The Digimarc Blog

A (Very) Short History of Digital Asset Management (DAM)

A history of the digital age is measured in decades, and not centuries, but has already seen three distinct eras of asset management, and the blossoming of a fourth. The challenge now—just as it was centuries ago with physical manuscripts and library shelves—is how to store, organize, identify and deploy files on a mammoth scale.

A recent blog post by DAM specialist Jake Athey helps to distill down the basics of this history. Here’s the abridged version:

  1. Central Library Era
    Digital files were piling up by the 1990s with nowhere to go but in siloed libraries. In 1992 Canto Software launched Cumulus, the first DAM software to offer a solution. The next few years saw the development of consumer web browsers and the emergence of web-based DAM.

  2. Social-Mobile-Cloud Era
    In the early 2000s, we saw the rise of web-based solutions and, ultimately, the emergence of the cloud as the leading storage destination for digital content. The debut of the iPhone in 2007 added more complexity, as DAM had to convert images for a variety of devices and operating systems. By 2012, the term “martech” was becoming familiar as companies competed to effectively market in an online world saturated with content.

  3. Integration Era
    This is where we are now. DAM vendors have become the “central source of truth” for all content-based platforms. They beat out martechs for this distinction; and are now inventing dozens of ready-made integrations to maximize DAM effectiveness.

  4. The Future Era
    We are about to enter what Athey calls the Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Era. “AI powered image recognition and metadata tagging have arrived,” he writes, adding that DAM will likely be critical to the semantic web.

To dive into what’s new in cutting-edge DAM strategies and solutions for our current era, be sure to attend DAM LA 2017 Nov. 14 – 15. Attendees, in particular, should pencil in a talk by Digimarc Guardian (Booth #8) on how digital watermarking can serve as the foundation of a strong content protection strategy. The presentation will take place on Wed., Nov. 15 from 10 am – 10:30 am in the TechLab.

Find out more about Digimarc Guardian and its partnership with DAM-platform leader Widen.

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