The train of desires
In my experience, booking a flight and hotel accommodation halfway across the world is easier than organizing a trip via public transportation. Buying a train ticket isn’t difficult, but when you have to combine different modes of transportation, it becomes increasingly complicated with every connection and timetable you encounter.
I’ll share the example of my search to find a route that takes me from the city of Modena in northern Italy to the city Latina, several hours south on the outskirts of Rome, for an afternoon meeting. This route requires a bus to the Modena station, finding the right train to the city of Bologna, a main hub that has regular trains to Rome. From Rome, the train to Latina, and finally a bus to the actual meeting point outside the city. Whew!
Today, accessing the essential information to organize such a trip can only be done by by browsing different websites, referring to various time tables, consulting a map, and if desperate, actually calling the local transportation office. At which point, a taxi starts to look more and more attractive, regardless of the costs. 🙂
Imagine the time and energy saved if it was possible to obtain all of this information with a single tool!
Traditional analysis technologies are not able to effectively handle such issues because they merely manage lists organized in databases, and, equally important, without understanding the meaning of the terms, they cannot find the precise information contained within the text. Instead, they can only help by extracting a given time (eg the train from Modena to Bologna), but only if it is coded in a database.
Text analytics represents a possible solution: select and extract relevant information and ideas in text (email, web pages, documents, social media, etc.). The approach of more advanced text analytics is one that uses semantic technology to understand the meaning of words, concepts and phrases in a text. It applies a series of algorithms and knowledge necessary to analyze the texts and to obtain the greatest possible amount of knowledge. And, hopefully to eventually identify the best route from Modena to Latina with minimal effort.