Exclusive: 4IP backs AudioBoo, an iPhone app to tag the world with audio

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Take your standard issue iPhone, throw in tagged audio recordings uploaded to a web-based audio rendering platform, add a dash of geolocation data slipped into Google Maps – et voila! You have AudioBoo, an application that lets you record, slice, dice and track audio uploads by location or tag from your mobile. In plain English, that would translate into a map of the world tagged with evocative sounds of each place.

Sound cool? UK broadcaster Channel 4 thinks so – its innovation fund 4iP has bankrolled AudioBoo’s next stage of development for an undisclosed amount. Channel 4’s new media guru John Gisby will be demoing the app at the Oxford Media Convention today, where he’ll announce the beta release. Developer Best Before Media has 97 tokens left available for would-be beta testers, though a few are already taken – Stephen Fry is one of the early adopters.

An ad-sponsored model of AudioBoo will be free to consumers, with a premium service offered to corporate users, such as tourist authorities, businesses, museums or news organisations. Here’s a taste of what’s to come (updated video):


Hello AudioBoo from Mark Rock on Vimeo.

Best Before has submitted AudioBoo to the App Store, and hopes to launch it officially at SXSW Interactive in March, which it is attending as part of the Digital Mission organised by Chinwag for UK Trade & Investment.

AudioBoo is the brainchild of Best Before Media, a London-based company that makes software-based audio and video toolsets for the next generation of broadcasting. You may have heard of them in the context of Millicent, their web-enabled framework that is an attempt to be to broadcasting what Aldus Pagemaker and Quark Xpress was to newspaper publishing.

In fact, the company has developed a host of disruptive technology over the last two years, built on the fundamental principle of a simplistic approach that makes doing fairly technical things easier, cheaper and a whole lot less fiddly.

Case in point: Millicent does all the rendering in the cloud and outputs to any resolution, including HD, and in a choice of formats, including any Quicktime format, AVI, Flash, Silverlight, and digital TV compression formats such as MPEG2 transport streams or more specialized ones like Microsoft’s IPTV platform. It can also pull in dynamic data via XML and render it to video in realtime in a visual form entirely different from what it looks like on the web.

Founder and CEO Mark Rock has a team of eight backing him up, including CTO Jonathan del Strother, aka the guy who implemented the Cover Flow GUI, and sales director Matt Waring, who was previously with Bob Geldof’s company, Ten Alps.

Prior to Best Before, Rock co-founded design & technology company, Static 2358 Limited, which owned and operated the interactive TV games channel PlayJam on Sky and cable in the UK, TPS & Canal+ in France and Cablevision in the US. Static had successful financing rounds with Sky, HSBC and Casenoves before being sold to iTV middleware provider Open TV in 2001 for $60m.

UPDATE: 4iP now has more details here.

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