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ROCC, The Chairman and the BBC

It’s not every day that ROCC features on BBC2 . In Robert Peston’s Going Shopping Series our Chairman and my Father Michael Aldrich explained his and ROCC’s significant role in the online shopping revolution.

Having had the original idea whilst walking the dog, of connecting a TV to a supermarket to avoid visiting the shops on a Friday, Michael had this idea in mind when in 1984 ROCC worked with Gateshead Council to develop a solution that allowed vulnerable and infirm residents to get food delivered to their doors. So after some technical witchcraft and connecting a TV to Tesco’s, the first user, none other than Gateshead resident Jane Snowball 72, used the ground breaking leading-edge technological pioneering system to order cornflakes… well you would wouldn’t you.

ROCC with its TV knowledge and history through former parent company Rediffusion and Computer expertise were uniquely placed to effectively transform the humble TV into a computer terminal. Speaking from personal experience as a 14 year old staring at this piece of technical innovation residing in my parents study, a very chunky 32 inch Rediffusion TV in 80s brown, I can’t say ordering groceries by pressing the red phone button on the remote control was that exciting and I may have missed the commercial significance of it. Jeff Bezos didn’t. The technology, as these things do, mutated into car dealership systems and various other things which proved very successful.

Some months back we were contacted by the BBC who were fascinated by the story, which can be further explored through the Michael Aldrich Archive and his Wikipedia page and the Snowball story was told. Apparently the late Jane Snowball is in danger of going viral.

Some members of the ROCC team and some volunteers from the University of Brighton have spent some considerable time recreating the original system- truly a labour of love- the adventure that was putting the Snowball Shopping Machine back together again we will chronicle soon.

More information and to watch the BBC2 show

Posted Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Luke Aldrich

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