EdgeMaven


Case Studies

EdgeMaven’s approach to content generation is scalable across media and topics (which are defined as genres and sub-genres). The following case studies illustrate a few examples of how EdgeMaven technology has been used to create large quantities of original title materials. These are presented for illustrative purposes only, and reflect a small part of potential applications. Specific applications are designed in cooperation with our partners on a customized basis.

Reference, Research & Educational Books

Reference/Client: ICON Group International, Inc (www.icongrouponline.com)

Output: Over 250,000 original titles, available in various paperback, and ebook formats.

Distributors: Barnes & Noble®; amazon.com; Lightning Source (Ingram Book Group); NetLibrary [OCLC - eContent]; Ingram Digital and MyiLibrary; ebooks.com; google.com, among others.

 

Background:

Beyond the tasks accomplished by acquisition editors and publishers, books are traditionally written by humans authors, edited by humans, and formatted by human production editors. These are in turn marketed by humans. Using the most advanced approaches to electronic publishing, ICON Group reduced the time to create and publish reference and educational books from months to a matter of minutes, without human intervention. The approach represents a revolution in the publishing industry which is becoming more fragmented and specialized as print-on-demand and ebook technologies are showing substantial growth. Coupled with electronic distribution via libraries, publishers and media companies can now access what may have previously been seen as saturated markets. Examples of genres produced for ICON Group include:

·         Patient Sourcebooks (500 titles by disease or condition)

·         Physician Dictionaries (2100 titles by disease or condition)

·         Genome Sourcebooks (190 titles by disease or condition)

·         Bilingual Crossword puzzles (1200 titles, 100 pages each)

·         Classics – enhanced via computer authoring for test preparation (150 titles)

·         Classics – enhanced for non-English mother tongue speakers (1000s of titles)

 

Scientific Discovery, Research, Custom Publishing and Proposal Writing

Reference/Client: Varies

Output: Over 150,000 Industry and Business Intelligence Reports

Distributors: www.marketresearch.com; www.bharatbook.com; www.manta.com (ECNext); MindBranch, and EBSCO, among others.

 

In terms of discovery, intelligence analysts, researchers, scientists, security specialists, or anyone who must "connect the dots" may not have the time or capacity to exploit their skills to a maximum potential. The databases and/or sources of information used to generate and quickly communicate new knowledge may be so vast or complex that traditional approaches simply fail to exploit the potential.  Similarly, in business, a substantial amount of valuable management time can be wasted writing proposals, or proposals are never written resulting in opportunity losses.

 

EdgeMaven workshops can be used to quickly investigate the potential for discovery and/or custom publishing and discovery. This approach has been used to create, for example, approximately 14,000 international trade studies that draw original conclusions with respect to the world's trade flows across numerous product categories. The meta data and related information required for distribution for each title were also authored via automation. Examples of these titles can be seen here, for example, at marketresearch.com, one of the largest distributors of high-end market intelligence. Had this genre been approached using traditional methods, the economics of each title would make the cost of producing these prohibitive. This approach can also be used to localize educational content for specific markets, down to an individual instructor or student.

 

Networked Multiplayer Games/Simulations

Reference/Client: INSEAD (Singapore and Fontainebleau, France), INTERCOMP Simulation (www.insead.edu)

Output: A virtually infinite number of business simulations.

MBA programs and executive education programs around the world have, for years, relied on business simulations to teach strategy, operations, and marketing. These simulations or games, are played by teams or individuals who compete against each other while learning and applying business frameworks.

 

Traditionally business simulations have been industry (e.g. consumer electronics), geography (e.g. a fictitious world) and/or language specific (e.g. English). INTERCOMP is not a simulation, but rather a simulation "writer." It was created using an approach that allows a virtually infinite number of simulations on any known industry (e.g. from toothpaste to industrial power transformers), any realistic geography (within a specific country, like China and its various cities, or across a selection of countries and cities relying on real economic data), and language (English, French, Chinese, Arabic, or any of 200 or more other languages). The simulations can be further tailored to specific business topics or emphasis (e.g. HR, finance, production, marketing, strategy, etc.). An example of one such simulation is dedicated to the mobile communications handset industry that pits Apple, Nokia, HP, Dell, Motorola, HPC, Samsung, LG, and Sony-Ericsson against one another in a global battle to conquer the world market across 57 countries. The setting is five years into the future when a new generation of mobile communications standards has been adopted by operators and manufacturers. This simulation has been used in an award-winning MBA elective and executive education course; a version dedicated to telecommunications is available for download at:

 

http://webfac.insead.edu/intercomp/downloads/program_latest_version.html

 

The advantage of this process is that simulations and/or multiplayer games can be created at minimal cost for a specific group, or “clique” of executives or individuals in a specific industry, simulating real competition faced in that industry. Because the simulation can be calibrated using real data, the output is not a simulation, but a strategic planning tool that can be used to foresee competitive activities or simulate game theoretic outcomes. After setup, no clique is too small for a fully customized simulation or game, given that the marginal cost of producing a game for the clique is virtually zero.

 

 

PC Software and Video Games

Reference/Client:

Output: 400 Educational Game Titles and over 1200 Reference Software Titles

Distributor(s): www.digitalriver.com

Background:

There are role-playing games, adventure games, first person shooters, strategy games, sports games, educational games and a variety of others. Each of these follow a generally accepted set of rules which users have come to expect. Each title can be in 2D or 3D formats designed for a variety platforms (PC, console, mobile devices); each format is further bounded by formulaic requirements. Traditionally, dedicated teams create a single title within a genre, each with a substantial cost.

