/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Becoming Disconnected

David Carr, who has been talking much about the negative effects of online, gives some examples of people that have deliberately cut themselves from the net. They say with good results.

Photographer's Legal Rights

Now having a quality camera in my cell phone I find myself taking many more images for both personal and professional reasons. I can also then get them to the people that need them quickly that way. In private spaces where the prohibition is posted, fine. But in public spaces? Here a good article by a lawyer on the legal issues involved.

Optimizing Floor Space

It's an idea that continues to be pushed further. Optimize the store space by using kiosks and other densely compacted selling ideas within the store. Here is another example, Radio Shack kiosks selling in Target Stores.

BI on a Limited Budget

A new TDWI report: BI on a Limited Budget

BI on a Limited Budget: Strategies for Doing More with Less
The current economic downturn has accentuated the need among business intelligence (BI) teams to do “more with less.” With budgets cut or flat, most BI teams have been forced to innovate and find new ways to deliver projects more efficiently.

In the short term, BI teams coped with tactical maneuvers designed to cut costs without sacrificing quality or output. Longer term, BI teams have put in place numerous strategic initiatives designed to improve operating efficiency and effectiveness. For instance, they are consolidating spreadmarts and data marts, and eliminating redundant data, tools, infrastructure, and staff. They are implementing self-service BI tools to free up the BI team to finish high-priority projects. Small companies are turning in significant numbers to new, low-cost offerings, and companies of all sizes are aggressively investigating new technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of BI operations .. .'

Friday, July 30, 2010

IPads in Business

Some good examples in CW of IPads being used in business.

About Emotionally Effective Advertising

Just received and of interest: About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising by Dan Hill. Reading parts of it now, more to follow. I also see the author is from the consulting firm Sensory Logic, which is also worth a look.

Unilever Tracks Omo Boxes

Report in Adage that Unilver will be tracking a small sample of boxes of Omo detergent in Brazil using a GPS device. The Adage headline about 'stalking' is inflammatory to say the least. When I first saw this I thought it was a criticism of RFID tracking, but it is not. " ... consumers who buy one of the GPS-implanted detergent boxes will be surprised at home, given a pocket video camera as a prize and invited to bring their families to enjoy a day of Unilever-sponsored outdoor fun. The promotion, called Try Something New With Omo, is in keeping with the brand's international "Dirt is Good" positioning that encourages parents to let their kids have a good time even if they get dirty ... "


Another good example of bridging retail and mobile underway:

Shopkick bridges the mobile and retail worlds.
We are funded by Kleiner Perkins's "iFund" and are the makers of CauseWorld, the fastest growing location-based mobile retail app. In the summer of 2010, we will launch shopkick, a mobile application that turns offline stores into interactive worlds, dramatically improving your shopping experience, with a range of partners, including Best Buy and Macy's. ... '

Mobile Choices

Another example of the use of Mobile to engage in-store, note in particular the use of barcode scanning, which is becoming more common. I recently saw several people scanning product in a store. I am taking a look at the vendor mentioned: Shopkick.

Mobile Choices at Macy's and Best Buy by Evan Schuman

Macy’s and Best Buy this summer will launch programs that let the retailers interact with customers while they are using their mobile phones. Both programs will leverage consumers’ GPS-revealed exact location and the barcode-scanning capabilities of their phones. But which of several approaches each chain will use has yet to be determined, according to the CEO of the vendor (Shopkick) providing the software ... '

Smartphone and Accessories Blog

A correspondent has set up a blog on new Smartphone developments and accessories.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Seed Accelerator in Cincinnati

New in the heart of the Midwest, by a former colleague, The Brandery:

The Brandery opens it doors: New seed accelerator launches in Cincinnati by Dave Knox
Today I’m excited to announce the launch of The Brandery, a new seed stage consumer marketing venture accelerator. The Brandery will be a three-month-long program held in Cincinnati, Ohio that is focused on turning your great idea into a successful, brand-driven start-up. For our inaugural class this Fall, we are selecting 5 companies, with each receiving $20,000 in seed funding, three months of mentorship, and the opportunity to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.

