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We are in the midst of a revolutionary change in the development, implementation and use of information and communication technologies. Web technologies are shifting from rendering information in a format for human interpretation, towards providing an automated environment for delivering a wide variety of e-commerce and business-to-business services and applications.

Such services and applications will communicate and interoperate in a world composed of Web-accessible programs and databases, and interface wirelessly with many smart devices and sensors. These shifts have the potential to change significantly the way we communicate, co-operate, and organize our commercial and personal relationships.

The Semantic Web is fundamental to enabling the services and applications outlined above by providing a universally accessible platform that allows data to be shared and processed by automated tools, and by providing the machine-understandable semantics of data and information that will enable automatic information processing and exchange.

Experts have already developed a range of mark-up frameworks and languages, notably the revised Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL) which mark the emergence of the Semantic Web as a broad-based, commercial-grade platform. However, much work remains to be done for upper layers of the Semantic Web, which are considerable research challenges.

Complementary to the Semantic Web, Web Services are a new breed of application. They are self-contained, self-describing, modular applications that perform anything from simple requests to complex business processes, which can be accessed across and via the Web. Web services can significantly increase the potential of the Web’s architecture by providing a way of automated program communication, discovery and invocation of services.

Future Vision

DIP’s vision is the further development, combination and enhancement of Semantic Web and Web Service technologies to produce a new technology infrastructure – Semantic Web Services. Web Services are the proper means for accessing semantically enriched data, and semantically-enabled Web Services are essential to providing the mature and scalable operating conditions necessary for their successful deployment in stable and secure environments. Significant research work needs to be done before the infrastructure underlying Web Services can make this vision a reality.

DIP’s mission is to make Semantic Web Services a reality as the new infrastructure for e-Work and e-Commerce. The successful creation of such an infrastructure could potentially change the way electronic cooperation and business is conducted to the same extent that the original Web revolutionised access to electronic information.

This mission translates into the following core objectives:

Make Semantic Web technology a reality. An important objective of DIP is to further develop the vision of the Semantic Web based on machine-processable semantics as a new communication and co-operation infrastructure. Machine-processable semantics enable the automation of information access and processing.

Combine Semantic Web technology with Web Services for semantics-based services. DIP believes that a combination of Semantic Web and Web Services technology may well deliver the killer application for the Semantic Web. Semantic Web Services can provide an infrastructure that will not only revolutionize information processing but also the way we access computational resources in general. They will provide a completely new infrastructure to facilitate more effective and cost-efficient electronic business and enable people to work together in better and more innovative ways.

Apply Semantic Web Services as an infrastructure in real world scenarios within an organization and between organizations and its customers, partners and suppliers. DIP will also address one of the critical success factors in the market take-up of Semantic Web Services by creating practical solutions to real-world business challenges. These solutions will be showcased in scenarios within single organizations, and between and across multiple organizations operating along the classic business value chain. DIP aims to develop practical technology, that can be deployed in new methods for eWork, eGoverment, and eCommerce. The main types of applications are:

Intelligent Information Management: The Semantic Web, which ranks as one of this decade’s most important software developments, has the potential to improve human information access to unstructured and semi-structured information. Through the use of metadata – information about information – the Semantic Web will help us organise and access the vast amount of material on the Web.

Enterprise Application Integration: Semantic Web Services hold the promise of moving beyond the simple exchange of information, the dominant mechanism for application integration today, to accessing application services that are encapsulated in both old and new applications. This means organizations will be able to not only move information from application to application, but also will be able to create composite applications by combining services found in any number of different local or remote applications.

Dynamic & Smart eCommerce: Semantic Web Services in B2B applications will enable virtual and smart organizations in commercial and non-commercial environments. Here we are talking about the integration of data, processes, and applications between different organizations introducing advanced requirements for openness, heterogeneity, and change.

DIP will strive to develop Semantic Web Services as a scaleable and cost effective solution to the integration problem, thereby dealing with one of the key bottlenecks of modern networked society. According to Gartner analysts, there will be strong and in some cases explosive demand for Web Services and integration technology and services as businesses react to the need for more integration and more agility.

Making disparate systems share information cost-effectively is a perennial problem for companies and represents billions of dollars in technology spending, with an estimated 30% of worldwide IT budgets dedicated to Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) type projects.