Each year, the editors at KMWorld magazine sift through dozens of thoughtful, impressive and sometimes humbling nominations to arrive at two very special awards. The KMWorld Promise and Reality Awards, bestowed each year during the KMWorld Conference and Expo, represent the year's most intriguing and, well, promising innovations from both the practitioners of knowledge management and the solution providers that fuel the innovation.
This year, KMWorld is pleased to present our awards to two organizations that represent, on one side, a clear understanding of the human potential to innovate and succeed, and on the other, a future-looking provider of a technology that may not seem immediately business-critical ... but it will.
The Reality Award winner is: MindTree, an innovation incubator
First, the Reality Award goes to MindTree, based in Bangalore, India, with offices in the United States and elsewhere throughout the globe. MindTree refers to itself as a midsize outsourcing company, but it has oversized ambitions. Its many accolades and awards as "best place to work," "best IT service company" and "best global service exporter" (go to their website for more) describe a proud and successful company with reach and influence.
But they're not satisfied to stay there, and that's where this award comes in. It started on the final day of "Osmosis 2009," what they call their "annual celebration of the geeks." During Osmosis every year, hundreds of Minds (MindTree's term for its employees—they are gifted with insouciance) present their ideas as working software, original papers, software patterns and concepts. This particular year, MindTree's Vice Chairman Subroto Bagchi launched the "5 by 50" program. "Five by 50" is about giving five of their "Minds" a chance to build a $50 million business, viable within five years, from their own ideas and play a leadership role of their choice.
The result? Of the 13 distinct ideas that emerged from that challenge, eight qualified for investment and further action, and one has already started working on its venture, creating a next-generation product line that has seen significant demand in the market.
The Promise Award winner is: piXlogic, image recognition
This year's Promise Award goes to a company whose product may seem futuristic from a day-to-day business perspective ... now. But piXlogic (despite its disregard for proper capitalization) has a vision of future applications that will probably soon seem commonplace in the inevitable video/YouTube/streaming world of information dissemination.
piXlogic was formed in 2000 in order to develop a new paradigm in image and video search. The goal was to "throw away the rule book used in traditional image processing and search, and to think differently from the status quo in the image processing community." The company did that. The result was piXserve, an enterprise-ready image and video search server that looks at images and into frames of videos to identify and index objects at the pixel level.
piXserve can find any objects in an image or frame of video, automatically classify those objects, identify text in images (not through OCR, but by using the same techniques to find objects, tuned for more than 28 languages) and also facial biometrics. piXlogic promises to allow customers to truly exploit their legacy and new image and video content by indexing it for general search. They like to say "piXserve is to image and video what Google/Lucene/Bing/Autonomy are to text."
As a real-life example, one customer runs an online auction site. piXserve scans for "allowed" and "unallowed" images on the site. piXserve first creates a "ground truth" database of allowed images and another ground truth database of disallowed images. When users submit images to be displayed, regarding their respective auctions, those images are automatically scanned and good images are tagged as accepted, while bad images (e.g. pornographic) are tagged as rejected.
The customer is currently experiencing 96 percent to 100 percent accuracy. That leaves 4 percent or fewer "unknown/unrecognized" images that have to be reviewed by an administrator. How much is piXserve handling? The site receives more than 30,000 new auctions per day with approximately 200,000 new images daily.