When a company that has more than 350,000 employees worldwide who collectively send and receive more than eight billion e-mails every year sets out to invent a ‘smart’ email search solution, it’s serious business.
That’s precisely what IBM Research has done—an e-mail search that can figure out what you are trying to find, even when you aren’t so sure yourself. And now, IBM is letting the rest of the world in on the secret sauce by making IBM OmniFind Personal Email Search (IOPES) for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook available at no charge on alphaWorks.
IOPES builds domain knowledge and reasoning capabilities to look for relationships buried in massive amounts of data. The technology simplifies searching for information because it returns more relevant results than simple keyword search. Common concepts that are built into the system enable users to quickly locate, for example, a person’s telephone number, even if the words ‘telephone’ and ‘number’ aren’t in the text of the email. And it’s also easy to define more complex concepts – such as meeting requests and locations – on the fly and then save and share them.
Made in IBM’s Research Labs, the software is powered by advanced algorithms that can interpret incomplete queries and find information such as phone numbers, people, meetings, presentations, documents, images and more. IOPES helps users quickly search and find information—for example a person’s phone number—even if the e-mail database does not have the words “phone” and “number” in the text. IOPES also allows users to create, save and share personalized searches for future use.
Available for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, this smart email search tool eliminates the frustration many of us feel when irrelevant search results occur due to incomplete information required for a simple text or keyword search. Common search concepts, such as dates, times and phone numbers, are built into the software; additional search parameters, such as meeting requests or specific locations, can be defined and used on the fly without any programming expertise. Such user-defined concepts can be shared between individuals and used to build a more personalized search system.
“With gigabytes of e-mail storage readily available to nearly everyone, e-mail has evolved from a simple communication tool into a personal database where we retain vast amounts of valuable information,” said Douglass Wilson, distinguished engineer and chief technology officer of Lotus. “We continue to deliver better tools to speed and improve personal mailbox search, and OmniFind Personal Email Search illustrates how IBM’s advanced technology delivers the ability to quickly and easily access the precise information we need, exactly when we need it.”
IOPES was created through a collaborative effort spanning IBM Research Labs in Almaden (California), Haifa (Israel) and Delhi (India). The software uses the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), an open source software framework that helps organizations build new analysis technologies to realize more value from their unstructured information by discovering relationships, identifying patterns, and predicting outcomes. Originally developed by IBM, UIMA is now an open source project at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF). UIMA already is used extensively to enable text analysis, extraction and concept search capabilities in other parts of the IBM OmniFind enterprise search portfolio, including OmniFind Enterprise Edition, OmniFind Analytics Edition, and OmniFind Yahoo! Edition.
alphaWorks is an online community that gives the outside world a unique peek into the work underway in IBM’s R&D labs by highlighting the company’s most cutting-edge work and providing it at no cost. More than 90 of the Fortune 100 companies access alphaWorks technologies.
Prior to release on alphaWorks, IOPES was tested inside IBM by early adopters who participate in the company’s internal Technology Adoption Program. This program invites IBM’s own technology enthusiasts to road test early stage software and engage with development teams by contributing their ideas and feedback. Approximately 100,000 employees are registered in the Technology Adoption Program and participants in this program’s First Adopters community rated IOPES as one of the top 10 solutions offered.