PoolParty Semantic Suite
In 2004, the semantic web – the interconnection of data according to "linked data" principles and standards – was still in its infancy. It was first specified by Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
There were not many applicable industrial applications, which was specifically why semantic technologies and the semantic web blossomed as a promising area for future-oriented research. In 2004, in the context of the FIT-IT research programme, BMVIT (Federal Ministry of transport, innovation & technology) laid down the original specification for the "semantic systems" program line. The objective for FIT-IT Semantic Systems is to create the ideal technological conditions to simplify the human-computer interaction and the interaction between information systems.
Austria got on board, and holds a leading position in "semantic systems" research at international level. From the outset – and to this day – leadership trends have been set at the international level of "semantic systems" development by institutes such as the Know Center at Graz University, the Salzburg Research Association and Innsbruck University.
The FIT-IT information technology program, which is a BMVIT initiative, occupies a world leading position in promoting joint Industry/Science ventures, and FIT-IT made emerging markets available to Austrian companies at an early stage.
As long ago as 2004, the Semantic Web Company (or Semantic Web School as it was then called) developed a 12-module curriculum, and educated hundreds of trainees in the German-speaking countries on the principles of the semantic web, and the tools available for using it.
SEMANTiCS conference series
And it was also SWC that, in 2005, created the SEMANTiCS conference series with just 100 attendees at Vienna's TechGate. That conference was supported by BMVIT.
Subsequently, on the basis of the many years of experience accrued by the SWC team in the fields of scientific organisation and collaboration, the principles and the technologies of the "semantic web" were successively incorporated into their client projects, representing the initiation of their integration into the product in the development of the core SWC product – PoolParty Semantic Suite.
And it was specifically in this phase that intensive research & development work was needed with a view to arriving at solutions (in conjunction with leading Austrian and European research institutes) that would be produced by the corresponding partners as the basis for learning from research, benefiting from it and - in particular - transferring the associated developments over to products and services ready for market launch; followed by their successful exploitation in industry projects.
At this level of national and international research programmes, SWC has established itself as a project partner capable of organising & achieving the transfer of research & development to the market. At that time, the proportion of the Company's activity that was accounted for by research & development peaked at just 45%.
PoolParty Semantic Suite
In 2009, the EU marketplace experienced the launch of what is now the core product of the Semantic Web Company GmbH: the PoolParty Semantic Suite. In the 1st instance, it served purely as a solution for the modelling of taxonomies and thesauruses ("knowledge graphs") and subsequently for text analysis solutions, eventually reaching the status of middleware for semantic data and information management.
In the years that followed, research activity was continued on various projects, especially the 4-year LOD2 project (2010-2014) which was in the 7th European framework programme, and – throughout the entirety of the FP 7 framework programme – was identified as the overall 3rd most innovative project since EC innovation (2015).
At national level, during this period, product development was extensively supported by the LASSO project (Lookup & Alignment Service with Semantic Open Data) under the FIT-IT research project. In LASSO, in conjunction with Graz University and start-up company Gnowsis und Neurovation GmbH, there was development of new methods for look-up and the interconnection of data (open, semi-open and closed data) followed by the corresponding integration into project partners' products and services. One particular strength is the facility for specific interconnection of existing data with open data from "Linked Open Data (LOD)". Cloud is one of the functions of the PoolParty Semantic Suite in which the product still exhibits a marked lead over the competition, thus generating a competitive edge in SWC's favour.
In all cases, the developments and results from national and international research projects (both those that were completed and those that are ongoing) have been integrated into the PoolParty core product, and constitute one of the main reasons why PoolParty now stands as one of the world's leading software solutions for semantic data and information management capable of offering a clearly-defined product-development roadmap.
SWC's research and innovation strategy is now specifically aligned towards product development, and vice versa. Today, the PoolParty Semantic Suite is successfully used by top-500 companies in Europe, in North America, in Australia and in Asia, at the level of more than 100 installations, whilst in 2016 SWC was listed by KM World US amongst the '100 Companies That Matter in Knowledge Management'.
Semantic Web Company
With a team of 33 experts from the Vienna linked data and text mining departments, the Semantic Web Company (SWC) now serves clients in 21 countries and has returned an annual growth rate of currently 23.5%. In 2016, its R&D activities came to approximately 20%.
Currently, for example, SWC is participating in the H2020 Big Data Europe project, in order to achieve more integration of Big Data Mechanisms and technologies into its products and services, and – to give another example – it is leading the "IKT der Zukunft" Projekt ADEQUATe, whose central interest is to analyse and to enhance data quality.