While one can question my sanity for attempting to educate markets on the free and open Web (we have many times)—‘tis the season to be jolly’, fearless, or perhaps both, so in the spirit of the holidays let’s polish the predictive analytics in the neural network we call the human brain and make a prediction:
Hindsight will prove 2012 to have been the inflection point for the semantic enterprise, representing a generational change at the confluence of information technology and organizational management.
Never underestimate the power of good will (or the human brain).
Happy Holidays and best in 2012!
2 thoughts on “Historians will view 2012 as the inflection point for the semantic enterprise”
Hello, here we are 3/4 of the way through 2012….has the inflection point for the semantic enterprise been reached yet? If not, how will we know when it has been and what can we do to ensure that it is met over the next 3 months???
Hi David. Well, while I certainly share your sense of urgency-it’s refreshing to see in semantics, I’ll attempt to provide answers.
1) Sometimes inflection points are quite clear in hindsight while other times not. Indications that an inflection point in semantics is occurring in 2012 include Google’s knowledge graph on the web in consumer market, although perhaps not in the way some semantic web supporters would have liked.
2) More directly to my comment “representing a generational change at the confluence of IT and organizational management” was the surprise by IBM in providing support in DB2. Interestingly, the most important part of this with IBM may well be how it impacts internal adoption and support for semantics in their giant global services arm–in hindsight that could be a clear inflection point depending on how it’s managed and evolves.
Both of these IT vendors are obviously market leaders that have unusual level of influence over standards and adoption of technology, albeit in much different markets, cultures, and manners. The computer scientist side of me isn’t terribly happy with either the pace or direction of adoption in semantics–neither is the citizen–I am not pleased with the way we manage either IT technical standards or market failure in IT (unhealthy relationships, macro economics, crisis prevention–in fact I am deeply disappointed by the obvious failure in the U.S. in this regard-conflicts run deep), but the entrepreneur and organizational consultant side of me also recognizes that technology adoption is usually messy and manifests in unexpected ways even in the most favorable cases.
There are many other advances and improvements in smaller companies to include products, but so far it’s clear that the two major trends are internal custom development by large organizations-in conjunction with some new products, and adoption by market leading vendors like those above which of course do what they can to protect previous success and move markets in their favor. So far semantics has been slower than most previous trends that are comparable that come to my mind, and much different–both I suspect is due to the lack of fast growing new companies and ecosystems that typically lead and influence generational change. This is I think in part reflected in our global economy, market failure in IT to some degree–including lack of competition, and failure by both functional regulatory methods and lack of proactive market farming to the level justified and required by influential customers. For example the governments around the world have been among the biggest champions of semantics- for very good reason, but have often failed to use their considerable market power to affect change in an economically sustainable manner. Many individuals and organizations have lost credibility in the process as they champion semantics with PR and then spend their IT investment supporting entrenched products that do not support either the technology or standards (or the mission of their own organizations in many cases).
However, it’s also true that it’s still very early in the process and if history repeats itself with this generational change in technology, we can expect the unexpected with more surprises moving forward. Importantly to your second question, as market leaders in IT understand better than most apparently, the best way to influence the future is to make it. Semantic vendors, customers, and influencers like media and consulting firms do have a choice and can influence the future in a dramatic way, but only if adopting methods that work. Generational change and important technology adoption to include new companies and ecosystems has never occurred in my observation in anywhere near the accidental form most assume. As my late partner Dr. Russell Borland used to say–and he was a key person involved in the previous generational change in IT – “I don’t believe in accidents”.
That is to say David, we’ve got to make it happen. I’ll follow with some private thoughts. – Thanks, MM