We’ve been living in a “digital age” long enough to see our entire virtual ecosystem change, compound, and evolve – not just once, but over and over and over again. And it adds up.
A recent study by market intelligence firm IDC estimates that the sum of data generated globally by 2025 will exceed 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes). That’s a lot of ones and zeros, in the form of photos, videos, websites, music, audio files, documents, and so much more. And that number will just keep growing, each and every year.
The digital universe has evolved beyond the fringes of our lives. For many living and working in the modern age, the digital world is our life. We work, play, socialize, date, create, and share in a virtual space. It is our primary place for connection.
And not only for connection, but accumulation. Think about it: our events are captured online, our media is created online, our work projects are stored online. We rely so heavily on the storage of the virtual world to hold our most critical assets, to continually add more and more of them, and to recall them for us whenever we need them.
The IDC estimates that more than two-thirds of digital stored data is not readily searchable or available for access after initial use.
Online data asks the ultimate existential question: if you created a digital asset (be it video, photo, text, document, song, email, or otherwise) but you can’t find it, does it really exist at all?
Sadly, this is not a trick question — as the IDC estimates that more than two-thirds of digital stored data is not readily searchable or available for access after initial use.
Gone in a Flash
Imagine if two-thirds of the books on your shelves — *poof* — simply disappeared, or two-thirds of the photos from a lifetime of summer vacations vanished as soon as you put them away. You’d consider that an unacceptable amount of data loss. And it’s not because the items no longer exist – but simply because you don’t know how to find them again.
And that’s why storage is only half of the conversation. You don’t need something right this instant, so you put it away. But storage is only as good as its retrieval system. Otherwise, what’s the point of storage at all?
New Generation of Organization
There are two major schools of thought when it comes to digital asset management, structure, and retrieval — and these schools fall very squarely along organizational lines.
People who are accustomed to traditional operating systems often follow the folder hierarchy model. You put a file inside a folder, stick that folder into another folder, label it properly, and save it in the right drive. Want to find that file again? All you have to do is connect to the drive, navigate to the folder in a few clicks, and open the file. It’s easy! This group views asset retrieval as a logical path rather than a magic button.
But what about people who never were indoctrinated into files and folders (electronic or physical)? For these generations, the ability to search for something and simply find it is a basic expectation. There is no folder, no subfolder, no drive — the file just exists. Where? It doesn’t matter. It’s somewhere. And how do you find it? The same way you find anything else in the digital world, you search for it.
For the younger group, the question of somewhere wasn’t even relevant. The assets exist, period. You should be able to find anything with a few simple keystrokes.
This divergence has led to a great deal of frustration between college professors and their young students. The students didn’t understand the concept of folder structures because they never had to use them – but professors didn’t understand any other way to talk about it, because navigating to a file stored somewhere made logical sense to them. For the younger group, the question of somewhere wasn’t even relevant. The assets exist, period. You should be able to find anything with a few simple keystrokes.
We’ve all been in the unfortunate situation of interacting with a digital platform where the search functions simply do not work, and few things are more frustrating. Digital giants like Reddit and Slack have worked tirelessly in the past year to improve their search engines, and turn around their negative image as unsearchable platforms. Bad search can quickly kill a user experience, no matter how amazing the rest of the tool may be.
Just find it
For Shift, finding the media assets you are looking for is one of the most important tasks a video team needs to tackle, and we take it seriously. Our professional cloud platform is designed with robust tools and settings that give you total control over the search process, ensuring that it’s effortless for your users – wherever on the search spectrum they may fall.
For folder navigators
Are you more of a traditional thinker? Manage and organize your assets with ease within our standard Projects and Folders, where everything you are looking for is exactly where you left it. The project tree gives a visual representation of your organizational structure in one simple place, and allows you to move or copy individual assets or entire folders into new locations using basic drag-and-drop controls.
For freeform finders
The latest updates in Shift now streamline the search process even further to fulfill any query, with just a few keystrokes:
- The search bar defaults to “Starts With” queries, to better deliver the files you are looking for.
- Looking for something else? You can easily change this option to “Contains”, “Ends With”, or “Exact Match”
- When searching for tags, toggle between “matches all” to see a specific set of criteria or “matches any” for a broader search field
- Multi-select search parameters using an easy check-box list, or select “only” to hone in on one field
- Toggle between “is” and “is not” queries to narrow your focus, for example “is in Project A” or “was not uploaded by Bob”
We've seen that search functions optimally when it's an extension of the way people intuitively think and communicate, and have built our tools to make that process as streamlined as possible.
We've seen that search functions optimally when it's an extension of the way people intuitively think and communicate, and have built our tools to make that process as streamlined as possible. Working on video projects with other collaborators in your group? Shift is the all-in-one place to not only manage your important content, but also keep it secure, share it with your collaborators, and of course easily find all the assets you need without any hassle.
Keep them close
In this ever more complex digital world, don’t risk losing track of two-thirds of your important assets – especially if those are the foundation of your business, as it is for our customers. Whether you navigate to them logically, or find them intuitively, it’s time to embrace better searches as the next phase of digital organization.
Interested in giving our asset storage and search features a try? Sign up for a free 14-day trial of Shift today!