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PoolParty Summit 2023 Highlights: Five Things I Learned 

March 24, 2023

Romana Lakomčíková

Romana Lakomčíková

Technical Writer


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What’s the PoolParty Summit? It’s two days packed with inspiring talks and thought leadership, celebration of all things PoolParty, opportunity to meet with our customers, partners, and the semantic web community and to hear about their joys and sorrows. Here are the top five things that I learned at the PoolParty Summit 2023.

The PoolParty 2022 Release is here and it’s cooler than ever.

PoolParty 2022 Release 1 is here and as we learned from its Product Manager Christian Blaschke and the Director of Product Development at SWC Armin Friedl, it’s packed with exciting features and improvements. 

One of the main features is the integration with Keycloak, a widely supported and proven framework for identity and access management. As Armin explained, this integration brings our customers multiple features aimed at strengthening user account security, such as Oauth support, brute force protection, one-time passwords, and two-factor authentication. It also makes integration with third-party SAML and LDAP identity providers easier than ever before.

Another great feature is the integration with RDFox in the Semantic Middleware Configurator. As Christian told us, our customer can now easily connect their PoolParty instance to a high-performance RDF triplestore that is optimized for speed and reasoning, allows for flexible incremental addition and retraction of data, and thanks to supported rule language that extends the standard Datalog language, provides additional data analysis capabilities.

At the end of their talk, Armin and Christian presented new improvements in the usability and design and gave us a sneak peek at the PoolParty Integration Layer. The PoolParty Integration Layer is a low-code application development framework that allows you to integrate PoolParty into your custom Semantic AI solutions with little to no effort. As we learned from SWC CTO Tomas Knap and COO Helmut Nagy in the closing talk of the PoolParty Summit 2023, customers can look forward to it in early autumn.

Semantic web technologies can make a real impact in the world.

Do you know what the connection is between the Great Pacific garbage patch, social injustice, and knowledge graphs? I hadn’t before I joined CEO Andreas Blumauer’s opening remarks at the PoolParty Summit 2023.

In his opening talk titled Artificial and Human Intelligence for Sustainable Organizations, Andreas shed some light on how semantic web technologies can help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations in 2015 and how they fit into the larger ESG ecosystem.

As with any complex domain, ESG comes with a unique set of information management challenges. These challenges are determined by its multi-layered and multi-stakeholder nature and on the outside manifest as a need for precise, explainable, and personalized content. As Andreas told us, intelligent ESG assistants and knowledge hubs relying on knowledge graphs can play an instrumental role in retrieving such content and by extension, in winning humanity’s race against the clock.

This diagram shows how content experiences can become more personalized as they gain more semantic capabilities.

He further proved his point by mentioning two organizations that are already leveraging taxonomy-based solutions to make an impact. One of them is the Sensing Clues Wildlife Foundation developing an intelligent data analytics platform based on linked data to protect almost 5 million hectares of nature in 18 countries. As we had the pleasure to learn directly from its Founder and Director Jan-Kees Schakel on the second day of the PoolParty Summit 2023, PoolParty is at the very core of their solution and helps them to break data silos, overcome language barriers, and create context to facilitate better interpretation of the data.

Another organization on a mission to make an impact is the International Finance Corporation. To achieve their goal, IFC has developed MALENA, which stands for Machine Learning ESG Analyst and is an artificial intelligence model based on semantic web technologies and machine learning. As we learned from Carlos Arias, Senior Environmental Specialist at IFC and Blaise Sandwidi, Lead Data Scientist at IFC, in their talk titled How to Train your (artificial) Brain: the IFC’s MALENA case, PoolParty was their tool of choice to create and curate the underlying ESG taxonomy.

Developing a taxonomy can be a daunting task but it’s worth it

Developing a taxonomy can be a challenging task, but as we learned directly from those working on taxonomy-based solutions, if you choose the right tools and nurture stakeholder engagement, it’s not just manageable but also worth it.

In her talk Taxonomy: From Development to Deployment – and Beyond, Bonnie Griffin, Global Customer Operations Taxonomist at PayPal, shared her experience with the evolution of PayPal’s taxonomy from the early stage to final application on the help content. Bonnie first elaborated on the reasons why they decided for an intelligent content delivery as well as on the specific pain points they hoped to address with a taxonomy-based solution. Then she gave us a detailed and honest look at her journey, at which she had to advocate for her work, navigate competing priorities, and overcome tooling roadblocks. It was very interesting to learn how PoolParty’s features such as content tagging or project mirroring helped her in her day-to-day work and about the ways taxonomy is making an impact at her organization.

