13th January 2021
World-leading creative, technology and scientific organisations to use power of 5G to deliver an Augmented Reality Experience inspired by The Green Planet, with funding from Government’s 5G Create competition
Six of the world’s leading creative, technology and scientific organisations form consortium to create new experience inspired by the forthcoming BBC Studios Natural History Unit landmark series The Green Planet presented by Sir David Attenborough
App will use unique 5G capabilities to deliver an immersive experience to engage audiences in the natural world
Group wins £2.2m Government grant through the 5G Create competition to fund the experience
BBC Studios, 5G mobile network operator EE, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Talesmith and Dimension Studios today announce The Green Planet 5G AR Consortium, led by the immersive content studio Factory 42. The Consortium will work together on an innovation project to explore and develop a ground- breaking AR experience inspired by the landmark BBC One upcoming TV series, The Green Planet. The TV show will be presented by Sir David Attenborough. The app, inspired by the series, will be designed to encourage audiences to discover new and surprising wonders of the natural world. The consortium is one of nine projects to win £2.2m funding as part of the 5G Create competition backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which is exploring how 5G technology can be used by a wide range of sectors including the creative industries.
The unique combination of increased capacity and dense coverage of EE’s 5G network, enhanced by the lower latency and faster speeds of edge computing will mean large groups of people can access rich interactive experiences in a number of set locations. Combined with AR technology, this will enable audiences of all ages to explore the world from the fascinating perspective of plants and discover more about the interconnectivity of all life on Earth through high resolution holographic video delivered over EE’s network.
Scientifically accurate digital botanical imagery, verified by Kew’s world leading scientists, will enable people to find out more about the flora and fauna that inhabits our planet. People will be able to use their phones and devices to nurture rare and exotic plants, observe their behaviours and watch in seconds as they grow in urban backdrops while seeing the animals that live among them. The consortium will also work with digital learning specialists to ensure the app not only entertains but also gives audiences a deeper connection and understanding of plant life in an interactive way.
The consortium is being led by Factory 42 with each partner playing a different role in the development of the app. Factory 42 will co-produce the project with BBC Studios in association with natural history producer, Talesmith. The three organisations will bring creative direction and the powerful story telling of Sir David Attenborough; EE will deploy its 5G network and edge computing; while Dimension Studios will provide the volumetric capture video technology that will create the holographic images in the app.
John Cassy, Founder and CEO, Factory 42 said: “The importance of protecting the planet has never been greater and the opportunity to use emerging technologies to engage audiences of all ages in environmental issues in new ways is hugely exciting. We’re delighted to have pulled together a unique consortium of world leading organisations and look forward to showing how 5G networks will enhance our everyday lives and our understanding of the world around us”
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure said: “5G Create is about exploring new and inventive ways we can use 5G to give British industries a competitive advantage. This cutting-edge app, fronted by broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough, is set to be an inspiring example of how new technology can reconnect us with the natural world whilst demonstrating the power of 5G to a huge new audience.”
Mike Gunton, Creative Director, BBC Studios said: “Innovation has always been at the heart BBC Studios Natural History Unit. We believe that the App inspired by The Green Planet has the potential to reach millions to showcase the beauty and fragility of our natural world and inspire positive change around biodiversity and habitat protection for the benefit of all species.”
Marc Allera, CEO, BT’s Consumer Division said: "This pioneering project will exploit the technological advances that underpin EE’s 5G network to help deepen our appreciation of the natural world. Understanding our environment has never been more important and by using Augmented Reality we will enable users to immerse themselves in nature. I am delighted that we can utilise EE’s 5G capabilities to show how modern technology is a means to informing and inspiring greater responsibility towards our planet.”
Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “Kew is proud of its reputation as a world leading scientific institution. Sharing our expertise more widely via this app represents an exciting opportunity to bring the wonder and magic of nature to new audiences. We hope that the fun and thrill of being in these virtual worlds will help motivate people and generate greater understanding of the plant kingdom, on which all life on earth depends.”
Steve Jelley, Co-founder and Joint Managing Director of Dimension Studios, said: “There has been no better advocate than Sir David Attenborough for the natural world. We’re thrilled to be using volumetric capture to bring Sir David’s remarkable message to millions, ultimately changing people’s attitude towards our planet.”
