Archive for the ‘Pre-media Technology’ Category

Tunicca Offers CMS Watch Reports in Europe

January 12, 2010

Those of you who visit this blog often will know that we aren’t afraid to occasionally blow our own trumpet. It is therefore with much fanfare that we would like to announce a partnership with the highly regarded digital content technolgy researcher CMS Watch. It’s taken some time for us to sort out the paperwork and then Christmas and our busy schedules didn’t help, but at last we have finalised a deal that enables Tunicca to provide the revered CMS Watch reports and premium consultancy for DAM solutions. So naturally our first response to the news was to get an email out to all of our listed contacts, write this blog and of course draft a press release to complete the announcement!

So, what does all of this this mean exactly? Well primarily this enables Tunicca to provide the CMS Watch reports and consultancy service to pre-media companies in Europe that are looking at either expanding, changing or implementing a DAM solution. The reports complement Tunicca’s highly regarded business process analysis and enhances the reviews of DAM solutions that we carry out for customers. This in turn will help to ensure that we can assist customers in choosing a DAM system that can fit into the actual business requirements, objectives and strategy of a company.

From its inception we have insisted that our company Tunicca remains 100% independent in order to deliver truly impartial expertise to our the market. So it could seem that we are selling out and becoming just another technology reseller as we now have the ability to sell CMS Watch products. Well that is far from being the case as CMS Watch also prides itself on and fiercely protects its independence. All of their technology reports are written by chosen industry specialists and are completely objective, based on factual evidence garnered during their extensive research. So as you can see there is a very real and tangible complement between our two companies and we are looking forward very much to this partnership.

Our belief, much like CMS Watch, is that when it comes to technology there is a real need in the market for independent views, opinion and analysis based on facts and not vendor marketing spin and propaganda. So we will continue to build our company based on this principle and we are pleased to be partnering with a body such as CMS Watch that echoes this conviction.

About Tunicca
Tunicca is an independent, international supplier of Business Process Analysis solutions to the Pre-media industry. Headquartered in London, Tunicca utilises a number of carefully selected industry experts to deliver a variety of knowledge based solutions to the technology driven world of Pre-media.
With extensive experience in all areas of Pre-media Tunicca is able to advise and assist companies of all sizes in a variety of business issues and challenges. Tunicca operates in the entire value chain and can act across international borders to effectively assist its largest multinational customers with their supply chain challenges whether large or small.
About CMS Watch
CMS Watch™ evaluates content-oriented technologies, offering head-to-head comparative reviews of leading solutions. Through highly detailed technical evaluations and online education courses, CMS Watch helps sort out the complex landscape of potential solutions so that buyers can minimize the time and effort to identify technologies suited to their particular requirements. To retain its independence as a totally impartial analyst firm, CMS Watch works solely for solutions buyers and never for vendors.
About DAM
Short for digital asset management, a system that creates a centralized repository for digital files that allows the content to be archived, searched and retrieved. The digital content is stored in databases called asset repositories while metadata such as photo captions, article key words, advertiser names, contact names, file names or low-resolution thumbnail images are stored in separate databases called media catalogues and point to the original items.
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The Popularity of Video in Digital Asset Management

December 11, 2009

The third and final blog in the series on Video & DAM that comes from our friends over at Widen Enterprises, this one is written by their video expert Al Falaschi and looks at how video is becoming more popular in DAM systems, I hope you enjoy his view on this.

We would like to thank Widen Enterprises for allowing us to republish their content and please do checkout their content direct on the Widen Blog link that you will find on here.

Video & DAM

The growing popularity of video is well documented… There are a number of reports available. They explain the power and attractiveness of using video, specifically in the enterprise environment.
More than 65% of companies are using online video and that number is expected to continue increasing (VideoBloom, 2009). (Remember an earlier post, Gartner Predicts 25 Percent of Content in the Workforce to be Images, Audio or Video by 2013.) Online video is a key method of delivering and consuming information that educates, entertains, and/or inspires in ways that touch emotions static text on a page cannot achieve.

