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Saturday, September 20, 2014

3D Printer Launch into Space

In Mashable:  A 3D printer is scheduled to be launched into space tomorrow.   I remember a number of plans to test manufacture in zero G.  Not sure of the results of those experiments.   A natural next step?

Blog Stats and Tags

This blog is now nearly ten years old, has nearly 10,000 posts. It is supported by over 5,000 tweets.  @FranzD  ..  It grew out of an earlier enterprise blog that was started in 2001. Wanted to point out that all new posts are now tagged,  see the list  of 'Labels' at the bottom of each post.  Many older posts are now also tagged.   That often leads to useful additional coverage of a topic. You can also search by text at the top left of the blog, including text within quotes.  You can contact me via the comments, please do include your name.  I usually ignore anonymous comments, I will not post your info if it is obviously a private request.

Introduction to Ethnographic Field Research

Article and link to a PDF article on the topic.  We had an informal representative of the role in the enterprise, and found in particular the aspect of how they gathered knowledge about people and their behavior to be very useful.  " ... In this article, I will provide a simple introduction to the practice of ethnographic fieldwork and practical advice for writing fieldnotes. Ethnographic approaches, while born of the work conducted by anthropologists over one hundred years ago, are increasingly employed by researchers and others from a variety of backgrounds and for a multitude of purposes from the academic to the applied and even commercial.  ... " 

The New Digital Medicine

In the CACM:  How Digital Medicine is changing health care.  And a caution:  " ... Despite the pace of technological development, experts caution all these devices and digital platforms will not force major change quickly. "I do believe that this is the future of healthcare, but you can't just throw the technology out there and hope it will cure everything," says Steinhubl.  ... "It's going to take a really concerted effort of payers and providers and industry support to say we're going to totally reengineer health care and take advantage of this technology." ... " 

Evaluating MOOC in Coursera

One of the founding partners of the MOOC giant Coursera is the University of Pennsylvania.  The Most recent alumni magazine has an article on the evaluation of the MOOC experience  that contains useful in depth experiences and statistics.

" ... When Penn leapt into online education through a partnership with Coursera two years ago, the abrupt rise of “massively open online courses” was fueling rampant speculation about how they might transform the higher-education marketplace ... . Two million students later—that’s how many had registered for Penn’s Coursera offerings through this spring—emerging evidence has tempered expectations and begun to provide a more nuanced perspective. Appropriately enough, given the University’s large footprint in the MOOC realm, some of the most illuminating research has come out of Penn. ... " 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Alibaba IPO Emerges

If you have not seen it yet.  Alibaba.com  " ... We operate leading online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade, as well as cloud computing and other services. We provide technology and services to enable consumers, merchants, and other participants to conduct commerce in our ecosystem. ... " 

My first look at this shows an Amazon like site with a very wide variety of goods.   Very fast response time. Prices look very good, but shipping prices were high on the few items I examined.

AI Meets the C-Suite

Good Historically Looking view of executive AI via McKinsey.
" ... Technology is getting smarter, faster. Are you? Experts including the authors of The Second Machine Age, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, examine the impact that “thinking” machines may have on top-management roles. ... " 

As this relates to cognitive assistants for executives, see this recent post. for considerable additional detail.

Multi Sensory Packaging

In Packaging Digest:  A long time area of innovation research. The use of touch sensory design in packaging and display. Tactility they are calling it.   Here there is no digital technology mentioned, but this leads to thinking about how touch can influence interaction.

Proximity Marketing

Short article in ClickZ on proximity marketing with beacons.  " .... Beacons have the ability to accelerate the mobile shopping experience and create increased engagement with consumers. Here are some examples of companies utilizing the technology to influence purchasing behavior. ... " 

The Challenge to Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:  The No. 1 Challenge.  To me it is culture and context.  Over a long career have seen many examples.  Here they suggest:   " ... The biggest challenge to innovation is not how to generate new ideas and opportunities. It’s how to make innovation a deeply embedded capability in the organization. 

