In Part 1 of this two-part series, some experts provided us with their ideas on issues such as semantic web standards and how advertising will infuse the semantic web space. We continue the discussion here with more experts on how these and other trends are moving the semantic web forward in 2008.
Robert Coyne, COO, and Dean Allemang, chief scientist, at TopQuadrant, a semantic web consulting company and vendor of TopBraid suite of semantic web development and ontology management tools:
Another reason we feel it’s safe to say the enterprise will deploy semantic web applications on this scale comes from data that we can take from our own work. Part of what we do is technology training in semantic web standards and we also do solutions consulting. So people come to us to help them do deployments. Our training numbers – where people come to us and say we need training for our projects – increased 2.5 fold in 2007 from the year before. If you plot that across the year it is going up as the year goes on.
There is a huge demand in the enterprise for training, and then on the services side, the companies where we have done training are now coming to us for help with deployment, and we’re seeing services demand increase. If you take that curve and extrapolate it up in the next year, in 2008 you see on one hand a large demand for training and right on its heels, a large demand for solutions support. That makes it pretty clear that 2008 will be the big year for semantic web enterprise deployments and enterprise applications.
The W3C has launched a major initiative to collect case studies and use cases because the awareness of the technologies are there, and now in order to get change agents in the enterprise to be empowered to bring this technology to bear and get funding, they need to get case studies and use cases of what others are doing. The W3C page on this is growing quite rapidly now versus in former years with examples people are submitting. In our own work, we believe that the first integrated semantic web application development and deployment platform has enabled enterprises to have a more mature commercial platform to focus their solutions on. That’s a real force and people can move faster within their organizations to get the value proposition demonstrated, because they can progress faster in terms of their own solutions.
The other one we call data longevity – people want to future-proof the way they can manage the data about things, including products. Companies have a difficult time keeping track of features of their own products (like cell phone vendors where features, functions and new products evolve at a rapid pace). And trying to use fixed data schemas and relational databases is not working for them. Data longevity also includes customers like NASA, who want to be able to access information created now 10 or 15 years from now. So many forces and evolutionary changes will occur that you must think of the architecture that will support that.