Delivering Artificial Intelligence in DAM: Our First Steps

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken significant steps forward. It has developed from a concept that was primarily associated with Sci-Fi and fantasy into a field of computer science that is already delivering tangible benefits to businesses. At OpenAsset we are poised to announce some exciting AI features that we believe will enhance our product and deliver a better experience for all users. In a series of blogs and articles, we will be exploring our journey with AI and explain what it means for the future of Digital Asset Management (DAM).

The increasing availability of large data sets has been a key catalyst in the recent development of AI technology. Companies such as Google, IBM and Amazon have invested considerable resources into developing software that employs machine learning to mimic human thought processes. Although the applications of AI are still being discovered, the main advantage it brings to workplaces is the ability to perform simple tasks with incredible speed and consistency. In practice, this should enable people to complete tasks more efficiently, or allow them to focus on more complex activities involving decision-making and collaboration.

AI in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has become a widely discussed topic within the AEC and Real Estate sectors. Rather than the adoption of specific technologies, digital transformation is the reorienting of an organisation towards using technology to increase productivity, connectivity and creativity among employees. One of the main challenges faced by companies is the cost of investing in new hardware, software and the upskilling of staff. This is where AI comes into play, as the automation of processes and the extra efficiencies it can deliver may help to offset the cost of digital transformation.

We believe that as AI becomes an increasingly powerful resource it will gradually reshape the way businesses operate. By being familiar with the technology and understanding its industry-specific applications, businesses can ensure they are not left behind.

Design Principles

The product vision for OpenAsset is to inspire people through visualization of the built world. Our software is designed to help anyone, anywhere in your organisation find and use your best image assets. By improving the speed and quality of searches, AI will allow users to create new connections between images and to draw inspiration from them. In this respect, the implementation of AI features within OpenAsset is a direct continuation of our original product vision.

AI features have already been incorporated into many software platforms that we use every day. Services like Facebook employ facial recognition software to connect users and Gmail is able to draft sensible replies to your emails. The key to the smooth adoption of these features by users has been their unobtrusiveness. At OpenAsset, we are aiming to implement AI within our platform in precisely this way. By offering natural extensions to existing working methods, these features can be adopted without additional effort of training.

AI in OpenAsset

The challenge within Digital Asset Management has always been how to create useful metadata for images at scale. At present, OpenAsset users can apply tags to files and projects using a keyword structure. A well-managed DAM enables users to easily search and compare selections of images. However, this is a manual process requiring an investment of time and money and which is difficult to scale up as the volume of assets or the size of the company increases.

In order to launch AI-powered features within OpenAsset, our software engineers have undertaken a period of extensive research and development that continues to this day. Over the past 18 months, they have tested out a variety of approaches to establish the most valuable applications of AI for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC), and Real Estate industries.

As a nascent field of computing, the technology that underpins AI and image recognition is constantly advancing. Our commitment to continuous learning ensures that as a company, OpenAsset is well-positioned to respond to future developments.

Following our initial period of research, we identified two promising areas of AI technology that could be used to improve the user experience of OpenAsset:

  • The ability of AI to analyze and identify the content of images
  • The ability of image recognition to identify visually similar images

In the next blog, we shall examine the way in which these early hopes for AI were explored and developed.

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