Monitor110

A look inside the Monitor110 research suite

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I know what I want for Christmas. It’s going to be expensive, but Monitor110 is already making beta testers money. It’s a real time research suite tracking RSS, deep web, static web changes and many other sources with multiform alerts, semantic analysis, extensive domain knowledge concerning financial markets and high profile VC backing.

The company was profiled in the Financial Times last night, but we have exclusive details and the first public screenshot of the service.

Almost three years in development, with funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson amongst others, Monitor110 is set to launch in early 2007. It looks a lot like big parts of my research system (which I take great pride in) rolled into one very smart, automated system. High level knowledge workers in the future are likely to combine Monitor110 for what we call feed reading today with something like SystemOne for a CMS and Touchstone for alerts. Just as Root Markets is taking attention to financial markets first, Monitor110 is focused at launch on hedge funds. People who deal in pure money are probably the only market that is ready for these kinds of technologies on a large scale today, though individuals in any field could well use them to gain a competitive advantage.

Monitor110 gathers information from 40 million sources of various types (100 million by the end of next year they say), ranked by financial market knowledge through a proprietary algorithm that takes 50 factors into account – inbound links being just one reputation metric. Users can chose between top sources preselected for their market sector and subscribe to sources of their own. Static sites can be monitored for changes with good granularity. Premium subscription and other deep web sources, blogs, forums, news and regulatory filings are among the sources included. The end results will be delivered through the company’s RSS reader with email, IM and SMS alerts as appropriate.

Rather than keyword search, the company’s technology is based on conceptual or semantic search. Those conceptual search results are prioritized relative to key events in industry news.

If you’re familiar with the consumer online research space, think Technorati plus Pubsub plus Sphere plus WatchThatPage plus NexisLexis plus Newsgator white label plus Rasasa – with vertical search domain knowledge overlaid that targets people who’s bread is buttered by getting key information first.

I know that I struggle with piecing together a research infrastructure similar to Monitor110’s with quite a few different services. To have all of the above functions rolled into one service is a very exciting prospect.

Monitor110 will be a hosted service subscribed to per user per year. The company wouldn’t tell me what that price will be but said that it’s a high-end product. I asked whether RSS and web based real-time research were better appreciated today than they were when the company was formed. Monitor110 President and COO Roger Ehrenberg told me this is definitely the case, but that RSS in particular is still almost unknown in the hedge fund milieu. None the less, Ehrenberg told me that the service has been very well received among exclusive beta testers, a number of whom have already clearly identified ways the service has made them money.

Monitor110 does not incorporate Attention data as Ehrenberg says the sector is very siloed and not set up to share knowledge. I am surprised that in the three years since the company was conceived and has incorporated so many trends in cutting-edge online research that they haven’t incorporated Attention on an individual level. I also asked whether the service would be available preinstalled on a server to place onsite and it will not.

Will Monitor110 be able to scale in performance to its ambitious goals and convince customers that it is sufficiently secure as a hosted service? Only time will tell, but the company certainly has the resources to work towards those goals.

The company’s primary strength is their domain knowledge around financial markets. If the same infrastructure could be built into other verticals, I don’t know how much demand there would be today, but I’m willing to bet there will be a whole lot in the future. In fact, now that research suites like Monitor110 are coming to market, those of us who have been piecing together several different services to gain a competitive advantage in our fields are going to have to move to the next level. Services like this will give many more people the tools to get high-quality information at very early stages after it emerges.

The following is the first screenshot that has been released by the company. You can see that it’s tailored to the financial crowd, but you can also see how the different features and topics are integrated. I expect that Monitor110 will see substantial adoption in it’s target market and is a harbinger of the kinds of knowledge tool suites that many industries will rely on in the near future.

Beta users will be accessing the fully functioning service in October and the service will be ready for subscription in early 2007. You can click on the screen shot below to view a larger size and get a look at what the systems multifeature company and concept search subscription dashboard looks like.

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