As reported in a Market IQ last year, Enterprise Search, as part of a findability strategy, is a paramount concern for many knowledge workers. The ability and rate with which organizations are amassing content has left many corporate users frustrated and mumbling, "If only we knew what we know", referring to an inability to retrieve and glean value from captured content.
But the same technologies that allow enterprises to amass content are moving downstream to the personal user. In a recent article in FAST Company, holographic memory was introduced, technology which will store 1 terabyte of content (about 61 billion books) on a standard disc, you know one that you might just pop into your laptop. Now also consider that the Kindle, a "simple book reader", allows you to carry around approximately 1500 books - quite a "personal library." Using Twitter you can be bombarded with the thougts, ramblings and perhaps deep meaningful insights of literally thousands of people, on a continuous basis.
Personal and highly portable content collections have reached unfathomable heights, and will only increase as our ability to send, capture and store at the personal level increases.
The market for personalized search tools that are as portable and user-centric as today's hand-helds, is a market that will likely explode in the coming years. As I have pontificated at the enterprise level for years, content without search is useless. Well, forget Enterprise Search, people are going to take search very personal. Investors in all this personal technology and content will soon realize, "What good are all my investments in content if I cannot locate what I have?".
I cannot help but recall Professor Matt Kohl, who was the founder of PLS (Personal Library Software), and a professor at Syracuse University. I met Matt back in the days when my career in ECM was just beginning, back in the early 1980s. Matt shared with me that he would often ask his students "What if we had infinite storage capabilities, the ability to store literally everything ever learned. What problems would still exist?", (Or something like that, my own memory and retrieval systems are a bit flawed.) His point was that storage technology was moving much more quickly than search. Search as we envisioned back in the early 1980s was still predominately limited to keyword Boolean word-based approaches.
With capture and storage capabilities at a personal, hand-held level growing so rapidly, Matt's challenge is perhaps now even more relevant - taking on a very personal nature.
The market for search technology will certainly blossom in the coming years, but forget enterprise search. Search tools at a very personalized level, as portable as the devices used to carry personal and vast libraries, finely tuned to their "owners" ways, preferences, opinions and communities - highly personalized and contextual search tools, that is the more exciting search market to watch in coming years.