O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference - March 3-6, 2006 - San Diego, CA
Conference Coverage


Humanizing the Enterprise Using Ambient Social Knowledge

Lee Bryant, Director, Headshift

Date: Wednesday, March 08
Time: 5:10pm - 5:55pm
Location: Elizabeth Ballroom B

The solution to information overload is more information, combined with a looser, more intuitive approach to processing it. People make decisions by matching patterns based on a variety of inputs. Ambient knowledge may actually be more effective for decision making in companies than the codified mono-directional memo, email, and task assignment culture.

Companies have finally begun adopting social software tools and techniques to change the way internal teams work. We have been integrating a wide range of social software tools, internal and external web services, and feeds to build low-footprint enterprise group collaboration tools for law firms, thinktanks, and other knowledge-based organisations. We are creating mutable systems that are plugged in to a diverse array of applications and APIs, providing a human interface to enterprise systems and leveraging existing stock.

Bryant explores three key lessons about coping with aggregation, attention, and attenuation, based on evidence drawn from practice:

  • We need to let go of conveyor belt information processing in favour of immersion in the ambient "flow," trusting that information will find people if the network is sufficiently connected. Scary!
  • Social tagging, blogs and the "wiki way" support the negotiation of language and shared meaning within groups; the new challenge for information architects is how to add value to this process, rather than get in the way.
  • Groups and teams need their own maps and their own viewpoints. How do we let people reach into back-end systems to create their own localised enterprise information?


Diamond Sponsors

IBM Software Group's Emerging Internet Technologies

Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

eBay Developers Program
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Yahoo! Inc.
Yahoo! Inc.

Silver Sponsors

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Adobe Systems, Inc.
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America Online, Inc.
Attensa, Inc.
California Fuel Cell Partnership
Laszlo Systems
Root Markets
SMS.ac, Inc.
TechSmith Corporation
TIBCO Software Inc.

Media Sponsors

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Make magazine
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Technology Review
The Imparcial
The Podcast Network
The Wi-Fi Technology Forum
The Women's Technology Cluster
Web Host Industry Review
WiMAX Industry

In-Kind Sponsors

Cornfield Electronics
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