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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Simon: The First Smartphone

A look in Time Magazine at the first phone that could be called 'Smart':  Simon, offered in 1994, at about $900.   Link includes usage videos.  Only about 50K units were sold.  With a lot less capabilities than we have today.  Had a touch pad, an Address Book, Calendar, Fax, Filer, Mail, Note Pad, Sketch Pad, Time, To Do list.

We had tested large bulky hand held, non-smart cell phones in the mid 1980s.  Devices like the Simon were called PDAs at the time, but this one had a phone too.  We tested this unsuccessfully,  and did not see another smart phone until executive tests of the Blackberry in about 2000.  Mainly used for mobile email coverage. More technical details in the WP.  And in a MS Research site.

Decide What you Need from Big Data

Podcast from Knowledge@Wharton. Data has value, and the analytics that uses the data to improve process has value.  Now everyone can have the data and analytics they need.

" ... Big data and predictive analytics are creating a big buzz across industries. They are seen as critical tools for making fast and accurate business decisions and a huge source of competitive advantage. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Sudhir Chaturvedi, chief operating officer of NIIT Technologies, suggests that to derive maximum benefit from these new technologies companies need to first define the business outcome that they want. ... "  

Analytics Languages in Use

KDNuggets, always a great resource, I often referred to it from the enterprise, surveys the principal analytics and data mining languages in use today.  Nicely done article.  I would further like to see how cognitive interaction is starting to be used to deliver and interact with these solutions.

Heirs Get Digital Asset Rights

Thinking the implications of this.  A further recognition that data is an asset.   " .... Delaware becomes first state to give executors broad digital assets access Meet the "Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act." ... " 

Negotiating Mistakes

In Fast Company: Good points, but not not quite enough about how to achieve them.  A particular sales mistake I remember well:   

" ... Talking too much is a sure-fire way to kill a deal. In fact, Lewis-Fernandez says it’s not unusual for a salesperson to talk so much about a product or service that they talk you right out of the purchase. ... “Never underestimate the power of silence,” she says. “There’s an old adage: ‘He or she who speaks next loses.’ When discussing a deal, if you simply stop talking and get comfortable with the awkwardness of silence, your ability to win your argument, sell the product, or a get concession in the negotiation increases significantly.” ... " 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gartner Hype Cycle and Digital Business

In the Informs Analytics Magazine: " .... The journey to digital business is the key theme of Gartner, Inc.'s “Hype Cycle Report for Emerging Technologies, 2014.” According to Gartner, for enterprises setting out on the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical. Gartner’s road map to digital business includes six progressive business era models that enterprises can identify with today and aspire to reach in the future: ... ".  Includes the Gartner 2014 hype cycle chart, linking it to digital business.

Free Supermarket for Advertising

In Retailwire: An idea that has been tried a number of times, including in stand alone sample machines. Also called 'tryvertising'.  Imagine the potential data from associated promotional message, or linked to loyalty data.  Or addressing bundling strategy questions?  " ... In Copenhagen, a new grocer, dubbed Freemarket, offers products for basically the price of a review. ... Customers register on the store's website, place an order, and then pick up the "free" products at the store, according to a BBC report. The shop has a limit of 10 products per month. Members also receive gift certificates and special discounts at stores across the country. ... "  

Internet of Things Rising

Statistics on how the Internet of things is increasing in traffic and concern for the implications.  especially resource needs and security.  In Baselinemag:

 " ...  By 2020, the Internet of things (IoT) is expected to interconnect 26 billion computing devices in businesses, homes, cars, clothes, animals and pretty much everything else, according to Gartner. That's a thirtyfold increase over the past five years. While the potential for innovation is exciting, it's taking a toll on IT resources, according to survey research from Infoblox. Many tech professionals surveyed said that any required deployments for the IoT will become part of their existing IT network, even though most said their network is already at capacity. It doesn't help, findings reveal, that the business side often does not keep the IT organization informed about their IoT-related projects ... "

Reaching the Customer in Real Time

To reach the right customer, in the right place and time, with the right offerperhaps a chicken dinneryou need real-time actionable insight ...   From IBM.

Watch as a grocery store uses this insight to sell more chicken dinners by sending promotions to customers who have a preference for chicken dinners and are in the area at dinnertime....

