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House & Co Release DigiZuite Media Manager

by Ralph Windsor on August 28, 2015

House & Co (who used to be known as ‘DigiEyeZ’) have announced the release of Media Manager, which is part of their DigiZuite range.  The major features are:

  • Sharing of media and collaboration on assets and distribution via social media
  • Uploading, editing, cropping from all clients (i.e. functional equivalence across desktop, tablets and mobile phones)
  • Search facility
  • Upload from local storage, OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Customisable branding (i.e. changing logos and key graphic elements)

There is a full breakdown on their site:

DigiZuite™ Media Manager is more than just an image bank, it’s a media central that empowers you to manage all kinds of file types. By using a professional web-based digital asset management platform, you can upload, store, manage, search, share and repurpose all your images, videos, documents, presentations, audio files and other digital files from a single source.” [Read More]

A point I had to check with them is what the hosting arrangements are.  This is essentially a self-hosted app, but they will set it up for you with a cloud provider like Microsoft Azure if you prefer that to your own internal servers.

Having looked over the press and promotional materials in reasonable detail, I would have to say it is more marketing artistry than it is anything particularly new if you measure this up against their numerous competitors.  I get the sense they struggled to come up with ways to make the features sound that different to anyone else.  This is hinted at with the strapline used on the product page: ‘Much more than an image bank’.  Although that kind of approach might have had some success in 2007, I don’t think it is likely to cut it in 2015 because everyone else is saying the same now (and it was fraying at the edges as a benefit, even back then).  A common vendor marketing trick was once to tell prospective users that they supported ‘any’ type of file.  As those with basic web development knowledge will be aware, this is a feature that is built-in to file upload capabilities on web servers etc and you actually have to implement features to specifically reject files based on their type (i.e. it’s harder to do that than to accept anything).  Where the situation gets more complex is providing proxies like previews, thumbnails etc since that isn’t usually supported for ‘any’ type of file, but instead is a far more specific list because the developers have to integrate components from third party vendors (or open source projects in some cases).

One other point I confirmed with House & Co was the support for uploading sources and where the destination files reside.  According to them, they are held where the system is hosted – which is conventional and how many other applications handle it.  There are, however, various other solutions that will support not only receiving files from OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox etc but also allow you to change where they get held also (and use similar technologies either to store or retrieve from).  I expect DAM storage to eventually fully de-couple from the hosting provider as time goes on, so you will be able to upload from and store asset binary data (files) anywhere you like (i.e both sides of the equation).  This kind of server-to-server flexibility without the intermediate ‘hairpin’ download/upload  operation that many users are forced to perform currently is likely to increase the utilisation of DAM solutions, especially as a conduit for transporting assets between cloud applications.  As is apparent, however, that is not a universal feature currently and many vendors still tend to have devoted attention to one side at the expense of the other (with a few exception).

It did take me some time to work out what the differences were between the various modules that make up their suite.  Other vendors have taken the decision to combine all this together into one product.  One argument in favour of that policy would be that this is simpler for users to understand, however, the opposing view is that (as a user) you might not need every element.  If each of these can be purchased separately and integrated with third party systems then their approach could have merit, but the marketing is giving the impression of at least some overlap between the items and I was not fully certain whether these are free-standing applications or if they require their DigiZuite DAM solution to work.

I can’t say with any degree of accuracy what traction and levels of market penetration House & Co are attaining currently in the wider DAM market at present, but as they themselves have pointed out, perhaps their major differentiator is their comprehensive support for SiteCore.  Although other DAM vendors offer this also, they seem to have handled this task more diligently than others and have experience to back it up.  Last week, I covered an item by Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer of Hippo that he wrote for CMSWire where he made the same point we have been expounding on DAM News for some time now (i.e. that vendors usually do better when they focus their offer rather than trying to carry every plate in the application stack) and the same advice might also apply in this case too.

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