Welcome!

Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@BigDataExpo: Article

Why the Titans of Business Are Investing Billions in Semantic Technology

When the transition to the Semantic Web is complete, all data everywhere will be linked in the cloud as connected points

Whether you've bought into it yet or not, the Semantic Web (aka Web 3.0) is coming - and mega-companies are leading the way. Not just the Googles, Facebooks and Apples of the world, but also massive organizations with business models as diverse as Wal-Mart, The New York Times, Dow Jones and Ford. All of them, and many more, are heavily invested in semantic web technologies.

One reason: When the transition to the Semantic Web is complete, all data everywhere will be linked in the cloud as connected points on a massive global graph. Unlike data in silos, the linked data in graphs allows computers to read it, understand it, infer meaning and produce an answer that's exactly what the searcher is looking for, whether the searcher is a shopper, reporter, marketer, financial analyst, cancer researcher or even the CIA.

Semantic search doesn't just yield a far better Web experience. It tremendously increases knowledge, understanding, click-thrus, conversions, opportunities and intelligent decision making.

If you're the biggest retailer in the world - aka Wal-Mart - and have one of the biggest data piles on the planet plus audacious e-commerce goals, you figured this out a while ago and made getting onto the Semantic Web a huge priority. Not least because, in one observer's words, "The retail giant needs to keep getting smarter if it wants to compete with Amazon, the leader in online retail."

Here's how to do it STAT:

Step one: Jumpstart the process and buy a semantic technology company
Wal-Mart acquired Kosmix, a semantic company that connects people, places, topics, events and products, in April 2011, changing its name to @Wal-MartLabs. Estimated price: $300 million or so. (Digital trivia: The team that built Kosmix also built what was probably the first shopping search engine ever, which Amazon bought for $250 million in - ancient history alert - 1998.)

Step two: Build your own semantic search engine
Barely 15 months later, @Wal-MartLabs announced that it had built and deployed Polaris, its own semantic search engine, on Walmart.com, with speedy results: "It has already boosted conversions to sales by 10-15 percent." Why? It gets what you want. For example, if you search for a Kindle, which Wal-Mart doesn't sell (take that, Amazon), Polaris instantly understands what you're after and shows you a very competitively priced array of Kindle alternatives that it does sell - including plenty of Nooks and iPads.

Step three: Don't stop there
In 2013 alone, Wal-Mart bought Inkiru, Torbit, OneOps and Tasty Labs for improved semantic search, better mobile support and optimization of its Big Data capabilities, including fraud detection.

Step four: Reap the ROI rewards
While the company has spent millions (no one will say how many, but many), the payoff is in the billions. For the current fiscal year, Wal-Mart expects to have $9 billion in online sales, a nearly 50 percent increase from its estimated 2011 online sales of $6.31 billion.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, tight-money times or not, has forged ahead with its own semantic strategy: the imperative if daunting task of getting all of its articles and information in a semantic database called rNews. The Gray Lady not only is spending a tidy bundle on doing this but also on working with Schema.org to establish global standards for making news data semantic.

In fact, whole industries have been going on semantic shopping sprees, particularly financial services (the likes of Dow Jones, Bloomberg LP, Citigroup), pharmaceuticals (Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, J&J) and car companies (Ford, Audi, Volkswagen). These and other mega-companies are buying and/or building their own internal semantic solutions as fast as they can find the right tech.

Like the Titans of Technology (Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, et al), the Titans of Business know the Semantic Web is a must to harvest the limitless knowledge inside Big Data. In their world, Web 3.0 is already happening. Many are hunting hard for the urgently needed next big breakthrough in semantic technology: a high-performance, affordable graph platform that will explode the development of RDF applications, including site-specific search, and transform Web 3.0 from vision to reality.

Once the price and performance issues for semantic RDF applications are solved, the new opportunities are endless. The global impact on business, research and society will be far more disruptive than Web 1.0 ever was.

References

More Stories By Charles Silver

Charles Silver is CEO of Algebraix Data Corp., the semantic web company. Through its patented math-based technology, the company is building the next generation platform for semantic computing applications. Silver was cofounder of RealAge, Inc., which he built in the 1990s from scratch, raised over $15 million in capital, negotiated strategic relationships and positioned the company for profitability, which enabled it to survive the dot-com bust. In 2007, RealAge was successfully sold to the Hearst Corporation.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I'm here to leverage my secret sauce, which is using outsourced development and the company that I utilize is delaPlex Software and they've basically allowed me to win Fortune 500 companies," noted Justin Witz, CTO of FRA and PlanTools, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by in...
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained Michael Fuhrman, Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.