T3Media wins Department of Defense contract with strength of metadata tagging

by Amina Elahi
December 5, 2013

Whereas people have to deal with safely storing beloved family videos and vacation photos, organizations such as the NCAA and the BBC are challenged to keep decades worth of video content accessible and organized.

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Denver’s T3Media helps these and many more organizations store the petabytes of video and other visual data they collect over the years. More importantly, though, the company enables its clients to easily search for specific clips they might need — from anywhere. The key, according to CTO Mark Lemmons, is in the frame-level metadata tags T3Media places on each clip it hosts.

“It’s one thing to have a video tape and digitize that and post it somewhere in the cloud,” Lemmons said. “It’s another thing to do that millions of times with frame-level metadata and complete searchability.”

Thanks to the level of detail afforded by its proprietary T3 Library Manager application, T3Media this week announced a deal with the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center (DIMOC) to maintain the Department of Defense’s video archive. This marks T3Media’s entry into working with the American government’s materials, a deal that was years in the making.

For more than four years, T3Media has worked with the Dutch government to manage its film archives, an experience that Lemmons felt contributed to his company’s reputation of success and longevity. He likens the work for DIMOC to what T3Media has been doing for the NCAA for nearly nine years. “We have these client relationships over a long period of time and that staying power has helped us,” Lemmons said. “ It gives our clients confidence that we can do what we say we’re going to do. ”

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In this case, the T3Media team built a relationship with the Department of Defense even before DIMOC existed. When they responded to an open bid, a track record of success paired with the existing connection helped T3Media win the contract. To Lemmons, the deal is game-changing for a couple of reasons. One, it allows his company to work with their home government, which is not only personally relevant but on a larger scale than any previous government work. It also draws T3Media’s client roster out beyond the realm of media and entertainment. But even more than that, Lemmons sees this sort of digital archiving as essential to preserving the world’s modern visual history.

“It’s part of the national cultural heritage, it’s part of the social fabric, it’s part of our [global] archive,” Lemmons said. “The scale of that problem globally is one that I don’t think everybody has come fully to grips with.”

Unlike the Internet, which has only relatively recently become commonplace, video archiving is a problem that has been building for some 70 years. The volume is such that neither man nor machine can handle it alone, so T3Media tag-teams the two.

“You can’t get perfection out of automated metadata but you can’t get scale out of a manual approach,” Lemmons said, “so you use both and get the best of both worlds.”

Metadata, then, is the lifeblood of visual archiving. Without it, Lemmons says, holding onto decades of video content is nothing more than digital hoarding. The numbers alone prove T3Media has the chops when it comes to handling this kind of data load: more than 100,00 registered users, tens of petabytes of data, millions of files and nearly one billion metadata entries. No wonder, then, that the Department of Defense chose this company to maintain its valued historical archive.

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