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Arria's latest oil industry product has roots in intensive care

ARRIA NLG has confirmed it is launching a new product that will allow customers to generate graphics from raw data.

Until now the company's technology has mainly processed complex sets of data to provide reports that are easily readable.

The latest update, the Arria NLG Engine 3.0, is based on research at Aberdeen University in natural language generation, which is typically a computerised process to analyse large amounts of data and turn it into usable information.

AIM-listed Arria received a major vote of confidence in its technology when Royal Dutch Shell agreed to a contract extension to monitor operations on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico last month.

Yesterday Arria said the new update had its roots in research done on intensive care units by Aberdeen University scientists. Those studies concluded medical staff made better decisions when looking at reports that contained both text and graphics. Now the technology has been adapted for the oil and gas industry.

Professor Ehud Reiter, chief scientist, said: "Our research shows that in a decision-support context, some types of information are best presented via graphics and some types via text."

Arria said: "When an equipment alert signals the existence of a problem, the combination of text and annotated graphics makes it easier and quicker for an engineer to understand what the condition of that equipment is and to make the right decision at the right time."

Prof Reiter said the new system would allow clients to configure how much information to present in either text or graphics depending on their needs and what function the system was being used for. He added: "This more effective information presentation leads to better and quicker decision making."

Aberdeen University spin-out Data2Text was founded four years ago by Professor Reiter, Dr Somayajulu Sripada, Ian Davy and John Perry.

London-based Arria took a minority stake in Data2Text in May 2012 before last year acquiring the whole company. That saw the Data2Text founders all given stakes in Arria and they remain among the largest individual shareholders.

Prof Reiter, Dr Sripada and Mr Davy each have around 5.3 million shares, with Mr Perry thought to hold about half that. Aberdeen University's stake is more than 4.8 million shares ,equivalent to in excess of 4.7% of the issued share capital.

Arria was valued at around £160m when it floated on AIM on December 5. Shares closed up 2.5p, or 2%, yesterday at 132.5p.

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