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Entopia Launches Company, New Productivity Tool for Enterprise Knowledge Workers
Posted On October 29, 2001
Entopia, Inc. (, a new software company based in California's Silicon Valley, has officially announced its launch and that it has secured $19 million in funding from Vivendi Universal and other investors. In addition, Entopia has unveiled Quantum 1.3, its enterprise software solution designed to improve organizational productivity. Quantum 1.3 is currently being exhibited at KMWorld 2001 (, being held October 29-November 1 at the Santa Clara (California) Convention Center.

While this might seem to be a tough time to launch a new company, Entopia is not a newbie start-up. Entopia actually began in 1999 when entrepreneur and current Entopia chairman Kamran Elahian joined forces with Lionel Baraban, now president and CEO of Entopia. They wanted to start a company that would find a way to capture and collect electronic data so that those engaged in research could manage information more effectively. The company, then called KangarooNet, developed a consumer product called SmartPouch, which enabled users to jump from document to document and application to application, while putting pieces of information in a "pouch" to create a type of personal database. Baraban said the organization has shipped over a million copies of SmartPouch and that the product was very popular with academics who track research projects. But, he notes, the company always had a vision to develop the product for enterprise use.

Now, with its Quantum product ready for rollout, the time was right for them to relaunch the company with a new name more suited to its expanded capabilities and enterprise market. Entopia, by the way, takes its name from the Greek words "entopizo" (meaning to locate or bring to light) and "outopia" (meaning utopia, an ideal state).

Quantum is designed to provide the benefits of personal productivity tools with advanced knowledge management (KM) capabilities. Baraban noted that traditional knowledge management solutions fail to effectively capture some types of knowledge, such as disconnected information or tacit knowledge. In addition, most KM products have high costs for rollout and support, usually have low end-user participation, and often don't address privacy issues. According to Baraban, Quantum overcomes all these problems and offers a tool that increases both individual and organizational productivity.

"Traditional knowledge management solutions have failed because they only address very general corporate information needs and force employees to change their unique work patterns," said Baraban. "By focusing on the individual worker and empowering them with the tools they need to shorten research time, reduce work duplication, and boost productivity, Entopia overcomes many of the hurdles—most notably the lack of end-user participation—faced by traditional knowledge management companies."

Quantum 1.3 is built on the following three feature modules:

• Quantum Collect helps users gather, organize, and enrich information from almost any digital source utilizing either a desktop or Web browser-based client. Users can capture and extract information from any document (.doc, .xls, .ppt, .txt, .pdf, e-mail, or HTML) with formatting and graphics intact. They can highlight and grab as much or as little from a document or Web page as desired. For a Web page, the client can capture all layers of information, both static and dynamic, including active links and scripts. As users save information in a Quantum or "Q"-File, Quantum Collect utilizes a "neural network semantic engine" to create automatic titles and summaries and classification of the information. Users can also add their own highlighting, editing, or notes.

• Quantum Collaborate enables users to easily share information and collaborate with each other and their workgroups. They can choose to store information either locally or on the server and in either private or public folders, and they can specify access controls and privacy levels. Quantum Collaborate also allows users to conduct threaded discussions, as well as share text and voice notes, highlighting, and linking.

• Quantum Capitalize lets enterprise users leverage the intellectual capital they have collected. It utilizes Knowledge Locator, Entopia's proprietary semantic search engine, to help enterprise users search for documents, experts within the organization, and sources. A feature called "Locate Related" lets users highlight text in any document to find semantically related content, experts, and sources of information.

The company is working to permit the integration of Quantum 1.3 with third-party applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales force automation, content management systems (like Documentum), and enterprise portal systems. Entopia hopes its product will provide the "perfect place" for locating enterprise information. Pricing for Quantum 1.3 is based on a client/server model and begins at $160 for the client and $17,000 for the server software.

According to Baraban, the company will no longer pursue development of the consumer SmartPouch product. It's still available, however, through Entopia's distribution partner NEC, which ships the software with its PCs.

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.

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