Waterloo's OpenText tracking trends during U.S. presidential race

​It's Super Tuesday in the U.S. and Canadian software company OpenText is in on the action by scanning data and explaining the vote results online.

Analytics tool collects data and creates easy-to-understand displays

OpenText's chief marketing officer says information they've collected shows the tone being used during the U.S. presidential race involving front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is 'very negative.'

​It's Super Tuesday in the U.S. and Canadian software company OpenText is in on the conversation about the voting action. 

OpenText is a Waterloo-based company that takes media content from across the internet and crunches it into easy-to-understand displays.

The U.S. election is an "awesome opportunity" to show off how their tool can make sense of seemingly-endless content online through their U.S. election tracker, said chief marketing officer Adam Howatson. 

"This is a learning machine that will go out, collect information from across the internet, understand it ... and it detects the sentiment," Howatson told CBC Radio's Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Tuesday. 

The system finds key themes in the U.S. election, whether they are positive or negative, and displays them visually for people to understand. 

"The work in the technology that we have at OpenText allows us to provide a really interesting insight across all of the different media being used and provide us insights around the nature of the language used," he explained. 

"This is all about big data."

'The tone is very negative'

So far, Howatson has found that topics being discussed are "hyperbolic," which shouldn't be a surprise considering Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the front-runners. 

"Between Hillary and Donald, the sentiment, you know, the amount of the coverage that is positive, the amount that is negative, the amount that is neutral, is fairly similar," he noted. 

"The tone is very negative." 

While Howatson acknowledged his company "is capable of doing predictive analytics," he said they won't be making any predictions on who's going to win. But, he did admit Trump appears to be stealing the Republicans' show. 

"The media appears to be covering them in an equivalent tone, an equivalent sentiment, but the volume of information being generated, the volume of coverage is certainly more towards the Republican camp and Trump, himself, versus the [Democrats]," he said.

"The Republicans right now, headed up by Trump, they're garnering the largest volume of media coverage."

But why does a Canadian enterprise care so much about what's going on south of the border?

"The U.S. election is important worldwide," Howatson said. "Everybody watches that."


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