This week, the ArnoldIT blog Beyond Search features an interview with Rahul Agarwalla, technical executive at Uchida Spectrum, a leading search system integrator in Japan.
Uchida Spectrum pioneered the integration of search technologies in workflow applications for large Japanese multi-national corporations, tying together disparate applications and data sets using search, through their SMART InSight offering:

SMART InSight enables customers to integrate multiple data sets from one or more departments, to easily navigate across these datasets and to analyze massive data sets using charts and tables driven by search. The application interface is determined by the data and by what kind of discovery & analysis customer needs – somewhat similar to a BI system. [In one, we] fed data from the American agency NHTSA (National Highway and Transport Safety Administration) into SMART InSight. We shared this prototype with some of the large Japanese auto firms. Their analysts discerned found trends and common issues using the standard charts and other features.

One of the strengths of the open source movement is community-based cooperation. Due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Lucid Imagination and Uchida Spectrum have agreed to contribute $1000 to help the Japanese community with support for disaster relief efforts. We invite you to make a contribution can go to: http://bit.ly/i4H6gj

We then integrated customer’s datasets with the NHTSA data to build a powerful analysis application. [It can use] fields with similar meaning—for example, component category or VIN [Vehicle Identification Number–to create data driven inter-linkages. These linkages allow you to navigate dynamically across the data sets. So users starting from part failure were able to ‘data chain’ to performance data for the affected cars, related claims, NHTSA reports etc.

Originally built with FAST Search and Transfer, Uchida has re-implemented their SMART Insight technology and interfaces to Solr/Lucene and Lucidworks Enterprise:

Our product, SMART InSight, uses search to integrate and retrieve information — so scalability and reliability, at reasonable cost, are critical factors. Lucene/Solr has delivered this in spades. The amount of data we can index on a server and the ability to scale in a linear fashion are unmatched. For instance, in one project we found a 10x improvement due to lower cost of ownership combined with higher performance. … As the quantity of data grows unabated, customers are extremely concerned about cost of future expansion. Working with Lucid Imagination we are able to meet such technical and business challenges and build a future proof foundation.

Agarwalla will be presenting at Lucene Revolution, addressing, among other things, the tremendous growth ahead facing the China and India markets and the role Solr and Lucene can play:

The large IT pool especially in India offers an opportunity to expand the Lucene/Solr movement. Today these engineers have developed the habit of only using databases in their solution architecture – and as the adage goes, “if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. We need to train them on search so it is a default part of their solution toolkit.

You can read the full interview here.