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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hadoop as Enterprise Software

In BiCorner: A recent meeting made it clear that enterprises are seeing the Hadoop ecosystem this way. Was surprising to me.  Very good introduction to that ecosystem as it exists today and why that matters.

Shelf Edge Displays

Experimented with the behavior influence of shelf displays. They can provide information and engage.  Here is a new example:

" .. Display Solution, based in Gilching, Bavaria, Germany, is a leading developer and marketer of customized LCD solutions for existing and future markets, combining leading-edge screen and electronic technologies. Products range from single components to complete system solutions built around TFT displays for commercial and industrial use with application in such areas as digital signage, point-of-sale, point-of-information, automation, measurement engineering, medical instruments, and other mobile and embedded applications. ... " 

Blockchain Studies

Blockchains.  This was new to me, then heard it mentioned several times in one week.  " ... The blockchain is a new organizing paradigm for the discovery, transfer, and recording of all quanta (discrete units) of anything, and the decentralized coordination mechanism to possibly scale humanity to its next levels of progress.  ... " .  I see it is also a Bitcoin wallet.  What other examples of the concept's use  exist outside of the Wallet?   See the the link for a broader view.

Big Data and Manufacturing

In McKinsey. On big data and manufacturing.  Talked that just yesterday with an enterprise.  It is clearly a challenge. Lots of unstructured data is common.   It becomes unusable quickly.  But they understand it can be used to answer questions previously untenable. My question is always:  Who is asking the questions?  How do I connect them with the answers?

" ... Advanced analytics refers to the application of statistics and other mathematical tools to business data in order to assess and improve practices (exhibit). In manufacturing, operations managers can use advanced analytics to take a deep dive into historical process data, identify patterns and relationships among discrete process steps and inputs, and then optimize the factors that prove to have the greatest effect on yield. Many global manufacturers in a range of industries and geographies now have an abundance of real-time shop-floor data and the capability to conduct such sophisticated statistical assessments. They are taking previously isolated data sets, aggregating them, and analyzing them to reveal important insights. ... " 

Addressing Consumer Emotions

In Adage: Study Uses Data to Track Consumer Emotions When They Buy ... But Is Self-Reported Emotional Data Useful for Marketers?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Brand Narratives

In Fastcocreate.  Coversations come after you established a narrative.
Striking up conversations isn't enough for social media marketing, Bob Deutsch writes. Marketers need to think in terms of the narratives they're building around their brands, and the ways in which customers can relate to those narratives, Deutsch writes. .. "

Best Visualization Projects of 2014

Flowingdata picks a number of examples.  Not the most simple, but some of the most pleasing and artistic examples that are worth a look.    As he notes, his examples are interactive, animated or both.   I agree, this is our direction.  Its not only showing the data well, but allowing decision makers to easly interact with the story that is being told.  To extend the reach of the visualization and test implications.

IBM Rival Sentient

An AI rival to understand: Sentient: With some emphasis on big data and genetic methods.  And the direct use of biomimicry through the use of genetic algorithms, an area we experimented in.

" ... Sentient was inspired because of its team’s work on Siri, which exposed them to “actual real applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Mr. Blondeau said. They saw what they thought was a unique opportunity to combine that technology “with what the Internet gives us now in terms of the ability to reach and harness enormous amounts of compute—things that couldn’t be dreamt of 10 years ago, and could be done five years ago but nobody had done that.”

He said Sentient combines technologies in evolutionary computation, which mimics in software the way biological life evolved on Earth, and deep learning, which looks at the way nervous systems are architected and work. These technologies are used either independently or together and are scaled across millions of nodes.... " 

Thinking Futures

Newly discovered, note mention of organizational futures

Thinking in new ways about the future
Understanding change implications, exploring possible organisational futures, choosing proactive responses today. If you're ready to think in new ways about the future get in touch to get started ....  "

3D Printed Chocolate

Printing chocolate.   " ... Out of all the companies out there, one instantly pops into most individual’s heads when they think of creamy, rich chocolate, and that is Hershey. With the history, the market reach, and the drive within the company, it was only a matter of time before the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based chocolate producer would integrate 3D printing into its operations in some way, shape, or form. Today is that day!

