Luca Scagliarini: There’s another use case is risk management, which applies to not only oil and gas, but also to any corporation. Companies in the oil and gas sector have a very peculiar situation. Their assets are distributed geographically in many different areas. Most of them are dangerous areas. In addition, they have thousands of customers and employees. Being able to protect these assets is an important task for them. Protecting means to be informed at any moment in time about what’s happening in any geography. I’m not talking only about wild attacks. For example, there may be a flood that is disrupting the main road that goes from your production facility in Azerbaijan to where you need to ship the oil. It might not be a piece of news that makes CNN. Maybe if you’re not informed in real-time, you might end up delaying your production.
All of this is done by running intelligence analysis on streams of information. Streams of information is anything from global news to local news and from local blogs to social media. The more you can process, the better it is. Being able to read through keywords makes a big difference because it enables you to process information and extract what is relevant at the right moment in time. It applies to other industries also.
Sramana Mitra: Are there other use cases in the other two verticals that you mentioned that we have not discussed?
Luca Scagliarini: In Finance, it’s a similar use case in terms of monitoring huge streams of information. However, it’s around, for example, anti-money laundering. Companies in the finance industry are required to make sure that you know your customer. Knowing your customer means having information around the actual data of your customers, but it also means knowing, in any moment in time, if your customer is exposed to activities that could suggest connections with organized crimes. This is done by processing all the open information available and being able to filter, sift through, and extract things that could be relevant. Legislation tells that you need to show that you made the effort of expanding the knowledge of your customer. That’s what you can do with search engine and semantic capability built on top of a search engine.
Sramana Mitra: You have a bunch of diverse use cases. Tell me a little bit about how you sell. I think for AI startups, positioning and selling solutions has always been somewhat tricky. In your case, you’ve now gotten to a bit of scale. The acquisitions that you’ve done have gotten you a bit more scale. Let’s talk specifically about the organic part of your business. How do you sell? Do you go to system integrators?
Luca Scagliarini: Up to now, all our organic growth came through direct sales. It has become a little bit more mainstream, but traditionally advanced knowledge management of open source information has always been some sort of a niche. It’s a big market. It’s a complex market because it’s a new way of seeing something that people thought could be addressed by Google, for example, the Google approach. The way we went was to identify these verticals where there are several use cases, but were, at the end of the day, about understanding content in context.
You have Finance. You know that they have lots of issues around information management, but specifically there are three—internal knowledge, compliance, and something like anti-money laundering. We started building use cases around there. We replicated that across different geographies. As you mentioned, the adoption of technologies like ours in certain sectors like publishing happens earlier because it is directly related to revenue generation.
However, we are developing a network of partners who can use the core technology to go after other use cases. Each industry has different use cases and we can’t cover everything. By providing core technologies and all the tools to be able to do that, you can actually, not only address different vertical cases, but also develop specific software applications. Deep understanding of content can be an enabler for new generation of applications.