2012 SemTechBiz Berlin

Wikidata, and a clash of world views

Remember the days before Wikipedia had all the answers? We looked things up in libraries, referring to shelf-filling encyclopaedias. We bought CD-ROMs (remember them?) full of facts and pictures and video clips. We asked people. Sometimes, school home work actually required some work more strenuous than a cut and paste. We went about our business without remembering that New Coke briefly entered our lives on this day in 1985.

Wikipedia is far from perfect, and some of the concern around its role in a wider dumbing down of thought and argument may be justified. But, despite that, it’s a remarkable achievement and a wonderful resource. Those who argued that it would never work have clearly been proven wrong. Carefully maintained processes and the core principle of the neutral point of view mostly serve contributors well.

With Wikimedia Deutschland‘s recent announcement of Wikidata, many of the early concerns about Wikipedia itself have resurfaced once again. Read more

The Semantic Link with Guest, Denny Vrandecic – February, 2012

Paul Miller, Bernadette Hyland, Ivan Herman, Eric Hoffer, Andraz Tori, Peter Brown, Christine Connors, Eric Franzon

On Friday, February 10, a group of Semantic thought leaders from around the globe met with their host and colleague, Paul Miller, for the latest installment of the Semantic Link, a monthly podcast covering the world of Semantic Technologies. This episode includes a discussion about data; specifically, the recently announced “wikidata” project with special guest, Denny Vrandecic.
At the recent SemTechBiz Berlin conference, Denny presented a talk titled, “Wikidata: The Next Big Thing for Wikipedia.” As evidenced in the “Wow’s” expressed by the panelists in this month’s podcast call, this is indeed a big deal for Wikipedia and for Semantic Web. Read more

#SemTechBiz Berlin – Day 2

After a great day yesterday I was eager to to discover what today’s program had to offer.  Unfortunately I had to set off for the airport, where I am now writing this, before the end.  However I caught most of the day and here are my few thoughts and recollections.

P1000760Today’s Keynote was in the form of a panel discussing Semantics in the Automotive Industry with Martin [GoodRelations] Hepp, John Kendall Streit of Tribal DDB, William Greenly of AQKA, and François-Paul Servant from Renault.  They discussed their experiences in pioneering the use of Linked Data / Semantic Web technologies and approaches in the automotive domain.
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#SemTechBiz Berlin – Day 1

Confernce Hotel Berlin This very cold day in Berlin finds me in the large glass emporium known as the Seminaris CampusHotel Berlin, built on the campus of the Freie Universität Berlin.  I am here with an expected 150 delegates, 50 plus speakers, and 6 exhibitors for the first Semantic Tech & Business Conference in Berlin.  Hopefully I can over the next few paragraphs give you a feel for some of what I experienced on day one.  Obviously with a twin track program I could only experience part of the day, but here we go anyway….

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Registration Still Open for #SemTechBiz Berlin

The Semantic Technology and Business Conference (#SemTechBiz) in Berlin, Germany, is just around the corner, but it’s still not too late to register! The conference takes place February 6-7 and will feature a number of highly anticipated sessions, panels, product demonstrations, networking opportunities, and more. The registration fee will go up at the door, so be sure to register in advance for this groundbreaking event.

Featured Sessions

Photo of Denny VrandecicWikipedia’s Next Big Thing: The Wikidata Projectwith Denny Vrandecic, Project Director - Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.

Wikidata is a new Wikimedia project, supporting the goal of the Wikimedia Foundation to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects over the sum of human knowledge, and provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge. Wikidata will provide an infrastructure and stable URLs to store and access data for use in Wikipedia articles, as well as for any other use. (Read more about this session…)

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SemTech Berlin 2012 Conference Explorer App Gives a Taste of Linked-Data-As-A-Service

Want to have a peek into the semantic applications that can result when the cloud and Linked -Data-as-a-service join up? Start with a trip here, where you’ll find the SemTech Berlin 2012 Conference Explorer (among other event explorers). It lets attendees browse through conference metadata – and more – to help them plan for next week’s event.

The application was built with fluid Operations’ Information Workbench, which is a platform for building self-service Linked Data cloud apps; the company also provides the eCloudManager Product Suite, for public and private cloud management. With Information Workbench, users can get over some of the challenges of making Linked Data useable, such as automatically discovering and integrating data sources, dealing with heterogeneity in data sets and access, and planning end-user oriented interfaces and interaction paradigms, says Peter Haase,  a senior architect at fluid Operations, who will be speaking about Linked Data-as-a-service at SemTech Berlin.

