The Intelligent Content Conference is officially over and a very good time was had by all. Rain is starting to come down here in the Palm Springs desert and the sound is so relaxing. And, man, we all need to relax. It was a very busy conference – chocked full of great information and great networking.

Before I put down my final thoughts, predictions, and community suggestions about the conference, I’d like to thank Ann Rockley for organizing the event and lining up a great group of speakers. I had lunch with Ann today and she told me that in the three years she’s held the ICC, the attendance has been growing and growing.  The first ICC was in 2009 – perfectly timed to coincide with the Great Recession. There were 36 attendees. Last year, she said about 85. And this year, about 150. Those are some big growth numbers. Congratulations, Ann, on a terrific event.

Things I Learned

By far, the best part of the week for me was the networking. I got to meet so many smart, interesting people. I met many people via twitter. Those of us that were tweeting got to know each other online, and then we sought each other out live. People who couldn’t attend the conference told me that they really appreciated everyone’s tweets. That was nice to hear.

Intelligent content is really coming into its own – the tools that we now have at our disposal to make content searchable, reusable, and repurposable are finally here in force.

There have never been more ways to deliver content. And I suspect that there are more ways we’ve never even considered just around the corner.

My Soothsayer Prediction for What’s Next in Intelligent Content

In my opinion, repurposing user generated content is going to be one of the next big frontiers to conquer. More and more content is generated by users. And, therefore, it is not neatly written and tied up with a bow. Harnessing their content for reuse and repurposing is going to be an interesting undertaking.  [I’ve just been informed that Paul Trotter spoke about this very topic and now I’m busted for not attending his session. Sorry, Paul! But we do see eye-to-eye on this one.]

Where We Need To Go

While the presentations and conversations were interesting and compelling, what I found missing from every session I attended (other than the town hall at the end) was serious consideration of global readiness. As is often the case at content development conferences, it seemed as though the check-in and publishing of the English source is the end of the process. Localization was given a slight nod of existence in a couple of presentations. But, no one stood up to talk about how we need to make content intelligent in a global way.

We cannot let content become intelligently silo’d in the development world, which is pretty much still the case at almost every company I know. We need to take that intelligent content, metadata, chunks and all, and bridge it to the folks in the localization and translation silo next door. What works in English does not necessarily work in any other language. And this includes repurposable chunks and tags.

I would like to see a much more holistic approach to content creation and localization – where intelligence is spread from U.S. English to hundreds of languages and cultures. Until those of us developing content stop thinking that the content is finished when we are done with it and start creating content with the rest of the world in mind, the reality of global ready content will continue to allude us.

Val Swisher
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