But what if you don't want to sell chicken dinners? What if you want to sell insurance policies or credit cards or service plans? IBM can help with that too....

Real-time actionable insight for better business decisions
Real-time actionable insight provides the opportunity for any businessno matter what they're sellingto understand what individual customers want and what actions they are likely to take. With robust big data and analytics capabilities that allow you to capture, analyze and act on the stream of data generated by consumer devices, you can reach customers when they are nearby and ready to buy.   Register for the webcast

Visual Search in Apps

Accurate visual search for shopping was a particular area of interest.  An example:

" ... Slyce Inc Signs Agreement with Leading Grocery App Network PDN to Provide Visual Search Technology for Photo-Driven Shopping List Creation ... Visual Search Company Slyce Inc.  today announced it has signed an exclusive agreement with The Purchase Decision Network (PDN), to provide visual product search services for their own "Shopper" App (www.myshopperapp.com) and other 3(rd) party shopping apps within their network. ... "

Monday, August 18, 2014

Improving Retail Employee Enthusiasm

A long time ago an enterprise I worked in was talking about acquiring a coffee emporium operation what was to become very successful.   But the talk always went back to:  We don't know how to run a retail business, especially one that is so close consumer facing. We research, market and make product and make sure it is places on the shelf of retailers in a timely way....   Now a related operation, Starbucks, looks at its HR approaches.

"  ... Starbucks, said Mr. Burrows, will now make changes to its workforce management software to give managers more say in keeping work hours reasonable. Mr. Burrows also promised to enforce a rule calling for schedules to be posted at least a week in advance.

Consistent practices appear to be a sizable part of Starbucks' problem. In a Reddit.com online forum intended for Starbucks workers, one recently transferred employee checked about company rules with his colleagues: "My new manager has a habit of scheduling people to close (11:30) and then open (4:30), and working 7+ days in a row, and no one bats an eye." ... "

Rural Telemedicine

Lots of news out there on using video conferencing systems for Telemedicine.  Some hospital systems are starting to use it broadly to extend their reach, especially for rural applications:

" ... A growing number of South Dakota health care providers are being assisted by a 24-hour emergency medicine hub based in Sioux Falls that uses two-way audio and video feeds.

The operator, Avera Health, has a telemedicine network that includes 86 hospitals in seven states in the West and Midwest. It expects to have contracts with 100 facilities by the end of the year.

The rapid expansion in telemedicine has led facilities to link up with providers well beyond their immediate region. ....   "

Analytics as Model for Customer Service

From the Cisco Blog: A good simplified, decision oriented view of solving data needs to provide personalized customer service. I like the close inclusion of the decision process.  It is not just about the data.

" ... I wrote in one of my recent blogs about the issues and solutions related to quickly combining data that comes in large volumes by focusing on data virtualization and cloud. This can enable seamless customer interactions and decrease client churn, be it in financial services or in the telecom sector. But what is required at an organizational level so that people, process, data, and things come together to enable a superior customer experience and create entirely new revenue possibilities? ... " 

An Introductory Look at Marketing Mix

A simplified look by a student, at the marketing mix problem using SAS.  Nicely presented.  A classic problem solved by every company that needs to determine advertising and marketing strategy.  Good introduction, though most of the complexity is in the use of the results and their integration into corporate methods.

For more advanced blog posts here on marketing mix.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Memorable and Useful Visualizations

Should data visualization be memorable?  Or should it be the best starting point for interacting with data using analytics, or decision processes to improve?  That tell a useful story?  Memorable can be good,  especially with so much data today.  Further:   From the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences: 

' ... “A memorable visualization is not necessarily a good visualization,” Borkin cautions. “As a community we need to keep asking these types of questions: What makes a visualization engaging? What makes it comprehensible?” As for the chart junk, she says diplomatically, “I think it’s going to be an ongoing debate.” .... ' 

Telepresence via Mobile Robotics

Story of the visit of a conference via a mobile robot.  The idea is simple, practical to a certain degree.   Has been mocked in TV ads. Not quite the same experience as being there, but there has also been considerable increase in just using web conferences for the same idea.  We examined the idea for maintenance support in plants, but the cost was too high at the time and added another layer of maintenance.  The article here links to video of the experience. Device used was from Double Robotics.  Shown at the right.

