The DAM Playbook
This vendor does not appear in the in the DAM Playbook.
DAM 10 Core Accreditation
This vendor is not 10 Core accredited.
Contact NameRoland Henry
Third Light is a digital asset management (DAM) software company based in Cambridge, UK. We serve a global customer base from our headquarters here, and we also have resellers in USA and Scandinavia.
You’ve got files - lots of them. Photos, videos, logos, branding… and your library is growing all the time.
Trying to manage all these files is one of the most frustrating and inefficient things you have to deal with. You’re constantly investing time and money trying to find old content or struggling to control the use of current files around your organisation.
What you really want is to be able to centralise, search, share and re-use your media electronically via an online cloud-based environment that you control and manage.
If you could do this your organisation would be able to make much better use of your time. Not only that, your job would be so much more enjoyable.
Sounds good doesn’t it? It is, and we know exactly how to help you make it a reality. That’s why organisations around the world work with us, ranging from small businesses and charities to some of the most famous global brands.
Contact Telephone+44 (0)1223 475674
Company Turnover Category
The turnover of the vendor can give an indication of their size. US Dollars is used as common currency to allow comparisons. Note that turnover is not necessarily any indicator of financial stability but as part of any procurement due diligence you are obliged to carry out by your organisation, any vendors who have not agreed to show their turnover here might be required to do so if subsequently appointed.
This is the actual turnover of the vendor in US Dollars.
Percentage of Revenue From DAM Software
A vendor might have a large turnover and many employees, but their DAM software division is a very small element of what they offer. If a large proportion of their revenue comes from DAM solutions (licenses, support, hosting, consulting etc) then this may mean they are more specialised, but also there are risks to their overall financial stability if there is a downturn in the DAM software market.
Number of Full-Time Employees
Along with turnover, the number of full-time employees gives an indication of the size of the vendor. Note that although a firm might have many employees, not all of them might be dedicated to developing DAM solutions, so this cannot be relied on in isolation.
Product NameIntelligent Media Server
Latest Version Number6.2.1
Date Of Last Release27/07/2017
User group URLhttps://devexchange.thirdlight.com
Online trial linkhttps://www.thirdlight.com/trial
Trial download or sandbox linkhttps://www.thirdlight.com/trial
Company RSS Feed URLhttps://www.thirdlight.com/news/feed
Company LinkedIn URLhttp://www.linkedin.com/company/third-light-ltd
Company Facebook URLhttps://www.facebook.com/3rdlight
Clients & Customers
- United Nations
- University of Oxford
- London Transport
- Royal Mail
- Denver Broncos
- Cambridge Consultants
- Mars Foods
- Phoenix Suns
- The Scottish Parliament
- The Scout Association
- Westminster Abbey
- Royal Albert Hall
If the vendor operates through a sales channel they may use intermediaries who have regional focus or additional specialisms in a given vertical market.
Partner Network Notes
Partners in Scandinavia, Australia, South Africa, USA and UK to assist with implementation and integration.
This refers to the type of licence the DAM system software is supplied under. Proprietary means that the developer restricts access to the source code (the instructions used to generate the software). Open source means that the developer provides full access to the code so you can modify it yourself. Split model is hybrid and means they may offer both options with some restrictions removed (or added) depending on the model chosen. If split is selected, it is advisable to verify the differences with the vendor.
Use of Open Source Components
Many DAM systems use freely available open source components to deliver key functionality. The products themselves may not be open source, however. This question will help to identify to what extent they are open source.
- Some open source components used, but core product is not open source
Open Source Component Usage Notes
Open source components as described in credits/OSS acknowledgements
Software Delivery Methods
- Installed (On-Premise)
Client refers to the type of hardware or software device that can be used to access or control the DAM system.
