Opinion, to put it mildly, is somewhat divided on the whole Semantic Web thing.
Is it the same as 'Web 3.0'? Or is it simply close enough for the distinction to pale into insignificance amongst those who don't see counting angels on the heads of pins as a worthwhile pastime?
Is it a neat idea that's resulted in some great Ph.D research around the world, but wholly impractical for actual implementation? Or does it presage the coming of the hive mind, the thoughts of which will be structured by The One True Ontology?
Is it the natural successor to Web 2.0? Or does it offer some interesting ideas and approaches that can be used to supplement the best of today's Web with relatively little pain?
All these - and more - are possible reactions to an attitude, an approach, and a set of technologies that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Consortium, and a multitude of university research departments have been pushing for a very long time.
At Talis, we take the Semantic Web pretty seriously. Not only are we investing significantly in the development of a technology platform that does much of the heavy lifting for those wishing to build semantically enriched applications, but we're also actively engaged in raising awareness of the possibilities introduced by an increased use of semantic technologies.
The semantic technology market is small, but growing. There is clear value in active cooperation between early adopters, in order to excite growth, to raise awareness, and to spark the creation of opportunities. Through an active Advisory Group, we engage with leading proponents of the Semantic Web; many of whom might traditionally have been seen only as competitors.
Another important way to help understand what's possible is by letting those who are interested hear other people talking about it. Not everyone can afford the time or money to attend great events like the Web 2.0 Summit, Semantic Technologies, Semantic Web Strategies, etc. For those people, we've been working for a while to assemble a (growing) body of podcasts exploring some of the ways in which semantic technologies can be pragmatically and beneficially deployed today.
On the investment side, venture capitalist Brad Feld discusses the opportunities for investment in this market, and Mills Davis trails his forthcoming report with some discussion of just how big the semantic technology marketplace could grow.
Tom Ilube of Garlik talks about the role semantic technologies played in enabling his business to take shape, Thomas Vander Wal takes listeners across into the world of folksonomies, and Tom Heath paints a picture of the potential for semantically aware recommendation systems. For the more technically inclined, both David Wood and Paul Gearon dig into the pros and cons of 'semantic databases' and triple stores.
All these and more have been touched upon in the past year of podcasting, and the enthusiasm and experience communicated by participants is a clear indication of potential in this area.
The media, both technology-focussed and mainstream, is clearly interested in the potential of semantics at the moment. Why not take an opportunity to delve a little deeper, hearing some of the leading proponents in this field dig deep into their experience in order to share with the their audience.
And yes, I'm always looking for new subjects - or suggestions of people you'd like to hear. Drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments and ideas.