Knowledge may be power, but as industry leaders know, knowledge also is money. With that in mind, New Brunswick, N.J.-based Connotate Technologies is introducing Information Agent Suite (IAS) 6 at this year's SIA Technology Management Conference.
According to Bruce Molloy, CEO of Connotate (booth 2100), IAS is a group of tools designed to manage intelligent agents - search entities that mine the deepest, darkest crevices of the Web for unstructured and previously inaccessible data. The surface Web - those pages accessible by standard search tools such as Google and Yahoo! - consists of 10 billion to 12 billion individual Web pages, Molloy says. However, the deep Web - those pages that exist beyond the reaches of newswires and search engines - consists of approximately 600 billion Web pages of actionable intelligence and is growing 15 percent to 20 percent annually, he asserts.
To mine the power of this hidden information, Molloy and company have developed intelligent agents that access and gather data that was previously unavailable. "The agent knows how to go to a page on the Web and interact with the page, not unlike the way we would," he claims. Equity research has become an arms race, asserts Molloy, and firms' IT departments are actively searching for the next weapon. "Because Eliot Spitzer has removed research from the investment banking houses, they've been pushed out to boutiques, and people aren't getting the same level of research," he argues.
Molloy claims firms have tried and failed to develop deep Web mining on their own. "We find that IT shops will sometimes try to program [agents] themselves," he says. "Happily, I can report that they usually give up after three months."
John Blossom, president of consulting firm Shore Communications, agrees that living in the age of information necessitates a hearty search for a market edge. "In order to find a market advantage in the era of fair disclosure and corporate compliance, you have to look fairly far and wide to find information that can give you some additional insight," he says.
Both Blossom and Molloy are quick to point out that as powerful as information can be, it is largely useless if it is unstructured. "So much information is great news for financial analysts, but the bad news is: How can you monitor it effectively, digest it and absorb it into formulas than can actually trigger trading decisions?" ponders Blossom.
Fortunately, Connotate's intelligent agents not only gather the data, but return it to the user in an intelligible format, be it RSS, XML, e-mail or a database. By doing so, IAS "can radically cut down the time from absorbing raw information to executing trading decisions," notes Blossom.
According to Connotate, IAS 6 offers powerful new features to fill out the end user's information feed. For example, the Alert Monitor feature essentially RSS enables every page on the Web, pushing a customized update feed to the user's desktop. "This is a feed nobody else has. This is a feed you can't get from Reuters, you can't get from Bloomberg," says Molloy. Also new is the AI Monitoring feature, which enables content profiling and exception handling, and offers greater control over the behavior of intelligent agents. <<<