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iPad and the pursuit of content management

by | Mar 23, 2010 | Enterprise Content Management, Mobile Technology | 23 comments

Too expensive. Too bulky. Too consumer oriented. Too many existing competitors. Too niche. Too proprietary. Too slow…

Oh yeah, lots of negativity. Wise words? Truly wise…if your standards are at or below Peter Griffin’s. Otherwise: NO, NOPE, COMPLETELY WRONG. Yeah, the Apple iPhone has proven otherwise. Who knew?! Even Emperor Ballmer was a wee bit off on this one “…no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Presumably going from 0 to 30% market share in 3 years is not significant…

Three years on and many of the “wise” words peppered on the iPhone have been regurgitated for the iPad. Jobs and his visions… Why doesn’t he leave well enough be? “A visionary, vision is scary, could start a revolution, pollutin’ the air waves, a rebel…” Ah, that explains it. Vision is scary. Thanks, Eminem.

So, are we skeptical because we’re scared? Or just because status quo is so much more palpable? Either way, maybe the better question is: are we really willing to bet against the power of the Apple iX? Let’s examine some facts:

(a) there is already an educated market out there–Apple does not need to take on the brunt of marketing the idea nor convincing people a tablet/eBook reader has a place in their world…Amazon, Sony and others already did that.

(b) people (apparently over 3 million of them) are already buying the Kindles of the world…at close to $300 per pop! Let’s see, people are buying the grayscale, relatively one-dimensional, relatively unsexy eBook readers. Hmmm, I wonder if they’d be tempted to pay $200 more to buy the multi-faceted, uber sexy iPad?! There is a chance. Though, perhaps we should ask Emperor Ballmer…

(c) those of you who’ve traveled a bit on airplanes…you’ll understand: there is a need for a legitimate alternative to the laptop for the mobile business worker. If all you really need is access to the Internet, email, a PDF reader and an occasional dabble into office applications, do you really need a laptop? Smartphones are an answer to some degree, but truly not usable beyond a simple range of activities. Can the iPad stretch that range? Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?

(d) 10 billion and counting! Yes, that is song downloads on iTunes, but you get the point. An accepted delivery channel. A very, very large community of loyal subscribers. A very, very powerful market position to dictate terms and condition–read Walmart. A very, very large amount of existing and potential (rich) content.

All of which, brings us nicely to the germane point of our rant: the iPad opens up a whole new world of content management opportunities!

Bold? Perhaps not so when you consider: 100,000+ iTunes apps, over 2m free eBooks already available, 5 of the biggest publishers committing to distribute eBooks through Apple, web sites, images, video, audio, streaming media, et al…all available through the same well honed, well liked, well bought usable interface.

But that’s just one side of the story. There is need for digital rights management so intellectual property is protected. Source content needs to be delivered in multiple formats to meet multiple device configurations and resolutions. Content is likely linked and referenced across multiple resources. Content needs to be easily searchable. Related content needs to be easily reassembled and re-purposed. There is need for multiple renditions of rich media to support different views and use-contexts… Hmmm, this stuff sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it?!

Is this not all consumer oriented gadgetry? Not to cite Emperor Ballmer again, but are we really going to fall into this trap again: Here ye the enterprise, thou shalt not mention consumers! The idea of doing patient healthcare, claim insurance, pipeline maintenance, criminal investigative case management, … entirely through an iPad interface tied to a back end content management system (or two!) is anything but frivolous consumer stuff. Watch this space!

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23 Comments

  1. James Bailey

    Nice Jimmy. Not sure which idea is more interesting — delivering content management solutions for the iPad or buying Apple stock. For now, I’ll choose both. As you stated, this is familiar territory — architecting ECM solutions that are agnostic to the client platform.

    Also, lay off Ballmer. He’s still winning in this game. Remember Microsoft made a big investment in Apple a few years back or was that Mr. Gates.

    Reply
  2. Jim Nasr

    Ballmer gets paid mucho millions to get his opinions right! Besides, I did genuflect appropriately by addressing him with his rightful title 😉

    Reply
  3. David Miller

    As for point (b)… The Kindle, the Nook, and other true e-book readers sell because of E-Ink. You can’t read an e-book on the iPad (which is only LED) when you’re on the beach, and you can’t read it for long in any case before your eyes get tired. E-Ink is readable for hours, even in broad daylight.

    But that’s not really the point of your article. The iPad & imitators probably will take off for casual readers and as a laptop replacement. But there’ll still be a place for E-Ink-based readers.

    Reply
  4. David Miller

    As for point (b)… The Kindle, the Nook, and other true e-book readers sell because of E-Ink. You can’t read an e-book on the iPad (which is only LED) when you’re on the beach, and you can’t read it for long in any case before your eyes get tired. E-Ink is readable for hours, even in broad daylight.

    But that’s not really the point of your article. The iPad & imitators probably will take off for casual readers and as a laptop replacement. But there’ll still be a place for E-Ink-based readers.

    Reply
  5. Jim Nasr

    Dave, You’re right about e-ink and where the iPad may fit into the serious ereader’s life. However, my guess is that the iPad will expand the casual ereader category and possibly tap well into the mobile business worker category too.

    Reply
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    Just think, in three years there will be handheld devices outperforming today’s laptops and netbooks. Pretty amazing how fast things are developing these days.

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