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Monday, July 28, 2014

On Collecting Just the Right Data

In the MIT News:  Has come up in two recent client engagements.  What current data and ancillary metadata will be needed to make current and future decisions?   What is the cost of gathering and maintaining that data?  What is the value of that data over time?    " ... developed a new technique that could help with both problems. For a range of common applications in which data is either difficult to collect or too time-consuming to process, the technique can identify the subset of data items that will yield the most reliable predictions. So geologists trying to assess the extent of underground petroleum deposits, or meteorologists trying to forecast the weather, can make do with just a few, targeted measurements, saving time and money. ... " 

Simple Encryption App

In Wired:   A strong, easy to use encryption App, they say.  I have played with the alternative PGP, and I agree it is not an easy to use alternative for the typical user.

Virtual Reality in Advertising

In Adage:  Next new thing to impress and engage consumers?   Compare it to augmented reality often discussed here, which today uses less hardware. And its connection to game interaction.   " .... It's a bit like the leap marketers such as Coca-Cola, HBO and Nissan are taking into the nascent world of virtual reality. Well aware of the hurdles agencies, brands and the media must overcome first—not the least of which are the current cost of the technology and the cumbersomeness of the equipment—these first-movers are wagering on a marketing future where goggles can be bought at Walmart for $300 and brands can deliver visceral consumer experiences. Imagine Budweiser taking you behind the plate at the World Series or Pepsi giving you a virtual front-row seat at a Beyoncé concert. ... " 

Airwheel for Personal Transport

We tested the Segway to some extent, even used it in retail aisles.  Mostly safe.  You could learn it to safety in an hour or so.  Now there is the Airwheel .   Looking at a demonstration this seems to be less stable and harder to learn.  A review.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Space Exploration with CMaps

Been a while since I mentioned concept maps, but I use them often.  In a Linkedin conversation I saw mention of their use in an example to provide motivation for space exploration.  Alberto J. Cañas, Associate Director at IHMC (Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition) writes:

" ... We are developing new technology for the CmapServer that should make the integration much nicer. Hope to have it out in the next few months. Uses the same viewer technology we use for the SpaceExploration site (http://spaceexp.ihmc.us). ... "

Getting Your Work Done on a Tablet

I have had an iPad for years.   I helped survey its practical use for the enterprise.   I use it every day, but mostly for scanning information and planning, and sometimes for gathering notes at client meetings. Cloud enabled applications have made it more useful. And implementing applications like MS Word and Powerpoint help too.   There are still restrictions and inconsistencies for using it as a complete computing interaction tool.  GigaOM has a post on the current state of doing work on an iPad.

Government Chatbots for Screening

An area where we worked extensively, communication bots.  Also involved in clearance and interviewing processes.  I know there is currently a huge backlog in clearance delivery.  And there is a government  'Center of Credibility Assessment ..? '.  That makes one smile. In New Scientist:   More here.

" ... Want access to the US government's secrets? Talk to the robot.

Some 5.1 million Americans hold federal security clearance of one level or another, entitling them access to classified information. Putting each person eligible for clearance through the detailed screening process is a huge bureaucratic headache. Dean Pollina of the US National Center for Credibility Assessment in Fort Jackson, South Carolina – which assesses security technologies such as polygraph lie detectors for the government – wondered whether a computer-generated interviewer could streamline the process.

Pollina and colleague Allison Baretta built a system in which an on-screen avatar equipped with speech-recognition capability asks a series of screening questions. They then used it to do recorded interviews with 120 members of the US Army. ... " 

Innovation Talent

Thoughts on what innovation talent looks like.  It is an unusual talent.  In particular to take it beyond speculation and on to useful implementation.  In Innovation Excellence. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Analytics Disciplines Compared

Once again, a very nice piece by Vincent Granville I am just exploring.  Which seeks to answer a common question: What is the difference between all these analytic and data focused disciplines? What should I try first, or at all?  Have heard these questions often, and the frequency of query is increasing.  

He writes:  " ... Here I compare several analytic disciplines that overlap, to explain the differences and common denominators. Sometimes differences exist for nothing else other than historical reasons. Sometimes the differences are real and subtle. I also provide typical job titles, types of analyses, and industries traditionally attached to each discipline. It would be great if someone can add an historical perspective to my article. ... " 

Detailed, sometimes technical, but very useful to the extent it delivers.  Reviewing now.