What usually happens is that companies focus most of their efforts on the front end of innovation – so they launch some kind of ideation initiative with a lot of hoopla and they get a whole bunch of ideas. But then they hit a wall because there is no back end – there is no organizational system for effectively screening ideas, aligning them with the business strategy, allocating seed funding and management resources, and guiding a mixed portfolio of opportunities through the pipeline toward commercialization. So, invariably, what we find is that the whole innovation effort eventually withers. And all those enthusiastic innovators inside and outside the company become cynical and discouraged as they watch their ideas go nowhere  ... " 

Countering Fraud With Big Data

Obvious application.  Having more data lets you more easily extract outliers and patterns of interest.  Find correlations that don't need to be causation.  This has been done long before data was big, or even commonly available.  It can also lead you to patterns that I was reminded of by a practitioner of compliance earlier this week.  Data can be too good, track other indicators too well.  Indicating a manipulation to influence a result.

Simpler 3D Printing

3d printing for everyone.  Dremel's device is relatively simple to use.   Will these be as common as computers in the home?  " ... Dremel has announced the first 3D printer to come from a major tool manufacturer, the $999 Dremel 3D Idea Builder. Dremel called it a desktop machine for the masses.

The 3D Idea Builder is a fused deposition modeling (FDM) machine that uses a printer head that melts and extrudes a plastic filament layer upon layer to build an object; the thinner the layers, the better the "resolution" or smoothness of an 3D object's surface. ... " 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

P&G Looks for Video Innovation

In Adage:  " ... P&G Reaches Far and Wide, Including to NASA, to Cut Video Costs ... Space: The Final Frontier for Marketing Procurement? ... P&G casts wide net for ideas to cut $1B from marketing budget  ... Procter & Gamble is looking for fresh ideas on how to trim its marketing budget and cut costs on video production. The company recently posted a call for ideas on NASA.gov, among other websites, hoping to catch the attention of innovative thinkers ... " 

More About Watson Analytics

More about  Watson Analytics, from the recent announcements and presentations. Nicely done by connection Lillian Pierson in Data-Mania.com.  Would still like to see more views by data scientists in particular domain areas to see how it extends, augments and scales.

D2Cincinnati Speaks Digital Marketing

On September 22-23 a number of my former colleagues will be speaking at the D2Cincinnati conference at the Cincinnati HorseShoe Casino.  " ... Bringing together the best and the brightest minds in the digital field ...  ".   Still open for attendance, I plan to be there.    Sponsored by Kroger and others.

" ... D²Cincinnati (as in “Digital Dialogue”), now in its seventh year, is the one digital marketing conference to focus specifically on customer centricity – the concept of putting an organization’s customers at the center of its business and marketing decisions. Designed to capitalize on the wealth of consumer marketing and customer-centric companies in the Cincinnati area, D²Cincinnati zeroes in on the intersection where brands, retailers, and technology companies digitally connect with consumers to build relationships and foster long-term loyalty. .. " 

->[ I would have linked to the Cincinnati Enquirer's article on this, but their new slide-style interstitial ads are too confusing and irritating  to submit my readers to.  To the Enquirer's digital crew, fix this, or I will cease linking to your articles]

Best Practices for ECommerce Conversion

Interesting piece that covers many of the issues and best practices in ECommerce conversion, with associated statistics.

Lego as a Tool for Serious Thinking

Remember looking at this long ago.  Not sure how commonly it is used.  Small and useful tools for thinking.

" ... LEGO Serious Play is a way of using LEGO bricks to express feelings and ideas. It is used by adults (mostly), to collaborate and discuss relationships and concepts. The building is done in metaphors – which might sound odd at first, but our research shows that almost anyone can pick it up. The process offers a unique and powerful way for people to exchange ideas. .... "

See also Lego's description.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mining Massive Datasets

Coursera course from Stanford on Mining Massive Data Sets.  " ... This class teaches algorithms for extracting models and other information from very large amounts of data. The emphasis is on techniques that are efficient and that scale well. ...  "

CPG and E-Commerce

In AdAge: " ... Packaged-Goods Marketers Wade Warily Into E-commerce ... Big Brands Stymied by Executional Strategies in a World Where Online Retailers Control the Consumer Relationship ... " . Also with implications to current CPG to retailer relationships.   Lots of good stats in the piece.

Lying and Ethics

Since I was speaking at a compliance and ethics conference yesterday I have been keenly attuned to the meaning of the terms used by professionals in that area.  So is lying ethical ... good?  Under what conditions?    In Fastcompany, commenting on work at Wharton.  Video and text about the work at Wharton.

