Turning up the heat with .Net - Panopticon launches the first .Net heat mapping product

31 August 2004, Stockholm, Sweden - Panopticon Software, the leading supplier of real-time visualisation tools, today announced the launch of Panopticon Developer, a Heat Mapping Toolkit/SDK for .Net. For organisations building heat mapping applications and taking advantage of the power and ease-of-use of the latest Microsoft technologies - the .Net framework - it is now possible to use the components provided in Panopticon Developer for .Net to create very powerful, richly interactive heat mapping applications with just a few lines of code, binding directly to any dataset. Panopticon is the only vendor in the heat mapping/tree mapping space that is offering developer tools for .Net.

"The .Net version of heat mapping is the next generation of visualisation. It empowers the end user to perform any analysis that fits their specific needs, allowing them to slice and dice the data. Independently of how the application is initially set up, users can freely manipulate the data, for example to understand how their portfolio is performing against competition or an index," said Willem De Geer, CEO of Panopticon.

Applications built using Panopticon Developer give the end user control. The tools available offer unconstrained data analysis. Values can be aggregated or compared on the fly. Objects satisfying multiple criteria can be identified instantly. Overall, the focus has moved from administrator level configurations to user level selections.

Panopticon Developer adds support for interactive heat maps on yet another platform - complementing the earlier offering from Panopticon, which included two SDKs providing native support for heat mapping using Java (Windows, Linux/Unix) and ActiveX platforms (Windows). Panopticon Developer is targeting developers and is entirely built using C#. It has a well-designed object oriented architecture and utilizes modern graphics APIs. The product includes documentation, sample code and a whole new set of complementary visual controls which work together with the heat map to create a truly revolutionary visualisation tool which gives instant access to a high level view as well as the detail.

"The .NET toolkit is going to be the most productive of our developer APIs yet. It contains a much larger collection of ready-made widgets and other objects and is simple to use for any developer," said Ludvig Karlsson, senior developer at Panopticon.

Technical Summary
Panopticon Developer gives you a graphical "pivot table" which is designed to visualise information in a way that allows users to intuitively analyse data in a form that the brain digests very quickly indeed using pre-attentive processing by the brain It is defined as involuntary processing of visual information without focused attention in a very short time - as fast as 200 milliseconds. (see below)

1. Support for multidimensional data
2. Data Binding, which makes it easy to load data from any data set. Tree building can be done automatically which saves developers a lot of time and lowers the total cost of ownership.
3. Improved components as well as new ones that empower the user, including:
a. Organizer: Completely dynamic and user-defined categorisation, sorting and filtering,
b. Navigator: Several solutions for facilitated and more effective navigation in large datasets
c. Ruler: Graphic and intuitive tools for setting of levels and thresholds for colour coding
4. Improved user friendliness designed with the Windows modern look, completely aligned with XP and adjusted to Windows standard paradigm.

Heat maps - brain and mind
Preattentive processing is the innate, natural skill put to use with heat maps
Imagine you take a first look at a heat map. As you probably already know, you will be able to point out important values - the big squares and the intensely coloured ones - in a matter of seconds. However, what most people are unaware of is that your brain processes the information before your mind become aware of it. For the brain, it is not a question of seconds, but milliseconds. Scientists call this preattentive processing.

Preattentive processing, in the research of Triesman and others, has been found to be valid for a limited set of visual features in images, including size and colour. It is defined as involuntary processing of visual information without focused attention in a very short time - as fast as 200 milliseconds. This automated and effortless perception of information is what visualization tools such as heat maps make use of. Naturally, it only works for graphic objects. Letters and numbers will always require a conscious and intellectually demanding process in order to be transferred from ink on a paper (or dots on the screen) to something that makes sense to us. Words don’t come easily, and a picture says more than a thousand words.

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