Project10X has just released a 400-page study of semantic technologies and their market impact, entitled Semantic Wave 2008: Industry Roadmap to Web 3.0 and Multibillion Dollar Market Opportunities. The report discusses the emergence of semantic technologies for consumer and enterprise applications, and the evolution from Web 2.0 to the so-called "Web 3.0".
A free 27-page summary of Project10Xs Semantic Wave 2008 Report has been made available to ReadWriteWeb readers.
You need to provide your name, email address and answer a few non-invasive questions, but the summary report is well worth it.
The report defines Web 3.0 as "about representing meanings, connecting knowledge, and putting these to work in ways that make our experience of internet more relevant, useful, and enjoyable." In other words, it's the Semantic Web. I'm not a big fan of the Web 3.0 moniker, but I do agree that we've entered an era where Semantic technologies will enhance and extend the current Social Web era. We've written a lot about this on ReadWriteWeb - check out Alex Iskold's Semantic Web: What Is The Killer App? for a recent example.
The report also defines a "Web 4.0", as follows: "Web 4.0 will come later. It is about connecting intelligences in a ubiquitous Web where both people and things reason and communicate together." The following diagram is a good overview of the concepts tying these Web versions together:
Note: I think the number in the top left is supposed to be a 3.
The report correctly points out that the new era of Semantic Apps isn't restricted to traditional W3C technologies. It states that "as a platform, Web 3.0 will embrace all semantic technologies and open standards that can be applied on top of the current Web. It is not restricted just to current Semantic Web standards."
There's some useful discussion on the type of products we can expect in this Semantic Web. For example, on web browsers: "Web 3.0 browsers will understand semantics of data, will broker information, and automatically interpret metadata." We've discussed before on this blog how Firefox 3 will act as an information broker, through the use of microformats and other technologies.
The report also outlines some intriguing future trends, for example on identity: "The trend is towards semantic avatars that enable individuals to manage and control their personal information, where ever it is across the net."
Another interesting trend is "collective knowledge systems", where users "collaborate to add content, semantics, models, and behaviors, and where systems learn and get better with use." Twine and Freebase are two apps that spring to mind here. See ReadWriteWeb's 10 Semantic Apps to Watch for more on this.
Check out the summary report for more, it's an excellent primer on these topics. Thanks to Mills Davis, founder and managing director of Project10X, for forwarding it to us. The full report features 150 case studies in 14 industry sectors, so this is a comprehensive study of the emerging Semantic Web.