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Introducing a Framework for Multi-Publishing

January 16, 2016 1 comment

I believe that in a highly connected digital world, the future of content publishing lies with creating interlinked manifestations of a core concept or theme. I like to think of this as “multi(n) publishing”, (where ‘n’ stands for any number of things, e.g.: aspect / channel / facet / format / genre / sided / variant / etc.), or multi-publishing for short. To this end, I’ve created a framework which could prove very useful for conceptualizing and executing multi-publishing projects. Read on to find out more.

  1. Why Multi-Publishing?

There is increasing evidence of an evolution in the way people consume digitally enabled content, e.g.: watching a TV show whilst surfing the web, talking on the phone to a friend and posting comments on social media – all of which may or may not relate to each other or a single topic. This has put enormous pressure on content creators and publishers to find new ways to engage their audience and deliver compelling content to people that live in a world surfeit with competing content, channels, devices and distractions. In the above scenario, broadcasters have tried, with varying degrees of success, to engage viewers with second or multi-screen, content (e.g.: show on TV, cast info on website / mobile site, plus real time interaction on Social Media – all related to the show). Furthermore, the average attention span of most users appears to have shrunk and many prefer to ‘snack’ on content across devices and formats. This doesn’t bode well for the more traditional long-form content upon which many creative industries were established. As a result, many in the content production, publishing and marketing industries are seeking new ways to engage audiences across multiple devices and channels with even more compelling content and user experiences.

  1. What is Multi-publishing?

In this context, the term “multi(n) publishing” (or multi-publishing) describes the manifestation of a core concept / theme as distinct but inter-linked works across multiple media formats, channels and genres. This is somewhat different from other similar related terms such as: multi-format (or cross-media), multi-channel, single source, or even multi-platform publishing. The last one being mainly used by marketers to describe the practice of taking one thing and turning it into several products across a spectrum of online, offline and even ‘live’ experiential forms. The key difference between these terms and multi-publishing is that the latter encompasses them all, and more. In fact, the multi-publishing framework is closer to the information science idea of conceptualisation. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the various manifestations of multi-published content are not necessarily brand identical to the originating (aka ‘native’) core concept, or to each other. However, each and every manifestation is intended to be unique and distinct, yet able to enhance each other and provide a fuller and more fulfilling experience of the overall core concept.

  1. How does it work?

In order to achieve the desired outcome of the whole being more than a sum of its parts, it makes sense for creators and publishers to bear in mind, right from the outset, that their works will likely be: used, reused, decomposed, remixed and recomposed in so many different ways, (including new and novel expressions of which they couldn’t possibly imagine at the time of creation). Therefore, they must recognize where and how each of their output content fits within the context of a multi-publishing content framework or architecture. The diagram below is just such a framework (in mindmap form) and demonstrates the narrative-like progression of a single core concept / theme across various stages and interlinked manifestations.

The Multi-Publish Concept

This is only an example of what content creators and their publishers must consider and prepare as part of their creative (inspiration) and publishing (exploitation) process. It requires the creation and/or identification of a core concept which is manifest in the expression of the art (e.g. in the: story, song, prose, images, video, game, conversations or presentations etc), and which can be used to link each and every format, channel or media in which the concept is expressed.

Finally, the use of multi-publishing frameworks can also enable easier setup and automation of tracking and recording of all usage transactions, and potentially any subsequent remuneration for creator(s) and publisher(s), in a transparent manner, (perhaps using a trust mechanism such as blockchain). I will explore this particular topic in a subsequent post on this blog. In any case, there remains one key question to be answered, i.e.: how can or should we consider protecting core concepts or algorithms at the heart of multi-publishing frameworks, and if so what form should such protection take?

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How Can You Measure Real Value?

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been a while since my last post, but then nothing much has changed, perhaps because, in real terms, a few weeks is really not that long, even in the fast-paced world of digital technology and innovation. However, it could just be proof of that old saying: “the more things change, the more they remain the same”, right?