Teaming up with 3D Systems, Hershey has announced that on December 19th they will debut the 3D Chocolate Candy Printing Exhibit at the Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to watch and interact with scientists at the company as well as 3D printers spewing out the rich creamy candy.... " 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Amazon Delivers in one Hour in NYC

In the WSJ: Amazon Unveils One-Hour Delivery Service.  Program Is for Prime Customers in New York, Includes Over 25,000 Products.  ... " .  Additional charge.  Expanding areas.  Attempting to further own customer relationship.

Watson Almost Lost

In today's Cognitive Systems Institute talk, Jim Hendler of RPI mentions how close Ken Jennings came to winning the fabled Jeopardy competition ... check out his TED talk about the event and his reflections.   (via Jim Spohrer)

Reproducing Scent

In Fastcoexist: A kind of biomimicry.   We worked on related ideas when in the food business.   " ... Scent Of A Rose, With Designer Microbes .... Stop and smell the genetically engineered yeast. .... ".  Now for dealing with supply and cost constraints.

Watson and Academia

In today's Cognitive Systems Institute presentation, Jim Hendler from RPI presented "An Academic Perspective on Watson.".  Nicely done, in particular a comparison of the fundamentals of the expert systems we built in the 90s, and the Jeopardy Watson approaches of today.  And a view of what Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is researching today.  Very well done, especially if you want to understand practical directions in AI.

" ... AI as a collection of small processes lightly linked, and moderated through learned contexts ...

Slides here.  [Audio will follow]

University Mobile App Strategy

Not sure if this is rare.  Have been part of related work for enterprises.  In particular this could be best seen as a broader strategy about getting focused data to people that need it.  Wherever they are.  And once you have the data, it is also crucial to have a strategy for the related analytics that can be applied to that data.

Sony Competes with Google Glass

In CWorld: Early this year was involved with a proposed project with Google Glass that regrettably did not happen, read more about that here.  Now Sony is competing with an hands free information model.
Toshiba and others are already operating here.  " ... Sony high-res OLED screen attaches to any eyewear ... Sony shows off latest SmartEyeglasses prototype ... sony smart glasses 620 ... Sony releases SmartEyeglass developer kit ... " 

Energy Saving Game

In Fastcodesign: A way to turn household energy saving into what they call an addictive game.    Called Power House, on Facebook. Mentioned by collaborator Byron Reeves at Stanford:

" ....  As it happens, Power House was developed by researchers with the explicit goal of getting players to reduce their energy consumption in the real world. And it seems to have worked. In the January 2015 issue of Environment and Behavior, communications scholar Byron Reeves and three Stanford colleagues report that people who played Power House demonstrated more energy-efficient behavior immediately afterward—both in a lab and their own homes. ...  "

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Building a Simple Word Cloud

A simple word cloud service, data can be retrieved from pasted text, URLs or files.  A number of useful features for quick generation.  Their blog provides some good usage examples.

SAP IOT Garden Innovation

Work and thoughts by SAP on IoT Innovation, in a Garden:

" ... Within SAP, IoT has begun taking shape in the form of grassroots projects and pilot implementations to fully validated solutions with external partners.

SAP Palo Alto’s IoT garden began with a simple vision and small budget: to automate the campus garden with consumer grade water and temperature sensors and a raspberry pi computer. By monitoring moisture and humidity, and combining the data with weather patterns, the project demonstrated how to set optimal workflows in the garden including how much to water, when to cover plants, and the suitability of certain plants given average sun and temperature patterns. The ultimate goal, as with most other IoT implementations, is enabling bidirectional communication so that collected information can be propagated back to the edge in the form of enhanced workflows.  ...  " 

Brain Marketing

In the HBR:  Using the activity of the brain to understand purchasing and marketing decisions.   We called this neuromarketing, but that term is never used in the article.   " ... Brain Marketing: Is the Product Worth the Price?  Are consumers more likely to buy if they see the price before the product, or vice versa? Uma Karmarkar and colleagues scan the brains of shoppers to find out. ... " .  

