Tassilo Pellegrini

Introducing the Linked Data Business Cube

With the increasing availability of semantic data on the World Wide Web and its reutilization for commercial purposes, questions arise about the economic value of interlinked data and business models that can be built on top of it. The Linked Data Business Cube provides a systematic approach to conceptualize business models for Linked Data assets. Similar to an OLAP Cube, the Linked Data Business Cube provides an integrated view on stakeholders (x-axis), revenue models (y-axis) and Linked Data assets (z-axis), thus allowing to systematically investigate the specificities of various Linked Data business models.

Linked Data Business Cube_Full


Mapping Revenue Models to Linked Data Assets

By mapping revenue models to Linked Data assets we can modify the Linked Data Business Cube as illustrated in the figure below.

Linked Data Business Cube_Revenue-Type

The figure indicates that with increasing business value of a resource the opportunities to derive direct revenues rise. Assets that are easily substitutable generate little incentives for direct revenues but can be used to trigger indirect revenues. This basically applies to instance data and metadata. On the other side, assets that are unique and difficult to imitate and substitute, i.e. in terms of competence and investments necessary to provide the service, carry the highest potential for direct revenues. This applies to assets like content, service and technology. Generally speaking, the higher the value proposition of an asset – in terms of added value – the higher the willingness to pay.

Ontologies seem to function as a “mediating layer” between “low-incentive assets” and “high-incentive assets”. This means that ontologies as a precondition for the provision and utilization of Linked Data can be capitalized in a variety of ways, depending on the business strategy of the Linked Data provider.

It is important to note that each revenue model has specific merits and flaws and requires certain preconditions to work properly. Additionally they often occur in combination as they are functionally complementary.

Mapping Revenue Models to Stakeholders

A Linked Data ecosystem is usually comprised of several stakeholders that engage in the value creation process. The cube can help us to elaborate the most reasonable business model for each stakeholder.

Linked Data Business Cube_Stakeholders

Summing up, Linked Data generates new business opportunities, but the commercialization of Linked Data is very context specific. Revenue models change in accordance to the various assets involved and the stakeholders who take use of them. Knowing these circumstances is crucial in establishing successful business models, but to do so it requires a holistic and interconnected understanding of the value creation process and the specific benefits and limitations Linked Data generates at each step of the value chain.

Read more: Asset Creation and Commercialization of Interlinked Data

Tassilo Pellegrini

Linked Data Flows: A new picture to illustrate the “openness” we mean

(Original post taken from “About the Social Semantic Web“)

A lot of activities around Linking Open Data (“LOD”) and the associated data sets which are nicely visualised as a “cloud” are going on for quite a while now. It is exciting to see how the rather academic “Semantic Web” and all the work which is associated with this disruptive technology can be transformed now into real business use cases.

What I have observed in the last few months, especially in business communities, is the following:

  • “Linked Data” sounds interesting for the business people because the phrase creates a lot of associations in a second or two; also the database crowd seems to be attracted by this web-based approach of data integration
  • “Web of Data” is somehow misleading because many people think that this will be a new web which replaces something else. Same story with the “Semantic Web”
  • “Linking Open Data” sounds dangerous and not trustworthy to many companies

For insiders it is clear, that the “openness” of data, especially in commercial settings, can be controlled and has to be controlled in many cases i.e. by defining the right licensing models. But here we are still at the beginning as a workshop at ISWC 2009 has illustrated.

Anyway, looking at the characteristics of Linked Data Flows, they can be one-way or mutual. In some cases data from companies will be put into the cloud, and can be opened up for many purposes, in other use cases it will stay inside the boundaries. In other scenarios only (open) data from the web will be consumed and linked with corporate data, but no data will be exposed to the world (except the fact, that data was consumed by an entity).

And of course: On many other occasions datasets and repositories will be opened up partly depending on the CCs (or similar, not yet defined attributes) and the underlying privacy regulations one wants to use.

This makes clear that LOD / Linking Open Data is just one detail of a bigger picture. Since companies (and governments) play a crucial role to develop the whole infrastructure, we need to draw a new picture that illustrates the various Linked Data Flows in a better way:


Concluding from this the best thing would be to talk about Linked Data in general and just refer to Linking Open Data in the right context. Despite better knowledge for business people the term  “open” is still associated with “free” and “dubious provenance”. And given the fact that hardly anybody has given hard evidence on the ROI of open business models the “open argument” does count little in a time of decreasing economic prosperity.

So what would be critical to get the Linked Data thing running is to provide the corresponding business and licensing models for your Linked Data strategy. But this includes having a good understanding of the assets you want to capitalize. Given the fact that metada assets are still a novel and vastly unexplored business field which so far lack a regulated supply and demand structure there are still lots of structural obstacles that hinder the uptake of Linked Data. Providing more of the same in a laissez faire mode – like TimBL critisized at this year’s Web 2.0 Summit – might be inspiring for the in-crowd, but it might not be sufficient to build a linked data business.

