First steps in Media City UK

Media City UK

Usually on Fridays I tend to work from home or rather from a lovely tea place (called North Tea Power) in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Unless of course I’m required to be in for a good reason.

However my boss suggested I might want to try working from Media City this week? I thought about it and come last Friday morning after seeing my NHS nutritionist, I took a ride down to Media City.

Entering Media City was a little confusing mainly because I was riding and had to find a specific car park with spaces for BBC Staff. I found the right car park after a while and parked up in a car parking space. I’m really hoping they sort out proper motorcycle parking because I don’t really like the idea of parking my scooter in a massive car parking space. Car drivers have a tendancy to run over motorcycles and to be fair I don’t really want to use up such a big space. I don’t believe it will always be like that, thankfully.

Adhoc desks

After wonder out of the Car park and along to the BBC buildings (Dock, Bridge and something else) I headed to Dock where R&D North will be based. I was greeted by a friendly smile from BBC Workplace security guards. A lot of the security from Oxford Road are in the new Media City office, so its a familiar faces instead of whole new faces.

In the building, I can’t really express the feeling of new and shiny but at the same time the feeling of home. There’s a lot of strange but bold shaped furniture but I like the way its all pretty easy to move about and reconfigure. Most of them also include power points and Ethernet which means there very useful as places to plug in and get some work done.

Power and Ethernet everywhere

I was sat on one such table and had a couple of adhoc meetings with people on the desk. Nothing major just a couple of quick chats about upcoming projects… The furniture suits it perfectly. I know they won’t be everyones cup of tea but there pretty good for me.

At this time there is wifi but its locked down using 802.11x, which I have quite a bit of experience with when Ravensbourne College did the same 10 years ago. I didn’t really bother to see if I could get it working with Ubuntu directly but this guide makes it sound easy enough. There should be public-ish wifi at some point soon, but not yet. And of course R&D will have there own network along with there own wifi.

There’s some really nice touches like the welcome to your meeting room card, meeting room names based on BBC TV shows and the sometimes slightly odd wall paper

Its funny because Media City just like New Islington needs shops and services. Right now the Lowry outlet mall is the only place to get drinks or food but that will change. Talking about Food the restaurant isn’t bad, can’t quite see how it will be big enough for everyone once they move in but I guess there’s always the idea of having other food places in the other buildings. And of course there will be the usual food/drink outlets flocking into the area at some point.

I’ve added Media City UK to Wovox.com but so far its struggling with my picture uploads and the rotation. Hopefully I’ll get the shots on there pretty sharpish.

Our public gardens

The public zone is pretty nice and there’s plenty of seats for the summer months. Its nice having the tram so close but I do wonder how it will be day in day out. I’m already looking forward to riding it so I can finally regularly read my kindle and mix on pacemaker. But I don’t fancy some of the delays I’ve heard in the past. This is certainly why I’ll keep my scooter for those days when I need to get there quickly or the tram isn’t working so well.

The balcony

The Balcony areas look great and alot more useful than the ones at White City. I can’t wait to get some wifi out there and maybe a run of power and work out there all day during the summer months. Actually surprised there’s not already power of some kind out there?

Don’t get me wrong not everything is perfect, but I actually like the colour scheme and the general feel of the place. I’m still wondering how it will be when you have to run across to the canteen during the rainy months. Everyones skeptical about the hot water taps but I’ve seen and used them in Germany and Holland in hotels, and they are extremely effective and always hot when I need to use them. The lack of microwaves in the coffee area is a pain but they have there reasons.

Dock House signs

I’m sure things will change when it comes to Media City but I guess I won’t really find out till I’m settled in properly, which looks to be pretty soon. We missed the 1st wave because our floor wasn’t done for various reasons but we’re in the 2nd wave and we got our induction next week.

Exciting times… (you can see the whole set of photos on flickr in this set)

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.