Why the iPad Matters -- It's the Beginning of the End

5 minute read
Carl Frappaolo avatar

From my ECM-er perspective, the reason the iPad is so important isbecause it marks the beginning of the end of the old generation ofpublishing, and the popularization of e-publishing.

Even if you are not a techie or ECMer,it would have been hard tomiss all the marketing and press that has surrounded the iPadlately.Numerousarticles have weighed in on whether or not Apple will be a successboth long and short term, what this means to Amazon, etc.

Relevant? yes. Interesting? Somewhat, to me. Do not get me wrong. Ihave been following the advent of iPad closely, but not from a “wallstreet” perspective. From my ECM-er perspective, the reasonthe iPad is so important is because it marks the beginning of the end ofthe old generation of publishing, and the popularization ofe-publishing. The ability to publish electronically -- not just createand layout content electronically for a paper-based print run -- butcontent created specifically for electronic delivery, is clearly notnew. But, the overall market understanding of and appreciation for thefull value of electroniccontent delivery has been lagging.The popularizing ofelectronic-based content delivery, (yes, I think the Apple entrance intothe market will help finally raise awareness and market demand overall,similar to the way Google raised the general market appreciation forthe value of search) will not only allow publishers to take advantage ofe-based delivery, but compel them to do so, and race toleverage the unique powers and capabilities of the media.

ECMers such as myself have been heralding the ability and associatedbenefits of designing content for e-based delivery for years, (see earlier posts ).Despite the ability to do so, however, the majority of businessapplications that involve content delivery remain rooted in paper-baseddelivery. Even in cases where content is created electronically (whichis nearly exclusively now), design concerning output is almost alwaysmired in paper-based metaphors.(A simple case in point, just today Iwas asked to complete a form -- it was available on-line, i.e., I couldprint the form from my web browser, complete it ala ink on paper, and --are you ready -- fax it back. Just days ago I completed another formtotally online, but the “publisher” of the form did not leverage anye-based delivery capabilities. I was asked to skip over irrelevantsections. Relevancy of sections was something that could have beenhandled automatically based on data I had already entered.)

Now, with the popularizing of e-based consumption of content, it islikely that content publishers (taken in the strictest and loosest senseof that phrase), will wake up and actually leveragethe publishing media to its fullest value. Dynamic links,multimedia, content in context -- by person, geography and time of day,will more readily be embraced and supported by those that providecontent -- from books and newspapers to coupons and name badges.

The market is at an inflection point, much like it found itself circathe 1980s, with the popularizing of imaging technology. Scanningtechnology had been around for quite some time before that, butorganizations were still mostly thinking in terms of paper.Imaging wasa “new capability” that augmented paper. It was not uncommon to findorganizations that were printing content, only to scan it into an onlineimaging system.Hard to believe? (Hey, I still occasionally findexamples of people doing this.) This mentality is not so different fromthat of organizations today that create volumes of content online andthen design output for paper-- either exclusively, or online versions ofpaper metaphors.

Practices and approaches to publishing (i.e., electronic contentdelivery) have started to change, and will surely begin to pick upspeed. I was recently talking to a very good friend of mine who has beenin the text book publishing industry as an editor for over 15 years. Webegan talking about our careers colliding and she shared with me thatshe was currently working on over 130 e-based books --not publishing the same paper-based book online -- but books specificallytailored to take advantage of the dynamics and flexibility ofelectronic delivery, exclusively.

Learning Opportunities

For those electronic content management technology vendors that havefocused on dynamic delivery, there time is here. I have commentedon the opportunity that this represents for ECM many times.

Folks such as MarkLogic (news, site), PTC (news, site), SDL Tridion (news, site),and SiberLogic (news, site) should find aburgeoning market that “suddenly” better understands their valueproposition.

Others such as Astoria (news, site)and HiveFire (news, site), may likelyreposition their underlying capabilities to more directly address thisgrowing need. Enterprise CMS bastions such Open Text (news, site) and EMC (news, site) -- especially with their X-Hive acquisition -- are well positioned to re-direct attention to these capabilities they have touted for years, to a mostly blind and deaf consumer.

DITA will become the “new HTML” and gain far greater market awareness and adoption.The onus will be on thedistributor of content to become innovative to leverage the newcapabilities and to think beyond 8.5 x 11 static media.

So, take a deep breath, we are only getting started -- but we aresurely entering the beginning of the end of publishing as we know it.

About the author

Carl Frappaolo

Carl Frappaolo is a globally recognized thought leader, speaker, and author. He has founded 3 companies, published 4 booksand has consulted with the who’s who of the corporate and public sector on innovation, information, process and knowledge management.

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