The conference on semantic technologies, held on 4th and 5th of September in Germany, in the Leipzig Kubus venue, attracted many specialists from all parts of the world. Semantics, that formerly led a niche existence or was considered a whimsy idea of Tim Berners Lee, has now become respected field of software architecture and engineering, used by the largest companies world-wide. This was confirmed by the impressive keynotes of Sofia Angeletou on Linked Data at the BBC and Thomas Kelly, head of the Semantic Technology Center of Excellence at Cognizant on Enterprise Semantic Technology. Both speakers reported on large-scale implementations of semantic techniques in the context of a complex company environment. Though semantic technologies have proved their efficiency, e.g. in the processing of big data, knowledge management, and search technology the keynote speakers still considered it as an important task in every project to convince the management of the advantages of these technologies.
The attendance from the travel and tourism trade was not too overwhelming, though there were many contributions of potential or actual importance for it: Andrea Volpini spoke about an An Open Linked Data Strategy for Tourism. His Italian company, insideout10, is developing a semantic strategy and semantic tools for a tourism project in Austria, Salzburger Land. He said: „Our aim, considering dominating platforms like bookings.com take a 20% cut on the revenues – is to begin moving a growing percentage of these bookings back to the local booking system (Feratel) – hence keeping as much value as possible in the local market.“
More topics, relevant for the tourism and travel trade, might have been: Digital marketing 360 metadata by Heimo Hännien, Don’t search – Be provided – Corporate Connected Knowledge by Nadine Steinmetz or Open ITA-int.org registry of automotive terminologies by Sören Auer, which could well serve as a prototype for a comprehensive tourism vocabulary. Tourism experts might have been attracted by projects with glittering names as PoolParty or Vocabulary Carnival. Though these names promise immediate fun they may be enjoyable in tourism only after a longer implementation process.