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IM3I+ pushing multimedia research into practice

Final Report Summary - IM3I+ (IM3I+ pushing multimedia research into practice)

Executive Summary:

IM3I+ is a demonstration action aiming to push multimedia research into practice. It is based on the previous IM3I project, which concluded successfully in 2010. The main outcome of IM3I is the ON:meedi:a ecosystem, a flexible framework for importing, analysing, annotating, searching and publishing multimedia documents and collections. This framework consists of an easy reconfigurable and adaptable service-oriented back-end for processing multimedia documents and a web-based authoring environment that allows easy publishing of multimedia collections by exposing repository functionality to the interface front-end. The specific objectives of IM3I+ are to:

* Develop further the IM3I application scenarios into industrial showcases for the creative content industries
* Validate each of the showcases with stakeholder and interested organisations
* Fine-tune the implementation of the showcases and the resulting market deployment strategies for the creative content industries
* Spread the word about IM3I+ to the identified target creative content industries

The work started with segmenting the creative content market and creating for each of the segments initial offerings. Then potential users from those markets were interviewed in order to verify and validate the offerings and evolve them into showcases. The showcases were next validated with potential customers at various events and workshops we have organized. An iterative approach has been followed where paper prototypes, case studies and marketing pitches have been developed, validated and finally implemented as live showcases.

The main results of the IM3I+ project are:

* A concrete, specific and solid commercial offer as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) of the ON:meedi:a platform for mixing and mastering content in one place which has been implemented in 8 live showcases
* Better understanding of market and additional knowledge for deploying access via API to specific functionalities of ON:meedi:a
* Better understanding of market and additional knowledge for deploying customised installations and services from scratch

IM3I+ generally enables creative content marketplaces and supports creative content industries in building customised, curated, cross-platform, content compilations. With the ON:meedi:a ecosystem we can potentially construct a large number of applications around content management and publishing and build the backbone for the creative content industries. Thus, the expected IM3I+ impact is tremendous both for the participating SMEs and also for the creation of the Single European Digital Market.

Project Context and Objectives:

IM3I+ focuses on demonstrating and deploying RTD results from the Research for SMEs project ‘IM3I – Immersive Multimedia Interfaces’ (Grant Agreement No. 222267), which concluded successfully in 2010. The consortium of this proposal is composed by three SMEs, which have participated together in IM3I and have proven collaboration, capabilities and the commitment to push forward the achieved results into the market. The main outcome of IM3I is a flexible framework for importing, analysing, annotating, searching and publishing multimedia documents and collections. This framework consists of an easy reconfigurable and adaptable service-oriented back-end for processing multimedia documents and a web-based authoring environment that allows easy publishing of multimedia collections by exposing repository functionality to the interface front-end.

The specific objectives of IM3I+ are to:

* Develop further the IM3I application scenarios into at least 5 industrial showcases based on feasibility studies and an initial market segmentation of the creative content industries.
* Validate each of the showcases in 5 stakeholder meetings with at least 8-10 participants and 15 individual workshops with interested organisations.
* Fine-tune the implementation of the showcases and the resulting market deployment strategies with the help of an industrial advisory board consisting of at least 5 European-wide experts in the creative content industries.
* Spread the word about IM3I+ to the identified target creative content industries via web-based dissemination activities, dissemination to social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), production and distribution of newsletters and appropriate materials.

IM3I+ follows an iterative development approach, which puts the users and prospective buyers in the centre in order to achieve as the best possible fit between research outcomes and market needs. For a project of 18 months duration, we went through two cycles of validating and evaluating showcases and IM3I+ offerings as well as two cycles of refining the implementation and offering. The workflow is then to a) validate and evaluate initial showcases, then b) based on the received feedback to prioritise and implement the refinement of the showcases and the offering, which subsequently will be c) validated and evaluated and d) based on the feedback received the final offering will be implemented.

Project Results:

The IM3I+ projects has been successfully disseminated and validated at 28 events, through a fresh web site, which has been established based on brand new web design technologies to work on desktops, mobiles and tablets; and through several contributions to social media.

