The key idea of semantic web services (in short: semantic services) is to enable service-based applications or intelligent agents to automatically understand what the services are actually doing by encoding their functional and non-functional service semantics not only in a standardized machine-readable but machine-understandable way. That is achieved by describing the semantics of web service interface elements by annotating them in particular with references to concepts and rules which are formally defined in a shared ontology such as in W3C standard ontology language OWL2 or RDFS. These well-founded formal semantic annotations can then be exploited by applications and agents with appropriate formal reasoning techniques in order to perform, for example, automated service composition planning and high-precision service discovery. Currently prominent frameworks for semantic service description include OWL-S, WSML, the W3C standard SA-WSDL, and USDL.
Following the paradigm of Semantic Service-Oriented Architectures (SemSOA), manufacturing process models are automatically implemented with semantic services by the application of appropriate techniques for semantic service discovery, selection, and composition planning.