- Web client
- Desktop client
- iOS mobile app
Intelligent Media Server is a web-based program, but with plugins and applications that support key activities (in particular uploads and downloads). Additionally, we integrate as a shared network drive when used on a local area network. This gives direct access to assets from tools like Creative Suite, without plugins. In this case, IMS is a hybrid file server and DAM server.
Server Operating Systems supported
This only applies for installed or hybrid DAM systems and refers to what types of OS they can be run on. This question is less relevant for DAM systems where a third party will be hosting it for you.
Server Operating System Notes
Provided as an appliance (black box) suitable for installation on bare hardware, VMWare, Windows Server (Hyper-V) or hosting on Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure and PVM services. No knowledge of Linux is assumed or required.
The Third Light OS is self-updating and includes features to allow updates to be applied without specialist intervention or vendor involvement.
The type of web server software that the DAM system can operate with. Not all DAM systems use a web server and for pure SaaS products the question is irrelevant. If you either want SaaS or non-web DAM systems, do not choose an option.
Web Server Notes
Software Development Technologies Used
This means the programming language or development technology used to implement the DAM system. This question is more important for open source software or if you have IT policy restrictions that require you to use (or not use) some technologies. It may not be relevant if you require a hosted DAM and never intend to host the system in-house.
Server Technology Notes
Go microservices architecture
The Database that the DAM system uses. All DAM systems require some kind of storage for asset metadata and they are usually based on an existing technology - but that may not always be a conventional database. If the DAM will be hosted by someone else (e.g. SaaS/Cloud) this question may not be relevant.
Third Light comes with the option for a Synchronisation Module, which allows clustering in a hot standby arrangement, even if the servers are geographically remote. This takes care of database synchronisation as well as keeping media replicated.
This refers to third party search components that the vendor uses to provide the text search features (and sometimes other related search functions).
- Custom (developed in-house)
Service Oriented Architecture
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) means the vendor's product uses a modular architecture where each core DAM function is delivered as a service which can be separated out independently from other functions. It is important for large-scale Digital Asset Management implementations or more complex integration requirements.
Service Oriented Architecture Definition
Some vendors have widely differing opinions of what Service Oriented Architecture means. Their response to this question allows you to understand if their definition concurs with your own. If you are not contemplating a large scale DAM implementation or one with many complex integration requirements, SOA may not be relevant to your needs.
This describes the search strategies that can be used to find assets. If you do not understand any of them, leave the options de-selected. Most DAM systems should support at least keyword search at a minimum.
- Faceted Search
- Linked Asset Search
In addition to standard searching, Third Light has the ability to offer search suggestions which are based on clusters of results. For example, a search for Paris with 100 results might contain 50 results about the Eiffel Tower, 25 about the Louvre and 25 on other subjects. Third Light will make the Eiffel Tower and Louvre into clickable suggestions for a refinement.
Index/Search Text Content Of Documents
Some DAM systems can search the text content of document assets and that might be important for your DAM solution.
Embedded metadata support (reading)
Embedded metadata refers to information stored within asset files which can be searched from the DAM system. There are different standards for this type of metadata. Some image cataloguing software like Adobe Lightroom will write this data to asset files and a device like a camera may capture details also such as GPRS coordinates where an photo was shot. XMP metadata is often used with other types of files such as InDesign or PDF. If you are unsure whether this applied to you, do not check any options.
Embedded metadata support (writing)
See the reading question above for more details on what embedded metadata is. This question refers to whether embedded metadata can be written back to files if edited within the DAM system.
Controlled Vocabularies are predefined lists of search terms. They can be realised in many different ways but the common factor is the user picks from a restricted selection rather than enters a keyword. Most DAM systems will usually support both controlled vocabularies and keywords.
Controlled Vocabulary Notes
Supports keyword vocabularies but also supports different representations of vocabularies to try and assist with data entry. For example, a drop-down alternative is suitable for short lists of keywords, and enforces a unique single selection, while our tree metadata layout is designed with taxonomies and many-to-many mappings.
