.
The BBC experience requires future-proofing and personalizing, not just as an innovation but as a means of survival. The British Broadcasting Corporation is funded with an annual license fee payable paid by those using a television. The company is finding it increasingly harder to justify these license fee payments, as it is confronted with political and commercial pressures on both sides.
Amazon Prime and Netflix already provide a custom-made subscription service with recommendations on viewing habits and profile-building. The BBC has already fallen behind on personalization. Virtual reality is however still an unexplored market for the BBC and if it succeeds, it will come out at the top of an emerging technology.
Virtual Reality Society