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December 17, 2008

A global review of the semantic web industry

On the Cusp: "A global review of the semantic web industry" by David Provost is a great 38 pager on the semantic web industry at the moment.  It's good because I don't see many buzz words in there or very technical terms, it's high level as it should be for managers, vendors, strategists and customers.

The report is all about the semantic web surprise surprise! He focuses on what companies involved in the semantic web do, and not so much "how they do it".  Twine, Primal Fusion  and the Calais initiative have of course been quite important in this area.  Bottom line, people are investing in semantic web technology.

I have a great love of Twine.  I can spend hours and hours reading content on there and creating my own information groups and discovering new things.  If you're short of something to write about, visit twine.  (Actually I just spent 20mins on there when I only went to copy their url!).

The Calais initiative I am also a big fan of but in a different way.  They provide tools to help connect information together - it's like lego.

Primal Fusion are in Alpha and I haven't had access as yet, but they look like they have something interesting to share.  A way to explore and organise your thoughts.

Back to David Provost:

"Intriguing possibilities are emerging, such as the role of “linked data”, Social Network Analysis and how the Semantic Web may aid this practice, and how the convergence of Natural Language Processing, Semantically enabled search, and the traditional publishing industry will play out. Time will tell, but the potential effects could be substantial".

It's interesting that he says that now deployers have to establish credibility and show that they are more than "2 guys in a garage" - times are changing.

He says that the SW is a global industry, and that vendors are thriving.  Some companies have already started using SW technology in risk management, knowledge management and other areas.

He mentions Franz'z Allegrograph which is a semantic database which I really like.  You can use a free version and they also do the RacerPro reasoner.  It can be used for social network analysis.

NLP is "emerging as a force for taming world wide content", basically quality content and wild content which is unknown.  So basically this field continues to grow and evolve as we are well aware.

Linked data is going to have valuable and has super important uses.  This is one of the primary aspects, we touched on this with FOAF earlier.

Marketing, technical and solution patterns will have a greater role in selling semantic web solutions.

The author says that we're going to move away from the very low level concepts and terminology used by researchers and move on to a much higher-level of discussion.
So if I have this right, the semantic web can now be marketed so we need to use higher level language and focus on what it can do for companies.  Fair nuff.

Tad over at the CogBlog has some interesting questions for you and has some interesting ideas.  Swing by and take a look.


Wayne Smallman said...

I recoil when I hear people talk about NLP. If you're familiar with business social networks like Ecademy, you hear lots of people talking about that kind of thing, which I'm sure is not put to good use.

The semantic web pretty much is the future of the web. But if we're really going to feel the true benefit, surely we can't get there in any incremental fashion? In my mind at least, there has to be a moment when we move from what we have right now to a semantic web.

But I will, of course, bow to your better knowledge on the matter...

CJ said...

Oh dear me, never bow - We all have our slot in everything.

We have moved on from technology to technology and from mini-revolution to another, and personally I can't say I really felt the changes happen. I'm a bit disappointed actually. Maybe its because I/we adopt new ways of working so quickly.

I guess it must all depend on the users. I mean people weren't ready for "I love rock an' roll" in 1975 but it was a hit in 1982, right?

Technologically speaking, I think sem web will happen bit by bit you know, I haven't even tagged up my own blog! How bad is that.

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