I had the privilege of attending both the full conference and workshops as well as working the exhibit booth for Synaptica the taxonomy and metadata management tool that i am the Business Development Manager for at Dow Jones. Many of our existing customers use Synaptica to build and maintain business taxonomies, thesauri, name catalogs, authority files etc. that become cornerstones of their semantic activities.
In this post, i will outline some of the tools that i and others used to 'socialize' the physical conference as well as outline some of coverage i have been collecting over the last week to provide my readers and many customers who could not make it to the conference a good overview of what happened. According to conference organizers there was an increase of 30% from the previous year and in my next post i will write a bit more about the attendees and why I am particularly interested in semantic technologies and believe my clients should be as well.
Being in the 'cloud' while at the conference>>>
I attend a lot of local bay area conferences where technology on the stage is highlighted and the technology in our hands is used to connect, discuss, share and socialize. I also however attend a lot of 'corporate' conferences where the conference rooms have no WIFI, they hand out 30lbs of paper as conference collateral (with presentations that NEVER match up with the ones the speaker is doing!) and the only connections we make are either by being scanned at the booth or doing the ritual business card trading ceremony. As to be expected the SemTech crowd was in the know and the conference coordinators did their best to accommodate.
During SemTech many attendees took advantage of tools like
- Twitter (here is a view using Summize.com and the tags we loosely agreed on #semtech08 or #semtech2008 (and by default were always alerted as to where the post session drinking was happening or which rooms had power strips!)
- del.icio.us tags like semtech08 or semtech2008 to tag web content during and post session presentations
- Of course the darling of the semantic web, Twine with a collaborative Semantic Technology Conference Twine (unfortunately at this time you need to be a member- drop me a line if you need an invite daniela.barbosa [at] dowjones.com).
- Flickr to tag and post photos
- One of my favorite ways that thoughts were shared in 'real tine' was Nico Adam's Seesmic session reviews- it was like i was almost there at the sessions i missed!
So the 'conversation' back channels and the hallway conversations were great but what about the Conference sessions themselves?>>>
The sessions were a combination of keynotes, tutorials, industry sidebars (Finance, Health, Govt), and 'use/case study' presentations. They ranged from introductory business sessions to Technology advanced sessions so there was plenty for everyone- and some slots turned into a dilemma for me to decide which way to turn.
Although all the presentation slide decks are being made available to conference attendees (and many presenters are also publishing their own)- there really was no recording on the sessions (although the conference coordinators did tell me that some sessions were recorded via audio and they are checking the files to see which ones are publishable to attendees) [my personal opinion is to make everything open to the public- but i am a natural born sharer ;-)
I did manage to convince the kind Eric Franzen one of the main conference coordinators to allow me to video tape two sessions that Christine Connors from Dow Jones did- one titled Semantic Coding at 120mph that focused on some of the semantic work Dow Jones is doing as part of the products and services we offer (she is our Director of Semantic Technology Solutions) and the second one the Final KeyNote Panel about bringing Semantic Technologies Back to Business which i have embedded below:
Here is some other coverage from the conference that you might find interesting:
Alex Iskold Founder, CEO of AdaptiveBlue and a regular contributor to ReadWriteWeb on Semantic Web topics and was on the The Rising Stars of the Semantic Web: A Status Report and Future Survey panel that David Scott Lewis moderated has two great write-ups as part of his coverage.
- An overview of the "Semantic Venture Panel: Investor Opportunities and Pitfalls" session. The panel featured Stephen Hall from Vulcan Capital, Eghosa Omoigui from Intel Capital and Amanda Reed from Palomar Ventures.
- An overview of the "Taking Semantic Technology to the Masses" session. The panel was moderated by Carla Thomson from Guidewire Group and featured Josh Dilworth from Porter Novelli, Tom Tague, who heads the Calais initiative at Reuters, and Mark Johnson, who is a product manager at Powerset.
John Breslin a researcher and adjunct lecturer at DERI, NUI Galway, Ireland in the areas of the Semantic Web and social software who i was very please to meet in person and spend some time with speaking about DataPortability covered some of of the sessions including:
- Overview of Nova Spivacks Keynote presentation on "Experience from the Cutting Edge of the Semantic Market" where Nova provided an overview of Twine (many people raised their hands in the crowd as existing users which was excepted). I was please to see Nova also speak about some enterprise market opportunities for Twine- for companies to do knowledge sharing etc. (who doubts that is a Twine play?)
- Overview of Eric Miller from Zepheira talk on "The Next Generation of Semantic Development Tools" outlining Zepheira's new service REMIX.
- John Breslin, Stefan Decker and Uldis Bojars also presented a tutorial on The Future of Social Networks on the Internet: The Need for Semantics and have posted their slides on slideshare. I am really bummed i missed this session because i had signed up for the Ontology tutorial because i thought all sessions were going to be video archived.
Beyond all the buzz, the instructive tutorials and the cool demos however there was little mainstream press or even 'mainstream' bloggers, or analysts covering the conference as David Scott Lewis says in a comment he left on Ivan Herman's post....perhaps next year but until then i have lots of presentations that i need to download of sessions that i missed that either sound interesting or that i heard were very good.