Controlled/Uncontrolled Operating Environment
The figure below illustrates, with specific examples, environments that an eContent system can and cannot control. These OEs may be conceptually classified as controlled operating environments (“COE”) – those within which publisher-created software will present and manage the content, and uncontrolled operating environments (“UOE”) – those which will present and manage the content themselves.
The personal computers represented in the green box in the figure are fully controllable – whether within an application or a web browser. The system controls every aspect of accessing content from what is displayed and how to the degree of encryption/DRM.
The devices listed in blue remain controllable – to a point. Their browser systems allow full control of anything that can be presented in a web browser. Further, their operating systems are designed to basically let an application do almost anything it wants or would be necessary for the eContent system. However their application environment – how the end user gets those applications, is controlled by the company (Apple, Google, RIM, etc). The degree to which the company chooses to allow behavior within an application – and what is charged for that capability – is something that can change at any time. So, the system can control the device, but the price is variable. The decision between browser and application on these devices comes down to DRM and price. As such, VML recommends supporting contentment deliver, where allowed, in the browser first – then through an application. This is more fully discussed below.
The devices in the orange block are uncontrollable - they are presented with content, usually via a single file download (such as an ePub or PDF). They support only the DRM designed into the device (or no DRM), which may be accessible to the system (Adobe ACS4 for Nook and Sony eReader) or not (Mobipocket on Amazon Kindle). The system handles these by simply provisioning the device, where allowed and possible.
VisualML interacts with each of these environments in differing ways. For example, whether a particular content object, such as a book, may be displayed in a particular environment, depending on such constraints as Digital Rights Management (DRM), ability to capture data pertaining to usage (bookmarks, annotations, usage data such as pages read), and rights to deploy in a particular territory to a particular user on a particular device.
See also our post on Devices and DRM