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Attivio Kicks Information Discovery Up a Notch
by
Posted On July 31, 2008


Earlier this year, Attivio, Inc. (www.attivio.com) officially launched its company and introduced version 1.0 of its new unified information access and analysis platform, Active Intelligence Engine (AIE). At that time, it was only available as an embedded product (for embedding in other software applications). (See the NewsBreak at http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=40763.) The company has just introduced Attivio AIE version 1.2, which extends the product to the direct enterprise market and introduces some new advanced features and benefits for all customers. The company says that AIE version 1.2 is "a next-generation information access product that combines business intelligence and enterprise search capabilities to seamlessly integrate structured data and unstructured content into a single index."

Ali Riaz, CEO of Attivio, says, "With AIE version 1.2, we are extremely excited to present a Unified Information Access platform that is truly sophisticated in its capabilities, yet easy to install, manage, and scale. Our clients and partners keep telling us they can now do things they either could not do before or had simply abandoned because previous solutions took too long and were too costly to implement."

AIE combines unstructured content—such as emails, documents, images, and webpages—with structured business data and makes it all searchable. AIE automatically selects, calculates, and displays on-the-fly the most relevant facets with no precomputing or reindexing required. The results can then tell corporate applications and infrastructure to take actions, like offer coupons, ship more supplies, or alert an employee.

With the new version, the company has improved AIE’s performance and scalability. It is now easy to install and configure and offers an enhanced user experience with easier navigation. Version 1.2 also provides fully realized alerting capabilities that can run continuously in real time.

AIE also offers full connectivity and language support with optional modules. It has connectors and document transformers and supports web, database, and document content with hundreds of file formats from many operating systems, platforms, and content management systems. AIE supports more than 50 languages, including most Western, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern languages.

Perhaps the most important feature of AIE 1.2 is its "query-side JOIN" capability. The company has applied for a patent for this special technology. JOIN is a command in the SQL language for relational databases that correlates data from multiple tables. AIE now can extend the JOIN to unstructured content—and it can do this on-the-fly at query time. For example, it can link and correlate information from a product database with content from email, blogs, and documents. Attivio claims that "AIE is the first engine of its kind to realize the simplicity, speed, and fuzziness of search with the precision of SQL."

Sid Probstein, CTO and co-founder of Attivio (formerly vice president of technology at FAST and vice president of engineering at Northern Light), proudly proclaims that "we have a new architecture for search that leapfrogs over the legacy players."

Probstein says the company is getting very good client response, with a number of large customers working on implementations and another six to eight "pretty big deals in the pipeline." He says, "It’s been an amazing experience [at Attivio]. I’ve been at a lot of start-ups. Some had good technology but couldn’t sell to the market. … We’re good at working with our customers."

"Solving the problem of unified access to multiple sources of information in many formats and languages is an urgent problem for enterprises," says Susan Feldman, IDC’s vice president for search and discovery technologies. "Earlier solutions tried to turn content into data or vice versa, but then the context of that information is lost. Far better to invent a new approach that combines the features of search and business intelligence and data warehousing in order to manage, find, merge, analyze, and report on all the information, no matter where it comes from, or what format it is in. By offering a single architecture capable of handling both structured data and unstructured content, Attivio brings this fresh approach to the unified access market. This new development may cause organizations to look differently at how they manage and utilize their data."

One large new customer is piloting AIE internally in the company and then plans to use it in a new embedded go-to-market product. In its early prototype efforts, the company worked with Lucene, but it then decided that using a commercial vendor would reduce its development risk and provide the needed search expertise. A company representative says, "I think the real differentiator is that the [Attivio] team brings great knowledge and passion to the problem and they are developing a platform that will be very easy for developers to embed in diverse applications that cut across all the types of data that exist across the enterprise. The workflow engine is very flexible and the footprint of the product is very resource efficient relative to the incumbent solutions. I think they have a bright future ahead of them. Watch outs, if any, will be making sure they mature the product to meet the quality standards of Tier 1 enterprise vendors. We think they will get there."