Does this mean we can all have doubles, or more?  Of course this is just the earth-bound kind, the drones have now arrived as well.  Easier telepresence  is here.

More Humor at Work

More from Andrew Tarvin on Humor at work.  Why does humor matter?: The infographic.  Again see his site for much more.   Always liked the idea, but it is harder than you think to make it happen. Andrew has the insight.

Negroponte on the Future

Founder of the Media Lab, gives a TED talk on a 30 year History of the Future ...  We were members of the MIT Media Lab for years and enjoyed his thoughts then.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mathematics of Discovery for Creativity?

In the WaPo:  Having examined how expertise can be augmented by creativity, not sure how this is directly useful.  The graphical representation shown is thought provoking.  Does it describe creativity?   " ... “People listening to music, filing patents, evolution, it’s all the same thing to a mathematician,” Strogatz said. “We like to sort of fly above and take a bird’s eye view of many things that seem to be different. But we hope that people in other fields will realize that this has been under their noses all the time, and there’s science to be done here.” ... "  

Augmenting and Scaling Expertise

Thoughts I just put in a private Linkedin Group that deals with how cognitive expertise is effectively delivered.  It is all about how we can now augment and scale expertise,  not easily done in the 90s during the last round of 'expert systems' style AI:

" ... Well put about transformations, ‘augmenting and scaling’ expertise … Our own work delivering this in the large enterprise found a need for doing a good job in both of these dimensions. 

- We all appreciate augmenting. We need access to the right data, tailored analytic tools to understand that data and to communicate data based decisions. Ease of search now gets you to an assortment of ‘facts’, but not to focused expertise.

- Scaling expertise is also important. Getting expertise to more people, helping them know when they need it. Replacing searched facts with decision oriented expertise. Replacing expertise lost to retirement or changes in needs. Updating expertise to match new contexts. ... " 

I will be posting more about this thread as it develops.  Please pass along any thoughts or questions you have,  Be glad to add short guest posts in the thread.

Reasons for Being Cheerful

Matt Ridley, the rational optimist,  provides a number of reasons to be cheerful.  Mark J Perry summarizes.  Not what I have been seeing in the news.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Consider Being Obsolete

AdAge Video:  I still believe this will take longer than we think.  There will be transferal and re-apportionment of many jobs.   " ... Are You Obsolete? Yeah, Probably (This Fascinating Video Explains Why) ... Our Video of the Week Offers a Sobering Look at the Effect Bots Will Have on Even White-Collar Jobs. .. "

Neurogaming Asks a Question

Ron Wright, correspondent, sends along an article:  " .... Brain science and video gaming converge in neurogaming  ... " .  We have still been unable to capture the full joy and engagement and collaboration that is achieved with video games.   Do we need to go deeper or do we have all the data today? Or what are the tasks still needed?

The Need to Reinforce IT

In the Future of CIO:  I have often had thoughts of how we have come to rely on Information Technology.   " .... Organizations rely more and more on technology; the IT department has more and more to overcome. Running at digital speed, people tend to have high expectation of digital flow, very little patience with technology issues, and therefore technology people. Therefore, businesses have to spend enough time focusing on the people element, start with leadership, enhance governance practice, and reinforce IT based on tailored solution and continuous improvement. ... "  

Amazon Payment System

In Adage:  An intriguing approach.  And of course since you are on the Amazon system, the system already 'knows' much about you.   " ... Amazon's Square-Like Payment System Could Be Data Goldmine ... Retailer Could Grab Lots of Product-Level Information Through Local Registers ... " 

" .. Such information could be used by Amazon in multiple ways, such as enhancing profiles of people who buy on Amazon to better target products to them, or to give brand advertisers information that helps them understand what people buy in stores, what they buy online, and where. ... "

Dimensions of Portfolio Analysis

Had not seen this particular way of looking at this. Worth a further look.   " ... the various reasons why Portfolio Management is tough to implement with two different Flightmap  clients. Where one of the talks focused on the behaviour side (the role of politics, intuition, culture), the second one was more about the inherent (almost mathematical) complexity. In our view of portfolio management as a decision-making process, it requires the Analysis of a number of options (projects, or better alternative portfolios) against certain criteria to get to better decisions .... " 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

RFID and Beacons

A recent query reminded me that the RFID journal now covers Beacon type systems.  This is an interesting kind of application than might be expected for in-store beacons:

