SEMANTiCS 2019: Knowledge Graphs Are Here To Stay

Knowledge graphs are starting to make an impression in the mainstream. Not only have digital pioneers like Apple, Amazon and Tencent long been using knowledge graphs to turn data into profit. The current surge in knowledge graph focussed conferences clearly shows the growing awareness that big data and AI can’t be implemented without dealing with the semantics of data. And that’s something knowledge graphs are best at.

The SEMANTiCS 2019 conference is proof to this development. This year’s tenth installment of the long-running major European conference on all things knowledge graph related was the most successful ever. Over 430 participants from 31 countries met in Karlsruhe, Germany. Most importantly the attendees have shifted from mainly academic to increasingly industrial at SEMANTiCS 2019. The sessions and workshops mirrored that development of knowledge graphs being mere scientific geekism to industrial and business application. Of the 65 talks, 37 were industry presentations. eccenca participated in four industry related talks showcasing case studies that already have their impact on different enterprises.

The eccenca Knowledge Graph Platform attracted a lot of interest from researchers and companies at SEMANTiCS 2019 (engaged in talks from left to right: Markus Freudenberg, Stefan Reinhardt, Prof. Sören Auer.

Many companies used the SEMANTiCS 2019 to get an update on the best knowledge graph solutions for their business (middle: Stefan Reinhard, Sales Director eccenca)

Growing Knowledge Graph Use in Industry

In his SEMANTiCS 2019 key note eccenca CTO Dr. Sebastian Tramp introduced the concept of business digital twins for enterprises. The concept proposes a strategy to digitalize and link the main pillars of an enterprise to accelerate digital maturity: products, processes and policies, partners and people (i.e. employees). Currently, eccenca is introducing this concept in the international iDev40 project. The Infineon-led project aims to develop a cradle to grave supply chain to reduce lead-times and enhance efficiency. Many of iDev40 objectives were main topics at the international SEMANTiCS conference.

Markus Freudenberg put the business digital twin to test. He presented our success story with the innovative broadcasting infrastructure manufacturer RFS. The worldwide leading enterprise had begun implementing a business digital twin in 2018 starting with the products and warehouses. Markus showed how the team surrounding Digital Transformation Director Thomas Gaal and then COO Karl Kirschenhofer had digitalized all product data worldwide in just 6 months using eccenca Corporate Memory. As a result RFS was able to increase revenues by $12 m and achieve a project ROI of 200 %. RFS is currently implementing step 2, the digitalization of processes to optimize production and procurement.

Magnus Knuth added another layer to the application of knowledge graph technology. He presented a success story with a German powertool manufacturer who uses the eccenca GDPR Solution to assure and monitor GDPR compliance. The enterprise had achieved full data transparency on employee and client personal data in just a few months without having to go down the rabbit hole of master data management, data migration or other expensive IT projects.

The eccenca Knowledge Graph Platform attracted a lot of interest from researchers and companies at SEMANTiCS 2019 (engaged in talks from left to right: Markus Freudenberg, Stefan Reinhardt, Prof. Sören Auer)

Excellent Networking Opportunities

Luckily, the SEMANTiCS organizers didn’t make the mistake to treat the wide-ranging talks as single events. Instead talks were clustered in theme-led sessions. This had the great effect of an intermingling of academic and industrial presentations. One such session was “Knowledge Organization and Application for Complex Industry Settings” on the second conference day. The session brought together industry perspectives (with Siemens’ Thomas Hubauer and Franz Inc’s Jans Aasman) and research projects (with Magnus and Inga Gehrke from GeniusTex). The separate talks turned to a lively coffee table session digging deep into real-world challenges of data transparency.

Apart from having heard amazing content at the SEMANTiCS 2019, the conference is also still an excellent place for networking – be it for research projects, recruiting or business. We enjoyed great talks with researchers and potential clients alike at our booth and have many contacts to follow up. It was a pleasure for us to be a premium sponsor of the SEMANTiCS 2019 in Karlsruhe. The organization was excellent. We are looking forward to the first American installment in Austin next year.

At one coffee table session, knowledge scientists and practitioners discussed the challenge of the silver wave and the question “How to extract knowledge from human experts?” (photo: Magnus Knuth, eccenca)

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