Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Online Visual Search Of Any Catalogue Or Database: Omniscope Opens New Horizons To Business

Iokio Omniscope is a desktop tool that allows direct visualization of database/spreadsheet data while providing powerful filter/search capabilities. Omniscope is a great new tool to publish, visually explore and interactively search through complex datasets online.

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Omniscope turns your data into interactive visualizations that can be viewed by Web visitors with a freely downloadable viewer or which can be fully integrated in a Web page without requiring a separate tool to access the visual data.

To get an immediate feel for how effective this tool can be, you need simply to look at this page.



With Omniscope, selecting and identifying your ideal digital camera becomes a breeze. You set the requirements you need to apply and you see instantly who matches those. No need to perform tedious traditional search nor to wait for results. Here you actually see the products/items matching your query neatly displayed in front of you.

Omniscope appears to me as the long-awaited, ideal solution for anyone who offers a catalogue of multiple products, services or other items. Providing easier, faster and more intuitive access by augmenting users ability to extract only what is relevant to them is a killer app in my humble view.

In my case I can think immediately of the Official Guide to the best Web Conferencing and Live Presentation tools that I publish and sell online. I have long desired to find a cost-effective and easy-to-implement solution to provide my Guide subscribers with the ability to identify the tools that could best fit their research needs without forcing them to read through all of my Guide a review at a time. The Guide is over 700-pages now and even when you access my own summary comparison tables there is so much data that it is difficult to really achieve understanding at-a-glance.

But that is exactly where Omniscope comes in.

With Omniscope I can in fact import all of the database data for each and every tool I have reviewed, along with color images of the user interface. The user of my Official Web Conferencing Guide can now interact visually with my matrix of tools she can visually filter out what not relevant by leveraging my well-defined feature categories (e.g.: VoIP yes/no; video conferencing yes/no; price within ...; server-based/desktop-based; etc.).

This visual interactive approach is much more intuitive, simple and fast than what we have come to expect in these situations. Seeing the actual items instead of a text description can greatly enhance anyone's ability to immediately understand the data she has in front.

But that is not enough.

Omniscope offers a series of advanced visualization modes that is nothing short of impressive.


Information can be visualized in scatter plots that utilize as variables dot size and color.


Scatter plots can be superimposed on maps, while exceptional insight can be achieved by using stacked bars, tree maps and portal-like text-based views.


I am honestly impressed.

To make much of its magic possible Omniscope leverages Flash, allowing advanced display possibilities, immediate compatibility and access on all major browsers.

The free Omniscope Viewer is Java-based and works across Windows, Macs and Linux operating systems. The Viewer can be freely downloaded here.

Price starts at USD $ 99 for the personal, non-commercial edition, and go all the way up to $ 1600-plus for the Enterprise, full commercial version.

More info:

  • Omniscope information
  • User Guide (50-page PDF)
  • Pricing
  • Camerafinder example (does not require Omniscope Viewer installation)
  • Other demos (require Viewer installation)
  • Download Omniscope Viewer
  • Macromedia presentation "The Business Impact of Rich Internet Applications"
  • A bit expensive at first glance but definitely a very promising technology.

    [ Read more ]
    Readers' Comments    
    2005-02-12 14:17:34

    Edward Forbes

    We regret Den had some problems with Omniscope. We have extensively tested the application with a broad number of companies and individuals over the last two years prior to public release, and it is being intensively used in several financial institutions.

    Omniscope is a new product and inevitably some bugs will be discovered by a widening user base. We encourage any users to submit reports of any problems, which we try to respond to within 24 hours. Bug fixes are incorporated every few days into the version available on our website for free to licence holders.

    If Den has had any 'data representation' problems, I urge him to report the problem and we will sort it out right away.

    As far as other operating systems are concerned, (although on the website it lists only Windows as a supported operating system)we provide a .jar file for testing purposes, and intend to offer proper installers within the next few weeks. This will allocate more memory to the application and alleviate any performance problems.

    We are committed to extending an innovative experience in information management to every user, and will stamp out any teething problems as soon as we are aware of them.


    Edward Forbes
    Iokio (UK) Ltd.

    2005-02-10 20:42:42



    Came across your review and find it suprising you managed to do your test without the thing crashing.

    Half an hour of throwing real-world data at it (not their sanitised demo files) caused multiple hangups and many inconsistencies in data representation.
    Even worse was they make available the viewer jar for use on non-M$ OSs but this crashes when you try to open their demonstration files.

    Seriously, one has to question a product for data visualisation which mis-represents data. I also wonder how much real-world testing has actually gone into this product.


    posted by Robin Good on Thursday, December 23 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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