Although, on the surface, it might not appear that much has changed, there are evident signs of continuous progress in several areas, including: technology and innovation; user experience and social networking / media / business; mobility and data of the large variety (aka big data). Many other experts and analysts, across various media and other channels, do a great job of observing / commenting on these topics and trends that I won’t bother trying to rehash them here.

In any case, the point I really wish to explore is that such developments, trends and indicators seem to point towards a new value exchange paradigm and/or system, sometime in the not too distant future. This notion is clearly described by Tim O’Reilly, at the last Strata Conference, where he talked about a fundamental need to find better ways for “measuring the economic impact of the sharing economy”. Among other things, he asks the key question, in my opinion, of how to measure the real value of sharing, particularly where traditional economic value yardsticks, (e.g. typical financial metrics), are no longer adequate for the task. He also described the often unmeasured benefits to be derived from the sharing economy (e.g. enriching an ecosystem of which you are part), versus the sometimes destructive impact of a profit-led, financially measured system (e.g. the contribution of global financial institutions to the current economic shambles). It would appear in this new paradigm that the way forward would involve “creating more value than you capture”, which, somewhat counter-intuitively, actually works to your advantage.

Perhaps this paradigm shift will be most realisable, (at least for the content industry), via a strategy of diversification and multi-publishing, which together increases the likelihood of better traction / success for content, via multiple touch-points, partnerships and hooks to end consumers. A couple of examples, which describe real life scenarios in e-book publishing and music licensing, are outlined below as follows:

  1. E-Book Publishing: A recent post on CopyrightandTechnology.com discusses Harry Potter’s DRM Free e-Book offering, which runs somewhat counter to conventional wisdom for publishing such valuable properties in fully DRM’ed electronic formats, for fear of piracy. However this works for Harry Potter on many levels, especially considering how this would complement and create further opportunities for their existing and future merchandising initiatives.
  2. Music Licensing: An article in the Berklee Music Business Journal examined the pros and cons of Coca-Cola’s equity stake in a music licensing startup. On the one hand, a major global consumer brand partners with a music outfit to source original musical content for its marketing campaigns; on the other hand the artistes, (often independent, unsigned and eager to be heard), get an opportunity to gain access to Coca-Cola’s global marketing might – which beats anything a record label can provide these days. Verdict: Win / Win!
  3. Streaming Movies: The key players in on-demand video streaming services, e.g.: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon (i.e. Prime and LoveFilm), and latterly Sky, all offer different value propositions to the consumer, but in my opinion, the winner/s will likely emerge from those that are willing to leverage multiple customer propositions / channels / formats (e.g. books, music, DVD and perhaps devices).

In conclusion, it is becoming increasingly harder to ignore such trends / evidence / indicators that suggest a move towards multiple consumer propositions (including pricing), multi touch points (channels / interactions) and multi-formats is rapidly gaining ground. This makes it even more imperative to find a better yardstick for measuring the real value of content, products and services for both suppliers and consumers. It seems to me that we’re likely heading for a post monetary value exchange and recognition system, and hopefully one that is more in keeping with the post-global realities of a digitally connected planet. I remain optimistic, and fully convinced that money is not, and perhaps has never really been, the best yardstick for measuring true value.

IT Security: Still Hot & Cloudy!

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

This a refresh of an older, but still relevant, post I did last year about security and cloud which remains mostly true even today. The origin and subject of the post was from an event on IT security at the BCS Chartered institute for IT which featured 3 speakers on IT Security and Cloud.

I said back then that if I was a betting man, I’d wager the IT security industry was on the brink of a major revolution on the back of the Cloud, and indeed that still appears to be the case today. In fact, the question asked then of how many people in the audience actively used the cloud will have many more hands raised in response, if asked today, mainly because people are much more aware of the cloud then before. Which is not to say that the cloud has completely become front and centre; it still exists rightfully behind the scenes, powering various services that may still be taken for granted by the consumer, however some more recent services are also leveraging increased awareness of cloud by consumers and positioning themselves directly as cloud services. E.g. think Apple’s iCloud or Amazon’s Cloud drive for instance.

