As usual, the VRT organised Media Fast Forward with the aim of bringing together the entire Flemish media, technology and innovation sector to discuss the future of media.
The annual inspiration and networking festival welcomed over 1000 visitors at the new Brussels location 'The Egg'.
This time the audience was treated to 78 speakers thematically divided over 23 sessions. The central theme on the agenda was 'polarisation', but all that seriousness was countered by some playful winks. The six stages on which the debates and presentations took place were all named after mythical game characters: Mario, Blanka, Sonic, Zelda, Pikachu and Larry.
The exhibition section consisted of three different streets with their own focus: Startup Street, Production Street and Innovation Street.
In Startup Street, a VRT Sandbox initiative, you could visit over fifty startups that showed demos of their products or technologies.
Video Snackbar brought its A-game to Production Street with five tools or projects that they realized in the past year.
And Innovation Street was the place to be for prototypes built with and for various VRT brands.
Together with more than seventy Flemish and European partners, VRT Innovation develops concepts that can make life easier for both media makers and users.
The public could discover the following six projects at Media Fast Forward, all in a hand-drawn setting by our art director Anne Manteleers.
VRT MyNWS (project CPN)
The VRT MyNWS app focuses on a personalised news experience and selects news based on the users’ interests. Using four fictional personas, we showed visitors how this technology selects news items according to what they already read, watched or listened to in the past. This way, readers receive more targeted articles and do not have to scroll to skip certain themes that do not interest them. However, the filter bubble is taken into account. Algorithms ensure that the news is not too one-sided and that top stories and general news are still covered.
We are constantly working on optimising this app. Would you also like to help us?
Become a test pilot for VRT MyNWS and register via www.pilootzone.be.
Track & Trace (project Fandango)
The internet is full of fake news and journalists are supposed to fact-check information before they publish it. We want to assist journalists and presented the Track & Trace tool which was specially developed to help them in their fight against disinformation. Reporters can check images for authenticity and discover where a manipulated image appeared on the internet or social media, when it was edited and how often the 'fake' image appeared. In this way, journalists can transparently check how, where and by whom the image was used to deceive.
Two of our prototypes covered the theme 'radio': one was aimed at radio makers, the other at radio listeners.
Marconi dashboard (project Marconi)
Radio makers are real multitaskers and nowadays there is more and more interaction between who’s behind the microphone and who tunes in to a certain radio station. In the past, listeners occasionally called in, but the communication channels have grown considerably: people chat with questions, give extra content, make corrections, take part in polls, and so on. Marconi helps radio presenters to deal with this complex interactive aspect of their job and ensures that they can manage the external input from listeners faster and more easily.
Hybride radio (project HRadio)
Many Belgians already switched from analogue radio to digital radio. Not only the channel, but also the functionalities are in need of modernisation. The classical concept of radio is strongly challenged and modern radio listeners want the radio to adapt to their needs. Hybrid radio can offer a solution and provides extra convenience: listeners can pause broadcasts, rewind or fast-forward them and enjoy daily curated lists with themes and durations of their choice. Available in two versions (mobile and in-car), our app offers radio enthusiasts endless possibilities.
In times like these you don't necessarily have to send a reporter on the spot to capture the spontaneous reactions of passers-by in public spaces. Our mobile ‘Babbelbox’ installation makes it possible to set up such recordings in an easily accessible way. Visitors at Media Fast Forward could record a short video with one of the three props provided and get acquainted with the MOS2S project. This video section represented the first part of the Storymaker.
Next, we focused on the processing of information flows in the second part of our machine, based on the following premise. Media consumers often become media producers themselves and professional media makers like to work with this material, but the input is not always predictable. Nevertheless, user-generated content is an interesting way to be closer to your public. Our prototype showed how the large stream of videos and photos could be made more manageable for creators by automatically recognizing, filtering and labelling images. In part 2 all visitor shots from part 1 of the Storymaker were nicely arranged based on the recorded props.
Let’s conclude with the message below and we hope to see you next year!
(All photos were taken by Studio Nunu.)