Title: Ignite the Immersive Media Sector by Enabling New Narrative Visions
Call ID: HORIZON-CL4-2021-HUMAN-01-06
EU nr: 101070109
Period: 01/10/2022-30/09/2025 ( 3years)
Total Budget: 8,997,632 €
VUB Allocated Budget: 675,625 €
Contact: Prof. Dr. Wendy Van den Broeck
The culture and creative ecosystem, of which the news media and audiovisual industries form an integral part, has been deeply affected by the pandemic according to the European Commission. Their ‘Media Action Plan’ aims at supporting media industry recovery and comprises three areas: recovery, transformation, and enabling and empowerment. Transformation foresees innovation actions to support transformation of media industry, and the creation of a European Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) Industrial Coalition.
We have asked Wendy How does TransMIXR fit into this Media Action Plan? How will this be done? What is key to TransMIXR? Wendy: “Next generation TransMIXR media experiences will be uniquely data-driven, interconnected and user responsive. Extending current advances in Social Virtual Reality, audiences will consume novel eXtended Reality experiences carefully crafted by professional journalists, cultural heritage curators and creative media producers. To achieve this, TransMIXR will overcome 4 major challenges: 1. redefining existing workflows and processes for meeting the requirements of the cultural and creative sector (CCS); 2. understanding and processing complex media content at scale; 3. creating novel eXtended Reality (XR) creation tools, as collaborative environments for professionals; 4. deploying new environments for the consumption and adaptation of novel Social XR narrative productions.”
How will this be done? Wendy: “Within the TransMIXR project, we will apply a living lab methodology which is based on an iterative and human centred design approach. A living lab can be defined as a research and experimentation environment to investigate large groups of users over a longer period within their natural use context in interaction with innovations. The living lab methodology supports the whole development process, from idea generation to exploration, experimentation and evaluation. By organising user research as part of a living lab, the whole development cycle is supported, providing in-depth insights on the users via mixed methods research resulting in qualitative and quantitative data. The result is that we can tailor the technology such that it responds to the real user needs and expectations.”
So, why is it important? Wendy: “Social Sciences and Humanities have a key role in the TransMIXR project. Firstly, the human-centred design methodology we apply within the project is characterized by its interdisciplinary nature which places the user in the centre of the innovation process. It includes methods that originate in communication sciences, sociology, ethnography, economy and psychology. The living lab methodology itself was also developed by social scientists. Social scientists in TransMIXR take the lead in ‘translating’ user and social requirements into specific technical requirements. Second, the integration of social sciences and humanities is also clear in the selection and development of the TransMIXR specific use cases: newsroom of the future, performing arts, museum experiences. These topics have an important societal relevance and touch upon different current societal issues, including disinformation, inclusion, accessibility. Within the use cases, we focus on information and entertainment, but we also have the ambition to connect and inspire and educate and empower. We also plan to actively look into the potential transferability to other relevant societal domains, including healthy ageing, tourism and telecommunications.”
The future of media experiences is still to be written, and the maturity of eXtended Reality (XR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies provides a unique window of opportunity for the European Creative and Cultural Sector (CCS) to reimagine digital cocreation, interaction and engagement possibilities. TransMIXR, a consortium of eight representatives from the CCS and twelve leading industrial and academic partners, combines the necessary interdisciplinary skillsets and domain expertise to create a range of humancentric tools for remote content production and consumption via social virtual reality. The project’s TransMIXR platform will provide (i) a distributed XR Creation Environment that supports remote collaboration practices, and (ii) XR Media Experience Environment for the delivery and consumption of highly evocative and highly-social immersive media experiences.
The ground-breaking AI techniques for the understanding and processing of complex media content will enable the reuse of heterogeneous assets across immersive content delivery platforms. Using the Living Labs methodology, TransMIXR will develop and evaluate four pilots that bring the vision of future media experiences to life in four CCS domains: (i) news media & broadcasting, (ii) performing arts, and (iii) cultural heritage. Additionally, the project will harness the creativity of the CCS and will forge interdisciplinary collaborations to demonstrate how immersive social experiences could be transferred to new application areas beyond the CCS.
The results of the project will contribute to the Media and Audiovisual Action Plan from the European Commission, in particular boosting the adoption of XR technologies, opening new business models opportunities in new application areas and markets, and gaining worldwide leadership in XR technologies while being deeply grounded in European values such as veracity, diversity, connectedness and universality.