Spotlight on Smartframe
The Illumination Series is a collection of independent MarTech product reviews that are designed to provide insight on interesting technologies. Each article focusses on a single supplier and allows vendors to share their thoughts on the state of MarTech, as well as the key features and benefits of their platform.
In this edition, we talk to Peter Shackleton, Business Development Director at SmartFrame; SmartFrame offer market leading image streaming technology, that provides unprecedented image protection and world-class presentation. Here’s what they had to say…
WHAT IS YOUR CORE PRODUCT OFFERING?
Images are an essential part of online content. From a piece of art or a photographer’s livelihood to the representation of a brand’s online presence, images remain one of the most important forms of content today. But as soon as we publish images online, we lose control over them. They can be easily stolen and shared, or used in some other way without our knowledge or authorization.
SmartFrame gives you back control over your images. By harnessing the power of image streaming, SmartFrame offers users the same type of control and protection for images that content providers enjoy on YouTube and Spotify. Images are streamed from the cloud, and feature robust protection against being copied or downloaded in any way. Not only does SmartFrame allow a rights holder to control where and how their images can be interacted with, but it also allows them to modify their functionality once published and even withdraw them from circulation at any point if they desire.
SmartFrame is also able to stream a variety of interactive features layered on top of an image, such as captions, watermarks and full-screen-viewing controls, as well as the option to zoom into images to their full resolution, without compromising their quality or security. Those interactive features also extend to the delivery of in-image call-to-action controls, such as promotional messages or 'buy now’ buttons. This means that brands can ensure that any images shared on third-party sites are always accurate and up to date, and through in-image advertising they can even leverage these to create their own digital advertising network.
WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT SMARTFRAME AS AN ORGANISATION?
Founded in 2015, SmartFrame was originally created to provide photographers with a means of protecting and controlling images published online. Since the launch of its image-streaming technology in 2017, SmartFrame has evolved to become a trusted and unique technology across multiple sectors, supporting millions of digital images from photographers, museums and brands of varying sizes.
Headquartered in the UK, SmartFrame now has presence across Europe and the US. The company is on course to double its headcount over the next 12 months to support a strong increase in client demand.
WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS?
Having started in the photography and imaging industries, we have built an enviable list of photography clients, including fine-art photographer David Yarrow. We are proud to have an ever-growing network of ambassadors and imaging sites, spanning a range of genres, from wildlife and editorial through to music and unit stills.
The ability to protect and control published images means that our technology is now successfully being used across a variety of other industries. These include heritage clients such as Historic England and National Portrait Gallery, as well as publishers such as Reach PLC. Through our legal and agency partners, our technology is also being used by brands in the luxury, fashion, automotive and technology industries among others.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM OTHER VENDORS IN THIS SPACE?
Our USP is the image-streaming principle on which our patented technology works. This allows us to give customers unique control over their published images, and the strongest protection against theft and unauthorised use. It also allows us to deliver comprehensive analytics on image viewing and use, together with the ability to deliver images at higher resolutions than would be otherwise practical, without any impact on page load speeds.
CAN YOU OUTLINE THE PROBLEM THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SOLVE WITH YOUR PRODUCT?
Capturing, publishing, managing and storing images requires significant investments in time and money, but traditional image formats fail to protect those investments once images are published online.
SmartFrame gives its users complete control of their published images. Users can block certain domains from displaying their images and choose whether their images can be shared on social media platforms and elsewhere. It’s even possible to customise what gets delivered to a search engine.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT FROM YOUR PRODUCT?
Both as a technology and a business, SmartFrame has grown rapidly in 2020, and will continue to do so throughout 2021. Over the next six months, the company plans to:
- Support over 150m images.
- Broaden support for image metadata, following on from the support that was introduced for IPTC metadata earlier this year. This will give clients the ability to maximise control over their images to drive traffic to their websites.
- Expand its support for digital asset management platforms, as well as the range plugins for eCommerce, CRM platforms and website builder tools. This comes after our successful launch of an extension for Magento and Plugin for Wordpress.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE BIGGEST TREND IN MARTECH AT THE MOMENT?
We expect MarTech trends to follow a number of other functional trends, in that teams are expected to do more with less. The focus will be very much on using MarTech to drive efficient marketing operations, which will likely include more centralised control and an increased need for data and insights.
Some of the key trends we are expecting to see are:
- An increased focus on marketing operations, reflecting a need to get greater value out of MarTech spend and assets.
- Expansion of platform-based ecosystems (ie better integration and centralised control of the technologies a marketing function employs).
- Increasing focus on bottom line and efficiency, meaning:
- Lower overall marketing budget but larger proportional spend on MarTech.
- Greater use of work management tools and content management systems to drive operational efficiencies.
- Greater requirement for measurement and reporting.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING A MARKETER TODAY?
The most consistent challenge we are seeing is the ever-growing requirement to do more with less. As so many marketing operations seem to be in a transitional state, marketers are increasingly being asked to become experts in fields that are not necessarily their specialism.
We expect to see the continued pressure on cost and efficiency will lead to smaller, leaner, data-driven marketing operations. We also expect that those data-driven decisions will see those operations drive an increased demand for external, functional experts.
If you want to read more about SmartFrame, please visit https://smartframe.io/