 

EdgeMaven approaches game development by automating "game writing" programs which author original titles, surrounding the entire genre selected. A recent example of this was a series of some 2000 third-person shooter PC games that allow children, ages 4 to 6, to learn basic English as a second language (or other topics). A tomato, called "Webster" defeats an enemy called IGNORANCE, who has armies of evil avatars (e.g. from dinosaurs to space ships). Within each topic covered by this sub-genre, there are 4 separate game titles featuring differing graphics, sound effects, challenges/puzzles and enemies. A video cut scene illustrating this game series can be seen here. Some game play can be seen here (towards minute 8). Each game title takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to create, irrespective of the topic.  Here is a low-resolution screen capture of an extended video of a game created this way. 2D multilingual games are listed here.

 

Mobile Phone Applications (Pocket PC & Smartphone)

Reference/Distributor: Handango (www.handango.com); Microsoft.com, among others.

Output:  Thousands of Pocket PC dictionaries and games

Background:

Recent research indicates that people in many low-income countries often first experience the Internet via a mobile communications device. In high-income countries, Smartphones, Pocket PC's (PDAs), multimedia phones and video players are gaining greater acceptance as users upgrade from traditional devices, and operators push higher-end handsets which increase network traffic. Greater on-board memory, and higher download speeds are also creating greater demands for mobile content tailored to a large number of localities with differing content needs.

 

Traditionally, mobile content publishers create a game or application, and once successful, localize these titles for large markets or create sequels to the one market where the title was successful. EdgeMaven technology allows original titles to cover the entire spectrum of topics/geographies within their respective genres, and with each title authored in a matter of minutes.  Automation also allows for cross-platform authoring, given the variety of operating systems (RIM, Symbian, Microsoft Mobile, etc.) and devices (iPod/iPhone, Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung, HTC, Blackberry/RIM, LG, etc).

 

An application of EdgeMaven technology in this area includes the creation of a mobile phone software generation programs for educational games and references software applications. Some 400 casino games, 200 bi-lingual dictionaries, and thousands of professional reference applications have been authored and are currently selling via various distribution channels (for PocketPC and Smartphones).


Website Creation

Reference/Client: Webster's Online Dictionary (www.websters-online-dictionary.org)

Output: World’s largest multilingual dictionary.

Background:

 

Listed, for the year 1999, as an important “invention” of the 20th century by The Great Idea Finder, Webster’s Online Dictionary – The Rosetta Edition is an open access dictionary that spans over 400 languages. The dictionary is now the world’s largest and is a mix of compiled and original content generated by EdgeMaven technology. Despite the vastness of the dictionary (with over 30,000,000 entries, and growing), it is maintained by no editorial, marketing or other staff. Well over 40% of the dictionary’s content, statistics, and entries were authored by computer, in the same manner that a lexicographer or linguist would. The dictionary is constantly being improved and is a laboratory for innovation. Currently the dictionary receives some 1,000,000 page views a month, and is ranked higher, in terms of traffic, than the Oxford English Dictionary.  Over 1,000 sites link to the dictionary or its pages. Some 85 percent of the site’s traffic comes from outside of the United States, and is, for many languages, the primary site for language learning and reference. The dictionary is in its “first draft” form. Reviews and historical discussions of the current edition can be found here. Similarly, EdgeMaven approaches can be adapted to create a high volume of content-oriented sites that span languages or topics, for use over traditional or mobile networks, that themselves become authors of original content, with or without end-user interaction.

 

Video (all formats & media)

Reference/Distributor: Word of the Day & Education (ICON Group International, Inc.)

Output: various high volume programs

Background:

The cost of professional video production involves a large quantity of human inputs from producers, scriptwriters, actors, and directors, to set designers, photographers, camera crews, special effects specialists, and pre- and post-production editors. Human and material costs have often prevented the creation of niche programming or films on narrow topics, or for languages or cultures that might not have a large enough audience to profitably justify an investment. This has lead to content shortages for many countries, languages, interest groups or cliques (micro-segments).  The substantial costs of production have also lead to a number of media companies relying on user-generated or contributed content of variable quality and/or that will fail to meet the needs of these unserved niches (e.g. there are not enough video producers interested in, say, Tarahumara to justify creating enough content to support a channel for that audience).

Automated video authoring is similar in nature to that of books or software, though the formats have higher dimensionality and the "intelligences" modeled are different. The goal is to drive the cost of high-quality video production to a minimal marginal cost (e.g. the cost of rendering alone).

EdgeMaven technology is now being used for video production for a variety of the more formulaic genres (news, games shows, education, mobile phone snacks, classic story telling, comedy, etc.). Examples of test renders for mobile telephone snacks and television segments can be found here on YouTube:

 

Mobile/Traditional Snacks

·         Word of the Day “Snack” – Macroglossia (thousands of these across languages are in production)

·         Word of the Day ”Snack” – Hindsight

·         Word of the Day “Snack” – Euphonious

·         Word of the Day “Snack” – Laconic

·         Word of the Day “Snack” – Excretion

 

Gameshow

·         A Multilingual Gameshow (cut scenes only, created for all written languages, for people wanting to learn English)

 

Advertising/Promotion

·         A Video Promotion Clip for a Hangman Game (also authored via computer)

 

Segues

·         A Classic Movie Review before it Airing

·         A DVD Introduction Segment

 

 

The Future

 

Reference/Client: confidential

Output: confidential

 

As the above cases illustrate, the application of EdgeMaven technology is format, and context independent. Only a small percent of ideas are represented here. Future applications, in the works, include fully interactive, real-time authoring systems and other activities that fully integrate human activities, allowing third parties, but also end-users to allow their systems to create original title materials.

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