Search-Based Applications: What’s in it for e-biz?

By Morgan
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For those of you who are unfamiliar with search-based applications, I thought it would be helpful to provide a concrete example, in this case, an online SBA and an iPhone application based on that SBA.

While enterprise SBAs are often used to provide database-style information access and reporting – without the usability and performance constraints of direct database access – online and mobile SBAs often ‘ mash-up’ unstructured and structured content to create a pertinent and engaging experience for consumers.

First, the online SBA. It is a restaurant directory proof-of-concept that mashes up source data including database content (restaurant listings in the directory database), Web content (photos, details like opening hours, prices, menus, payment options, etc.), and user-generated content (opinions, ratings, reviews, blogs, etc., also culled from the Web), with sentiment analysis applied on the aggregated content. It also incorporates geospatial data for mapping. The result is an ultra-rich directory that synthesizes a massive amount of information into a coherent, at-a-glance consumer dashboard.

And this dashboard evolves in real-time.

Restminer

Based on this POC, we developed an iPhone SBA for Yellow Pages Group Canada called Urbanizer. Urbanizer leverages the same sources as Restminer (YPG Database + Web & UGC content + Sentiment Analysis + Mapping), with one significant addition: Social Networking. The result is the industry’s first Mood-Based Local Search application.Urbanizer

Urbanizer combines search, sentiment analysis and social networking to help consumers find the perfect local restaurant according to their mood (“Tonight, I’m in the mood for an authentic, cozy Italian restaurant.”).

CloudView semantic processors and sentiment analyzers dynamically map restaurants to the types of meals to which they are well-suited (e.g., “Romantic Dinner,” “Hipster Snack,” or “Business Lunch”) and to match the restaurant’s service, cuisine and ambiance to qualitative ratings like “homey,” “refined,” “casual,” “upscale,” etc.

A range of other quantitative and qualitative data is available to help users hone in on the perfect dining experience: type of cuisine, proximity, price, ratings, friends’ recommendations, review details… With a live connection to Facebook and other social websites, users can also instantly share the information they’ve found with friends, family and colleagues.

In addition this sharing of information within one’s own social network, Urbanizer simultaneously empowers users to build a knowledge base of benefit to the public at large. As each Urbanizer member interacts with the database and their own social network to refine their search and share their experiences, a “mood map” of an entire city is constructed for the benefit of all Urbanizer users.

This type of rich, emotive search grounded in social networking carries great potential for numerous sectors, including hospitality, travel, entertainment, classified, and personal and business services.

What do you think about this?

Best,

Morgan

(Morgan Zimmerman is Exalead’s VP of Business Development.)

Exalead Acquisition Perspectives

By Kate
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Acquisitions stir up all kinds of questions:

  • What does this mean for me the customer?
  • What are the people like who work for the new company?
  • What do the employees think about it?

So I whipped out my Flip and went to speak about these sorts of things with folks from Exalead and Dassault Systèmes.  Here’s a little video that gives you a flavor not only for their answers, but also a glimpse at the faces and emotion behind the acquisition. 

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To help you get more familiar with Exalead, what they do, and how this acquisition could translate for DS customers, I interviewed their VP of Business Development Morgan Zimmerman.  Enjoy!

Q1:  Exalead does a variety of things for very different user groups. What’s the best metaphor to understand Exalead as a single entity?

MZimmermanMZ:  Exalead represents the application of the best of the consumer Web to complex corporate legacy systems. It brings everything we’ve become accustomed to on the Web – real-time information, single text box access, natural language querying, a conversational mode of interacting with data, sub-second responsiveness, zero-training usage, etc., etc. – right into the enterprise.

 

Q2:  What’s your favorite Exalead product and why?

MZ:  That’s easy – we only have one product, Exalead Product! The same platform powers our public Web search engine, is embedded inside our OEM partners’ products, and supports our clients’ very diverse search-based applications.

However, I have to admit that I’m especially proud of some of our online deployments. The Web is the most demanding environment in terms of performance and innovation.  These include:

  • Exalead.com , which represents a 16-billion page implementation of our software and features a powerful Webcrawler, a panel of industrial grade semantics modules, and an innovative navigation experience;
  • Voxalead, which performs speech-to-text transcription on daily news videos from hundreds of online sources – it’s a technology the French Presidency recently incorporated in their redesigned website;
  • and the Urbanizer application we developed for Yellow Pages Canada. Urbanizer is the world’s first mood-based search engine for restaurants.  It’s available as an iPhone application.

Q3. What technical features excite your customers the most?

MZ:  It’s not the features that excite our clients; it’s the bottom line results. They’re blown away when they see performance and usability bottlenecks they’ve been struggling with for years simply dissolve away in a few weeks or a few months – even for the most complex environments.

Q4:  Why does the SBA market have such a bright future?

MZ:  The Internet has forever changed the game. Corporate users’ expectations for enterprise information systems have been permanently altered by users’ experience with the consumer Web. Only SBAs can meet these expectations and bridge the gap between the online and enterprise worlds. It is why search technologies are pivotal to developing the next generation of consumer-to-business applications.

Q5:  What type of ‘children’ do you wish for the Exalead-DS marriage to engender?

MZ:  Applications. Exalead has an infrastructure level information search and access technology. DS develops business applications. I’m looking forward to seeing a new generation of business applications come to life through the application of Exalead technology. And I’m excited to see what will happen when Exalead’s search technologies are combined with DS’s 3D technologies.


To Morgan, Laura, Christophe and Carole from Exalead, as well as Bruno, Laurent and Xavier from DS—merci beaucoup for having shared your perspectives! 

To all Exalead employees and customers, on behalf of the 3D Perspectives community, welcome to Dassault Systèmes!

And you, dear reader?  What do you think about the Exalead acquisition?

Best,

Kate



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