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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Open Power Foundation Announcements



Attended a set of presentations and announcements on the Open Power Foundation yesterday. Sponsored by IBM and included a number of other corporate participants.   Of particular interest, how open Linux and hardware can provide faster access to more data and processing for Big Data analytics applications.  Promoting open innovation.  Power for example, has been used to implement IBM Watson.    More comments made on Linkedin.   " ... OpenPOWER Foundation was founded in 2013 as an open technical membership organization that will enable data centers to rethink their approach to technology. Member companies may use POWER for custom open servers and components for Linux based cloud data centers as well as optimizing Linux software on POWER. ...  "   Announcements and details at the link.

Why Innovation Fails

In Innovation Excellence:  Unfortunately it does.   Fairly frequently too.  The number kicked around for band innovation true success is often 10%.  So we have lots of experience with the failure part.  This article does a good job of covering the breadth of reasons involved.

The Organization: Scarcest Resource

Via Bain and Company, from the HBR:   Meetings, thinking time, useful connections, human resources.   In general we make poor use of them and many new things are asking for their attention.  Can technology help rather than make the situation worse?

Marketing Vocabulary

Fascinating piece on ClickZ: Truth and vocabulary and the meaning for understanding the consumer.   A lot of truth is embedded here about measurement and the resulting value.  Statistics anyone? " .... Advertising and marketing are not exact sciences. Humans are not rational. Analysts are not accountants; we are statisticians. We deal in probabilities and likelihoods. We create models and "All models are wrong, but some are useful."  ... "   Have used many similar words in my own consulting and teaching.   But we do what we can to make sense of it all.

WalMart to Go Concept

Wal-Mart's To Go concept.  Opens a new kind of consumer behavior to them.  And new data. Consider the implications, and the analytics.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Using Google Maps for History

We had thought of using time serial maps for history, now I see that Google maps plans to do something similar.  Can we ultimately do this generally for the earth to catch subtle trends we had not thought of before.   How also can this be used to capture and analyze public, unstructured time domain information of a new type?

Big Data Marketing

Late on this, but useful thoughts: 

"  .. This holiday season will likely bring another rise in cost-per-click prices. However, marketers shouldn't forget their post-click onsite experience, since they've invested hoards of time and money into their bidding strategy.

Make the money spent on PLAs [ Product Listing Ads ] and other paid-search experiences create a return by using data to create a relevant and positive experience for customers. Then it really will be a happy holiday season for everyone. ... " 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Customer Experience in Retail

In Retailwire: Who owns the customer experience in retail?   " ... Should the emerging CXO role — chief customer experiencer — own the customer experience in retail? If so, I think they'll have to dethrone the CMO. ... " 

Augmented Pixels Example for Theater Engagement

Daria Gaioshko of the Odessa, Ukraine company Augmented Pixels, sends along this new example of a promotional App for user engagement at a cinema.    I am now testing for alternative applications.

" ... Augmented Pixels releases MaxiKoltuk, the Augmented Reality game for promotional campaigns and user engagement at the cinemas.

MaxiKoltuk became as a part of an interactive marketing campaign Empati Reklam agency created for their client İşbank (Turkey). The game aims to promote MaxiPara Sinema Kart, a special edition of Visa prepaid cards at the Cinemaximum theatres. More about the cinema use case.

MaxiKoltuk game supports iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch as well as Android devices and is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play at no charge.

More information is available at http://augmentedpixels.com/maxikoltuk-augmented-reality-game-for-promo-campaigns-at-cinemas//  ...  "  Some excellent detail on its approach.

Give them your feedback.  Have now followed a number of their game promotion systems.

Previously in this blog: More from Augmented Pixels.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Detecting Criminal Activity with Phone Data

Interesting example in Technology Review.  We used related approaches to detect patterns of innovative communications.  " ... Law enforcement agencies are turning to social network theory to better understand the behaviors and habits of criminal gangs ...  The study of social networks is providing dramatic insights into the nature of our society and how we are connected to one another. So it’s no surprise that law enforcement agencies want to get in on the act. ... " 

A Dropbox for the Internet of Things.

