its features and future
By Anis Zuberi
Jul 10 - 16, 2000
The term "Multimedia" is widely used buzzwords in recent
years. Its first incarnations were born more of marketing hype than of technology. In the
nineties, however the true promise of multimedia gradually crystallized itself into the
hi-Tec applications. It is unquestionably the hottest area of the computing industry both
in capability and technology advances.
Today's computers and multimedia tools are truly redefining the nature
of computing, communication, education and entertainment. These serve as most effective
tools to instill "effectiveness" in the "communication" and as a
catalyst to develop "creativity". Multimedia provides the potential for
mastering both these capabilities and applies them with tremendous advantage
whatever be the field of the user namely: commerce, trade, industry marketing, sales
promotion, advertising, show biz, presentation, education or even entertainment.
Wherever there is human interaction, a communication takes place. There
are a number of medium of communication. Mutes communicate using sign-lingo. Even
non-humans like pets try to communicate with humans, albeit in a crude way. They
communicate among themselves through familiar sound effects for different situations
warning of danger, engaging the enemy, giving a call for the family to be together,
migrating to greener pastures or forming pairs and flocks.
There is always an object behind every communication. Its result
the object in mind being a certain reaction, behaviour or decision by the recipient
(target audience) of the communication depends on how effectively it is made.
Multimedia tools come in handy for making the communication come alive
by integrating the text with graphics, audio, video, and interactive computing. As a
matter of fact "Multimedia is not about technology, but about effective
In the computer field, the most significant event is the marriage of
television's communicative powers with the information storage and access abilities of the
computer. The best way to understand this genre as a whole is to look at it from a variety
of perspectives and criteria including media, people, applications and orientation.
In the mid-1980s the low-cost desktop computers began to find their way
into business offices in our country. These were largely used for business tasks such as
databases, spreadsheets, word-processing and accounting. Later on the computer became the
controller for traditional analog media devices such as printers, slide projectors, video
editors and music synthesizers. As technology advanced, many of these devices became
digital in other words 'dedicated computers' in nature. The evolution process
transformed graphic and prints industries as well as the video and audio industry.
Given the proper software, input and output devices, the computer on
our desks became capable of handling many of the tasks previously handled by 'dedicated'
media tools. Medium to high-resolution graphics became easy to employ and many users
embraced internal sound. Overlaying graphics on an external video signal became
inexpensive. Software tools for integrating and compressing these media components
evolved. Navigating and interactivity peaked the multimedia features.
As the most demanding medium video began finding its way
directly into the computers, the final barriers to complete media integration began to
crumble. Further enabled by compression software (which considerably reduce the storage
area on computer files) the reduction in components size and mass storage and handling
capabilities of today's hard drives and CD-ROMs, multimedia today is a practical tool.
BENEFITS OF MULTIMEDIA
The primary benefit of multimedia is the combination of several
traditional media. Text offers clarity and self-pacing. The spoken word is backed by
illustration. Graphics provide visualization and communication style. Music adds mood and
melody. Video captures the real-life events. Computers serve as storehouse of vast and
easily accessible information. Various graphics software is employed to create
high-resolution color and light effects. 2-D and 3-D animation etc.
The digital nature of multimedia benefits a great deal. Digital
information suffers no generation loss when transmitted or replicated. Back-up copies of
media are simple to create. Manipulation and editing can be performed without altering the
original. Powerful manipulation once requiring expensive hardware can be performed with
software alone on digital content.
RANDON ACCESS AND INTERACTIVITY
A considerable amount of valuable creative time can be saved by
instantaneously locating a required point or position in any programme length or file
content only if the segments are properly indexed and linked. This feature of random
access is the single most important benefit of digital media.
Likewise interactivity random access in the hands of the user,
presenter or viewer is a highly valuable tool. interactivity in a presentation for
example provides the ability to instantly review points in response to audience questions.
