Convera Beefs Up Content-Retrieval Product

The poorly timed venture, formed when Excalibur Technologies joined forces with Intel, has repositioned itself in the business market, and its latest product offering is an attempt to meet growing demands among enterprise customers.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 22, 2002

2 Min Read

Continuing its transition from an interactive services company into an enterprise-focused content-management vendor, Convera on Monday will release a version of its content-retrieval software that it says is the first to enable access to all forms of multimedia and text-based content. The update to Convera's RetrievalWare also features enhanced categorization, beefed-up security, and multilingual capabilities.

Convera was formed in December 2000 when Excalibur Technologies Corp. combined with Intel's Interactive Media Services division. The two companies intended to provide professional sports leagues and entertainment companies with the ability to produce and sell audio and video content online, but as consumer demand for such services has withered, Convera has repositioned itself in the business marketplace. Underscoring that development was the termination last September of the company's agreement to supply interactive services to the National Basketball Association. Shortly after ending that deal, Convera bought back $11 million worth of stock the NBA had acquired when the relationship was formed.

The enhancements to RetrievalWare are the result of customer feedback and demand, says Dan Agan, Convera's senior VP of marketing and corporate development. He says Convera's customers are facing growing multimedia libraries thanks to a rise in audio and video earnings announcements, E-learning content, and audio and video files captured in knowledge-management systems. Many customers also have expressed growing interest in ensuring the security of their content, as well as the need to access multiple-language content repositories around the globe, he says. Additionally, Agan says Convera's 35 customers in the intelligence communities all have seen increased need for searching multimedia files to support counterterrorism efforts in the wake of Sept. 11.

Convera can certainly use whatever revenue boost the latest product release can generate. For its year ended Jan. 31, the company reported a loss of $910.5 million, largely because of a one-time charge of $754 million stemming from the costs of its formation and the termination of the company's relationship with the NBA. Year-end revenue of $34.2 million marked a 34% decrease from the results Excalibur posted a year earlier.

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