Europe is investing aggressively in semantic web research (see Follow the Money, Part 1), but it’s not necessarily those who lay the groundwork that are the most effective at commercializing their efforts. This time, though, things might be different.
Government funding seldom translates into commercial products, points out Dr. Chris Harding, the U.K.-based forum director for SOA and semantic interoperability at The Open Group, a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium committed to enabling access to integrated information within and between enterprises based on open standards and global interoperability. Success will come to those who can match technical possibility with commercial requirements.
|More From Jupitermedia|
If you want to comment on these or any other articles you see on Intranet Journal, we’d like to hear from you in our IT Management Forum. Thanks for reading.
“So far, we only have a fuzzy picture of both of these, but it’s becoming clearer,” Harding said. “The first companies to see it really clearly and match the technology to the commercial requirement will gain significant advantage.”
Many European leaders in semantic web research, in fact, will readily admit that the U.S. historically has had the edge in terms of carrying ideas through and realizing them in successful commercial ventures.
“I don’t think historically Europe has been very good at anything compared to the U.S. in terms of commercialization,” says Dr. John Domingue, deputy director of the U.K.’s Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute, which carries out research related to the creation and sharing of knowledge, with one of its big research topics being the semantic web.
Peter Mika, a researcher at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona and co-chair of the 2007 International Semantic Web Conference Semantic Web Challenge, has his thoughts about which commercial ventures are poised to first make a go of things. “My suspicion is that there is more business in the U.S. and more research in Europe,” he says. “The startups that are positioned to have a web-scale impact (Twine, Freebase) are American.”
The U.S. indeed has a much superior culture for starting companies, says Dr. Mark Greaves, director of Knowledge Systems Research at Vulcan at Vulcan, Inc., the private investment vehicle for Paul Allen, where he sponsors advanced research in large knowledge bases and advanced web technologies. And while Europeans acknowledge this, he thinks they’re ready to play a little hard ball this time around.