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.