Product Data – The Power Is In The Link

At the start of the year I’m usually making plans for travel, e.g., partner visits and conference.  However, as an emerging company, we do not have the luxury of time to visit all the conferences going on.  Moreover, some of them overlap.  One of the events, I’m afraid I may miss is the upcoming SEMTECHBIZ in Berlin this February.

I was catching online program and session information for the conference. One of the sessions caught my attention: The simple power of the link. Richard Wallis, technology evangelist of Kasabi will be talking about the power of linked data and some examples of implementations.  I found an introduction of this session here, on the semanticweb.com site. Have a look, there is lots interesting information there. Here is an interesting passage that caught my eye:

…the power of the links in Linked Data – of the globally unique identifiers of things and relationships described by URIs (Uniform Resource Identifier) in RDF – for more seamlessly interconnecting data within users’ own domains and with other data in other domains, too...

At Inforbix, we apply the power of Linked Data to Inforbix’s underlying product semantic technology, which makes it possible to interconnect (i.e., link) disparate pieces of product data coming from multiple systems (CAD, PDM, PLM, ERP, etc.) together.  Moreover, because Inforbix “links” data together, there is no need to touch or move any data around. This eventually brings the power of navigation between multiple systems using URLs. Here is an example video from Inforbix app.

A misconception of linked data I often hear is that it’s all about or related to search. I say, far from it. Here is an interesting passage:

Wallis expects to showcase examples of Linked Data sites such as BBC Nature WIldlife to explain the effect of using URIs; that is, that you “end up with a follow-your-nose approach to navigation… I’m trying to dispel the myth that you will create better search, because it’s not search but navigation around something you’ve already found.

The final point I wanted to make is about Enterprise and LinkedData. Another misconception is that the linked data method requires data to be open. Therefore, enterprises are afraid to apply these methods for fear of exposing their data. This is completely wrong and requires some clarification. The linked data concept can be applied inside a company’s firewall and/or private cloud environment. Here is an interesting passage about enterprise implementations:

…one problem to tackle is the lack of real Linked Data examples in the enterprise space. Why aren’t such examples more prominent? One reason may be that business leaders still often may interpret Linked Data as necessarily having to be open data. “When they see the phrase Linked Data people automatically put the word ‘open’ between those two. It’s almost subliminal. They don’t realize that the open bit is optional – not all linked data is open and not all open data is linked,” Wallis says. Enterprise Linked Data can be closed and live inside the firewall. “It may link to stuff outside to bring value in through the firewall, but only if you want bits of it to.”

Conclusion. At Inforbix we think about how to apply linked data methods to product data in manufacturing organizations. By its very nature, product data resides in multiple islands and application data silos within most manufacturing organizations. These enterprise systems provide support to run specific processes in the organization. However, applications (such as, but not limited too, PLM) have a need to access data across multiple domains for different purposes, e.g., decision support, cross domain process management, target cost planning, etc. Inforbix product data apps, facilitate the process of accessing and connecting data using linked data methods.

Want to give Inforbix a try with our demo data set?  Navigate here to try linked data in action for yourself.

Best, Oleg

Image via digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net