The full press release is listed below. For more information, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our site at http://brandery.org Applications close on August 11th so if you know of any companies who would be interested, please encourage them to apply today ... "

Wal-Mart was Wrong to Just Tag Pallets

I just wrote a guest column at one of my favorite retail blogs: Storefrontbacktalk. About how Wal-Mart first tested RFID tags extensively on cases and pallets. Now they are moving to test on clothing, and the test is now, finally, really on:

"GuestView: Wal-Mart Was Wrong To Initially Just Tag Pallets
Franz Dill spent 30 years in various technology management roles at Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturer. He retired from P&G and joined the consulting world in 2007. This is a StorefrontBacktalk GuestView column.

When Wal-Mart this week confirmed its limited launch of item-level RFID tags, it shouldn’t have been news to many in retail. That’s what Wal-Mart has said it wanted to do for literally 10 years. The question shouldn't be “Why is Wal-Mart doing this?” as much as “What’s different this time? Why is this finally happening now?”
It’s not a technology issue.

It’s a mindset issue, in two ways. First, Wal-Mart’s “let’s start at the pallet level and learn RFID there” approach was an understandable albeit wrong move, given the retailer’s data and analytical needs and goals. Second, the need for the kind of data that only item-level can deliver is now much more apparent and, perhaps more importantly, understood better at the management level ... "
Read much more.

Acceleration of Addiction

Paul Graham on the acceleration of addiction via technology. Technology gives us more of what we want, so is it accellerating addiction? Pretty clear the answer is yes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wolfram|Alpha Widgets Beta Announced

This is something that is quite interesting I have just received and am starting to explore. Knowledge should be in the form of installable widgets, shouldn't it? I plan to create some and try them on my blog and pass along my experience. The gallery gives some good examples of what these look like.

Wolfram Research announces: " ... Today we announced the availability of the beta versions of Wolfram|Alpha Widgets and Widget Builder. Widgets are free Wolfram|Alpha-powered mini apps that you can customize and share on your Blog, and with your social networks ... "

Wolfram|Alpha Launches Widgets to Share Computable Facts across the Web
The Wolfram|Alpha Widget Builder Allows Anyone to Create and Share Simple yet Powerful Web Applications the beta versions of Wolfram|Alpha Widgets and Widget Builder, giving anyone the power to create easily shareable interactive modules using its computational knowledge engine. With widgets, people can deliver results from Wolfram|Alpha's vast data repository, sharing their knowledge using simple, powerful, customizable applications. It's so easy that a Wolfram|Alpha widget can be built in only a few steps using the drag-and-drop Widget Builder...

"Widgets are the next step in our goal of making Wolfram|Alpha ubiquitous—available to everyone, everywhere," said Barak Berkowitz, Managing Director, Wolfram|Alpha. "With widgets you get a brand new way to experience the power of Wolfram|Alpha and share it with your readers and friends. By putting the massive data repository and computational capability of Wolfram|Alpha in everyone's hands, we fully expect to be surprised and impressed by the innovative ways people put this power to use in their areas of interest and expertise."

Widgets can be created from any Wolfram|Alpha query. Want to have an app on your blog that calculates the predicted adult height and weight of a child based on his or her current stats? Or how about an app that compares the financial data of two public companies? Or creates a customized nutritional label for any recipe you have? The possibilities are limitless. For more examples of widgets, see the hundreds already in the Widget Gallery....

The beta versions of Wolfram|Alpha Widgets and Widget Builder are available today for free. Release 1.0 will be available later this year. .... "

What Do People Want on Smartphones?

In Progressive Grocer: What information do people want on their smartphones. This is mostly a fairly obvious survey, with a much too small sample, that is still worth a look. And futher summary of the outcome here.

