Saturday, January 20, 2007

1st European Semantic Technology Conference (ESTC2007) initiates a new conference series in Semantic technologies in Europe

1st European Semantic Technology Conference (ESTC2007) initiates a new conference series in Semantic technologies in Europe

The European Semantic Technologies Conference aims to be the European platform for bringing together those who use Semantic Technologies in their business, those who implement Semantic Solutions and those who build semantically-enabled products. So far, existing events around Semantic Technologies have been mostly academically oriented. With the technology becoming more mature and deployed, the need for a more industrial and commercially oriented event is evident.

The following texts come from a press release and the Call for Presentations of ESTC 2007. Full press release can be found here.

ESTC2007 is a new European meeting place for users, practitioners, developers and researchers to discuss the applicability and commercialization of semantic technologies for enterprises and public organizations. ESTC also enables delegates to understand Semantic Technologies and their potential and how to exploit these technologies in their organizations.

The conference will be held in Hofburg Redouten Säle, Vienna, Austria, May 31 – June 1, 2007 and will feature case study and practical experience presentations, workshops and tutorials, invited talks and an industrial exhibition.

Conference chairman Dr John Davies, Head of BT’s Next Generation Web unit, said “I am very pleased to be able to announce the initiation of this conference series. Given the increasing maturity of semantic technology, the time is right to complement more technical and academic conferences in this area with an annual European conference focusing on deployment and the commercial benefits semantic technology can deliver.”

The first ESTC is looking for contributions of:
  • Businesses and public organizations describing their practical experience (case studies) in using Semantic Technologies (the problem, the solution, initial expectations, the project, results, cost/benefit)
  • Vendor reports on semantically-enabled products and solutions
  • Analyst reports on the current market situation for Semantic Technologies

In particular, we invite the submission of case studies, reports and practical experience papers.

The full CFP can be found here.

The Program Chair is advised by a Program Advisory Board, which consists of a mixture of industrial people, research analysts, venture capitalists, and renowned academics with an interest in applied research.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

But how does a VC think about the Semantic Web?

A few days ago, someone sent me a pointer to a presentation given by one of the investors in Radar Networks, Peter Rip of Crosslink Capital, entitled: "Semantic Web, What Does It All Mean for You?" (Radar Networks was mentioned in the article "Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense, John Markoff, New York Times: November 12, 2006 ", see my post of Jan 1, 2007).

I was surprised by the simplicity and clearness of this presentation concerning its relation to Web2.0. Basically, he views Web2.0 as a "poor man´s Semantic Web". Bringing the Web to its full potential requires the Semantic Web. Check it yourself here. The presentation is posted on this blog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Value of Semantic Web Services for Business and Society

In an earlier post, I wrote about the DIP project and mentioned there: "There is also a movie available explaining the value of the project in terms of three particular sectors, e-government, telco, and e-banking." The movie has now been finished and released and can be watched in this blog, as well as on the DIP home page.

Again, DIP has been a very ambitious, yet successful project which potential for major impact in society and businesses. In a few months, I hope to be able to be a bit more precise about some of those business opportunities.

If the movie doesn´t show, please click here to view it on the KMI website.

Some quotes from the Final Review Report:

"... the work that has been carried out by the DIP consortium and the way in which the consortium has carried out that work. The DIP partners have ensured that the project has become a flagship project."

"Overall, DIP has been a paragon of collaborative research. "

"The reviewers would be pleased if DIP was drawn on by the CEC as an exemplar project, in order to demonstrate the increased value of carrying out international collaborative research."

"Technically the project has produced excellent results "


Monday, January 01, 2007

Semantic Web, Web2.0, Web3.0 …

The past few months I have been puzzled with the message of some publications regarding the Semantic Web (or better “Semantic Technologies”), Web2.0, Web3.0, and in particular with interpreting what this means for uptake of Semantic Technologies in the market.

The publications in question are:

At first sight, it seems that Web2.0 is receiving the media attention that previously was given to the Semantic Web. In the figure below, which is generated with Google Trends, the blue line represents the Semantic Web and the red line Web2.0. The top part refers to web pages mentioning the terms; the bottom part refers to news appearance.

In the 2006 edition of Gartner’s Hype Curve, the Public Semantic Web is at the through of disillusionment and is estimated to take between 5 and 10 years to reach the plateau of productivity. Web2.0 and the Corporate Semantic Web, on the other hand, are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, the former reaching its plateau in an estimated 2-5 years, and the latter 5-10 years.


One reason for these phenomena is that Semantic Technologies build up an infrastructure on top of which the web can grow to its full potential, whereas Web2.0 is related to communities of final users (e.g., One consequence of this is that Web2.0 is much more visible than Semantic Technologies, and thus it is much easier to attract attention of a large audience. Semantic Technologies is supposed to create an (invisible) infrastructure, whereas Web2.0 creates highly visible applications for final users using the existing web, but with a significantly improved user interface (thanks to AJAX). This would also explain why there is disappointment with the Public Semantic Web (the large public hasn’t seen anything yet); whereas the Corporate Semantic Web is still peaking. Businesses see a huge benefit of, for example, better access to important corporate information in unstructured documents (Mike Lynch, CEO and Founder of Autonomy, estimates that 80% of corporate information is hidden in unstructured documents). Businesses are not interested in final user applications, but in promising technology that can help them to better manage their information.
For me, one of the most striking achievements of Web2.0 is its capacity to involve large active user communities. Indeed, this has been a (happy) surprise. At the beginning of the Semantic Web effort, many of us were convinced that it would never be possible to annotate web content with (semantic) tags through human effort. Therefore, much research effort was dedicated to automatically generating annotations using advanced Natural Language Processing techniques. Web2.0 initiatives have shown this assumption to be false; it is possible to tag large amounts of multimedia and text documents by communities of people.

Recently the term Web3.0 is getting popular, which refers –freely interpreted- to the combination of Web2.0 and the Semantic Web.

My take on this is that we will hear much from Semantic Technologies in the context of corporations. The Public Semantic Web will regain strength in combination with Web2.0 aspects, strengthening the notion of Web3.0.

Happy 2007!