The BBC has published a strategy document that it hopes will help technology developers and facilities providers better tailor their services and products to the needs of the corporation.

The paper discusses outsourcing, standardisation, user experience and product innovation for both audience facing technology and broadcasting operations as well as back office and business systems.

Its purpose is to help the BBC “change gear in terms of its relationship with technology and how it fulfils some of the BBC’s public purposes”.

The corporation also hopes it will make it a more “agile, responsive and dynamic organisation.”

BBC chief technology officer John Linwood said: “To enable the BBC to continue to provide audiences with innovative ways to enjoy our content, it’s essential that we are tapped into the very best and most innovative creatives and technology inside and outside the corporation. To do this effectively we needed a clear and open direction.”

A long-term view of the technology direction for the BBC has been provided, although it is suggested that all decisions are likely to be re-visited every two years.

Key ambitions within the strategy document include the following:

  • The BBC needs to focus more on core infrastructure and business systems.
  • Technology used in the BBC should be fit for purpose and just work. It should make tasks simpler, faster or better
  • It is vital that the BBC focuses on and improves the collaboration and engagement model both across divisions and within them to realise financial and operational benefits.
  • External partnerships are key to the BBC. The development of technology going forward must therefore be designed to be open and modular enough to allow benefits to be leveraged by key partners.

Off the shelf and metadata

The paper also details that off-the-shelf technology should be used where possible.

It states: “The BBC must strive for further standardisation in the technology solutions it employs to minimise the overall costs and maximise re-use. The use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies and solutions should be the preferred option.

“Whilst specific customisation is necessary it must be done consciously and when commercial off the shelf offerings have been evaluated.”

The document also suggests that metadata should never be underestimated.

“Any new technology introduced into the BBC must be able to capture and pass through metadata. In conjunction with the technology the BBC divisions must redevelop working processes and policies to leverage the wealth of information generated throughout the content production lifecycle,” detailed the report.

More to come

Further, more detailed, technology strategies are currently being written to reflect the direction/s set out in the paper.

These will include documents on stereo 3D, rights management, post-production systems, transcoding and media movement, virtualisation and cloud computing and more.

These will be made public once completed.

The full document can be found within a BBC blog written by Spencer Piggot, head of technology direction, B&EGT, BBC FM&T.