Posts Tagged ‘e – commerce’

IBM’s Watson Group Invests In Fluid And Its Cognitive Assistant For Online Shoppers

watsonpixnwqEarlier this year The Semantic Web Blog covered the launch of the IBM Watson Group, a new business unit to create an ecosystem around Watson Cloud-delivered cognitive apps and services. One of the partners announced at that time was Fluid Inc., which is developing a personal shopper for ecommerce that leverages Watson. Today, the Watson Group is pushing that partnership forward by drawing from the $100 million that IBM has earmarked for direct investments in cognitive apps in order to invest in Fluid and in helping deliver what it says will be “the first-ever cognitive assistant for online shoppers into the marketplace.”

At the previous event in January, Fluid CEO Kent Deverell discussed and demonstrated the Expert Personal Shopper, now known as the Fluid Expert Shopper (XPS). Still in development, it takes advantage of Watson’s ability to understand the context of consumers’ questions in natural language, draw upon what it learns from users via its interactions with them, and match that against insights uncovered from huge amounts of data around a product or category – including a brand’s product information, user reviews and online expert publications — to deliver a personalized e-commerce shopping experience via desktops, tablets and smartphones.

The first Fluid XPS prototype is being developed for customer outdoor apparel and equipment retailer, The North Face, which Deverell showcased at the previous event.

At the IBM event in January, Deverell painted a picture of the difference between the experience consumers have with a great sales person vs. traditional ecommerce. Good salespeople, he said, “are personal, proactive conversational,” whereas e-commerce is data-driven. He told the audience at the event that Fluid wants to combine the best of both worlds. “A great sales associate makes you feel good about your purchase,” he said, and he envisions Fluid XPS doing the same through natural conversation, the ability to learn about the users’ needs, “to go as deep as you need to and resurface and provide relevant recommendations.”

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Leveraging Structured Data in E-Commerce

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Barbara Starr of Search Engine Land recently wrote, “Ever since the Hummingbird update, there has been a ton of Internet buzz about entity search. What is entity search? How does it work? And what exactly is an ‘entity’? However, the topic of entity search as it relates to e-commerce and Google Shopping has been neglected. Everything you have learned to date about entity search, semantic search and the semantic Web also applies to e-commerce. The big difference in the shopping vertical compared to other search verticals is that all entities searched for are of the same type. Every product in Google is, in fact, an entity of type ‘product.’ It should therefore be treated and optimized as such.” Read more

Leveraging Search Algorithms for Smarter E-Commerce

Barbara Starr of Search Engine Land recently wrote, “Innovation velocity in the search world is causing knowledge graphs to become increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous. In light of that, it is imperative that semantic Web groups and SEO groups maintain a frequent and open communication. The SEO of the future will need to have a strong understanding of how knowledge graphs work — as well as a solid grasp of semantic Web markup — in order to leverage this information for search marketing campaigns. On May 12, 2012, Google launched their knowledge graph, discussing it in a post entitled, Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings. The title alludes to Google’s continued evolution from a system that understands search queries as groups of keywords (‘strings’) to one that understands them as references to real entities/concepts/objects (‘things’).” Read more

Why Two Industry Giants — Walmart and Viacom — Have Semantic Technology In Their Sites

The opening keynotes at this week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference saw two industry giants pump up the volume about how, and why, to apply semantic technology in the enterprise.

At Viacom, the largest pure-play media company in the world, the sheer number of perspectives across an exhaustive portfolio that includes more than 160 networks and 500 digital media properties globally, as well as entertainment behemoth Paramount Pictures Corp., was a factor in giving semantic tech a start. Its pain point, chief architect Matthew Degel told attendees, involved dealing with issues like the creative variations that come with the territory – U.S. vs. international versions of digital assets, or the MPEG-2 take on a clip for broadcast in this country vs. H.264/MPEG-4 formats for streaming the same clip online. “How do you track all this and say that I have 23 files, they are all sort of different but they’re talking about the same thing,” Degel said. “We thought semantics could help address that.”

Multi-platform being the rule of the day, the company faced the challenge of making its material reuseable, findable, searchable and purposeable, Degel said. As it takes steps to its goal of providing a corporate-focused, general purpose application of the technology, Degel explained that the view he takes on semantic technology is to think of it as “helping you deal with a certain amount of uncertainty and chaos.”

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ADmantX Named “Cool Vendor” in E-Commerce by Gartner

NEW YORK, NEW YORK–(Marketwired – May 15, 2013) - ADmantX, the next-generation contextual analysis and semantic data provider, today announced that it has been included in Gartner “Cool Vendors for E-Commerce, 2013″ report, published on April 9, 2013, and authored by Chris Fletcher, Gene Alvarez, Praveen Sengar, Penny Gillespie, Regina Casonato, Andrew Frank.

