projectbrainsaver - hightechheadhelper - tellyourphone - Disaster tools

Haiti has proved what the 2005 Tsunami suggested. Communications in the hands of the general public (and in the hands of on the ground personnel)can be very effective in helping sort out the immediate aftermath, and the continuing chaos that can be left weeks after the initial panic has subsided. 

Eight years ago a system was designed with a three stage build (Personal use / Social use / Disaster use) which was deliberately aimed at building an unburstable information controller which was specifically for use in the first stages of any emergency - local - regional - national and international or global.

The system used a core built with any or all of the elements available from Autonomy Ltd in Cambridge UK.

At the time there were fewer core elements to Autonomy technology, there was Autonomy, Audentify (which soon changed to E Talk), Aungate, Softsound and Virage.

The main core was also split into two at the time - The Intelligent Data Operating Layer or IDOL and the Dynamic Reasoning Engine or DRE.

Imagine something clever enough to use what has past and what is going on at this moment to calculate the best possible result in the near future. 

As Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, observed "It's amazing how absolutely pervasive life is, given half a chance," he observes. "You dig a pool of water, you leave a patch of earth, something will grow there." 

Lynch sees the marriage of Bayes' ideas and modern processing power as characteristic of a new, more mature phase of technology - an era in which humanity will no longer believe it's standing at the center of the universe. 

"Rules-based, Boolean computing assumes that we know best how to solve a problem," he says. "My background comes completely the other way. The problem tells you how to solve the problem. That's what the next generation of computing is going to be about: listening to the world."

However there were a number of problems ( up to 2004) regarding getting this technology used as a disaster aid.

  • 1.    No one else was thinking of using the highest level business technologies available for this purpose, let alone any purpose outside the standard business model.

  • 2.    VoIP was only just coming in. less than 3% of business' used VoIP in the UK at the time - not a problem for Autonomy technology but it was a problem if you had to tie multiple different sources together cheaply and cheerfully.

  • 3.    The main input being put forward was voice and voice technology was seen as being unrefined, immature and not ready for the described functions - incorrectly as it proved.

Contacting Autonomy
For detailed information regarding Autonomy's products, please contact Autonomy using the following form. Your information will be routed to an Autonomy specialist who will answer your enquiry as soon as possible.
Alternatively, please e-mail Autonomy at Or, telephone Autonomy's  Cambridge UK offices at +44 1223 448000 or Autonomy's San Francisco offices at 1 (415) 243 9955.

Autonomy, I know, is very clever and very capable. 

It can take all of your computers and databases on any type of network and all of your phone calls and video clips and do all sorts of clever things with them. from joining them all together and understanding everything on them to finding things you never expected.

The core of the set up is the Autonomy IDOL Server. IDOL stands for Intelligent Data Operating Layer and it is exactly that.

The IDOL is based on a system called Meanings Based Computing.

Instead of words being spoken and then transcribed into text then acted upon, the IDOL understands the actual words as they are spoken in real time

The IDOL understands over 1,000 different formats of data.

The IDOL is also language independent. 

Please go to their website or, better still, contact them directly.

IDOL Server

At the heart of Autonomy's infrastructure software lies the Intelligent Data Operating Layer (IDOL) Server. The IDOL Server collects indexed data from connectors and stores it in its proprietary structure, optimized for fast processing and retrieval of data. As the information processing layer, IDOL forms a conceptual and contextual understanding of all content in an enterprise, automatically analyzing any piece of information from over 1,000 different content formats and even people's interests. Over 500 operations can be performed on digital content by IDOL, including hyperlinking, agents, summarization, taxonomy generation, clustering, eduction, profiling, alerting and retrieval. 

IDOL enables organizations to benefit from automation without losing manual control. This complementary approach allows automatic processing to be combined with a variety of human controllable overrides, offering the best of both worlds and never requiring an "either/or" choice.

IDOL integrates with all known legacy systems, eliminating the need for organizations to cobble together multiple systems to support their disparate components.

"Security is a key differentiator for IDOL. IDOL offers "mapped security" and near real-time synchronization of security entitlements with source content repositories - making it a great fit for highly secure search scenarios"

The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Search Platforms, Matthew Brown

Then there is the IDOL SPE

Give your data a new level of intelligence with the IDOL Structured Probabilistic Engine (SPE)

Autonomy is applying the same technology that brought meaning to unstructured information to the world of structured data. The result? Businesses can achieve an entirely new level of understanding, enabling them to turn their information into a powerful asset to drive business growth.

