“Projects like OntoCommons help fill the gap to develop standards between ontology standardisation efforts and active involvement of the end-users of ontologies”
OntoCommons is a EU-funded Coordination and Support Action project dedicated to the standardisation of data documentation across all domains related to materials and manufacturing exploiting the potential offered by ontologies.
Given their relevant role in the standardisation field, we have interviewed one of OntoCommons External Advisory Board members, Patrick Guillemin, Technical Officer at ETSI, to understand what contribution the project brings to the table and how it can further help.
What are the main priorities or challenges for standardisation in the ontologies field?
It is crucial to synchronise ontology standardisation efforts to minimise fragmentation and ensure active involvement of the end-users of the ontologies. This helps develop standards using modern cooperative tools, like those proposed by the ETSI SAREF portal.
Currently, there is a considerable gap between the understanding of the advantages brought by ontologies and their actual implementation/usage in applications' developments (and operations) by users and developers. This gap does not encourage the exploitation of the benefits brought by them.
How can projects like OntoCommons contribute to this?
OntoCommons can help fill the gap. In order to achieve so, the team should involve the leading ontology standard developers directly in the projects developing education tools and tutorials (like the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation - is attempting to do). An example can be taken from ETSI, which is leveraging on the External Advisory Board members and on existing OntoCommons partners involved in ETSI, to facilitate their direct participation in ETSI Technical Experts Committees.
From your point of view as a member of the EAB, which is the main value-add that projects like OntoCommons are bringing to the industrial community in terms of standardisation efforts in the materials and manufacturing sectors? Do you know any other projects or initiatives that contribute to standards in these areas?
ETSI, as an ICT standards development organisation, has worked mainly in the manufacturing sector. Hence, I can provide my point of view only in this field. In fact, ETSI is working on IoT/M2M & Smart Applications REFerence (SAREF) ontologies in many 'Smart domains/sectors', including Smart Manufacturing, thanks to oneM2M and ETSI TC SmartM2M.
Cooperating with IoT forums like AIOTI, and its Standardization Working Group, is key to creating a linkage with industrial stakeholders and reinforcing the CSA roles to standardisation efforts. Moreover, the integration of the industrial community in the SAREF standardisation is part of ETSI objectives, and the involvement in OntoCommons is well aligned with this goal. Having members of the ETSI ontology experts directly involved in the OntoCommons consortium is an excellent way to bring continuous cooperation.
Moreover, the project is going to implement Focus Areas on Cooperation on Infrastructures, Cooperation on Standardisation, Top Reference Ontology, Industrial Domain Ontologies,Demonstrators, and the Knowledge Management Translator, which are key assets of the project. Why do you think they are strategic for the OntoCommons' success and for its community?
SAREF is based on Top Reference Ontology and it is mapped on Sectorial/Industrial IoT Domains. The Focus Area on Demonstrators is the perfect way to involve the standard makers and future standard users.
The OntoCommons Roadmap will include a number of recommendations for policy makers towards existing ontology and data documentation to ensure long term relevance and implementation. In your opinion, how can this contribute to the Digital Single Market agenda?
SAREF has been developed for many years with the support of several projects (funded by ETSI or by the EU Commission). The support of the European Commission (DG CONNECT and DG GROW) and the involvement of users are essential to support the EU Digital Single Market agenda. ETSI (via TC SmartM2M) is currently applying, via EISMEA Agency, to continue to improve SAREF in compliance with such EU Policy Expectations and more (Sustainability, Digital Twins, AI/ML, Big Data/Cloud, Cyber Security).