Cloud Storage and DAM Solutions: Don’t Reign in the Beast

Are you trying to apply metadata on individual files or en masse, attempting to make the vast  growth of cloud storage usage manageable, meaningful storage?

Best practices leverage a consistent hierarchy, an Information Architecture in which to store and retrieve information, excellent.

Beyond that, capabilities computer science has documented and used time and time again, checksum algorithms. Used frequently after a file transfer to verify the file you requested is the file you received.  Most / All Enterprise DAM solutions use some type of technology to ‘allow’ the enforcement of unique assets [upon upload].  In cloud storage and photo solutions targeted toward the individual, consumer side, the feature does not appear to be up ‘close and personal’ to the user experience, thus building a huge expanse of duplicate data (documents, photos, music, etc.).  Another feature, a database [primary] key has been used for decades to identify that a record of data is unique.

Our family sharing alone has thousands and thousands of photos and music. The names of the files could be different for many of the same digital assets.  Sometimes file names are the same, but the metadata between the same files is not unique, but provides value. Tools for ‘merging’ metadata, DAM tools have value to help manage digital assets.

Cloud storage usage is growing exponentially, and metadata alone won’t help rope in the beast. Maybe ADHOC or periodic indexing of files [e.g. by #checksum algorithm] could take on the task of identifying duplicate assets?  Duplicate  assets could be viewed by the user in an exception report?  Less boring, upon upload, ‘on the fly’ let the user know the asset is already in storage, and show a two column diff. of the metadata.

It’s a pain for me, and quite possibly many cloud storage users.  As more people jump on cloud storage, this feature should be front and center to help users grow into their new virtual warehouse.

The industry of cloud storage most likely believes for the common consumer, storage is ‘cheap’, just provide more.  At some stage, the cloud providers may look to DAM tools as the cost of managing a users’ storage rises.  Tools like:

  • duplicate digital assets, files. Use exception reporting to identify the duplicates, and enable [bulk] corrective action, and/or upon upload, duplicate ‘error/warning’ message.
  • Dynamic metadata tagging upon [bulk] upload using object recognition.  Correlating and cataloging one or more [type] objects in a picture using defined Information Architecture.  In addition, leveraging facial recognition for updates to metadata tagging.
    • e.g. “beach” objects: sand, ocean; [Ian Roseman] surfing;
  • Brief questionnaires may enable the user to ‘smartly’ ingest the digital assets; e.g. ‘themes’ of current upload; e.g. a family, or relationship tree to  extend facial recognition correlations.
    • e.g. themes – summer; party; New Year’s Eve
    • e.g. relationship tree – office / work
  • Pan Information Architecture (IA) spanning multiple cloud storage [silos]. e.g. for Photos, spanning [shared] ‘albums’
  • Publically published / shared components of an IA;  e.g. Legal documents;  standards and reuse

Project Change Management, Microsoft Solutions

Project Facilitators, Managers, and Stakeholders, please read on…

If you’ve been charged with managing project changes, there are many Microsoft solutions that may be used by a wide array of users with varying degrees of technical experience.

  1.  Word

When the project team members are not comfortable with “technology”, MS Word may be as adventurous as you can get.

Your stakeholders believe each of your change requests have their own story to tell,  and the story should be told in MS Word.  Each of the Change Requests (CR) contain the ‘story’ of the item as well as an appended comments for each of your meetings’ notes.

The solution is a beast to manage if the product/process is used for more than a month, i.e. in an ongoing basis.  Details of the CRs can easily fall by the wayside, as well as prone to human error for the evolving descriptions and historical audit trail in the comments section.

NOTE: Free form text, excluding organizing data into Word tables.

2. Excel

MS Excel is a step up from Word, but is still susceptible to similar issues.  On the positive side, tables have the ability to be sorted, and filtered.  The content/tables may be exported into an email, MS Word doc, etc.  Both MS Word and MS Excel alone do share an additional issue, Change Requests (CR) are not version controlled at the record level.  Both Excel and Word files can be imported into a document management system, e.g. SharePoint, and the docs will have a check in/out audit.  Adding/Changing text on new/existing CRs becomes problematic, and prone to errors, and inconsistent audit of comments.

3. Project

Send them a PDF of the Project Plan.  Companies have few licenses of MS Project, and sharing a project plan with the team is most likely done by exporting the Project Plan to PDF.   When reviewing / updating the project plan in real time with the team (e.g. SMEs, Stakeholders), they collectively see the effect of adding tasks, updating duration, and dependencies.   Itemizing tasks of the team, and grouped by parent activities will help the team stay ‘on task’. The non-PMs do not need access to the Project Plan for edits; this is performed 1:1 or in a team setting with the PM facilitating.