Apple Watch and Local Search

The emergence of the Apple Watch will likely start to popularize the use of watch displays by the public.  How will it influence location plays?  In Search Engine Watch:

" ...  Apple Watch will likely increase the number and frequency of hyper-local searches, making it even more important for businesses to ensure they can be found by consumers on the go.

What's more, per Apple, its WatchKit tool set means developers will "be able to easily create experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch," which, in turn, could also theoretically influence search and/or the interaction between businesses and consumers, depending what those developers cook up. ... "

Identity and Access Intelligence

Gave an invited talk at the SCCE Corporate Compliance conference yesterday in Chicago about compliance analytics.  Met a number of new people and saw examples of their work.  Here is an example that looked of interest, they are using data visualization to provide identity and access intelligence to detect data privacy breaches.  Good use of the method.  See:   Veriphyer.   See also their blog, which has lots of interesting examples.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Watson Analytics Announced Today

( More here later )  Have asked, and am getting more in depth access to this capability.  Will be posting more about the experience, and in particular how  it links to, augments, or even replaces current applications of analytics in a number of corporate contexts.  Stay tuned.   Particular thoughts?  Contact me.

Expected to be in Beta in September, available later this year.


" ... Developing technology is one thing; democratizing it is another. The latter involves finding the innovation that opens the door to widespread adoption with usefulness and usability.

In the personal computer era, it was the spreadsheet that transformed a hobbyists’ plaything into a must-have machine in corporate America. In mobile computing, it was Apple’s iPhone that brought the smartphone to the masses, establishing a new model for the gadgets as both smart and easy to use. In the era of big data, start-ups and big companies are in hot pursuit of a similar breakthrough, a vehicle to bring modern data analysis and prediction to the rank and file of business.

IBM thinks it has an answer, called Watson Analytics, which it announced on Tuesday. The offering is a software service, delivered over the cloud. As its name suggests, Watson Analytics is a result of a collaboration between teams from IBM’s data analysis group and its Watson unit, which has been built into a business in the three years since Watson beat human champions in the question-and-answer game “Jeopardy.”.... " 

In Smarter Planet.

Descriptive video.

And in CWorld.

Machine Learning for Data Value

In Informs Analytics Magazine

Machine Learning for Big Data Value.
Yes, big data helps unveil millions of facts about consumer behavior and trends. Leveraging emerging big data sources and types to gain a much more complete understanding of customer behavior – what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, what factors lead them to recommend a company to others – is strategic for virtually every company. But have data science organizations built the capabilities to truly harness big data? .... "

Macy's Rolls out Biggest Beacon Installation

Location based systems continue to move forward.  In ZDNet.

" ... Macy's rolls out retail's largest beacon installation  —  Summary: Macy's expects to complete the installation by early fall, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season.  —  Following a test run during last year's holiday shopping season at its flagship stores in New York City and San Francisco ...  Macy's expects to complete the installation by early fall, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Once the rollout is completed, the department store chain said the shopBeacons will prompt users of the Shopkick to opt-in to receive store notifications. The retailer plans to begin more tailored shopper notifications in early spring 2015 ... "

The article also has a link to an article on five competitors to Apple iBeacon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mathematica Launches in the Cloud

Now you can run Mathematica in the cloud.  " ... In the past, using Mathematica has always involved first installing software on your computer. But as of today that’s no longer true. Instead, all you have to do is point a web browser at Mathematica Online, then log in, and immediately you can start to use Mathematica—with zero configuration. .... ".  

More Research on History of Cognitive Assistants in Business

A number of past blog posts here, over a number of years,  have been mentioned in Jim Spohrer's Paper: "More Research on the History of Cognitive Assistants in Business"  in his service science archive.  This indexes some of the work that me and my colleagues did in this space.    He also transcribes the essence of some of our conversations about the topic.  I do hope that some of this learning from the past can be applied to some of the new cognitive/AI/Advisory advances being made today.  Many mentioned in this blog.  Your comments?  How can we work seriously together in this space?

Communities Work Better than Networks

We observed this too, just watching your network grow does not buy you anything.   You also need a community with purpose, alerts and measures.  Says the HBR.  I will add to that, the communities can also have little value if they do not have useful purposes.  That can be provided by leadership that observes and adjusts their activity.  And those steps reflect the context of what the community is about. Been observing several Linkedin Groups I am a member of and you can feel the difference in their direction and progress based on steps taken.  I want to go back to a group a month later and see it has achieved something.

