Friday, December 26, 2008

Review of our 2008 Predictions - 7. Standards

At the end of 2007 we made 10 predictions for 2008. Many predictions made have now been conveniently forgotten but we stand by our thinking at the time and believe it appropriate we openly review these individually and see what we think happened and assess them appropriately. Today we review the standards.

7. Standards – the only standards that matter now are the consumer ones. Adoption of simplified DRM, user interfaces and maybe a continued migration towards ‘508 compliance’. Digital drop ship communications standards are the exception and need to be developed and adopted.

The market became epub vocal and industry bodies adopted it as the standard.
Adobe launched ACS4 as the successor to the old ACS3 but had to change the file construct to accommodate new ‘best practices’ is issue they forgot to tell everyone the reconversion implications of this and just added more cost. Sony were the beneficiary as Amazon kept themselves to themselves and this in turn created a two camp approach based mainly on DRM and devices as under the hood they had much the same technology. What a waste of effort.

However the one standard that continued to be dominant was PDF. True PDF is not one standard but often many interpretations of the same base but whether we are talking, print ready, web ready, text under or over image, searchable, we are talking about PDF. The issue that starts to change this is re-flowable text and devices such as the mobile that have small screens in which to display fixed pages. However the new breed of mobiles appears to be addressing this so reflow may not be the big issue we all thought.

DRM continues to dominate but many have started to experiment with DRM free or limited DRM. Creative Commons Licences have started to gather momentum and perhaps this expression of rights is the sensible approach moving forward.
The University of Georgia started to provide a logical way forward on 508.
Finally BISG launched Drop Book and although it wasn’t a full drop ship standards vision it was a step towards it.

We think a restrained 5 out of 10

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