More user control over multimedia content

We all know that user-generated multimedia content, particularly video, is exploding online but as I’ve commented before a lot of this content is still static from a Web 2.0 point of view.

What I mean is that if you think about Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 “SLATES” concept – Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals – then its the deep search and ability to hyperlink from within content that we need to see mature. This isn’t to say user-generated content isn’t social, I just don’t think it is fully integrated into the Web 2.0 model… well yet anyway.

Pluggd‘s demo of its semantic podcast search has created a bit of interest this last week and Techcrunch has a good summary of what its all about. Techcrunch comment:

This is one of the most compelling examples I’ve seen lately of a growing trend: making multimedia content more granular and letting users take even greater control over the media we consume. We don’t just want to consume what we wish, we want to consume it in the way we wish.

Also have a look at their overview of Viddler, who aim to make video easier to search via tagging.

BTW Another piece in this multimedia Web 2.0 space is talkr – working the other way, it converts text-based blogs (or rather RSS feeds) into machine read speech.

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ROI on collaboration technology in the construction industry

Care of the Attensa blog (Attensa is an enterprise RSS solution), a good news story about the high levels of satisfaction in UK construction with collaboration technology, where 96% of respondents to an industry survey “interviewed said they had experienced benefits from using collaboration technologies.

Two of most important benefits identified by this and other research suggests that users value audit trail related benefits and the ability to access data and information quickly.

A report on this research by the UK’s Network for Construction Collaboration Technology Providers, which was designed to demonstrate the ROI on using collaboration technology, is available to download (PDF).

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Social barcoding

If you’re a dot-com veteran you’ll remember the CueCat – now the basic idea has been reborn in a couple of ways as SmartPox and also Mytago. Based on previous experience, should we be afraid? Well, both SmartPox and Mytago appear to designed to be part of the social software cloud, but I guess it remains to be seen how successful either will be.

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If they aren’t strategic, why are they so essential?

I’ve been thinking about a piece by Mark Jones in the AFR last week (IBM notes changing trends in bid to boost Lotus, 14 September 2006, Australian Financial Review) where he comments “chief information officers rarely consider Notes, or competitive software such as Microsoft Office, to be a strategic purchase.

I don’t disagree with the observation – but it troubles me greatly that CIO’s don’t think much about the strategic value, or strategic impacts, of their decisions about the basic messaging and office productivity tools they provide to staff. Could this be why so many experienced Lotus Notes users are so passionate about their tool or why so many businesses run on the smell of an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?

So if they aren’t strategic, why are they so essential? Take these work horses away from people, and many organisations would grind to a halt. And perhaps this is why so many people inside the firewall are getting excited about what Web 2.0 technologies will let them do?

BTW The context for the article was to report on IBM‘s attempts to rejuvenate Lotus Notes by positioning it as a social software-friendly platform – the AFR‘s article isn’t available online (except to subscribers), but this ARNnet article from earlier in the year gives you an idea of what IBM are planning.

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In the eye of the beholder

Following on from yesterday’s post, Brian Keairns makes a similiar observation:

I find Andrews’s definition to be effective even though I don’t believe it will be possible to say that an application inherently meets that definition out of the box. There will certainly be applications that can be deployed in either an Enterprise 2.0 mode or a traditional mode or a transitional mode and enterprises will find a way to deploy even the purist Enterprise 2.0 web software in a way that’s not optional or egalitarian. So if you wanted to “certify” an application as Enterprise 2.0 you’d have to look at the implementation to decide whether it was Enterprise 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 Transitional or not Enterprise 2.0 at all.

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Setting boundaries on Enterprise 2.0

Andrew McAfee wants to define Enterprise 2.0 as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers” but is concerned that others are expanding the concept to include a discussion of software development models and delivery methods.

Similarly we see some uncomfortable overlaps between the concepts of Web 2.0, Social Software and everything that has gone before. Something I’ve always done to help deal with this issue is to consider the difference between function (what is does) and form (how it does it). Unfortunately in doing this we have to accept a grey area to exist between the tools and technologies used, the way they are used and how we attempt to explain them using management theory. In other words people don’t use technology in such a bounded fashion – think about the spreadsheet, a classic user-driven software tool, and the different ways it is put to use. Another point is that if we separate function and form, then organisations can use what ever tools and technologies they want to achieve Enterprise 2.0, not just (for example) an open source Blog written in PHP and running on Apache.

From a management point of view I think Enterprise 2.0 is a good place to start a conversation about Enteprise Social Software, but if we ignore the broader picture of Web 2.0 inside the enterprise then we may miss out on another story unfolding. The trick is learning to discuss them as both form and function so that we understand the opportunities and implications.

Incidentally part of this other story is something my CSC colleagues have previously identified and labelled “Extreme Data“.

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