Infrared Digital's Contextual Fusion

Heard a description of Infrared Digital's method called Fusion: " ..... FUSION provides an analytic architecture where you can create a single analysis that includes your internal media, media partners, and enterprise systems, as well as CRM & insight providers, and ambient data.

The combination of data from “all” media channels with other internal and external sources of data will enable you to take queues from your customer’s behavior and the world around them to inform your promotional approach.  ... " 

IBM Big Data Hub

IBM on their view of big data, useful resources and pointers.  " ... A strategic approach to big data is built on a data-driven culture, scalability and value, among other essential elements of progress. ... " . 

The Need for Objectivity

Former boss Bob Herbold on the elusive but necessary concept of of objectivity.  He always provides some excellent business examples from the management perspective.   In his blog.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vision Correcting Displays

In Mashable:

" ... Those of us who need glasses to see a TV or laptop screen clearly could ditch the eyewear thanks to a display technology that corrects vision problems.

The technology uses algorithms to alter an image based on a person’s glasses prescription together with a light filter set in front of the display. The algorithm alters the light from each individual pixel so that, when fed through a tiny hole in the plastic filter, rays of light reach the retina in a way that re-creates a sharp image. Researchers say the idea is to anticipate how your eyes will naturally distort whatever’s onscreen — something glasses or contacts typically correct — and adjust it beforehand so that what you see appears clear. ... " 

Cognitive Computing Webinar and Resources

New World of Cognitive Computing. Yesterday attended a webinar on Cognitive Computing.  Which was a fairly good introduction, non technical and suitable for an extended technical executive introduction.  Recorded one hour presentation is here.  Just the slides here.

Panelists: Steve Ardire, James Kobielus (IBM), Adrian Bowles and Tony Sarris

" .. Cognitive Computing is a rapidly developing technology that has reached practical application and implementation. So what is it? Do you need it? How can it benefit your business?

In this webinar a panel of experts in Cognitive Computing will discuss the technology, the current practical applications, and where this technology is going. The discussion will start with a review of a recent survey produced by DATAVERSITY on how Cognitive Computing is currently understood by your peers. The panel will also review many components of the technology including:

Cognitive Analytics
Machine Learning
Deep Learning
And next generation artificial intelligence (AI) ... " 

iPhone as Future Wallet

More indications that Apple will be pushing the idea of a convenient phone-wallet in future mobile.  An idea that has been around for years. Talked to credit card companies about integrating promotion offers and shopping lists.  Will this finally be the push to make the idea common?   What are the security and privacy implications?

" ... It seems likely Apple's payment solution will combine iTunes with Touch ID and the secure enclave on iPhones. The service will come to market in partnership with existing credit card firms.

"Apple has told some partners its system would involve a so-called secured element in the phones — a piece of hardware where sensitive information such as a phone owner’s financial credentials can be stored," The Information says.

The offer means consumers will be able to use their devices to pay for physical goods on the Web, inside apps and at retail stores.... "

Kinds of Regressions

Vincent Granville maps alternate regression types and their applications.  Nicely done.  It's very useful to know alternative tools and what they are good for.  After you know your business problem, the data needed and available, and have visualized it thoroughly, regression is the right next place to go.  See also his book, which is pointed to.  Making my way through it now.

KNIME Analytics

Brought to my attention, have not looked at closely, but one of a large number of packages available today.

KNIME - Professional Open-Source Software
KNIME is a user-friendly graphical workbench for the entire analysis process: data access, data transformation, initial investigation, powerful predictive analytics, visualisation and reporting. The open integration platform provides over 1000 modules (nodes), including those of the KNIME community and its extensive partner network.

KNIME can be downloaded onto the desktop and used free of charge. KNIME products include additional functionalities such as shared repositories, authentication, remote execution, scheduling, SOA integration and a web user interface as well as world-class support. Big data extensions are available for distributed frameworks such as Hadoop. KNIME is used by over 3000 organizations in more than 60 countries.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Maximum Flow

In CACM:  Maximum flow algorithms in a network under under constraint are a classical application of mathematical programming.  It has many applications.  This article covers advances in the methods.   Can also be used strategically for supply chain applications.  For years I made a career out of these. Article starts straightforward, but ends very technical.  They sound like one of those word problems:

" .... we give a simple example of each problem: For the maximum flow example, suppose we have a graph that represents an oil pipeline network from an oil well to an oil depot. Each arc has a capacity, or maximum number of liters per second that can flow through the corresponding pipe. The goal is to find the maximum number of liters per second (maximum flow) that can be shipped from well to depot. For the minimum cut problem, we want to find the set of pipes of the smallest total capacity such that removing the pipes disconnects the oil well from the oil depot (minimum cut). ... " 

Defining Digital Shoppers

Interesting statistics in Retail Wire. " ... Ernst & Young and Havas Worldwide are just two of numerous firms attempting to classify the still-emerging digital consumer in recently published reports. What questions are most important to ask when looking to define digital shoppers? What traits are particularly important to access in exploring how digital may alter the path to purchase?  ... "

Pageviews Dead?

