Exclusives

Semantic Tech In Service Helping First Responders Stay Safe

It’s probably safe to say that people want their firefighters, EMT, law enforcement and other emergency responders to be as best-equipped for their jobs as possible, so that they can be successful and well-protected, too.

Semantic technology can have a hand in making sure that happens. Deborah McGuinness, Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor and Director of Web Science Operations John Erickson. both of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) , are spearheading an effort, thanks to some funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) under program manager William G. Billotte, to use semantic technology and social media to help that organization better understand what requirements should be for these heroes.

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Keynote Video and Updates from the Amsterdam Fire Department

image of Bart van Leeuwen and fellow fire fighters in front of burning buildingBart van Leeuwen, software executive (netage.nl) and firefighter (Amsterdam Fire Department), has a story of practical application of Semantic Web technologies that we have covered before here at SemanticWeb.com and in our Semantic Technology & Business Conference series. Below, we offer the video of the keynote address he delivered in June at the San Francisco event.

His, like many of the most successful Semantic Web case studies, is a story of iterative growth and agile development, a mixing of technical and cultural challenges and solutions. Even since Bart’s keynote at the recent London SemTechBiz conference, there have been developments, and we caught up with him to hear the latest (video after the jump).

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IT of the Future: Semantic Cloud Architecture

In July of 2011, we published a series of articles, “From Business as Usual to Knowledge-Driven Architecture” by Yefim “Jeff” Zhuk. The series outlined enterprise IT of the future with integrated software and knowledge engineering, further expanding on ideas originally described in the book “Integration-ready Architecture and Design.”

Image of the paper cover - I.T. of the Future: Semantic Cloud ArchitectureToday, we are pleased to offer Jeff’s latest article as a 27-page PDF file. In this new article, he focuses on the process of transitioning from IT architectures of today to Semantic Cloud Architecture with very practical “baby steps” — steps which require minimum upfront investment. The emphasis of this article is on collaborative work of business and enterprise architects with the Business Architecture Sandbox for Enterprise, (BASE) that was demonstrated at the 2012 Semantic Tech and Business Conference –San Francisco.

Zhuk says, “The discussed approach is gradually shifting the focus of IT from technology to information by standardizing business event processing, placing the seeds of semantic technology in the current business ground, and establishing a self-sustaining process of transformation to semantic cloud architecture. The article provides the context and speaks technical details for this transition.”

Read/Download the full paper (registration required)

As a teaser, here is the beginning of the article and Section Headings…

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3RoundStones Execs Discuss SemTech Start-Up Winner Callimachus Enterprise — And The Drive To A Semantic Web Ecosystem



Ecosystem image via Shutterstock

As the Semantic Web Blog recently noted, 3RoundStones’ Callimachus Enterprise emerged as the winner of the Top Semantic Technology Start-up competition that was held at the Semantic Tech & Business Conference (#SemTechBiz) in San Francisco a few weeks ago. The commercially supported Linked Data Management system, now being piloted by eight companies, will this summer be released to the general public as Version 1.0.

Callimachus Enterprise is distinguished not only by its technology, but by CTO David Wood’s presentation that spoke to the real business needs of the enterprise today – including rapidly demonstrating value, in its case around exposing, connecting and visualizing disparate enterprise content – and also in that it provides a way for organizations to deal with their enterprise information in an entirely cloud-based solution. It leverages the Amazon cloud.

“A lot of companies are using cloud-based solutions for travel and expense tracking,” says CEO Bernadette Hyland. “But this is the beginning of a new wave.”

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Catching Up With Yandex: What Russia’s Leading Search Engine Has To Say About Schema.org

Update: Yandex today (April 26th) reported that net income in the first three months of 2012 rose 53 percent from the same period last year to 1.26 billion rubles ($43 million) as text-based advertising revenue rose, according to Bloomberg. Sales gained 51 percent to 5.9 billion rubles.

In November Russian search engine Yandex joined Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on schema.org. The Semantic Web Blog recently caught up by email with Alexander Shubin, Yandex product manager and head of strategic direction, to discuss this and other developments.

The Semantic Web Blog: Can you update us about how Yandex is doing? We know it’s still leading search traffic in Russia, but do you see more competition there, and how have international expansion plans been proceeding?

Shubin: Yandex is the leader in Russia with 59 to 60 percent market share. Russia is one of the few countries where a local search engine keeps a leading position, in spite of international players’ expansion.

Last year Yandex was launched in Turkey, where we suggest 12 services (including web search) so far. According to our statistics, yandex.com.tr processes more than 1 million queries daily. Turkey is the first non-Russian speaking market for us and we have done a lot of work to deliver services that would be interesting for the local community.  The main target for Yandex in Turkey, where one search engine still keeps 90 percent of search market, is to become the Number 2 player and to deliver more local search results and services than our competitor does.

Turkey is more or less an experiment for us: If we meet our target there, we can potentially do the same on any other non-Russian speaking market. But it is too early to make any conclusions or announcements so far as we have worked in Turkey only half of year. Stay tuned!

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Richard Wallis Talks About New Role At OCLC

Linked data is becoming even more interesting to the OCLC, a non-profit, membership, computer library service and research organization of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories around the world. It’s named Richard Wallis — formerly of the U.K.’s Talis Linked Data and Semantic Web Technology company and one of our frequent Semantic Web Blog guest authors — to the position of Technology Evangelist.