The approaches described uses fMRI, while today most experimentation by retailers and manufacturers use very different electroencephalogram methods.

" ... By the time you decided to buy a product, you knew both what you were buying and how much it cost. But was your decision affected by whether you saw the price or the product first? That's the question at the heart of new experimental research that uses neuroscience tools to shed light on how our brains make purchasing decisions. ... " 

China Boosting Robotics

In CWorld: " ... Already a major manufacturer of electronics, China is preparing to bolster its presence in robotics with the help of government support and investments.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will develop a "robotics technology roadmap" as part of new government plans, the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported . ... "

Stanford High Rise Chip

In CWorld: New three dimensional design.  Potential for IoT and Big Data applications.

" ... Stanford University researchers have built a multi-layered "high-rise" chip that could significantly outperform traditional computer chips, taking on the hefty workloads that will be needed for the Internet of Things and big data.

Using nanotechnology, the new chips are built with layers of processing on top of layers of memory, greatly cutting down on the time and energy typically needed to move information from memory to processing and back. ... " 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Fly a Horse

Colleague Kevin Ashton writes:

Dear Franz, 

My new book, "How to Fly a Horse — The Secret History of Invention, Creation, and Discovery," comes out on January 20.

It is already getting some good reviews: both Fortune and Business Insider have listed it as a "book to read in 2015;" its first Customer Review on Amazon says "it is so well written that it's hard to put down;" and William C. Taylor, cofounder and editor of Fast Company, describes it is "one of the most creative books on creativity I have ever read."   .... 

" ... n his new book,”How To Fly A Horse,” Kevin Ashton explores why innovators meet resistance and how they overcome it, why most organizations stifle creative people, and how the most creative organizations work. In a passionate and profound narrative that amazes and inspires, Ashton’s book sheds new light on how “new” comes to be. "

Site, video, information and pre-order.

I will followup here when I get a hold of it.

Measuring Content Metrics: All About the Data

In Adage:  On how to measure digital content.  Which relates to the more general aspect of Data Assets.  Which I have repeated here and given a talk about.   It's all about context in business process. It requires having some measure of the data, in a given context.  How do we effectively do this in a way that can stay up to date?  I want to know how the value of my data is changing, where that is headed, and even what data I don't have could be added to it to make it more valuable.

Where do you Start With the Internet of Things?

Good piece on the topic. by James MacLennan.   There is lots of talk everywhere of course, but what do you do to fit his into a business?   We spent years thinking  about this when it was mostly implemented with RFID. Now the parts of the system can be more intelligent.  " .... where does a Business Unit (BU), a product line, an engineering team start the journey. Remember, industrial manufacturers historically (and quite correctly) see their role as “making & shipping Stuff”, and the shift to “providing & supporting Data-Enabled Stuff” is a pretty big leap. In addition, there are plenty of other things going on – there aren’t many teams with spare time on their hands, looking for a Next Big Project to fill the idle hours. ... As I make these connections with BUs in our organization, I am seeing patterns in how the product teams are adding Information as a fundamental part of their offering; they fall into these categories … "

Read the rest at the link.

Video Analytics and Privacy

An area we examined in laboratory conditions. One approach seen was the automated blurring of faces.  In RetailWire:  Discussion:  " ... While privacy remains a big concern around in-store video analytics, stores are too much of an investment and cost too much to operate to run in the black hole of information that they increasingly appear to be in — especially compared to online. ... Lolli and Pops, the candy retailer based in San Francisco, is in the process of rolling out video analytics across the chain. It leverages Prism Skylabs' video analytics, which balances privacy versus the need for analytics by removing the people from the videos.  ... "

Cheap Hack-able Roomba

In Mashable: " ... iRobot builds a vacuum-free Roomba for students to hack ... "     This is a successor to the iRobot Create, which we used to experiment with simple robotic demonstration ideas. This version has no vacuum, so its simpler, cheaper.  Can be hacked for experimentation with algorithms in Python, for which there is a experimenters community.

