A new resource has been announced on Best Buy’s BBYOpen blog: Metis Alpha. Like Best Buy’s earlier forays into Semantic Web use, this one started with a business problem. As the announcement states: “These days, consumers have a rich variety of products available at their fingertips. A massive product landscape has evolved, but sadly products in this enormous and rich landscape often get flattened to just a price tag. Over time, it seems the product value proposition, variety, descriptions, specifics, and details that make up products have all but disappeared. This presents consumers with a ‘paradox of choice’ where misinformed decisions can lead to poor product selections, and ultimately product returns and customer remorse.”
Posts Tagged ‘Jay Myers’
Last week, the 11th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2012) took place in Boston. It was an exciting week to learn about the advances of the Semantic Web and current applications.
The first two days, Sunday November 11 and Monday November 12, consisted of 18 workshops and 8 tutorials. The following three days (Tuesday November 13 – Thursday November 15) consisted of keynotes, presentation of academic and in-use papers, the Big Graph Data Panel and industry presentations. It is basically impossible to attend all the interesting presentations. Therefore, I am going to try my best to summarize and offer links to everything that I can.
The Semantic Technology & Business Conference has been underway since Sunday, with tutorials and lightning sessions catching audience interest. The conference presentations get underway today, most of them following on the heels of the opening keynotes given by Bart van Leeuwen, firefighter and architect at netage.nl; Jay Myers, web architect at Best Buy; and Steve Harris, CTO of Garlik, a part of Experian.
Best Buy, as readers of this blog know, has been diving deep into the semantic web waters under Myers’ direction for a few years now, and he shared that journey with the audience at SemTech.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated panels at next week’s Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Francisco is the Wednesday morning session on Schema.org. Since the announcement of Schema.org just prior to last year’s SemTech Business Conference on the west coast, using the Schema.org shared vocabularies along with the microdata format to mark up web pages has been much debated, and created questions in the minds of webmasters and web search marketers along the lines of, “Which way should we go? Microdata or RDFa?”
Jay Myers, Lead Web Development Engineer at BestBuy, has moved the proverbial ball forward yet again by creating an implementation of the schema.org vocabulary in BestBuy’s Black Friday web pages.
First, a bit of history…
Myers began incorporating structured data into BestBuy web pages in 2009. Starting initially with basic store information (hours of operation, location, contact information), Myers soon expanded the project to include product pages, music data, and the 600,000+ item product catalog. This work quickly became a widely cited use-case for semantic markup. In particular, it brought a lot of attention to the RDFa syntax and the GoodRelations vocabulary. The effort resulted in improved page rankings, richer display of BestBuy search listings in browsers, and — after putting user-friendly tools in the hands of store managers — enabled Myers to tackle the retail problem of Open Box returns.
Jay Myers, lead web development engineer at Best Buy, acknowledged that he had to make some last-minute alterations to the presentation he gave yesterday at SemTech on the practical business uses of RDFa for search engines and beyond. They were required in light of the schema.org announcement that came at the end of last week. Myers worked the new standard for creating and supporting a common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages in microdata into a slide that showed how the Semantic Web can bring equilibrium to the pendulum that tends to swing between the shiny-ball stuff of the web that’s tailored for human consumption and the back-end keyword- and metadata-stuffing that’s done for the benefits of machine-reading.
But RDFa still takes top billing.
schema.org, Myers told the audience, is “search-centric and what I believe what the Semantic Web really entails is knowledge and insight,” he said.
Just a few months ago Jay Myers, lead web development engineer at Best Buy, talked to The Semantic Web Blog about using RDFa to mark up the retailer’s product detail pages and more semantic things he’d like to do, including mashing up its online catalog data with some other data sources.
Well, in just the last week he’s been stoking the semantic data foundation – pushing Best Buy’s product visibility and discovery further along with the help of RDFa and pulling in some semantic data too, all geared to building up what he calls the company’s Insight Engine. And there’s more coming soon, as Myers’ has a personal agenda of stretching RDFa just about as far as he can in Best Buy product pages. “My goal is to make our web site as data- rich as possible while preserving the front-end user experience we have now,” he says. “It’s totally possible and I think we achieved that so far.”
Jay Myers, Best Buy’s lead web development engineer, has been a vital part of the implementation of semantic web technologies into bestbuy.com, a subject our own Jennifer Zaino discussed with Myers a few months back. Now Myers is quite literally broadening his work with a project that started with “browse widening.”
According to Myers, “The basic aim of the browse widening project is, well, to make the site wider (groundbreaking, I know). Because this activity (in theory) should take a dev about 5 minutes to accomplish, we have decided to stick a couple of extra nuggets into the “requirements” of the project. As part of my ongoing passion to turn bestbuy.com into the most data-rich website on the planet, I am augmenting the site’s HTML with RDFa and vocabularies like GoodRelations, vCard, and Google’s review vocab, integrating rich product and store data directly into the front-end user experience to maximize the machine extractability and readability while preserving the visual user experience as it stands today.” Read more
Best Buy may be considered by many as a poster child for why businesses should use Semantic Web technologies. An early adopter of the GoodRelations vocabulary (just recommended for product and price information usage in web pages by Google), the retailer has been at the forefront of the Semantic Web wave – but it’s only just begun.
Semantic Web technologies, says Jay Myers, lead web development engineer at Best Buy, are a portal to better insight, in more ways than one (thoughts he’ll be sharing in more detail with attendees at this week’s Semantic Web Summit in Boston). “There is a vast amount of data that corporations produce or are able to consume,” he says – and within that a huge amount of insight most of them aren’t tapping into, which is a real loss considering the challenging environment that businesses such as retailers confront.