Figure 1 shows graphically in a glance the activities performed, the market identified and the showcases built.

As a result of the project activities, we were able to target better the offering of ON:meedi:a reaching a solid commercial offer and viable business model in a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach. Apart from centralized system administration and configuration it is the easiest way to efficiently provide different instances for potentials and interested customers. Also the customization and adoption for special needs and purposes can be done remotely more quickly, which results in the ability to setup more projects at the same time.

The results of IM3I+ will be offered in a Software as a Service business model. ON:meedi:a allows essentially mixing and mastering multimedia content in one place. Social media feeds can be combined with own media and form “pulses” of content. These pulses can be enriched with user-generated content and experiences from virtual/physical visitors and then shared on the providers’ websites. This enables clients of ON:meedi:a to divert audience from social media back to their own website and allows them so to regain control of their audiences. The ON:meedi:a market segments along with the benefits and the live showcases for each of those segments are listed below:

1) Brands (Related showcases: Kiel Marketing and IN2 Pulse

* Create buzz around a brand: ON:meedi:a can quickly adapt to the daily business of a company or organization by offering them to aggregate their efforts invested in social media and allowing them to integrate all these into their own website. This helps keeping the customer on the brand’s website instead of diverting the traffic to social networks. Therefore, we help them to serve their customers, connect and build their audience by making it easy for them to design their own narratives and tell their own multimedia stories.
* Turn content and conversations into marketing opportunities

Companies and organisations have the chance to provide their products or services more clearly, to sharpen their profile and to make it easier to present them towards competitors with similar products in the market. Moreover, the system supports the brand as well as their audience in finding the content they are looking for more easily and supporting the navigation within the brand’s content.

2) Events (Related showcases: Social Media 4D and MMC 2013

* Encourage the conversation among attendees/visitors: Events can have a social hub that connects their visitors before, during and after the event. Aggregating social media accounts helps event organisers to keep their audience on their own website, instead of sending them off to other networks. The visitors will more easily find the content that is directly related to the event, no matter what sort of medium was used to distribute it. This also facilitates the conversation and discussion during the event, because the visitors are allowed to use their preferred media channel (e.g. Twitter only or Facebook only) and still be part of ‘event crowd’. Nothing gets lost. After the event the organisers and visitors can look back at the website, which created a social and shared memory/archive of the event.
* Create memorable and interactive experiences (social memory): The system is able to support events, exhibitions, trade fairs, conferences and conventions, so the Social Media 4D conference for example shared interviews with attendees on their website as well as their Twitter conversations. The MMC2013 was used to grab everything on Twitter on Facebook related to the event (for instance by aggregating content with the relevant hashtag #MMC13), as well as the presentations given and uploaded on Slideshare.

3) Destinations (Related showcases: Kiel Marketing Edinboard

* Support your digital strategy for tourism: The first phase of the IM3I+ showcases built the basis for the key sector „Destinations“. The growing number of assets available for touristic providers can be easily managed and published with ON:meedi:a's web-based environment and allows them to grow their market by attracting audiences online. The web-based implementation is user friendly so that staff with little technical experience is able to handle and annotate it. In the nearby future ON:meedi:a will also offer to annotate touristic material with locations. Touristic providers can create topic-oriented collections for special events or locations and promote their attractions. Destinations can bring together local businesses, touristic marketing and the visitors themselves, to create a rich and lively exchange of ideas and media.
* Enrich the visitor’s experience: Enable your visitors to better understand your destination by telling them the right story. Share your best pictures and videos with them so they get curious to visit you. Make sure that they can get in touch with you during their stay and also share their experiences with others. With ON:meedi:a they can upload their images on the go and you can collect their tweets and present everything bundled in your website.