One of the challenges taxonomists often face is how to centrally manage multiple separate taxonomies. On the second day of the PoolParty Summit, we learned from Heather Hedden, Data and Knowledge Engineer at SWC, and Donna Popky, Senior Taxonomy and Information Architecture Specialist at Harvard Business School, that this challenge can be addressed by putting the taxonomies into a single system with linking capabilities.

Relying on her rich experience in developing and managing taxonomies, Heather first gave us a deep dive into taxonomy linking: from the SKOS and ISO 25964-2 standards through possible use cases to taxonomy linking types, directions, and methods. Heather concluded her part of the talk by showing us the project linking feature in PoolParty, which can automatically identify matches between concepts and then allows you to manually approve them.

Heather then handed over to Donna who spoke about their use case at Harvard Business School where different business units have taxonomies in separate repositories. To bridge the data silos, they developed a Hub and Spoke model. Donna gave us a detailed account of the challenges they had to tackle while developing the hub and mapping the spokes and the role PoolParty played in overcoming them.

There are many ways women can thrive in high-tech.

More than a half year ago, Partner Success Marketing Manager at SWC Victoria Penker came up with a brilliant idea to interview female tech leaders. What started as a humble interview series quickly grew into a successful project connecting women of diverse backgrounds and origins. The project concluded with a Woman in High Tech Panel on the first day of the PoolParty Summit 2023 and the eve of the International Women’s Day.

Women in high-tech panelists at PoolParty Summit 2023

In the panel, Victoria introduced us to five accomplished women who have one thing in common: they did not start their career in high-tech, but sooner or later, they found their way into IT and managed to combine their passion for technology with their talent to lead, educate and inspire.

We got to know Lizzy Jongma, Senior Project Lead at Network for War Collections WII, who is a trained historian and in her day-to-day job uses PoolParty to draw connections between data and recreate the life of almost 400.000 people who fell victim to the Nazi terror regime;

Dana Bublitz, Senior Information Architect at Microsoft, who has been exposed to technology from a very early age and in her current position draws on the analytical skills that came with her studies of medieval history;

Elsa Sklavounou, Vice President AI Alliances, Global Partnerships at RWS, who has a background in mathematical linguistics and gained deep insight into machine learning, natural language processing, and various content management technologies already during her early career in academia;

Gloria Fernández Polín, Marketing Director EMEA & Asia at Squirro, who moved from Spain to Switzerland and from journalism to marketing and into high-tech where she communicates the value technology brings into our life;

and Lulit Tesfaye, Partner and Division Director at Enterprise Knowledge, who transitioned into high-tech from law and finance and now oversees the data and information management division at her company.

Victoria further led us through the panel with her thought-provoking questions such as what technology means to the panelists, what advice would they give to other women entering high-tech or what is the legacy they hope to leave behind.

Knowledge graphs are revolutionizing the way we work.

From fine-grained access control to better search results – these are just a few of many examples of how semantic web technologies are changing the way we work that were presented at the PoolParty Summit 2023.

PoolParty as an access control tool?

On the example of a solution for the manufacturing industry, Karsten Schrempp, Founder and Managing Partner at PANTOPIX, showed us how knowledge graphs can be used to tackle complex authorization challenges that traditional role-based access control software fails to address. In his talk titled Intelligent Authorisation with Knowledge Graphs, Karsten first explained the difference between authentication and authorization and further elaborated on the challenge their customer faced – the need to differentiate access rights to technical documentation based on many different variables such as product, publication type, or the user’s skill level. He also talked about the solution PANTOPIX came up with – modeling the authorisation in a knowledge graph in PoolParty. 

Intelligent content management in SharePoint?

When it comes to internal and external communication, Microsoft SharePoint is often a tool of choice for many mid-size organizations and large enterprises. If the content, however, is not properly managed, overtime it grows hard to find. As we learned from COO at SWC Helmut Nagy and PoolParty for SharePoint Product Manager Alexi Lopez-Lorca, this is when tagging becomes crucial. For this purpose, SharePoint provides a native tagging application called Term store. As Alexi further elaborated, the tagging capabilities of Term store are limited in a way that it works with terms rather than concepts, doesn’t support automated tagging, and might be hard to integrate with other content management systems.

This is why SWC has developed PoolParty for SharePoint, a ready-made integration that offers you the benefits of semantic search, flexibility to choose between fully automated and expert-assisted tagging, and option to synchronize the PoolParty-managed taxonomy into Term store to make the integration future-proof. Alexi concluded the talk by guiding us through the solution’s high level architecture and outlining its roadmap.

This infographic shows how PoolParty connects to SharePoint via Microsoft Azure.

Overall, the PoolParty Summit 2023 was rich in food for thought and networking opportunities and I am already looking forward to next year’s edition.

Interested in watching the on-demand videos?
Head over to our Summit page for the recordings!

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