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Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Broken Web: How Smart Connectors can Help While the World Waits for Plan "B"

Well, if you're not sure that history doesn't repeat itself, you have to look no further than Vint Cerf's recent comments at the Search Marketing Expo in Santa Clara, California. Often called "the father of the Internet" (along with other well-known fathers), Vint Cerf now is Google's Chief Internet Evangelist, a title that knits in rather nicely wih Google's mission to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." The Internet was supposed to solve all of our problems with connecting different sources of content through a universal standard network. Yes, the World Wide Web that rides on the Internet infrastructure has made it possible for billions of computers to communicate with one another easily, but it didn't replace every communications network in the world. Even where the Web made easy connectivity between computers, that didn't always ensure that there would be actual communications between those computers. As Vint Cerf notes from a recent article based on his SMX talk:
You build these clouds and they know about themselves and they know about their own resources, but they don't know about any other cloud. So the question is: how do you say 'send this information to this cloud over here' if there isn't any way to call it.
Of course there are many reasons why the Internet is feeling these kinds of growing pains, many of which have to do with its overwhelming success as much as its inherent weaknesses. Some are proposing to address those weaknesses by creating a new kind of Internet network design that will provide more security, privacy and ability to handle advanced kinds of content such as streaming video that were not fully anticipated at the time of its first design. This may turn out to be a good idea in the long run, but what exactly would be the long run for such a change at this point - and how good would the results be in a world in which technologies change so rapidly?

The greater truth is that network clouds have always come in different shades. Legacy networks will remain in place as long as they are cost-effective for the organizations that support them. New networks then come into place that promise to be the global standard - eventually - but in the meantime they present the same kind of incompatibility issues oftentimes as legacy networks. Even when content flows in and across network clouds, issues such as security, access control, data formats and other key obstacles to getting usable content present themselves more often than not. This cloud thing gets pretty cloudy, at times, doesn't it?

While creating a new and better Internet may be a worthwhile goal in the long term, the here-and-now problems of content connectivity are the real issues that need to be addressed for most people trying to get the content that they need. The universal problem of "bit rot" will never be solved perfectly, but MuseGlobal has been at it for more than a decade. Our Smart Connector technology has been there, done that and then some on just about every conceivable network configuration and security setup that you can imagine. Being able to bridge into the widest variety of network environments is in the very core of our content connector architecture - it's not something that got tacked on after the fact.

Once Smart Connectors have ironed out the network issues for connecting platforms to content sources, they are experts in communicating with more types of content repositories than any other source of content connectors. After more than ten years of building content connectors we've accumulated more than 6,000 different types of connectors that give us a quicker fast-start on content connectivity than any other service. Best of all, we maintain them automatically for you. Bit rot has hardly a moment to set in with your content connections with Smart Connectors on the job.

Smart Connectors go beyond simply ironing out the connectivity issues for content sources, of course. MuseGlobal is leading the way with content connectors that enable not just reading content sources through thousands of possible configurations but also with delivering content back to those sources. With MuseGlobal your clouds become truly a multi-way communications environment, leaping over networks, data formats and security issues to provide not just content but conversations between content sources and platforms.

My hat is off to Vint Cerf and other great thinkers who are pondering just how the next generation of the Internet will serve us all better. We need them focusing on this important task, to be sure. But in the meantime MuseGlobal will continue to help the thousands of organizations using our OEM technology around the world to connect to the content that they need today. To us the Web isn't broken; it just needed to get Smart Connectors to pull it all together for our clients.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Doing the Heavy Lifting: Where the Brands are Building at the SIIA IIS

The SIIA 2009 Information Industry Summit was a great event for MuseGlobal. Maybe it's our improved messaging or maybe it's just good timing, but people who we were speaking to at the IIS really seemed to "get" our positioning as a company that can connect content sources to software applications and platforms more efficiently than any other OEM supplier. To some in the publishing and content industries this may not seem to be the most glamorous side of the business, but it's what is really creating enormous value for our enterprise, government, and media-oriented clients.

Certainly the IIS provided a lot of the more glamorous side of publishing in its presentations and panels. From the opening keynote from Marjorie Scardino, Chief Executive of Pearson, to the ending keynote from Stephanie George, Executive Vice President of Time Inc., I heard a lot of good speakers - and some pretty flashy ones, too. Stephanie George's presentation was capped with a very dynamic slide deck with lots of multimedia showing how Time brands were being strengthened on the Web through their investment in technologies that made it easier for their editorial resources to appeal to their audiences. Fun to watch, of course, and I don't doubt that Time is getting good mileage out of these efforts. But in our experience, the brands of MuseGlobal customers that do best are the ones that focus on what a brand really does for its customers.

The presentation by Kristian J. Hammond of Northwestern University on "Frictionless Information" captured this "doing" brand concept pretty well for me. His "Make my Page" concept was nothing radically new, but it was a good example of how to pull together highly customized pages assembled automatically from numerous sources of content on the fly on a topic into an aggregated document. This "content is as content does" approach to publishing may lack the pizazz of many traditional brand publications, but it seems to be where the real action is with our clients. Yes, publications finished by an editorial team certainly still matter in a big way, and we supply content connectors to many of the publications that do this, but the more efficiently that you can do the heavy lifting to assemble and to integrate all of the content sources that are needed to satisfy them, the more that you'll be able to focus on delivering the exact content and features that can build your brand's unique value.

Enterprise publishers and technology companies certainly understand the importance of this "heavy lifting" for their brands, but it's easier said than done. Most I.T. teams are either way too busy to focus effectively on building enough connectors to the content sources that can really make a difference to their clients or will find that to do a robust job of connecting to content sources will turn out to be far more expensive and time-consuming than they can afford to do in a tight economy. Everyone's customers are pleading for more and more content from published sources and from their own sources that's well-organized, integrated, and all in once place, but it's just not that easy to pull it all together cost-effectively.

I guess that's another way of saying that MuseGlobal is going to be very busy this year, because our highly scalable Smart Connector OEM technology is the most cost-effective and reliable way to get the heavy lifting done for connecting content to brand-name content and technology services. Instead of having to say "no" to clients and senior executives, MuseGlobal gives our clients the ability to say "yes" more quickly to getting new and better content into their products. If a brand is all about saying "yes" to your clients - then it's clear to us at MuseGlobal that fewer things can help to build a brand better than the ability to connect to content rapidly through our Smart Connectors. Be it in online media, enterprise subscription services or content integration services, I think that it's worth us chatting with you about how your brand can benefit from the heavy lifting that MuseGlobal technology can put in place for you today. I hope that you enjoyed IIS. SIIA conferences are great value, and MuseGlobal will be at SIIA's NetGain in San Francisco in May.