Like most residents of The Smoke, you probably don't visit tourist attractions like London Zoo unless out-of-towners (or your sprogs) require entertaining. Now, though, you don't even need make the trip to Regent's Park to gawk at some of the zoo's cutest critters, with new livestreams that send footage from several enclosures straight to the screen in your bleak office cubicle. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has teamed up with Google to make this so, in a two-month trial that's testing video broadcasting over TV white spaces (vacant frequencies in the TV spectrum). Live footage from the meerkat, otter and Galapagos tortoise enclosures is being sent over these idle frequencies to a central location, which forwards them on to YouTube (streams embedded after the break). This isn't just so you've got something to stare at during your 15-minute sandwich break, though, as the main aim of the trial is to figure out how white space transmissions could be used by conservationists out in the field.
ZSL hope that within the next couple of years, small cameras that send imagery over white space frequencies can be used to assist conservation efforts in remote locations -- think endangered species monitoring, and poacher thwarting. It's one of many white space trials being conducted in collaboration with Ofcom, the UK communications regulator. Ofcom expects that off the back what's learnt from these trials, dormant spectrum will begin being used for reals next year, for applications such as providing internet connectivity in hard-to-serve locations.