Web Science is one of the main opportunities for ensuring the healthy development of the future Web, according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, keynote speaker at the conference ‘Profiting from the New Web’, held in London this week.

An audience drawn largely from the technology sector heard Sir Tim outline his hopes for the Web’s future, along with some warnings about potential limitations to the development of the Web.

His keynote set the scene for a full day of discussion about new ways of doing business that have been enabled by the Web and will make a significant difference to business practice in the future.

Sir Tim, creator of the World Wide Web, pointed to open data and linked data as exciting examples of the way that the Web is promoting transparency of information and looked forward to the time when the current 20 per cent of the world’s population who can access the Web grows to 80 per cent, with all the changes this will bring in terms of technological and social developments, and new possibilities of communication and cultural change.

“Maybe our ideas of democracies will be different,” he said. “Maybe people will build systems that we can use to communicate across boundaries … or maybe we won’t …. Whatever happens at this stage we have to think about it – and what we think about it we call Web Science.”

Panel discussions during the day covered the value of open data, the importance of new platforms, social analytics, and the pervasiveness of new media in business communications, with examples drawn from companies such as Talis, Mendeley, BT, Nominet, Microsoft, Edelman, The Times, and IBM. Speakers included Dame Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Bill Thompson, Mike Galvin, Charlie Beckett, Hector Arthur, Graham Spittle and Noshir Contractor.

The conference was a joint event organized by the Web Science Trust and Intellect, and sponsored by Nominet, Assanka, and Memset.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium and Director of the World Wide Web Foundation. He is Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton. He is Open Data Advisor to the UK Government and a Member of the UK Public Sector Transparency Board. He is a Co-Founder and Director of the Web Science Trust.

The Web Science Trust was established in 2009 at the University of Southampton to raise awareness of Web Science and to build the foundations and framework for Web Science. The Trust’s main aim is to advance education and research in Web Science for the benefit of Society. Watch the Conference Video.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.