Executive Summary

The adage "content is king" has never been truer than it is today. Companies across the board are rapidly evolving their services to provide their customers with even more value in the face of the economic meltdown. With its near unlimited capacity and zero-cost of publishing, the Internet has grown astronomically. In 2006, it was estimated that the Internet encompassed 70 million blogs and 150 million Web sites (three million times the information size of all books ever written), and is currently growing by ten thousand pages per hour. What’s particularly interesting is that it’s not just traditional publishing companies that have to find ways to compete with the explosion of information – companies ranging from pharmaceutical developers to mortgage companies are exploring ways to create new information services by tapping the immense amount of information available on the Internet today. However, creating these new information services can be extraordinarily time consuming and expensive without the help of semantic technologies.

Semantic technologies can read and extract interesting answers not just from the Web but also from legacy databases, premium subscription content, enterprise content and other sources of proprietary information. The new world of semantics is about creating an intelligent platform that analyzes and delivers insights and intelligence to the business and its customers, just as business intelligence has served companies in analyzing and delivering meaning about such important things as supply chains and manufacturing efficiency. At its most fundamental level, semantics enables companies to convert semantic technology, once relegated to the realm of the science project, into a thriving, mainstream business engine.

Introduction

The adage "content is king" has never been truer than it is today. Companies across the board are rapidly evolving their services to provide their customers with even more value in the face of the economic meltdown. With its near unlimited capacity and zero-cost of publishing, the Internet has grown astronomically. In 2006, it was estimated that the Internet encompassed 70 million blogs and 150 million Web sites (three million times the information size of all books ever written), and is currently growing by ten thousand pages per hour. What’s particularly interesting is that it’s not just traditional publishing companies that have to find ways to compete with the explosion of information – companies ranging from pharmaceutical developers to mortgage companies are exploring ways to create new information services by tapping the immense amount of information available on the Internet today. However, creating these new information services can be extraordinarily time consuming and expensive without the help of semantic technologies.

The incredible amount of information now available to billions of people and accessible from a simple search box has more or less delivered on the promise of the information age – access to relevant information for all people. The need today is no longer availability of information (we can easily get tens of millions of hits from a typical keyword search), but rather for new and easier ways to find answers and quickly discover related information. Our attention spans have gotten shorter while our information needs have gotten more sophisticated.

Information consumers are starting to demand better ways to get quick summarized answers to questions without having to manually read, find and analyze the voluminous amounts of documents returned from a typical keyword search. Then, after finding an interesting piece of information, users further seek to explore it, asking: Who makes it? What are the pros and cons of it? What causes it? What are the effects of it? What are the sources? – all returned immediately and in neatly summarized dynamic reports.

Semantic technologies can read and extract interesting answers not just from the Web but also from legacy databases, premium subscription content, enterprise content and other sources of proprietary information. Companies today are recognizing that they are surrounded by volumes and volumes of content that, if made accessible or if applied to a specific application, could deliver extreme value to the organization and, more importantly, to its customers. The new world of semantics is about creating an intelligent platform that analyzes and delivers insights and intelligence to the business and its customers, just as business intelligence has served companies in analyzing and delivering meaning about such important things as supply chains and manufacturing efficiency.

Content Intelligence

Content intelligence is about creating new content and information services derived from a company’s own premium content, and then optionally combining and enriching it with insights from the Internet, resulting in new sets of content that can power new and differentiated information services. But how is this achieved? By using semantic technologies to mine the breadth and depth of relevant, targeted information from the Web, or proprietary or enterprise sources. The content is already there – in overwhelming volumes – but semantics are essential for analyzing, organizing and structuring that content, giving it highly relevant meaning, and most importantly, making it actually valuable and tangible to users. At its most fundamental level, content supremacy enables companies to convert semantic technology, once relegated to the realm of the science project, into a thriving, mainstream business engine.

As more businesses move towards creating integrated solutions that bring both content and expertise to their customers, content supremacy emerges as a key source of new revenue and thus stands as an important competitive differentiator. Today’s businesses have to face a myriad of issues in order to retain and increase their user base and customer loyalty. To stay competitive, it is becoming crucial to continually enrich existing content and surface high-quality, meaningful, contextually aware insights from this data at the moment they are needed and within the context they are required. Through semantic technologies, companies can at last do just this and become content kings, increasing user interaction and time, as well as loyalty and brand perception. This in turn drives higher ad revenues, creates up-sell opportunities, automatically increases Web site page inventory and improves contextual advertising on those pages. All without information overload.

To take it a step further, companies can also use semantics to create lightweight, Web-based applications that enable users to find answers through content supremacy. For example, to stay competitive, a pharmacy chain may want to increase their brand loyalty, attract new customers and boost their online presence. In addition to leveraging semantics to combine a breadth and depth of relevant medical and health related content from across the Internet and from their own proprietary content, they create a lightweight semantic application for their Web site. This application would serve one purpose: to help customers get answers to health questions. A customer could type "heartburn," and would instantly receive a summarized and organized view of medicines, natural remedies, treatments, diets, etc. all related to curing heartburn.

As companies are forced to innovate to stay competitive, content supremacy and semantics offer new opportunities for businesses to create new revenue streams and unlock the value of existing proprietary content by tapping deep slivers of insights and relationships within pools of unstructured content. When companies infuse their content with the Web or vice versa, they can add much more value to their offering and their brand. In order to differentiate from the competition, companies must evolve to offer a wide range of content, but at the same time, they must ensure that it answers their customers’ key questions and is easy and quick to consume. Semantics are opening up entirely new possibilities for content supremacy, and today’s businesses can’t afford not to take note.