A bit from Techweek ...

Techweek Chicago 2014I was out of town most of last week with my family on a bit of a vacation, so missed most of Techweek, but managed to get back home in time for hanging out down at the Merchandise Mart on Friday. We’d gotten press credentials for Green Tech Chicago early on, and had been contacted by some exhibitors about possibly doing interviews with their key staff. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the Techweek organization to get more “green” technologies represented, once again the list was pretty lean (with just NLR participating in the Launch competition again, if I’m not mistaken), and I didn’t want to repeat groups we’d featured in 2013.

While not being specifically “Green” (or “tech” for that matter), I found the Foodseum (as in Food Museum) project fascinating, as it is aiming to be a cultural institution featuring Chicago food. Given the city’s history as a transportation hub, and host to numerous major food manufacturers (let alone its “hog butcher to the world” ancestry), this certainly has a lot of material to work with. I had a nice chat with Kyle Joseph, their Executive Director, about some of the directions that this might go in when established, but managed to shoot video with a couple of their staff, and then later with him (both bits in this one video):

They are starting off with a temporary exhibit in the next several months featuring the iconic Chicago hot dog (location still to be determined), and they’re hoping to have a permanent space set up by the end of 2016.

The next interview was with representatives of Rivet News Radio, a new app/service that streams audio news features to your phone and other devices. This was one of the groups that had contacted us via the press list, and things got a bit confused, my being handed along between layers of their PR/Marketing staff (to the point where I didn’t even have the name right for the gal in the interview – since corrected in the video titles). Their project is interesting in that they’ve set up studios in downtown Chicago to produce audio segments for the stream … almost like their own little news service, grabbing stories from wherever, writing brief “radio” scripts, producing the segments, and then loading them up in the app.

As noted in the following, their app allows the user to back up through programs, jump ahead to stories that look interesting, and create topical “playlists”. There’s also the ability to send individual stories via email to folks who don’t have the app, which will make those features available via the recipient’s computer.

Again, sorry to not have as much from Techweek this year … I’m pretty sure if I’d been there all week I’d have shot more. However, there were also a lot of changes from previous years, and, while seeming to be a lot bigger than before, the vibe was much more like an industry convention than the sort of “marketplace of ideas” that it had been previously.

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