David S. Read of Information Week recently discussed the benefits of semantic databases. He writes, “Don’t buy into the idea that semantic database technologies are just for consumer-facing services such as BBC Online or the semantic Web initiatives embraced by the likes of Best Buy and Cisco. In much the same way that consumerization drives innovation in end user computing, semantic database technologies deliver benefits that businesses of all stripes should be exploiting. At a high level, semantic databases offer five main benefits: They work with your existing relational databases. They align with Web technologies. Their underlying technology speeds integration of multiple databases. They’re based on data structures that are flexible by design. And thus they can help enterprises tackle big data challenges.”
“Their biggest selling point,” he goes on, “is that data relationships are continually evolving. In the 1980s, we associated people with home and work phone numbers and a mailing address. By the ’90s, we also had to represent cell phones and email addresses. And now we associate people with a broad spectrum of websites and social networking identifiers. Connecting these identifiers isn’t the end of the task. Our systems must understand the correct context for using this information. In other words, there needs to be machine-readable meaning associated with data.”
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