An Advisory System

An interesting example.

"ALEX the virtual benefits counselor is America’s best-selling and most-trusted standalone benefits decision support tool. Used by hundreds of companies (including 50 in the Fortune 500), ALEX helps millions of employees make smarter decisions that save them—and their employers—surprising amounts of time and money."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Open Source Projects for Machine Intelligence

In InfoWorld: Four groups have been developing IBM Watson-like systems based on open source work.  ... Watson wannabes: 4 open source projects for machine intelligence.  These projects aren't as fleshed-out as Watson, but they're open source and ready to be built upon ... "

Covers and outlines: DARPA DeepDive, Apache UIMA, OpenCog and OAQA (Open Advancement of Question Answering Systems).

Via Jim Spohrer 

More Advances in Mobile Eye Tracking

An area where we did much work, both on the physical implementation aspects, and on the gathering and analytical methods used with the data.  New developments on completely mobile capabilities we did not have just a few years ago.  Press Release:

" ... The Analysis Division of Tobii Technology, the global leader in eye-tracking research solutions, announced today that it has started shipping Tobii Glasses 2 to customers around the world who had preordered the product earlier this year. The company’s newest wearable eye tracker is being distributed to Tobii customers, which include many of the world’s leading behavioral, usability and market research labs within top universities, private research institutions, technology companies, industrial companies and major consumer packaged goods corporations.

Tobii Glasses 2 shows exactly what a person is looking at in real time, while moving around freely in any real-world environment. This helps broaden insights into human behavior with eye tracking in a wider range of research than before, including in-store shopper marketing, mobile testing, sports performance, knowledge transfer and social interaction studies. Because the Glasses 2 are so easy to use, they provide an eye-tracking solution of value even for those who may be using eye-tracking tools for the first time.  ... "

Find Critical Business Data Fast

In CWorld:  This was part of our mantra in the enterprise with Business Sphere applications.  " ... These CIOs are jumping on a fast-moving trend — mining small data sets to deliver valuable insights quickly to the right people at the right time. ... "   But I add to that a few more requirements.   ' ... Get the right data to the right people at the right time ...'   And that includes required augmentation to the data ... metadata ... analytical predictions ... related expertise .... cognitively driven advice.  Currently involved in several projects that are using these ideas.

Smarter Algorithms

In CWorld:  " ... Researchers are working on a new version of an algorithm that will power better search, autonomous cars, smarter smartphones and the Internet of Things.
Deep-learning algorithms, which are based on loose simulations of the brain, have been used to advance technologies like speech recognition, natural language processing and robotic autonomy.. "  

Service Science from Informs

I have been reminded by Jim Spohrer about the importance of services, tasks and the allied sciences to provide what we call intelligence, artificial or otherwise.  Now often being called Cognitive Science.  I had never before thought of that particular characterization.  Informs,  the Management Science Organization that was my primary professional connection for years, has a number of resources about service science. Including the below description of scope.  Recently they write:

" ... Smart Service System submissions would be most welcomed at the Service Science, INFORMS Journal. 


About Service Science
Modern businesses rely on technology, communication, information, automation, and globalization. They operate in a complex web of suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders, creating value by sharing skills and capabilities with others for mutual benefit. Service science is the emerging study of such complex service systems. It involves methods and theories from a range of disciplines, including operations, industrial engineering, marketing, computer science, psychology, information systems, design, and more. Effective understanding of service systems often require combining multiple methods to consider how interactions of people, technology, organizations, and information create value under various conditions. .... "

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Machine Learning in Python

SciKit-Learn: Was given an arrangement of algorithms in Python awhile back for examination and could have used this.   Tutorials, examples and more. " ... Open source, commercially usable - BSD license " . Below their often quoted 'Cheat sheet', click to enlarge.