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The Simple Power of the Link

47408181_919573dfd2 I often read blogs and watch conference presentations extolling the virtues and benefits of adopting Semantic Web and Linked Data techniques & technologies. It makes me wonder how those new to the field ever get through the blizzard of acronyms and techno-speak, to understand what is being promoted and how it might be relevant to them and their business.  In this post I will attempt to demystify and identify the core benefits of Linked Data without burying you in LD-speak!

Let me start with the web itself.  Imagine if you will that you have just returned from desert island exile for the last decade and a half. You are introduced to the web and start using Google searching to find out what this web thing is all about. You are assailed with an overwhelming array of acronyms terms and concepts – Ajax, Javascript, HTML, CSS, HTTP, XML, DOM, URL, Flash, RDFa, JSON, Microformats, SEO – argh! where do you begin?  However after some digging it becomes clear that there is a blindingly simple concept at the core that only uses three of them: HTML – a simple markup language to describe how a web page should be laid out, URL – a globally unique way to address a page on the Internet, HTTP – a simple way to request and receive a page across the Internet. Read more

Breaking News: Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing at SemTechBiz Berlin

A late addition has been made to the agenda for the Semantic Technology and Business Conference (#SemTechBiz) in Berlin, Germany. The conference, which takes place February 6-7 in Berlin, Germany, will now feature a session entitled Wikipedia’s Next Big Thing: The Wikidata Project. Space is still available to see this and many other highly anticipated sessions, panels, and demonstrations at SemTechBiz Berlin.

Featured Session

Photo of Denny VrandecicWikipedia’s Next Big Thing: The Wikidata Project with Denny Vrandecic, Project Director - Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.

Wikidata is a new Wikimedia project, supporting the goal of the Wikimedia Foundation to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects over the sum of human knowledge, and provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge. Wikidata will provide an infrastructure and stable URLs to store and access data for use in Wikipedia articles, as well as for any other use. It will be similar to the way that Wikimedia Commons stores and provides public access to multimedia files today. Wikidata will be based on technologies pioneered in Semantic MediaWiki, and will be a powerful force for bringing structured data into Wikipedia, and making it available to everyone, for free.

About #SemTechBiz Berlin

SemTechBiz Berlin will be held February 6-7, 2012 at the Seminaris Campus Hotel. Packed with case studies and real-world perspectives, SemTechBiz Berlin offers two comprehensive days of fresh insight and immersive learning from global experts in technology, financial services, insurance, healthcare, publishing, government, automotive and enterprise data.

The highly anticipated conference will feature an array of speakers at the forefront of semantic web technologies in business applications. These speakers will discuss how semantic technologies are being used in organizations today to make money, save money, leverage existing resources, and solve problems in innovative ways.

Register Now

Space is still available for SemTechBiz Berlin. Register here today to secure your spot. A variety of registration options are available to suit different budgets and discounts are available for groups of three or more as well as students/academics. Read more

SemTechBiz Berlin to Explore Semantics in the Auto Industry

The Semantic Technology and Business Conference (#SemTechBiz) in Berlin, Germany, is only two weeks away. There is still time to register for this highly anticipated event that will feature panels, demonstrations, and sessions with some of the world’s leading semantic technology professionals. One session that is sure to garner big crowds is the keynote panel, Semantics in the Automotive Industry. This panel will feature Martin Hepp of Hepp Research GmbH, William Greenly of AQKA, and François-Paul Servant of Renault.

left to right: Martin Hepp,  William Greenly,  Francois-Paul Servant

Featured Session

Semantics in the Automotive Industry with Martin Hepp, William Greenly, & François-Paul Servant Read more

More Emphasis on Business Benefits in 2012

Photo of Richard WallisRichard Wallis is founder of Data Liberate.  A Technology Evangelist and Consultant,  he is at the forefront in promoting, explaining, and applying new and emerging Web and Semantic Web technologies in the wider information domain.  Richard is well known on the conference platform in the Semantic Web, Library, and Information Management sectors.  He is also an active blogger and regular podcaster.


2012 will be the year that Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies could go mainstream, but yet will get talked about less.  I believe this is inevitable, for a technology that is about to turn the corner, or kick up the adoption curve – choose your favourite phrase.  Like the Web itself, already adopted by technology laggards, and now recognised only as a service that facilitates being ‘in Facebook’ or streaming movies to your tablet.

To support this theory, it is interesting look at some of the recent moves taking place in my own backyard, the UK.   A couple of significant ones are coming out of the Talis stable.  Talis have been at the leading edge of Semantic Web development for much of the last decade, with a reputation for promoting the practical benefits of applying Linked Data techniques and technologies, whilst evolving their cloud-based Linked Data platform to deliver and demonstrate these benefits in their own products and services. Read more

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