Image Server Helps Ford Manage Media Assets

FRAMINGHAM (03/27/2000) - Atlanta-based Iterated Systems Inc. will announce this week that its new graphics image server is in use at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan.

Available next month, Iterated System's MediaBin 1.0 image server stores and retrieves digital images, and converts the images into different formats and resolutions for use on the Web or in print. MediaBin supports a variety of image formats, including Tag Image File Format, graphics interchange format, JPEG and Adobe Photoshop files. It requires Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT Server and SQL Server.

Iterated Systems executives said the image server will help customers with large media assets, such as Ford, speed up the production and distribution of visual images on Web sites.

The automaker will use the MediaBin server to store digital logos and photographic images for its 13 vehicle lines. Ford will make this content accessible to its marketing and Web development departments and to its dealerships via a corporate intranet.

One-Stop Shop

"What we want to do is establish a one-stop shop site for all brand image assets," said Gloria Gomah, a senior graphics specialist at Ford. "It helps our people internally to . . . manage their efforts more efficiently and to track down where to get the image," Gomah said. "Right now, it may take two or three calls to find art. We're streamlining the process so that they can go to one site and get what they need."

Asset management software rivals such as San Francisco-based Canto Software Inc. and Atlanta-based The Software Construction Co. (SCC) offer similar features for storing and resizing original content.

Focused on the publishing sector, SCC's MediaServer stores images as JPEG files but doesn't enable automated conversion to other formats.

Canto's Cumulus media management tool only offers automated format conversion for JPEG files. Canto partners with Iterated Systems to provide a the ability to convert images to other formats.

Prospective Iterated Systems customer Terri Hanson, staff manager of photography at a major U.S. airline, said MediaBin is distinctive because it converts images to different formats and sizes on the fly.

Multiple Uses

For example, with MediaBin it's possible to store an image in one format in a database then later render it as a lower-resolution thumbnail for a Web site or as higher-resolution photograph for a print catalog.

Companies with extensive media assets need format-neutral ways to manage images, said Tony Henning, an analyst at Future Image Inc., a digital imaging market research firm in San Mateo, California.

"Images are not just created for the Web. If a photo is of high quality for a print catalog, MediaBin can format it and make it appropriate for publishing on the Web by serving it up in a different way," Henning said.

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