All posts by Ian Roseman

Information Architecture: An Afterthought for Content Creation Solutions

Maximizing Digital Asset Reuse

Many applications that enable users to create their own content from word processing to graphics/image creation have typically relied upon 3rd party Content Management Solutions (CMS) / Digital Asset Management (DAM) platforms to collect metadata describing the assets upon ingestion into their platforms.  Many of these platforms have been “stood up” to support projects/teams either for collaboration on an existing project, or reuse of assets for “other” projects.  As a person constantly creating content, where do you “park” your digital resources for archiving and reuse?  Your local drive, cloud storage, or not archived?

Average “Jane” / “Joe” Digital Authors

If I were asked for all the content I’ve created around a particular topic or group of topics from all my collected/ingested digital assets, it may be a herculean search effort spanning multiple platforms.  As an independent creator of content, I may have digital assets ranging from Microsoft Word documents, Google Sheets spreadsheets, Twitter tweets,  Paint.Net (.pdn) Graphics, Blog Posts, etc.

Capturing Content from Microsoft Office Suite Products

Many of the MS Office content creation products such as Microsoft Word have minimal capacity to capture metadata, and if the ability exists, it’s subdued in the application.  MS Word, for example, if a user selects “Save As”, they will be able to add/insert “Authors”, and Tags.  In Microsoft Excel, latest version,  the author of the Workbook has the ability to add Properties, such as Tags, and Categories.  It’s not clear how this data is utilized outside the application, such as the tag data being searchable after uploaded/ingested by OneDrive?

Blog Posts: High Visibility into Categorization and Tagging

A “blogging platform”, such as WordPress, places the Category and Tagging selection fields right justified to the content being posted.  In this UI/UX, it forces a specific mentality to the creation, categorization, and tagging of content.  This blogging structure constantly reminds the author to identify the content so others may identify and consume the content.  Blog post content is created to be consumed by a wide audience of interested viewers based on those tags and categories selected.

Proactive Categorization and Tagging

Perpetuate content classification through drill-down navigation of a derived Information Architecture Taxonomy.  As a “light weight” example, in WordPress, the Tags field when editing a Post, a user starts typing in a few characters, an auto-complete dropdown list appears to the user to select one or more of these previously used tags.  Excellent starting point for other Content Creation Apps.

Users creating Blog Posts can define a Parent/Child hierarchy of categories, and the author may select one or more of relevant categories to be associated with the Post.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Derived Tags

It wouldn’t be a post without mentioning AI.  Integrated into applications that enable user content creation could be a tool, at a minimum, automatically derives an “Index” of words, or tags.  The way in which this “intelligent index” is derived may be based upon:

  • # of times word occurrence
  • mention of words in a particular context
  • reference of the same word(s) or phrases in other content
    • defined by the same author, and/or across the platform.

This intelligently derived index of data should be made available to any platforms that ingest content from OneDrive, SharePoint, Google Docs, etc.  These DAMs ( or Intelligent Cloud Storage) can leverage this information for any searches across the platforms.

Easy to Retrieve the Desired Content, and Repurpose It

Many Content Creation applications heavily rely on “Recent Accessed Files” within the app.  If the Information Architecture/Taxonomy hierarchy were presented in the “File Open” section, and a user can drill down on select Categories/Subcategories (and/or tags), it might be easier to find the most desired content.

All Eyes on Content Curation: Creation to Archive
  • Content creation products should all focus on the collection of metadata at the time of their creation.
  • Using the Blog Posting methodology, the creation of content should be alongside the metadata tagging
  • Taxonomy (categories, and tags with hierarchy) searches from within the Content Creation applications, and from the Operating System level, the “Original” Digital Asset Management solution (DAM), e.g. MS Windows, Mac

 

Popular Tweets from January and February 2018

Tweet Activity Analytics

Leveraging Twitter’s Analytics, I’ve extracted the Top Tweets from the last 57 day period (Jan 1 until today).   During that period, there were 46.8K impressions earned.

Summary:

  • 61 Link Clicks
  • 27 Retweets
  • 86 Likes
  • 34 Replies
Top Tweets for January and February 2018
Top Tweets for January and February 2018

Information Architecture (IA): the Classification of Information (Part 2)

Karl Smith has created this timeless post on Information Architecture, which is still relevant today. The below is an excerpt of his article I found relevant to the foundation of IA.


To Each His Own

Different groups of individuals have a very specific context of use when looking for content, the descriptions they use and understand to find it and their underlying purpose in doing so. In this case, they will each require a separate structure around an entity and may require their own version of the taxonomy.