Director of research and design at Stanford University‘s Persuasive Technology Lab, Dr. BJ Fogg, writes that for a consumer to make a purchase, it requires a “behavior change.” Fogg’s behavior model talks about the convergence of three things that need to happen for the change to occur – a trigger, ability and a motivation. Motivation is strictly tied to “sensation.” Inherently, video combines the use of more human senses than most other traditional sales and marketing tools. Read more about the reason “why” video use is on the rise in business marketing.

How does that impact Digital Asset Management?
Video is a digital asset. As its popularity grows, enterprises will struggle to manage the creation, storage, and distribution of it. Video files are exponentially larger than text documents. Multiple copies of a file in multiple locations use even more storage. Version control is nearly impossible since someone has to remember each file’s location and update or renew it when a new one becomes available or when it expires. Plus, there isn’t always an easy way to search for the right video based on the content. Beyond that, an increase in video will also mean an increase in the amount of bandwidth required to serve the video – a requirement that many SMBs struggle with.

We can learn a lot just by looking at trends within Widen’s own organization and DAM software customer base. There are notable increases in not only the number of video assets being added to our DAM systems, but also in the rate of videos added per year. Due to the raw size of high resolution video, the percentage of the overall file size of our DAM taken up by video has grown extensively. Again, the rate of growth per year is also increasing as we choose to use video more and more for marketing, sales and customer service purposes.

From a sales and marketing standpoint, there are dramatic increases in the coverage of video as a topic in many of our sales calls, and in RFPs that we receive. There are a number of factors that are causing these increases. One is the growing popularity of video. Again, this is well documented. In addition, there is the entire social movement. For video, this requires organizations to not only produce video content, but to make it accessible and publish it to as many online video channels as possible.

An often unnoticed factor is the shift in video camcorder technology from “tape” to “tapeless.” Tape has been a crutch for video storage and backup for… well, for forever. With the new tapeless camcorders recording very high resolution files resulting in very large file sizes with no tape to put them on, suddenly, organizations are faced with storing, securing, backing up, and distributing files that are ten times the size of the files they are familiar with managing. And remember, it is GROWING!

Bottom line, the increasing demand for video will place demands on DAM software and digital asset hosting providers to make sure that video is handled seamlessly alongside all other assets.

Stats on video usage from VideoBloom’s VIEW Index (Video-Enabled Web Index):
100 Web Sites Surveyed

In August of 2009, the VIEW main index for the 100 surveyed companies was 30-75-25, which indicates that 30% of the companies had video on their home page, 75% had video on their site, and 25% didn’t use any video on their Web site.

  • 41% of the 100 surveyed companies have placed their Web videos 1 click away from the home page.
  • 25% of the surveyed companies have placed their Web videos deep into their Web sites, 3 clicks or more away from the home page.
  • 25% use online video in an advanced manner: contextual integration of videos, variety of video players, call-to-action tied to the video.
  • 32% offer a full-fledged “video center” comparable to a corporate TV channel.
  • 21% give access to such video center directly from their home page (one click away).
  • 12% display video ads for products on their site; 7% display video ads on their home page.
  • 36% offer full-screen video option.
  • 4% have video on auto-play (i.e. video starts as soon as the user lands on the page).
  • 11% open video in a new browser Web page.
  • 18% use a pop-up window to display video.
  • Video uses: 48% of the surveyed web sites use video for promotional purposes, 24% use it for informational purposes, 20% use it for demonstrative purposes, 6% use it to deliver news, 5% use it for entertainment purposes, 1% use it for other purposes and 0% use it for UGC (user generated content). (The percentages don’t add up to 75% because many sites use online video for several different purposes.)
  • Video formats: 61% use Flash video, 21% use Windows Media Player, 8% use QuickTime and 4% use Real Player. (The percentages don’t add up to 75% because some websites use more than one video format.)

Author: Al Falaschi Video Expert at Widen Enterprises (www.widen.com), a Madison,WI-based provider of digital asset management software and services.

Poster: Gary George

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Reasons to Use a DAM for Video Assets

November 30, 2009

This is the second in the series of blogs provided to us by Widen Enterprises on the use of video in DAM systems, the final instalment will focus on how pre-media companies are fuelling the requests from their clients to provide both a variable DAM solution and learn how to store, manipulate and deliver video when they never did before.