4.  SharePoint

SharePoint is a document and workflow management system among other things.   ‘Out of the box’ capabilities enable users to track a project, Gantt charts to task management, most everything needed to manage a project, including N number of personalized views of the project data,.  The SharePoint platform, out of the box, seems to cater to the laymen as well as the technical savvy.

5. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

TFS covers the entire application lifecycle, part of which enables the team to track their backlog items.  Backlog items may be correlated to other ‘objects’, such as test cases.  All aspects of the project such as development,  builds, unit test case execution, task tracking, and backlog items reside in TFS.  For the tech laymen, i.e. business sponsor, little knowledge transfer is required for using the solution for backlog management.

6. Office Access

Yes, I’ve seen a UI on top of an Access database to manage change.  Actually, I’ve built one way over a decade ago.  It’s a lot of maintenance, just like any solution built from scratch.  With so many options out there, this would not be my first choice.

Click here for an extensive list of project management solutions.

Wireless Carriers: Data Only Plans

Is there any traction on ‘Data Only’ wireless plans which augment your primarily carrier?

E.g. when you reach the allocated capacity of the primary plan, one of N secondary wireless providers may be selected ‘on the fly’ or in  settings.  Each wireless provider may offer their own competitive ‘data only’ plan.  The subscriber may choose a “10 GB for 10 USD.”

Alternatively, the consumer may direct traffic of a certain type, e.g. Network packets for movies to ABC wireless.

Prime example, my family shared plan offers 10 GB to share among the 4 of us.  One of us, for the last two months, chewed up our data plan.   At 75%, 90%, and 100% AT&T sent us warning notifications, which was very good.

After we bust the quota, we are automatically charged one GB for 15 USD.  It may be just me, but that sounds pricey.  Both months I stopped the data component for one of the phones.  Also, a great feature AT&T, but it doesn’t go far enough, block only streaming movies when not in WiFi.  I’d prefer if the middle tier, the wireless solutions management implement the feature.  The kids don’t have access to it as would a device implementation.

Entertainment Portals: Streaming VOD and Live Broadcasts, Games, News

Netflix is a subscription-based film and television program rental service that offers media to subscribers via Internet streaming.

Amazon Instant Video is an Internet video on demand service. It offers television shows and films for rental or purchase.  Selected titles offered free to customers with Amazon Prime subscription.

Bland definitions of what is formulating to be entertainment portals, encompassing multiple media types:

  • Games
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Photos
  • News
  • Social [Platform Integration]
  • Television
  • YouTube
Entertainment Portals:

All or some of the above media types, licensed for distribution,  are served through one or more portals.

Licensing content to be offered across several platforms requires a robust DAM.  Digital asset management (DAM) consists of management tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets.  The DAM products/processes looks like it will continue to bloom as distribution models are ‘experimented’ by the providers

  • Amazon [Instant]
  • Apple ecosphere
  • AOL
  • Cablevision – Optimum
  • Facebook [social]
  • G+ [social]
  • MSN
  • Netflix
  • ReMake – a fictitious Entertainment portal
    • the project team iterates through user design input, and remakes the UI, [and Workflow]  bi-weekly based on consumer feedback
  • Twitter [social]
  • Verizon FiOS
  • Yahoo
Segmented portals, containing one or two media types
  • Music and Music Games,  name that tune;
Industry Standards for Interfaces to/from Entertainment Portals
  • Search Catalog [by …]
    • API returns ‘Stream able’ / Playable URL for a VOD or Broadcast feed.

Wireless Data Plans, Packet Protocols, Granular Reporting

6 Days Left of my Billing Cycle: 0.3 GB Left (out of 10 GB)

Are you kidding me?! I login to AT&T’s Wireless, myAT&T portal to dive into where is all our data going?  I am able to see quite easily what mobile phone number is eating up our plan, but no additional granular information.  AT&T has a great site with lots of good information to help their customers manage their plans.

However, it seems wireless providers leave it up to the handset manufacturers to interpret the usage of the phones. Makes some sense on an individual level, but as multi line / family wireless plans continue to evolve, the growth of wireless services management portals should be spent on providing consumers transparency into their usage, aggregated and granular.

