Top 5 Highlights in Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) 6.5

Mark de Vos

by Mark de Vos

As with every release of Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), expectations for the latest release of AEM 6.5 have been high here at Luxus. We've been looking forward to new features that will empower us to help customers in even better ways. So now that we've finally got our hands on it, let's explore five enhancements and features that deliver some amazing new value.

 Adobe Experience Manager - AEM-6.5 - 5 highlights

Highlights from the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) 6.5 release:

Before we get stuck in, here's a quick run-down of the four main areas Adobe has focused on in AEM 6.5:

  • Content velocity: Content velocity reflects marketeers' need to keep pace with increased expectations to deliver more personalized and journey-adapted content. 
  • Fluid experiences: This goes hand-in-hand with content velocity and is Adobe's way of describing the process of combining profile data with content to create experiences that just feel right and have higher conversion rates. 
  • Experience intelligence: This area focuses mainly on asset management, and how we apply Artificial Intelligence to improve user experience. 
  • Cloud agility: The cloud is an integral part of AEM, and Adobe has been improving performance on several fronts to make IT work more closely with marketing and business.

The five features I've picked out don't necessarily cover all of these areas, but they're an important starting point to get under the skin of this release and understanding the future focus of AEM sites.

With 1345 enhancements, fixes and features included in AEM 6.5, there was no shortage of things to chose from. Here are the five highlights that we at Luxus are most excited about.

1. Single Page Application editor

The most anticipated new feature of AEM 6.5 is most definitely the SPA support. If that's not already ringing celebration bells for you, here's a bit of context. 

SPA stands for single page application. These are JavaScript technologies like Angular and React that load all a page's content in one go, making for a faster and smoother user experience. However, this advantage was eroded by the fact that, to use them, marketeers needed developer time to update the content. Hence content velocity would decrease painfully.

The big change in 6.5 is that AEM now automatically recognizes the content in a SPA. This allowing marketeers and content editors to edit the application content in their familiar AEM user interface. This lets them work on what they are good at and - with no developer time needed - maintain the content velocity required nowadays.

2. Connected Remote Assets Servers

Enterprise assets are generally not organized by a site, and hardly ever stored in one folder. This makes moving them to the same DAM so they can be used a time-consuming, operations heavy process. It also tends to promote an inefficient, dispersed asset structure with many duplicates.

This new feature allows your site's environment to search, retrieve and display assets from remote asset servers. This eliminates the risk of duplication and gives you one view of all your assets, even though they're technically dispersed.

A classic example is where the DAM for the public website was on one instance but then have a separate one for the intranet. This new feature really improves asset management for enterprises dealing with separate asset servers.

3. Smart Video Crop

With the bandwidth increasing every year, dynamic media is on the rise. Video in particular has high customer engagement ratios, so any enhancements in this area are very welcome indeed.

This feature is best explained by the GIF below. It’s easy to understand what the purpose is, keeping the point of interest in focus.

Smart crop video in AEM

Marketeers often had to battle with these kinds of videos, making different versions and figuring out the device orientation of users. For example, this GIF  would work better in a landscape device orientation.

AEM 6.5's smart video cropping automatically re-crops the video with the point of interest in focus via the Adobe Sensei AI capabilities. You could see this as the next evolution after video’s recognizing your internet bandwidth and adjusting the quality. This feature now automatically recognizes the device orientation making for better experiences.

Other really useful video enhancements in AEM 6.5 are automatic tag suggestions  based on video content and the best frame selection for the perfect thumbnail recommendation.

4. Headless CMS support improvements

Even before AEM 6.5 was released, you could see Adobe heading into the headless solution direction. Content fragments were a first step, but now the big advance is here. The HTTP API is now standard in AEM itself where before developers had to develop an API themselves.

AEM hybrid CMS solution

As you can see in the image above, this makes AEM with content fragments a full headless solution (technically it’s a hybrid CMS, check our Headless CMS article if you want to learn more). This solution allows AEM to distribute content to the wide range of channels available today.

5. Content fragment comparison tool

Following the headless CMS focus, there are improvements to the content fragments as well. A feature that makes editors a lot more efficient is the comparison tool. This allows authors to compare content and edits next to each other, a very powerful visual improvement. As you can see in the image below, it’s very easy with the side-by-side view to compare and check for differences.

AEM text comparison tool

Those are the big five features for us, but AEM 6.5 has lots more interesting stuff to offer:

  • Ability to search on an image itself, letting Adobe Sensei search for similar assets. Similar to searching images on the internet via google image using an image instead of text.
  • Automatic scaling when there is high user traffic, ensuring the user experience remains fluid and not impacted by operational limitations.
  • Something to keep in sight for the coming years is the integration with Magento eCommerce functionality. After acquiring Magento last year, Adobe is now rolling out the first integrations.

Want to learn more about AEM 6.5 and how it could benefit your organization? Considering upgrading ? Our consultants are here to help. Contact us.