NetCurrents Scores Real-Time Technology Patent
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Beverly Hills, Calif.'s NetCurrents Inc. Tuesday secured a patent for its real-time search application, a technology that enables monitoring of Internet messaging activity important to businesses for which up-to-date information is vital.
NetCurrents, which bills itself as the "Premier Internet Intelligence Agency," has been granted U.S. Patent Number 6,260,041, making it the first real-time technology patent offered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, the patent cannot be viewed online yet as the office's patent service has only been updated through July 3, according to a message on the site.
The new patent covers functionality of the company's Fast Internet Real-Time Search Technology (FIRST), which allows NetCurrents to monitor Internet communications about a company, its products or its competitors. A sample of an analysis NetCurrents' software would conduct may be found here, and a demo of FIRST may be viewed here.
A patent equals protection for NetCurrents to be sure, but to put how the real-time technology is crucial in better perspective, think about the effect that false information about public firms posted on online bulletin boards has affected the stock market. The victimized company has had to spend hours assuaging alarmed investors. With NetCurrents real-time technology, the truth can be put out across the Web much faster than in the past.
In a decidedly confident public statement, NetCurrents' Vice President of Product Strategy Michael O'Hara acknowledged the patent presents a "formidable barrier to entry for any competition which seeks to search the Internet in real-time for customer specific information."
"This patent is the first step in a multi-layer strategy designed to protect our competitive position and enhance shareholder value," O'Hara continued. "Based on our recent perpetual license agreement with MindfulEye, we have secured in-house a superior technology for the real-time classification of unstructured text into categories, relevance and sentiment through an artificial intelligence engine. Both of these technologies are key components powering our premier application for monitoring consumer opinion on the Internet."
NetCurrents currently monitors more than 100,000 Internet locations and 3,800 online publications in what serves as a kind of Big Brother-gauges-public-perception capacity. As underscored by Tuesday's patent grant, the company is a forerunner in the knowledge management sector, one in which research firm IDC Corp. claims will see a spending increase of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41 percent, from $2.3 billion in 2000 to $12.7 billion in 2005.
"Knowledge management is the new frontier for most companies," said Greg Dyer, senior research analyst for IDC's Knowledge Management Services program. "Corporate managers understand the benefit of capturing and sharing intellectual capital, but they do not understand the process of putting it into action. As a result, there is a great opportunity for vendors that can develop and apply KM solutions around specific business problems that clients are trying to solve, such as employee retention. By doing so, vendors help KM lose its ambiguity and become a value-adding tool."