We’ve been talking to a lot of people recently about their needs for a next-generation Digital Asset Management system. In the beginning, DAM systems were little more than digital filing cabinets. A place to put completed media assets such as photographs, graphics, maybe a few animation files, and even the occasional short video clip. The content stored there had been carefully, and often expensively, crafted. Under the purview of the marketing department, the DAM was a place to curate these long-lasting assets in one place.

Learn more | Everything You Need to Know About Digital Asset Management

In the most forward-looking and successful companies, DAM is no longer just about marketing. Rich-media assets are now recognized as a foundational component of the digital supply chain that stretches across the whole enterprise. Today’s modern DAM technologies have finally begun to fulfill the promises of twenty years ago, with scalable content services architecture that can handle a full range of digital assets, even as asset types become larger and more complex, with more complicated metadata.

But there’s more to come. While preparing to move to a next-generation DAM to help solve today’s issues, we need to be thinking about what’s coming next.

While the future is far from pre-determined, we can extrapolate from currently developing technology and trends as to how the DAM will fit into the next step in the evolution of the digital experience.

Customer-Generated Content

Customer-generated content is already here – with more and more organizations considering how it can be leveraged. Right now, it’s possible to crawl popular social media platforms to locate images that might relate to your products or services. These images can then be scrapped and loaded into a DAM for use.

BUT it raises two important questions:

  • Usage rights - the DAM needs to be able to manage the allocation of rights and manage subsequent use and distribution of the images or video.
  • Relevancy - With the vast amount of content available how do you make sure that you are only retrieving what’s relevant? AI and machine learning need to be configured as part of the DAM ingestion process to recognize the type of content being reused.

Internet of Things

How will DAM provide value in the age of the Internet of Things? Traditionally the assets stored in a DAM have been generated by humans, be they images or video. But increasingly more and more content is being produced by machines. A cloud-based DAM could be the perfect place to store, manage, and distribute the growing volume of video footage and imagery being generated by connected devices. DAM systems are moving away from just a place to store content, to value-driven systems that not only store assets, but process them with machine learning models that can look for behavior and patterns in real-time.

Stock Assets

If you use photographs on your website, in your presentations, or in any outward-facing activity, it’s almost certain that you have a contract in place with one or more stock image suppliers. Yet currently the only way to manage purchased stock assets within your own DAM is through a manual upload process that relies on people entering the correct metadata about the image, where it can be used etc. With next-generation DAMs, there should be full integration between the DAM and the stock agency’s system to allow the DAM users to browse or search the agency catalog from within the DAM, then conduct purchases, and track licensing and usage.

Holographic Singers and More

The world of content is changing. It’s not just about images, video, and documents anymore. There are new types of content being developed that we need to be aware of and think about how we can accommodate them within a DAM. Over the last twelve months, 3D imagery has grown in popularity and importance with a demand for both 360º spins and fully rendered 3D models to be delivered to websites and apps as part of the evolving online customer experience. What’s coming next? Maybe it’s augmented reality where we have to manage the connection between the real world, and superimposed images, video, animation, and content. Or virtual reality with fully rendered environments. A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a video of a concert with a holographic image of 1950s singer Roy Orbison accompanied by a modern orchestra as part of a live show. Is a hologram something to be stored in a DAM? Is it an image, a video, or is it code?

Whatever the future brings, next-generation DAMs need to be architected and designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the changes that are coming. They need to be cloud-based for flexibility, have AI and machine learning capabilities, allow for integration with other systems, and have a flexible content services platform backbone.

For more on what to look for in a next-generation DAM, download The Innovator’s Guide to Strategic DAM Replacement.