Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Defining the Web of Data

Dany Ayers points us to Tim Berners Lee on the Semantic Web.

It's a pretty awesome video, and gels nicely with what I was selling today.

At work, having new computers for new staff with... you guessed it, new microsoft software, I'm trying to sell people on iCal, and RDF output from our work application.

A few months ago, there would have been no point. I'd have to sell them on thunderbird, lightning, the concept of rss, the concepts of open webservices; and I didn't have a compelling problem to solve.

Now however, I have that problem.

We need to manage the working days of our valuers.
  • Where they drive
  • How many appointments they make
  • When they make those appointments
  • And the most efficient route between it all
  • Doing that means we can give them more work
  • But to do all that, we need to do it from a communications hub
  • Communications hubs mean we can keep the customers informed all the way along.
If you haven't guessed, it's half the email client, half the web application.

With the release of Outlook 2007 supporting iCalendar, with Google supporting GeoRSS; and with the ability to very easily give people links to google maps rendering said rss, I can now provide a very, very low effort implementation of our web application outputting data.

Combine flashy demonstrations (Google earth reading KML of where all of our valuers are today) with pressing needs...

For instance, we're currently not doing so well in keeping up with the changing requirements on our reporting appliance - everyone just needs more data, and we can't write reports quick enough! It's much better to just put the data out there, and let anyone who wants it stuff it into Access or similar.

We're also putting a lot more oompf into our soap based webservices - everyone wants to connect to us; to standardise.
We're becoming a webservices hub of sorts, allocating work and managing the details so our clients don't have to.

So it's only natural to begin to think of Valex as two steps away from Web 3.0 ... but maybe I should start to think a little bigger than that.

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