Canadian DAM technology provider North Plains is rolling out version 17.03 of the Xinet workflow management tool. Version 17.03 includes Xinet Portal 4.03 and Xinet Video 4.4.

The company describes the latest version of Xinet as offering “several interesting new features and expanded functionality intended to make Xinet even more intuitive and easy-to-use,” but of course that is fairly generic marketing-speak in the digital asset management world that can mean just about anything. Xinet 17.03 does provide support for Adobe CS 6 and other file formats (including video file formats), but let’s take a closer look at some of the more noteworthy changes.

New Features Include Core Server, Contextual Menu Upgrades

Updates to the core Xinet server enable Xinet Mac plugins to work with Adobe InDesign CS6 applications and provide support for plugins for Macintosh clients running Mac OS X 10.8. The portal supports Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 and the WebNative Server now runs on Mac OS X 10.7.

The Contextual Menu has also been upgraded (to version 3.0), making it compatible with Safari and Firefox on Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 clients. In addition, the menu will now allow URLs in emails, text documents or file names to reveal or open files on mounted Xinet Volumes. And Video Version 4.4 now supports the raw video, 3GP, 3G2, WebM, DPX, EXR, TS, Red R3D and DGN CAD formats, ingests closed caption information and subtitles and generates video previews and low-res movies of videos more quickly.

In addition, the Linked Files tool now recognizes assets placed within Adobe Photoshop Native files as linked files.

North Plains Builds on Xinet Acquisition

When North Plains acquired Xinet in April 2012, CMSWire pointed out that the “combination of the two sets of products will fill holes in the North Plains functional range.” These holes included a lack of workflow capabilities. North Plains is strengthening Xinet’s capabilities to manage and streamline workflow, which should toss a little more dirt into those unsightly holes.

A Game Changer? Maybe Not

North Plains is establishing some competitive differentiation from fellow mid-market DAM vendors through its acquisition and upgrade of the Xinet platform. But as Forrester researcher Anjali Yakkundi pointed out in a blog post, "The North Plains/Xinet Acquisition: Not a DAM Game-Changer," there are several reasons why the acquisition -- although a good strategic move for North Plains -- would not cause a “loss of sleep” among its competitors.

“Forrester rarely talks to organizations that are looking to implement two different DAM solutions,” stated Yakkundi. “If anything, most hope that existing solutions will handle rich media concerns. But ultimately, North Plains has just bought itself another platform to serve as a repository.”

In addition, although Yakkundi said purchasing Xinet would allow North Plains to “penetrat(e) deeper into the creative world,” she also said this does not represent the future of DAM.

“DAM’s future is as part of the integrated customer experience management (CXM) solution set… This acquisition just makes DAM a bigger silo instead of breaking down the DAM silo.” Yakkundi advised Xinet to pursue partnerships with CXM providers such as WCM, e-Commerce and MRM.