Multimedia Search Matures . . . But Not Without Growing Pains

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Sidebar: Coveo Brings Multimedia Search to the Enterprise
Multimedia is not only relevant in consumer applications. With increasing frequency, this type of content is showing up in the enterprise, and Coveo, a pure-play enterprise search vendor, has recently added multimedia search tools to help users find this content.

Coveo president and CEO Laurent Simoneau believes that his company has entered multimedia search at the early stages of a big wave in the enterprise and he says it’s growing for a couple of reasons. “The authoring tools are accessible and the storage is so cheap that it’s no big deal to store content on a hard drive. Once you store it, the next step is to search,” Simoneau says.

Coveo developed speech recognition technology to track multimedia information. He says, “We are extracting a transcript from the audio stream using speech recognition that is enhanced with our search technologies. The content has been indexed to increase quality of speech recognition, making it searchable for a custom vocabulary.”

Eric Negler, EVP for business development at Coveo says the company decided to develop the technology when it was approached by a customer with a particular problem related to large video files. “This customer tasked us with finding a way to search untagged audio and video,” which presented Coveo with a challenge.

Although Coveo looked at licensing the technology, Simoneau says it found it was necessary to build it. “The challenge is you have to use some sort of speech recognition technology to make it searchable. However, the level of the speech-recognition science currently is not good enough to search for custom words and custom vocabulary, so we found a way to solve this problem by using our own technology,” Simoneau says

Ultimately, Simoneau believes that multimedia content is a growing proposition in the enterprise and enterprise search engines have to be able to find this content. “We see rich media search or audio and video search as a component of the enterprise search application. We see enterprise search as a single point of access or as the interface between users and applications. Rich media will grow fast. Components will include wave voicemail files in Outlook and you need to search within those things.”

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