But I digress, what’s this got to do with IT Security you ask? The answer is very simple, if the cloud is really a behind-the-scenes enabler, then cloud security should also be behind the scenes right? But I still have this uneasy feeling, that we’ll yet see someone get sued over security breaches emanating from the Cloud. How long will it be before we get cloud compliance and cloud security risk assessment models, regulations and perhaps even exotic insurance policy for Cloud based services? Furthermore, the Internet (and consequently the cloud) is essentially borderless technology, which means that various national and international data governance regimes may have a thing or two to say about where data is stored – assuming it can be found in one place! This could well be a nightmare in the making for eDisclosure and/or eDiscovery.

Finally, apparently some clever Silicon Valley types are actively seeking ways to commoditize the cloud, and cloud based services, such that it can be traded as a financial instrument. Hmmm, now where did we see that one before (does Collateralized Debt Obligation ring a bell)? Suffice it to say there’s a lot of food for thought when it comes to Cloud Security, and far better qualified people than I have pondered, spoken and written about it (e.g. see my  review of an excellent book about Cloud Security), so I shall just leave well enough alone.

To conclude, I dare say that cloud has come a long way since last year, especially in the minds of consumers, and it is looking likely to stay that way for a while yet, or at least until the next big hot topic strikes the zeitgeist. We can only wait and see.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

Categories: Cloud, Security Tags: , ,

Copyright and the Cloud

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

As promised in my last blog post, the focus this time is very much around the challenges of Intellectual Property, (esp. copyright), in a cloud context. Content protection is one thing, but establishing exactly what one can and can’t do with content in the cloud is equally as important, if not more so, in an environment where geographic location is almost irrelevant. The key question is if and how copyright will survive and thrive in the context of cloud.

Copyright and Cloud

Copyright and cloud

The answer currently tends towards ‘not so well’. At least, not without a major overhaul of copyright, and its various regional incarnations, to work seamlessly in a global context. Last week’s Copyright and Technology 2011 conference (see great recap here by Bill Rosenblatt) provided much food for thought, and some insight on the key challenges facing copyright in the highly mobile, cloud enabled, information intensive content usage scenarios of today and tomorrow. Below are 3 highlights from the event, in my opinion:

  1. The brilliant keynote address by Microsoft’s Tom Rubin spelt out some key policy considerations for achieving what he describes as “copyright at the speed of light”, which addressed several vital topics including: clarity on orphan works; need for copyright registry / licence databases; improved metadata; better policies to address the divergent focus of copyright (i.e. territorial outlook) versus cloud (i.e. global outlook); as well as the need for frictionless cross border licensing. He concluded with 3 areas of focus for policies to help prepare and optimise copyright for the cloud, including: 1) appropriate enforcement; 2) robust metadata; and 3) streamlined licensing. These he claims will go some way towards realising the potential for “fantastic user experience with creative works in the cloud”, and I wholeheartedly agree.
  1. I moderated a panel session which focused on the lessons from real world implementation of DRM, and which provided some good insight from three speakers who already earned their stripes implementing DRM for clients. For example, my question about how to provide fine grained control over user access to specific content within a certain building/location elicited an answer, with examples, of how this was already being designed and implemented for clients in the airline and hospitality (e.g. hotel) industries. I imagine there are great opportunities here for events and venues (e.g. conferences, concerts, major sporting events, art galleries, educational and other public institutions). By the way, the simplest approach involves exclusive content access, via Wi-Fi and browser, which cuts out once a user moves outside the area of coverage. However, the level of sophistication can increase dramatically when this is also aligned with DRM secured content, and location based functionality (which is readily available on most smart mobile devices), plus a dash of Augumented Reality, for that added vavavoom. The possibilities are mind boggling.
  1. Finally, I found out some people were seriously creating real world applications for Digital Personal Property (DPP), which is probably best described as a way of making digital content to be more like physical property). DPP involves creating ‘unique’ digital copies of content (e.g. music, films or books) such that once a copy is lent, resold or otherwise given to another party, the original will no longer be accessible to the lender, seller or giver, respectively. Hmmm, whilst on the one hand this makes a certain kind of sense, particularly from the ‘property’ side of Intellectual Property (i.e. think digital property or currency in virtual worlds and online games e.g. Second Life or Farmville); on the other hand, it appears such a mind numbingly daft, futile and King Canute like venture to try and force digital content into an analogue world view, operating within a digital environment! It brings back to mind the spectacular failure of previous attempts to enforce highly intrusive DRM mechanisms over digital content. Having said that, I somehow get the impression that this will be a most interesting development to watch, mainly because of the potential for surprising outcomes from such apparently ‘foolish’ endeavours. A little lateral thinking never hurt anyone. For more information about DPP and the two interesting / controversial initiatives, just click on IEEE P1817 and/or Redigi (the latter is already embroiled in legal tussles with the RIAA, but then that is not surprising!). I’d be very interested to hear about any other DPP projects going on out there.

