By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-02-02 Print this article Print

Active measures, such as chargebacks to business units based on image storage policies, should therefore be invoked to create appropriate incentives. Batch processing for image format conversion and compression, built into many image management tools but also capable of being deployed on a larger scale, should be employed to make storage more efficient. Appropriate usage rules should be established and automatically applied to meet image-quality constraints for different applications and to avoid breaking chains of evidence in legal or medical settings. Archival policies of removing imagery to lower-cost offline media should be developed and automated.

Image data should be specifically and robustly protected from accidental and deliberate alteration or misuse. Tools and skills that were once the domain of graphic arts and photography professionals are now everyday conveniences, and the value to be gained by altering an image may now far outweigh the cost. Watermarking and authentication methods and tools should therefore be part of every workflow that includes primary image data—that is, data inherently incapable of being reacquired or independently validated at a later date.

If it were literally true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then a 24-exposure roll of film would represent only about 170KB of storage—about the same capacity, oddly enough, as one of the single-sided floppy disks of the original IBM PC. Our notion of personal storage has mushroomed since that August 1981 hardware debut to the tens of gigabytes of an iPod or similar device, increasing at a staggering compound rate of more than 65 percent per year. Theres no end in sight—and that means ITs stewards must do better than just piling up the pixels. They must take an active role in sorting image content with an eye on its value to the enterprise.

Technology Editor Peter Coffees e-mail address is peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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