Sunday, July 12, 2009

Semantic Conference 2009

I was fortunate to be one of the attendees at the Semantic Conference 2009 held in Fairmont hotel, San Jose, Ca. I have to admit that I was very impressed to witness a huge crowd, probably 1300+, during these recessionary times. I was told by one of the organizers that the number of attendees has been growing considerably since the inception of this conference back in 2005. It was also very encouraging to see more than 20% of the attendees from the business side that just validates the fact that semantic technology is a no longer confined to R&D labs and intellectual discussions. There is a strong interest to apply this technology to derive maximum business value from it. Some notable sessions were:
  • Keynote from Reuters about state of Semantic technology and where is the money
  • Semantic Search discussion between C-level executives from Microsoft, Google and Yahoo
  • At least two sessions from the VC community expressing strong interest in the business side of semantic technologies
I had no doubt, even before going to this conference, that semantic technology can solve some problems which is very difficult to solve using the traditional or well-accepted technologies in the enterprise. I was was very disappointed to see almost lack of representation from even a single well known name from the Wall Street. It is well-known fact that financial industry has been an early adapter of most of the new technology but it seemed this wasn't the case in this context. Maybe, the turmoil in the financial industry is taking its toll on everything. On a brighter side, I saw a large number from the health care and pharma companies who had presented many use cases and application of this technology to solve some real business problems. I was also surprised to see a large convoy from Europe who presented many government-sponsored projects in the semantic technology. It seems that Europe has finally decided to take a very pro-active and leadership role in advocating semantic technology!
To sum it all, I left the conference with a smile on my face and with added enthusiasm for the semantic technology. There is no doubt left in my mind that it is just a question of time when this technology will be a mainstream technology and business benefits will be very real.
More to follow in the next blog ..

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