The BBC is developing an app that will allow its reporters in the field to file video, stills and audio directly into the BBC system from an iPhone or iPad.

The software is being adapted for the Apple phones from an existing app used by the BBC and is due to be in use within around a month.

As part of a new strategy which will see the broadcaster focus on getting the most out of smartphone technology, it is also aiming to obtain iPhone licenses for existing app Luci Live, allowing reporters to broadcast live from the phone using 3G signal.

Martin Turner, head of operations for newsgathering, told Journalism.co.uk developing the software for iPhone was "a logical extension of what the BBC can do already" but added that it was a "significant development".

"Reporters have been using smart phones for a while now but it was never good quality. You might do it when there was a really important story.

"Now it is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end if you've got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them.

"That capability is a really important one."

Turner was not able to confirm the cost of developing the app, but said that it was relatively low as it was a case of repurposing existing technology rather than creating it from scratch.

"Were it expensive, we wouldn't be able to do it at the moment.

"It's a question of getting more value out of something which already exists, which is obviously the watchword for the BBC at the moment.

He added that the development was part of a wider strategy at the broadcaster to make better use of smartphones in its field reporting.

"The thrust of what we're doing is to be able to increase capability of reporters in the field to use a smartphone to report from wherever they are.

"And there are two strands to this – one is the use of existing apps for live contributions, such as Luci Live, the other is to use our own app to allow reporters to file content directly into the BBC system.

"We can already do this, just not using the iPhone without having someone manually inputting everything back here.

"And we would obviously rather they were free to do journalism."

Turner added that despite the current development work, the broadcaster was "not wedded to the iPhone".

"Smart phones and portable devices are a crucial part of that, but we are not wedded to the iPhone by any means, it is just one option. We are using it at the moment because it offers us the best combination of features, but it is not the only solution."

Correction: This article originally stated that the BBC would be able to use its own iPhone app to broadcast live as well as submit content into the BBC system. It has been corrected to show that third party apps will be used on the iPhone for live broadcast.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).