Monthly Archives: December 2009

Semantic Ear to the Ground

I just read an interesting post on SemanticWeb.com – Web 3.0 Leaders Look to the Year Ahead

Worth reading if you’re keen, but if you’re short on time, here’s my four point summary:

  1. Most User Generated Content will remain unstructured during 2010 – so blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums, communities will still have volumes of text
  2. Websites with published content will begin to semantically enable – if only to increase their placement with search engines
  3. Shared taxonomies, ontologies and folksonomies will appear in 2010 and in 2011 will begin to take their place as formal ontologies that can be reliably referenced
  4. Triple-stores will not be widely adopted, but their adoption will continue to increase and we will see one or two triple store vendors in ascendance

Things to do in 2010 (for consumer facing organizations)

Here’s a quick primer on the Semantic Web by Jamie Taylor from MetaWeb ‘Integrating the Cloud into Content

  • Enrich your online content with Semantic Tags – Search Engines are gaining Semantic Capabilities – Bing and Yahoo Search Monkey are able to recognize semantic tags and will use these to provide a much richer search experience to the user. Take a look at Google Squared where I did a search for hotels . OpenCalais analyzes your text, extracts certain entities (typically people, places and organizations) and cross references them with the Linked Open Data Cloud to make sure they are meaningful. There’s a good post on RDFa, SEO and Semantic Technology on WebBackPlane.

The Linked Data Cloud

  • Publish Product Catalogs, Availability and Locations and encourage mashupsBestBuy in the USA and Tesco in the UK are two retailers that have exposed via APIs details of their businesses. Tesco held an open developer evening called Tjam where developers were encouraged to use the APIs to create new and innovative user experiences. BestBuy’s API has resulted in 3 interesting applications. These pilot efforts I see as the shape of things to come.
BestBuy Remix

BestBuy Remix

  • Think about how your own internal systems might benefit from Semantic enrichment. Most Business Intelligence applications maintain a dictionary of metadata known as Master Data Management. When given semantic meaning, this data becomes far more useful – enabling discrepancies to be resolved, new linkages to be found and utilized when analyzing facts. There are a couple of very good articles at Information Management and Semantic Universe on this topic.

Semantic Companies and Projects to keep an eye on

Triple Store Databases

Twitter as a bi-directional channel for engagement

In 2008, holiday retail sales amounted to approximately $245 billion, a decline of about 2.8% from 2007 sales. … Based upon the above observations, Anthony L. Liuzzo forecast’s that holiday retail sales will increase by 2% in 2009 (from the HOLIDAY RETAIL SALES FORECAST: 2009 so retailers anxious to capture a greater share of the holiday wallet are turning to Social Media to increase sales.

The New York Times article, Buying, Selling and Twittering All the Way says “Many people use it to send mundane updates to their friends, but increasingly, the nation’s retailers see it as a business tool.
It gives customers a practical way to cajole a retailer, complain about something or ask questions.”

Other quotes from major retail chains include:

“It’s one of the greatest emerging communication channels out there,” said Greg Ahearn, senior vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Toys “R” Us. “This is a way people can stay connected with the brand in a way they’ve never been able to before.”

“It’s 24-hour access to our employees,” said Brad Smith, director of interactive marketing and emerging media for Best Buy. The Twelpforce had fielded about 25,000 questions even before gearing up for Thanksgiving weekend.

Pete Blackshaw’s article in Advertising Age, What Best Buy Learned About Service as Marketing and Empowering Employees notes the servive Twitter user has 15,000 followers and how Twelpforce tops his 2009 list for breakthrough holistic marketing

Elephantear’s perspective is that for Retailers, Twitter should be ascending its use as a opt-in marketing communications channel to a true bi-directional communications mechanism between marketer and consumer.