Packets of [wireless] data, bits of information, have a ‘signature’ as they travel through the Internet ether.  Packet protocol defines where the data/information originates, and it’s destination, as well as any other required information by the application sending / receiving the data.  Wireless carriers’, services management portal should allow consumers to slice and drill down to see how data is being used. For example,

Wireless plans of 10 GB is not a lot with teenagers.  You may want to target areas to curtail usage so you aren’t ‘bleeding data’.  At this time, there is not enough transparency on how data is being used from the wireless provider’s usage platform. The provider should be able to parse data packets to quantify how data is being used, and provide reports, e.g.

June 2015 Snapshot for 212-555-1212

231 songs streamed from ABC, N MB; 23 videos watched on YouTube, 2.3 GB; 34 streamed videos from Netflix, 3.2 GB; 345 emails downloaded, 90 MB;

DAM on wireless services:  Application data packet objects may have visibility through Digital Asset Management (DAM), all objects that can be managed, phone calls to chats from Facebook (except where encrypted).

Now take a piece of paper, write privacy on it, then rip it in half and toss it in the garbage.

Make Finding a Movie Just as much Fun as Watching it.

Content is king.  It seems to be resonating throughout the Entertainment universes.  Fantastic!  Content creators managing their content through licensing, and through their own distribution channel(s). The creation of short clips to entice viewers.   Of course, navigation to view content on a revolving carousel.

The entertainment industry has had successful initiatives in marketing their own content. and licensing their content for distribution and viewing to consumers.

What’s next?

  • Augmented and Virtual Reality

Sitting in your living room with VR headsets, enabling you to socialize before virtually entering the Theater.  Virtual meet ups for discussion / interaction around Genre, e.g. Action, Sci-Fi; or Adhoc meet ups, ‘e.g. by Actor, or Movie interests

Enable a viewer to select, and rotate perspectives of the actors/actress currently in the scene.

  • Movie / Television Trivia (by Genre, by Actor, by Movie)

Another creative way to match up viewer with media beyond the ‘Carousel': Design games around the content provider’s owned or licensed content.  It will make for a more enriched experience, and help the viewer find their entertainment for the evening.  Even put together a licensing relationship with Hasbro for a spin off Trivial Pursuit.  ‘Sponsored puzzles’ like on ‘Wheel of Fortune‘ may help to bring in Advertising dollars.  Or a licensing deal with Screenlife,  makers of Scene It?,  Looks like Screenlife is a Paramount property, small world.

Game examples:

  1. reconstituting a ‘famous and recognizable’ image.   The image is taken directly from one of the movies being streamed.
  2. Guess where the movie or TV show short clip originated.  Select to stream, or play another round.
  3. In what movie or TV show did ‘this’ main theme song originate?

Cooking Wars: Popularizing the HoloLens before it’s Released.

An aspiring Chief or Cook armed with a HoloLens on a special edition of the Food Network show Chopped?  How well would HoloLens and Human come together to create a brilliant dish?
At the TV show’s core rules, each contestant must come up with a dish to be served to the Judges.  The caveat, the Chiefs must use all the ingredients from a ‘blind’ basket.  To enable a Chief with a HoloLens would instantly give the contestant a potentially ‘unfair’ advantage.  Bringing a computer with Internet access and your list of digital recipes would, on the ‘Surface’, be an equivalent advantage.
If the producers of Chopped want to level the playing field,  why not allow the other contestants use of a Microsoft Surface, continuing along the same lines of providing a HoloLens to one, or potentially all of the Chiefs.
‘Adhoc’ cooking with a HoloLens, the user may:
  • Search libraries of food recipes, filtered by the basket ingredients.   HoloLens uses object recognition to identify each of the items taken out of the basket.  Chiefs should not have to ‘say’ or ‘input’ the ingredients to the HoloLens.  Take every advantage to speed up, not slow down interaction of Chef and machine ‘working together’
  • A step by step walk through to execute the recipe, HoloLens and human working together. e.g. HoloLens highlights the salt on the user’s field of vision.  HoloLens articulates what is needed and when, like a tutor over your shoulder.
  • Recipes may have a ‘pause’ to allowremind the Chief to ‘check the food’, and provide feedback to the HoloLens.  AI on the HoloLens may indicate back to the Chief to action, such as the Chief saying it tastes too XYZ, so HoloLens responds, add NN of Salt.
  • HoloLens may also state reminders such as ‘you should be plating your food by now’,  or you haven’t added this ingredient yet.
  • The HoloLens may guide the ‘food plating’ process, almost like an empty puzzle being populated.

Note: Microsoft is not responsible for any  accidental cuts. :-)

What’s Next?

IBM’s Watson goes into battle on Bravo’s Top Chef  with the aid of any household  cook, and an Augmented Reality (AR) Headset, such as the HoloLens.

Smart Solutions

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