In Technology Review:     Simple idea, easy to play with.  " ... With the advent of the Internet of things, potentially billions of devices will report data about themselves, making it possible to create new applications in areas as diverse as factory optimization, car maintenance, or simply keeping track of your stuff online. But doing this today requires at least some degree of programming knowledge. Now Bug Labs, a New York City company, is trying to make it as easy to create an Internet of things application as it is to put a file into Dropbox. ... " 

Baseball Scheduling

Scheduling complex sports events, with many restrictions and preferences, is a known difficult problem to automate.  New work at Johns Hopkins addresses the problem.  " ... A team of Johns Hopkins University researchers has developed a system that uses thousands of lines of computer code to satisfy all of a league's scheduling rules, and as many of the teams' requests and preferences as possible.

 .... The system, developed by associate research scientist Anton Dahbura and professor Donniell Fishkind, allows 10,000 schedule limitations and even more factors to be fed into a supercomputer, which produces a workable schedule. The methodology employs combinatorial optimization, which is the concept that there should be at least one schedule that optimally satisfies every rule and team request, via a combination of integers. .... " 

Free Data Analytics Handbook

Looked at in Machine Learning Mastery.  " ... What is the difference between a Data Analyst and a Data Scientist and what type of work do they do all day?

These questions and questions like them are answered in the new free ebook The Data Analytics Handbook: Data Analysts and Data Scientists.

The ebook was created by Brian Liou, Tristan Tao and Elizabeth Lin. Brian and Tristan are Computer Science + Statistics grads and run the blog statsguys. Although they have jobs, they have taken the initiative to interview data analysts and data scientists in industry and ask questions around their background, how they were hired and daily routine. .... " 

Update: Have taken a look at the two volumes of this.  It is less a handbook than it is a group of interviews with young practitioners.  Not a How to.   Informative view of the current state of the business.  They will be updating it.  See more at related sites www.teamleada.com and statsguys.wordpress.com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Simulated Design in Fashion

In DW:  Reminds me of similar methods, in completely different domains, like packaging design, which we experimented with for years.    " .. .Soft wear: computer simulated design is tailoring the future fashion industry .... Textile simulation may be in its infancy, but it can make complex clothing, including wrinkles, on real-time digital models. And the software's got larger implications beyond mere fashion. ... "  Includes links to videos.

On Different Goals for Information Visualizaton

Just brought to my attention.  Excellent paper.   Different goals and different looks for information visualization and statistical graphics.  By Andrew Gelman and Antony Unwin.

Luxottica to Make Google Frames

From a local company many of us have worked with.

" ... Google is hoping to make its Internet-connected eyewear more stylish as part of a partnership with the parent company of Mason-based Lenscrafters stores.

The alliance with Italian eyewear company Luxottica Group represents Google’s latest attempt to make wearable technology look less geeky as it tries to develop new ways to ensure people can stay connected to the Internet wherever they go.

Last week, Google disclosed that fashion accessory maker Fossil Group is working on an Internet-connected wristwatch that runs Google’s Android software for mobile devices. ... " 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Social Robotics and AI

What are the implications for improving AI?   In an internet of things and people ... with things getting more intelligent and being able to take the initiative more often, what will the rules of interaction be?  Examined this once before, in the 90s, and it is worth looking at again.  I believe the radical changes suggested are still many years away.  It is useful to think about how they need to be architected to maximize our value and safety.  How long can we depend on regulatory and legal protection?

 Patrick Tucker examines the issue.  Pointing to " ... computer scientist and entrepreneur Steven Omohundro says that “anti-social” artificial intelligence in the future is not only possible, but probable, unless we start designing AI systems very differently today.  Omohundro’s most recent recent paper, published in the Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, lays out the case.  ... " .  A simplistic initial look, but a useful starting point to consider.

