Connotate Equips Penn State Seniors to Research Future Global Trends

News Brunswick, NJ -9 July 2009

Connotate, provider of solutions which transform information from the Web and enterprise into user-empowered on-demand applications and actionable intelligence, today announced the use of their SaaS environment as an integral part of the capstone IST 440W course offered at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). The capstone course is a senior-level curriculum that requires students to work collaboratively in teams to identify research and communicate the technical and social context of a significant global challenge.

Integrated into the course syllabus as one of the key technologies for automating and monitoring clue detection tasks, the Connotate solution was often deployed as the primary technology to extract and illustrate data from Web sources. Connotate equipped the students with an educational subscription to their SaaS offering and online training, helped the students identify and select relevant sources for intelligence gathering, and delivered guest lectures and guidance on automating data collection for research projects. By analyzing the data delivered by Connotate software Agents and through other research – students discovered trends and identified potential inflection points for a variety of global challenges. A sampling of project topics and how Connotate Agents were deployed for clue detection include:

Obesity in America ― Connotate Agents monitored and gathered the data that allowed students to analyze and visualize trends between meat consumption per person, stock fluctuations for fast food chains, weekly video game sales and television viewing hours.

How Global Economic Factors Effect Bandwidth Proliferation ― Connotate Agents were used to automate the data collection of stock prices for publicly traded companies related to bandwidth consumption to visualize historic and predict future trending.

How Higher Education Affects the Economy ― Connotate Agents were used to monitor and collect data from multiple sources, including student loan and job market sites, to help students identify how money is brought into the colleges, and how the majors students are graduating from affect the economy.

Energy Consumption ― Connotate Agents monitored and collected daily dynamic information from web sources focused on oil prices, natural gas prices, prices at the pump, car sales and hybrid and combustion engines to help students determine trends and predict future trends for energy consumption.

“This has been a good experience for Penn State and the College of IST and I am proud of the students and projects they delivered,” says Shawn Clark, Professor of Practice at the College of IST. “Even basic Agents created by the students alleviated large amounts of work, allowing students to focus their efforts on the more important analysis efforts. We look forward to offering the Connotate solution as a key technology in the future sessions of this course and in our research efforts.”

“The capstone course was outstanding preparation for industry because the projects required the students to work collaboratively when approaching large unstructured problems that are often the norm in business,” says Matt Jacobson, Connotate’s vice president of Client Services. “Students needed to define the problem, identify and select relevant and reliable sources supporting their topic, work as a team, and present a conclusion to a large, significant audience. Skills and experience that will well prepare them for the jobs they’ll undertake as they enter industry upon graduation.”

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