Top designers in your own home?

July 27, 2009

( -- A web tool that analyses sales and design data from European home textile producers, distributors and retailers is boosting product development - and industry competitiveness.

The AsIsKnown IT system for European home textiles producers, distributors and retailers promises major improvements in their global competitiveness. AsIsKnown includes inter-organisational sales support tools, supply chain tools and the ability to analyse trends and fashions in home textiles.

Using the flow of knowledge through AsIsKnown, the home textile companies can harmonise their market offering.

Customer orders are delivered instantly to the relevant product distributors and producers, resulting in greater supplier coordination, faster delivery times, efficiency gains and smaller stockholding along the supply chain.

Seamless selling tools

Retail customers can use AsIsKnown’s Virtual Interior Designer to access product images directly from the databases of the producers. Pillowcases, carpets, curtains or wall paints can be placed in a virtual room or changed with the click of a mouse.

A second sales support tool, AsIsKnown’s Smart Profiler, enables a retail assistant to feed in a customer’s ideas on styles, colours, patterns… and to generate suggestions from available producer information.

Smart Profiler uses PROMOTE, an ontology-based knowledge management system to make better (semantic) searches of the producers’ databases. In other words, PROMOTE turns a mass of data into explicit knowledge available to AsIsKnown’s sales support and trend analysis tools.

Ontological systems search for concepts, not just key words. For instance, the system is capable of interpreting a search for “autumn shades” to deliver solutions that would include dark orange and chocolate brown materials, amongst others.

The AsIsKnown ontology can enable interaction between users who speak different languages. It is equipped with lexicons in English, German, French, Italian, Hungarian and Bulgarian. The ontology includes an inference engine for checking the consistency of new information, as well as a search engine, and annotation tools. The ontology ensures that the concepts remain consistent in all cases; their meaning will be the same independent of the users.

A learnable language

Ontologies are often massive in scale and therefore very expensive to construct and maintain.

“[But] the vocabulary used in the home textiles sector is narrow enough to enable an ontology to deliver practical solutions,” according to Uschi Rick a researcher from RWTH Aachen University in Germany and the coordinator of the Europe-wide group of researchers behind the AsIsKnown system.

One of the successes of the EU-funded AsIsKnown project is that it has taken great complexity and delivers something that is intuitively understandable to the user.

According to Kiril Simov of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and principal developer of the AsIsKnown ontology, it is difficult to present the information in a way that can be easily understood by the users, and it is difficult to build users’ views into the domain.

The AsIsKnown tools have proven their worth to retailers, distributors and producers since 2007 - and the fashion trend analysis tools have also won industry praise. According to Rick, AsIsKnown can deliver to a typical small or medium-sized company in the European home textiles industry the kind of market insight that was only available to the largest companies in the past.

During the last year of the AsIsKnown research project, loading speeds, particularly of the retail tools, were substantially improved and the stability of the system was thoroughly tested.

A basic package is already being marketed by an Italian company, Crystal Design at, and a more advanced package is being made market-ready.

The fact that a product is on the market just as the research project concludes is a very good result, according to project partner Klaus Henning of RWTH Aachen University.

The AsIsKnown project received funding from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.

More information:

Provided by ICT Results

Explore further: Online tools help students search for meaning

Related Stories

Online tools help students search for meaning

November 11, 2008

( -- With universities storing ever more teaching resources online, how do students and tutors find what they need? European researchers have devised novel ways to classify and locate teaching materials – and ...

Saving time -- and money -- with semantic design

April 20, 2009

Whether designing the sleek body of a new Ferrari or laying out a mould for its brake casings, engineers spend an inordinate amount of time searching through design data. A new semantic engineering environment developed by ...

Designing semantic software by numbers

June 23, 2008

A system for creating semantic software could transform application development from a cottage industry to an industrial-style production line. Semantic applications are the next frontier for information science, but creating ...

Laying the foundation for the next-generation Web

March 30, 2005

The Semantic Web lies at the heart of Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the future of the Web, enabling a wide range of intelligent services. Thanks to the development of the infrastructure needed for the large-scale deployment ...

Recommended for you

Permanent, wireless self-charging system using NIR band

October 8, 2018

As wearable devices are emerging, there are numerous studies on wireless charging systems. Here, a KAIST research team has developed a permanent, wireless self-charging platform for low-power wearable electronics by converting ...

Facebook launches AI video-calling device 'Portal'

October 8, 2018

Facebook on Monday launched a range of AI-powered video-calling devices, a strategic revolution for the social network giant which is aiming for a slice of the smart speaker market that is currently dominated by Amazon and ...

Artificial enzymes convert solar energy into hydrogen gas

October 4, 2018

In a new scientific article, researchers at Uppsala University describe how, using a completely new method, they have synthesised an artificial enzyme that functions in the metabolism of living cells. These enzymes can utilize ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 28, 2009
not science, this is technology usage... nto the same thing... except maybe if you want to feel bigger about what you do, you might call it that, but that wont make it so...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.