Martin Williams, CEO Talesmith said: “This cutting-edge project is what Talesmith is all about - it represents a fantastic opportunity to entertain and inform while inspiring a whole new digital generation to care deeply about the natural world, using a medium they connect with and enjoy. We’re delighted to be working with Factory 42 and their partners on another world-leading experience.“
Factory 42: Gabby Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org 07711 442 528
Dimension Studios: email@example.com +44(0) 7951 537288
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talesmith - Mark Ogle 07789 981561 email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
About Factory 42: Factory 42 is a multi-award-winning immersive content and experience studio on a mission to reimagine entertainment. We combine the best talent from film, television, games and performance art with the leading technologists to create entertaining, engaging and immersive content using augmented and virtual reality and other forms of immersive technology. Credits include the acclaimed virtual reality projects Hold The World with Sir David Attenborough, in conjunction with Sky; Painting the Future, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts which won Best VR Experience at the Broadcast Digital Awards, and an immersive film inspired by the English National Ballet’s acclaimed version of Giselle, choreographed by celebrated dance artist Akram Khan. The company is backed by angel investors and an advisory board of CEOs, CMOs and founders from Silicon Valley, UK mobile operators and tech firms and leading leisure brands.
About BBC Studios Natural History Unit: BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries from both its own productions and programmes and formats made by high-quality UK independents. Award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, including factual, drama, entertainment and comedy. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including six production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes around 2,500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector. Created in April 2018 by the merger of two existing commercial subsidiaries, BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, the company has revenue of around £1.4bn. In the year to March 2019, it returned £243m to the BBC Group, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.
About Dimension Studios: Dimension provides world-leading volumetric production studios to elevate and shape the future of virtual entertainment and content. Based in London and Newcastle, and able to bring XR, digital humans, and virtual production solutions directly to brands and studios around the world, Dimension is the first Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture studio partner. For more information visit: www.dimensionstudio.co
About EE: EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. EE brought the first 4G network to the UK in October 2012, and launched the UK’s first 5G network in May 2019. EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being named the UK’s no.1 5G network by RootMetrics® in 2020 and being named the UK's best network every year since 2014 for the following awards: The Mobile Choice Awards, The Mobile Industry Awards and by RootMetrics®. As well as offering mobile services to consumers and small and medium businesses, EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections.
EE is committed to being number one for service in the industry, and has nearly 600 shops across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK’s Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019. EE was awarded The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards. EE is part of BT’s Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT’s consumer customers in the UK.
About the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant and fungal diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew Gardens’ 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. The Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre is Kew’s third research centre and only overseas office. RBG Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.
About Talesmith: Talesmith are multi award-winning producers of a new kind of specialist factual content for the modern generation. Led by four-time Emmy-winning film-maker Martin Williams, Mark Wright and Ruth Roberts, this is a team with decades of world-class science, natural history and adventure production experience. Talesmith strives to push the boundaries of storytelling and innovation, embracing the latest technology and working beyond broadcast to include VR, AR, 3D, 4D and Visitor Attractions. This team has won global accolades, producing some of the highest profile factual specials and series of recent years, alongside a strong track record working with incredible access and top talent, including Sir David Attenborough, Prince William, President Obama & Professor Stephen Hawking. Talesmith is highly experienced within the global market and co-production, crafting compelling stories for the international audience.
Recent credits include Prince William: A Planet For Us All (ITV, 2020) Shark Week 2020: Lair Of The Great White (Discovery, 2020), Aib-Winning Series Earthrise (Al Jazeera, 2019), Multi Award Winning Takaya: Lone Wolf (Cbc/ BBC/ Arte, 2019), Panda-Nominated The Real T Rex With Chris Packham (BBC/ CBC/ France Tv, 2018), The Life Of Earth (Smithsonian/ Zee, 2018), Hold The World With David Attenborough Vr (SkyVR, 2018), Flyride Five Mountains 4D (Legend Cultural Development, 2019) & Flyride Changbaishan 4D (Legend Cultural Development, 2018)