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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, Calif.

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 about it."

For researchers, the conference is an opportunity to explore how StoryCast can be used as a medium for reporting, how the technology 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 or event.

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.

Related links

» StoryCast

Related technical reports

» Enabling Informal Communication of Digital Stories
» Requirements for Photoware
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