Delivering Information as a Service


It's no secret that the entire media industry -- whether it's print, video or music -- is going through convulsions trying to cope with changes in the way content is being consumed in the Internet age.

After all the gnashing of teeth, an approach is emerging for delivering content in a way that adds value. Even more interesting: This new model can be applied broadly.

In media circles, the concept of content-as-a-service is starting to take hold. It's still too early to say how the business models for this will play out. But Vivek Kwatra, an associate vice president at Cognizant, an IT services company, says the requisite core technologies are becoming apparent.

On the back end, media companies must first embrace service-oriented architectures (SOA) that will allow them to stream content on demand to customers. The second key component will be to adopt semantic search technologies that will allow them to dynamically mix and match content. For example, if a person is consuming a particular piece of content, systems need to be smart enough to identify that content and instantly serve up related content based on the user's profile. Some of that content will be free, but other content will be paid. Today, most content is delivered and consumed with no underlying intelligence, although there are exceptions in the form of Amazon and a few other leading edge companies. Until media companies, as Kwatra says, "reinvent their data supply chains," the business models they have on the Internet will remain largely broken. Of course, this all presupposes that media companies have the identity-management technologies needed to manage user profiles at a very granular level, adds Kwatra.

Naturally, this strategy can apply to any piece of content, so don't be surprised to discover the approach being more broadly applied to information as a whole. Face it: The way we deliver and consume information on the Web is pretty rudimentary. Will we need to reinvent all the applications and related systems on the Web to create a truly intelligent Internet experience where providers of information provide value beyond buying servers and storage to house content?