iSpheres arguably has a more exciting history than the average start-up. It originated in the Infospheres research project at the California Institute of Technology as long ago as 1988. Its purpose?
To devise a nimbler ‘command and control’ system for the US Air Force.
But the fruits of that research go far beyond the military. “There’s an interesting parallel between a soldier and today’s business executive,” says Robert Naify, director of corporate marketing. “Both have to be aware of the events around them and react as quickly as possible.”
The iSpheres ‘meta application framework’ is made up of two core elements: the iSpheres Event Fabric, an event-detection mechanism that uses mathematical algorithms to detect and respond to certain events; and the iSpheres Design Center, a development tool that can be used to construct and maintain the workflow that will flag up these events and trigger an appropriate response.
The iSpheres system works horizontally across multiple enterprise applications, says Naify. For example, if a company’s supply chain management system generates a report that a supplier will not meet its shipping date, this will trigger a reaction from the iSpheres system to identify a reliable supplier through an external marketplace, and inform the user accordingly.
This ‘sense and respond’ approach has earned iSpheres some promising partnerships with a number of influential software vendors. The company has signed OEM deals with supply chain software vendor i2 Technologies, analytics specialist Hyperion and IBM.
“The iSpheres platform includes an integration layer, data acquisition, event detection and alerting mechanisms. They might have to invest in two or three other vendors’ products to get as complete a framework, or months of in-house development,” says Naify.
Its $200,000 price tag may deter some organisations. However, in an increasingly cutthroat economic climate, the ability to respond to events quickly and efficiently is something for which many organisations may be prepared to pay for.