Video Clutter Has Bandwidth on the Run

Now that we’re in the digital age, Internet traffic volumes are giving way to traffic jams that can bring business operations to a grinding halt. The primary driver is the explosion of video. Its exponentially larger file sizes and bandwidth requirements strain the IT infrastructure, challenging organizations to meet its ever-growing use.

On the upside, video captures our attention in ways that static pages can’t over the Internet. That’s why the demand for rich digital media, such as video, is changing the attitudes and behaviours of the workforce, especially in regards to marketing strategies. This is being reflected on sites such as YouTube and also within the social media.

But while YouTube is an excellent destination site for video and serves the purpose for socializing and democratizing “like” video content, it doesn’t take the pain out of having to manage and repurpose video and other rich media content.

(more…)

Clearing the Traffic Jam on the Information Superhighway

November 27, 2009

With so much talk about video and DAM we thought we ought to deliver a couple of blogs on the subject and who better than to provide us with some great info than Widen Enterprises. Back in April Matthew Gonnering the CEO of Widen Enterprises wrote this article on the benefits of using a DAM system for the storage and aggregation of video content. They have given us permission to republish this for our readers benefits as a starting point for the Video & DAM blogs.

This will be the first of three provided by Widen Enterprises and we are very proud to be able to share them with our crowd of visitors that follow the Tunicca blog.

Clearing the Traffic Jam on the Information Superhighway

A little more than a decade ago, the Internet was dubbed the Information Superhighway. It was seen as a way to distribute information faster and more efficiently than ever before.

While that’s still true in principle, in practice the term “superhighway” turned out to be more prophetic than most realized. Because just like the roads and highways in most urban areas, where urban planners never anticipated the volume of traffic those roads must now support, the high speeds and easy cruises on the Internet have given way to massive traffic jams that can bring operations to a grinding halt at certain times of day.

The primary driver of this traffic jam is the explosion of video on the Internet. Its exponentially larger file sizes and bandwidth requirements are straining every artery of the infrastructure, challenging organizations to meet the ever-growing demand. And more is being added every day at a rate of 33 minutes of video per second.

(more…)

Dynamically published – who’s brave enough to break the mould

October 29, 2009

So these are troubled times, but there are lots of opportunities for renewing the strategic direction and innovating your businesses. Many of you have scanned the market for ways to dynamically produce your work and offer more services to your clients. The technology is available to you that would revolutionize the way you service your clients and the speed in which you are able to turn pre-media output channels around. Yet is there anyone who is prepared to break the mould and step outside the comfort zone of desktop applications or template based webpage workflows?

Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, Quark & Avairy are moving their applications on-line, workflow management interfaces are being delivered via the browsers and pre-media output channels are expanding – yet which pre-media companies are utilizing the available technologies to change their business models?

Technology is nice, but new business models change the world. Michael Josefowicz

When we look at the different market verticals, are we able to innovate each of them by exploring how they approach different problems?

Strategy, innovation and planning crosswordCompanies like Marklogic are stepping in and providing innovative solutions to the publishing arena and revitalising the way content is handled and delivered. Markzware have developed ways to extract content from our working document to enable us to index and search, then ultimately re-use the content. Moonpig has shown how manufacturing processes allow for single personalized content to be produced efficiently.

But why is it the new entrepreneurs that are providing us new ways of production and not the companies we employ to provide us services. How many pre-media companies can boast they have “Similar Image” search capabilities in their portals the digital asset managers they provide for their clients? You can rest assured that the clients will start asking for it now Google offers it to them for free.

Brands such as Danone are cashing in on the ability to aggregate users freedom of expression by allowing them to upload their own images to be printed on Danette pots in a bid to capture the consumers loyalty. What are you doing to capture your customers’ loyalty?

Pre-media is evolving, technology is evolving, people’s needs and requirements are evolving, but are you bold enough, insightful enough and innovative enough to evolve your business model to survive?

Author: Gary George

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A Global Pre-media Village??

