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March 23, 2012

Making sense of the Lexmark/ISYS acquisition

The dust is settling from the news announced last Monday that Lexmark was acquiring independent search and tools company ISYS. Just a couple of weeks before, HP's Mike Lynch, founder of recently acquired Autonomy, speculated to the press that HP may produce an Autonomy Search Appliance, and furthermore that HP might integrate Autonomy IDOL with its high-end printers. That seemed funny at the time; does the world really need printers that can search? Risk management makes for strange bedfellows, I suppose.

But now, barely two weeks later, Lexmark's Perceptive Software company (a 'Lexmark Company'), acquires ISYS. One wonders if Mike was aware of those negotiations.

Stranger still: Perceptive also announced it had acquired Massachusetts-based Nolij, a leading provider of document imaging and workflow solutions. While their focus has been in the education marketplace, presumably there is some synergy between document imaging, scanning, search - and hard-copy output devices. And you'd think that growing a market among enterprises is a possibility for a well-respected imaging company formerly focused only on higher education markets.

So imagine a system that can scan and OCR textual content and full-text index the content into your enterprise search platform. Seamless magic. Do you think anyone would want that?

I think we'll see more and more of this kind of software/hardware integration, and not just 'because we can'. Consider this: New Zealand-based Pingar uses its software to perform entity recognition and extraction and is now embedded in high speed scanners to eliminate the need to manually enter data from standardized forms like insurance warranty claims. Disclosure: here at New Idea Engineering, we were so impressed with the value Pingar brings to enterprise search that we signed on as their first US-based partner

Can you imagine a scanner that can scan, OCR, extract entities, and create a search index in real time as the high speed scanner reads your forms. Federate that into your existing enterprise search platform with appropriate security, and some big problems for big companies are solved pretty much automatically. Seamless magic indeed!

What do you think? Would you find such a device useful at your organization?






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