Ian Delaney, a journalist based in London, reports on an interview he had with John Davies of BT (the former British Telecom) during a Semantic Lunch. I have previously written about Davies’ BT colleague Paul Warren and his call for the need for semi-automation. This interview is also helpful because Davies makes the related points that semantic Web ideas will first find traction in the enterprise and therefore the term ‘semantic technologies’ is more precise than the global challenges of the semantic Web. As Delaney summarizes part of Davies’ views in this conversation:
We'll see the first applications of semantic technologies in the enterprise space. Its need is more acute. They have lots of databases, all built by different people according to different rules. Integrating the information from those is already a very costly and time-consuming activity. One database may talk about CustomerName, another may refer to CustomerID, for example. Joining these things together, so perhaps, a support department knows about what equipment the logistics department has installed for a customer, improves business efficiency. Semantic technologies put what Davies called a "wrapper" around these different data sources to create overarching access, connecting different datasources in a way that doesn't require nearly so much human effort.
I agree totally with the evolutionary, incremental view of semantic Web adoption beginning in the enterprise as an earlier posting argued, with its initial role being to help overcome semantic heterogeneities. I may also begin to work in the phrase ‘semantic technologies’ more into my writings.