Careful user interface and metadata presets are designed to reduce vocabulary creep.
User Defined Metadata Fields
The ability to configure metadata your own metadata fields is important for DAM systems so you can assign a dedicated field for certain items of information rather than using a generic classification method or one of the vendor's own standard fields.
Cataloguing Interface Options
When cataloguing assets with custom fields, some metadata will be controlled selections, others will be free text. There are further choices like date fields, file attachments etc.
- Text field
- Drop down menu
Cataloguing Interface Notes
Verify how the vendor has implemented a given cataloguing interface control. It is preferable if they can demonstrate with examples of how they have implemented interface options for cataloguing and metadata entry.
Supports tree (taxonomy) structures, which interact with search suggestions to provide meaningful recommendations, as well as simplifying the entry of metadata from a known tree without keyword work.
Business Intelligence & Reporting
Asset Usage Records
To enable reports to be generated, DAM solutions must retain records of asset usage, including searching, download and editing of records. The reporting should include the user who carried out the activity and the date/time it occurred.
A detailed audit trail that logs every user action in a central record is useful to gain insight into user behaviour. Comprehensive audit trails allow DAM system users to produce reports that address their unique needs.
Audit Trail Notes
All actions are recorded, including what has been changed by whom if there is an adjustment to a setting, or new metadata edits are made. Underlying security records are also created to support server and information security standards.
A range of built-in reports that you can quickly generate is useful to answer common questions such as the "what is our most popular asset?".
- Most popular assets by download
- Most active users by downloads
- Average number of search results returned over a given period
- Asset search to download ratio
- Download activity over a given period
- Login activity over a given period
- Popular search terms
Dedicated/Scalable Proxy or Derivative Asset Generation
Nearly all DAM systems will generate thumbnails and previews of media, including more dynamic types like video or audio. Some products use a separate server to do this which usually makes them more suitable for large scale asset ingestion and processing.
Dedicated/Scalable Proxy or Derivative Asset Generation Notes
Queue tasks that could be lengthy, such as proxy creation for large video clips, can be pushed to external queue runners. Networked workers can be added (without limit). An AMQP queue is used to marshall work. This facility is exposed for integrators.
Multi-Page Document Asset Previews
If you deal with document oriented assets, having a solution which can generate multi-page previews (and also zoom in on them) can save the hassle of downloading a file only to discover it is not the one you need. For assets with very similar content, this can be a useful feature.
Many DAM systems allow users to manipulate images by resizing, cropping etc. Choose any features which are important to your users.
- Image re-sizing
- Image cropping
- Format conversion
- Rotate image
- Change colorspace
- Batch manipulate groups of assets
Image Manipulation Notes
Colour space management is built in, to avoid CYMK/RGB presentation errors (especially prevalent in TIFF data).
A novel feature in Third Light is its ability to offer cropping and scaling combined into a single form. This helps less experienced users to get a perfect fit to their required end use, without introducing notions of resolution.
Some DAM systems may allow video assets to be converted or modified. If that is a potential requirement for you, specify those features which are likely to be needed. EDL = Edit Decision List and refers to providing in/out points when editing video footage.
- Format conversion
- EDLs and editing features
- Timeline metadata
- Batch operations on multiple video assets
Video Manipulation Notes
Third Light has the ability to extract sections of videos, leave marker metadata inside a video timeline, or convert a video into different end formats.
A good example of time saving in this tool is to take a lengthy MPEG4 HD video and reduce it to a 10MB WMV file quickly. This can be published directly to a web page, rather than a download, if desired. All video players are HTML5 and Flash capable, so they work on iOS, Mac, PC etc.
Importing metadata is an important feature if you have either legacy assets or metadata is generated using some other tools (for example a spreadsheet). Not all systems offer this, but usually if the feature is not available, the vendor will be able to carry out batch importing for you via professional services (note: this will usually incur a cost, unlike a built-in capability).
