The Future of Premedia – Part 1 – The Stage


It’s been more than a week since my last blog and this one comes in collaboration with Peter van Teeseling as he has some ideas on this subject, together we have a shared vision of what the future premedia service offerings will be.

To start a series of blogs covering each subject in more detail I will first set the stage, some food for thought if you like.

The Future

As we all have probably read, RR Donnelly’s likes to break news about the new technologies they introduce into their portfolio of products they offer to their clients, the majority of companies out there don’t have the buying power or engineering resource to develop at that scale…. or do they….

There is so much news and opinion today about how small business are now able to utilise technology and react to change a far faster pace than these large organisations. This is possible due to the empowering technologies, the outsourcing of resource to third world countries and the power of open source communities that are refining the technologies beyond what any corporation is able to do.

So what’s changing and what will redefine the future of premedia?

We have seen the explosion of web based media content delivery to our desktops or should I say our browsers. Networks have taken 10 fold leaps speed while the content we are creating seems to grow with every new version of our creative applications, while our connections from the outside world into these services or these platforms are now available via hot-spots almost everywhere in the western civilized world. Storage is no longer a limitation to what we can store and our machines, our infrastructures and our experience is better than it has ever been.

There are disruptive technologies in play that will change the face of premedia and remove all the constraints that force people to install specific applications, in fact they will completely change the way corporations sell software. SAAS is nothing new to many IT people, but in the world where desktop applications dominated the sales channels there is a move to make them server based.

We have seen a raise in the power of technologies like Flash, Ajax, Flex etc. that have provided new ways to interact with content online. Take Adobe’s first stab at this when they introduced – strangely named since creating PDF’s was only a fraction of what they offered on the site – today, after a lot of refinement, they offer a pretty damn good collaboration and meeting platform with Adobe Connect and are adding more services such as Buzzword, Presentation, Sharing and Storage in the form of Myfiles. Seems like similar services to Google to me…. .but actually this then provides Adobe a playground to see how users would react and interact with the interfaces while they are building their next service platform Bruce Chizen stated sometime ago that Adobe will transfer all application to a web-based platform – so where will that put us in the services we are able to offer our clients? is in its infancy, yet it is placing the basic tools of Photoshop Elements to the masses for free, it displays that with programming and the new tools it is possible to access advanced features for photo editing that were once only available via a desktop application, making the web browser a new platform or application interface that removes the constraints of installation. Looking at what more can be done, Adobe could use Air to provide a mixture of local and online services providing the speed and flexibility of any environment – same platform, just a different flavour. As matures and newer features are added, more premedia companies will see the technology as embeddable into their DAM portals to redefine their operational ability, this could lead to new was to outsource or place the power of the user anywhere they can access the web.

Adobe even provide you an extremely powerful tool to build these new user interfaces without the need for complex programming with the addition of Flash Cataylst allowing new professional interaction design for rapidly creating user interfaces.

Looking at the page layout ability, the applications have really reached their limits of functionality on the desktop. Yes new features will be added, but most of these will be refinements on old features that took too much time to do and both Quark & Indesign are now offering extensive server based solutions that use the same engines that drive the desktop applications. What does this do for companies? Well, it is limited only by your imagination of the web application; so far we have only seen web2print applications or print on demand systems built for commercial sales, companies out there will have integrated this into their service offering somehow, you can rest assured that large companies have these technologies tucked under their bonnets. Is there any limitation? No, and actually the barriers of entry will be lowered the more people use and integrate the functionality. Yet there is a threat, as the raising of outsourcing operations increases their awareness of western operational need, they too will build services based on technologies that we are still building our business cases for.

There are plenty of excellent examples of great user operability sites out there. Imagine translating these into your customer portal and delivering services based on artwork asset management!

Look out for the next part of this series where we will explore the new world of online digital image manipulation and how that will affect the services offered.

Author: Gary George

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5 Responses to “The Future of Premedia – Part 1 – The Stage”

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  2. Michael J Says:

    I look forward to the next installments in the series.

    My two cents follow. For context, my point of view is formed by 35 years as a printing broker. My practice was high end boutique NYC graphic designers in the 80’s and 90’s. I think it’s fair to say that our value was outsourced project management for designers, as opposed to outsourced sales for printers.

    Cent one:
    To me pre-media points to managing and preparing content for publishing in any media. For those evolving from a prep background the focus is on preparing for Print. For those evolving from an IT background the focus is on screen. It is about translating info from “bytes to atoms.” Sometimes value is added in the transformation by a person. Increasingly the process can be automated to achieve “good enough: results.

    Cent two:
    in my not so humble opinion there are only two objects that fit into mass media. One is print. The other is video. Everything else is a delivery system for those objects. Video is moving to anywhere/anytime. As the print production network moves to anywhere/anytime capability, the stage is set for growth in virtually limitless niche markets.

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