IDOL SPE is based on the same advanced probabilistic methodologies that over 20,000 customers depend on worldwide to understand their unstructured information.


The relational database was introduced in 1977. Today, our data remains in these legacy systems, failing to deliver the results we expect from modern technology.

Now is the time to transform your data, and your business. Autonomy's IDOL SPE is available now in limited release as a standalone product or as an add-on accelerator to existing database applications.

IDOL SPE allows you to turn your RDBMS into a next-generation probabilistic inference engine:

Break out of a black and white world to understand the "shades of grey" in your data

Render "no exact match" a problem of the past by automatically spotting patterns in the data to make accurate predictions

Benefit from the self-learning capabilities of IDOL SPE, which leverages results from interactions, usage, and datasets to continually refine and perfect understanding

"The World's Hottest Enterprise Software Company"
Information Week, 2009

..and there is the IDOL ECHO

IDOL Echo is a module created by Autonomy to allow fully auditable and accountable monitoring of information use. Echo detection enables the enterprise to forensically account, track and trace each piece of data that enters, leaves, is born or dies within the organization. Be it a telephone call, a voicemail, an email, an attachment, an instant message, a document or a video, Echo can understand the data and then follow it through the organization. Through understanding, Echo can report on who or what the asset has influenced. Echo will audit the entire lifecycle from creation to archiving and eventually deletion, across format change and transmission between individuals and repositories. Echo builds upon IDOL's ability to listen, read and watch all forms of data and then follow the complete lifecycle of every digital asset within the enterprise from inception to destruction.

The ripple effect of an idea can be measured as it jumps from mail to phone conversation to document. Even if that jump contains an 'air gap', Echo can trace the concept. For example, person A receives a call from person B who then relays it out of ear shot in the parking lot to person C who then hotmails these ideas to person D. Echo can then be asked "who has heard this?" In addition, Echo can report where an author lacks influence or how a community has behaved.

With Echo it is now possible to protect against the breaching of 'Chinese walls' or from IPR strong boxes within an enterprise not on the basis of crude electronic permissions but on the human flow of ideas that cannot be regulated at the water cooler. The influence of individuals or programs can be measured across electronic boundaries. The repetition of confidences or the evolution of a concept can be detected, stopped or encouraged in real-time.

Global Language Support

Today's enterprise is dynamic, with operations across the globe that conduct business in numerous local languages. The need to manage content in varied languages has never been more acute. It is no longer ideal for the enterprise to restrict communications to a single language. To this end, Autonomy provides extensive language support within a single platform (IDOL Server).

Autonomy supports over 30 languages on the BBC websites

The IDOL Server develops a statistical understanding of the patterns of any language, such as German, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese and Norwegian, using sophisticated probabilistic modeling and pattern matching techniques. Although IDOL currently supports an impressive 106 languages, it is trivial to add support for more because the technology is fundamentally language independent. IDOL uses non linear adaptive digital signal processing that exploits high performance probabilistic modeling to extract a document's meaning. Since the technology is mathematically-based and free from linguistic restraints, it need not use any language-dependent parsing or dictionaries to extract meaning. While many enterprise platforms rely on pre-existing knowledge of grammar and linguistic rules, IDOL allows indexed content to dictate the model as it develops a statistical understanding of patterns that occur in the content over time. Hence even slang or industry-specific jargons do not pose a barrier for processing. True to its Bayesian roots, the more content IDOL collects about an industry - e.g. legal terms, pharmaceutical developments - the more understanding it will form about that domain.

A new language can be thought of as simply another type of information from which IDOL needs content to learn. It is therefore possible to mix more than one language in IDOL as long as enough content from those languages is available. Moreover, cross- lingual systems can be configured in which a user can query a subject in English and automatically be provided with similar information in both English and another language such as Spanish. Automatic language detection of incoming content as well as language identification of queries are both offered.

Autonomy's technology is founded on the principle of learning and adapting to an influx of new information. It automates processes that were once labor intensive such as metadata tagging and taxonomy creation. Where other solutions need to be taught new words, phrases or concepts and shown how to categorize them, IDOL can automatically deduce the significance of these new units of meaning, add them to relevant categories and create new categories where necessary.

The core IDOL technology is fully data agnostic and can support all forms of single and multibyte languages, providing equal functionality worldwide, in any idiom, and automatically adapt to the dynamic evolution of language itself. This capability unlocks an enormous potential for a global enterprise, as its brightest talents can now collaborate and provide expertise to everyone in the organization. Fully modal and scalable, Autonomy's software is fundamentally internationalized and is able to function anywhere, at any capacity, without any degradation of functionality. Autonomy provides optional language packs to further enhance localization including stemming, stoplists, transliteration, multiple encoding support and term decomposition.

