Predicting the future is difficult, especially in the overlap between BC and ICT. Too many `failures' of the past prove this point. Literature studies on the subject of BC Semantics going back nearly thirty years show that the ideas about the goal of ICT in BC are largely unchanged. Much of the texts of papers written in the eighties can be recycled without shame. What, then, is it that fuels the enthusiasm expressed in this thesis and in ICT research groups that concentrate on the problems of the BC industry?
The answer, as explained in chapter 6, lies in the technical features of the NG Internet. The NG Internet (or semantic web, or web 2.0) not only suddenly makes it possible to share information and knowledge between everybody involved who has access to the Internet, but--and much more important--also makes the information accessible for computer applications.
Up until now Internet has been primarily used by humans. Webpages and email are directed at human readers. Computer applications are still simply not smart enough to understand what is said.
With the proposed solution concept, the role of computers will drastically change. In the future, computers will perform many tasks that are now done by human actors. Mostly of course concentrating on the information processing aspects. It is not that computers will become the Big Brothers as sometimes feared. On the contrary, computers will do what we humans do poorly, but with respect, not taking away our responsibilities and leaving us humans in charge.
Adopting the technology discussed in this thesis, BC can become much more efficient. All kinds of new players will enter the scene. Without human effort, computer applications can retrieve the data required and send their results to all parties involved. Computer applications can work together. Construction robots and intelligent equipment become feasible. Also a next generation of `smart' documents will arrive. Smart documents will be able to perform tasks now requiring action by middle management, i.e. they know their goal and their Clients, and can be trusted to deliver the message on time, at the right place, in the right format.Reinout van Rees 2006-12-13