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Digital asset management (DAM) vendor WebDAM just released an iPad/iPhone app that it described as the only full-featured option for working with digital assets. But the question is: How useful are DAM mobile apps?

WebDAM President Jody Vandergriff said in a statement that the new mobile app makes “brand materials available anytime within the rich, yet simplistic, experience that users have come to expect from WebDAM.” The app, free but requiring a WebDAM account, complements the existing access to WebDAM on a mobile device through a Web browser.

Upload, Approval

The new app, which supports multi-touch zooming and other gestural navigation, allows users to search, view, share and download assets as well as upload assets with one click from the mobile device. Users can approve or comment on assets and collections as part of workflows needing approval or feedback, and team members can receive push notifications to their iPad or iPhone even if the app isn’t running.

With the center of gravity for computing squarely resting on mobile devices, DAM vendors, like all other system providers, are racing to catch up. For DAM vendors, mobile can add remote accessibility for team members such as approvers. Enabling some level of access to a DAM system from a mobile device means that virtually any team member can respond to images shortly after they have been acquired, modified or readied for release.

In August, for instance, WoodWing released a mobile version of its Elvis DAM. It allows a user to browse and search collections, zoom, peruse metadata, issue ratings, approve or reject assets in an approval workflow or update collections.

Mobile for DAM

But some DAM-watchers have pointed out that mobile apps have limited use in this field, where large screen displays, skilled users, interfacing with publishing or marketing campaign systems and access to fast connectivity are usually required for most projects.

A story in Digital Asset Management News last December noted that mobile “provides limited opportunities for improvements to the user experience” for DAM systems, although it acknowledged that giving access to mobile personnel like sales staff can have benefits.

But the main value proposition for mobile, DAM News contended, is asset capture in the field, where images can be captured and immediately dropped into a collection. In addition, ever-cheaper tablets might eventually help save overall costs by being deployed for some users, possibly with a large screen and keyboard attached, instead of workstations.