The technical paper pointed to is: Autonomous technology and the greater human good by Steve Omohundro   Abstract:

" ... Military and economic pressures are driving the rapid development of autonomous systems. We show that these systems are likely to behave in anti-social and harmful ways unless they are very carefully designed. Designers will be motivated to create systems that act approximately rationally and rational systems exhibit universal drives towards self-protection, resource acquisition, replication and efficiency. The current computing infrastructure would be vulnerable to unconstrained systems with these drives. We describe the use of formal methods to create provably safe but limited autonomous systems. We then discuss harmful systems and how to stop them. We conclude with a description of the ‘Safe-AI Scaffolding Strategy’ for creating powerful safe systems with a high confidence of safety at each stage of development. ... " 

A Mess in Communications Among an Internet of Things

In CWorld:   Of interest, in particular standards are key to making this approach work.   Lack of interoperability, in particular in home automation, are key problems.  On the commercial side see my posts on background and status in the Industrial Internet.  An internet of things means we can have sensors in more locations.  The data captured can then be utilized to improve process.

Twitter Classifications

As part of a recent project about twitter feed relevancy. I found this short mention of content classification of Tweets in the wikipedia.    See the link for further references:

"Content Classification

San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (CST) and separated them into six categories:[90]

Pointless babble – 40%
Conversational – 38%
Pass-along value – 9%
Self-promotion – 6%
Spam – 4%
News – 4% ... "

Infographic on Workplaces of the Future

Yes, there are useful numbers in this graphic.  The topic is very interesting. And has a pointer to the origin of the sources.  But I count only 8 readily usable numbers from the several page document.   Its's bloat, and I cannot easily manipulate the numbers. Give me more information density.

Speedier Checkouts

Always a big labor and satisfaction consideration for physical retail:

Kroger takes retail technology of the year:
" ... While the bigger retail technology buzz last year went to data tracking devices, augmented reality and drones, the top retail innovation in InformationWeek's Elite 100 went to Kroger Co.'s QueVision system that ensures customers never have more than one person in line ahead of them.

In fact, the system landed third on the list of the top business technology innovators in the U.S. across industries. Now in more than 2,400 stores, QueVision has reduced checkout times on average from four minutes to less than 30 seconds. ... "

Friday, April 18, 2014

Visualization of Telecommuting Data

A good data visualization of information about US telecommuting, with a strong ability to interact with the data.  In the Tableau Public site.  Much better than an infographic in display and adaptability for further study.  Answering the question:   " ... Is Telecommuting the Wave of the Future? ... Working from home may be the way of the future, as shown by Peter Kim in this viz published by Drew Hendricks of Forbes. Use the drop down filter to investigate different characteristics of the US population.  ... " 

Shoppers Want More Value

It is obvious Shoppers want an exchange of value.  The specific statistics are of interest.

Grocery shoppers want more from mobile apps, survey finds  ... About two-thirds of grocery shoppers who own smartphones have used mobile applications while shopping, but they want a more seamless integration of features, according to a survey from Catalina and InsightsNow. Shoppers want digital and real-time coupons for items they actually buy, reminders about their shopping lists and a way to track spending, the survey found. The survey also found that shoppers are less interested in social media integration, copies of their receipts and generic geolocation notifications ... " 

Giving Up Your Right to Sue

In the press recently.  Users apparently giving up their right to sue via user agreements. Unclear how binding this is legally,  and the broader implications, but the I would be surprised if the bad PR does not cause General Mills to back off.

Individual Data for Health

In the CACM:   Not a new idea, but more value as we leverage analytics against bigger data.  Even for our own N=1.

" ... Consider a new kind of cloud-based app that would create a picture of your health over time by continuously, securely, and privately analyzing the digital traces you generate as you work, shop, sleep, eat, exercise, and communicate. While there are personal devices and Internet services specifically designed for self-tracking (Fitbit, Patients like me, http://quantifiedself.com, and so forth), digital traces include a much richer corpus of data that we generate every day, just by virtue of our normal activities. And while the use of electronic health records is increasing, today's systems capture data reported by clinicians, not patients; and data about clinical treatment, not day-to-day activities. ... " 

Mission Critical Lesson from P&G

Edward Burghard comments on the A.G. Lafley speech to the Association of National Advertisers 10-15-2000.    Had not seen this, quite good.  A Mission Critical Lesson From P&G.  On What The Economic Development Profession Can Learn From P&G. 