Meaning Analytics Warehouse

The Meaning Analytics Warehouse is the first data warehouse to perform bulk analysis and mining of the vast amounts of information contained in the enterprise including voice, video, email, IM, applications, databases and hundreds of other file types, by understanding the concepts, context and patterns contained in the information.

Building on Autonomy's established IDOL platform, the Meaning Analytics Warehouse module provides valuable insight into information stored in silos across an enterprise by indexing, transforming and analyzing the unstructured information that traditional data mining techniques cannot understand, based on its meaning and relationships. This unique capability makes the mining of information from all sources readily available for applications including top end business intelligence, electronic discovery, security and surveillance and other applications requiring insight created as a byproduct of real-time or transactional systems.


Portal-in-a-Box delivers the most comprehensive and automated information portal for both inside and outside the firewall in one easy-to-use package. Based on IDOL's unique pattern recognition technology that automatically analyzes information based on its content, IDOL's Portal-in-a-Box is the only portal solution able to automate the most critical processes including categorization, personalization, hypertext link management and highly personalized information delivery.

Audio and Speech Analysis

Autonomy solutions enable live or recorded speech to be manipulated, edited, searched and automatically processed in the same way as text. This is achieved through SoftSound, renamed Virage SoftSound in 2007, which provides a wide range of speech-processing technologies, from audio segmentation and identification through to automatic speech recognition and understanding. SoftSound was founded in 1995 and is backed by over 10 years of research at Cambridge University.

Autonomy Virage Courtroom Transcription

Key features include:
State-of-the-art accuracy
Support of phonetics, word spotting and conceptual indexing and search
Highly scalable real-time recognition
Virtually unlimited vocabulary size
Industry-leading range of supported languages
Audio processing capabilities:
Speaker / audio segmentation
Speaker / audio classification
Identification of:
Topics being discussed
Genders of the speakers
Emotional character of speech
Amount and location of speech versus non-speech (e.g. background noise or silence)
Linguistic origin of speakers
Audio Conceptual Tracking

A true industry first, Autonomy's Audio Conceptual Tracking tools allow users to analyze all the information held in rich media assets in a single view. Using significant breakthroughs in expectation maximization algorithms and usability modelling, Autonomy enables users to have access to all the concepts that are represented at different points in the audio stream, even as they are focusing on a particular point of a clip. This is a particularly empowering function since it allows users to work with rich media assets on a holistic basis rather than myopically on the segment they may be listening to.

Another important innovation and a true paradigm shifter, has been the ability for users to dynamically control the confidence of the speech recognition engine to match the business requirements per query. In traditional systems that deal with speech, the user typically must query what is essentially a black box for an answer and has no control over the confidence setting of the speech processing technology in use. For the first time, Autonomy allows end users to change the configuration of the speech recognition engine on the fly, per query, to suit their business needs. The higher the confidence setting, the lower the number of returned results but with fewer number of false positives.

In sum, the key features include:
Intelligent, concept-based marking of key ideas
Expansion of the concept viewer to encompass the entire asset in a single view, or focus on narrow parts of the asset
User-controlled confidence configuration
Sound redaction interface

Video Analysis

Autonomy provides world-leading video analysis technologies for video specialists such as broadcasters and security and surveillance professionals, as well as enterprises wishing to leverage content from recorded meetings, events and webcasts. By automating a number of key video processing operations, Autonomy removes a vast amount of manual effort traditionally involved in repurposing and extracting value from content and consequently generates significant ROI.

Autonomy Virage VS LiveMedia

Uniquely, Autonomy delves deep within the video file itself rather than relying on human-defined metatags which are subjective and limited in scope. It then provides a highly detailed, time-encoded, comprehensive range of data which IDOL itself or users themselves can search through and find relevant content with pinpoint accuracy. The full range of IDOL's functions can be performed on video content and video can be automatically cross-referenced with any other form of information.

Autonomy Virage VS Archive
Deep Video Indexing (DVI) Advanced Features

DVI uniquely tackles the challenge of asset identification and management through its use of a cascade application method that layers technology analytics in creating a unique fingerprint for all video assets. This fingerprint is a flexible representation of the asset whose characteristics can be extracted or can be used to determine similarities between assets. Due to this unique, flexible mode of asset representation within the IDOL conceptual index, many of the challenges that traditionally plague the video medium are overcome. Such issues as spherical distortion, artifacts from low resolution transcoding, screen inclusion (i.e. assets within assets), audio distortions and audio mismatching (e.g. translations, misalignment) do not affect the integrity of the representation.

