by Jamie Beckett
Reporters from Red Herring magazine are set to try out a new HP
Labs multimedia storytelling service at the publication's Spring
2005 conference on cutting-edge companies and technologies.
Called StoryCast, the experimental service lets users create and
share narrated photo journals instantly with a camera phone or
other mobile device. It will be among a number of emerging technologies
featured at the conference, scheduled for May 17-19 in Monterey,
For the reporters, the trial offers an opportunity to use a new
medium of communication, a sort of "photoblog on the fly," said
Lee Bruno, Red Herring senior editor. Reporters will be equipped
with specially designed HP iPAQs, which they'll use to capture
some of the more casual conference interactions that occur outside
the meeting rooms.
When complete, stories will be shared on a conference Web and
played on a plasma screen in one of the conference open areas.
"We want to experiment and see what we can do," Bruno
said. "This is opportunity to play with something and become
part of the next generation of technology and the way people talk
For researchers, the conference is an opportunity
to explore how StoryCast can be used as a medium for reporting, how
changes the way news is reported and what new types of stories
might now be possible.
The project is part of HP Labs research into consumer applications
and experiences. People might use StoryCast, said researcher Philippe
Debaty, to share experiences with friends and family, to keep an
audio-visual journal to create a virtual tour of a house, museum
Debaty, who worked on the project with researchers Rakhi Rajani
and Alex Vorbau, said he wanted to create something like StoryCast
in part because he wanted to use it.
"I thought that if something like this was available, it would
help me to feel more connected with my family back in France," said
Debaty, who is based in Palo Alto, CA, but hails from Grenoble. "I
don't consider myself a good storyteller, but this technology makes
it easy and fun."
Researchers will shadow two of the four reporters during the conference.
Afterward, they will interview reporters about the experience and
poll conference attendees about the stories they viewed.
The conference is Red Herring's 9th annual showcase for promising
private companies. This year, the conference places a special emphasis
on "disruptive technologies," with sessions on such topics
as voice over IP, wireless communications, clean energy and nanotechnology.
Attendees include CEOs, venture capitalists and business leaders.