USC Launches Annenberg Innovation Lab

The University of Southern California launched the Annenberg Innovation Lab, aimed at studying and designing software prototypes for digital technologies including e-readers, HDTV, mobile (including geo-location), and social networking.

The Annenberg Innovation Lab’s initial focus, according to its About page:

Innovative applications for configuring news content that fully utilize the capabilities of devices such as digital tablets and e-book readers.

Interactive-television applications and widgets for the next generation of fiber-optic-delivered high-definition TV.

The evolution of the e-Book into the multimedia realm using video, music, and graphics, in addition to text.

The use of portable digital devices of all sorts in the production, distribution, and monetization of news and entertainment content.

The use of immersive digital platforms as a journalistic medium.

The evolution of social networking as a platform for commerce, entertainment, and journalism.

Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism professor and Annenberg Innovation Lab director Jonathan Taplin told the Los Angeles Times some 25 faculty members from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, School of Cinematic Arts, Marshall School of Business, and Annenberg will contribute to the lab, adding, “The idea is to think about certain areas that are changing especially rapidly.”

The Annenberg Innovation Lab’s mission, also from its About page:

The Annenberg Innovation Lab will be a vehicle for an ongoing knowledge exchange with public institutions and private-sector firms that are on the front lines of technological change in communications. In consultation with a consortium of sponsors, the lab will develop projects designed for practical application and social impact, and it will offer its sponsors the opportunity to bring those projects to market.

The lab’s output will include not only technological innovations, but also analytical work on a variety of topics such as new business models, organizational and societal incentives, institutional design, and the social, economic, and political impact of social networking. The lab will be known as much for its ideas as for the gadgets it develops. For its sponsors, the lab will offer not only new products, but also new understandings.