Smart Cities as Big Opportunity

In the Cisco Blog.   A pretty common thought.  Consider a city as an internet of many things.  What can be done to improve, enhance and monetize the resulting mega network?  First I have seen numbers to support the effort.  Useful numbers, but I think this will move along incrementally and selectively.  I also rarely see the supply chain aspects of this.   Everyone understand cities need better transportation systems.  They also need that same transportation system to deliver resources effectively.

MIT AI Influencing Sensor Work

Had a reminder of MIT work with AI.  They influenced us, especially in manufacturing and sensor based applications of data AI.  And more about their history and projects underway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mayo Clinic Trials and Watson

In CIO:   The use of Watson for clinical trials.   Note the use of natural language interaction.  Key for what IBM is seeing as cognitive advisory applications.  " ... Mayo clinicians will leverage Watson's natural language processing and data analytics capabilities to quickly sift through millions of pages of clinical trial and patient data to match patients with appropriate clinical trials. ... " 

Three Vs vs Decision Process in Analytics

Three big Data Vs.   I agree with the premise, the decision process is more important than labels.  " .... Tony Cosentino, vice president and research director at research and advisory services firm Ventana Research, sees unanticipated outcomes and challenges with big data implementations. He warns that defining big data by the “three Vs” - volume, velocity and variety - turns into a very technical discussion and encourages organizations to focus instead on the decision-making process to find the most value from the data. ... "   (You need to register, I usually do not pass on links to these kinds of things, but I liked this. )

Smell Maps in the City

Interesting work in FastCompany.     With a geographic visualization.  We looked at a similar idea in retail, to influence shopping behavior.  But we did not get anywhere as far as this.    " ...  “Smellmaps” Chart City Odors, Mouth-Watering Or Repellant, Street By Street    ... Like a sommelier appreciates a fine wine, nose to glass, graphic designer Kate McLean appreciates a pungent street odor. Garlic, fresh laundry, cigarettes, malt: Nothing escapes the sensory maps she creates, charting cities in all their smelly glory. ... "

Cool DARPA Projects

Good overview, interesting ideas.  Often, as it says, addressing important real-world, civilian issues.
" ...  The experimental projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) often bring to mind the tech found in some sci-fi movies: robots, brain chips, self-patching defense systems. But DARPA's projects also point to some of the current real-world challenges the agency is trying to help solve.

The agency, for instance, is exploring virtual robotics to be used for disaster response. It's also building micro-scale vacuum pumps that could be incorporated into gas analyzers for detecting chemical agents. These are just some of the tech applications in the works. .... "

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bio Inspired Design for Cognitive Assistants

By Jim Spohrer:    In a piece about articles relevant to the topic, he writes:  " ... Third, this article made me think more about the question – what is the difference between a “good tool” and a cognitive assistant? CAD systems may be “good tools” but if the user or even better multiple users can talk and gesture with the systems understanding the input and changing what is displayed, and the system can learn by being shown or asked to refer to relevant examples in the literature, and the system can provide levels of confidence in proposed solutions (see discussion thread “A Very Brief History of Cognitive Assistants”) – then we have from “good tool” to more clearly a cognitive assistant for engineers working on bio-inspired designs. ... " 

Note further that this comes from  Service Science: Community site for Service Science Education and Research.  Which was new to me.  Now following.

Disappearance of Software Patents

In the US at least.  Software patents are rapidly disappearing as it is understood that software is not patentable. Interesting view and comments too.  I sent this on to people that should be in the know to determine if this is true and am awaiting response.    How will this influence compliance decisions?

SRI Cognitive Agents

Cognitive Agents that Learn and Organize

" ... SRI has dubbed its new project CALO, for Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes. The name was inspired by the Latin word "calonis", which means "soldier’s servant". The goal of the project is to create cognitive software systems, that is, systems that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise.

The software, which will learn by interacting with and being advised by its users, will handle a broad range of interrelated decision-making tasks that have in the past been resistant to automation. It will have the capability to engage in and lead routine tasks, and to assist when the unexpected happens. To focus the research on real problems and to ensure the software meets requirements such as privacy, security, and trust, the CALO project researchers will themselves use the technology during its development. .... " 

Digitizing the Customer Decision Journey

From McKinsey:  A Thoughtful piece.  " ... In a world where physical and virtual environments are rapidly converging, companies need to meet customer needs anytime, anywhere. Here’s how.
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. ... " 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kellogg Consumer Centric Data Case Study

An Ad from Aimia.

