Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Media Innovation & Living Labs

About this Research Area

Within the MILL-unit, our main focus is on the question “How can we ensure that new media technologies can be valorized economically and are in line with user needs and expectations”?

We conduct user, market and business modeling research on technological innovation in the broad media sector (advertising, broadcasting, online news, social media, publishing, audiovisual production, radio..), with a particular focus on personalized and immersive media. Concrete examples include personalized online news, 360° content (sports, documentaries) operated via Head Mounted Displays, personalized TV-advertising, and hybrid radio experiences combining live radio with Spotify-like streaming features.

As a key methodology, we apply our multi-disciplinary living lab framework, that aims to improve the design, development and adoption of future products or services by involving stakeholders throughout the whole innovation cycle. We actively guide and coordinate prototype development from start to finish. By putting people at the heart of innovation design, we ensure that each party involved has a voice in the complex decision process of technological innovation. We also factor in the role of usage context, studying people’s use and experience of technology in everyday life. To ensure this, we aim for constant methodological innovation.

Our user research offers a means to ultimately improve the meaningfulness, user experience, and credibility of an innovation. It identifies barriers and drivers for people to start using new technologies, and continue usage, early in the development process. By doing so it helps reduce costs associated to development and design, but also in later stages (e.g. for maintenance and user support).

We combine this user research with market analysis and business model configuration. Using developed and tested in-house frameworks, we evaluate what the current market for the product or service could be, what resources and stakeholders are required to launch it, and which business models are feasible and/or desirable. We tie in user and business research by gauging interest, competing products and willingness to pay with users and by assessing business model configurations together with them.

We applied our living lab research framework in a number of H2020 European media projects (Immersia TV, HRADIO, CPN) as well as in national projects related to Personalised news and immersive media (ICON Trendify, Google DNI Newstapas,..).

Key Results

Policy Brief
10 Mar 2020
Policy Brief #33: Three main regulatory challenges for 5G roll-out in Belgium
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Policy Brief
22 May 2019
Policy brief #26: News personalisation: Problem or solution?
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Policy Brief
7 Nov 2017
Policy brief #12: Overheidscommunicatie in Vlaanderen: Hoe communicatie verbeteren met de burger?
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Policy Brief
6 Feb 2017
Policy brief #9: Targeted advertising op uw tv? Veel verwachtingen, evenveel vragen…
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