April 2008

As usual, last night’s NY Semantic Web Meetup was a pleasure, with presentations from/on Hakia and DERI (Linking Open Data), a lively group, and lots of conversation.

In one of my side-conversations, we dug a bit into the concept of “traversing”, not just to travel across associations, but to applying patterns of associations to people and situations that exhibit subsets of those same patterns, to expose opportunities. To the business, this is cross-marketing, to the analyst, this is pattern recognition and application. One participant in the conversation voiced the sentiment that this may be a key gateway to leveraging semantics for revenue generation.

Speaking of running for the money – and in the spirit of traversing, my wife is doing a little of her own “connecting ideas for the creation of value”. She’s run a few marathons before, but by dedicating her upcoming Boston Marathon run to something that matters to her, (her story about what/why… starts half-way down her page) she’s threaded across otherwise disparate areas of interest. While not everyone who has contributed is a runner, she’s clearly (judging by the numbers) tapped threads of common interest in cancer research.

Ultimately, powerful leveraging of semantic capabilities will enable greater networking and cross-connecting, or traversing, to occur in ways that are more graceful (perhaps less personal, but hopefully not) than were used in the example above, but in any case, toward the end of connecting ideas and creating value.

Someone recently shared DarkCopy with me.  This seemingly has little to do with my recent writings, and some would call it silly – but under the surface, it is pretty relevant.  Some of  the key drivers of the things I’ve chosen to write about include: efficiency, productivity, drivers of value, usability, tools for enablement…

So many of our environments tend to promote wearing no blinders, so you don’t miss anything that might be relevant.  In contrast (particularly relative to my previous post), this is a “simple” tool that lets you make efficient use of your computer for writing – a place that can otherwise prove to be the most distracting place to work (if you don’t count just being within voice-reach of one of your kids or your spouse, or the phone or your pda, or…   Sorry, I’ve got to go; my phone is ringing, an important email just popped up, and someone is at the door.  I guess I should have been writing this in DarkCopy!).

Riffing off some of my earlier posts (namely, Getting SemWebTech to Take, Opportunity Knocks, Community Semantics), I’ve been thinking a lot about the dynamics of meta data generation. I keep mentioning the value of latching onto activities in which people are already engaged, in order to devise processes that “catch on” or can be self-fulfilling. An aspect I haven’t talked so much about is – where in the processes the meta data gets created and captured.

In one context, the “service”, a proprietary hosted platform enables interconnection and linkages, profile-generation through the making of those associations seems the standard approach – whether the profile lives with the host (generally the case), or with the user (rarer).

There’s another context that is particularly interesting, and that is the “tool” approach, which I like to think of as an out-of-body (meta-body?) experience. Here, the mechanism is external to the platform or primary service being utilized, but is a mashable resource that can be tapped for identification and enablement of association with relevant content – and which can generate, on-the-fly, meta data which can then be cross-utilized, and reliably integrated into (or or leveraged for) further activities.

Zemanta and BlueOrganizer strike me as philosophically aligned with the latter, and Alt recently posted some ideas along these lines as well.

One of the projects I’m working on at the moment (building a Financial Track for the Semantic Technology Conference) ties together a couple of personal threads of interest – and in the process I’m discovering some interesting things going on out there. While attention tends to be drawn to cool gizmos and social hype, there’s a quiet creeping of semantic tools into “real world” uses, for real needs, if not competitive advantage.

As I’ve described in value network discussion, it is through latching onto already existing activities, that mechanisms not obviously associated to end-users objectives (but which underlie achievement of them) become adopted in the main-stream (as the bed of the stream – where cool gizmos might alternatively be the visible banks of the stream in this analogy –  beneath it all is the real stuff). I digress (sort of).

And this is the “stuff” of the conference session I’ve organized, which features examples from different financial sub-sectors (banking, asset management, real estate, insurance…) in support of numerous functional purposes (research, credit analysis, compliance, risk management…) for a number of value objectives (efficiency, thoroughness, flexibility, security, usability, profitability…).

Let me know about examples you’re aware of in this space.

By the way, if you plan to attend, you can use this discount code (ST8EH) to save $200 when you register, on top of the $100 you save by registering by April 21!

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