A brief talk with keynote speakers Aaron Bradley and Eamonn Glass

September 06, 2017

Keynote speakers Aaron Bradley and Eamonn Glass of EA Games see the development of enterprise knowledge graphs, where companies are starting to reap the benefits of linked data technologies by creating standards-based knowledge models of their domains and the more mainstream adoption of semantic web capabilities as important trends in Linked data.


Can you tell something about your work/research focus?

Aaron:  My work is focused on helping to ensure that any content we create achieves maximum reach, visibility and engagement across digital channels.  In the contemporary digital environment achieving this necessarily entails ensuring that players have access to the right content (content that they useful or interesting) in the right environment (the digital places where our players spend their time).  To this end much of my work is focused on ensuring that our content is structured and semantically described in such a way that we can match this content with an individual player’s needs and interests, and provide it to those players in the places where they spend their time.

As a search marketer, I also have a long-standing interest in schema.org, and follow closely both vocabulary development and how data consumers like Google are using schema.org to generate features from it.  As it pertains to my work at EA, I am also active in efforts to extend schema.org to add expressiveness to the video gaming domain.

Eamonn: My work is focused on delivering platform capabilities for EA’s web and player network systems. My team builds products that will see wide adoption by other teams at EA. We are a company made up of independent game studios, each with their own creative and business objectives. We make every effort to give these studios the freedom to innovate and create great games in the way they see fit. Discovering, designing, building and operating capabilities that are applicable across these independent entities can be challenging. We focus on the intersection of capabilities that will deliver great player experiences, see wide adoption and align to broader business objectives.


Which trends and challenges you see for linked data/semantic web?

Aaron:  The biggest (and, for me, most exciting) linked trend I’ve observed in recent years is the development of enterprise knowledge graphs, where companies are starting to reap the benefits of linked data technologies by creating standards-based knowledge models of their domains.  This also represents a challenge, as – despite the growing popularity of knowledge graphs – the tools and processes available to enterprises who want to go in this direction are still anything but mature.

Eamonn: I see the trends as more mainstream adoption of semantic web capabilities. As devices evolved, we went through a phase of “responsive design”. That didn’t take into consideration that consumption habits differ across devices. We’ve seen adaptive design emerge some years ago taking into account the different consumption patterns. As consumer expectations of content consumption efficiency continue to exceed current paradigms, the most scalable means of addressing this is through semantically sound information design and intelligent curation by machine data consumers.

In my view the biggest challenges are two-fold: 1. Business leaders don’t understand the value of the concepts and 2. The cost of retrofitting legacy systems across large enterprises can be organizationally complex and costly.


What are your expectations about Semantics 2017 in Amsterdam?

Aaron:  I hope to learn about the latest advances in linked data technologies, and get a sense of where those active in the semantic web are training their sights in the years to come.  I’m particularly interested in learning more about SHACL, which I think has a lot of promise and could potentially address some real-life problems currently facing those active in deploying linked data technologies.


Eamonn: I am looking forward to “getting out of our bubble” and seeing what others in the industry are doing to solve challenges similar to ours and to understand where the industry sees semantic web heading in the years to come.


And one question especially for you: can you tell something about your favourite game?

Aaron:  I really like first-person shooters (I played a lot of Doom in the 90s), so – despite being all thumbs when it comes to using either console controllers or keyboards for gaming – I’m enjoying Battlefield 1.  But because they don’t require much in the way of eye-hand coordination I’m favor simulation, I do better at simulation games like The Sims and SimCity.

Eamonn: Currently my favorite game is “Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds”. This game has gone from a one-man project to a near billion dollar franchise in – what to most people – looks like a few months. But the creator of this has been at it for a few years. It’s a brilliant innovation on typical first-person shooter game modes. My wife keeps telling me I don’t play it enough =)