Metadata Import Formats
This question only applies if the vendor has features to import metadata. There are common formats like CSV, XML and Excel which DAM solutions may support. If this is a requirement you are likely to make frequent use of, it is essential to verify whether the product supports the formats you typically work with.
- CSV (or any delimited file)
As well as importing metadata, sometimes it is important to be able to export sections of it to conduct further analysis in third party applications. Not all products support this, but usually it will be possible to request the vendor provides an export via professional services (although a fee may be charged).
Metadata Export Formats
This question only applies if the vendor has features to export metadata. There are common formats like CSV, XML and Excel which DAM solutions may support. If this is a requirement you are likely to make frequent use of, it is essential to verify whether the product supports the formats you typically work with.
- CSV (or other delimited file)
Metadata Export Notes
As well as CSV/TSV exports, all files that support IPTC/XMP are correctly tagged before exporting (e.g
. at the point of download).
API means Application Programming Interface and allows third party software to control a DAM system. If you intend to integrate your DAM with another existing solution then you need to choose the API protocol that is compatible with that.
Third Light is built entirely on a JSON API. The user interface we ship is a reference model - our API is first and last in every part of our product development plans.
Hooks are related to APIs but are initiated by the application rather than by an external application making the request. Hooks allow other actions to be initiated based on events, for example if a user downloads an asset, an action can be commenced to notify another application that this has taken place (along with the ID number of the asset, date/time etc).
Hooks Targets Supported
In most DAM applications that support them, hooks are initiated as web requests, so the system will call a given external URL and provide some parameters. Some solutions also support initiating scripts or applications which can run on the server where the system is hosted.
If the vendor claims support for hooks, check how they define them and see if their interpretation concurs with your own. A reasonably detailed explanation along with citations/links should be given here.
Third Light includes AMQP (message queues) which can be used to trigger on events.
Many DAM solutions will now allow assets to be stored on the server of Cloud storage providers. This allows asset files to be distributed and/or integrated with other solutions. Some third party services use generic protocols like FTP, others are proprietary.
- Microsoft Azure Blob
Scripting & Plug-Ins
Some advanced DAM solutions have a scripting capability that allows users or third parties to add functionality which the vendor did not originally envisage. Usually programming skills will be required to use this, but some tools have visual interfaces also.
Scripting Capability Notes
A fullly scriptable automation engine is due for release in the next major build. This will be used to support AI/Machine Learning features.
In addition to scripting (or sometimes instead of), some DAM solutions will have a plug-in architecture that allows third party developers to extend the core platform.
Plug-In Capability Notes
The concept of Third Light is to expose core functions via a well-documented API, and allow any application to invoke the equivalent features that we use in the main (supplied) UI. Example/reference code is available for the common case of adding Third Light as an image library plugin.
If you need to integrate with an existing corporate authentication service then this option will be important for you.
Active Directory (including LDAPS)
Microsoft AD FS
Multilingual Application Interface Support
The interface means the controls to use the DAM system. This is different from the metadata support which is usually entered by end users when cataloguing assets.
Multilingual Metadata Support
See previous question. Most DAM systems with multi-lingual support will provide it for metadata.
Multilingual Support Notes
Supports right-to-left text, including in search and metadata.
Each language can have its own metadata in parallel (ie. true, extensive support for internationalisation throughout the product, API etc). All storage is UTF8 for non-Western character support.
File versioning refers to the digital media associated with an asset record. This is usually the minimum requirement for a DAM system to claim support for versioning assets. See also responses to the related question about metadata versioning below.
Metadata versioning is separate from the files associated with assets. Many DAM solutions will track updated digital assets but only retain a single current version of the metadata. Since metadata is likely to be edited many more times than assets get replaced, this can be an important point to check.
Independent Metadata And File Versioning
This questions assesses whether the solution allows versions of either the file or metadata to be reverted independently or if both are linked to a single shared version instance.