Will Grant

User Experience Consultant & Author with over 20 years experience delivering powerful web & mobile products that have reached over a billion users.

Idea dump #4

From time to time I come up with ideas which, for whatever reason, I can’t work on right now.

Rather than jealously guarding these ideas, I’m going to post them here in regular bursts, in case someone out there wants to run with them.

Most importantly, sharing your ideas triggers something unexpected: it forces you to come up with new ones.



Media-Agnostic Content Engine (MACE)

‘MACE’ would be a new kind of content management system (CMS), or rather a CMS framework, that doesn’t care what kind of content a user throws at it - or what kind of device is requesting it. It would load content from its database, recognise the kind of content (video, image, a product in a store, a location, etc) and re-purpose it on the fly for the device in question (caching popular versions for future use). Open source contributors could add plugins or modules which would allow MACE to deal with new content types and new presentation devices.

With this approach it would be possible to install one CMS and use it to manage video, text, blog posts, products, 360° product images, and so on - across the enterprise from one central web control panel. Furthermore, the system would auto-detect clients and serve an appropriate version of the content to desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, etc.

Heavy use of in-RAM caching at the server side could make MACE perform as well as any other CMS as popular ‘reversions’ of content would be kept in memory and addressed with a simple key/value store approach.


Outdoor AdWords

A mesh network of screen media devices connected to an online ‘bid for time’ auction platform.

Companies could bid for display time, add a location, upload their ad content and it would be published and displayed in the real world at roadsides, subway stations, in the street, and so on.

This could open up display advertising to smaller players who couldn’t normally afford the large cost and lengthy bookings of billboard campaigns.

A secondary bidding strategy, similar to Amazon’s ‘spot instances’ would allow more price-conscious advertisers (likely small businesses) to bid on un-used display time and have their ads displayed for as long as the demand remains below their bid price.