Communications of the IIMA


Today, organizations within the engineering and manufacturing domains place as much emphasis on the management and flow of knowledge through a value chain as they do commodities that are more tangible in nature. For example, parts suppliers in the Canadian automotive sector are often asked to collaborate with auto manufacturers in designing and engineering their product, instead of simply producing and supplying it. Such fundamental changes in the overarching economics of this industry have led to a greater focus on collaboration, both in terms of communicating across geographic divides to design components, as well as new requirements to merge heterogeneous data stores in order to manage this distributed procurement process. Our work on this project centred on finding solutions to the above by surveying the state of the industry, as well as assessing the potential employability of related tools in the workplace. It was concluded that the Access Grid (a low-cost, open-source videoconferencing platform) held significant potential to facilitate the high-quality sharing of audiovisual material, while semantic technologies (the “semantic web” and “semantic web services”) represented a feasible solution to the issues of data integration. When combined, these technologies form the “semantic grid”, the focus of this paper. Overall, it is concluded that the past and present business success of this ICT in the information management sector may, with future work, link databases with the visualization interface to provide concurrent cost-benefit analyses.