Vertical search technology still hot [pg. 15]

Vertical search operations, which allow convergence of technologies, is one of the hottest ideas for venture capital, experts said Sunday. "I still think there will be another search engine to outbid Google," said Yair Goldfinger, vice president and co-founder of Mirabilis, which originated ICQ, a messaging solutions provider. Also identified by venture experts on the panel of "What Venture Funds Are Looking For," at the The Marker Com.vention in Tel Aviv, was the growth potential in online technology for young kids and for health and education, as well as e-commerce. "We are still at the beginning of the revolution of e-commerce," said Shmil Levy, general partner at Sequoia Capital Israel." Meanwhile, another panel at the conference addressed the question of whether increased importance of the Internet was leading to the end of traditional print and broadcast journalism. "The internet is, more and more, transforming into as a viable alternative for broadcasting as more and more TV shows and films are made available to watch online," said Jeff Pulver, founder and chairman of Pulvermedia. Speaking on the panel "Breaking the Value Chain: How Traditional Businesses Try to Get a Larger Share of the Internet Success," Pulver, a pioneer of the voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, industry added that the next thing for VoIP would be video and television over IP applications. "Folks in the hi-tech sector in Israel are the best-suited for focusing in developing this technology," Pulver said. The increased usage of VoIP technology in every sphere of life has been a threat or disruptive technology to many telecommunications carriers. "You have to innovate, otherwise you die," said Gary Shainberg, vice president, technology & innovation support at the BT Group. "VoIP is a threat to us." To fight that threat, Shainberg said it was investing $10 billion into its next-generation network. "We will be converting into a player offering triple play technology where current live TV can be sent to mobile phones." Addressing the question of the possibility of coexistence of old and new media in the internet era, experts on the panel agreed that the old media was facing difficult challenges. "Print media is not dead but it will become less important, unless media companies start to take advantage of the productivity revolution in journalism," said Jonathan Weber, founder and editor of