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Research goes wild

Press release issued: 8 October 2014

A research project has, for the first time, demonstrated the reliable streaming of video and multimedia content to large groups of Wi-Fi enabled tablets and smartphones as a multicast service.

Arkive In Your Pocket (AIYP – pronounced APE), a Technology Strategy Board funded research project, is a collaboration between the University of Bristol, BBC R&D, Toshiba Research Europe Labs, ProVision, VID Communications, Mubaloo, ARKive and technology provider Broadcom. Its aim is to provide an enriched location dependent multimedia experience for visitors to large-scale events.

AIYP has delivered a new platform for interactive multimedia experiences, targeted at wildlife experiences.  The mobile app, called “Wild:i”, could transform future visits to wildlife environments or other shared experiences, such as watching sport or attending festivals. The Wild:i app has been trialled at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre and at Bristol Zoo Gardens and will be showcased today [Wednesday 8 October].

The app was tested by visitors to Bristol Zoo last month.  The volunteers, using a tablet, were able to enhance their experience as they wandered around the Zoo. At a number of Wi-Fi hotspots they had the opportunity to:

  • Watch 60 short wildlife films, with behaviour not seen in the Zoo, covering 12 key species in the collection, including gorillas, lions, meerkats, penguins and lemurs.
  • Film parts of a visit and download the content afterwards at home.
  • Play an interactive quiz in each of the Zoo’s animal “hotspots” and find out facts about the animals.
  • Perform live recognition of individual animals using biometric methods.
  • Receive streamed live video content from a number of locations at the zoo. 
  • Enjoy fun challenges that help visitors understand the animals.
  • Plan their visit and navigate around the environment using augmented reality tools.

Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Head of Communication Systems and Networks Group at the University of Bristol and a collaborator on the project, said: “The technology opens up great new opportunities for Wi-Fi multicasting of media rich content to large groups of users in public places. This is very different from just searching the internet – it’s driven by the context, and opens up huge opportunities in any shared experience, from watching sport to travelling and shopping. It enables users to have answers to their questions in an instant.”

It is hoped, following the trial and the feedback provided by the volunteers, the app will be developed further in order for it to be launched fully in the future.

Further information

About ARKive In Your Pocket (AIYP)
AIYP is a research project co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board aimed at enhancing the public experience of large indoor and outdoor events by multicasting scalable, multi-media, interactive services over Wi-Fi. 

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