Company Snapshots: Ontotext

Company SnapshotsIn “Company Snapshots,” we pose a series of questions to leading providers of digital products and services and let them speak for themselves about what their company does, how they benefit publishers, and what they believe the biggest trends in the industry are. In today’s entry, we have Ontotext.

OntotextWhat does your company do?
Ontotext is a provider of software solutions helping companies make sense of their text-based data. Using a combination of natural language processing and graph databases, Ontotext’s products, which include GraphDB and Self-Service Semantic Suite (S4), can bring structure to data. For publishers, this enables them to identify and package existing content together with greater relevance than ever before.

What’s unique about your company compared to your competitors?
Ontotext pairs graph database technology, which allows computers to uncover inherent connections in data as a human can, with natural language processing (NLP), and that’s something few others are doing. Using NLP, Ontotext allows computers to move beyond simply reading text, and get toward actually understanding what the text means. This makes Ontotext’s products exceptionally attractive to publishers. Other providers tend to use proprietary technology, whereas Ontotext has always been committed to using open platforms such as GATE in its products. For end-users, this means they are exposed to less upfront risk, and are able to switch to different products or providers with relative ease.

What’s the single biggest benefit your customers get from your service?
Publishers use Ontotext to gain greater insight and control over the content that they own. The technology analyzes text, identifying discrete “entities” within the text and the relationships between those entities. The newly extracted metadata and relationships are then saved in a specialized database, and this allows publishers to analyze their text in a much faster and more efficient way than what was possible before. This allows them to not only provide a better experience to their customers, but to also take advantage of new revenue streams as and when they become viable.

What’s the single biggest problem for your customers right now?
Proliferation of content is a major challenge facing all publishers in today’s environment, particularly in the non-fiction, educational and news sectors. The rise of ebooks and other technological innovations has put publishers’ conventional business models in a squeeze, and so they need to identify new sources of revenue. However, this is very difficult to do without having a strong understanding of the content on your roster, and conventional methods require huge time investment from employees who would be better suited to other tasks.

What’s the single biggest opportunity for your customers right now?
Today’s publishers don’t fully appreciate the potential revenue opportunities that are hiding in their content. This content is currently “locked in” to static traditional formats, such as physical books or ebooks, where it’s underutilized. If publishers can change their self-perception from product providers to service providers, they would become much more flexible and profitable as a result.

What industry trends do you think will have the greatest impact on your customers over the next 24 months?
Publishers are already becoming increasingly aware of the importance of metadata to their business models, and we see this continuing in the future. Publishers’ technology investment strategies will play a far greater part in their success than in previous years, with market leaders transitioning from hosting static content catalogues to a more flexible and dynamic approach which improves content discoverability. Publishers that ensure they have a thorough understanding of the assets under their control will be able to bring competitive, open access products to new markets faster than their competitors.

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