Atomic Unit of Information

Define ‘What is the smallest component of viable (useful) information?’ and use that to model the information system. I have worked with several huge education providers and universities and the questions I ask is ‘What is a course?’;

  • A course has a title
  • A course has duration, with a start and an end
  • A course has a subject
  • A course has a level
  • A course has prerequisites
  • A course has an outcome, which leads to options
  • A course has a delivery mechanism

I also ask, ‘Who is a student?’, ‘Who is a tutor?’, ‘What is an outcome?’ even ‘What is a college?’, if a course has a regular location then this creates a second set of entities.

  • A location has an address, telephone number, email address
  • A location has facilities
  • A location has transportation links
  • A location has a community
  • A location has accommodation

And it goes on and on, this is Information Architecture 101.

Source: Information Architecture (IA) the classification of information Part 2 – Karl Smith

Microsoft Productivity Suite – Content Creation, Ingestion, Curation, Search, and Repurpose

Auto Curation: AI Rules Engine Processing

There are, of course, 3rd party platforms that perform very well, are feature rich, and agnostic to all file types.  For example, within a very short period of time, low cost, and possibly a few plugins, a WordPress site can be configured and deployed to suit your needs of Digital Asset Managment (DAM).  The long-term goal is to incorporate techniques such as Auto Curation to any/all files, leveraging an ever-growing intelligent taxonomy, a taxonomy built on user-defined labels/tags, as well an AI rules engine with ML techniques.   OneDrive, as a cloud storage platform, may bridge the gap between JUST cloud storage and a DAM.

Ingestion and Curation Workflow

Content Creation Apps and Auto Curation

  • The ability for Content Creation applications, such as Microsoft Word, to capture not only the user-defined tags but also the context of the tags relating to the content.
    • When ingesting a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, after consuming the file, and Auto Curation process can extract “reusable components” of the file, such as slide header/name, and the correlated content such as a table, chart, or graphics.
    • Ingesting Microsoft Excel and Auto Curation of Workbooks may yield “reusable components” stored as metadata tags, and their correlated content, such as chart and table names.
    • Ingesting and Auto Curation of Microsoft Word documents may build a classic Index for all the most frequently occurring words, and augment the manually user-defined tags in the file.
    • Ingestion of Photos [and Videos] into and Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform, during the Auto Curation process, may identify commonly identifiable objects, such as trees or people.  These objects would be automatically tagged through the Auto Curation process after Ingestion.
  • Ability to extract the content file metadata, objects and text tags, to be stored in a standard format to be extracted by DAMs, or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platforms with file and metadata search capabilities.  Could OneDrive be that intelligent platform?
  • A user can search for a file title or throughout the Manual and Auto Curated, defined metadata associated with the file.  The DAM or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform provides both search results.   “Reusable components” of files are also searchable. 
    • For “Reusable Components” to be parsed out of the files to be separate entities, a process needs to occur after Ingestion Auto Curration.
  • Content Creation application, user-entry tag/text fields should have “drop-down” access to the search index populated with auto/manual created tags.

Auto Curation and Intelligent Cloud Storage

  • The intelligence of Auto Curation should be built into the Cloud Storage Platform, e.g. potentially OneDrive.
  • At a minimum, auto curation should update the cloud storage platform indexing engine to correlate files and metadata.
  • Auto Curation is the ‘secret sauce’ that “digests” the content to build the search engine index, which contains identified objects (e.g. tag and text or coordinates)  automatically
    • Auto Curation may leverage a rules engine (AI) and apply user configurable rules such as “keyword density” thresholds
    • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning rules may be applied to the content to derive additional labels/tags.
  • If leveraging version control of the intelligent cloud storage platform, each iteration should “re-index” the content, and update the Auto Curation metadata tags.  User-created tags are untouched.
  • If no user-defined labels/tags exist, upon ingestion, the user may be prompted for tags

Auto Curation and “3rd Party” Sources

In the context of sources such as a Twitter feed, there exists no incorporation of feeds into an Intelligent Cloud Storage.  OneDrive, Cloud Intelligent Storage may import feeds from 3rd party sources, and each Tweet would be defined as an object which is searchable along with its metadata (e.g. likes; tags).

Operating System, Intelligent Cloud Storage/DAM

The Intelligent Cloud Storage and DAM solutions should have integrated search capabilities, so on the OS (mobile or desktop) level, the discovery of content through the OS search of tagged metadata is possible.