It is suggested in Smart Data Collective. Engagement has always been king.  Well not really engagements, but purchases.  Pageviews are easily measured, and though always suspect in direct value, can be useful.  Views are the first step to engagement.  Again I suggest that the understanding of the decision process can bring multiple measures together, and useful.

Innovation Idea Prioritization

Some simple ideas to address the portfolio of innovation ideas.  In particular I don't see this done very often at startups, where it is assumed that you can just internalize the ideas and keep their value and risks straight.

Digitizing Consumer Decision Journeys

In McKinsey: It's back to understanding the decision process.   " ... Many of the executives we speak with in banking, retail, and other sectors are still struggling to devise the perfect cross-channel experiences for their customers—experiences that take advantage of digitization to provide customers with targeted, just-in-time product or service information in an effective and seamless way. ... "  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

IBM and Apple Partnership and the IOT

In CWorld:  An angle that I had not considered, but the connection makes sense.  It also strengthens the connection to enterprise sources of big data.

The partnership announced last week isn't just about selling more iPhones. It's part of a big push into the Internet of Things.

The deal between Apple and IBM isn't just about selling iPhones to the enterprise -- it creates a foundation from which both can build their presence in the evolution of the Internet of Things.

The deal puts the world's leading consumer tech company together with one of the world's leading infrastructure tech firms. Apple and IBM will deliver enterprise-class apps developed to make IBM's data-crunching tools accessible on Apple's devices. Big data is at the center of the plan. ... "  

Taking a Deeper Dive in Splunk

Mentioned to me some time ago, as an interesting solution, now taking a deeper dive. See Splunk.com  ... Will follow with some impressions.  See the elevator control analytics example previously mentioned.

" .... Splunk is an American multinational corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California, which produces software for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data, via a web-style interface.  Splunk  captures, indexes and correlates real-time data in a searchable repository from which it can generate graphs, reports, alerts, dashboards and visualizations. ... " 

http://www.splunk.com/view/SP-CAAAG2R    Using Splunk
http://www.splunk.com/view/SP-CAAAG2Q    Why Splunk?
http://www.splunk.com/get          Get Splunk
http://www.splunk.com/videos      Splunk Videos

Millennials and Food Shopping

In Smartblogs.   How will they be won over? " ... Millennials are much like the young versions of previous generations, except they grew up in a digital age and lived through the Great Recession, circumstances that affect the way they shop, Hartman Group CEO Laurie Demeritt writes. Young consumers distrust marketing messages, connect with brands based on price and personality and seek out fresh, convenient prepared foods ... "

Importance of Emotional Machines

Facebook AI director Yann LeCun on the importance of emotional machines   " ... “Emotions are often the result of predicting a likely outcome. For example, fear comes when we are predicting that something bad (or unknown) is going to happen to us. Love is an emotion that evolution built into us because we are social animals and we need to reproduce and take care of each other. Future AI systems that interact with humans will have to have these emotions too.” ... '.  Interesting argument, but I think we would accept something as very intelligent, even without very much emotion.

Network as Nervous System

A reasonable analogy for digital enterprise.    And Analytics should be the brain, placing the network n contexts to gather as much useful data as possible.  " ... Business and network strategies will become more integrated as the network becomes the nervous system of the digital business ... "  

Evaluating the Concept of Web Rank

Simple game based demonstration video about how search and in particular how web sites can be evaluated via their interconnections with hyperlinks.  Good to show kids, but also for adults to demonstrate how math about probabilities can be demonstrated via a proposed experiment.   Also an example of simulation methodology.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July August Analytics Magazine

July August 2014 Analytics Magazine

Why Do Analytics Projects Fail? by Haluk Demirkan and Bulent Dal
Not just another IT project: Key considerations for deep analytics on big data, learning and insights.

Real-Time Text Analytics
by Aveek Mukhopadhyay and Roger Barga
How a cloud-based analytical engine yields instant insight using unstructured social media data.