Retail Geek

Just discovered through some Twitter messages The Retail Geek Blog. I have acted in that capacity at times. Welcome.

Mapping the Brain's Networks

Remarkable overview of work by IBM scientists on mapping the major networks in the brain. With some great visualizations. The most comprehensive work yet in understanding how it all fits together. It makes me realize both how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in understanding our own brains. Includes a link to a slide show on the work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Amazon Sells Groceries in the UK

In Businessweek: Amazon sells groceries online in the UK. " ... has launched a grocery website in Britain, offering customers products from companies including Kraft, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble. In a move that increases competition for current market leaders Tesco PLC, J Sainsbury PLC and Wal-Mart Inc.'s Asda, Amazon said Wednesday it will also offer niche products like ethnic, kosher and vegan foods.... "

Wrong Price Penalties

In StoreFrontBackTalk, an article on some recent large penalties due to incorrect price postings at Sears. You will recall we did a number of studies of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) that were meant to address exactly this kind of failure. Good piece which addresses the potential of ESLs here plus the low-tech issues with price posting in general. New ESL vendors are popping up again here, but their uptake is still minimal. For an example of a vendor with installations, see Tagnetics, which we worked with in the innovation centers. Examples of their ESLs are shown above.

Getting Strategic Transparency

On linking transparency and accountability, in particular about using our increasingly sensor-rich world. in the HBR:

" ... Whether morbidly curious or voyeuristically intrigued, millions of people worldwide have accessed the web streamed spectacle of BP's busted wellhead spewing oil undersea. The murky imagery, piped up via tele-robotically controlled cameras, has been surreal. This is what real-time ecological disaster looks like from Seabed Zero. Seeing is believing. No wonder Abyss and Avatar special effects guru James Cameron wants to pitch in on this deepwater production.

Without this submersible fleet of video cams and instrumentation, repair efforts would not be possible. That the video-feeds can go live and global — and have — represents the most remarkable double-edged opportunity for "due diligence" and "second guessing" in the history of catastrophe. Suppose the human interactions and technical instrumentation of Apollo 13's rescue could have been webcast live? The eerily impersonal environment of dull metal and dark plumes a mile beneath the waves shouldn't obscure the simple truth that networked "transparency" has literally transformed how everyone sees the problem.

This de facto real-time openness has imposed enormous self-consciousness and self-discipline on BP's desperate efforts to stop the leakage at its source. Whether BP acknowledges — or likes — this nakedness or not, knowing that the world can virtually look over your shoulder as you snip pipes or lower containment vessels cannot help but concentrate both the individual and collective mind ... '

Insects and Robot Design

In the CACM: Insects that inspire robot design. Not a new thing. Useful but sometimes overemphasized. Airplanes are not based on the design of birds. Natural inspired design is best used as one of a number of options.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mind Melds as Measures

From Wired, this is interesting ... with perhaps some lessons to neuromarketing. A stronger mild meld might be the connection between two speakers, rather than just between a person and some form of media. Determining the strength of storytelling? ...

" ... When two people experience a deep connection, they’re informally described as being on the same wavelength. There may be neurological truth to that.

Brain scans of a speaker and listener showed their neural activity synchronizing during storytelling. The stronger their reported connection, the closer the coupling.

The experiment was the first to use fMRI, which measures blood flow changes in the brain, on two people as they talked. Different brain regions have been linked to both speaking and listening, but “the ongoing interaction between the two systems during everyday communication remains largely unknown,” wrote Princeton University neuroscientists Greg Stephens and Uri Hasson in the July 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... "

Selling Body Wash

A very good Ad-Age case study on changes in body wash sales after the much talked about the very viral old spice videos and related social networking plays. It reminded me of some of the conclusions of correspondent Byron Sharp in his book How Brands Grow, What Marketers Don't Know, which I reviewed previously.

Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers

We always had the delighting rule drummed into us. This recent HBR piece takes a contrarian view and makes some excellent points. ' ... Two critical findings emerged that should affect every company’s customer service strategy. First, delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does. Second, acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, and decrease customer churn.... ' ... the full article requires subscription.

Microsoft Data Viz Tool

Something new, about to examine:

Microsoft Debuts a Data Visualization tool
Microsoft has released a controller for its Silverlight multimedia software that can present dynamic visual summaries of large data sets in Web browsers. Developed by the company's Live Labs research group, PivotViewer can visualize large collections of data in such a way to make them easier to order and analyze ... '

Sunday, July 25, 2010

About Apps

In Design Mind, a short infographic-style piece on the current world of Apps, their history and current world. Instantly out of date, but some very useful and sometimes surprising (the best kind) of information.

Wiki Writing

Still very interested in the subject of how knowledge can be effectively and collaboratively shared. There seems to have been less on the topic written lately. See also my posts about Zakta, another collaborative-expert approach. And posts on Kyield, an approach for looking at the enterprise semantically, initially focusing in health care.

I am just looking at the free online book below on wikis:

Wiki Writing
from Information Literacy Weblog: EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative by Sheila Webber
This book is free online:
Cummings, R.E. and Barton, M. (Eds) (2008) Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press and University of Michigan Library.
Information Literacy is mentioned specifically in the chapter by Mark Phillipson, Wikis in the Classroom: A Taxonomy ... '

Cloud Call Tomorrow

Always interesing Jerry Michalski call tomorrow: (this page containing all rich links) ... I plan to be on the call.

" ... If you're not fond of the term "Web 2.0," you may be itchy about "cloud computing" as well.

The Cloud touches many different offers, from SaaS-y single-purpose applications (e.g., Salesforce, NetSuite, ExactTarget) to Web services (think Google Maps and Facebook Connect) and utility computing platforms such as Amazon's EC2 and Dynamo, as well as Google's App Engine. The categories are still growing and shifting.

With analysts Robert Rose and Timothy Prickett-Morgan, let's discuss:
What have we learned from the Cloud so far? Is it really cheaper?
Who are the major players and how are they shifting?
What has the Cloud meant for corporate IT?
Where is the Cloud taking us? How might this play out?
As always, an IRC Chat will be available during the call ...
We tweet as @yitan. Please follow us and use #yitan.

Date: Monday, July 26, 2010 Time: 10:30 PDT, 1:30 EDT
Dial-in Number: 1-270-400-1500
Participant Access Code: 778778 ... "

Summer Pleasure Reading

Just back from the beach. Part of my reading there: How Pleasure Works, The New Science of Why We Like What We Like. by Yale Prof Paul Bloom. The Amazon link has a 'look inside'. Great question for marketing and merchandising. The book has not answered the question yet, do hope it will.

Wal-Mart Tests Item-Level RFID

As early as 2000 we were positioning RFID tags to soon replace barcodes for item level identification. I gave presentations to many hundreds of innovation space visitors that featured this change in 3-5 years.

It did not happen of course, replaced by an effort to tag cases and pallets rather than individual items. Largely pushed by minimizing out-of-stocks via transparency in inventory. Now in RFID Journal, an early indication of a movement towards item tagging. There continue to be concerns about privacy, especially since these approaches include clothing ... Update: Wal-Mart will not be reading these tags at checkout, so there will be no connection to personally identifiable information, alleviating the privacy issue.

Walmart Relaunches EPC RFID Effort, Starting with Men's Jeans and Basics The retailer has shifted its focus from tagging all pallets and cases to working with suppliers to tag items in categories where the company and its partners will see the biggest benefits ... '

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Global Facebook Usage

An interactive Tableau map that represents global Facebook usage. From ReadwriteWeb.

Very Cheap Touch Computing

Further move toward the commoditization of touch computing, a report of an approximate $35 touchscreen device from India. Like the $100 laptop, the ultimate availability of such systems is unclear. Or what it will include to make it viable for at least Internet based computing. The report says that it will ultimately be rolled out to school children.

