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VOX Hackathon 2019

Over 2 days, 30 people from 10 Members organizations came together for the second VOX Group hackathon, hosted by VRT in Brussels. With the first EBU VOX hackathon held last year at NRK in Oslo, these events provide an environment for members to collaborate, innovate and share information relating to smart speakers, voice control and digital assistants.

The role of Public Service Media in such a key and rapidly evolving topic is important, and the EBU and its members have an important role in shaping and influencing how audiences will consume their content on these platforms.

Participants were encouraged to bring along their own individual ideas relating to one of the following themes:

  • Voice control in automotive
  • Voice control to help or improve accessibility of content
  • Voice control for storytelling/drama content
  • Voice control across audio/video or with video-only devices

At the start of the event, teams were formed after sharing their ideas and encouraging mixing between the different Members. These ideas were then shaped with the help of facilitators from VRT’s innovation lab. Using techniques such as the 6-step storyboard, empathy maps, personas, innovation battlefields, future scans and the business model canvas, ideas were tested, improved and made more user-focused. Once their ideas were refined, each team presented their “pitch” to the others before they started work. The hacking continued into the evening, resuming early on Day 2.

Towards the end of the second day of the event, each team then gave a demonstration of their idea to a panel of 3 judges drawn from EBU Members and others. The judges assessed each on three criteria: 

  • innovation (how imaginative the idea was, was it a new solution to an existing problem?)
  • implementation (how much of the demonstration was tangible) 
  • presentation (how engaging was the final presentation).

The judges noted that each project was strong, and there was great value in all of the ideas presented and some great potential in combining some of the ideas together.

The overall winner was a team drawn from BBC, VRT and Yle with “The Passenger”, an interactive tool that would help to inform, educate and entertain audiences in cars on long journeys. The judges remarked that it was something that could be deployed now, and showed strong potential for showcasing content and opportunities for partnerships with other organisations.

You can find out more about the EBU VOX Group here.