Don't Forget Point of Sale

It is still a very important, vibrant place.  Even understood after I spent all of today shopping online.  In Marketing Mag.    " .... Everyone might going crazy for digital these days but that shouldn’t mean we neglect bricks-and-mortar, writes Rosemary Chegwyn. Here she identifies some important considerations when creating point of sale (POS) solutions. ... " 

Simplification of NoSQL Databases

Nice simple introduction with examples.  The WP defines " ... A NoSQL (often interpreted as Not Only SQL  database provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases ... " 

A Virtual Agent Who Thinks Like Me

Recently have seen the emergence of mirror style systems, where a system can look like me and I can use that idea to market and advertise.  But suppose I had a system that could think like me?  Logically (or not) , but also include all my habits, likes and quirks?  Derived from loyalty data.  Or Twitter streams.   Not quite what this system does, but it is the first thing I thought of when I saw the piece. It also makes me think of agent based models we had written designed to mimic consumer behavior.  (See Agent Models Link below)  Perhaps this could be another starting point for those approaches.  Yes, creepy too.

See also the recent post on Agent Models in health care.  Virtual agents who are like me, based on my health care data?  Doctors who are like mine?  ....

Morphology and Emergence

An area we examined. Has potential application to non quantified but constraint specified problems. Notably like alternative methods of task completion. For those who are interested in the principle of “emergence” and/or general morphological analysis (GMA), the following article is now online at AMG:

Ritchey, T. (2014). “On a Morphology of Theories of Emergence”. Acta Morph Gen, Vol. 3 No. 3.
Available for download in PDF format at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-3-3-2014.pdf

Abstract: “Emergence” – the notion of novel, unpredictable and irreducible properties developing out of complex organisational entities – is itself a complex, multi-dimensional concept. To date there is no single, generally agreed upon “theory of emergence”, but instead a number of different approaches and perspectives. Neither is there a common conceptual or meta-theoretical framework by which to systematically identify, exemplify and compare different “theories”. Building upon earlier work done by sociologist Kenneth Bailey, this article presents a method for creating such a framework, and outlines the conditions for a collaborative effort in order to carry out such a task. A brief historical and theoretical background is given both to the concept of “emergence” and to the non-quantified modelling method General Morphological Analysis (GMA).

Cheers,  Tom Ritchey, SweMorph

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Grocery Delivery Options

Have recently been asked to look at grocery delivery capabilities.   We saw these as common components of the future home, but they have not developed as quickly as expected. Now here a practical recent comparison. In GigaOM.

What CIO's Need to know about Prediction

Good thoughts about the topic.  Predictions of its state in the coming decade.  Not much different between classic forecasting, analytics, or the use of Big Data. Caution and careful testing in comparison to current approaches in a given business model is always needed.

Linking Multiple Services to Advice

via Jim Spohrer
" ... Probably the most interesting related business idea is Adam Cheyer's (co-creator of SIRI)  (http://viv.ai) which is trying to what you are describing below - sort of, first for "apps" in a way they get combined; Adam has innovative ideas on the business model.  If you think of apps as microservices, then you may have 50 apps that do the same thing (e.g., recommend a restaurant) - and just like Watson pipeline can combine and score, so would viv.ai, and then pay out a little to each in accordance with how helpful they were to the end user. ... "

New Gamification Blog

In IEEE Computing Now, a new effort of very broad application.  Look forward to following this.

Gamification:  Inspired by Games Blog
by Joann Hoffman and Wanda Meloni

Technology is born of inspiration, of dreaming the impossible. But there is still an opportunity to use technology to solve societal challenges. Games have this potential. Inspired By Games is focused on showcasing new applications, innovative game design and leading-edge technology in the hope of inspiring others to break rules, cross boundaries, collaborate across the globe and explore cross-disciplinary applications of the arts, culture, science, enterprise, and education. .... "

Friday, December 12, 2014

Storyboard Approach to Big Data Insights

Plan to take a further look at the idea.  " ... Big data by itself is just a worthless collection of numbers and characters. To make big data work, you need to show how the information is meaningful. Taking a storytelling approach to analytics is one way to put big data in context. .. "

