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Multi-platform application toolkit

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MPAT (Multi-platform application toolkit)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-12-31

The goal of the Multi-Platform Application Toolkit (MPAT) is to open up the emerging possibilities of hybrid TV to content producers, by providing an easy-to-use authoring tool for the creation of interactive multimedia applications. The project is on the one hand focusing on delivering essential tools to create basic applications while on the other hand the system can be expanded with 3rd party plugins to enlarge the functional possibilities and also templates to enhance the visual and navigational experience.

Motivated by a WordPress-like technical and business approach, MPAT makes application development affordable and sustainable while creating a new eco-system for content creators, theme and plug-in developers alike.

With MPAT, media companies can semi-automatically author their set of customized applications that are then populated with content by the editorial staff or by linking MPAT to existing content management solutions. The open-source MPAT core will provide all the essential features to create compelling multi-screen experiences for HbbTV and other HTML5-based devices.

Applications relating to the TV and video content should be usable on any device at any time, allowing a seamless transition from the live TV experience to on-demand consumption. So whether the content is viewed in a live linear broadcast environment or as on-demand content, the user experience is always appropriately adapted to the context.

MPAT will create the technical core as well as the business foundation for a new ecosystem focussing on the design and creation of attractive TV multiscreen applications. The main advantage of MPAT is that it is extensible in two dimensions: plug-ins for building additional features and themes for designing the look and functionality of the application. The entire concept fully builds upon established and ever-developing standards like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, plus HbbTV as an extension for the TV domain.
"This covers the first annual period of the MPAT project from December 2015 to December 2017.

In this time period the project identified a set of typical use cases and scenarios, derived requirements for the MPAT editor from this, developed a consistent design for the UI and implemented a functional MPAT editor and a set of support tools.

Using early versions of the MPAT editor, the project created small showcase applications for the IFA entertainment fair in Berlin and the HD Forum Italia Conference, both in early September and October, respectively.

Based on the experiences from these showcase applications, the MPAT editor was further improved and used to create the first large pilot application for the MPAT project, the HbbTV supporting material for the Band Camp Berlin TV series produced by RBB and broadcast Germany-wide via the public broadcasting channel aimed at children and adolescents, named KiKa.

To increase visibility and awareness in broadcasters, creative content creators and other stakeholders, MPAT presented demonstrations and showcases early in the project lifetime on relevant industry fairs and events.

In the second year of the project, the focus was on using MPAT for creating pilot applications, using these applications for broadcast and industry events and improving MPAT for use in daily broadcast production by feeding back experiences from content creators into the implementation.

Applications created in addition the the initial ""Band Camp Berlin"" Application, included the ""TgCom"", ""Sport Mediaset"" and """" application, comprising the initial offering of on-air HbbTV applications in Italy by Mediaset, as well as the ""Brandenburg Aktuell"" anniversary and the ""Täter Opfer Polizei"" applications by RBB. In addition to these on-air applications, various other applications have been created for individual events (like the IFA or the MPAT workshop) and for experimental use, as the ""Tower"" app at the University of Lancaster.

Primary dissemination channels for the projects were all broadcast industry events and exhibitions, where MPAT was present, usually with an application or editor demonstration. These events included IFA, IBC, Fachtagung FKTG, EBU Broadthinking, NAB, Changing the Picture, HD Forum Italia and the HbbTV Symposium. In December 2017, the project organized a workshop at IRT in Munich to present MPAT in a hands-on tutorial to representatives of German broadcasters.

Taking the HAT editor, which was the result of the earlier FI-CONTENT project, as a base, MPAT has added functionality to make the system more attractive to broadcast users and content creators

Based on use cases and scenarios derived from broadcaster experiences and needs, the primary innovative features of MPAT are:
• Based on WordPress as the underlying CMS
• Role support for broadcaster administrative infrastructure
• Full system including asset manager and application export
• Consistent layout and interface model
• ‘Page Flow’ navigation
• 360° Support
• Hotspot support
• Support for easier continuous update of content
• Easier integration of staging and production instances
• Production level playout support

Supporting the typical workflow for broadcasters and content creators and working closely together with both, MPAT provides a significant step beyond the previous state of the art by removing the need for custom coding applications aimed at TV consumption, allowing the provision of small and programme specific TV applications to the broadcaster offerings.

On a larger, societal level, MPAT provides content creators with easier access to TV presentations of supplementary material, reducing the entrance barriers to TV specific presentations beyond the simple broadcast of video content. MPAT opens up the TV platform and makes simplifies provision of content across broadcast and broadband domains, supporting the convergence of those areas.

For consumers, MPAT allows for new viewing experiences and brings content that was previously only available on a different platform easier to access and closer to the TV. Currently, supporting material for TV programmes, such as documentaries, are mostly web based, requiring the user to switch from the TV to a separate browsing device. MPAT not only brings supplementary closer to the 'main feature', it also allows a closer binding between video content and additional content, enabling new forms of TV based applications without the need of custom coding.
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