The report reviews five vendors that provide innovative offerings in the digital marketing, social products, and digital and social e-commerce space. The main issue limiting the online advertising market is the disconnect between advertisement placement and the relevance of the copy. This is due to the reliance on keyword frequency without considering the meaning. Ads may appear on pages that have little significance to the assigned page or may produce counterproductive effects. Semantic technology automatically extracts the meaning in text to increase the relevance of ads, and maximize the website visitor’s receptiveness to advertising content. Read more

NLP Company Versus IO Raises $2.8M

David Meyer of GigaOM writes, “In the development of natural language processing, the semantic web and so on, e-commerce provides a rich breeding ground. Companies such as Amazon and Google always want to find better ways to learn what it is potential customers are looking for, so the technology follows the commercial imperative. A Berlin startup called Versus IO is trying to apply natural language algorithms in its product comparison service, and it’s just closed a $2.8 million Series A round to do so. The round was led by Earlybird Venture Capital and also includes Dave McClure, who previously invested $100,000, and angels Lars Dittrich and Dario Suter.” Read more

The Future of E-Commerce Data Interpretation: Semantic Markup, or Computer Vision?

How will webpage data be interpreted in the next few years?  The Semantic Web community has high hopes for ever evolving semantic standards to help systems identify and extract rich data found on the web, ultimately making it more useful.  With the announcement of Schema.org support for GoodRelations  in November, it seems clear semantic progress is now being made on the e-commerce front, and at an accelerated rate.  Martin Hepp, founder of GoodRelations, estimates the rate of adoption of rich, structured e-commerce data to significantly increase this year.

diffbot logo and semantic web cubeHowever, Mike Tung, founder and CEO of a data parsing service called DiffBot, has less faith that the standards necessary for a true Semantic Web will ever be completely and effectively implemented.  In an interview on Xconomy he states that for semantic standards to work correctly content owners must markup the content once for the web and a second time for the semantic standards.  This requires extra work, and affords them the opportunity to perform content stuffing (SEO spam).

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Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Semantic Tech Matchmakers

Courtesy: Flickr/takacsi75

Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating the coming together of two parties who are made for each other. That’s as true when it comes to semantic technology as it is for two people – sort of.

Yes, semantic tech aligns with the concept of matchmaking in its own ways. They aren’t always as romantic as a quiet dinner with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of roses, but hey, love comes in many forms. Here’s a quick look at semantic tech and its role in matchmaking, of various kinds:

  • In the journal Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience you’ll find the work Semantic Web Service Matchmakers: State of the Art and Challenges. The semantic matchmakers it’s talking about get involved in helping developers partner up with the right web services: The mission of Web service discovery, its abstract explains, is to seek an appropriate Web service for a service requester on the basis of the service descriptions in Web service advertisements and the service requester’s requirements. But a problem in that discovery process is ambiguity, because the standard language used for encoding service descriptions does not have the capacity to specify the capabilities of a Web service.  According to the abstract of the article, “This brings up the vision of Semantic Web Services and Semantic Web Service discovery, which make use of the Semantic Web technologies to enrich the semantics of service descriptions for service discovery. Semantic Web Service matchmakers are the programs or frameworks designed to implement the task of Semantic Web Service discovery.” The paper surveys and analyzes typical, contemporary Semantic Web Service matchmakers across six technical dimensions.  Read more

GoodRelations Fully Integrated with Schema.org

Schema.org and GoodRelations logosSchema.org has announced that GoodRelations is now fully integrated into the markup vocabulary backed by Google, Yahoo!, Bing/Microsoft, and Yandex (read our past schema.org coverage). GoodRelations is the e-commerce vocabulary that has been developed and maintained by Martin Hepp since 2002 (previous coverage).

In the official announcement, R.V. Guha (Google) says, “Effective immediately, the GoodRelations vocabulary (http://purl.org/goodrelations/) is directly available from within the schema.org site for use with both HTML5 Microdata and RDFa. Webmasters of e-commerce sites can use all GoodRelations types and properties directly from the schema.org namespace to expose more granular information for search engines and other clients, including delivery charges, quantity discounts, and product features.”

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Vital.AI: A Semantic Platform for Big Data-Driven Apps

Yesterday The Semantic Web Blog discussed how personalized mobile assistance came up on the lists of a bright future in the eyes of semantic web experts (see here). Sharing that vision is the team at Vital.AI, the NYC-startup founded by Marc Hadfield.  Its Thrive.AI app, also a contender at SemTech’s Startup Competition, is a personalized semantic shopping agent for the iPad, but the underlying Vital.AI platform on which it is built provides an integrated suite of components for a variety of knowledge-centric, intelligence-rich, Big Data-driven applications.

The e-commerce agent, Hadfield told attendees at SemTech in San Francisco last week, was the company’s own foray into figuring out what it needed to add to the platform to make it easier to build apps that bring semantic technologies and Big Data together.

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