I suppose it’s very old news, but I recently stumbled across this short recap I wrote of STC07 last summer. I didn’t publish it here at the time because I thought it was going to be used elsewhere. Since that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, I figured I’d post it now in honor of those submitting proposals for Semantic Technology Conference 2008. Due date for proposal submission was today.


At the third annual Semantic Technology Conference, held this past May in San Jose, there seemed to be a great deal of interest in moving away from the “let’s imagine all the cool things we could do” phase and into the realm of real business needs and solutions. One clear indicator of this: the frequent conversations about coming up with a more public-friendly name that doesn’t include the word “semantic.” Early indicators seem to be leaning towards calling this new wave of technologies “Web 3.0,” even though they go beyond the Internet to touch enterprise systems, and eventually mobile devices and other data-aware appliances.

Vendors are getting savvier about providing options that allow businesses to adopt semantic technologies incrementally, as needed, instead of having to buy into it completely and invest large amounts of time, resources and data before seeing a return on their investment. Last year vendors also tended to offer single elements (a data store, a natural language processor, a semantic content management system) that clients had to stitch together into a DIY solution. But this year they’re focusing more on providing complete end-to-end solutions, or at least packaged solutions that contain multiple key products and services.

So, what’s next? To facilitate the move towards “early majority” adoption, I think semantic technology providers need to partner with consultants (like the company I work for, Avenue A | Razorfish), who can help evaluate the solutions, match them, up with clients’ needs, develop business strategies and design elegant, innovative, user-centered solutions.

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