Andreas Blumauer

Linked Data in Enterprises – some ideas for business models

Today in the morning, I wrote a short blog philosophizing about linked data and the value for enterprises. I asked a couple of questions and in its core I was wondering: “Which services and keyplayers will drive the web of data in the next few months?”

In the meantime I had the pleasure to listen to Talis´ Semantic Web Gang Podcast (January 2009 with Tom Tague from Calais) and some answers came into my mind:

  1. Some service providers will provide the highest accuracy regarding the links or tags (and the “things behind them) they provide for a given ressource or document (like Open Calais does). Tom Tague mentioned in the podcast quite often how important disambiguation is to provide the highest quality.
  2. Some will provide end-points to a given “thing” like a company, a person etc. in addition to free ones like DBpedia, but they always will try to refer to established URIs like the ones in DBpedia or Open Calais URIs, e.g. IBM´s URI @ Calais). Those companies will provide more facts, for example about a person, as those which are available now for free. They will build on the LOD infrastructure and will live in symbiosis with group number 3. They will control to whom additional facts will be given to but they will build exactly on the same interoperable framework as the “Linking Open Data” community does.
  3. Some companies will build applications on top of the linked data infrastructure. They have two kinds of knowledge: Who has the best end-points to a complex “thing” which consists of a couple of other atomic things (which necessarily exist in the web of data)? Who is interested in such a mashup?

My prediction: One possible business model will be pretty much the same as iTunes is built upon at the moment: You can listen to a song for free – but only a couple of seconds , if you want more, you pay 99 cents.

If you want to know a little bit about Werner Faymann (who is Austria´s prime minister) you go to an application which makes use from DBpedia (or the like) starting at http://dbpedia.org/page/Werner_Faymann.

If you pay 99 cents (or a bit more…) you get even more facts about Mr. Faymann, nicely mash-uped with other facts from the LOD cloud and together with special content from some other linked data sources, produced with relatively low costs due the high interoperability the Semantic Web provides – thanks to W3C and the whole community.

Thomas Schandl

Tom Tague on Open Calais 4

The recent release of Open Calais v4 offers excting new possibilities by making a great contribution to Linked Data efforts.

Previous releases of Thomson Reuter’s Open Calais web service already produced promising results by extracting named entities, facts and events from user submitted contet – especially news articles. Now these extracted concepts come with an URI and are linked into the LOD cloud – specifically to DBpedia, Freebase, Musicbrainz, CIA world fact book and others. Tom Tague

On this occasion Tom Tague, vice president of the Calais creators ClearForest, answered questions the Semantic Web Company had about the goals of Open Calais. 

The latest release of Open Calais produces metadata conforming to linked data principles. You provide this great service free to everyone via your web service.
What led to that decision, which benefits are there for Thomson Reuters?

Thomson Reuters has the largest trusted content sources in the world – but we don’t have all the content in the world. We believe that the world is going to want to integrate highly managed and trustworthy content assets such as those provided by Thomson Reuters with the low latency, highly diverse content exploding on the web. Fundamentally what we’re trying to achieve is nearly effortless interoperability of content between any two partners – Calais enables this by extracting the semantic metadata buried in your content but then takes it a step further. By linking those semantic elements to the Linked Data cloud we are setting the stage for the dramatic enhancement of any content source – and we hope that many will choose Thomson Reuters as one of the methods for enhancing that content.

It seems with Open Calais you use a hybrid business model, which integrates end users in a form of enterprise collaboration into value creation.
Do you think such a business model is viable during the long run and what are your experience so far?

As of right now Calais isn’t truly a “Business”.  It’s a strategic initiative that’s setting at least a piece of the stage for the Linked Content Economy. Our goal is to understand how this new content economy is going to involve and to make certain that we have a leadership position as it moves from a concept to reality.

Apart from the thousands of users submitting content to Open Calais, there is also a community of developers making their own applications around your core app. How important are the social dynamics of the Open Source community for the success of Open Calais?

Extraordinarily important. Calais is a web service – which means it’s relevant to about 0.0001% of the population. We are absolutely reliant on the creativity, energy and domain expertise of our developer community to translate Calais from a technology to an end-user relevant capability. And – as a user-driven project we also rely on our developers and users to give us feedback on what they like, what they don’t and where they think we should head.
What are your plans regarding to offering your service in German?

We hope to get there in 2009. We’ve released basic French and are gearing up for additional languages in the coming year.

Thank you, Tom, for your answers! We look forward to more applications like Semantic Proxy and Linked Facts that demonstrate the great protential of the Calais engine.