SEMIC 2022: The Highlights

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Published on: 21/12/2022 Last update: 26/05/2023

SEMIC, the annual semantic interoperability conference, attracted 373 participants in Brussels and 779 online viewers from 60 countries inside and outside the European Union.

The event took place on 6 December 2022 and gathered policymakers, IT practitioners, and academia to participate in discussions on semantic interoperability for public administrations with a focus on Data Spaces in an Interoperable Europe. 

The highlights

In the opening speech, the advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister for Digitalisation of the Czech Republic, Ondrej Profant, emphasised that interoperability is the key to new horizons and can only be achieved through smart cooperation between public and private stakeholders. He pointed out two important milestones for the Semantic Interoperability Community (SEMIC), namely the Data Act and the proposal of the Interoperable Europe Act. The latter was also mentioned in the speech given by Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration. According to him, “we need to embrace the interoperable approach that is at the heart of the Interoperable Europe Act”. Johannes Hahn also stated that “data spaces are a fundamental component of a Europe without digital borders and key to a successful data economy”.

The morning keynote was dedicated to building trust across the public and private sector, with insights on interoperability from Klaus Ottradovetz (Distinguished Expert Cloud & IoT, Atos) and David Scuderi (Data EcoSystems - Public Sector Lead, Amazon). Klaus Ottradovetz identified the problem of scalability and pointed out that the bridging between data spaces and semantic interoperability is necessary. According to him, the key focus points should be on reuse, semantic automation and scalability. David Scuderi, on the other hand, put SEMIC forward as a mission accelerator, and calls for using the community as a knowledge sharing platform. “We should not reinvent the wheel and we need to reuse and adapt existing standards”, said David Scuderi. Furthermore, he claimed that the Data Spaces Support Centre will play a big role as a convener and mediator between sectors.

The conference participants had the opportunity to attend three parallel tracks on DCAT-AP, Personal Data Space implementations, and Semantics on a chip.

In the afternoon, different panel discussions on interoperability within and across sector specific data spaces were organised. The first policy panel was about cross domain use cases with representatives of W3C, DG GROW, DG MOVE and the University of Galway. The second policy panel was on transversal tools, represented by DG SANTE, DG EMPL, DG ENER and the Data Science department of TNO. One of the key challenges is the fact that interoperability does not start from scratch, different systems already exist so they need to be integrated, and different stakeholders express the need to pick up data modelling work. Action points include sharing data, enhancing collaboration between existing data spaces and consolidating the increasing published information.

The event ended with three parallel tracks, in the first of which young researchers pitched their research projects for a jury. The second parallel track consisted of the following project pitches: Budapest Tree Cadastre “FATAR”, eDelivery for dataspaces, French implementation plan for OOTS, Omega-X, DS4SSCC, LEOS, IrRADIARE, linked data approaches in the data space for cultural heritage, IUCLy ID and the Viennese Institute for Data, Process and Knowledge management. The last session that took place simultaneously was about a JRC scientific perspective on data governance, sharing and utilisation on the one hand; and core vocabularies and application profiles on the other.

Finally, Natalia Aristimuño, director of “Digital services” at DG DIGIT, summarised some highlights of the day in her closing speech. She pointed out the varying definitions with different interpretations of data spaces, with trust being the most important aspect so that it can be shared and we can get value from it. Beyond that, she highlighted the importance of the public and private sector working together, without compromising the main mission of the public sector in delivering seamless digital public services to all and ensuring a business-friendly digital environment for companies to create innovation.

The recordings

You could not make it to the conference? We have got you covered! The recordings from the sessions are available on the official Youtube channel of Interoperable Europe.

Learn more about the SEMIC activities and visit the SEMIC Support Centre on Joinup!

Any questions? Contact our team.

See you next year at #SEMIC 2023!

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