Spring news


Still from WE shooting in Geneva / Pauline Julier

Time passed since my last english post about the iPhone app. As explained here, we (the developer Nicolas Goy and I) build a new company called Memoways in june 2011: the idea was to separate the technical developments from the artistic issues. Memoways is in charge of the whole technical aspect (software mostly), with the aim to be as generic as possible, and C-Side Production of the production of artistic adaptations over Memoways (like Walking the Edit or Heritage Experience). With the Memoways ecosystem, it will be possible for any content producer to build up projects like Walking the Edit or the Smartmap, with his own content, with full control over content, metadata and the “rules of the game”.

Since the last 10 months, we did following things:
- we build up a new database, a webapp to control the database, API’s to get access to the data / metadata, and a new version of the iPhone app
- the whole Walking the Edit ecosystem is now running on Memoways – we added also two new websites to this new system: Heritage Experience and the Smartmap

That was a lot of work, done almost exclusively by Nicolas. As explained in this and this post, we decided to change our strategy in october 2011.
From October until February, we did following things:
- try to rise money (business angels or early stage investments) -> response no: we are to early (“great project and idea, but you are 3 to 5 years to early. There will certainly be a market for this kind of solution, but not now – we cannot take the risk to be too early”)
- try to get some funding (from institutions) -> no chance by now (long stories, to keep it short: experts in Switzerland prefer read simple documents in german, even if it is possible to send french versions… another surprising statement: “your project is too innovative” after saying “where is the innovation ?” -> read: they did not understand the project on the paper)
- try to find new institutional partners in research and for building up new adaptations. Here, some success ! We had the chance to get in touch with Michel Deriaz from the ISS at the University of Geneva: we build up in very short time a dossier for the CTI (for the result, see above) – some other collaborations are “in the air”…
- we made some investigations and tests to find the best solution to build up our system in an efficient way: we wanted to use an existing DAM like Kaltura to concentrate on our core needs (editing engine, handling of subjective metadata within specific projects) – but it turned out that relying on other solutions is not flexible and powerful enough for our needs. So in the end, we will build up our own DAM (relying on Amazon S3, Zencoder and Heroku).
- we made a mockup of the first version of the Memoways application. It turned out (for many reasons, we will come back on this one later) that it would be better to develop a native Mac OS application than a webapp (an application running in a browser). We found a talented developer with a lot of experience who will be in charge of building up the native application. Our roadmap is the release of a beta version until the end of the year: we should be able to work with our new tool at least at the end of 2012.

There is still a lot to be done, but the good news are:
- all the work done since 2008 is not lost: even if many things have radically evolved (the whole server architecture for example, from a dedicated server to cloud services), we gained a lot of precious experience that will help us to get faster to a reliable result;
- there are now 2 very talented developers with complementary skills: each of them can concentrate on his part (server / client);
- some new adaptations are showing up – see below.

In two days, we will start building up a new adaptation in the south of the France (Bagnols sur Cèze): called “Mémoire vive”, the project will start now in april and will be released to the public in summer 2013. More information will follow…!

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