KEYNOTE Panel: Semantics in the Automotive Industry
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  Martin Hepp   Martin Hepp
Founder and CEO
Hepp Research GmbH
  John Streit   John Kendall Streit
Technical Director
Tribal DDB London
  William Greenly   William Greenly
Senior Technical Manager
  François-Paul Servant   François-Paul Servant
Semantic Web Engineer


Tuesday, February 7, 2012
09:00 AM - 09:55 AM
Level:  Practical Experience

Location:  Cambridge

The automotive industry is characterized by a high degree of specificity with regard to the products it sells, the components used in the production, and the processes in the value chain. Also, the location of offer and demand matters, both for used and new cars, which adds a spatial dimension to the data. All this in combination with the vast amount of possibilities to configure a certain car model makes exchanging and processing information with potential customers, between the various Web and non-Web applications inside the company, and with partners in the value chain very difficult. At the marketing side, it is very difficult to articulate the exact strengths and features of a certain make and model to potential customers over the Web, and to support the configuration and matchmaking process.

In this panel, leading experts discuss their experiences from pioneering projects with leading brands in the automotive segment on the use of semantic technology and linked data approaches, namely RDF, SPARQL, OWL, GoodRelations, the Vehicle Sales Ontology,, and brand-specific extensions to articulate their value proposition to both traditional Web search engines and to novel applications, and to improve the exchange of product data along the value chain."

The panel is chaired and moderated by Martin Hepp, the inventor of the GoodRelations ontology for e-commerce and the lead developer of the Volkswagen ontologies COO and VVO for the Semantic Web.

Martin Hepp is a professor of general management and e-business at Universität der Bundeswehr in Germany, where he heads the e-business and Web Science Research Group. His key research interest is in using structured, linked data on a Web scale for e-business, in particular matchmaking and product data reuse. As part of his research, he developed the GoodRelations and eClassOWL ontologies, now widely used by companies like BestBuy and Yahoo for describing offers on the Web. Also, he was the organizer of more than fifteen workshops and conference tracks on conceptual modeling, Semantic Web topics, and information systems and member of more than sixty conference and workshop program committees, including ASWC, ESWC, IEEE CEC/EEE, and ECIS, and is an associate editor of the International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems (IJSWIS). More information and publications are available at

John Streit is Technical Director at Tribal DDB London which has over fifty-six offices spanning thirty eight countries throughout the globe. He has been responsible for the delivery of various semantic projects including the Volkswagen Contextual Search project which was assisted by Martin Hepp. John has worked with numerous blue chip clients across his career including Volkswagen, Canon, Mini, Hyundai, Coca-Cola, Guinness and O2. In previous roles with organisations such as Agency Republic and Royal Mail, John oversaw and created the architecture of various search technologies and platforms which led him to his interest is Semantic Web. As an active technical architect he has a driven interest in the Semantic Web and how it will be used to influence key web applications across corporate environments to deliver business value.

William Greenly is Currently a Senior technical Manager at AKQA, the largest independently owned creative agency in the world. He has previously had significant involvement in delivering large Semantic Web solutions to the automotive sector and was instrumental in publishing the Car Options Ontology used by manufacturers and retailers across the UK. In addition to his professional involvement, he is also a keen Semantic Web enthusiast who participates in a number of open source and community led projects promoting Semantic Web technology.

François-Paul Servant brought in Semantic Web technologies at Renault. He highlighted their possible benefits in a corporate context through various prototypes, some of which were publicly presented ("Semantic Web Technologies in Automotive Repair and Diagnostic Documentation" OWLED 2007, "Linking Enterprise Data", LDOW 2008). He conceived, developed and completed, in April 2010, the first operational system at Renault that is based on Linked Data. François-Paul belongs to Renault's "Applied Artificial Intelligence" unit, a small team which develops reasoning software based on Boolean and probabilistic constraint compilation. He worked more specifically on car configuration, probabilistic induction tools and Bayesian diagnostics. He got interested in Semantic Web quite early, working on the ideas he put into Semanlink, an open-source RDF based tagging utility that allows to organize the tags in a graph of related concepts.

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