eLocal has selected AIE for its forthcoming eLocal Listing local search portal, which will soon be rolling out 1,500-plus sites focused on specific metropolitan areas, for example, Boston.locally.com, Murietta.locally.com, and Atlanta.locally.com. Tim Judd, president of Search Initiatives (http://searchinitiatives.com) and president and CEO of eLocal Listing (www.elocallisting.com), says the sites will be a mix of eLocal listing customers (10,000-plus) and a licensed database of 18-plus million other small businesses. Judd, who once worked for FAST and Lycos, says the company couldn’t afford any of the traditional, very expensive search solutions for the very demanding large scale project, but "Attivio worked with us very creatively. … We’re getting a different technology and a different kind of deal." Later in the year, eLocal plans to add citizen journalism capabilities, thus introducing unstructured user-generated content to the site, which will be searchable with the structured data. "We’ll be setting a new bar in the Yellow Pages space," says Judd.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

Email Paula J. Hane

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Comments Add A Comment
Posted By Peter Thusat8/5/2008 11:47:07 AM

Thunderstone's Texis has a number of characteristics and built-in advantages that differentiate it from other search solutions:

1. A fully integrated SQL database management system (DBMS) that follows the relational database model, Texis is optimized for addressing the inclusion of unlimited quantities of narrative full text. It provides a method for managing and manipulating an organization's shared data, where intelligent text retrieval is harnessed as a qualifying action for selecting the desired information. Texis simultaneously provides full-text, fielded and Boolean searching of both structured and unstructured content.

2. Texis powers real-time applications with zero-latency data insertion, providing immediate search availability of new data without waiting for scheduled index updates. Unlike other search tools, Texis ensures that all information which has been added to any table can be searched immediately -- regardless of whether the table has been indexed and regardless of whether it has been suggested that an index be maintained on that table or not. Sequential table space scans and index-based scans are efficiently managed by Texis so that the database can always be searched in the most optimized manner with the most current information available to the user.

3. Texis enables searchers to sort and group query results by any field(s) in the data. And Texis can quickly sort tens of thousands of hits or more. Other search tools either bog down sorting more than a few hundred items or else their sorting features are much more limited than the capabilities of Texis.

4. Texis allows you to treat the concatenation of any number of text fields as a single “virtual field.” As a single field you can create an index on the fields, search the fields and perform any other operation allowable on a field.

5. Texis has high-performance ability to intelligently query and manage databases containing natural language text, numeric values, standard data types, geographic information, images, video, audio and other payload data. While Texis excels at purposeful manipulation of textual information, it also performs useful mathematical operations on your data. You can construct queries that combine calculated values with text search.

6. Texis lets you create an unlimited number of independent search collections -- each with their own unique data types, fields, attributes or parameters. It also empowers users to submit queries to multiple search engines and/or multiple collections and have the results displayed together or combined.

7. Texis gives developers prototype-friendly customization tools, extreme flexibility, rapid deployments and a feature-rich API. It supports multiple Search User Interfaces that offer specially-defined views of query input and results for different audience types or even for each unique individual. Thunderstone's Texis imposes no user interface requirements. Texis Web Script (Vortex) maintains “neutrality” with regard to whatever HTML markup (or JavaScript or other user interface technology) is employed for the user results presentation.

Texis powers Thunderstone's entire line of enterprise search products, including:

* The Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance, which combines the flexibility and power of TEXIS with the ease of use of an appliance. It provides an easy way to create applications that combine full-text and structured data without programming. Drawing upon Thunderstone's powerful TEXIS technology to deliver more advanced functionality than ever before offered in a plug-and-play
environment, the Thunderstone Parametric Search Appliance provides standard SQL data retrieval and full-text keyword searches combined with a user-selected filter on up to 50 data fields.

* The Webinator, a sophisticated Web indexing and retrieval package built on the Texis platform. It allows Website administrators to create and customize a
high-quality retrieval interface to collections of web documents no matter where they reside.

* The Thunderstone Search Appliance, a plug-and-play device combining the simplicity of a hosted service with the security and performance of a local solution. Built on Thunderstone's advanced TEXIS software, the Appliance can handle more than 1,000 typical queries a minute -- providing excellent value without adding administrative overhead. The Thunderstone Search Appliance
delivers an easy-to-use feature set that especially appeals to the mission-focused requirements of non-technical business people. Whether configured as the Small Business Edition or the Enterprise Edition, a Thunderstone Search Appliance offers an attractive choice of perpetual
licensing options and underlying functionality simply unmatched by any competitor in the marketplace.

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