Friday, November 7, 2008

SIIA Panel on 19 November in NYC - Cloud Computing and Content: Where Are the Best Opportunities?

I am looking forward to moderating a panel for the SIIA on the 19th that will focus on cloud computing and its impact on publishing. I am particularly pleased that we have a balance of publishers and technology companies that will be able to address the issue from both a media perspective and an enterprise perspective, an aspect that should be of particular interest to SIIA members. Marc Frons, CTO of The New York Times, Larry Schwartz, the President of Newstex, Charles Matheson of EMC and Matt Turner of Mark Logic will provide a multi-dimensional view of how important cloud computing will be to shaping the competitive landscape of the content industry. Please register soon for this event.

Below are the preliminary questions that I've assembled for our panel, if you have additional or alternative questions that you'd like to have asked please add them to the comments of this post. See you on the 19th in NYC - or online via the webcast!

1. How does your company use cloud computing to provide better services for your clients/audiences? How do your clients/audiences benefit from it? What really is the cloud from your perspective?

2. The key advantages of cloud computing revolve around scalability, economy, ease of deployment, and ease of content and services integration. Which of these are offering you and your clients the most “bang for the buck?”

3. Why should enterprise and media oriented publishers care about cloud computing? What real advantages can it provide to them in the marketplace?

4. When we say “cloud computing” there are three basic types of networks that can support content from cloud computing: enterprise networks, public networks, clouds that combine both enterprise and public networks. Looking at how enterprises are using cloud computing to access content, how open are they today to using cloud computing to combine their internal and external content resources?

5. A cloud is only as good as its ability to have access to everything that ought to be in it. Where are we doing well and where are we falling short today in making seamless access to content in cloud computing a reality? How is content affecting the way in which people think of content aggregation?

6. Cloud computing offers many companies the ability to scale up new content services inside and outside the enterprise very rapidly. If this is so, then how does a company allocate its proprietary technology resources most effectively to compete with potential competitors that can take advantage of the same scalability? Does cloud computing enable more publishers and enterprises to scale up more cost-effectively to be mid-sized and even large competitors more rapidly?

7. Thinking of everything that we’ve discussed today, what would be your recommendations for the best ways for enterprise and media publishers to approach cloud computing?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night Winner: Data and Visualization

As our nation looks at the election results this evening - and now this early morning - there are many statements about who won and why. There are many answers to this questions - certainly from a social media perspective I noted on Content Nation the transformation of politics through the collaborative efforts of citizens and the use of easily embedded content helped to change the landscape of American politics - but for the major television networks clearly it was data and visualization tools that carried Election Night.

Election Night is The SuperBowl of politics, so it's not surprising that many of the high-tech content tools that make that sporting event enjoyable were present on major television networks - and then some. Many Americans are already familiar with CNN's John King mastery of the "Magic Wall," the two-handed touch screen that enables him to analyze election data at any number of levels with remarkable ease and clarity and to activate embedded graphics and videos. It's a toy that nobody else really has, a coup that gives CNN a technology advantage that is hard to find oftentimes in broadcast media. Not to be outdone, MSNBC tried to deal with an electoral map that hovered in mid-air and resembled a video action game display. Clearly a somewhat generation was on this network's mind, less focused on data and more on the landscape of content.

CNN slammed back an interview with video and musical artist Will-i-am, who had produced popular election videos circulated on YouTube and other outlets. Wil-i-am was blue-screened from two angles at his remote location in Chicago and made to appear as if he was standing holographically in the CNN studios as he was interviewed by correspondent Wolf Blitzer. John King came in with a hovering "Virtual Capitol" display that allowed him to analyze the impact of House and Senate races on the balance of Congressional power.Take that, SuperBowl field overlays!

In addition to these on-air twists of technology were the many online maps, charts and data tables that were updating throughout the night with remarkable reliablity. While the Internet was a little wobbly at times through the night for the most part every major political Web site was easily accessed and provided oodles of data to pore through on national and local elections. The embedding of many of these graphical tools in social media outlets emphasized how much major media outlets are moving towards content with data and user interaction features as a way to build their brands in the places that audiences appreciate their content the most.

The real question is, though, why more publishers aren't producing such content on a more regular basis to bolster their brands. Clearly data and data visualization tools are providing content that really engages audiences and provides major opportunities for sponsorship and co-branding. Some outlets took advantage of these opportunities on election night, but more publishers need to think more proactively about how to develop content that brings people not just text but data and visualization capabilities that tell a compelling story anywhere that people want it. Perhaps this election night has been very revolutionary from a political standpoint, but the real revolution in enabling highly engaging content through data and visualization tools for mass audiences has only just begun.