eClectic for Artivia

Brian McCallion Case Study, Internet of Things

About

Artivia, LLC began by building a simple application to manage the works. A prolific painter and sculptor the and ancestor of the family left behind a considerable body of work, and over time grew to fame, his works frequently appearing at Sotheby’s and Christies. Unable to find a suitable commercial application, as most were designed for large institutions, he family decided to develop its own application to manage works of art. The application is used to build, update, and manage the Catalog Raisonné and Provenance, and to track essential details necessary to loan works for exhibit, and manage the details associated with each work. As the world became more digital the family found more and more interest in the application, as most commercial applications focused on the needs of institutions, rather than individual collectors.

Challenge

The existing application is written as a desktop application that connects to a back-end database that contains the images and details about the work. Artivia, LLC would like to migrate the application to a web platform, however they have time and budget constraints. Artivia would like to highlight the value of their application and to highlight the way in which a personal art collection management application adds value to individual collectors. The existing desktop interface can be complex, and requires the user to be at his or her desk, when often the user is in a gallery, a storage site, or is presenting to a small group.

As observed by Dr. Suman Deb Roy, Lead Data Scientist at BetaWorks, in his excellent post Building the Phonic Web, “audio is extremely suitable for multitasking.” The traditional approach of assigning a person to build one to one relationships with buyers doesn’t scale. Firms such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s observed in Spring of 2014, a quarter of all auction sales were made to first-time art buyers. The initial version of Artivia’s Eclectic needed to establish a new way to enable collectors to engage with their works, and to create feeds of information from their own catalogs. This first iteration of the product focuses on making it easy for collectors to interact with the information they have, and to provide a foundation on which to build a robust, IoT foundation for ingesting and sharing signals and data associated with their passion for collecting.

Solution

To highlight the value of Artivia’s innovation of focusing on the art collector and their passion for colleciting, Bronze Drum worked with ArtiVia to migrate a subset of data to AWS DynamoDB, and migrated images of the works to Amazon S3. As the family keeps the works and related information private, the application requires users to authenticate using Alexa Account Linking. The fact that IAM enables control at the table, item, and attribute level provides fine grained control, and in future enhancements the solution will allow users to selectively share works, and attributes with other users. In a future release AWS KMS will be used to encrypt data in certain attributes of items stored in the DynamoDB tables. As a result of migrating data and creating a new voice interface using the Alexa Skill SDK the information carefully curated could now be accessed quickly and easily, and user engagement could be measured and optimized.

The interface enables uses to ask “Where is {work.title} and learn the location of a work, its status, and any workflows associated, such as “cleaning,” “appraising,” “condition report pending.” Another example of an Intent is to List Collections. “eClectic” tell me about ${work.title} causes Alexa to read the highlights from what will eventually become graph that is the Catalog Raisonné.

Results and Benefits

Having written the application several times on different platforms, including Omnis 7, Acius 4D, and .NET the original developer wanted to expand the functionality. Bronze Drum’s expertise enabled simple migration of data to AWS DynamoDB. The application performance also improved dramatically, as the desktop version stored images in the SQL Server database, after causing long pauses.  Keeping the solution simple enabled a focused and noticeable improvement in the application. When the application was used to present works, or to locate information via voice, it brought a modern shine to a critical business application, and enabled browsing and questions, and to perform tasks that formerly required navigating a great number of different application screens.

While the Echo / Alexa provides a voice interface, a benefit of building using the Alexa SDK was that it also enabled a simple “Card” interface, and works and data too detailed to speak, could be displayed on a tv screen when combined with FireTV. As a result, virtually any screen can readily display works and detailed information on screen, then enabled access to this data via the Amazon Alexa interface.

Product Roadmap

While considering the work to manage the data, Bronze Drum and Artivia discovered the Getty Research Institute “Getty Vocabularies” presented as Linked Open Data. Introducing AWS API Gateway as a Proxy to the Getty Vocabularies and other data sources may accelerate the ability of the firm to enrich the data set, and enrich the existing data. A vision for the next generation version of E-Clectic is as a web application that enables selective sharing of works and information, as well as simplified management of the catalog and history of information. A key question is the acquisition of works remains authenticity, and the firm is considering the option of a Block Chain Provenance to secure the history of works. The firm would also like to identify a way to RFID tag works in such a way that they can be discovered and cataloged within a location.