Has the Semantic Web Industry become a reality yet?
Well, no. Or maybe not quite. But an innocent reader might have gathered this from the title of David Provost‘s recent publication which promisingly read “On the Cusp. Global Review of the Semantic Web Industry.”
Provost’s review is a nice and readable attempt at evangelizing semantic technologies and their adoption by the industry. Its seeks to spread the news outside of the echo chambers and avoids any community jargon and cryptic acronyms irrelevant to strategic decision makers. He really derserves great credits here.
But in the end Provost’s description of a “Semantic Web Industry” is reductionist. By just analysing the commercial availability of technology provided by vendors, the bigger picture of the industry gets blurred. He misses the point when it comes to analysing the actual demands for semantic applications. But they could be easily identified e.g. enabling cost-efficient interoperability and reusability of data. So Provost gets stuck in a supply-driven view of the semantic web industry. And as we have learned from history, supply driven markets – technology markets in special – are extremely vulnerable. Hence concluding that the Semantic Web Industry is on the cusp might seem a little “misworded”.
What might be a nice addition for a follow up study is to look at the commercialization strategies of semantic web technologies and its capitalization logic as a network good. Further on, it might be worth it looking at the value chain of a semantic industry in which vendors just play one (but nontheless important) role and the regulatory aspects involved in rolling out semantic web based business models, i.e. concept advertising. Here you might be easily confronted with antitrust and competition issues very soon, taking into account recent decisions of the German High Court about the bidding on key words in Google AdSense.
Imagine what it would mean if you could bid on concepts and secure them for your private purposes?