Attensity Introduces Desktop Solution for Unstructured Content Management
As a small, relatively unknown company, Attensity has its work cut out for it in a highly competitive text-mining landscape
Unstructured-data specialist Attensity Corp. last week announced Attensity Workstation, a desktop addition to its line of unstructured-data management offerings. Attensity’s software incorporates the company's Directed Learning technology, which officials say lets it support virtually any single-byte language.
Attensity positions Workstation as a solution for extracting data from freeform text and transforming it into structured data, making it easier for users to integrate once-unstructured data with the tabular data formats of most common analytical software packages.
Attensity Workstation is the desktop counterpart to Attensity’s flagship product, Attensity Application Suite, which mines unstructured data for content that is then integrated with a customer’s own structured data. In addition to Application Suite, Attensity also offers a number of industry-specific solutions, particularly for users in the government.
Like its bigger brother, Attensity’s Workstation mines through data in order extract relational facts and events that describe the "who, what, where, when and why" attributes that are typically buried in text-based information. But unlike its bigger brother, there’s the potential for Attensity Workstation to have a much broader reach, says Rob Lerner, a senior analyst for application infrastructure with consultancy Current Analysis Inc.
“[T]he solution complements the company’s other offerings, and it potentially broadens its customer base, as it will certainly appeal to departments of large organizations and/or smaller organizations that don’t need, or cannot afford, the company’s application suite,” he writes.
It’s likely that Attensity officials realize as much, Lerner says, noting that Workstation is the first of the company’s products to include its Directed Learning technology. “This is the first time that the company has offered this technology, and it essentially enables the solution to learn from user input, thus allowing the [user] to tune the discovery process easily, after which the solution will continue to refine the tuning until the user gets the results needed,” he explains.
Of course, Attensity isn’t the only game in town when it comes to text mining solutions, Lerner stresses, and the company has its work cut out for it if it’s to make much headway in a highly competitive market. “Attensity is a small company with limited market presence, and it will therefore have to educate the market as to the value of its products … over competitive text-mining solutions,” he says. “Also, the solution does not currently support Unicode, which means that it cannot accommodate many of the Asian languages or countries, which may offer great potential for the company.”
Lerner says Attensity needs to introduce Unicode support into its products. He suggests the company become less government-centric. “Attensity should consider a number of markets outside of government to expand its technology into. Indeed, the company is planning to do this, but it might want to consider, among other things, regulatory compliance, which could use a solution for unstructured data [like e-mail] because business deals are frequently contracted this way."
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.