In conclusion, I think it is fair to say that copyright in a cloud context brings to very sharp relief to some of the key challenges that need addressing for that next step in cultural and socio-economic evolution. This includes: the need for some fairly significant adjustment of the Intellectual Property mechanism within the digital environment; a rethink of physical geographical or territorial boundaries in a digital world; and perhaps an exploration of other, better ways to assess the true value of digital content, in light of usage and context. Like I said earlier, lots of food for thought indeed.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

Storage and the Cloud

November 18, 2011 2 comments

For this second post in the cloud series, I’d like to take a quick look at the challenges and opportunities around digital content storage in the cloud.

According to Cisco’s visual networking index, by 2015 “the equivalent of an archive of all movies ever made will cross Global IP networks every 4 minutes”, or to put it another way, Global IP traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015 with a compound annual growth rate of 32%. Oh, and by the way, over 60% of this traffic will be video! Now, that’s an awful lot of content which implies an increased need for storage, at one point or another in the content life cycle.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for content storage on the cloud, and indeed so many examples already exist of cloud storage providers for both enterprise and consumer specific needs (e.g. think Amazon, Dropbox, or even Apple’s iCloud). So what’s the big deal? Well, according to a recent Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Cloud Adoption Study, over half of enterprise respondents were planning to deploy cloud storage, and up to 60% planned to retain data anywhere between 5 – 20 years plus, on the cloud. This means the content stored on cloud is likely to increase exponentially over time, in light of the aforementioned growth in traffic.

Whilst these trends offer great opportunities, at least for cloud storage services and the content industry ecosystem, it also provides some key challenges to be addressed along the way, e.g. data storage and security, regulatory compliance and retention issues, as well as IP Rights management in a distributed, global digital landscape (the last will be subject of a separate post in this series).

In my opinion, one immediate issue for cloud storage will be how to interoperate, and easily migrate, stored data / content between cloud services. There is clear need for standards for cloud storage, and several initiatives, e.g. SNIA’s Cloud Storage Initiative (which introduced the Cloud Data Management Interface), and the Open Grid Forum’s Open Cloud Computing Interface are certainly steps in the right direction, because they help to specify the attributes, functions and requirements of data and content stored in the cloud. The key message for Enterprises looking to step into the cloud storage arena would be to ensure that their suppliers or vendors have adopted, or plan to adopt, a cloud storage standard early on in the selection process.

Note: This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series. For more information please click – HERE

Digital Content and the Cloud

October 17, 2011 3 comments

This is first in a series of posts about cloud computing and digital content which will look at some of the immediate impact, as well as emerging and potential future trends of digital content in the context of cloud computing.

Digital Content Cloud

Digital Content in Cloud

Once upon a time, it was normal expectation and practice to run a decent-sized content business entirely from your own servers, storage and website. Nowadays this is not necessarily part of the conversation, even for small content businesses, as a result of the pervasive awareness of this thing called cloud and all the benefits it can deliver to the bottom line. The obvious advantages (e.g. scale, flexibility and reach) far outweigh most of the real and perceived disadvantages, but for content businesses, and I mean those businesses that rely on digital assets for their livelihood, this is a critical step with an intolerably high cost of failure.

