More lab work for USC

ETC eyes content research unit

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC is planning to build an Anytime/Anywhere Content Lab, a modular research and testing site being developed for the industry to explore how consumers interact with entertainment in an integrated environment.

The lab is part of an expanding agenda for the ETC, which is best known for its pioneering efforts in digital cinema.

"Traditionally, the ETC has been a resource to bring together the technologists and thought leaders from the entertainment industry to talk about how technology and entertainment come together," said David Wertheimer, executive director of ETC @ USC. "Moving beyond the success ETC had with the Digital Cinema Lab, now we are expanding the focus to talk about not only content creation and technology but how consumers will interact with products and how we can create new types of offerings for consumers."

As part of this effort, ETC also is working to expand participation in the neutral organization to include all stakeholders. Some of the items on the agenda would include bringing stakeholders together to help identified gaps in the system and opportunities for innovation. It also plans to seek feedback from USC students, the "next generation of consumers."

Said Wertheimer: "We have a facility that is a few blocks off of the USC campus, and we are looking long term to build a dedicated Anytime/Anywhere Content Lab that is more of a warehouse with an interior and exterior setting." The current location contains a partial test setup but a more encompassing design that would feature a spectrum of products, services and technologies is being developed. A search for space is under way.

The ETC @ USC is a nonpartisan organization in the School of Cinematic Arts. Executive sponsors include the six studios as well as such companies as Cisco, Deluxe, Lucasfilm and Thomson.