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Digital Asset

What is a Digital Asset?

Digital assets refer to media files. Media files are a diverse and crucial element in today's digital world, allowing information to be presented and communicated in various ways. These files offer a wide range of formats, providing a rich selection of options to create engaging content and capture the attention of the target audience. A significant step in the transformation of a file into a digital asset is integration through a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. A DAM allows the file to be managed in a structured environment, with metadata added and stored in various formats and sizes. By organizing and managing within the DAM, the file is not only archived but also made easily accessible for various purposes such as marketing campaigns, websites, print materials, and more. The DAM optimizes efficiency and consistency in the use of the file across different channels, thereby helping to present the brand message uniformly and attractively. The following text lists and describes the various digital assets.

What are digital assets

Images are a fundamental form of media files that can come in numerous forms, including photos in various styles and qualities, as well as artistic drawings. They are a powerful means to convey visual information, evoke emotions, and explain complex concepts in an intuitive way. The most widespread image formats include:

  • JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): Due to its efficient compression and widespread support, it is the preferred format for photographs and general web graphics.
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphics): Preferred for web graphics that require transparency or lossless compression.
  • GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): The standard format for animated graphics on the web.
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format): A flexible format favored in professional photography and the printing industry. WebP: A modern format developed by Google to overcome the weaknesses of JPEG and PNG.

Videos, on the other hand, offer a dynamic way to present content and make it experiential. From impressive branding videos that strengthen brand image, to educational webinars that impart knowledge, to illustrative product videos that showcase products and services in action, videos offer a wide range of possibilities to convey content and persuade. The most well-known video formats are:

  • MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14): One of the most widespread video formats, known for its high compatibility with various devices and platforms.
  • AVI (Audio Video Interleave): Introduced by Microsoft, this format is known for its ability to synchronize audio and video data.
  • MOV (QuickTime File Format): Developed by Apple, this format is often used in professional video editing and production.
  • WMV (Windows Media Video): This format, developed by Microsoft, is optimized for Windows-based platforms and applications.
  • FLV (Flash Video): Although Adobe Flash has reached the end of its lifecycle, FLV was long the preferred format for embedded videos on websites and streaming services.

Audio content is also of great significance, ranging from entertaining podcasts for consumers to professional audio materials like jingles used in video productions to create atmosphere and support brand identities. Widely used audio formats include:

  • MP3 (MPEG Audio Layer III): The most famous and widely used audio format for music files. MP3 is popular due to its ability to compress audio files with a relatively small storage requirement at acceptable sound quality.
  • WAV (Waveform Audio File Format): An uncompressed audio format developed by Microsoft and IBM. It offers high sound quality, making it a preferred choice for professional audio recordings and editing.
  • AAC (Advanced Audio Coding): An audio format that offers better sound quality at the same bitrate compared to MP3. AAC is supported by a variety of platforms and devices and is the standard audio format for YouTube, iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices, as well as for digital broadcasting.
  • FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec): A lossless compression format that can store audio in CD quality without losing sound quality, but with a significant reduction in file size compared to WAV.

Presentations, often in the form of PowerPoint files, are a proven means to present complex information in a structured and visually appealing way. They allow content to be presented in a comprehensible and convincing manner, making them an indispensable tool in many areas of communication and knowledge transfer. Examples of presentation formats are PPTX or PDF.

PDFs, as Portable Document Format, offer a platform-independent way to display and share documents. They are widely used and often employed for the publication of texts, reports, presentations, and other documents, as they ensure a consistent appearance regardless of the operating system or software.

Logos and banners are important graphic elements that represent a brand's identity and help draw attention to specific content. Logos are the visual hallmark of a brand and should be immediately recognizable, while banners serve to highlight messages and focus the attention of the target audience. Examples of graphic formats include SVG or PNG.

Text files, finally, are fundamental for communicating information in written form. They range from simple notes and messages to extensive documents and reports, and are an indispensable tool in business and private communication. Examples of text formats include:

  • TXT (Plain Text): The simplest and most universal text format, supporting only raw text without any formatting. It is widely used for simple notes, configuration files, and as an exchange format between different programs and operating systems.
  • DOC and DOCX (Microsoft Word Document): DOC was the standard format of Microsoft Word until the 2003 version, while DOCX is the standardized, open XML-based format introduced from Word 2007 onwards.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format): Developed by Adobe, this format is ideal for exchanging documents that are meant to appear and be printed just as they were created, regardless of software, hardware, or operating system.
  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The core language of the web, used for creating web pages. HTML documents are actually text files that contain tags.

3D visualizations offer an exciting extension for Digital Asset Management (DAM). They enable the representation of products in virtual environments, which is particularly relevant for industries such as architecture, design, and e-commerce. By integrating 3D visualizations into a DAM system, companies can enrich their digital assets with immersive and interactive content, significantly enhancing product presentation, communication, and experience. Examples include:

  • OBJ (Wavefront Object file): OBJ is one of the oldest but still very widespread 3D model formats. OBJ files are capable of storing complex geometries including vertices, edges, surfaces, and textures. They are text-based and thus human-readable, which makes them popular for importing and exporting between various 3D graphics programs.
  • STL (Stereolithography): STL is the standard file format for the 3D printing industry. It is primarily used for rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing. STL files describe only the surface of 3D objects using triangular facets, without color or texture information.
  • FBX (Filmbox): Developed by Autodesk, FBX is a flexible file format used for exchanging 3D data between different software applications. It supports a wide range of data, including complex animations, user interfaces, cameras, and light sources in addition to standard model geometry.

Overall, media files offer a wide range of possibilities to effectively present content and communicate with the target audience.

How do digital assets differ from digital goods?

Digital goods have a significant overlap with digital assets, but there are also differences. The most important distinction is that digital goods usually have a price associated with them in some form, whereas this is not always the case for digital assets. Digital goods include items like individual music tracks that must be purchased or can be obtained through a streaming provider. The business model for videos and movies is very similar. Additionally, there are e-books, electronic books, which can be sold individually or through subscription models. In the professional context, there are photos that need to be purchased as stock material, taking into account image rights. Digital assets refer to individual files, while digital goods can also refer to applications or services. Think of learning platforms or training apps, for example. These are undoubtedly digital goods, but they wouldn't fit in their entirety within a Digital Asset Management system, although parts of the applications, such as media files, would. Taking it a step further, every program on a computer is a digital good, whereas, in the context of Digital Asset Management (DAM), it is not considered a media file.

What is the relationship between digital assets and Digital Asset Management?

Digital Asset Management systems like TESSA DAM serve as the administrative, manipulation, and distribution instance for digital assets. When dealing with a large volume of media files or a multitude of products, a DAM (Digital Asset Management) system is the tool of choice for ensuring the quality of digital assets. This is achieved through workflows during import. Using delta analysis, it's possible to determine whether all the necessary digital assets are available for all of a company's products. The media files are managed in the DAM and fed into digital media production processes. This can involve exporting the assets in their original form and incorporating them into digital production processes, or manipulating them to place them in the required format in the desired location. Additionally, a DAM can systematically deliver digital assets to a Content Delivery Network (CDN) so that they can be efficiently provided over the internet from any location in the network topology.

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