Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SemTech conference session notes: keynote panel building the semantic industry

Notes from Building the Semantic Technology Industry: A Conversation with Entrepreneurs and Investors.

Safa Rashtchy

Analyst with Piper Jaffry (10 years). Consumer behaviour is changing. Google makes it easy to find things with minimal effort (avg. 1.2 keywords per search). People becoming "lazy"? Do consumers really give much knowledge in searches? Barriers/priorities: wave will be consumer web, money will come from advertising. People are too used to getting thigns for free. New effect is smart matching advertisers to users. But advertising musn't be too much in your face.

Russell Glass

Zoominfo semantic search engine. Drivers? Consumers don't care about semantic web. But are voracious consumers of content. Would require thousands of people to create the content that we can automatically aggregate today. Barriers/priorities: disagree about advertising only. Trends suggest ad/subscription hybrids are growing. Rich semantic models allow businesses to determine how to partition business model between subscription and advertising.

Mark Greaves

Vulcan Inc - venture capital fund founded Paul Allen. Drivers? Data integration is a long-term need. Maybe we'll be successful this time! Web 2.0 is the first computer architecture that came from the people, not from the enterprise. People are social animals, want to be heard and have their disparate needs met. Consumer drivers will accelerate past enterprise.

Jamie Taylor

Metaweb - producer of Freebase. Responsible for community building. Drivers? Have to reduce cost or increase value. Mash-ups increase cost because they are disorganised. Data will become more organized to decrease cost. Open data is the key. Data as a community good. Semantic technology will sneak in on the back. Barriers/priorities: long tail - can micro-apps have value to other people? Change in mindset: open my data, brings value both to other people and therefore back to me.

Mills Davis

Project10X. Facilitating. Has a report on the state of the market available from the semtech web site. Questions 1. what are the drivers? 2 what are the barriers and priorities?

Bradley Allen

Founder of Siderean (formerly of Inference Corp). Drivers: lots of information, vast growth. Need metadata to manage data overload. Barriers/priorities: are consumer and enterprise models merging?

Nova Spivack

Radar Networks. User facing semweb app, still in stealth mode. Derives from semantic desktop research. How can we integrate our various scattered filesystems (email, desktop, laptop, online, etc)? Drivers? Web 3.0 - coming decade of web innovation. Cyclical pattern. Pre web-1.0, making the pc usable. Web 1.0 - backend innovation. Web 2.0 - front end, wisdom of crowds etc. Web 3.0 = "dataweb". Mainstream adoption of semweb is still several years away. Advanced reasoning, OWL etc, is web 4.0? Agents etc - a decade away.

Eghosa Omoigui

Intel Capital. Largest VC company in the world. 27 countries. Has three focus areas: consumer internet, search, semantic technology (note: not nec. semantic web). Was "underwhelmed" by web 2.0 expo. Drivers? Web is becoming a social medium - making friends on the internet not in real space. Does this raise expectations. Want everything at high speed. What we do has to fit in with what people are doing anyway. Barriers/priorities: unintended consequences. Security/privacy? Who will see my open data and what will/can they do with it?

comments/questions from audience

shouldn't the first wave of development be moving existing apps to the new platforms. where are the semantic versions of existing apps? Nova: it's still very expensive to build apps - the tools just aren't there yet. Scalability. James: what's the LAMP for semantic apps. People do component replacement, e.g. semantic stores.

Is there is land grab in the semantic web? What is it? Also, what education needs to happen? Mark: land to be grabbed is content and ontologies. Content is king. Zoominfo and Freebase are building presence in knowledge about people and semi-structured content. Nova: land-grab for user's attention. Bradley: land-grab for vocabulary. FOAF etc. Education - we need to understand what's essential and what is not. Put aside reasoning, focus on block-and-tackle issues like basic vocabulary. Mills: land-grab executable knowledge.

Comment: actually the government has all the data you need (from a government representative!)

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