In order to play in this field, content businesses must make it a point to ensure they are well placed and able to handle challenges posed by certain key aspects of doing business in the clouds, so to speak. These include:

  1. Storage – Along with the vast compute power, virtually unlimited storage is one of the key calling cards of the cloud optimist or evangelist. It is a compelling argument but there are still some key operational challenges to be faced in dealing with the vast amount of content stored in the cloud.
  1. Security – Cloud security is a staple topic of criticism by those I would refer to as cloud pessimists, but even now it is still way too early to tell which way the dice will fall on this one
  1. Collaboration – the ability to collaborate over space and time is another key attraction of cloud for content creators, business users and the even consumers (e.g. for User Generated Content)
  1. Intellectual property – The ability to monitor and enforce IP rights is a slow burner of an issue which will only get hotter as the more immediate challenges get resolved
  1. Emerging Usage models – The content industries face a major challenge dealing with constantly changing user needs and behaviours, (e.g. in the social context) resulting in the need for a highly flexible business model to cope with the onslaught; and this in my opinion, is where cloud technologies can really help enable the businesses of tomorrow

These and other related topics will form the main subjects for discussion in my subsequent posts for this series. In the meantime, I’d like to reiterate that the opinions expressed in this post and in the subsequent series of posts (and indeed my entire blog), are strictly mine and do not in anyway reflect the views of my employer, Capgemini, or the BCS Chartered Institute for IT.

DISCLAIMER:  This post is brought to you in partnership with Intel(R) as part of the “Technology in tomorrow’s cloud & virtual desktop” series.

Which is more important, content or presentation?

September 26, 2011 2 comments

This may be something of a philosophical debate, because both are obviously very important for any high-quality content product or service. However, if you had to choose one over the other, which would it be?

Content and Presentation

Content and Presentation

This is a tough question that probably requires tough answers, and a rough canvas of opinions got some of the usual / expected response that content is king, and without it there would be no point in presenting anything. Others took a more pragmatic position with the view that proper presentation or communication (of even poorly developed content) is vital to winning over your audience or customers. Ps. these equally apply to information, intelligence, and other forms of knowledge or content (including creative works).

Even though I am of the firm belief that content is king, it is a clear to see that unless said content is delivered properly to the right audience and consumers, it might as well just be a cup of salt water in the ocean, or a lamp under a bucket, for all the use and value it has. The point is that it takes the right recipient or consumer to establish the true value of any given content or information. Clearly, the end consumer or recipient of content is very important to this equation; and it would appear that a well polished presentation of mediocre content is likely to have more impact than a mediocre presentation of top quality content. Furthermore, in a world where digital content is a more or less dime a dozen, and many organisations are just starting to feel the impact of so called ‘big data’, it is vital to differentiate your content from the rest of the pack and this can be readily done via presentation of same. Surely this means presentation is more valuable, correct?

Well, I’m not so sure, mainly because one other important attribute, which probably trumps content, presentation or audience, is the ability to find the right content (and its presentation, in whatever form / format) in the first place. However, the fact that one cannot find a particular lost work of Leonardo da Vinci doesn’t make it any less valuable, especially for anyone that values such works of art. Furthermore, an overly elaborate, or otherwise misjudged, presentation can sometimes get in the way of the content and its message, and some things could also get lost in translation. But do these points make content more important than presentation?

Again, I’m not so sure. If anything both arguments lead to the conclusion that they (i.e. content and presentation) are really one and the same; and that either one lives or dies by the quality of the other. The inherent value of content is realised in its presentation, and likewise, the importance of presentation rests is the ability to deliver the right content, in the right way, to the right audience. This is the key challenge for most organisations, especially those in the content and / or knowledge based industries. It may be best to conclude by saying that if content is king, then presentation is the king maker. Does it really matter which is more important?