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Factory 42, BBCS join AR app group

UK production studio Factory 42 and BBC Studios (BBCS) are part of a consortium to have won funding for a 5G augmented reality (AR) app inspired by a forthcoming BBC1 series presented by Sir David Attenborough.

John Cassy

They have joined forces with 5G mobile network operator EE, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Talesmith and Dimension Studios to win £2.2m (US$3m) funding as part of the 5G Create competition backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It will fund an AR experience app based on The Green Planet (5×60′), fronted by Attenborough, from BBC Studios Natural History Unit and coproduced by German pubcaster ZDF and The Open University.

The series is set to air in Q1 next year on BBC1 and follows Attenborough as he travels to the US, Costa Rica, Croatia and northern Europe to explore how plants live in a variety of environments.

Audiences taking part in the AR experience app will be able to use their phones and devices to nurture rare and exotic plants and discover more about the interconnectivity of all life on Earth.

Through EE’s 5G network, they will also be able to access interactive experiences at a number of set locations.

The consortium is being led by Factory 42, which specialises in mixed-reality content and was founded by John Cassy, with each partner playing a different role in the development of the app.

The company will coproduce the project with BBCS in association with natural history producer Talesmith.

Cassy 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.”

Mike Gunton, creative director at BBCS, 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.”

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