New Gestural Interaction System

In CACM: Note in particular the ability to support multiple users. " ... Fraunhofer FIT has developed a next generation touch system that enables users to interact with objects on a display without making physical contact. The gesture-based system automatically recognizes and interprets the movement of fingers and hands in real time, requires no special gloves or markers, and supports multiple users. ....

Synthetic Organism Breakthrough

A breakthrough in synthetic organism? The consequences?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Useful Science Rules in Context

In Language Log: A couple of 'rules of thumb' are repeated that I had heard of long ago that I have found to be useful. They were promoted by (legitimate) Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias. Note their semi contradictory nature:

1.) Record everything, you don't know what will be useful later.
2.) Sometimes less information is more convincing than more.

Read the full article to see the amusing examples and backgrounds of each of these 'rules'. The blog itself is one I have followed from almost the start of the Web. If you care about language in context, it is a must-follow.

Light Bulbs

A light bulb drawn over someone's head signifies creativity. Is it also the case that a light bulb can increase creativity?

IPhone Style Kiosk: Utiqueshop

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing a demonstration of an impressive and engaging wall-mounted kiosk from a company called Utiqueshop. Spoke to their CEO and Founder Mara Segal.

When I was working in the enterprise innovation center we looked at many kiosk formats for engaging with the consumer, providing information and delivering products and samples. You can see a Quicktime prototype video demonstration here. The IPhone like style is particularly attention getting.

They are still in the early stages, but there are a number of companies interested. Work a look for retailers or CPG companies interested in getting new products noticed. Will continue to follow it in this space.

Buiness Intelligence Market Study

From Information Builders: Howard Dresner's extensive Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Relationship Economy Expedition

Jerry Michalski talks about public and private side of the REXpedition: The relationship economy expedition. See the video. And at the REXpedition site.

Bubble Generation

By economist Umair Haque:

The Bubble Generation


create thick value. spark smart growth. start with social strategy. ignite awesomeness, not just innovation. seek buildership, not just leadership. have deeper economics. be a force for good*. get constructive. gain wisdom ... "

Five Billion Connections

In the BBC: there are now over 5 billion phone connections worldwide. Staggering thought. The globe is a heavily interconnected network.

Getting the Best

The Seriosity blog on getting the best out of your employees. More in this blog about Seriosity's work on games and engaging customers and employees. Including my review of Byron Reeves excellent book: Total Engagement, on the broad concept.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Packaged Goods Company Develops Game

In Mediapost. I like the approach, will follow to see how it develops.

' ... Reckitt Benckiser has created a branded social-media game called poweRBrands, in which players solve marketing dilemmas and move up a virtual corporate ladder. The aim is to raise awareness of Reckitt Benckiser, while also serving as a recruiting tool. MediaPost Communications/Marketing Daily (7/16) ... '

Intel and the Social Scientists

An interesting post of how Intel is increasingly adopting a social science view. It is intriguing to think of how a company of engineers can move in this direction. Has it moved too far? How are the two directions combined effectively? Is this the same as the redirection to a design orientation from an engineering one?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wegmans Introduces Employee Blog

Always innovative retailer Wegmans has set up a blog contributed by employees. Worth a look.

Google Image Search Improves

In GigaOM: Image search in Google has improved their user interface to allow you to see many more images per search. They have a reported ten billion images accessible. There is still no way to sort images from newest to oldest, a complaint I saw registered five years ago.

The Ideas Project

Sponsored by Nokia, The Ideas Project is a selection of video presentations by mostly well-known pundits in the area of communications and information tech. If they like an idea you submit they will give you a free Nokia phone. Also includes an interactive ideas map, somewhat hard to work with, but worth a look.

