Knowtaker revolutionizes digital note taking by automatically pulling important phrases and reminders out of your notes and placing them front and center in your day-to-day life. BoldRadius’ Mike Kelland talks about an original solution to a problem that people are only recently noticing they have…

About BoldRadius

BoldRadius are the kids who used to take everything apart just to see how it worked.

BoldRadius creates smart software for enterprises and innovators using the Lightbend Platform. They are a highly skilled software consultancy with a knack for understanding and executing on the "Why" of an application as much as the "How". BoldRadius’ software development team has extensive experience working with business and technical teams to develop products and solutions, put them on the right technology footing and deploy them.

The Problem

Traditional paper notebooks are going the way of the dinosaur, and today it’s not uncommon for people to bring an iOS or Android device, a digital pen or a laptop into a meeting or a class for note taking. While there are many advantages to taking electronic notes, one of its biggest disadvantages is that users seldom go back to those notes at the end of the day.

When I started taking my notes primarily on my iPad and syncing them with Evernote, it was great because they were constantly available to me for review. Unfortunately, they were also out of sight, out of mind. With the paper notebook, it was easy to flip back a few pages to see what I had to action. With Evernote, I had no such prompting.

Mike Kelland - CEO, BoldRadius

The problem is that while paper notes can be cumbersome and rather outdated, notes in the cloud frequently are out of sight and out of mind - your notes are hard to find and a challenge to review. Actions, phone numbers, calendar entries and other important snippets of text are left drowning in a sea of difficult to review text.

BoldRadius’ CEO, Mike Kelland conceived of a unique solution to solve this technology-induced problem.

Enter Knowtaker

With technical advice and financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and leveraging Artificial Intelligence technology from the University of Ottawa and NSERC, BoldRadius created Knowtaker, an application built to solve the increasingly prevalent problem of note taking in a digital world.

By inspecting the notes you take in tools such as Evernote, Google Keep and Salesforce, Knowtaker’s AI engine identifies significant phrases and decides what to do with them. If a phrase is identified as significant by the appropriate AI engine, it is routed to your selected service. The only configuration that the user needs to perform is to identify and connect their “notes system” (such as Evernote) and their various “action systems” (such as Google Tasks or Remember the Milk).

Knowtaker is designed to draw a stream of action out of your stream of consciousness.

Mike KellandCEO, BoldRadius

For instance, whenever a new note is created in Evernote, Knowtaker will automatically download the note and create a new “to-do” from every line it determines is a task and place it into Google Tasks.

How it’s Made

Knowtaker needs to be able to quickly and efficiently process a large amount of data from a large number of users through a series of unrelated but computationally intense processes. Based on this requirement, the Akka Concurrency Framework was the perfect fit due to its ability to scale out on multicore servers and multiple nodes using it’s support for asynchronous message passing. On commodity hardware, you might run several million Actors - a huge step up from mere thousands of threads in a traditional Java application. Akka actors shuttle the large sets of “unstructured personal data” from the source systems, through a series of AI engines, each capturing a different kind of data – actions, calendar entries and contacts – and then delivering it to a variety of systems.

Akka provides us with scalability for the future but also allows us to create a loosely coupled system that allows the addition of new types of AI engines and the integration of different source and destination systems quickly and easily.

Mike KellandCEO, BoldRadius

The front end of the system allows users to sign up and link their accounts to the Knowtaker system. Having it built on Play Framework with Scala allows high scalability and also the flexibility to easily change the system when new features are introduced. Play provides a rapid application development environment for Knowtaker so that features such as reporting on actions taken and the training of the AI engines can be added seamlessly in the future. Play also offers a simple paradigm for developing and deploying web services that will be useful for future expansion of the Knowtaker system.

Future Plans

The Knowtaker minimum viable product (MVP) is already available for use by customers who want to try it out, and by utilizing the Lightbend Platform, Knowtaker is architected to handle the massive scale anticipated.

Inspired by this story? Contact us to learn more about what Lightbend can do for your organization.



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Lightbend is the proud provider of the world's leading Reactive application development platform. We are a passionate crew of technology pioneers committed to building amazing software. We build and maintain the Play web framework, the Akka message driven runtime, and the Scala programming language. Our mission is to help developers build high-performance applications that are responsive resilient, elastic and message driven.