Epicurious to use Swirl Beacons to Deliver Localized Servces to In-Store Shoppers.  
In-store mobile marketing company Swirl Networks ( An iBeacon Network ) has announced a partnership with Epicurious, a Condé Nast online and mobile service focused food. The two companies say they plan to bring exclusive in-store digital experiences to Epicurious' audience. Swirl's marketing platform leverages Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to deliver targeted content and offers to consumers' smartphones, based on their specific location and behavior at the store.  ... " 

Beacons in Retail

More on Beacons in retail.   " ... Beacons are showing up everywhere. It's open season for retailers as more apps are developed to take advantage of beacon technology. Sales staff will be equipped with beacon-enabled apps to better identify and help high-value customers; data eventually will be mined by them to learn not only which displays and offers work best, but also where and when they're most effective..... "

E-Commerce and Physical Retail

In the HBR Blogs:  Suggesting that e-commerce is not as divisive to physical as is assumed.  May require some registration.  The statistics are interesting.

" ... There’s no doubt that digital technology is transforming the retail industry. Digital devices are changing how customers discover, evaluate, purchase, receive, use, and return products. And, yes, more and more customer interactions take place entirely online. Over the past 20 years, e-commerce sales have grown to about 6% of total retail sales (excluding gasoline and food services) and about 11% of Forrester’s top 30 product categories.

But though the e-commerce growth rate is attractive, it has slowed from about 30% per year in the early 2000s to less than half that rate today. If the trend continues, e-commerce sales will increase from 11% of Forrester’s top 30 categories to about 18% by 2030—higher in some (such as music) and lower in others (such as food). While 18% is a significant number, it does not exactly spell the end of physical stores. ... " 

Stress Scanning Camera

In the South China Morning Post: Another example of emotion detection by imaging and analysis:
" ... Chinese scientists develop mini-camera to scan crowds for potential suicide bombers ... Home-grown imaging technology has the potential to help police scan a sea of people for signs of individuals under extreme stress ... " 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Connection Analytics from Teradata

Been some time since I have worked with Teradata, but I see they are supporting an Ovum white paper on connection analytics.  Understand it as described, though had not heard the specific term.  Looks to be of interest.  Requires the usual registration:

" ... A new way of analyzing the changing relationships between people, products, physical phenomena, and events ... Big data analytics encompasses a large umbrella of analytic approaches, with new ones now emerging that complement traditional SQL-query processing.

One of the most promising  new big data analytic approaches is "Connection Analytics," a method for exploring data that uncovers interdependencies between people and/or "things." Connection Analytics can be performed using multiple techniques like graph, machine learning, data mining and others .. " 

Humor at Work

My former colleague Andrew Tarvin does a TED talk on Humor at work.  Also on Facebook.  He is now the head Humor Engineer at Humor that Works.  He did podcasts at P&G.   Nice idea for the enterprise, but has rarely been done well.

Glasses Get More Augmentation Software

Have always made a point that applications for wearable glasses, like Google Glass, are most valuably applied to augmented reality applications.  Mentioned this in a meeting with Google.  Now an announcement that an AR company is adding support for another example of glasses.  Good step forward.   Lets see some examples of their practical use and I will write about them:

" ... Augmented Reality (AR) software and solutions company, Metaio, today announced that the Junaio Augmented Reality browser is the first AR browser to be made available on the Moverio BT-200 Apps Market. ... " 

3D Printing Moves into Production

Good view of examples of how realistic commercial 3D printing is being used in manufacturing and how it may realign supply chain systems.  Still narrow domains of application, but worth paying attention to.

Hospitals Mining Your Credit Card Behavior

In Businessweek.  This scenario has been much in the news. It is starting to happen:
" ... Imagine getting a call from your doctor if you let your gym membership lapse, make a habit of buying candy bars at the checkout counter, or begin shopping at plus-size clothing stores. For patients of Carolinas HealthCare System, which operates the largest group of medical centers in North and South Carolina, such a day could be sooner than they think. Carolinas HealthCare, which runs more than 900 care centers, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and surgical centers, has begun plugging consumer data on 2 million people into algorithms designed to identify high-risk patients so that doctors can intervene before they get sick. The company purchases the data from brokers who cull public records, store loyalty program transactions, and credit card purchases. ... " 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hospitality Robotics Experiment at Starwood

Robots in Hotels.  Perhaps not really as multi-functional as what we could call butlers. But you can see how they can be applied. Now how will this influence employment in the hospitality industry?   I do have some experience with office mail delivery 'robotics', and the economics were marginal. Experiments at Starwood:

Forget your toothpaste? Need more towels? How about a late-night chocolate bar? All guests of the hotel have to do is call the front desk, where staff will load up the Botlr with requested items, punch in the guest's room number and send it off to make the delivery, navigating hallways and even call for the elevator using Wi-Fi. .... 