4) Themes (Related showcases: State Museum Oldenburg Haus der Kunst CMC Ireland

* Re-use and Re-mix cost effectively: With ON:meedi:a we want to allow archive holders to return their focus back on the content they know better than anybody else. They do not want to waste time with technology that is difficult to understand and complicated to use. We think that with ON:meedi:a we can offer them a solution with a user friendly interface, which allows them to easily publish content for different devices and thereby save money they can invest in curating their material in the best way.
* Maximising the value of a collection: By creating temporary, topic-oriented (productive period, artist, art style, etc.) collections virtually, museums and galleries can easily have a lively website with changing content, that only requires the connection to the general exhibit repository. This helps them engaging more actively with their audience and integrating them as part of their curatorial concept. With ON:meedi:a they can enhance access and visibility of their collection as well as improved community engagement in order to develop and maximize the value of their digital collection.

Potential Impact:

The ON:meedi:a platform offers much more advanced metadata annotation and multimedia content analysis tools than the competition. Most of the competitors who claim to have similar extraction and automatic analysis features come from the Digital Asset Management (DAM) sector and are oriented towards text and documents. Many other solution providers from the museums and galleries sector are still in the process of moving their services to the web and to cloud-based offerings, which should be beneficial for us.

The main advantage of ON:meedi:a in comparison to other streaming media providers is the ability to handle all types of media at once and convert different media types into online viewable documents, as well as having web interfaces that can be used remotely and on different operating systems.

The biggest opportunity for ON:meedi:a lies in aggregating social media and multimedia to create engagement with physical/virtual visitors. This is exactly what is being deployed in the Software as a Service approach and will be made available completely automatically: from sign-up to set-up and immediate use of the service. Overall, the consolidation of the offer holds several advantages for us. Firstly, the approach of focusing on one feature of ON:meedi:a proved to be the best way to get into a conversation with promising leads. It is a good starting point to build up on our business model of SaaS and introduce new features one at a time. Secondly, there are no competitors who can actually offer the aggregation of a variety of (social) media accounts and combine this with a customer’s own material and integration into their website. To summarise this, it showed to be feasible to create “separate” offerings for the different identified sectors: Brands, Events, Destinations and Themes. Although they are all based on ON:meedi:a, it is important to speak the language of the customers, which differs from sector to sector. Furthermore, the features, which need to be highlighted in order to stand out from the competition, are slightly different across sectors.

We expect that IM3I+ will have a lasting impact on the participating organisations. We also see that the results of IM3I+ can serve actual needs from industry (e.g. for the back-up of social media; diversion of audience from social media to own websites; for regaining control of audience) and thus we are confident that the project will have impact on a larger scale too.

The IM3I+ project partners are very committed to deploying the IM3I+ project results and their work continues after the end of the funding period. For example, we already identified several events for further dissemination of the framework in order to make best use of the results of the IM3I+ project. Moreover, the existing contacts will be further engaged and we will continue the work with our showcase partners in order to extend the existing solutions we created for them.

ON:meedi:a is now having an entry in the Collection Links Supplier database to increase visibility in the museums/galleries sector. In July, we will also participate in this year’s OpenCulture event, which is organized by the Collection Trust. We can refer to the entry whenever talking to leads from this sector and additionally the experiences gained at last year’s event will help to better present the platform during the trade fair this time.

In September at the IASA Conference 2013 IN2 will present a paper called “A flexible platform to control the openness of an archive” to an audience audio (-visual) production archives. Two years ago we presented a poster at the IASA conference in Frankfurt, which sparked the interest from participants, however we were lacking live demonstrations to prove the strong capabilities of the framework. We are expecting that the interest in paying for our solution will be greater with the help of the developed showcases.

In October 2013 the RENEW Conference will take place, where IN2 will present a paper called “ON:meedi:a – Online Multimedia Archiving for New Media Art”. Previous experience with institutions from the New Media Art sector will help us making a case for ON:meedi:a.

List of Websites:

Project coordinator:

Dr. Georgios Ioannidis, Director,
IN2 search interfaces development Limited
22 Forth Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3LH, UK
Tel: +44-7591-985718, Fax: +44-131-5503701
Project website:
Twitter: @onmeedia