" ... Transforming CPG Loyalty With Consumer Centric Data    
It is an exciting time for the CPG industry. Building loyalty with consumers is no longer limited to retailers, airlines and hotels. CPG's also have the ability for direct dialogue and access to end users without the historical dependency on the retailer to provide this data. With more power than ever over the consumer-brand relationships, loyalty programs provide the means to capture direct insight into CPG end users in turn fostering deeper relationships. ... " 

" ... These are just a few of the benefits loyalty programs can provide. Download the Kellogg's Family Rewards case study to learn how Aimia helped create a program for Kellogg Company, designed to drive engagement and build real relationships with their consumers... " 

Sounds like P&G's 1 Consumer Place.

Complete Overview description from GMA.
For complete report.  Requires registration.

Big Data and C Suite Value

In CIO.  Lots of stories to tell here.   Not too much different than it has always been when translating any kinds of analytics to executives.  But now the promise of value and its scale may be greater.  Also, many execs are realizing that their data is an asset, and has value.    Also that their data includes a risk, and just understanding it as liability is of value.

A View of the Future of Analytics

Short post from IBM's AnalyticsZone Blog on The current state of analytics and visualization.  There you can sign up for the Watson Analytics beta.  But it just asks for an email address to get back to you later, which is what I did months ago.  The connection between the two is crucial and needed now.

SAP Improves its Visualization, Analytics

Good to finally see this.  It seems they had fallen behind for some time. " ...  SAP has made a series of updates to its InfiniteInsight predictive modeling software and Lumira data-visualization tool in a bid to shore up its foothold in the analytics market.  ... "  Has links to a deeper description.


I see that colleagues Elena and Ed Fullman are featured in the local paper.  Best of luck to them.

" ... Each week Cintrifuse and Cincinnati.com turn the spotlight on a hometown startup - highlighting the activity and stories around companies getting their start in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem.

... InfraRed's FUSION analytics product helps marketers and IT organizations make sense of complex data generated by partners, third parties, and within their enterprise (e.g. back-office systems, retail locations, call centers, logistics, online and e-commerce, etc.). ... 

FUSION enables business users to understand the relationship and the performance of their strategies for advertising and marketing, customer service, distribution and inventory, retail and ecommerce, and even product design and pricing ... " 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MCX Mobile Wallet

In GigaOM:  More mobile wallets emerging.  Are we finally seeing the major move? Ten years plus since we saw the first presentations from vendors.  " ... MCX launches CurrentC, a mobile wallet for Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers ... MCX’s long-awaited mobile wallet is now in a few pilot programs, but starting in 2015, it will become available to consumers at some of the biggest retail and restaurant chains in the country. ... " 

Understanding Ageing with Calico

Calico Labs:
" ... We’re tackling aging, one of life’s greatest mysteries. ... Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place. .. " 

Thomas Wilckens, MD, serial entrepreneur, visionary technology, innovation and business model leader, PRECISION   Takes a further look in Linkedin.  Saying it will be a success and why.

DebateGraph Visualizing Networks of Thought

Brought to my attention again via a connect with co-founder David Price.  DebateGraph: " ... DebateGraph is an award-winning, web-platform for visualizing and sharing networks of thought – and opening reasoning and action to collaborative learning and iterative improvement. ... Create your own maps and explore and contribute to maps created by amongst others: CNN, the White House, the UK Prime Minister's Office, The Independent, and the Foreign Office. ... " 

Viv Intelligence as a Utility

Continuing to follow.

" ... Siri’s Inventors Are Building a Radical New AI That Does Anything You Ask ....

 " ... Viv is a global platform that enables developers to plug into and create an intelligent, conversational interface to anything. It is the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere. Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day. Learn about Viv’s team, technology, and vision.

How will this compete with projects like Watson?  Now examining how the enterprise will utilize AI.

Math Makes the Internet Faster

From this summer, just taking a closer look:

" ... Researchers at Aalborg University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology say they have developed software that can make Internet communications via computer, mobile phone, or satellite significantly faster and more secure. The researchers used their new method to download a four-minute video five times faster than with existing state-of-the-art technology. ... "