Using WAP To Collect Phone Votes

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 18 September 2005

Chris Evans, now the less famous one in his ex-marriage, has been back in the spotlight as he threatens to return to TV. He also has been working on a new show for BBC Radio Two.

Chris Evans promo on the BBC homepage

During the course of this weekend's show listeners were urged to vote on a question, and they could do so online, or via WAP. We are using our existing online voting application, but with some new WAP templates to allow us to integrate the results from both mediums together and instantly display them back to the user.

Cross-platform Chris Evans vote on the BBC Radio Two site

It is an interesting development for us, as it perhaps points a new way towards combining our voting activity across platforms that will be cheaper both for the BBC and the audience. Currently when people commission cross-platform votes they expect to get an online component that will be free at the point of delivery, and an SMS route that costs the BBC in terms of setting up the right short-codes, and costs the end user in terms of their phone bill for sending an SMS.

Commercial operators are of course entitled to use SMS voting as a revenue generating exercise, but that isn't really the case for the BBC. As internet connectivity on phones becomes ubiquitous the WAP route provides a viable way for us to collect those votes. The added bonus for us is that if all of the votes are coming in effectively over IP we can aggregate them in one place without having to develop anything to glue together the data from the various media. Of course, television delivered over IP could also route voting through the same system - so suddenly it looks as if I might get complete cross-platform voting not through a convergence of our systems at the back-end, but via a completely unrelated convergence of the UK's preferred data delivery protocol.

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