Analytics Transforms a 'Dinosaur'
by Brenda Dietrich, Emily Plachy and Maureen Norton
The story of how industry giant IBM not only survived but thrived by realizing business value from big data.

The Future of Forecasting by Jack Yurkiewicz
Making predictions from hard and fast data: Biennial survey of popular software for analytics professionals.

Executive Edge:
Six Ways of Value-Creation Through Analytics in E-commerce by Rohit Tandon
It has become imperative for organizations to be on the customers' online radar with respect to new products or services and to be able to influence their choices.

Dysfunctional Teams and Healthy Ecosystems

In FastCompany: An interesting view.   Somewhat over segmented.  Have seen some of these examples.   It then suggests healthier ecosystems.  Good idea, but also harder to implement in many cultures.   And where are the rewards to make these systems operate beyond just 'leadership'?

" ... In nature, one quality of healthy ecosystems is their vibrant and interdependent biodiversity, enabling adaptation to environmental shifts and threats. Healthy leadership teams, especially in today’s dynamic world, display divergent perspectives that they respect and value. They avoid getting stuck because they can evaluate options based on data and members’ individual knowledge, and ultimately find places of agreement. They see conflicting opinions as dilemmas to grapple with rather than fights to win. ... "

Augmented Collaboration: Cisco Spring Roll

Some of this discovered rather late, but Cisco provides new a prototype of collaboration features for its Telepresence brand.  Called Spring Roll.  Eweek discusses.  And a demonstration.  Collaborative and interactive sharing of data is a particular interest in the enterprise.  A curved screen is featured, but that is not enough.

You need to provide focus on the task at hand, and the best focus today is data.   See in particular work done with Business Sphere. Telepresence does not appear to be addressing this strongly, but should.  It deals with the display aspects and not interaction with the data.   Send me more if you have more about possibilities regarding collaborative data in Telepresence, or elsewhere.

See also in BizJournals.  And more on the prototype.

Data Analytics Ranked High in C-Suite

In Research Mag:     " ... 56% of consumer goods and retail business leaders cite data analytics as being important to their firm’s strategy, according to a recent survey.

This makes it the highest-ranked strategic area in the survey. The annual Global Top of Mind survey, run by Oxford Economics on behalf of The Consumer Goods Forum and KPMG International, gathered the views of 469 C-Suite and senior executives across 32 countries.   ... " 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Whats New in Social Science?

Am a long time reader of The Edge.    So What's new in social science?   Pretty massive and have only peeked at it, but take your time ....

" ...  Now, for the first time, we are pleased to present the program in its entirety, all ten talks and discussions comprising nearly six hours of EDGE Video and a downloadable PDF of the 58,000-word transcript. We intend to follow up this September with HeadCon '14, plans to which will be announced.

The great biologist Ernst Mayr (the "Darwin of the 20th Century") once said to me: "Edge is a conversation." And like any conversation, it is evolving. And what a conversation it is!

Permalink: http://edge.org/event/headcon-13-whats-new-in-social-science ... " 

IT as Creatives in the Enterprise

In CIO:  How could this not be so?  An efficient means to gather data, pass it to the parts of the entperprise that need it the most and leverage it with continually evolving analytical techniques, available in and outside the enterprise.  All partitionable on handy Clouds. The creatives will be needed to work the details.

Simulating Cardiovascular Drugs

The idea of this kind of in-silico drug testing has been around for a long time, we worked briefly with an effort at the University of California San Diego in a related effort.    Simulation is a powerful capability, if you can build a robust and sufficient model of the context involved.  Here another good step forward.

Facebook Buy Button Test

In Retailwire:  Will people buy directly on Facebook?  Possibly, but I have never see FB as a commercial context.   A test is underway.  " ... Users on desktop or mobile will be able to click the Buy call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business without leaving Facebook. How appealing do you expect Facebook's "Buy" button will be to Facebook users?  ... " 

High Resolution Flexible Display

Flexible screens continue to emerge.  We examined them for applications like advanced packaging and integrated shelf displays.  Its likely now that they will be used for wearable applications as well.

Watson and Academic Institutions

Have had some discussions on this concept.  There is considerable interest in academia, but the ideas have to be tied to course structure, AND be of real interest to hiring companies.  You have to work both sides of the knowledge chain.  IBM News room - 2014-05-07 Seven of the Nation’s Leading Technology Institutions Unveil Cognitive Computing Courses Leveraging IBM Watson.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Project Adam AI for Visual Recognition

There is more going on in AI than just IBM's Watson, here more focused, addressing one of the most important tasks of sensory recognition.  In TechTimes:     See also comparisons to similar work by Google.

