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Peter Flood, CEO of AIDA Content Management, has recently published an article on LinkedIn entitled The Value of Accurate and Precise In-Frame Metadata or Dealing with the Current Impenetrable Fog of AI, in which he ponders the current state of AI within DAM and the possible negative effect that it might be having.

Peter’s article adds to the groundswell of DAM professionals that regard AI with a certain level of caution and scepticism:

AI companies are following the same path promising a holy grail of reduction in cost and processing time with output in fact maybe only decreasing the already low value of metadata” [Read More]

He continues to expand his point by referencing a number of quotes from my co-contributor Ralph Windsor, specifically, his article What it Will Take for Artificial Intelligence to Become Useful for DAM, in which he presents the inherent shortcomings of digital asset definitions:

Metadata is traditionally defined as “data about data.” This definition doesn’t go far enough in explaining its importance. I contend metadata is better described as “contextual data.” Context gives perspective or meaning, and that provides value to users. Objects stored inside DAM systems are called “digital assets” in part because of this — they have a value which is implicit in the description. Meaning and value are synonymous, so a reductionist approach to cataloguing asset metadata, such as AI image recognition tools use, will likely result in a corresponding diminution in the value of digital assets.” [Read More]

Peter goes on to outline a number of current issues with the process of metadata, tagging and keywording, albeit with some nods to his organisation’s VRmeta solution and its ability to provide “accurate, precise object and time-based in-frame meta tagging” using AI and “deep machine learning”.

The fact is with current meta tagging processes, methods and solutions, digital assets have a value that is already diminutive which we attribute to the concept of keywording or tagging. Tagging will never rise above the capability to generate general and at times ambiguous, misleading and in fact inaccurate tags. And further, the process of keywording, or ‘tagging’ videos can be as exciting as filling out a tax return (as I have heard stated) which would tend to undermine the quality of output.” [Read More]

The first problem is not necessarily the laborious nature of metadata tagging, but rather the tendency for organisations to delegate what they perceive as low-value tasks to the least knowledgeable and qualified staff like interns or general data input operators who simply lack the skills to provide the contextual data required for the asset to achieve its optimum extrinsic value.  The second issue is that AI is still in its infancy, a point that the article picks up on:

All AI engine outcomes returned are only at the level of the current knowledge or learning level that exists. So, at this stage or point on the curve, utilization of an AI API whatever the company, is developing more value for that company then the outcomes it is delivering to clients. To be clear, the output from auto-tagging that meet a client’s requirements does supply some level of value but at this point that is only in a short linear range given these existing constraints.”  [Read More]

I did find myself wishing for a more in-depth description of ‘in-frame datasets‘ and ‘in-frame metadata’ – phrases that are referenced throughout the piece when discussing machine learning – yet the tone of the article is optimistic, and aside from a few subtle plugs for VRmeta, mostly impartial.

That is why precise, accurate in frame datasets for machine learning is the only method to move AI up the learning curve to return optimize value to an AI company’s clients. This is clearly consistent with the way multi-layer neural networks develop knowledge and accuracy and precision of inputs enhance this learning process exponentially.”  [Read More]

According to Peter, the adoption of processes that can produce accurate metadata is the only way to realise the true value of digital assets. Whilst I couldn’t agree more, the issue of whether such processes are best suited to humans or machines is still wide open for debate; either way, there’s still plenty of legwork to be done to improve both the current status quo of manually entered metadata and the effectiveness and accuracy of emerging AI solutions.


DAM Vendors 2018 Pricing Survey Now Open For Participation

June 28, 2018 Industry News

We are once more running our DAM vendor pricing survey 2018 edition and are now inviting responses from vendors.  This is the second time we have conducted the survey, the first edition was published in 2016. Earlier this year, we sent a link to a form on our DAM Vendor Directory where vendors could indicate […]

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Understanding Digital Asset Management APIs

June 25, 2018 DAM Education

I have recently contributed an article for our features section: Understanding DAM System APIs: A Primer For Non-Technical DAM Users.   This is in response to the lack of knowledge that many end-users seem to have about this subject (and in particular that simply having an API is insufficient, of itself): “The role of APIs in Digital Asset Management has […]

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London DAM EU Meetup – 28th June 2018, 5.30pm, Radisson BLU Portman Hotel, London W1

June 14, 2018 Industry Events

London DAM Meetup (which I am a member of) are holding a meetup at the end of the first day of Henry Stewart EU conference.  Those members of the group who are are unable to attend the conference itself can participate at the end during the ‘sponsored drink’ session: “Henry Stewart, who are hosting DAM […]

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W3C Digital Asset Management Ontology Community Group Call, 5th June 10am ET

June 4, 2018 Industry Events

The W3C Digital Asset Management Ontology Group (chaired by Aaron Bradley, Emily Kolvitz, Matthew Patulski and Spencer Harris) has a conference call tomorrow (5th June) at 10am ET.  The call is accessible via  The group was started last year and its purpose is discuss, create and maintain extensions to related to the Digital Asset Management Industry.  There […]

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Why The Value Of Content Services Is Diminished Without Interoperability Standards

June 1, 2018 Opinion

Over the last year or so, I have been reading a number of articles about Content Services, a term allegedly coined by analysts Gartner (although I have my doubts as to its true provenance).  A few weeks ago, I discussed Magan Arthur’s article about Business Object Management where it was also referenced. On a linguistic  […]

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China – A Major Untapped Opportunity For DAM?

May 25, 2018 Opinion

Yaochong Chen who is currently a student on the DAM post-graduate (MA) course at King’s College in London has written an article about the lack of DAM software platforms in China: “Paradoxically, although many DAM Chinese scholars like me are passionate about bringing these amazing ideas into Chinese technology-intensive market and looking forward to massive […]

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Does The Beginning Of Business Object Management Signal The End Of DAM And ECM?

May 18, 2018 Opinion

ECM and DAM commentator, Magan Arthur has recently written an article which he has titled: The End of Digital Content Management and the Need for Business Object Management.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, however, I do concur with a great deal of what he says.  It is a very well written piece […]

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DAM Industry Supply Chain Consortium Launched

May 3, 2018 Industry News

Today, we are launching an industry consortium to research and discuss the role of Digital Asset Supply Chains with a view to deriving both some standards and technology that can be applied to make the theories explored become a reality.  Digital Asset Supply Chain (DASC) projects have become increasingly prevalent due to the intersection of […]

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De-Constructing And Re-Architecting The DAM Software Industry: Devising A More Sustainable And Innovative Approach

April 30, 2018 Opinion

Earlier this month, I wrote an article describing how I believe the DAM software business is sleepwalking into a subservient integrator/channel partner model which will have undesirable consequences for innovation (and therefore the sustainability) of this technology sector.  At the end of that piece, I said I would write a follow-up item with some solutions.  […]

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DAM Apocalypse – Brandfolder Integration Swells The Horde

April 27, 2018 Vendors

A genre that’s become as tenacious as its undead agitators, the zombie movie has been with us for over half a century now.  In comparison, innovation within the DAM sector appears to have already reached the rigor mortis stage and the whiff of decomposing imagination is beginning to wrinkle the noses of those seeking a […]

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