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Using agents to monitor the Internet
By Carlo Revelli
CEO of Cybion

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Methods of Monitoring: Having considered the different technologies, it is essential to understand how they can effectively be used, in order to optimize the principal monitoring activities.

We will examine some case studies.

Technology Watch:

If you wish to follow an existing technology or to detect an emerging technology, you have various options.

  • First of all, you can subscribe to online press review services. It is necessary in particular to mention Individual (better known as NewsPage), which uses a very effective agent technology to personalize your press review. With more than 600 sources and several thousand different headings, it is one of the most powerful on-line push services on the Internet. NewsPage is supplemented very well by Clarinet. Yahoo also offers a free and interesting service of sectoral dispatches. Maid, with the product "Profound", also allows you to carry out very specific press reviews, but has a rather high entry cost .
  • Then, you can identify the mailing lists closest to your interests, and subscribe to them in order to receive messages from different specialists in your mailbox. You can also follow one or more newsgroups on line, or through the archives that are recorded by the search engines. Once you have identified the search engines that effectively archive the newsgroups and the mailing lists that interest you (for example, Google.com), use an off-line alerting agent in order to monitor them (be careful of "noise").

It is also very useful to follow the creation or the removal of newsgroups in the technological field that you are interested in. This is a very good indicator for detecting an emerging technology. To create or remove a discussion forum, it is necessary to follow a precise set of rules, which are often rather constraining. To create a newsgroup, you have to announce the chosen theme in a special forum, set up a call for discussion during a determined period, then a vote takes place and if a certain quota of favorable opinions is reached (generally at least two-third of the votes), the forum can be brought into service. It is therefore a rather long and complicated task that clearly indicates when interest is crystallizing around a new technology. So it is important to follow the forums where the announcements, votes, and decisions takes place with close attention.

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