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Putting Content in Context

Putting Content in Context

Digital asset management (DAM) software stores and organises images, audio, video and other digital objects, making them easier to find, transform and reuse. And many companies are using DAM to provide a centralised way for employees and partners to locate and manipulate content - a big time-saver for all.

Coca-Cola is using it to bottle up 116 years of brand history, including its hippie-era ad classic: "I'd like to buy the world a Coke."

DaimlerChrysler is using it as a virtual parking lot for vehicle images.

The National Football League is using it to hand off game photos and head shots of some 3000 players and coaches.

Those companies are among a growing number of organisations deploying digital asset management systems - software that stores and organises images, audio, video and other digital objects, making them easier to find, transform and reuse. Digital asset management (DAM) found an early niche in the media, entertainment and advertising industries, with pioneers such as CNN and Discovery Communications using it to get a high-tech handle on their vast video libraries. But the market is poised for rapid growth during the coming years, analysts say, as mainstream companies realise that they too are awash in rich and varied forms of content - PowerPoint presentations, product photographs, training videos - and that they desperately need a centralised, speedy way for employees and partners to locate such content and manipulate it.

"Most CIOs find themselves in the unhappy circumstance of having all of these islands of stuff that are not federated in any way," says Michael Moon, president and CEO of research company Gistics. "So they can't say: how many reusable objects do I have in my enterprise?"

Not being able to ask or answer that question can prove costly. DaimlerChrysler, for example, works with multiple ad agencies in the US. Car images and other marketing-related media have typically been stored in separate databases, some at agencies, some in-house, says Bill Whedon, director of e-commerce and dealership technologies. "We would end up with redundant [photo] shoots, but oftentimes we didn't realise [it]," Whedon says. And each photo shoot could cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, with DAM software from Artesia, Whedon says, the automaker will be able to centrally store and manage data, graphics and images used in the company's Web sites, electronic kiosks and traditional print-marketing pieces; it'll be able to store video for use in a variety of mediums. Whedon hopes that the DAM system, which was scheduled to roll out by late July, will help eliminate wasteful duplication and encourage designers to transform and reuse existing materials. Say a promotional piece needs to show a yellow 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport in a rugged landscape, and the DAM system already holds an image of a white Wrangler Sport thundering across the Mojave desert. "It's much easier to repurpose the image - to change the colour - rather than going out and reshooting it because you need the car in a different colour," Whedon says.

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