The business side of the Semantic Tech and Business Conference was on display at the closing session today. Panelists shared their own takeaways, pointers, advice, observations and predictions about a number of semantic web issues about bringing semantic technology to the enterprise.

The panelists included  Craig D Hanson, Director, Innovation and Architecture Amdocs.; James Hendler, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Arnaud Le Hors, software standards architect at IBM; Dave McComb, President, Semantic Arts Inc; Marie Wallace
Social Analytics Strategist, IBM; Joe Devon, web developer and consultant; Christine Connors, Principal TriviumRLG LLC; and David Booth, an independent contractor and senior software architect at PanGenX.

Here’s an overview of what they had to say to – and for — the enterprise community:

  • On Linked Data: “We are at the point where we are moving from something interesting that is research- worthy to this is something real, with real value from a business point of view, and we should invest very seriously in this. …. [That is being helped by initiatives such as] The Linked Data Platform Working Group that aims to define a common way of doing Linked Data, so as not to be lost in the acronyms and alphabet soup related to the semantic web. My hope is that movements happening in IBM and at other organizations will really move forward the industry in terms of what it means to actually use Linked Data in your enterprise.” – LeHors
  • On Identity: “We need to define our selves. Right now we could do all things for all people. Semantics is a hammer that can hit any nail. So we don’t a have good def and enterprise CIOS and chief architects don’t know who we are. …The challenge is to solve that, and get the business and tech benefits out to the world.” – Hanson
  • On Big Data: I see something interesting in the third ‘v’ of big data which is volume, velocity and variety. We haven’t really solved the variety problem but someone will step into that and have a very nice play right in the middle of semantic and Big data. – McComb
  • On data relationships: Basically, richer relations equals more money, when you can take data and find more stuff in it, more relations…I always say a little semantics goes a long way. Now when data comes in and you can see rich relationships, that space is going to move really, really fast. – Hendler
  • On adoption: Now that IBM has entered the RDF database space, the commercial reporting tools will support RDF as a data source and SPARQL as a query language, and when that happens enterprise people will come faster to semantics. – Hanson
  • On adoption, part 2: Schema.org is the gateway drug for your company, the thing you can play with tomorrow or tonight. …You could have that on every page of your outward- facing stuff in a week. Then when someone says where is the semantic stuff, it’s here. …Ten years ago to start playing [with semantic technology] was hard. With schema.org it’s here. The big kids got it right for once and we should really play with that stuff.
  • On not letting perfection be the enemy of the good. We’ve come to a place where good enough is ok. We’ve all accepted that ontology and taxonomy work is never done. So don’t wait until it’s perfect. Put your vocabularies out there, use and learn them, and continue to refine them. — Connors
  • On putting problems first: To use semantic technology in your own company, very often it is considered a technology looking for a problem. So [before using it] instead first find a very specific one that exists in the company. Keep it small and be very problem- focused …. And when you solve it you will feel confident yourself and it’s a way to getting support in the organization.—Wallace
  • On going big, or going home. In the past I would have advised small, experimental things around the edges [to start], but I think we are getting to the point that we have enough confidence that we know this stuff works and the momentum. Just go for it, — McComb
  • On watching your phraseology. Don’t put stuff from this conference in your PowerPoints [for business colleagues]. Put the business, technology and value points in but keep ontologies and all that stuff in your secret club until you have success.–Hanson