While I still say text is king on the web, the web is moving beyond text with an increasing use of visualizations in many media. I recently spoke with Sean Barger, CEO of Equilibrium, a firm that supports this transition. Sean said that the web and television are moving towards convergence and I would agree. He has been working in the automated media processing space for the past 15 years.
Equilibrium recently released MediaRich® Visualizer for SharePoint. This enterprise-class freeware server software provides instant visual enhancements to any SharePoint deployment, as well as high-volume media processing and distribution. It is a subset of their MediaRich Core product. It automatically creates thumbnails for all Microsoft Office, PDF, images, and videos in SharePoint. It supports more than 300 common file formats and includes a Zoom and Pan function to examine the the details of the file without having to download it first.
MediaRich Visualizer also helps integrate the use of Macintosh computers in a SharePoint environment. It provides batch uploading of assets, including the ability to upload complete folders while preserving their directory structure from both Windows and Macintosh.
Sean showed me how MediaRich Visualizer permits advanced searching on all media asset metadata throughout the enterprise. It upgrades Microsoft Advanced Search with IPTC, XMP and EXIF capability. When you upload media, all metadata is extracted and added to the Microsoft SQL Server database for search. This allows you to extend the search capability for media and have on-demand visualization of the results. Here is an example of search results before MediaRich Visualizer.
Here is an example of the search results after MediaRich Visualizer.
You see the media-related results faster and also see things that were not visible before. For example, in the past you would have to download and open a file to see if it was the right one. Now you can look into the file without downloading it. This is a great speed boost when you are searching for specific files and trying to find the right version.
Equilibrium offers a more comprehensive commercial product, the full MediaRich for Sharepoint, which has the same features offered by the Sharepoint freeware and the ability to turn on expanded API’s for for creating custom applications for web or intranet portal site. MediaRich is used by Disney for its internal content sharing and collaboration between all its business units. It also serves as the visualization platform for the Associated Press ENPS content distribution system which is used by 60% of online news sites.
Sean also showed me the zoom and pan feature that allows you to zoom in on any file in-page on in a popup and enabling automatic resizing to fit the window as you expand or contract it. This is not what happens on normal popups and is a useful feature and apparently very scalable because no pre-processing of the files are required to achieve these capabilities.
As the web, inside and outside the firewall, becomes more engaging, MediaRich becomes an increasingly useful platform. It also helps speed the transition to a more visually rich and self-service environment which should increase productivity.