Search-Based Applications: What’s in it for e-biz?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with search-based applications, I thought it would be helpful to provide a concrete example, in this case, an online SBA and an iPhone application based on that SBA.

While enterprise SBAs are often used to provide database-style information access and reporting – without the usability and performance constraints of direct database access – online and mobile SBAs often ‘ mash-up’ unstructured and structured content to create a pertinent and engaging experience for consumers.

First, the online SBA. It is a restaurant directory proof-of-concept that mashes up source data including database content (restaurant listings in the directory database), Web content (photos, details like opening hours, prices, menus, payment options, etc.), and user-generated content (opinions, ratings, reviews, blogs, etc., also culled from the Web), with sentiment analysis applied on the aggregated content. It also incorporates geospatial data for mapping. The result is an ultra-rich directory that synthesizes a massive amount of information into a coherent, at-a-glance consumer dashboard.

And this dashboard evolves in real-time.

Restminer

Based on this POC, we developed an iPhone SBA for Yellow Pages Group Canada called Urbanizer. Urbanizer leverages the same sources as Restminer (YPG Database + Web & UGC content + Sentiment Analysis + Mapping), with one significant addition: Social Networking. The result is the industry’s first Mood-Based Local Search application.Urbanizer

Urbanizer combines search, sentiment analysis and social networking to help consumers find the perfect local restaurant according to their mood (“Tonight, I’m in the mood for an authentic, cozy Italian restaurant.”).

CloudView semantic processors and sentiment analyzers dynamically map restaurants to the types of meals to which they are well-suited (e.g., “Romantic Dinner,” “Hipster Snack,” or “Business Lunch”) and to match the restaurant’s service, cuisine and ambiance to qualitative ratings like “homey,” “refined,” “casual,” “upscale,” etc.

A range of other quantitative and qualitative data is available to help users hone in on the perfect dining experience: type of cuisine, proximity, price, ratings, friends’ recommendations, review details… With a live connection to Facebook and other social websites, users can also instantly share the information they’ve found with friends, family and colleagues.

In addition this sharing of information within one’s own social network, Urbanizer simultaneously empowers users to build a knowledge base of benefit to the public at large. As each Urbanizer member interacts with the database and their own social network to refine their search and share their experiences, a “mood map” of an entire city is constructed for the benefit of all Urbanizer users.

This type of rich, emotive search grounded in social networking carries great potential for numerous sectors, including hospitality, travel, entertainment, classified, and personal and business services.

What do you think about this?

Best,

Morgan

(Morgan Zimmerman is Exalead’s VP of Business Development.)

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