The OCLC has as a major asset Worldcat, a global catalog comprising the collections of more than 10,000 libraries and adding up to more than 258 million records and 1.8 billion-plus holdings, in traditional library metadata format. WorldCat.org is the publicly searchable view of their core data in library format based upon library records (Marc records). More semantic web-oriented is other work the OCLC been doing over the last couple of years, Wallis explains, including experiments with using RDF/Linked Data at viaf.org, where the Virtual International Authority File publishes authoritative descriptions of names or organizations, and something similar for the Dewey Decimal Classification system at dewey.info.

In his new role, Wallis will collaborate with members and facilitate projects with OCLC teams as libraries and the cooperative drive efforts to expose WorldCat data as linked data, and will represent OCLC and WorldCat to the global library and web/IT leader communities. The VIAF and Dewey projects certainly provided an opportunity for OCLC to see the benefit of linking things together. On top of that, “the climate for Linked Data and libraries has changed dramatically over the last 12 months,” Wallis says.

Interest was evident at the Linked Data in Libraries event he ran for Talis this past summer, for example, and efforts like the W3C’s Linked Data in Libraries interest group, the Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives & Museums work, the British Library’s work on the British National Bibliography as Linked Open Data, and the Library of Congress’s   Bibliographic Framework Initiative General Plan all are adding fuel to the fire.

The opportunity is there for the OCLC to take the lead on Linked Data in the somewhat fragmented library world as those organizations start to hear more and more about the concept. “Linked Data is starting to be something talked about in the library world, but like any other world, it’s still a bit of an enthusiast environment,” Wallis says. As he evangelizes to the library community what Linked Data is about – and to the web community about what the OCLC is doing with its chunk of data that is relevant to the wider Linked Data and Web of Data world – he hopes “to be in at the beginning of a process where those two communities come together to help come up with the best way of applying Linked Data principles to library data.”

In a statement announcing the appointment, Robin Murray, OCLC Vice President, Global Product Management, said, “Richard Wallis is a leader in Semantic Web and Linked Data technology, and we believe he will help the OCLC cooperative extend our efforts to help libraries move to Webscale.”

Data Liberate, the consultancy Wallis began upon leaving Talis, will continue as a personal blogging site. “I still have interest wider than the library community and I believe that those interests can keep me up to date with the wide world and advise my advice into the OCLC,” he says.

The Semantic Link with Guest, Daniel Tunkelang – April, 2012

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

On Friday, April 13, 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 various approaches to building semantic systems, and “the Linkers” were joined by special guest, Daniel Tunkelang, Principal Data Scientist, LinkedIn. Daniel — who will deliver a keynote address at the June Semantic Technology & Business Conference — shared insights gained over many years working at LinkedIn, Endeca, and Google, and IBM among others.
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Nova Spivack joins the Semantic Link to discuss the user’s experience of semantic technologies

…and we want to hear from you.

Photos of our regular panelists.

After December’s episode of the Semantic Link, we asked for your thoughts on both the topics we should cover, and the ways in which you would like to interact with the podcast. You spoke, very clearly asking for an opportunity to pose questions for the team to answer during recordings. This is that opportunity.

Photo of Nova SpivackJanuary’s episode of the show will be recorded this Friday, 13 January, and we’re joined by a guest with much to contribute. I’m sure he needs no introduction for most of you. Nova Spivack was behind semantic technology startup Twine, and has subsequently turned his hand to supporting a range of semantically relevant offerings such as Bottlenose (our coverage) and StreamGlider (our coverage).

Drawing upon some of Nova’s experiences, and digging further into questions that we have touched upon before, we’re going to take a look at the following topic this month:

Is it important to hide semantic smarts behind a simple user experience/interface? If not, why not? If so, how are we beginning to see that manifested?

Siri‘s obviously one example that we’ve discussed before, but there have been other examples recently that also attempt to hide significant power behind UI simplicity. Read more

Volkswagen: Das Auto Company is Das Semantic Web Company!

Photo courtesy: Flickr/ glen edelson

You know Volkswagen as Das Auto company. But perhaps it’s time to start thinking of it as “Das Semantic Web Company.”

William Greenly is the Volkswagen Technical Lead for the auto vendor’s Volkswagen.co.uk online platform at integrated communications agency Tribal DDB. In that capacity he is taking the partnership the companies have had for more than four decades to a new level. His role there has encompassed managing data around Volkswagen’s products, its retailer and web site content, and its interfaces with social networks and many third-party back-end systems, including those germaine to the auto industry such as manufacturer consortiums.

Now, the focus is on using semantic web technology to drive a more elastic, flexible and streamlined digital world for “The Car” company.

The journey began as a strategic brief about contextual search engines serving content based on context within the site and possibly across affiliate sites, a big idea that was quite quickly bound to something more tactical. That being improving site search, Greenly says. “So the objectives were about site search and improving it, but in the long-run it was always the idea to contextualize content, to facet content, to promote it in different contexts.”

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Epik Has Epic Semantic Web Plans For Its Domains and Domainers

Are you a domainer? More specifically, are you a domainer who’s sitting on a lot of parking sites that aren’t turning the profit they once used to, and for whom the cost proposition of building out each one individually to generate revenue is just plain prohibitive?

Well, a yearish-old company called Epik, which provide a platform and services to help domainers cost-effectively scale their properties by way of “mass-customization,” as well as manage and trade them, is moving semantic web technologies to the front burner to drive more business opportunities to site owners – and revenue opportunities to their customers, too.

“The semantic technologies until now were mostly on the backburner while we got a critical mass of sites up, but now we have a tipping point in terms of the scale of the opportunity,” says John Lawler, Epik SVP of products. “Now we’re going whole hog to make this all semantically enabled.” Through its own domain ownerships and relations with others, the potential is to build a truly federated semantic network, he says.

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