My colleagues Alaa Saayed and Melanie Turek recently took a look at Web 3.0 and tried to define it and assess its potential impact on both business users and communication solution providers. Here follow some excerpts from their study.
What exactly is Web 3.0? This buzzword has lately been used to describe the evolution of the Web in the context of human interaction. The so called “semantic Web” refers to the third-generation Internet’s potential to automatically and intelligently interpret the data accessed by a given user, thereby making the continuous flow of information increasingly relevant.
Through the use of semantic technologies, which intelligently process the nature and value of searchable text, Web 3.0 tools find and deliver the right content at the right time. To do this, they use special formats and notations, such as Resource Description Framework Schema (RDFS) and Web Ontology Language (OWL), to provide algorithms that understand the description of concepts, terms and relationships. As a result, a Web 3.0 search engine wouldn’t rely only on keywords to deliver information, for instance, but would also take into account the context of complete phrases or questions in order to produce more relevant results.
For example, suppose you want to know the names of all the actors who have played James Bond in the 007 movies. If you type in the question “who portrayed James Bond?” into a traditional search engine, the tool will deliver a list of pages that may or may not contain the names of all or some of the actors who have played James Bond on screen; you must then click on those links to get the information you’re looking for. If you use an advanced semantic Web browser, on the other hand, the search engine will “understand” exactly what you’re looking for and deliver direct answers—in this case, a list of the actors, rather than a list of links.
Although there are many ways in which the semantic Web could help technology vendors and IT managers transform the way they do business, the key advantage it delivers is knowledge management.
We are immersed in the information age; companies and end users that best manage the onslaught of information–and contextualize it for efficient use–will realize a competitive advantage. The goal is to transform data from a variety of sources (consumers, employees, and enterprises) into personal and institutional knowledge.
Companies must leverage explicit and stored knowledge to deliver maximum value; to do that, they must manage that knowledge in ways that improve efficiency and streamline business processes. As a result:
1. Marketing departments could better understand what customers are saying about their products.
2. Communication departments could intelligently tailor their tight Internet/Web 2.0 communications budgets.
3. Business intelligence units could better evaluate and analyze the competition.
4. Customer service departments could better serve their clients.
5. Doctors could better serve their patients by having enriched clinical knowledge.
6. Travel agencies could better tailor their product packages and offerings depending on customers’ preferences.
7. Financial institutions and banks could better serve people’s needs by tailoring their products appropriately.
8. Enterprises could gather employee’s explicit knowledge (published, concise, and structured) as well as tacit knowledge (which resides in peoples’ heads).
9. Service oriented architectures (SOA) and search services on the cloud could be drastically improved.
The goal of the semantic Web is to intelligently use information, instead of simply accumulating it.