Ontology mediation to rule them all: Managing the plurality in product service systems
The lifecycle of a product is managed not only through the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), but needs to integrate with product services into a Product Service System (PSS). The related activities are performed throughout the entire lifecycle and require sharing information among tools of the different product lifecycle phases. When extending collaboration of PLM with services as integrated within a PSS, the physical product is linked with a vastly extended universe of information during the PSS lifecycle. To achieve robust and maintainable PSS the interoperability must be fulfilled between the physical products related data sources and the relevant services. To meet that end, we use ontologies to define a formal semantic for information sources and targets. Each tool or data source can use its own ontology independently of the other tools and sources, creating the potential of an unmanageable universe of data. Yet, the benefit is that components of the PSS have weak dependencies among them which leads to an open and flexible system that can easily evolve and adapt. This paper focuses on the provision of ontology driven services including the transformation of product related data into different ontologies and the aggregation of different data source specific ontologies to a holistic PSS universe with no specific ontology in its core. We present two approaches that implement ontology mediation (also termed "semantic mediation") as a variant of ontology matching since the level of matching can be rather complex. The application of this technology is also demonstrated in related domains, showing its potential when applied in PSS that is presently an ongoing research within the PSYMBIOSYS EU project. In consequence, the applicable data integration and ontology matching approaches are the hand tools to instantiate sustainable PSS into the market.