Hakia is building the Web’s new “meaning-based” search engine with the sole purpose of improving search relevancy and interactivity, pushing the current boundaries of Web search. The benefits to the end user is search efficiency, richness of information, and time savings.
The basic promise is to bring search results by meaning match - similar to the human brain’s cognitive skills - rather than by the mere occurrence (or popularity) of search terms. Hakia’s new technology is a radical departure from the conventional indexing approach, because indexing has severe limitations to handle full-scale semantic search.
Hakia’s capabilities will appeal to all Web searchers - especially those engaged in research on knowledge intensive subjects, such as medicine, law, finance, science, and literature. I would also add marketing here and hope that is not too presumptuous! Seriously, though, Hakia does take an interesting approach to search. If the company can truly make its search engine understand content in a way similar to a human brain, it will definitely have something special if not scary!!!
Personally, I plan to check back with Hakia a few times over the next month or so to see how the developments are unfolding. I’ll run some queries to find out whether it can help me with my work. A search on relative keywords for my business led me to a list of useful-looking results and ones I don’t usually find in Google, so I’m quite optimistic. Time will tell how well it delivers!
Go and have a look yourself and let me know what you think. It’s still in development, but it could end up being an additional useful tool in the Search Marketing and Optimisation arena.
January 23rd, 2007
We had initial contact from the owner of a petrol station concerned about the problems she was having with her bank and overdraft facility. Her account was constantly in excess of its limit, with the result that her cheques were being returned.
After a discussion with her bank manager, it became clear that the financial position was unclear and the property valuation was not up to date. We quickly resolved those issues and then renegotiated her bank facility. Though she had to pay for a new valuation, this proved money well spent.
The entire finance was restructured onto a loan with an agreement that the interest rate would be reviewed after 12 months. Essentially, the existing commercial mortgage and overdraft facility were converted to a new mortgage over a longer term. This released cash back into the business and reduced the monthly repayments. As this was a restructure of the business finance, an agreement was reached that the interest rate would be reviewed if the trading was better, and if the bank account remained in credit then the interest rate would be reduced.
However, the underlying problem was the lack of management control. The lady in question spent very little time at the site and relied on various staff to maintain the controls. In addition she was living beyond her means, both from a personal financial position and a business financial position, and this we proved to her by the completion of a business plan based on the actual sales of the business, and realistic targets for ongoing sales.
The problem was that she did not generate sufficient cash from the business to meet her liabilities including her own drawings.
She felt she had 2 options:
A: Sell the property and business
B: Continue and hope that things would improve.
Clearly, the second option would not work without some radical changes which she could not implement. The first option would not have provided sufficient cash for her to continue to live at her required standard for very long, and her skills would not allow her to obtain employment to provide a sufficient level of income.
As a workaround we brokered a third option with another petrol station owner we knew that operates many sites across Southern England and needed a better base for his operations.
This new operator has now taken on the management of the business. He also continues to run his other sites from this new site as it has an office. He has made the changes necessary, mainly in staff working patterns and control of deliveries. The site is now profitable!
The deal involved the new tenant paying above market rate for the rent. This provided sufficient income to the owner to maintain her lifestyle. The new tenant will however receive 50% of the proceeds of the sale of the business, above an agreed figure when sold. He is taking a gamble that the business and property value will increase substantially, but felt that we could grow the business substantially, which of course, was in his long term interest as well.
The current owner has her existing equity protected, she will receive 50% of any increase above that and her income is maintained. It is in the interest of both parties to maintain the business and premises at a high standard to improve the potential sale price.
We also completed new wills for both owner and tenant as they now have assets to protect. Insurance policies are in place to repay the finance if necessary.
Good lateral thinking has resulted in an arrangement that rewards both parties, meets both of their ambitions and ensures that good business practices are employed.
The end result is 3 happy people: the owner, the tenant and us.
We offer this type of service to all our clients. Financial restructuring could be a very positive step forward for your business.
Call our financial expert, Cliff Foster on 07944 866382 or e-mail us to discuss your requirments.
January 14th, 2007
You Tube is now immense but the image quality remains poor. Greater UK Bandwidth will help matters and allow us to use and view better quality mini-movies. (Current standard bandwidth in Japan is 100mb) However, a new high definition video-sharing site from the creators of Kazaa and Skype, codenamed the Venice Project, allows you to watch TV shows as well as home videos, but without the pixels getting in the way. All viewing will be legitimate: the developers are currently in negotiations with Major TV networks across the globe to use their content, from the most zany to the most loved and enjoyed.
The project is in development at present but marketing companies like us hope that better pixilation will allow us to offer a better Vcasting service to our clients. With greater bandwidth scheduled for this year, we can expect video marketing to take off as never before and what’s more, it will be affordable!
January 1st, 2007