Case studies

BBC Tours choose onemedia to develop a bespoke Webcam IPTV Digital signage Solution

Having already provided the BBC with their internal communications system across their UK locations, the BBC had a new, unique business request they felt onemedia could provide the solution to.

With the recent move to the new, state of the art BBC Broadcasting House, BBC Tours has been setup to provide members of the public a unique opportunity to be shown around the multimedia broadcasting centre in the heart of London. With customers of the Tours keen to get an inside look at the studios in action; it’s not ideal to be taking tour groups into the studios during live performances.

The proposed solution

An idea was put forward to use some existing Digital signage infrastructure of a large 100” plasma screen, with the placement of Webcams in each studio. The onemedia solution was then shaped around the BBC tours needs, which brought streamed IPTV footage to the 100” Plasma screen in a public area that wouldn’t disturb the live performances.

What hardware was installed

onemedia created a 2x signage player application, which includes;

  • A preview player – allows the tour operator to preview each studio webcam output allowing the tour guide to check what is happening in each studio before displaying ensuring they can select something interesting for the group.
  • A Playout Player – Connected to the 100” Plasma screen, displaying BBC news by default, and one of 14 possible webcam streams the tour operator can switch to.

A branded experience

So as not to display only a webcam stream, onemedia designed 14x branded screen layout designs, one for each studio. Each layout varies slightly, but all include the unique branding, webpage and the webcam stream of the studio webcam feed they are viewing to ensure a common brand experience.

This was a specific request from the BBC, and the reason the ONELAN NTB was selected, as onemedia were able to develop the NTB layout design that supported multizone display of all the required elements, along with accepting the live Webstreams.

Apps for custom operation

With recent developments on the ONELAN NTB API, onemedia now have the capability to create bespoke user interface pages, hosted on the NTB itself. This allows the BBC, via the interface, to send certain commands to multiple players that will control the operation and behavior of applications.  

The final requirement for the BBC was to develop 2x app’s that allowed simplistic control of the applications operation.

  • Layout Control – This was the simpler of the applications that provided the Tour Operator to change the main Playout 100” Plasma Screen Design to one of 14 different layout designs, a simple branded webpage with 14 buttons, one for each layout.
  • Camera Control – The more complex application was to answer the request of each studio being able to turn off their webcam feed within the layout. There could be legal implications of certain actors or musicians not contractually allowed ‘on-screen’ during radio performances, amongst other reasons, to require each studio having the capability to turn off the webcam feed if they so desired.

Project Success

The technical team at the BBC weren’t initially thinking about using a signage player for this application, but when onemedia demonstrated the bespoke Apps they were able to develop to control the operation, along with the existing functionality of multizone arrangements and IPTV streaming capabilities, and upon their reflection, onemedia’s proposed solution using the signage player answered both creative and technical requirements.

Not only was this a more cost effective approach over using a Control System, but onemedia were able to offer more functionality and more flexibility on future changes to the application. The BBC seems very happy with the proposed solution, and it is currently in use and shown daily to 100s of visitors to The BBC Broadcasting House.