NZ Police deploy semantic search technology

Police have been using locally developed Syl Semantics search engine technology since late 2011

New Zealand Police have adopted locally developed semantic search technology in their three 24x7 contact centres.

The search engine technology was developed by Wellington-based software company Syl Semantics. Police have been using it since late December 2011.

“Though the new search technology formally went live earlier this year following a stress-free implementation, we haven’t been able to announce this contract until today,” says Syl Semantics chief executive Sean Wilson. “Winning this business is an important milestone for our company.”

During December 2011, Syl Semantics initiated discussions with New Zealand Police about using the specialist search technology within the police communications centres in support of their intranet. Police have recently implemented a new content management system and felt that a specialist search component would enhance that system’s overall performance.

Kieran Kortegast, centre manager for the Southern Communications Centre, who led the project for police, says the new search engine is fast and delivers accurate results. “An additional, and less expected benefit, has been that our staff have access to a wider range of data.”

Wilson says the use of specialist search engine technology means significantly improved search efficiency when compared to generic enterprise tools with a search component. The engine’s semantic design delivers smarter search capability by providing results that are in context.

The use of a customised dictionary of commonly used police acronyms, synonyms and operational terms, integrated into Syl, allows communications centre staff to search using their normal operational jargon.

“We are now even more confident that Syl can offer very significant benefit to any organisation that has a commercial need for fast, accurate and comprehensive search across their structured or unstructured data environments,” Wilson says.

Syl Semantics is a privately owned Wellington-based software company established in 2008. In July 2011, after two and a half years of research and development, Syl launched its new-generation enterprise search product, Syl Search, based on a proprietary semantic (context understanding) technology platform.

Syl Search accesses data from all manner of content sources within an organisation, irrespective of the technology used to store it or whether the data is geographically dispersed. It permits searches based on jargon, acronyms and other specific-use terminology and concepts used within different companies and industries.

Wilson says the technology has been met with encouraging market response with three significant government agencies now using it and a large number of other organisations very interested.

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