Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tooling Up for Multimedia: Dow Jones' Taxonomy, Video and Audio Upgrades

While Nexis tinkers with the edges of its market footprint Dow Jones's Factiva unit is pushing forward with two key enhancements that are designed to change the scope of what business information users are likely to expect from their suppliers. Dow Jones' upgrades to its Synaptica taxonomy management services enable different taxonomies for different user groups - an essential tool for adapting business information into departmental functions - and enhanced semantic support for RDF, SKOS and OWL semantic standards that will enable Dow Jones clients to process and interpret a wider range of content types more effectively - including multimedia content. No small surprise, then, that the other announcement from Dow Jones is a deal with EveryZing (recently renamed from PodZinger) to integrate audio and video content from major suppliers such as The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, BBC Radio and other major suppliers. EveryZing's already heavily categorized video content includes news from around the world in several major languages, making it a natural for integration into the Factiva set of general news and research content, enhanced all the more by the increased semantic prowess of their semantic tools.

Video is certainly all the rage on the Web and gaining steam within the enterprise as network backbones and security infrastructures are tuned to deal with more pervasive video consumption. Dow Jones' aggressive positioning of its integration capabilities combined with timely multimedia content will position them well as a supplier of both content and integration tools as enterprises think more seriously about how to integrate business-ready video into their portals and collaborative tools. In a sense this gives Dow Jones additional leverage against the increasing penetration of services such as Google's enterprise search appliances that enable both enterprise content and content from the Web that will be backed by their "Universal Search" capability to make its way into corporate Webs.

But the "catch-up" nature of the EveryZing deal underscores the degree to which Google is developing business-ready content sets far broader than Dow Jones and other business information suppliers. Dow Jones, Nexis and others hope to continue to pull trumps on Google with more select licensed sources at their disposal tuned to very specific enterprise audiences. And with sales and support staffs that have been knee-deep in enterprise needs and solutions for years folks like Dow Jones have some important edges in being able to integrate content effectively into enterprise platforms. Yet one wonders how much longer search-oriented business information suppliers such as Dow Jones are going to be able to leverage their licensed content sets to stave off more direct competition from Web-oriented integration specialists such as Google. Is Dow Jones' Factiva unit a search and taxonomy company with licensed content or a subscription database service with some nifty integration tools? Neither answer may be sufficient as stronger competitors enter the stage with better generic answers to these questions and others with more sector-specific answers. But for now, kudos to Dow Jones for keeping Factiva fresh and relevant.
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