Semantics: a new beginning? "The reason for all this continual mapping is that the source data has no meaning in any real sense of the word. That is, it has no context. What the new interest in semantics is looking to do is to provide that meaning. Unfortunately, there is no indication that database vendors (the leading ones at least) are going to provide this contextual information any time soon. However, there are moves afoot within the semantic community to try to establish semantic rules and ontologies that can be used across the enterprise and then, using appropriate tools, you can start to automate the process of creating these transformations and mappings rather than having to do it manually via a mapping tool.
There are a number of vendors already in this space. For example, Unicorn is an Israeli company that has moved its headquarters to the States, Contivo is completely American, and Network Inference started in the UK but is currently following Unicorn to the US.
Now, although all of these companies have a number of installations already, this is really bleeding edge stuff and I confess to not having fully got to grasps with it. However, I am in the process of arranging briefings with all of these companies and I will report back when I have more information and can explain it more simply. In the meantime the technology appears to have potential, not just for data integration but also other areas like EAI. Watch this space."