The App Lab for Hearst: A Space for Discussion and Innovation Around Smart Mobile Expressions of Branded Content

And Partners worked with Hearst Corporation to create a dedicated space for innovation in mobile branded content by combining new technology with insights into the unique needs of publishers and their marketing publishers.


Will Hearst create its own future? Or will it arrive at a future that someone else has already envisioned? The answer to this fundamental question will be the legacy of every leader in this, the birth of the digital age.

Since the invention of the printing press, publishing has never seen such a time of uncertainty. Or opportunity. The Hearst App Lab is a space where the future is imagined, debated, tested, planned, embraced, tracked, and— ultimately—created.

This state-of-the-art media lab and interactive learning center showcases Hearst’s digital content across all tablet and smartphone device platforms. It also serves as a think tank where innovators within Hearst and across the media and technology industries can meet to discuss and develop the smartest branded content, ad models, and platforms for mobile devices.





Designed To Embrace Change

And Partners led the design architecture and software development, but The App Lab is something much larger than the physical space it occupies. It’s a way for Hearst to create new, more innovative ways of working, whether it be with employees, industry partners, advertisers or even consumers. The App Lab represents a new attitude toward sharing and creating.

“The space was designed around the idea of potential,” says David Schimmel, President and Creative Director of And Partners.

“Rather than focus on what is of the moment today, the Lab was designed to accommodate change tomorrow—such as new devices, platforms, and content.”

With the App Lab, Hearst will renew its position as leading the publishing industry into the digital age, display its commitment to create new brands, new platforms, and new delivery methods to deliver content to the world’s new channels and form factors.

“As consumer usage of mobile devices and related applications continue to explode, this marks an exciting new era of digital innovation at Hearst,” says Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Vice Chairman and CEO of Hearst Corporation. 


A Fluid, Fully Customizable Space

The physical space is designed in keeping with the spirit of Norman Foster’s design of the Hearst Tower. It is a blank canvas to display the company’s ever-evolving digital content. Every session in the App Lab is different, so the space can be quickly and easily changed to adapt.

And Partners designed and built a Content Management System (CMS) that allows users to access Hearst’s robust library of digital imagery to set the tone for meetings, presentations, and work sessions. The CMS makes scheduling, managing, and archiving sessions easy and intuitive.

Part of this complete front-end user experience is a custom Crestron user interface that makes it simple for all Hearst employees to control all the technology in the room.



Showcasing Applications On-Screen

The App emulator enables users to interact with Apple iPhone and iPad applications while projected on the primary digital video wall. 



In the case of non-Apple applications, such as Android, Blackberry or others, a wireless high-definition camera permits screen sharing from any physical mobile device and all application types. The multi-touch digital wall is SMART enabled, which allows digital whiteboarding and note taking in real time while showcasing applications.


Social Media Aggregation

Utilizing the Nielsen Buzz Metrics platform, in conjunction with a custom front-end user experience developed by And Partners, Hearst can analyze and reveal real-time information about brand perception across broad social media channels.



This digital dashboard provides a wealth of detail including:

  • Trending by Consumer Generated Media type
  • Trending Volume
  • Top Authors
  • Top Forum Threads
  • Top Cited Blog Posts
  • Top Cited News Sources
  • Top Sources with Number of Mentions


Instant Digital Archiving

The custom CMS also manages and archives all sessions held in the App Lab. Archived content is can be quickly and easily shared amongst attendees and others after work sessions.


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