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Visallo Releases Version 2.0 Of Its Big Data Analysis And Visualization Platform

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Visallo develops investigative case management software built on a scalable big data platform. The company recently released version 2.0 of its big data analysis and visualization platform for investigators. Below is our interview with Jeff Kunkle from Visallo software:

Q: Jeff, tell us something more about the company and your solutions?

A: While our company is relatively young, the Visallo software has been in development for over three years. Most of our engineers have long histories of supporting the defense and intelligence communities, which brings a unique perspective to how we approach developing a platform for large-scale investigative analysis. For example, fine-grained data security has been a core design principle from day one. That’s something you don’t often see with many of today’s big data solutions. Visallo can enforce access controls down to the individual property level using arbitrary boolean expressions. That access control is enforced at the data storage level and is always on. The ability to leverage the unique experiences of our engineers has led to some really well thought out and novel software solutions.

Q: What is the mission that guides Visallo’s decisions?

A: Our mission is to help investigators of all kinds find and expose people and organizations who defraud, perpetrate, terrorize, or generally exploit others. We’re replacing the fear associated with massive amounts of data with tools that give them the confidence to exploit huge quantities of data to perform more accurate analysis, with greater thoroughness, in shorter amounts of time. That might be a fraud investigator pouring over data to find fraudulent claims, a law enforcement investigator combining over crime reports to better understand and map out drug rings, or an all-source analyst scrutinizing intel reports and open source data to support the war-fighter down range. In short, we’re building an extensible software platform for big data investigative analysis.

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Q: How do you differentiate in the market? What makes Visallo unique?

A: There are many legacy investigative tools on the market, but very few that tackle data at a really large scale with such an open, extensible architecture. We couldn’t have built Visallo 5-7 years, before open source projects like Hadoop, Accumulo, and Elasticsearch existed. All of these, and many more, underpin the core of Visallo. But we’re not just using open source projects, we’re also contributing to the movement by making the core of Visallo open source as well. Our customers never have to worry about their data being trapped and held hostage in a proprietary data format, which is a huge concern for them.

Another big differentiator for us is Visallo’s extensibility. We always anticipated that clients would need to customize the product–they always do–and designed the platform accordingly. We’re constantly adding new extension points that allow customers to develop new data analytics and user interface features tailored to their line of business. We help clients customize their Visallo implementation nine times out of ten. And we do it without sacrificing upgradeability.

The last big differentiator that I’ll mention is our user interface. We’ve been able to develop a web-based UI that’s just as responsive and feature rich, maybe even more so, than almost any desktop client. Some of my favorite features include real-time updates of data pushed from the server, live collaborative investigations (think Google Docs live editing), and customizable graph formatting and layouts. Customers get the convenience of deploying a web-based application without sacrificing desktop-level features.

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Q: You’ve recently released version 2.0 of your big data analysis and visualization platform for investigators; what are main updates?

A: Version 2.0 was a big release for us, with major performance improvements to our analytics stack as well as new user-facing features. We dramatically increased the throughput of our data processing pipeline, which improves not only our built-in analytics set, but also all of the custom analytics developed by our customers. On the UI side of things we’ve added user-configurable dashboards, custom aggregation visualizations, graph decorations, saved searches, multiple export formats, and timeline visualizations. Investigators will be able to extract a lot more value from their data with the 2.0 release.

We’ve also started a big transition of Visallo components to Facebook’s React framework. It’s an important step as the size of the platform grows and the customer base expands. The transition will help eliminate whole classes of bugs, promoting a proliferation of shared components for third-party plugin developers. This transition makes you really happy if you’re a UI developer.

Q: What can we expect from you in next 6-9 months?

A: We’ll be focusing a lot of effort on continuing to build capabilities that make it easier for investigators to find information of interest, learn more about it, organize it, and produce presentable artifacts from it. Like many other technology companies, we’re looking for ways to leverage recent advancements in machine learning technologies, like deep learning, to make an investigator’s job of exploiting huge quantities of data more efficient. However, we don’t want to force analysts and investigators to become data scientists, so we’re being very deliberate about how we introduce those capabilities into the platform.

We’ll also be incorporating a lot of the feedback we’re receiving from customers as well as looking for new ones in markets we don’t yet serve who are interested in partnering on pilot efforts.

The next 6-9 months will definitely be exciting for the Visallo team and our customers.

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