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VOX Hackathon 2018

The EBU VOX Group is a member-led expert group across the EBU Digital, Radio and Technology & Innovation departments. It includes representatives from Member broadcasters who have strategic interests for the future of Audio and Video with the advent of voice-controlled digital assistants.

The aim of the first EBU VOX hackathon was to explore the new voice technology on both Google and Amazon ecosystems, putting forward a common challenge to mixed teams (developer – product managers – content/marketing) from across EBU Members to come up with creative solutions, showcase talent and above all learn from each other.

9 teams accepted the challenge and decided to take part in the hackathon: 2 from hosts NRK and 1 each from SR, VRT, BBC, RTE, SWR, RTS and RTBF.

Each team was asked to decide the concept and scope of what they wanted to be working on before starting the hackathon. Exploring the multiple scenarios that voice technology opens for PSM, the teams came up with a lot of different ideas for possible future skills to develop. Here's an overview of the macro-themes that each team decided to focus on:

  • How to focus on user experience when using voice recognition devices;
  • How to make voice technology useful and helpful for people's everyday life;
  • How can voice technology improve the news offer for PSM;
  • How can smart voice devices align with the user's mood when selecting content to offer  

The first day started with a brief presentation of each team's ideas and concepts to the group. After that, the teams began 'hacking' and went on for more than 12 hours.

On the second day each team presented their work to a panel of judges. The brief for the whole hackathon was very open, so each team could decide how they wanted to set up their pitching session. Some of them went for a combo of overview of their strategic approach + demo, while some others went straight into the practical demonstration of their skills' functionalities. 

The criteria on which each team was judged to define the winners were: 

  • Content discovery and navigation for smart speakers
  • Dialogue and interaction for smart speakers

The winner in the first category was the SWR team that worked on a skill set able to enrich the radio listening experience across smart speakers and mobile devices.

The prize for the second category went to the BBC team that, with their "User first not voice first" project, focused on making the user experience the key element of voice technology devices, focusing on the importance of content discovery abilities.    


June 20

  • 12:00 – 12:30 Arrival, welcome and light lunch
  • 12:30 – 13:00 All teams present their intended scope and planned concept
  • 13:00 – 22:00 Hackathon part 1

June 21

  • 09:00 – 12:00 Hackathon part 2
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Presentation and jury
  • 13:00 – 14:00 Lunch and speed dating
  • 14:00 – 14:30 The jury delivers their verdict. Thanks and goodbye! 


The hackathon is free and registration happens in two steps:

Since the hackathon will be designed for teams you first have to confirm that your organization can send a team (anything between 2 and 5 people is a team – above that we would split into two teams).
You should at least have one developer profile in your team. 

The second step is to register the individual team members via the registration link: https://www.regonline.co.uk/voxhackathon

Travel & Accommodation

Each participant is responsible for his/her own travel and accomodation arrangements. 

Here is a list of some recommended hotels in Olso:

Comfort Hotel Xpress Youngstorvet
Comfort Hotel Karl Johan
Comfort Hotel Xpress Central Station


Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsons plass 1
0340 Oslo, Norway (map)


  • VRT - Breaking news on voice devices - VRTMembers Only
  • SWR MIX - SWRMembers Only
  • SR - With you during your day - SRMembers Only
  • RTS - Virtual receptionist - RTSMembers Only
  • RTE Highlights - RTEMembers Only
  • RTBF - Tarmac experience - RTBFMembers Only
  • NRK Mood - NRKMembers Only
  • NRK - Is it true - NRKMembers Only
  • BBC - User first not voice first - BBCMembers Only