In training it repeats and coaches in areas of difficulty during testing. In productions
such as electronic catalogs, interactivity allows the user to directly access the exact
While technology is not a substitute for talent, the greatest myth
surrounding Multimedia is that the average individual will create multimedia production
single-handedly. It may be true of basic presentations but the more ambitious projects
typically require the skills of more than one individual. That means a demand for
multimedia specialists and career options.
The ultimate method of explaining 'multimedia' is by its applications.
The major categories for multimedia are 1. Business, 2. Communication, 3. Education, 4.
Entertainment and 5. Government agencies particularly defence services. Each of these has
sub- categories of applications.
Presentations are currently the single largest application for
multimedia in business. The business-houses, companies and manufacturers always have a
message to communicate whether it is to customers, distributors, trading partners,
shareholders, staff members or through media to the public at large. The rapid pace of
today's business world lays higher demands on communication power. Powerful presentation
software in the form of multimedia is being made available by the multimedia industry. The
professionals and business managers are also creating modified or adapted versions to suit
their presentation needs.
The computer-controlled presentations have rendered slide shows or
transparency projected presentations outdated. The reasons being mainly, the impact and
inspiration that multimedia projector presentation creates plus malleability and cost
savings. Presentation software facilitates reshaping a presentation for a different group
of audience. A simple change of master template can alter the overall background, font,
color effects or animated figures and images to suit the taste of different audiences,
keeping in view gender, age or ethnic background, while retaining the same message.
Multimedia makes trade-show Exhibits much more attractive than the
normal audio or video productions. Computer-based productions are more flexible than
video. Interactivity creates audience interest.
To attract attention of the visiting public, kiosk which are basically
inter-active multimedia computers, have been successfully used at trade shows,
departmental stores or seasonal markets. Kiosks present an attrator beep and invites a
bystander to ask more information. The inquirer is given navigation options matching the
areas of his interest.
There is no rule that multimedia would always be interactive. The
result can be delivered on videotape. Digital video editing and multimedia production
packages can make video production more cost-effective, and relatively easy edits and
modifications before creating video for the masses.
The technologies associated with multimedia bring new power to business
computing. CD-ROM, graphics audio and video all have powerful uses when integrated with
traditional business reporting and information update systems.
Multimedia databases can be used to keep track of business commodities.
In multinationals and large business or industry set-ups, employee data bases may be used
for better human resource management, annuity funding and health coverage plans. Similarly
employee credentials could be matched with tasks and new openings internally.
Service and technical support, purchasing and indenting functions can
greatly benefit from the viewing feature of the exact materials and objects contained in
the multimedia information storage system.
Doctors can locate and view x-rays, ultrasound and scanned pictures and
unusual medical procedures instantly in both normal and emergency situations.
Government agencies can search, compare and transmit photos,
In the US some real-estate agents employ multiple listing service (MLS)
to match the properties with buyers 'or leases' needs.
The travel bookings by the Airlines can be lot more expeditious through
multimedia to help passengers visualize destinations, time and boarding and lodging plans.
In general any commodity with a vast number of options and searchable
criteria is a candidate for multimedia data base organization.
It is a plain fact of today's life that practical usage of computers in
the economic, social and personal affairs of any ambitious person young and aged
alike is going to be extensive and ever-increasing. No career paths could be drawn
ignoring information highway. Internet provides access to the latest developments and
research in almost every segment of human knowledge and its applications in daily life.
E-commerce and now E-shopping is changing the business patterns. Training and education is
assuming new dimensions. Entertainment has evolved into edutainment. Web designing is
creating a lot of interest among our young people.
ARENA offers extensive multimedia education. And a wide range of
courses is available leading to various career options. Arena brochure gives detailed
information. If any points need further explanation, please feel free to discuss these
with the Student Counselors. For the best possible selection of training courses, please
visit Arena Campus at Schnook Circle, Shaheen Centre, Clifton.
We assure you that you are going to benefit from these coursesmore than
from any others available. You would be the pioneer in multimedia and would earn a world
recognised certificate with a potential of lucrative employment.