27 October 2014

LT-Accelerate conference highlights textual analytics and new solutions for leveraging the business value of content

Textual analytics is a relatively new business solution for monitoring, understanding and leveraging strategic information contained in documents and media. But it is already transforming the way businesses handle their own processes, learn about their customers’ desires and opinions (VoC), and mine their databases for unexpected insights to drive better performance. 

It might at first sight sound like a rather rarefied field of data science, but textual analytics (TA) is fast becoming a must-have tool for CIOs whose job it is to select technologies with strategic thrust. 

Its value lies in the opportunity to automate an information-gathering process that was previously nearly impossible because it was time-consuming and piecemeal. TA in fact invents a new business process: it is like having a tireless analyst plough through the massive amounts of language content generated around standard business operations to harness marketing and other insights. 

In contrast to many ways of generating business intelligence, textual analytics focuses on “unstructured” data. This quite literally means the life and times of text – or more generally language content. 

Although human language is a slippery medium, companies supplying TA are increasingly finding that content that might at first sight appear to be “unstructured” (i.e. when compared to numerical data) can be highly structured when viewed from the emerging expertise of natural language processing. 

Simple ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ assessments may be useful tags for certain types of textual information on a social media, but textual analytics is making rapid progress to more valuable insights into the meanings of human communications.

LT-Innovate sees three key touch points that will matter for suppliers of future text analytics solutions:
  • Drill-down semantics: Language technology is rapidly extending its powers of analysis: while the first generation of sentiment analysis tools tended to simplify opinions into binary distinctions, new semantic tools are radically expanding the power of TA solutions to deliver finer-tuned results of what is communicated. One such field is that of “emotion recognition.” This means that TA can help identify more subtle expressions of approval, interest, concern or rejection than has been possible so far, offering a finer-grained understanding of what customers, partners and the market are saying. 
  • Multilingual processing. Multiple languages pose a key challenge for any TA application. Some TA products can run text analyses in up to 20 or more languages today, a remarkable feat given the subtleties of human expressive resources. But as companies start to target some of the long tail of markets and communities, the ability to decode thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed on social media in many dozens more languages may well tempt more and more businesses. Rich linguistic resources will be needed for this, but at the same time, the results will need to be translated into a single central repository for analysis. This requires highly tailored translation technology at the right price. 
  • Specialisation. TA is increasingly targeting a broader palette of corporate language content. In some case this will include the content of contact centre conversations, the content of internal conference calls, or the input to online surveys. Which means that TA will need to integrate seamlessly with specialised technologies such as speech recognition and audio recording to gain purchase over the text implicit in new types of media? This will almost certainly lead to specialisations of TA in terms of business tasks, type of content, or industrial and commercial sector. 
In a word, TA is set to move towards new forms of contextualisation that will enable it to capture the kind of semantic nuance that makes the right distinctions to address business strategy in very different domains. 

This is just the beginning. In the longer run, it is very likely that the kind of linguistic analysis currently offered by the TA community will be embedded in a broader “cognitive computing” environment. For this scenario, learning systems will be programmed to range over corporate data to find patterns that suggest directions to be taken or decision to be made.

At the same time, CIOs will need to think about expanding the range of TA to other media than text – for example, video as image and as conversational content (and hence text) will also enter the content mix to be leveraged by analytics.  Such developments will put huge pressures on the trust we hope to 
have in the value of our analyses as they extend over more data types.

Yet at the same time, these integrated, easy-to-use solutions will need to appeal to CIOs and others who need to rapidly engage with the voice of their customers, the voice of their staff members, the voice of their service suppliers, and more generally the competitive voice of their market segments. 

LT-Innovate believes that TA opens up a promising market in which highly-specialised language technology  can provide effective responses to a business need that simply cannot be met by traditional solutions. The vital step is to recognise that one size will not fit all. Solution providers therefore need to know exactly what their potential customers need. A compelling case for textual analytics indeed! 

This is why LT-Innovate -- the Forum for Europe's language technology industry -- and US consultancy Alta Plana Corporation, headed by industry analyst Seth Grimes, are holding a brand new event entitled LT-Accelerate. This will take place in Brussels (Belgium) on 4-5 December and is devoted to the people, players and end users of Textual Analytics.

15 October 2014

LT-Innovate pioneers new conference with industry analyst Seth Grimes: LT-Accelerate

LT-Accelerate is a unique European conference that will both educate the market about the value of language technologies and help solution providers understand market needs. The conference is designed to bring together user organizations, solution providers, researchers and consultants in a single venue that will provide learning, networking, and deal-making opportunities.
A joint production of LT-Innovate -- the Forum for Europe's language technology industry -- and U.S. consultancy Alta Plana Corporation, headed by industry analyst Seth Grimes, LT-Accelerate will take place on 4-5 December 2014 in Brussels.

At LT-Accelerate, you'll hear from and network with:

ESOMAR president Dan Foreman -- Shree Dandekar, Dell Software's information management strategy director -- Elsevier content and innovation VP Michelle Gregory -- Prof. Stephen Pulman of the University of Oxford -- Tony Russell-Rose, founder and director of UXLabs, a research and design consultancy -- Lipika Dey, principal scientist at Tata Consultancy Services Innovation Labs... to name a few speakers.

The full agenda is online.

Whom else will you meet? Brand and agency speakers from Havas Media, IPG Mediabrands, Sony Mobile, Telefonica, and TOTAL. Leading technologists from IBM Research, Synthesio, and the Universities of Antwerp and Sheffield. Innovative solution providers including Basis Technology, Confirmit, CrossLang, Daedalus, Ontotext and TheySay.

LT-Accelerate is about opportunity, unique in Europe.Do not miss it!