What is Content as a Service, and How Are Enterprise Brands Leveraging It?
Feb 18, 2020
By: Stefan Schinkel
Content production and consumption used to be fairly one dimensional. You produced a website, a blog, and perhaps a mobile application, and consumers accessed that content through a handful of devices.
Today, with new devices and touchpoints emerging in various forms, content production must evolve—because if one thing is for sure, consumers now expect to consume content in new and exciting ways.
The solution? Content as a Service.
What is Content as a Service? (CaaS)
Content as a service (CaaS) is defined as a web-based method for the authoring, storing, managing and delivering of content, all via a central system. It is built on top of a headless architecture, which allows for content to be delivered via API to different applications, devices, and channels.
CaaS is essentially synonymous with a headless CMS, which allows you to produce content centrally for consumption by different applications.
Content as a Service Enterprise Use Cases
Some use cases favor employing a CaaS model over a traditional content management system. For instance, when site owners need to deploy content across multiple channels, including smartphone apps, websites, and social media platforms, a CaaS system can deliver the content to all these channels at once, removing the need for a separate CMS for each channel. A CaaS system also offers additional flexibility in delivering an array of user experiences across multiple channels.
But the applications for CaaS go beyond delivering the types of content seen on web-based mediums. Several companies are employing emerging technologies to deliver content, including immersive technologies like voice speakers, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).
The Internet of Things (IoT), in which devices ranging from automobiles to refrigerators can send and receive data, has become a fertile ground for companies seeking to expand the use of CaaS platforms.
Below, we take a look at several organizations leveraging CaaS.
HEI Hotels and Resorts
HEI is a hotel investment group with properties including Marriott, Hilton, Doubletree, and Westin hotels throughout the United States. At one point, HEI was acquiring up to ten new properties each year and needed a way to manage their content.
HEI utilized a CaaS solution to help them manage multiple types and sources of training content. This included compliance documentation and training requirements for each of HEI’s hotel brands. This set up helped HEI manage their resources more effectively without having to deploy any addition IT resources. All of their content types are being efficiently served to their 5,000 employed located across 15 states.
Marriott Hotels has also adopted CaaS as part of their overall business plan. In 2015, the hotel chain launched what it called “VRoom Service”: a virtual reality travel experience which lets hotel guests use Samsung Gear VR headsets to view exotic travel vistas. Their CaaS system delivers 360-degree views of scenic destinations to the VR equipment, allowing users to immerse themselves in “VR Postcards” ranging from the streets of Beijing to the Andes mountains.
Home Box Office
Another company exploring CaaS and VR is the premium cable channel Home Box Office (HBO). In 2014, the channel behind the hit show “Game of Thrones” brought an exhibit based on the show to the multimedia festival South by Southwest. Visitors who came to the exhibition used an Oculus Rift VR headset to experience the show’s “Castle Black” location. The experience blended images from the show with 3D graphics, sound effects, and even air jets to simulate the cold environment of The Wall.
Jaguar Range Rover
While some companies have been utilizing CaaS solutions for VR experiences, other have that found that you don’t need elaborate headsets to provide visitors with an immersive experience via CaaS.
In 2017, Jaguar Motors, the makers of the Range Rover sport utility vehicles, launched a banner ad campaign that allowed visitors to experience their vehicles from the inside. This AR effect appears on a user’s Android smartphone or Google Chrome or Firefox desktop browser after the user clicks on the banner ad. From there, users can explore the interior of the Range Rover Velar SUV through their browser or smartphone.
CaaS can also be used for more than entertainment or product demonstrations. In 2016, Rolls-Royce unveiled its plans for a land-based control center in which a small crew could monitor unmanned shipping vessels from all over the globe. The project would expand on the company’s “operator experience” (oX) concept that, much like the user experience for visitors to a traditional website or app, would allow for different operators of remote-controlled vessels to have a better understanding of how to navigate shipping lanes from shore.
Technologies such as CaaS and VR have also found their way into the halls of high finance. Banking giant Citi partnered with VR developer 8Ninths to develop a holographic display system that could monitor financial markets. The HoloLens system lets Citi traders see both 2D and 3D representations of financial activity. The 3D models resemble colored balls, with each color representing a type of asset. The balls get bigger as trading activity increases, with near-term assets situated closer to the viewer.
One of the biggest arena for CaaS and IoT is the smart speaker market. Applications like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home, and Apple’s Siri have led the charge for voice-activated online access. One institution that has applied this technology to a large extent is Pennsylvania-based Gettysburg College, a client of dotCMS, an open source Java CMS.
The four-year liberal arts college has found ways to use Alexa Skills to provide its students, staff, and faculty the details on the lunch menu, the latest news, and the staff directory.
According to Rod Tosten, VP of Information Technology at Gettysburg College, the success the school has found in using Alexa comes down to four components: the content and its format, the conversational flow between the user and Alexa, the presentation of the content, and the implementation strategy.
“We need to think of content as a service that’s going to be used by different devices,” said Tosten. “The device will have to go out and get content, present it to us, and go back and forth,” he continued.
The Future of CaaS
CaaS is already being used to deliver personalized content to users, delivering content to multiple channels, and tracking the performance of content across those channels. The biggest challenge facing firms who incorporate CaaS into their content delivery strategies may not be one of keeping up with changes technology, but of keeping up with changes in how customers prefer to consume their content.
At dotCMS, our ‘Content as Infrastructure’ philosophy helps enterprises adopt Content as a Service to fuel their IoT marketing and omnichannel customer experience strategies. We don’t just give developers RESTful API access to content, we provide access to templates, layouts, modules, pages, and workflows, allowing marketers and developers to work together to deliver engaging customers experiences.
Additionally, dotCMS streamlines the transition to CaaS with:
- Content Modeling: It all starts with the content model. Our drag-n-drop UI allows you to quickly build rich content with all types - text, location, dates, media, rich text editor, snippets, relationships and more.
- JSON Data: Marketers and business users can create and manage layouts and templates in a full editorial environment and deliver as JSON to any device or application.
- Presentation Layer: New devices and touchpoints are emerging all the time our content as infrastructure allows you to be ready for whatever comes next.