Launched just in March 2000 by Neurodynamics, the same company that spun off Autonomy, NCorp has clinched a deal with EGi (Estates Gazette Interactive).
EGi has one of the largest online commercial property listings, and is making its site more user-friendly, ultimately converting more surfers into sales. EGPropertylink.co.uk is using fuzzy search technology to help business buyers find the right property.
NCorp's Perspective software helps to achieve this by providing intelligent alternatives to user enquiries, making the ‘No matches found’ message a thing of the past. The technology offers the chance to check out the details of thousands of commercial properties free of charge 24 hours a day. The software provides sensible alternatives to user enquiries – allowing customers to find exactly what they’re looking for, or closely related options. It does this by identifying complex patterns and trends in structured data, and learning as it goes.
EGPropertylink is an associated free service of EGi.co.uk, the online news, research and information service for the property professional. EGi was one of the first business-to-business e-commerce sites to be launched in the UK. The service was established in June 1996 and has since attracted over 6,000 subscribers. Users include commercial property developers, agents, buyers and potential leaseholders.
“The cliché is ‘location, location, location’. In the real world, however, choosing a property depends on a host of factors such as type, size, cost and location. Most people only have a general idea of what they want – something in this area, at around that price, or whatever. Perspective will enable us to cope with that vagueness and match it to a property on our database. The implications for sales and customer service are enormous,” said Jim Muttram, electronic media director at EGi.
“The biggest challenge for any e-commerce site is enabling the customer to find and use the right information in a relevant way. So we have to ensure that customers won’t leave our site thinking that we don’t have a property suitable for them,” added Muttram. “What’s more, the team at NCorp was able to roll out the project in a matter of weeks,” he concluded.
“One of the most common problems facing e-commerce sites is how to help customers find what they want quickly and easily,” said Emma Barnes, head of operations at NCorp. “More importantly, if you don’t have exactly what they want, how do you offer them a sensible alternative without a follow-up phone call? And how do you even know when you’ve disappointed a customer until it’s too late? By providing intelligent alternatives, the technology will help convert more surfers into sales.”
Neurodynamics was founded in 1991 by a group of researchers, including Dr Mike Lynch, from Cambridge University. The company develops and applies advanced pattern recognition technology to previously unsolved business problems, across a number of markets. Its divisions include Biometrics – which has developed finger print and 3D facial recognition technology and Vision & Imaging – which has developed Witness, an intelligent surveillance system. Neurodynamics spun off its text analysis division in 1996 to form Autonomy, and in 1998 formed a subsidiary company, Neurascript, which specializes in intelligent character recognition.