Openly configurable, the DVI functionality uses numerous proprietary approaches in a configurable lattice which can be weighed within the DVI fingerprint as separate entities or as a whole unit. These technological approaches include:
Texture trajectory analysis
Advanced OCR
Spectrum trajectory analysis
Advanced scene analysis

Contacting Autonomy

For detailed information regarding Autonomy's products, please contact us using the following form. Your information will be routed to an Autonomy specialist who will answer your enquiry as soon as possible.

Alternatively, please e-mail us at Or, telephone our Cambridge UK offices at +44 1223 448000 or our San Francisco offices at 1 (415) 243 9955.

An Introduction to Autonomy

Founded in 1996 and utilizing a unique combination of technologies borne out of research at Cambridge University, Autonomy has experienced a meteoric rise. The company currently has a market cap of $4 billion, is the second largest pure software company in Europe and has offices worldwide. Autonomy's position as the market leader is widely recognized by leading industry analysts including Gartner, Forrester Research, IDC and Delphi, with the latter referring to Autonomy as the fastest growing public company in the space.
See Also: Autonomy Group Overview
Autonomy's Vision

Autonomy was founded upon a vision to dramatically change the way in which we interact with information and computers, ensuring that computers map to our world, rather than the other way round.

Human-friendly or unstructured information is not naturally found in the rows and columns of a database, but in documents, presentations, videos, phone conversations, emails and IMs. We are facing an increasing deluge of unstructured information, with 80% now falling into this category and, according to Gartner, the volume of this data doubling every month. As the amount of unstructured information multiplies, the challenge for the modern enterprise is trying to understand and extract the value that lies within this vast sea of data.

"The essence of Autonomy's software lies in its ability to extract the core concepts of unstructured data. The way in which it achieves this is arguably some way ahead of any rival product."
Peter Whiting, UBS, 2007

Many companies believe that access to information is the answer to dealing with the unstoppable spread of information of all forms – if people can find information, they can process it themselves. Autonomy believes that although access to information is important, there is far greater value in forming an understanding of data and automatically processing it, freeing up people to focus on higher-value activities that computers are unable to do.

Autonomy's software powers the full spectrum of mission-critical enterprise applications including pan-enterprise search, proactive Information Risk Management, information governance, eDiscovery, consolidated archiving, call center solutions, rich media management, security applications, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Knowledge Management (KM) and BPM. Autonomy addresses the challenges of information within any vertical market or application.Further Reference: The Evolution of Search
Further Reference: Autonomy Group Overview

Company Background

Founded in 1996, Autonomy is a financially stable company, profitable in every quarter for over six years with solid cash generation and no net debt. Autonomy has a global presence with dual headquarters in Cambridge, UK and San Francisco, USA and offices throughout the world including North America, Western Europe, Australia, Asia Pacific, Japan and China. An extensive partner network combining the expertise of local integrators and global consultancy services provides a strong route to market. Autonomy is listed on the London Stock Exchange (AU. or AU.L) and reports quarterly under the stringent standards set by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

400+ OEM companies, with licenses to more than 500 products, and more than 400 VARs and Integrators, including leading companies such as BEA, Citrix, H-P, Novell, Oracle, Sybase and TIBCO have acknowledged the power and business potential of Autonomy's technology by embedding it at the core of their products.
Antwerp : Barcelona : Beijing : Bogota : Boston : Buenos Aires : Calgary : Cambridge : Chicago : Dallas : Darmstadt : Kuala Lumpur : London : Madrid : Mexico City : Milan : Munich : New York : Oslo : Ottawa : Paris : Pleasanton : Rome : San Francisco : Shanghai : Singapore : San Jose : Santiago : Sao Paulo : Stockholm : Sydney : Tokyo : Utrecht : Washington D.C.

Financial Strengths
Revenues up 47% to record $500m in 2008
Over $199m in cash and no net debt at year end
$78m in R&D investment (up 26% year-on-year)
Profit Before Tax $208.8m (up 84% from 2007)
20,000+ Customers
400+ VARs
400+ OEM companies with licenses to more than 500 products
Market Share Leader for High-End Pan-Enterprise Search
Solid Organic Growth

Revenue by Geographical Area
Americas 61%
Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Mexico City, New York, Ottawa, Pleasanton, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, San Jose, Washington D.C.
ROW 39%
Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Cambridge, Darmstadt, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Utrecht