Innovation Times Two

InnovationI have written before on how important innovation is to us at Ephesoft. In fact, innovation is so important that we don’t stop at just one type. At Ephesoft, we believe there is both practical and intuitive innovation.

Practical innovation involves listening to market demand and introducing technology based on what we hear from our customers and partners. This is a successful way to build a business. We founded the company in 2010 with the goal of creating an intelligent document recognition (IDR) platform that is easy to use and deploy. This was something people in the market were asking for. We delivered it with our Enterprise product line (recently renamed Transact), which we continue to make improvements on.

In the latest version of Transact, we have introduced new features like improved document classification, extraction of paragraph content, line-item matching for invoices, support for additional third-party technologies, and a secure HTML 5 Web scanning service. We are careful that when we add new features, we do it in a way that doesn’t make our software harder to use.

We also continue to improve our mobile app. We are implementing offline capture and extraction, as well as video-driven capture, which enables users to hover over documents and let the app determine when they are in focus. These are important improvements. We are smart enough to know that we don’t know everything, so we listen and innovate based on what we hear.

Breaking new ground

We can’t exist without practical innovation, but the real excitement for a company like ours comes from what we call “intuitive” innovation. Intuitive innovation comes from a vision. It involves developing technology for which there might not be an obvious place in the market, but it’s something that if you build, you think you can leverage to make people’s lives better in ways that they didn’t even dream possible.

This is what our Insight (launched last year as Universe) product represents. It’s based on the idea that we are living in an Information Age—where information is the new currency. But, there is a ton of information trapped in ECM repositories that is not able to be analyzed on par with other sources of information.

Insight is designed to address that. This year, we were granted a patent based on the development work we’ve done on Insight. Unlike other companies, we don’t apply for a patent until after we do our development and are able to prove that the technology works.

Our patent is based on being able to address the challenges of extracting data from millions and billions of documents stored in ECM repositories. One of the challenges is that these documents are typically stored in different formats, even if they have “standard” tags like TIFF and PDF. To address this, as well as the issues of high volumes being stored across multiple repositories, requires innovative technology like multi-dimensional extraction and machine learning.

For Insight, we’ve built these technologies on a Big Data platform that includes Hadoop and Apache Spark. Hadoop enables Insight to run on five servers or 500 servers, and Spark enables it to run in-memory, so it’s fast. On top of this we’ve added data analytics. It’s this type of innovation that has us so excited about the future.

In-Q-Tel, which assists U.S. government intelligence agencies in identifying up and coming technology, has shown it believes in our vision by making a strategic investment in Ephesoft to develop Insight. We also see potential in markets like financial services and healthcare.

In the beginning, we thought this technology might be valuable for applications like helping banks figure out what areas are hot for selling mortgages. But, as we’ve started to talk with more potential users, they are asking us about applications like reducing suicide rates for veterans and preventing terrorists from getting money.

I thought some of the problems we were solving with Transact were exciting. Talking about the potential of Insight gives me goosebumps. That’s the power of intuitive innovation!