I have been discussing the Darwin Awareness Engine™ a bit on this blog and wanted to start the new year off with a brief updated overview. There is an explosion of content on the Web and within the enterprise that is partially fueled by the increase in social media use. Beneath this information overload is a wealth of useful content waiting to be discovered. Increasing awareness and discovery of relevant content in the proper context is the goal Darwin Ecosystem. Its Awareness Engine™ gives users the ability to perceive and be conscious of events and patterns of activities captured in the enterprise and Web 2.0. While search attempts to answer known questions, awareness provides a greater context including the unanticipated.
Operating in real time, the Awareness Engine allows for the extremely efficient scanning of content to find both breaking news and deep underlying casual patterns in the topics of your interest. Rather than using semantic technology to attempt to enable understanding by a computer, our approach to awareness based on Chaos Theory provides a visualization of results that better enables a person to make more informed decisions about where to look next. Then there are tools that allow for efficient drilling down into relevant details. It builds on a person’s expertise rather than trying to replace it.
There are the two visualizations: the Buzz Tape™ and the Scan Cloud™. The Buzz Tape runs across the top of the screen as seen below and displays themes of rising (green) or falling (red) interest within the target content. The Scan Cloud shows the top themes within the target content. Running the mouse over one theme highlights the others that are related to it. In the right column the actual content connected with themes is displayed. Clicking on this content will take you directly to the source.
As a user you can click on any of the themes within the Buzz Tape or the Scan Cloud and they become the focus of a new Scan Cloud that the system quickly generates. Darwin works in real time. As user you can quickly adjust the time period for the harvested content to be the last hour, last two hours, or last 24 hours using the selection options near the top of the screen. You can even expand it to 200 hours through the attractor creation process described below.
The photos come through two sources. Some RSS feeds provide pictures. We also link to relevant Flickr images. You can even choose to collect videos through YouTube by choosing videos when you select sources as described below. The YouTube videos are listed under the informal sources in the right column.
You can either simply look at the general buzz within the targeted content or create attractors, that serve as queries, to further refine you content discovery. For example, you can look at how your brand or some other topic of interest is being discussed. To create a new attractor, you fill in the attractor field in the top right. For example, I put in Boston, my hometown, in the attractor field and received these results shown below.
Then you can further edit your attractor by clicking in the edit space next to where it appears in the upper left. An edit field appears, such as the one shown below. You can adjust the time period for content collection up to 200 hours by using the slider. You can select which feeds to use by choosing from the drop down or simply allow for everything by not making a selection. It is best to start this way. You can also select if you want to only see more formal (traditional news sources) or less formal sources (bloggers). Not selecting either provides all content sources.
Once you have refined your attractor you can save it in the lower right corner of the edit field. Then when you click on the plus sign in the upper left all of your saved attractors will appear for you selection.
The Awareness Engine is a Web browser application (Scan Cloud™) or it can become a custom solution through API access. It is delivered through a Web server with services and a database correlating the different Web 2.0 sources. For the enterprise there is an on-premise solution running on Ruby on Rails and making use of RSS feeds. Its Virtual Cortex™ database can be set on Oracle, MS-SQL or mySQL according to scalability needs.
We provide a series of themed Darwin Editions™ powered by the Awareness Engine that focus on specific topics to better demonstrate its capabilities and as a service to our readers. These can each be accessed at no cost. You only have to go through a brief registration process and we promise you that no sales person will contact you as a result. Here are descriptions and links to the first three the first Darwin Editions.