 " ... Microsoft is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) system called "Project Adam" that can perform visual recognition tasks faster than any other system currently available.

Microsoft Research, a research division of the company, says that Project Adam enhances the learning ability of computers. With Project Adam computer systems can absorb data and teach themselves.

The company demonstrated Project Adam at its Faculty Summit in Redmond. As part of the demonstration, the company brought dogs of different breeds and showed how technology can distinguish between them in real time.

Project Adam can be very important for the company as several technology companies are working hard to develop AI and predictive systems that can be useful in the mobile technologies. Previously, Google was said to be using a network of around 16,000 computers to teach itself to identify pictures of cats. ... "

Thinkvine and Damon Ragusa

Have followed Thinkvine here for some time, out enterprise connected with them and have touched base  number of times since their creation in 2000 by Damon Ragusa.     They have done some very novel  work integrating agent based modeling simulation, marketing mix and related problems.  I like their new video on their offerings.  Simulation is a very powerful analytic technique to understand marketing operations.  In the news today, Damon Ragusa is back at the helm.  More details in today's Cincinnati Enquirer.  Hope to reconnect in the coming weeks.

Lost Links

Received another query about links that no longer point to the information that they should.  This is a common thing on the Web.   Unless what you are pointing to is a entity that has the resources to maintain their content, it happens.   You can ask, but usually I don't have the time to search out the lost information. It is true that some of these things can be found somewhere on the 'Internet Archive',  but I will not generally be re-linking them.

Wearables in the Enterprise

Will wearables be widespread in the enterprise?  Well not too many years ago I could not have imagined hand held computer-phones there.    An interview with Bill Briggs of Deloitte.  " ... Deloitte Digital, a mix of ‘ creative, strategy, user experience, and engineering talent, and technology services to help clients harness disruptive digital technologies to redesign “business as usual” – to engage differently with customers, change how work gets done, and rethink the very core of their markets’. He seemed like my kind of human. ... " 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learning from Extreme Consumers

In Experientia:  " ... Traditional market research methods focus on understanding the average experiences of average consumers. This focus leads to gaps in our knowledge of consumer behavior and often fails to uncover insights that can drive revolutionary, rather than evolutionary innovation.  ... "  ... "

Forbes Sells Majority Stake to International Investors

This was of interest because I had a very small connection to Forbes.   'To accelerate growth they say ... '.  I liked their coverage of technical and management issues.  How this will change it is unclear.

 ' ... Forbes Family Welcomes Significant Investment by Investor Group  –

–    Investors Are Committed to Forbes’ Brand, Strategy, Values and Management  –

–    Forbes Family Will Retain Significant Interest; Current Management Team Will Remain in Place; Steve Forbes Will Continue as Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Mike Perlis as President and CEO  –

–        Forbes Media will remain a privately-held, independent company headquartered in the U.S.; Company’s Asian business will continue to be led by Forbes Media CEO/Asia Will Adamopoulos – ....' 

On Mindful Neuroscience

Short BBC piece that barely covers the topic.  Mentions a number of reading styled efforts underway. Less about mind reading than it is about behavior understanding in context.

Amazon Bundles Books

Amazon is Bundling. It has been talked about and tested  for a while, and I received an offer yesterday.  To pay a fixed monthly price for full online access to any number of a group of 600K books.   It's called bundling, and similar to what Netflix does.  Bundling can add the value to the seller of removing statistical purchase variation created my consumer behavior.  Would like to see those analytics.  At first when you read it, it sounds like you get access to the whole library, but no, not all publishers are participating, and like Netflix, what you would really like or need is often not included.   And my interests are eclectic.  Not participating for now.

Oracle Social Intelligence and Linkedin

In CWorld:  It is interesting that Linkedin is leveraging these kids of analytical techniques against the data that we are openly opening providing here.  Should this require further disclosure about what they are doing?

 " ... Oracle has hooked up its SRM (social relationship management) software suite to LinkedIn, a move to give marketing and customer support staffers a way to reach the business-oriented social network's 300 million users.

The LinkedIn integration provides the ability to publish LinkedIn Company and Showcase pages, which can be targeted according to factors such as geographic location, company size and industry, Oracle said in its announcement on Wednesday.

It will also be possible to interact with commenters on these pages, Oracle said. There's a degree of analytics as well, such as reports on the number of comments a particular posting generated, according to Oracle. ... "