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Make a booking for an e-business breakthrough

  • 07 February, 2006 12:20

<p>The accommodation services industry will be the test bed for the first practical application in Australia of what's been called the "Holy Grail" of business to business internet technology – the electronic clearinghouse using ontology-based technologies.</p>
<p>Researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, backed by $278,000 in government and industry support, have begun building prototype clearinghouse software aimed at breaching information barriers between buyers and sellers in the accommodation market.</p>
<p>With industry partner the Lido Group, the researchers from the UTS Faculty of Information Technology are setting out to make good on the promise of ontology-based technology. Ontology has been touted as the solution to integrating internet-connected databases, regardless of system platform or design, and producing results of greater relevance and depth of meaning.</p>
<p>"In IT the term ontology means shared concepts in a particular domain, so what we are trying to do is identify and encode the underlying nature of information in the accommodation market," said Associate Professor Robert Steele, lead researcher for the project along with Professor Igor Hawryszkiewycz.</p>
<p>"Essentially a clearinghouse is a network of networks with each member site in the clearinghouse being a 'node'. Ontology-based architecture allows information sharing among the nodes without any requirement for stakeholders to change either their IT set-up or in-house standards for describing and managing data.</p>
<p>"That will encourage greater industry participation in creating a marketplace that will be a boon both for accommodation providers and customers, especially from the government and corporate sectors.</p>
<p>"The piecemeal nature of the current procurement systems has meant many government and corporate accommodation needs are not being matched – leading to extra costs – and the under-utilisation of the inventories of service providers.</p>
<p>"The accommodation sector is a good place to start, but the technologies and delivery platform will be developed in a domain-independent way so that our work can be conveniently extended to other industries," Professor Steele said.</p>
<p>Industry partner the Lido Group is a leading Australian accommodation and travel management company specialising in brokering accommodation procurement. The company has a long history of collaboration with UTS and has played an important role in the development of the clearinghouse concepts for the project.</p>
<p>The work is being carried out over three years under the Australian Research Council's Linkage program.</p>
<p>Further Information:
Associate Professor Robert Steele,
Ph (02) 9514 7872,</p>
Terry Clinton
Media Officer, Media Branch
Marketing and Communication Unit
University of Technology, Sydney
PO Box 123 Broadway
NSW 2007 Australia
Tel +61 2 9514 1623 Fax +61 2 9514 1616
Mob 0419 293 261
UTS Experts: online at
U: magazine online at</p>

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