SOURCE: Connotate

Connotate

September 29, 2010 08:01 ET

Connotate Announces High-Volume "Intelligent" Web Data Monitoring and Collection Solution: Agent Community V3

Flagship Solution Offers Cost-Effective Way to Reliably Retrieve and Organize Data From the Deep Web

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--(Marketwire - September 29, 2010) -  Connotate, Inc., a provider of solutions that help companies collect data and content from the Web, today announced the release of Agent Community V3 -- the latest iteration of its flagship Web data monitoring and collection solution. Agent Community allows non-technical users to capture and analyze dynamic Web content and data via a patented visual abstraction technique and easy-to-use interface. Agent Community V3 includes new features such as increased automated Web data collection capabilities, improved text analytics, "slice-and-dice" Agent subscription and management views, and compatibility with the Mozilla Firefox Web browser. 

"Businesses need to monitor continually their competitors, their customers, and emerging market trends," said Sue Feldman, IDC's VP for Search and Discovery Technologies. "It is no longer humanly possible to do this effectively, given the high volume and changing nature of information in traditional and social media. Tools that automate the process of collection, and that provide summaries and analysis give businesses the market insight that they need to make better decisions."

The Agent Community solution provides the scalability, reliability and resiliency necessary to drive strategic value by delivering targeted dynamic Web content and data in a cost-effective manner. The solution increases productivity by up to 100 times by empowering non-technical business users to create Agents that eliminate many of the tasks associated with hunting, gathering and manually integrating data from disparate internal and external sources through automated processes.

"In the past, efficiency gains around monitoring and gathering content often meant moving the task to be performed offshore. Costs were reduced but a valuable connection was lost to the folks who envisioned and designed the end product. Now we are seeing new technology based approaches that reduce the cost of execution while enabling a publisher to be more agile as end user needs evolve," said Ned May, VP & lead analyst for Search, Aggregation & Syndication market at Outsell.

TRACK AND COLLECT HIGH VOLUMES OF DATA FROM THE WEB

Agent Community is built on the foundation of Connotate's "Intelligent Agent" technology that enables a non-technical user to create Agents for tracking, collecting and updating data from a Web page, spreadsheet, database, PDF file, email and/or legacy application data source.

  • Optimized for high-volume data providers such as news publishers, and government agencies -- Agent Community is used by seven of the top ten U.S. financial services and media firms including the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters and Standard & Poor's.
  • Agents can be set to retrieve data at specific intervals -- every few seconds, minutes, every hour, once per day -- whichever interval suits the user.

HIGH SCALABILITY, FLEXIBILITY AND RESILIENCE

  • Language and format agnostic -- Agents can collect data from structured and unstructured data sources in any language -- even from password-protected websites and sources (with appropriate clearance).
  • No Programming Required -- Unlike similar Web data and content aggregating solutions, Connotate users can create individual Agents by going to the Web or an alternate source, highlighting the types of text, data, documents or images they want to retrieve - such as an article headline, body text or sidebar -- and deploying the Agents without ever having to enter any lines of code at any time during the process. Creating and unleashing Agents requires neither programming knowledge nor a "programmer's mindset" -- no Boolean logic, no basic HTML and no source code of any kind.
  • Customizable, Dynamic Dashboard -- Gathered information is delivered to a destination of the customer's choosing and in the format they specify.  Agent Community also features an optional add-on for text and sentiment analysis that analyzes each collected article to determine if it has a negative, positive or neutral viewpoint on a particular subject. For instance, if Agents retrieve 500 articles on the user-specified subject "healthcare reform," the business user can see from the sentiment analysis add-on how many articles positioned the topic as positive and how many were critical.

"We started training to use the Connotate solution in May of 2010 and of course had zero agents at that point," said Chris Clifford, manager of content creation, FactSet. "By the middle of August, however, we had managed to create 35,000 Agents by ourselves with a team of just 20 employees. In just a few months we had begun the leverage the Connotate solution to optimize our Web research process. On top of that, Connotate reported changes to the information we were tracking with much greater accuracy than the previous solution we used, resulting in more reliable, up-to-date and accurate data for us to use."

NEW FEATURES INCREASE BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY, REDUCE TIME AND EFFORT

Agent Community V3 includes numerous new features and functionality improvements to streamline data collection and organization to provide maximum value for business users.

New Agent creation capabilities:

  • Easy-to-use workflow acceleration tools, which make it simple for business users to bulk edit, search for, and subscribe to Agents.
  • New Agent training capabilities include the ability to create Agents on XBRL filings.
  • Easier extraction techniques for tabular data using a Label Data approach that offers the flexibility to select either columns or rows as label headings.

Enhanced data management options:

  • Users need only edit a single template in order to update all other similar Agents and/or subscriptions, improving workflow and reducing the time and effort to manage and update a multitude of Agents.
  • Users can now organize Agents and types/sources of data by using a convenient "tabbed" design in the Agent Library online dashboard. 
  • Data within the library can be filtered, displayed and reported in myriad ways and users can retrieve any item of information within seconds using the "views" feature. This feature is extremely useful for customers who may have hundreds or thousands of Agents collecting and displaying huge quantities of information simultaneously. Due to the information's ever-changing nature, the ability to easily organize and navigate enormous volumes of data in real-time is critical.

Expanded Back-End Compatibility:

  • Agent Community V3's online Agent Library dashboard is compatible with both the Internet Explorer 8.0 and Mozilla Firefox 3.5 Web browsers.
  • The solution supports Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and .NET Framework 4.0.

"Having an efficient, scalable information management solution that is affordable over the long-term is critical for data-driven businesses," said Connotate's CEO, Tom Meyer. "Agent Community automates previously manual, tedious processes, allowing users who don't have programming skills to quickly gather insightful information from millions of websites and sources. Our customers have built tens of thousands of Agents in only a few weeks -- and these Agents are resilient to the transformations a website goes through over time, including changes in URL or potential dead links. This enables Connotate to deliver the durability, scalability and reach organizations need to absorb and use information in today's highly-competitive economic environment."

About Connotate
For organizations in which content and data are vital to success, Connotate puts the ability to automate Web data monitoring and collection in the hands of the business user. With its easy-to-use interface and patented algorithms, Connotate delivers the scalability, reliability and resiliency necessary to cost effectively collect, analyze and distribute high-volumes of unstructured Web data. Connotate's customers, such as McGraw-Hill, Associated Press and Thomson Reuters, have realized benefits ranging from dramatically reduced data collection costs to building new content offerings with millions of subscribers. Connotate has been named a KMWorld "Trend-Setting Product" for the past five years. For more information, please visit http://www.connotate.com.

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