Current State

  1. OneDrive has no ability to search Microsoft Word tags
  2. The UI for all Productivity Tools must have a comprehensive and simple design for leveraging an existing taxonomy for manual tagging, and the ability to add hints for auto curation
    1. Currently, Microsoft Word has two fields to collect metadata about the file.  It’s obscurely found at the “Save As” dialog.
      1. The “Save As” dialogue box allows a user to add tags and authors but only when using the MS Word desktop version.  The Online (Cloud) version of Word has no such option when saving to Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage
  3. Auto Curation (Artificial Intelligence, AI) must inspect the MS Productivity suite tools, and extract tags automatically which does not exist today.
  4. No manual taging or Auto Curation/Facial Recognition exists.

Politics around Privacy: Implementing Facial and Object Recognition

This Article is Not…

about deconstructing existing functionality of entire Photo Archive and Sharing platforms.

It is…

to bring an awareness to the masses about corporate decisions to omit the advanced capabilities of cataloguing photos, object recognition, and advanced metadata tagging.

Backstory: The Asks / Needs

Every day my family takes tons of pictures, and the pictures are bulk loaded up to The Cloud using Cloud Storage Services, such as DropBox, OneDrive,  Google Photos,  or iCloud.  A selected set of photos are uploaded to our favourite Social Networking platform (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat,  and/or Twitter).

Every so often, I will take pause, and create either a Photobook or print out pictures from the last several months.  The kids may have a project for school to print out e.g. Family Portrait or just a picture of Mom and the kids.  In order to find these photos, I have to manually go through our collection of photographs from our Cloud Storage Services, or identify the photos from our Social Network libraries.

Social Networking Platform Facebook

As far as I can remember the Social Networking platform Facebook has had the ability to tag faces in photos uploaded to the platform.  There are restrictions, such as whom you can tag from the privacy side, but the capability still exists. The Facebook platform also automatically identifies faces within photos, i.e. places a box around faces in a photo to make the person tagging capability easier.  So, in essence, there is an “intelligent capability” to identify faces in a photo.  It seems like the Facebook platform allows you to see “Photos of You”,  but what seems to be missing is to search for all photos of Fred Smith, a friend of yours, even if all his photos are public.    By design, it sounds fit for the purpose of the networking platform.

Auto Curation

  1. Automatically upload new images in bulk or one at a time to a Cloud Storage Service ( with or without Online Printing Capabilities, e.g. Photobooks) and an automated curation process begins.
  2. The Auto Curation process scans photos for:
    1. “Commonly Identifiable Objects”, such as #Car, #Clock,  #Fireworks, and #People
    2. Auto Curation of new photos, based on previously tagged objects and faces in newly uploaded photos will be automatically tagged.
    3. Once auto curation runs several times, and people are manually #taged, the auto curation process will “Learn”  faces. Any new auto curation process executed should be able to recognize tagged people in new pictures.
  3. Auto Curation process emails / notifies the library owners of the ingestion process results, e.g. Jane Doe and John Smith photographed at Disney World on Date / Time stamp. i.e. Report of executed ingestion, and auto curation process.

Manual Curation

After upload,  and auto curation process, optionally, it’s time to manually tag people’s faces, and any ‘objects’ which you would like to track, e.g. Car aficionado, #tag vehicle make/model with additional descriptive tags.  Using the photo curator function on the Cloud Storage Service can tag any “objects” in the photo using Rectangle or Lasso Select.

Curation to Take Action

Once photo libraries are curated, the library owner(s) can:

  • Automatically build albums based one or more #tags
  • Smart Albums automatically update, e.g.  after ingestion and Auto Curation.  Albums are tag sensitive and update with new pics that contain certain people or objects.  The user/ librarian may dictate logic for tags.

Where is this Functionality??

Why are may major companies not implementing facial (and object) recognition?  Google and Microsoft seem to have the capability/size of the company to be able to produce the technology.

Is it possible Google and Microsoft are subject to more scrutiny than a Shutterfly?  Do privacy concerns at the moment, leave others to become trailblazers in this area?

Akamai Cuts 5 Percent of Workforce as Q4 tops expectations | ZDNet

The company is cutting workers primarily in its media division as it aims to improve margins.

The media division, Akamai’s unit that speeds up Web pages (including Video streaming), saw fourth quarter revenue fall 3 percent.

Source: Akamai cuts 5 percent of workforce as Q4 tops expectations | ZDNet

Suprised?

Based on the conditions of the markets, i.e. the dissolution of Net Neutrality, companies like Akamai are primed to present attractive solutions to a bandwidth constrained market.  Akamai historically has been a market leader in this space, along with Amazon’s CloudFront solution.  So, I take pause by these actions, although on the surface Akamai has market dominance in this growth area, are there other potential impeding factors:

  • Akamai’s business operating plan needs to be retooled to compete with ever-increasing competitors into space once dominated.
  • Projected (i.e. inside information) regarding FCC regulations that will put Akamai at a market disadvantage.  Lobbyists!

KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin cryptocurrency | An Innovative Path Forward

The KODAKOne image rights management platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform. KODAKCoin allows participating photographers to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain [cryptocurrency] platform.

Source: KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin  | Kodak Graphic Communications Group

I’m really excited about these two technologies coming to fruition.  I believe there are several companies already in the digital asset enforcement and management space, such as embedded digital watermarks, so I’m curious how Kodak and WENN Digital will:

  • Crawl the digital landscape we call the Internet and identify potential infringements of licensing for specific digital photos.
  • The ability to “automatically” notify the person(s) or legal business entity who have been flagged for the infringement.
  • Enforcement of licensing or the removal of images.

I’m more skeptical re: Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.  However, with KODAKCoin, it gives me more to reflect upon.

Based on the minimum information currently released:

Government-backed regulation
This community [KODAKCoin] will be supported with a set of unique benefits only available by the issuance of KODAKCoin cryptocurrency via an SEC Regulated Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Branded cryptocurrency could have some legitimate legs which are “relatable” to a wider audience of people who “don’t get it.”  Kodak still has a solid brand, and a business model to integrate the coin.

Unlikely Bedfellows as Net Neutrality Sunsets

Coupling Content Distribution (i.e. ISPs) with Content Producers

Verizon FiOS offers Netflix as another channel in their already expansive lineup of content. Is this a deal of convenience for the consumer, keeping consumers going through one medium, or is it something more?  Amazon Video iOS application offers HBO, STARZ, and others as long as Amazon Prime customers have a subscription to the Content Producers. Convenience or more?  The Netflix Content and Distribution via Set-top box (STB) channel should be mimicked by Google YouTube and Amazon Video despite their competing hardware offerings.  Consumers should be empowered to decide how they want to consume Amazon Video; e.g. through their Set-top box (STB).  However,  there may be more than just a convenience benefit.

Amazon Video iOS
Amazon Video iOS
Netflix on FiOS
Netflix on FiOS

As Net Neutrality fades into the sunset of congressional debates and lobbyists, the new FCC ruling indicates the prevailing winds of change.  We question how content providers, large and small, navigate the path to survival/sustainability.  Some business models from content distribution invoke Bandwidth Throttling, which may inhibit the consumers of some content, either by content types (e.g. Video formats) or content providers (e.g. Verizon FiOS providing priority bandwidth to Netflix).

Content Creators / Producers, without a deal with ISPs for “priority bandwidth” may find their customers flock to ‘larger content creators’ who may be able to get better deals for content throughput.

Akamai and Amazon CloudFront – Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) may find themselves on the better end of this deal, almost as a side-effect to the FCC decision of nixing Net Neutrality.

Amazon CloudFront a global content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to viewers with low latency and high transfer speeds. CloudFront, like Akamai, may significantly benefit from the decision by the FCC to repeal Net Neutrality.

Akamai’s industry-leading scale and resiliency mean delivering critical content with consistency, quality, and security across every device, every time.  Great web and mobile experiences are key to engaging users, yet difficult to achieve. To drive engagement and online revenue, it’s critical to optimize performance for consumer audiences and employees alike to meet or exceed their expectations for consistent, fast, secure experiences.

Integrating into Content/Internet Service Provider’s Bundle of Channels

By elevating Content Producers into the ISP (distribution channel) Set-top box (STB), does this ‘packaging’ go beyond bundling of content for convenience?  For example, when Netflix uses Verizon FiOS’ CDN for content delivery to their clients, will the consumer benefit from this bundled partnership beyond convenience (i.e. performance)?  When Netflix is invoked by a Verizon FiOS customer from their laptop (direct from Netflix), is there a performance improvement if Netflix is invoked from the Verizon FiOS Set-top Box (STB) instead?  Would these two separate use cases for invoking Netflix movies utilize two alternate Content delivery network (CDN) paths, one more optimized than the other?

As of this post update (12/26), there has been no comment from Verizon.

Hostess with the Mostest – Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Google Assistant

Application Integration Opportunities:

  • Microsoft Office, Google G Suite, Apple iWork
    • Advice is integrated within the application, proactive and reactive: When searching in Microsoft Edge, a blinking circle representing Cortana is illuminated.  Cortana says “I’ve collected similar articles on this topic.”  If selected, presents 10 similar results in a right panel to help you find what you need.
  • Personal Data Access and Management
    • The user can vocally access their personal data, and make modifications to that data; E.g. Add entries to their Calendar, and retrieve the current day’s agenda.

