Consumer Electronics Show: USC group helps shape future of entertainment

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Entertainment executives who can’t attend the Consumer Electronics Show can get a virtual eyeful of the technology that is shaping the industry courtesy of an innovative online project undertaken by the University of Southern California.

USC’s Entertainment Technology Center for the last three years has sent a team of multimedia reporters to Las Vegas to highlight products of interest to companies such as Disney, Sony and 20th Century Fox. The goal is to deliver in-depth, real-time product analysis to executives’ desktops before the rest of the herd gets on board.

But don’t worry, members of the public also can log in to Flickr to see a lightweight version of the industrial reportage featuring photos of products that could in the future affect their entertainment viewing habits. They can also view more information here.

The idea behind it, explained David Wertheimer, the CEO and Executive Director of USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, is “to help studios and technology companies who are interested in where entertainment is going, how it’s changing, and distill and deliver the information to executives and people at all levels of a company.”


The team of a dozen reporters attends product launches and panel discussions, and scours the show floor for products that could capture the imagination of the ETC’s corporate membership, which also includes Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Paramount and LucasFilm.

Company executives, Wertheimer said, may be too busy attending meetings at the show to get that information firsthand, or could still be at their desks in Los Angeles or New York. Information delivered to executives includes product analyses, pictures and video posted to a blog, a daily email, and further information posted to Twitter and Facebook.

Products most of interest to the ETC’s reporters this year include Internet and 3D TVs, “sidecar” boxes that can deliver Internet apps or Netflix and Hulu to a TV set, and the burgeoning tablet PC industry. Wertheimer sees apps based on Google’s Android platform as particularly noteworthy, alongside gestural interfaces.

“We’ve learned that people really value contextual information. The great thing about what we do is we don’t just report, ‘Here’s a great cool new thing.’ You can get that at other places. We supply people in the entertainment business with what products are interesting and how they can be used to shape the business.

“Over time we’ve gotten good at targeting the way we describe products and keeping it short and to the point.”


Consumer Electronics Show: Gesture recognition heats up

Consumer Electronics Show: Ultraviolet here, BitTorrent there

— Craig Howie