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BRISTOL, UK, December 9, 2005 – An HP Labs research team has won two technology awards from the UK’s prestigious Royal Television Society (RTS).

The Active Print research group in Bristol is part of a consortium that contributed to the Coast Mobile Experience, the mobile phone walks created to accompany the BBC's highly successful Coast TV documentary series. The technology partners were BBC Learning Interactive, Gavitec AG, and Hewlett-Packard.

At the RTS annual awards dinner in London on 8 December, TV technology news journalist Stephen Cole presented the collaborators with the awards for Technology in Content Delivery and Technology in Consumer Electronics.

There are 12 Coast Mobile walks, each with eight or more walk points. At every walk point is a BBC Coast sign with instructions for the public to obtain BBC content on their mobile phones, including audio, images, text, facts and dramas about the place you are standing, plus directions to help get to the next walk point.

The BBC provides conventional methods for obtaining the content, including dialling and SMS. But the HP team – Tim Kindberg and Kenton O’Hara – and Gavitec collaborated with the BBC to provide walkers with a new way of obtaining rich multimedia content conveniently, using their camera phone. Using the BBC Code Reader application that HP created using Lavasphere, a key software component from Gavitec, walkers point their mobile phone’s camera at a two-dimensional barcode on the sign to take them straight to the BBC’s content about where they are, without the need for browsing or multiple key presses.

HP Labs carried out an in-depth study of a sample group of 19 people and found that they rated the Coast Mobile Experience “very good” or “good”, and that the barcode reading was quickly learned.

Project leader Tim Kindberg explained: “Lowering the effort needed to fetch the content also helped contribute to ‘magic moments’, where it felt special to the users to experience content about exactly where they were standing at exactly the time of their own choosing.”

The RTS citations read:
Technology in Content Delivery: Coast Mobile Interactive – BBC Learning and Interactive/Gavitec AG/Hewlett-Packard

“The judges were impressed at the manner in which the winning entry integrated known technology with a complex production to produce a new and attractive experience, together with an innovative use of mobile phones. The architecture of the technical system was fully utilised and the result is a new, innovative programme experience.”

Technology in Consumer Electronics: Coast Mobile Data Codes – BBC Learning and Interactive/Gavitec AG/Hewlett-Packard

“The judges recognised the application as an innovative exploitation of mobile phone technology, used to enhance the appeal and effectiveness of a television programme.”

For more information visit:

The Royal Television Society https://www.rts.org.uk

Active Print home page https://www.activeprint.org

BBC’s Coast https://www.bbc.co.uk/coast/mobile

Related links

» Project web site (Active Print)
» BBC 'Coast' Mobile Experience
» The Royal Television Society

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