The first Semantic Technology and Business Conference in the United Kingdom (#semtechbiz) wrapped up in London this week, and there are some themes that emerged from the presentations and networking conversations.
We heard a lot about the benefits of using Semantic Technology solutions. There were strong case studies and experiences shared, and we will be diving deeper into some of these in coming weeks here at SemanticWeb.com. Sometimes these solutions were in place of -- and sometimes in conjunction with -- RDBMS databases, spreadsheets, XML files, and other data management systems. While there was a nice diversity of companies, industries, and products represented, there seemed to be consensus around some of the following benefits of using Semantic Tech for business applications:
- Flexibility - because a data schema doesn't need to be determined before development begins, developers are enjoying iterative and agile development processes
- Rapid development - speakers reported development times of days and weeks rather than months and years
- Cost savings - organizations using Semantic Tech are seeing significant savings:
- by shortening development time
- by leveraging and re-using existing assets
- by using open source tools and platforms
- by streamlining workflows
- Data integration - semantic tech is allowing systems to utilize data from disparate sources
- Often, these sources consist of publicly available data, saving organizations the time and expense involved in (re-)creating these data sets in-house.
- Accomplishing things that simply were not doable before or with any other type of solutions
It's probably no surprise that the keynote presentations were a highlight mentioned by many at the conference.
John O'Donovan of the Press Association, spoke on "Semantics in News, Sport, and Media: A Compelling Case and New Architectural Pattern for Semantics in Every Enterprise." Always an entertaining speaker, John had the audience in stitches with headlines like "Lawyers Back Despite Use of Bug Spray" and "Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop; Find Weapons." Amidst the laughter, though, was a serious story of the business value that the BBC and Press Association have gotten from their use of Semantic Technologies. In particular, O'Donovan pointed to the BBC's World Cup and upcoming coverage of the 2012 Olympics as examples.
Martin Hepp of Hepp Research and the inventor of the GoodRelations vocabulary for e-commerce, presented "Talking to Your Customers with Data: From Semantic SEO to Linked Open Commerce," and discussed why exposing business information in semantic markup is a key component of any product strategy. He also covered uses of schema.org, GoodRelations, RDFa, and Microdata.
Steve Harris, CTO of Garlik, a UK company that provides services that help consumers protect themselves from the risk of identity theft and financial fraud, presented "Combatrting Online Crime with RDF." Mr. Harris presented a compelling case of Garlik's use of Semantic Technology throughout its offerings to support business-critical, highly sensitive production systems to financial institutions worldwide.
Next up, SemTechBiz DC!