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Groundhog Day For Innovations In DAM Technology

by Charles Russell on January 10, 2018

Vice President of Development and Strategy at Extensis, Toby Martin, has recently published a rather reflective article entitled ‘Retrospective on Digital Asset Management Technology’ with the strapline ‘Putting the DAM Puzzle Pieces Together in 2017, 2018 and Beyond’.

Like numerous other articles from Extensis, it begins like another eulogy for artificial intelligence, calling it a “generational leap forward in technical capabilities for our DAM practices”, but Toby’s message appears to be peppered with doubt:

“This initially seemed to convey that it solves major challenges in DAM instead of just being a piece of the puzzle.” [Read More]

The article is little more than a rehash of previous press releases, and aims to discuss – in no great depth – three core issues:

  • The use of AI, specifically Clarifai,  to automate the application of keywords
  • Digital Rights Management using Fadel integration
  • Storage and Compression of digital assets

My colleague Ralph Windsor has already written extensively about the use of AI in keywording digital images here, here, and here, in addition to a comprehensive rundown of Extensis’ Portfolio system.  The conclusion is that although Clarifai and Google Vision can be useful tools in tagging arbitrary stock photography with broad conceptual keywords, it’s far from perfect and still falls short of expectations.  The main issue being AI’s inherent lack of contextual awareness.

The second item presented is DRM, and Extensis’ partnership with Fadel’s Rights Cloud.  There’s nothing groundbreaking here, and although we’ve not had much experience with Fadel, we can’t help feeling that Extensis have nothing new to bring to the table and are simply churning out the same old spiel.

Finally, the issue of compression and file storage is a peculiar inclusion here:

“To manage all of these files, compression is becoming a greater area of interest. We’re looking at ways to help solve these issues similar to how Win-Zip introduced this in the 90’s, but with much more modern infrastructure.”  [Read More]

The mention of WinZip certainly adds a retrospective dimension to this article, but we’re not altogether sure if storage and compression comprise the ‘biggest piece’ in their DAM puzzle.

“We certainly would not advocate removing files from the DAM, but what is starting to occur and will continue, is the need to compress and manage them in a more intelligent manner. This will be especially true with the increase in cloud storage costs, bandwidth, and time” [Read More]

We can’t find much evidence that cloud storage costs are on the rise – on the contrary, the last quarter of 2017 witnessed the rattling sabres of a price war being fought amongst the key enterprise players such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft.  For data archiving purposes, so-called ‘cold’ or ‘cool’ storage (i.e. that doesn’t require rapid access) would be the obvious route here, and with prices as low as $0.002 per Gigabyte, only the most budget-conscious operations would view these costs as prohibitive.

In summary, Extensis’ oblique ruminations on the evolution of DAM technologies prove to be little more than a thinly-disguised vehicle for further promotion of their own platform.

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