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The following section contains subjective comments about the system that represent our editor's opinions, and should not be viewed as fact. Editor's opinions include positive and negative judgments about the product written in consideration of wider context, including related products and the industry at large. Further subjective information is presented in clearly labeled "Editor's Notes" throughout the report.
Released in 2002, VantagePoint is a more mature system in the analysis field. Components of the system have even been licensed out to other companies; for instance, Thomson Data Analyzer is a licensed version of VantagePoint. A typical user would be a competitive analysis researcher trying to determine relationships and trends within data (primarily patents, but any data could be used). Examples could include seeking out the fields of invention of a company's main competitors, or discovering the primary inventors and assignees within a new technology. Like all analysis systems, the conclusions made after the analysis are only as good the data in the system. VantagePoint focuses on text mining and data manipulation in order to clean the datasets and ensure that they contain only the most relevant or important records. After cleaning the data, users can create the maps and matrices needed in their research.
As a system, VantagePoint has a high learning curve, especially for users new to analysis tools. Therefore, the guidance of an experienced user is highly recommended for beginners. Once users become acquainted with the system, it becomes highly functional in its primary tasks, which are cleaning data, mapping, and creating matrices. On the downside, the system has no built-in ability to create simple graphs and charts; rather, users must export data or use a script in order to add a chart or graph. Further, the graphics and visual output of results are not aesthetically pleasing.
From a structural view of the system architecture, VantagePoint is desktop-based and has no inherent searchable data collections, making it able to quickly process extremely large datasets without crashing. Because there is no included database, all data must be imported. This can lead to a database populated by errors introduced during the import process. In addition, it is possible that VantagePoint analyses can suffer in accuracy due to poor data quality from external sources. VantagePoint files (which are saved with the file extension “.vpt”) can be shared with other VantagePoint users without restriction, making it an acceptable tool for collaboration. The system does not include a security function; therefore users must rely on the security system of their computer and the network to which they are connected for protection.
VantagePoint is very competent in performing its core tasks. However there is some concern with the basic nature of VantagePoint's visual output: it as not as aesthetically pleasing as some users would perhaps like it to be, especially for the purpose of creating business documents. Furthermore, while VantagePoint aims to promote efficiency by offering a host of data-cleaning tools, there is something to be said for having a human manually select important documents for inclusion into a data set. The best analysis results are typically generated from carefully selected initial data sets.
Overall, VantagePoint is a maturing competitor in the small but growing patent analysis field, making the software ideally positioned for success in the coming years.