Sumit Sharma

Before thinking relevance…we need to think about organization

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Now that we have established that some action needs to be taken, what should that action be and how will it occur? Before answering this question, it is important to level set where we, as a global community, are headed: The not so surprising assumption is that we want to positively change the world we live in through increasing innovation and efficiency in all aspects of our life be it personal, social or business related. To do this, we need to look towards structure and organization because it is in laying this foundation that one opens up many possibilities for innovation.

Users and Providers

Being able to discover and deliver relevant data is a complex notion that will require widespread changes in how data is organized and stored. Being able to decipher what users want and need will entail a sophisticated understanding of the user, as well as the providers. For this article, the notion of user and provider are being treated very loosely, especially since there is a very thin gray line demarcating both parties. In most cases, a “User” can be thought of as us, human individuals consuming some data, information, products and services provided by a “Provider”. Where the boundaries get blurred is when data produced by the users gets consumed. For example, as an customer, we’re consuming data provided by the website, however we’re also producing data for the website to consume: products we browse, pages we visit, links we click and so on. In all this data that is being stored, both user data and provider data, there needs to be a context given in the way it is organized so that some sense can be made of the data.

Building on the Semantic Web of Data

This organization will manifest into one of the key elements of what is popularly known today as the semantic web of data.  That is, a set of overlays to contextualize and describe the baseline web of data described earlier in this document. Being able to contextualize data is the foundation from which computers can better understand user characteristics as well provider characteristics and in turn do a better job at providing relevant data and information flows.

The impact this will have on our lives: the right data, at the right place, at the right time

Being able to understand user characteristics as much as possible will increase the user experience, enable higher productivity, heighten innovation and last but not least will influence the ability to bring serendipitous moments into users’ lives. For this to happen, it is not enough to just be able to understand the user characteristics. Thinking of this metaphorically as a relationship of give and take, it is extremely important for the providers of data to be able to contextualize what is being provided in a similar way. Being able to do this will enable for relevant data delivery: the right data, at the right place, at the right time.


Written by Sumit

October 18, 2009 at 6:44 am

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