September 13, 2009

iStock_000006175136MediumI recently posted a comment on the Tunicca Pre-media Lounge questioning the differences between ‘US Pre-media‘ and the ‘Rest of the World Pre-media‘. As I said in the discussion, this was not an effort to invoke WW III and was not intended to get everyone saying “well our Pre-media is better than your Pre-media”! It was more a point for discussion and to help to highlight the different levels of service and innovation around the World. During my Corporate Account role at EskoArtwork the employee of a certain packaging organisation used to return home from technical meetings in the US and say that his American colleagues were years behind what was being done in the Pre-media field in Europe.

Now this is a subjective and emotive topic and it may have been that his American colleagues were saying similar things about their European counterparts. However, it got me thinking as to how such disparity should appear in an industry where the technology is clearly global as system vendors now sell their products worldwide whether that be direct or through distributors and resellers. However, in my experience there seems to be many differences in the deployment and operation of these technologies all over the world.

BRIC Markets

In recent years we have seen a massive rise in the access to emerging countries (such as the BRIC markets, see left) and whether a global supplier utilises skills that were previously unavailable to them, or they need to supply pre-media technologies on a more local basis, there seems to be a brand new set of challenges emerging from this scenario. We have seen the globalisation of many facets of our industry and I often meet with large global companies who have expanded through either organic growth or acquisition or both. It is these companies I believe that face the most complex challenges in Pre-media in as they attempt to deliver standardised products with disparate systems, operations and processes.

Global Packaging Supply Chain Challenge

The Global Supply Chain Challenge

Imagine if you will a fictitious global supplier who utilises pre-media technology as part of its supply chain services to its customers. This company is based and driven from the US (for example) and has grown from being a US domestic supplier to a global player by opening new operations worldwide as well as acquiring a number of companies and groups to ensure that its footprint is truly global – they need to do this to satisfy their global brand customers who are growing into new emerging markets. This supplier has always been good at what they do and has built a fine business reputation based upon quality and service. Now they are being pushed even further not just by their suppliers, but internally as they realise that their global operating costs are high. On the one hand customers demand standardised products worldwide but those products must remain innovative and provide value for money. On the other hand, it’s a tough market so internally operational processes need to be streamlined in order reduce costs and remain competitive. The issues that this company faces are as follows:

  • Due to the nature of their growth, their Global footprint now includes a host of operations who are functioning with wholly disparate legacy systems.
  • The processes around these pre-media are completely different within each facility and in some cases are out of control.
  • The skill levels of their global staff vary drastically as the local social demographics and educational levels of each country vary greatly.
Tunicca - International, Independant, Premium Pre-media Consulting Services

Tunicca - International, Independent, Premium Pre-media Consulting Services

These are three vital areas of concern and provide the global operation with a massive challenge; how to align all three of these aspects within a global corporation. This undertaking, whilst huge, is not impossible and involves determining business processes that can be migrated around the world as well as training programs to align and raise skills on a global basis. All of these need of course to be based on standardised technology – technology that suits the global footprint and short term and long term objectives of the company. As I said – a huge task, but not impossible – and it’s just another one of the consequences of globalisation.

And as a footnote I must add that these kinds of problems are completely matched to the services of Tunicca because we are an organisation that is set up to help in all of these areas. Being an International concern, entirely Independent, focussed on Pre-media and providing a Premium and Professional service these are the kinds of challenges that we relish!

Author: Sean Runchman

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Tents, Processes & Pre-media

September 5, 2009

Tents, processes and Pre-media – not obviously linked, but stick with me, It’ll all make sense in the end.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I recently had the pleasure of sleeping in a tent in a windy field in Kent during the UK’s recent long weekend. The five nights that I spent sat in my field were eased somewhat by the presence of good friends Paddy McNulty (owner of Print Company MCNG Ltd) and his wife Mary McNulty who has recently re-joined Epson as their European Marketing Manager. So our camp fire discussions tended towards subjects based around business strategy and the future of print and Pre-media. That was until our fellow campers got bored with all that business chat and asked us to change the subject – some people have no taste!