Creation Spaces Exchange Tacit Knowledge

Video from HBR on the Nokia Ideas project. This was something we explicitly intended to do with the creation of innovation centers. First to read realistic contexts that would set the stage for knowledge exchange. Something as simple as touching product and placing it on a shelf can be an important part in understanding the resolution of a complex problem. As is implied by 'tacit', it is about touching and interacting with joint solutions.

Monday, July 19, 2010

E-Book Sales Exceed Hardcover

Amazon reports in the NYT that E-book sales for books have exceeded hardcover sales. To be clear E-books sales have not exceeded all book sales, which include softcover. Still a remarkable change. When will bits exceed cellulose fibers?

Wolfram Alpha Rx Database

Have followed WolframAlpha for a while. Key is having the right data to support a query. Sometimes it is there an sometimes not. the new introduction of Data for Rx drugs makes the WA capabilities stronger. Much more information in their blog. As more of this data is introduced the the power of WA for arbitrary queries will be strengthened. How about also including a means to analyze queries that cannot be answered? Then seeing what data is most useful and getting or modeling it?
Via Stan Dyck.

Checking into States of Mind

I like Batelle's point about checking into things other than just location. Advertisers infer this today, does it make sense to make it more explicit? He writes:

" ... I wanted to build on my earlier post, "My Location Is a Box of Cereal," and Think Out Loud a bit about what I'd really like to do on Foursquare: I'd like to check into a state of mind.

What do I mean by that?

Well, imagine that instead of checking into a physical location, as Foursquare is mostly constrained today, I check into the state of mind I might call "In the market for a car." Or perhaps I check into "playing a great game of poker with my friends." Or maybe I check into "pretty bummed out about the death of my cat."

I think you get the point. The check in is, as I've argued elsewhere, more than a declaration of where I am. It's also a declaration of my state of mind, as well as my openness to a response from someone who might provide me with value ... "

Open Innovation at Tesco

Andrea Meyer on Open Innovation at Tesco.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crash Course in Google Analytics

Though I have now used Google Analytics for years, I have not spent enough time understanding it and its value and limitations in depth. Here is a pointer to more, and promises a crash course.

Procter Manufacturers Private

So is this a bow to private label? Will they become a developer-manufacturer-marketer of many goods for retailers?

Procter & Gamble boosts bet on exclusive brands
In search of market share, Procter & Gamble expands ‘exclusive brands’ into Great Britan ... Procter & Gamble boosts bet on exclusive brands - Business Courier of Cincinnati ... '

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Brains as Game Controllers

In the BBC: This idea has been around for some time, but does not appear to have taken hold. Here Emotiv claims to have developed neural game control headsets that are designed for the average consumer.

Frito-Lay to Feature Ergonomic Checkout in its Innovation Center

This is new. I had thought there would be some complaints in self checkout, but then you always have to lift the heavy bags of charcoal, or 24 packs of cans out of your cart even in a standard checkout. Yet as I read this the checkouts are better for employees and shopper. Note also the mention of an innovation center. Like to think we influenced FL in setting one up for retail research.

" ... Frito-Lay to Feature Ergonomic Checkout in its Innovation Center
Pan-Oston, a designer and manufacturer of retail checkout and display solutions, has been tapped as the featured checkout lane provider for the Frito-Lay research innovation center, a simulation supermarket used to study shopper behaviors. The Bowling Green, Ky.-based vendor’s ErgoLane — an ergonomically designed checkout lane — was installed at the center as a component of the consumer shopping experience analysis.

The ErgoLane, which Pan-Oston said meets or exceeds ADA compliance for both cashiers and customers, was developed to use less space than a conventional lane, provide enhanced user comfort, speed up customer transaction times, and increase the number of hourly transactions. It also meets LEED rating system requirements, according to the vendor ... "

Walking Around in Proteins

Walking inside your data. I had a conversation with a guy from IBM about this kind of approach. He implemented a data walkaround in Second Life.

Virtual Reality System Puts Researchers Inside Protein Structures University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

A virtual reality program allows researchers at the University of Arkansas to study proteins up close and personal.

