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Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Gerard A.

Gerard A. Ging Visual Using Images Enhance Productivity Decision Making and Profits - Wiley publishing , 2005. - 257 p.
ISBN 0-471-71025-3
Download (direct link): visualusingimagestoenha2005.pdf
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If you were to canvass a typical office today, except in certain image-centric professions, you would find that very few people carry a camera of any kind. While we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, most businesspeople still laboriously type thousands
of words to express an idea instead of taking and sending a picture. If an executive were contemplating renting a billboard location, would he or she not be better off considering this shot over a written description?
If a maintenance department needed to specially configure a truck to its specifications, wouldn’t images like these speak far better than words ever could?
Isn’t something as simple as reporting a broken piece of furniture better done with an image such as this one than through a verbal description of the problem?
Most of us in today’s workforce have grown up believing that using photographs and video in our own communications is either too difficult, too expensive, or beyond our abilities. We, as a society, are just now awakening to the tremendous power to communicate visually that the past 20 years of imaging, computer, and telecommunication technologies, combined with the worldwide information network, have brought to our homes and businesses.
For the past 15 years we have consulted with many of the foremost leaders in business, technology, education, and the arts on the potential of imaging technology to fundamentally improve communication. The scientists, technologists, educators, businesspeople, and artists we have met all have a similar passion for the new power of images. We did one memorable and enlightening interview with Peter Guglielmino, chief technology officer of IBM’s Digital Media Division, who put the concepts of Going Visual in the context of a sixteenth-century classical music concert.
“Video and images portray information above and beyond what’s captured by text,” Guglielmino said. “The semantics of what’s happening during a conversation or a presentation are captured differently when you do it with video or images than when someone’s just
taking notes. Think about a Bach concert in 1500, when he was performing himself. . . . Now, 500 years later, we have access to the information of that concert, faithfully recorded as the notes of a score, but we don’t have any record of the event itself. We’ve lost all the semantics that describe what it sounded like, what the interchange was between the different sections of the orchestra, how the audience reacted—in brief, the whole scene. This is completely applicable to events today. If you just record them textually, you’re missing a tremendous amount of information.”
Guglielmino’s observations speak to the inherent limitations of language as a description tool. Beyond simply our own inabilities to produce detailed and accurate descriptions, the challenges are numerous. Think about the problems that can occur in the simplest of scenarios, one person communicating with another who is in a different location or time:
• Describing something accurately can often require the use of specialized vocabulary—whether through a musical instrument, a tool, a part, a plant, or an article of clothing. If either party doesn’t comprehend that vocabulary, the communication can turn into miscommunication. The wrong tool, the wrong part, leading to frustration, wasted time, and wasted money.
•In a global business environment, language differences can play a huge role in creating miscommunication. In Guglielmino’s example, the language was sixteenth-century German. A descriptive image cuts through language barriers and provides a form of information that needs little or no translation.
• Different people observe different things about the very same scene based on their culture, their age, their personality, and their interests. A Bach concert would be viewed in very different ways by a musician, an architect, and a clothing designer. An image
allows the creator to show more detail than can be accurately described in text or speech, while giving viewers the opportunity to focus on details in the picture that suit their purposes.
• Images provide an information-rich visual record of people, places, and things at a specific moment in time. Historians viewing an image of the Bach concert would find a wealth of information from which to draw. What may seem unimportant today, and therefore may not be recorded in a written description, can turn out to be crucially important later on. Images recording the daily progress of projects can prove to be valuable assets in tracking and evaluating business processes to help resolve disputes. A visual history can be as profoundly important to a business as images are to a newspaper’s archive.
When viewed from the perspective of the daily text-only communications that flow through any business, loss of information detail occurs at every retelling—the risks of erroneous, unclear communication—and the potential consequences grow exponentially. Images transcend these issues because they are a global language, with an infinite vocabulary that is familiar to everyone.
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