Resource Revolution

 In McKinsey:   Good overview of the challenge.  The emergence of a resource revolution to feed the technological changes created by innovation.  Lots of needs, and new allocations will be required.  " ... The resource revolution represents the biggest business opportunity in a century. However, success requires new approaches to management. Companies that try to stick to the old “2 percent solution” (just improve performance by 2 percent annually and you will be fine) are going to become obsolete quickly. Businesses that can deliver dramatic resource-productivity improvements at scale will become the great companies of the 21st century ... " 

Where will the Knowledge come From?

Recent conversations have brought this to mind.  People resource definitions in particular have become specialized and necessary.  Companies are ready to pay, but also need to fit them into still tight budgets.  The knowledge required to make projects happen also requires allocation of unexpected internal knowledge, and most companies do not have that knowledge easily accessible. And some of that knowledge is being lost day to day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Smart Business Notebook Network

In FastCompany:  As a long time user of Evernote, this was interesting. Pointing towards the Moleskin physical notebook.  So not paperless.  Had been unaware of the former version of this.  " ...  The two companies have partnered up to create a special notebook for Evernote users geared toward enterprise customers. .... The primary difference between the Evernote Business Notebook and the Evernote Smart Notebook introduced two years ago is that the enterprise version allows users to selectively share their notes. ... "  

Negative Questions Managers Should Ask

In the HBR Blog (Registration required):   The kind of questions that a good manager should ask, and most do.  Still it is one of those things that is worth repeating.   It is relatively rare to ask the negative question, posed below.   In recent years this might be seen as anti-innovative.  But is always a useful exercise ...

" ... When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. And management techniques, practices, and strategies are no different. When you read a business book or attend a presentation on a particular management practice, it is a good habit to explicitly ask, “What might it not be good for?” When might it not work; what could be its drawbacks? If the presenter’s answer is “there are none,” a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted. ... "

Experfy Big Data Consulting

Received a note from Harvard Innovation Lab.   Regarding Experfy, which was new to me.   Interesting, taking a closer look.

Big Data Consulting Marketplace in Harvard Innovation Lab Invites Applications ... 
Experfy is a consulting marketplace where enterprises engage experts for their big data, analytics and business intelligence projects. We are looking for experts to join our data community. ... 

Intro to Unstructured Data

Good short piece on the increasingly important topic, by Radhika Subramanian.   The article also points to a free eBook on the topic.  Have not looked at that yet.   Its also important to understand two conundrums on this. One is that text is not the only unstructured data.  And second, that text has structure, notable from the increasing amount of natural language processing being used.  Language contains structure.

Analytic Methods and Massive Data

What are the limitations of analytic methods against increasingly massive amounts of data?  A Linkedin Discussion of interest. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

HR Strategy. Hiring Specialties or Growing Them?

In CWorld.    Self serving yes, but an alternate strategy for lack of specific IT skills.  Instead of hiring college trained people, probably younger people.  Hire older skilled people and train them intensely in the specialty. Cybersecurity is a good technical example, but others work as well.  Depends upon the person I think, a matter of trainable personality.  Yet managers in IT are always most proud of people they have 'made' into a exceptionally valued employee.   Older experienced folks are more typically seen as 'found'.

On Metadata Introduction

Been examining the state of metadata, here is a book with good background, if not completely up to date.  Mostly document oriented.   A good example where on line resources can be useful. Metadata: For Information Management and Retrieval  by David Haynes

Police Robotics

In Time: With video.  An old idea, but here apparently a commercial available system.   I always ask, how are these different from a remote movable camera?  How much autonomy is involved?  A number of relevant sensors are included,  like facial recognition and thermal imaging. Detection versus reaction.   The Knightscope company.

Capturing Ambient Intelligence

In CWorld:   Related to other work recently posted on.   Had not heard the term 'ambient intelligence' used before, but it fits.   An interesting step by Microsoft.   Again, its about sensors, data and delivering intelligent method.  What 'intelligent' means is still evolving.