According to a study done at the University of Oxford, 47 percent of U.S. employment is at risk of being replaced by computerization, but Starwood says these robots are not intended to replace any employees. Rather, they are there to free them up from small tasks, leaving them more time to deal with customers face to face. ...." 

Challenges for Google Glass

Good Wired piece on the challenges for the success of Google Glass.  In our own enterprise experiment we also met some of these same issues.  Still have not seen them directly addressed by Google in their current versions of Glass.  Good reading before you start thinking about an application.

Forgetting Leads to Memory Holes in the Web

The EU rulings that you could ask for posts to be removed from Google web searches have led to more unusual and unexpected results.  Not that there are not already memory holes in the web. It seems that there are often external links in this blog that have gone bad.  Since items are so interconnected the The 'right to be forgotten', is often interlinked with useful information.  Watching the dynamics of this.

Hadoop and Metadata

Excerpts from recent research about meta data use in the enterprise.  From Hortonworks and more in Infoq:

" ... One of the most attractive qualities of Hadoop is its flexibility to work with semi-structured and unstructured data without schemas.  Unstructured data represents 80% of  the overall data in most organizations and is growing at 10-50x  structured data. Indeed, Hadoop excels at extracting  structured data from unstructured data.  HCatalog helps Hadoop deliver value from the output of its labor, by providing access to mined, structured data by those who would consume it: analysts, systems and applications.

HCatalog is a metadata and table management system for Hadoop. It is based on the metadata layer found in Hive and provides a relational view through a SQL like language to data within Hadoop. HCatalog allows users to share data and metadata across Hive, Pig, and MapReduce. It also allows users to write their applications without being concerned with how or where the data is stored, and insulates users from schema and storage format changes. ... " 

Multi Sensory Marketing

Advertising through multiple sense.  In Shopperception.  '... When two or more senses receive stimulation at the same time - cause shoppers to stay in the store for a longer time and buy more products ...  " 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Uses for Neurosynaptic Chips

So what are the applications for neurosynaptic chips?  That are on the near horizon today?   Here are some examples  The Internet of Things is a marketer's dream for chip sales.   Especially to IOT applications that need sensory capabilities with low power requirements.   Or for neural net applications embedded in larger systems.  The article also contains more information about its approach, origins and directions.

EEG Capture Service

When I worked with a neuromarketing analyis company one of the limiting issues was how to accurately, effectively and economically gather EEG signals in multiple contexts and locations. Annoucement of a company providing these services.  No  experience with them.

Video Stabilization Tools

In the BBC.  New work out of Microsoft on video stabilization.  A topic we followed for the analysis of video streams of shopper behavior.  " ... Microsoft researchers have found a way to stabilise films and speed them up to make them more watchable. ... To fix the images, the software analyses footage and creates new frames to smooth out camera jumps. .... The team is currently working on ways to turn the research into a Windows application. ... "  

Tag Management

In ClickZ: A broad discussion.  Have been involved in several projects that have dealt with the management of data and metadata using tags.  Its less about the having tags than it is about how these tags are organized, and used for business improving applications like Business Intelligence.

Hadoop not Killing the Data Warehouse

Why Hadoop Isn't Killing The Data Warehouse  " ..... Apache's open-source software framework is the future, but it won't extinguish the past..."    Never thought there was a direct contention here, perhaps just in publicity ... " ... There are two realities here: One reality is that Hadoop, the open source software platform managed by the Apache Software Foundation, doesn't threaten yesterday's data warehouse workloads, and it won't anytime soon—or ever—even though a zero-sum data infrastructure market makes for good reading. The other reality is that for reasons of cost and flexibility, more and more enterprises are moving to Hadoop.... "