An inspirational meet up took place on 21 April 2015 at the Flemish EBU Member: VRT. The first results of the joint VRT-EBU-iMinds Sandbox programme, an initiative to stimulate collaborative innovation by integrating start-up businesses into the broadcaster’s ecosystem, were shared.
During the introduction, Mick De Valck, Director of Technology and Operations at VRT, explained that the public broadcaster can offer floor space, direct contact with media production teams and, critical for any starting company, associate them to a credible brand. This gives the projects a unique chance to adapt, develop and scale. In return, the projects in the Sandbox provide a lot of insight into evolving media technology which is especially important for public service organisation that have to adapt quickly to the changing media business. Moreover, VRT's living lab "De Proeftuin" (The Test Garden) was introduced as an asset of the Sandbox toolbox. Using this approach several start-ups have already been accelerated by providing them with relevant insights from target audiences.
“The VRT Sandbox is promising collaboration model – bringing upcoming technology onto the floor of a broadcaster. It addresses the immediate need of the broadcast media industry to accelerate the transfer of innovative technologies into practical use,” said Hans Hoffmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production at the EBU. EBU is supportive of this initiative as it is matching its strategic objective to bring the creatives and technologists together to investigate new flexible workflows in order to take benefit of digital platforms and the all-IP studio. As a European hub and with its international influence, the EBU is extending the Sandbox outside of the immediate Flemish region and linking it to similar initiatives from other Broadcasters.
The seven projects of the first round of the programme were presented in a series of lightning talks: metadata management and entity extraction based on learning systems in collaboration with Zeticon; Storytelling and engagement with interactive video shareable on all form factors with a platform provided by Zentrick; Cross-silo and predictive analytics with startup CoScale; Actionable dashboards for Media companies with Cleverlions; HLS streaming video playback in HTML5 with OpenTelly; Content, behavior mapping using dynamicspaces with Adhese; and Reliable network transfer with SDNSquare. Ingrid Willems from iMinds advised “Keep those names in mind, you will hear from them very soon!” 
This was the first of a series of quarterly Creative Circle events that connected around 70 media experts, start-ups entrepreneurs, researchers, developers, mentors and investors actively involved in innovation in media and creative industries. And the next round of projects have already started, intensively for the next 3 months. Stay tuned!

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