" ... Microsoft is targeting the growing volume of data being generated by both machines and humans: CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday showed off tools that could help organizations better understand -- and profit from -- this trove of information.

One new hosted service, called the Azure Intelligent Systems Service (ISS), promises to ease the process of managing machine data from sensors and devices connected in the so-called Internet of Things. ISS is now available as a limited public preview. ... "  

Deep Learning Innovation from Mobile Sensors

Out of Research at Purdue:   Interative contextual learning and reasoning is a powerful concept that will radically change how we use computing.  It will bring sensors to many new environments.   And analytics to the data gathered.

" ... Researchers are working to enable smartphones and other mobile devices to understand and immediately identify objects in a camera's field of view, overlaying lines of text that describe items in the environment.

"It analyzes the scene and puts tags on everything," said Eugenio Culurciello, an associate professor in Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Psychological Sciences.

The innovation could find applications in "augmented reality" technologies like Google Glass, facial recognition systems and robotic cars that drive themselves. ... " 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Data Culture and Business Sphere Focus

In Ars Technica:  The idea of a 'data culture' is something that Microsoft is promoting now ...  " ... Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was in San Francisco today to talk about data and Microsoft's data platform. Nadella repeatedly spoke of Microsoft's "data culture"—using data and analytics to enable employees to get the information they need to understand their work, answer questions, and make decisions. ... " 

This sounds a lot like the approach we emphasized as a key element of what we called the 'Business Sphere'.  ...  Getting the right data and analytics to the right people at the right time. A means of making decisions in a focused and correct manner. Providing efficiency and value. Based on data.

I agree, this should be fundamental.  Microsoft, call me and we can discuss this.

Using Mind Maps to Support Exit Interviews

We suggested this, but it was never widely utilized.  In Biggerplate.  A good case study of the idea. The question that always came up: Does the additional complexity add knowledge to the result?  Or is it just the equivalent of a outline/checklist?   We suggested that the result could be interlinked among current knowledge, knowledge potentially lost, and knowledge that needed to be replaced. But that would require an accurate ontology of the knowledge to begin with.

On the Value of Social Data: Gnip Acquisition

In AdAge:  "  In Gnip Buy, Twitter Grabs Control of Key Data Middleman ...
The Acquisition is Yet Another Indicator of the Value Corporations and Investors See in Social Data ... "   Data has value that is driven by analytical methods.   See Gnip's site.  " ...  The World’s Largest and Most Trusted Provider of Social Data ... ".  Now being acquired by Twitter.

P&G Singapore Innovation Center


More on P&G's Singapore innovation center.  Including lots of images and descriptions of what goes on there.  Nicely done piece from P&G itself.  " ... Get a First Look at Our New Innovation Center in Singapore ... New high-tech center underscores our commitment to deliver superior value ... " .

  This continues an innovation center building process that began in 2001.  The largestprivate research facility in Singapore. See the Procter Innovation link for more.

The Loom, Robots, Innovation and Jobs

In the WaPo: The Loom and Innovation.  Anyone who has followed the history of computing knows the connection between the mechanical loom and computing in general.  This article takes the connection further.  " ... Will robots steal our jobs? The humble loom suggests not. ... " 

Kroger Digitizing Stores

In Retailing TodayOn how Kroger is digitizing retail.  Retail is the ideal industry to make this happen.  It operates an internet of things that closely integrate with an internet of increasingly connected people.  Analytics will make this more efficient and engaging.

" ... Kroger has unveiled a bold initiative to digitize every aspect of its physical store in an effort to measure a breadth of operational metrics to enhance the shopper experience. 

The company announced a partnership with eInfochips, Wincor Nixdorf and several other partners on a new enterprise IT architecture called Retail Site Intelligence. This architecture for stores of the 21st century uses ZigBee wireless mesh networks to integrate long battery life sensors, hand held devices, point-of-sale devices and video management software into a next generation platform for retail applications such as in stock optimization, loss prevention, store automation and video analytics which can be integrated with Kroger’s industry leading loyalty program data. ... "