A Tent in a Field

A Tent in a Field

There seems to be a trend here in the UK to go back to nature and so the field that we were in was soon to be awash with trendy new tents bought straight from the new camping stores that seem to have popped up all over the country. As we arrived early we were able to erect our tent (for the first time in public) without too much of an audience. We managed to get the structure up in the specified 40 minutes, but by the time we had completely finished the process (pegging down guy ropes, flattening groundsheets, etc.) it must have been a good 2 hours later. This of course made me determined to improve the ‘tent erection process’ during our next outing!

Upon completing our tent I thought that I would then have the pleasure of watching all of the other arrivals struggle with their new tents;  sat in a chair, glass of wine in hand and relaxed in the knowledge that my work was done. However, instead my time was spent struggling, sweating and swearing as I was roped in to helping my friends put up their tents – so three tents later (including one broken tent, thank you Halfords!) I was able to sit back and relax and survey the scene – a field packed full of shiny tents and smoky BBQ’s.

One Broken Tent

One Broken Tent

And here is the tentative link to pre-media. By the time I had erected and then disassembled 4 separate tents I was, although I say it myself, quite good at it – I had a system going and I had the process well under control. Next time I will be quicker, more efficient, the tent will be more strudy, etc. Now, obviously camping is nowhere near as complex as Pre-media, but there are clearly processes and sub-processes involved in the managment manipulation and delivery of Pre-media data. And it’s these processes, much like my tent building, that can always be improved – speed, efficiency, quality, etc.

I recently met a chap at a packaging company who had run their pre-media department for quite some years. I asked him what challenges he felt that he faced and he said none – everything was under control and there were no problems or bottlenecks. Of course I found this very difficult to accept and some further digging found that they still received their work from customers on CD’s. Even more investigation revealed that they were actually in the dark ages with their whole department which had been clearly neglected for some time. Not only their technology, but their processes were way behind the modern age and in need of a complete overhaul. Whilst this suited the old timer who was happy to see it all out to his retirement date it in no way suited the company that he worked for – in turn, they had trusted him to operate a system and process that had remained their standard for many years.

And here is my point – no matter how many times I put up and take down my tent I will never get it perfected – there will always be room to improve. And this is true of Pre-media – there are always areas for improvement and the process can never be perfect!

Business Process Lifecycle Model

Business Process Lifecycle Model

As business process analysts we know this more than anyone and the Business Process Lifecycle model shows that the systems and processes should always be monitored and improved in some way – it is a constantly moving cycle. There should always be an ongoing course of process improvement and if you take your eye off this it is so easy to fall behind, especially in a technology driven industry such as Pre-media.

I have to say thanks for bearing with me. I told you the link was tentative. By the way, does anyone know if there is a tent available with an integrated beer chiller?

Author: Sean Runchman

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The Future of Premedia – Part 1 – The Stage

September 2, 2009

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 Acrobat.com – 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 Photoshop.com. 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?

Photoshop.com 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 Photoshop.com 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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Esko’s Domination of Packaging Pre-media

August 14, 2009


Being an ex-Esko person I feel compelled to make mention of my old compatriots – something that I have resisted in this blog since leaving the company just over a year ago.

Purup1Now, first of all I should point out that I still have many friends in Esko with whom I talk regularly and I thoroughly enjoyed my 8 1/2 years with the ‘green machine’. I started there as a Purup Eskofot regional sales manager selling CtP and workflow into commercial print (remember PlateDriver??). My biggest daily challenge at that time was getting secretaries at the other end of the phone to understand the name Purup Eskofot (oh, how life would have been simpler if I had been with Creo, Agfa or Screen!) – “Purup Esofot, let me spell it out to you P… U… R… U…”

By the end of my tenure at Esko, the company had morphed into an almost entirely packaging oriented business and I was the European Corporate Account Manager taking care of sales to a number of European and Global packaging corporations. Quite a big change, but a challenge that I both relished and enjoyed. I still admire the company but most especially the vision and drive of some of the people within their business – I could mention a few of those people but one who always springs to mind (and in my opinion epitomises the company) is Frank Adegeest. I always enjoyed working with Frank and I was always amazed by his vision and drive. (more…)

Tunicca Announces Clever Cost Savings Package

August 10, 2009

Aug 10, 2009 – Tunicca, the Business Process Analysis company has announced a new initiative – a constructive and manageable package to help companies in the present economic downturn.

Read the full press release here.