Drone Code Project

In CWorld
The Dronecode Project will unite thousands of coders to build an aerial operating system for drones ... 
Drones have just found their new best friends: coders. On Oct. 13, the Linux Foundation unveiled a nonprofit organization called the Dronecode Project, an open-source development initiative uniting thousands of coders for the purpose of building an aerial operating system for drones. Hopeful that the project will bring order to the chaos that has surrounded software developers as they sprint to carve out a share of the bourgeoning market for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), UAS operators are now asking whether Dronecode will finally provide the horsepower and industry-wide support needed to launch a universal drone operating system.  ...  "

Google Lets Devices Commune

In NetworkWorld:

" ... A new Google project aims to create nothing less than an open standard for the entire “Internet of Things,” which the company’s Chrome team is calling the Physical Web. ....

The idea is to create a comparatively simple system, using a subscribed discovery service, of beacons broadcasting URLs to smartphones in a given area, allowing users to interact with vending machines, posters, and bus stops in a location-aware, organic way, using only Bluetooth and web technology – no specialized app required. ....

Google product strategist Scott Jenson said that the problem the Physical Web is designed to solve is one of scale.

Cognitive Advising Veterans

Finally got a bit closer look at this effort.  A good example of an advisory system.    Announced this past July.  " ... IBM and USAA announced Wednesday that IBM Watson is taking on the challenge of advising US military personnel on a range of financial and life decisions when they decide to transition to civilian life. ... " 

Infrastructure for Data Driven Science

A very good direction,  working with infrastructure is often more complex than it should be.

Laying the groundwork for data-driven science

NSF announces $31 million in awards to develop tools, cyberinfrastructure and best practices for data science  .. The ability to collect and analyze massive amounts of data is rapidly transforming science, industry and everyday life, but what we have seen so far is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the benefits of "Big Data" have yet to surface because of a lack of interoperability, missing tools and hardware that is still evolving to meet the diverse needs of scientific communities. .... "

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Biologically Inspired Design

Attended a talk today in the Cog Sci Institute on the status of work being done at Ga Tech on Biologically Inspired design, or Biomimicry.  Given by Prof. Ashok Goel    Most often examples in this space look at how designs in nature can be used to address specific human engineering problems.  Most of what they are doing today is trying to understand how human knowledge about biology can be retrieved to address engineering requirements.  The problem is that engineers and biologists don't speak the same technical language.  Also, we need to understand how to search and reason by analogy in both domains.  The extension of analogy is a form of creativity.  We researched reasoning by analogy when addressing consumer needs.   This can then be linked to cognition, as part of Human centered computing. All this is a crucial part of AI.  There is much more work to be done.

Talk slides: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/9S42InuTABn0qY

Seeing More Bad UX

It seems like I have been experiencing increasing numbers of bad user experiences lately. ComputerWorld writes about the bad UX in Apps.  New standards need to be created and broadly applied.

A History of Boston Computing

Part one of an article on the early history of computing technology in the Boston area.  As the piece suggests, it's often forgotten after the emergence of personal technologies in Silicon Valley.   So this is positioned as a rise-and-fall story.  We spent some time with DEC in the NE at that time so some of the players are familiar.  Dan Bricklin's invention of the personal spreadsheet, and our lapping up its capabilities for accounting functions.  Then the surprising failure of DEC to understand the personal computing revolution.  Some of the details are revealing to our experiences then.  Looking forward to the next chapter.

Re examining Analytics 3.0

In the HBR.  by Thomas Davenport.  This 2013 article suggested that analytics 3.0 would put us in an era of data enhanced analytics offerings.  Worth re reading his proposed definition of 3.0.   Are we there today?  Not yet, but have seen some interesting startups that are pushing this capability.   Will cognitive adivsory enhancement help find the right data to solve particular problem statements?  The required standards and facilities are not there yet.  What will it take to make this happen?

Drone Photography

BBC examples of stunning drone photography.  Shows how the point of view is being extended  into the third dimension for still photography.  Impressive shots.