Platform Capabilities: Mobile Phone Advantage

Strengthen core telephonic capabilities where competition, Amazon and Microsoft, are relatively week.

  • Ability to record conversations, and push/store content in Cloud, e.g. iCloud.  Cloud Serverless recording mechanism dynamically tags a conversations with “Keywords” creating an Index to the conversation.  Users may search recording, and playback audio clips +/- 10 seconds before and after tagged occurrence.
Calls into the User’s Smartphones May Interact Directly with the Digital Assistant
  • Call Screening – The digital assistant asks for the name of the caller, purpose of the call, and if the matter is “Urgent”
    • A generic “purpose” response, or a list of caller purpose items can be supplied to the caller, e.g. 1) Schedule an Appointment
    • The smartphone’s user would receive the caller’s name, and the purpose as a message back to the UI from the call, currently in a ‘hold’ state,
    • The smartphone user may decide to accept the call, or reject the call and send the caller to voice mail.
  • A  caller may ask to schedule a meeting with the user, and the digital assistant may access the user’s calendar to determine availability.  The digital assistant may schedule a ‘tentative’ appointment within the user’s calendar.
    • If calendar indicates availability, a ‘tentative’ meeting will be entered. The smartphone user would have a list of tasks from the assistant, and one of the tasks is to ‘affirm’ availability of the meetings scheduled.
  • If a caller would like to know the address of the smartphone user’s office, the Digital Assistant may access a database of “generally available” information, and provide it. The Smartphone user may use applications like Google Keep, and any note tagged with a label “Open Access” may be accessible to any caller.
  • Custom business workflows may be triggered through the smartphone, such as “Pay by Phone”.  When a caller is calling a business user’s smartphone, the call goes to “voice mail” or “digital assistant” based on smartphone user’s configuration.  If the user reaches the “Digital Assistant”, there may be a list of options the user may perform, such as “Request for Service” appointment.  The caller would navigate through a voice recognition, one of many defined by the smartphone users’ workflows.

Platform Capabilities: Mobile Multimedia

Either through your mobile Smartphone, or through a portable speaker with voice recognition (VR).

  • Streaming media / music to portable device based on interactions with Digital Assistant.
  • Menu to navigate relevant (to you) news,  and Digital Assistant to read articles through your portable media device (without UI)

Third Party Partnerships: Adding User Base, and Expanding Capabilities

In the form of platform apps (abstraction), or 3rd party APIs which integrate into the Digital Assistant, allowing users to directly execute application commands, e.g. Play Spotify song, My Way by Frank Sinatra.

  • Any “Skill Set” with specialized knowledge: direct Q&A or instructional guidance  – e.g Home Improvement, Cooking
  • eCommerce Personalized Experience – Amazon
  • Home Automation – doors, thermostats
  • Music – Spotify
  • Navigate Set Top Box (STB) – e.g. find a program to watch
  • Video on Demand (VOD) – e.g. set to record entertainment

 

Apache NiFi on Hortonworks HDF Verses … Microsoft Flow?

Attended a technical discussion last night on Apache NiFi and Hortonworks HDF,  a Meetup @ Honeywell, a Hortonworks client.

Excellent presentations from the Hortonworks team for “NiFi on HDF” solutions architecture and best practices. Powerful solution to process and distribute data in real-time, any data, and in large quantities with resiliency.   It’s no wonder why the US NSA originally developed the ability to consume data in real-time, manipulate it, and then send it on it’s way.  However, recognizing the commercial applications (benevolent wisdom?), the NSA released the product as open-source software, via its technology transfer program.

As a tangent,  among other things, I’m currently exploring the capabilities of “Microsoft Flow“, which has recently been promoted to GA from their ‘Preview Release’.  One resonating question came to mind during the presentations last night:

At it’s peak maturity (not yet), can Microsoft Flow successfully compete with Apache NiFi on Hortonworks HDF?

Discussion Points:

  • The NiFi / HDF solution manages data flows in real-time.  The Microsoft Flow architecture seems to fall short in this capacity. Is it on the product road map for Flow?  Is it a capability Microsoft wants to have?
  • There a bit of architecture / infrastructure on the Hortonworks HDF side, which enables the solution as a whole to be able to ingest, process, and push the data in real-time.   Not sure Microsoft Flow is currently engineered on the back end to handle the throughput.
  • The current Microsoft Flow UI may need to be updated to handle this ‘slightly altered’ paradigm of real-time content consumption and distribution.

The comparison between Microsoft Flow and NiFi on HDF may be a huge stretch for comparison.