Friday, November 26, 2010

Panopticon

I had another look at Panopticon today. I had seen it before, but they have a new version out. Panopticon is probably most noticeable at first glance because of its spectacular data displays. Their marketing material usually features very busy charts of two types – tree maps (heat maps with a drill down) and what Panopticon calls horizon graphs, which only they offer, as far as I know. Horizon graphs are too busy for most applications and only seem to me to be useful for trying to get an overview of a large quantity of data. It sees itself as a competitor of Tableau and Spotfire.

Similarly, Panopticon’s data layer is specialized in supporting large quantities of multivariate data, often in real time, or near real time. Typical applications include real time monitoring of telecom networks and financial trades. Product is notable for its ability to access disparate data sources including column-based data sources and enterprise buses. This makes a bit more like middleware than most BI. The company is particularly active in the financial services industry, where about 80% of its customers are found. Panopticon offers semantics in what it calls a Stream Cube, a multidimensional model with data access and caching functions.

Panopticon’s newest release includes an easier way for end users to design dashboard that are embedded in third party systems. This product, which the company refers to as the Rapid Development Kit(RDK), is a reminder that the product is often used in very technical applications, such as as an embedded dashboard in a custom solution. The RDK is intended to allow business users to deliver content to such technical environments.

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