Ontologies for Observations and Actuations in Buildings: A Survey

Tracking #: 2409-3623

Iker Esnaola-Gonzalez
Jesús Bermúdez
Izaskun Fernandez
Aitor Arnaiz

Responsible editor: 
Guest Editors Sensors Observations 2018

Submission type: 
Survey Article
Spaces and elements in the buildings' environment have emerged as platforms where materializations of observations and actuations promise to be very profitable. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) paves the way to address this challenge but the heterogeneity of the represented knowledge about these artifact systems poses a real problem. Ontologies can be considered as part of the solution to overcome the IoT's inherent hurdles. A wise option promoted by recent approaches is to design networks of complementary ontologies. However, different points of view are possible and such diversity could lead to interoperability problems. This article advocates for a networked ontology infrastructure conceived on principled basis guided by documented judicious conceptualizations. In this regard, this survey points towards ontologies involved in conceptualizations of observations and actuations, where the utility of that conceptualization arises when some features of interest need to be observed or acted upon. For each of the reviewed ontologies, their fundamentals are described, their potential advantages and shortcomings are highlighted, and the use cases where these ontologies have been used are indicated. Additionally, use case examples are annotated with different ontologies in order to illustrate their capabilities and showcase the differences between reviewed ontologies. Finally, this article tries to answer two research questions: Is there a firm basis, broadly admitted by the community, for the development of such a networked ontology infrastructure for the observations and actuations in buildings? What ontologies may be considered helpful towards that goal?
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
Anonymous submitted on 18/Feb/2020
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'Survey Article' and should be reviewed along the following dimensions: (1) Suitability as introductory text, targeted at researchers, PhD students, or practitioners, to get started on the covered topic. (2) How comprehensive and how balanced is the presentation and coverage. (3) Readability and clarity of the presentation. (4) Importance of the covered material to the broader Semantic Web community.

The paper has undergone several rounds of reviews after it was resubmitted as a survey paper. It now surveys ontologies that consider spaces and buildings elements as features of interest whose qualities are commonly required to be observed and actuated upon. The authors have addressed sufficiently the comments of the reviewers in the previous round. Prior to publication, though, the paper needs a professional editor to go over the myriad of language issues that still exists. There are particularly problems around the use of the articles "a/an/the". Some language problems are listed below, but this is in no way an exhaustive list. Other than those, the paper presents a realistic use case from the building domain and works through an extensive list of ontologies to discuss how they can model the resulting competency questions from this use case.

- on principled basis -> on a principled basis
- in buildings? What ontologies may -> combine two sentences
- Having a minimum metadata -> Having minimum metadata
- which may hint the maintenance of the ontology -> which may hint at the maintenance of the ontology
- Too many "on the one hand, on the other hand"
- annotated with such ontology -> annotated with such an ontology
- Furthermore, a Section 3.2 -> Furthermore, Section 3.2
- domains are out of the scope -> domains are out of scope
- SSNO Ontology -> SSN Ontology or just SSNO
- However, on the one hand, -> On the one hand,
- is developed aimed at being used -> is developed to being used
- of the adequate metadata -> of adequate metadata
- with the minimum change propagation -> with minimum change propagation
- the SOSA/SSN ontology and DUL ontology -> the SOSA/SSN ontology and the DUL ontology
- neither the SmartEnv Ontology neither -> neither the SmartEnv Ontology nor
- based in the reengineering of the SSNO ontology -> based on the reengineering of the SSNO ontology
- of them misses Feature of Interest -> of them miss Feature of Interest
- with the real-world scenarios -> with real-world scenarios
- Although primarily models devices -> Although it primarily models devices
- DogOnt authors claim -> The DogOnt authors claim
- to reuse it in some cases -> to reusE in some cases
- there are no evidences -> there is no evidence
- such as Weather Ontology and EnergyResourceOntology -> such as the Weather Ontology and the EnergyResourceOntology
- the lack of ontology documentation page -> the lack of an ontology documentation page
- SAREF authors claim -> The SAREF authors claim
- definitely hurdled by the absence -> definitely hurt by the absence
- REC ontology and its modules -> The REC ontology and its modules
- the metadata associated to ontology terms -> the metadata associated with ontology terms
- or Brick Ontology -> or the Brick Ontology
- prevent from finding -> prevent us from finding
- And a mismatching -> And a mismatch
- one of the most critical point -> one of the most critical points
- new SOSA/SSN ontology was clearly affordable -> ???
- in observations and actuations domain -> in the observations and actuations domain

Review #2
By Maxime Lefrançois submitted on 13/Mar/2020
Review Comment:

In its current form, the article is a comprehensive comparative review of important ontologies that may be used to model observations and actuations in buildings. I believe that it is clearly useful as an introductory text for PhD students and researchers interested in this domain.

The authors did addressed or answer each of the reviewers remaining comments.

In particular, I consider now that the abstract and introduction do clearly justify and contextualize the importance of the survey. The research questions, methodology, and scope, of the review are also clearly described.

The paper being 28 pages with 86 references, I do not agree that it can be qualified as "merely an extension of the related work section of the initial submission". The authors have put substantial effort to abstract the paper from the original goal, which was to introduce the EEPSA ontology. I see absolutely no research bias if the authors have already at hand an ontology that fills some of the representational gaps identified in the survey paper. Therefore, I consider that some of the main criticisms made on the first revision of this paper are stale.

Those criticisms that are not related to the goal of the initial submission have been clearly addressed in the paper, or answered to in the letter to the reviewers.

As a result, I do recommend to accept this paper.