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BBC deploying field apps for reporters with iPhones, iPads

updated 08:00 pm EDT, Tue June 14, 2011

Similar to existing 'citizen journalism' apps

The BBC is developing a single app intended to allow its field reporters to file video, images and audio reports directly into the BBC News system from an iPhone or iPad, reports. The new app, which will replace a hodge-podge of commercial apps like AudioBoo currently in use, will allow correspondents to broadcast live from an iPhone even using only a 3G signal.

The capability of the iPhone 4 and iPad to shoot 720p video and to attach higher-quality microphones to the portable devices has enabled the BBC and many other news organizations to rely on them as cameras in situations where broadcast cameras would prove intrusive or dangerous. Reporters have been using smartphones to file stories for some time, but usually only in a breaking situation. As the cameras and technologies have improved, however, the devices are being used more and more often.

The company is seeking permission to site-license a software it already uses for live, on-air 3G broadcasts -- called Lucy Live -- to enable them to use it everywhere, giving reporters an ability to broadcast without having to rely on cumbersome satellite or codex equipment or rely on local Wi-Fi connections. It is expected that the broadcaster will also develop versions of the app for other smartphone and tablet platforms, but has begun the initiative by designing for the iPhone and iPad.

The app is not expected to be released commercially, as it will tie directly into the BBC's central news-gathering system. A number of commercial "citizen journalism" apps already exist, such as Blottr, and members of the public can still send reports to the BBC using these apps. The new BBC app is expected to become available to reporters next month.

by MacNN Staff



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