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IPV Announces Launch Of Curator 2.0

by Charles Russell on March 22, 2018

Media solutions outfit IPV has just announced the release of a new version of its asset management system.  Presented as an all-in-one media asset management suite, Curator 2.0 is due to be showcased at the 2018 NAB show in Las Vegas.

I’m not overly keen on name-dropping as it often only serves to highlight an organisation’s marketing skills and not the quality of their product, but as IPV’s client list includes the likes of NASA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (home of the Oscars), it may give some indication of the calibre of their offerings.

IPV’s target audience for Curator is stated as ranging from traditional broadcasters and sports teams through to creative agencies and educational institutions, and claims to be designed to improve ‘overall production workflows’.  Executive VP of Business Development Nigel Booth states:

More than ever before, content creators need the most effective means to manage not just assets, but entire workflows. With the roll-out of Curator 2.0, we let content creators in any industry search, discover and create video programming to make the best use of the growing mountain of media assets that’s now present in multiple industries.” [Read More]

For this version, IPV are pushing three main features: the automation of subtitles via Microsoft’s Azure platform, a ‘Clip Link Collections’ feature, and a new ‘Thesaurus’ tool.  Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Automated Subtitles

IPV’s blurb states that “One of Curator 2.0’s most innovative technical features it its intelligent automation of subtitles”.  Although undoubtedly a useful feature for any system, IPV could be accused of simply being a reseller here, basking in the reflected glory of Microsoft’s Azure Media Services platform, upon which it relies to generate such subtitles and captions.  As to the accuracy of its transcription capabilities, Microsoft hopes to decrease Azure’s speech-to-text error rate in 2018.

As the buzz of AI continues to hover around content creation and asset management workflows, IPV are also pushing their ‘intelligent tagging’ process:

Curator’s automatic intelligent tagging process lets users more easily associate relevant metadata tags with media without using expensive resources. During ingest, the integrated-AI word-to-text functionality processes media and uses the output to automatically create and attach metadata to assets. [Read More]

Clip Link Collections

Described as a feature whereby ‘selected media can be added to a collection, sent to a specified destination or shared with other users’, it’s not altogether clear what differentiates this from the traditional lightbox-type functionality that you’d expect to find in the most basic of DAM systems.  If this represents more than the basic grouping or categorisation of assets, then IPV could perhaps do better improve their explanations.

Thesaurus Tool

I also found their explanation of this feature a little vague, with little to set it apart from traditional suggestion-type metadata and tagging processes:

“To give users more control over their metadata, Curator 2.0 also features a new thesaurus search feature in Curator Logger. This means that they can ensure that metadata remains accurate and that they are using the same terminology as their colleagues. Users can now quickly switch between workspaces to view metadata that matches the type of content they’re working on.” [Read More]

To confuse matters further, the (apparently unrelated) accompanying screengrab in the article provides no additional insights into this feature.

A rather telling admission from IPV is the following statement from their Product Manager, James Varndell:

“Because it’s built on a suite of microservices, Curator is a continually evolving platform that we can always add new features to. Many of these have now become services and products in their own right, so we’ve rolled them together into a new package of the system. We’re looking forward to bringing Curator 2.0 to the NAB show floor to demonstrate its new functionality to new and existing partners and customers.” [Read More]

My co-contributor, Ralph Windsor, has written a number of articles concerned with how microservices are becoming an integral part of the DAM landscape.  In summary, Curator 2.0 appears to improve on its previous version, albeit showing the similar tell-tale signs of many other platforms that suggest the nature of DAM is edging towards the interlacing of multiple third-party applications under the guise of a single, joined-up solution.

This modularisation, and for want of a better term, ‘rebadging’ of multiple providers’ plugins, APIs and cloud services could see DAM systems slowly evolve into much thinner clients in the future.  The two-fold question here is how well the third-party services themselves perform, and whether their integration has been effectively implemented.

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