Report:VantagePoint/Data Visualization/Relationship Networks
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VantagePoint is capable of determining relationships between fields. For example, the system could be used to ascertain those companies that work closely together, or peruse a set of company and inventorship data to determine a particular inventor's employment history. Typically the mapping function is used for this type of comparison, but analysts could also use the program to create a matrix. In the example below, a cross-correlation map is created between the patent assignee and the inventor names. The solid blue lines show that Mazda Motor has a strong correlation with Zexel Corp. This could mean that the companies are partnering on the development of a product, or one company is the subsidiary of another. Viewing the inventors of each company, as shown in the picture, one can see that Sakurai and Iida are common; in fact, they are the most frequent inventors for both companies. This could mean that both inventors have worked for both companies or both inventors are in charge of the partnership between the two companies. While it is difficult to be absolutely certain, the information gathered regarding these relationships can be useful when combined with other competitive intelligence.
Both maps and matrices can be used to determine relationships. In both cases, knowing what relationships are of interest is critical, as this will dictate how the data is cleaned and grouped. Including unnecessary data in the analysis not only increases processing time, but bogs down the results with spurious data.
One additional recommendation to analysts is to confirm relationships using outside data sources, such as a web search, for example. For instance, if the analysis shows two companies are related, a simple online search can be used to verify this is correct. Outside research and verification activities generally improve analysis results.