To understand a protein, it helps to get inside of it, and University of Arkansas professor James F. Hinton has developed a virtual reality system that does just that ... '

Friday, July 16, 2010

Google Buys Metaweb

In GigaOM: Google makes a big semantic acquisiton, buys Metaweb. " ... San Francisco-based Metaweb was founded by the widely admired Thinking Machines founder Danny Hillis ... In addition to the free Freebase, Metaweb offers widgets and more custom integrations for content providers to organize web content around concepts. It calls itself “a switchboard for the web.” ... ". This capability is worth understanding well.

Symbol for the Rupee

Mark Perry reports on the development of a symbol for the Indian Rupee, from a competitive market for currency design.

Michael Osofsky on Innovation

Just brought to my attention: Michael Osofsky's blog musings on innovation, practice and theory. It is on my read.

Tableau Momentum Builds

I have now used Tableau Software's easy to use data visualization system for several years for a number of projects. It's a good approach to explore if you plan to do quick alternative visualizations and get them to people quickly. Their momentum continues to build.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ESRI BAO Demographic App

I am a big proponent of delivering visualizations of complex data on mobile devices. Why not have it on hand where you need it? Likely fully armed with data about where you are? Think of the tough tasks of someone analyzing the profitability of a store shelf.

ESRI has come out with a free IPhone app BAO (Business Analyst Online) that addresses this general problem. Reported in CWorld and also more in ESRI's site. Available in the IPhone App store now, will look at it closely and report back. Visualizing complex data about locations available where you are. At this time it includes US data only.

" ... BAO for iOSWith the free BAO for iOS application, you will be able to perform site screening in the field on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Visiting a potential new site? BAO for iOS gives you the demographic and market information you need to instantly evaluate the area on-site ... "

User Behavior in Social Media

Blinq Media white paper executive outline and email request for the whole thing: User Behaviors in Online Social Network Applications Present Untapped Marketing Advantage

" ... The paper "User Behaviors in Online Social Network Applications Present Untapped Marketing Advantage,"* explores the profiles and behavior of individuals utilizing online social network applications and outlines resulting insights that can be tapped to benefit marketing and application development initiatives. The extensive research and analysis on social network application usage data, comprising more than 9 million users and 117 million records, was executed by BLiNQ Media as a precursor for a series of in-depth studies being conducted with the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI) ... "

Microsoft's Virtual Human

In the BBC: All sorts of interesting implications in cinema, storytelling, marketing and games. We will soon be at a place where the real and artificial are no longer noticeable. Artificial intelligence is a key component. Includes a video.

" ... Microsoft has shown off its "virtual human" that reacts to a person's emotions, body movements and voice. Milo, as he is known, is designed for use with the firm's hands-free Xbox 360 motion controller called Kinect. The technology is the brainchild of veteran UK games designer Peter Molyneux. "I want to introduce a new revolution in storytelling," he told the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Global conference in Oxford .. "

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tibco Announces Free BI Tool

Clever marketing approach from Tibco, maker of Spotfire. Have not taken a look at what it includes. In ReadwriteWeb:

" ... Tibco has launched a business intelligence tool designed for the small business market that it is making available for free over the next year. TibcoSilver Spotlight is part of Tibco's effort to appeal to a community that would not normally have access to its robust business intelligence technology. These are people who understand social technologies and may find the service appealing for what it can do that spreadsheets do not ... "

The free one year trial is called SilverSpotfire and can be examined here.

Smartphones as Checkouts

Very likely I think, it simplifies a number of things, and creates a new channel to the shopper. What are the implications for manufacturer and retailer?

Smartphones may be checkouts of the future
Greg Buzek, president of the researcher IHL Group, says consumers are already using their phones to compare prices and read reviews while shopping. He said Apple owns patents in loyalty and payment technologies, and said "it is foreseeable" that retail purchases "could be scanned and transacted through the mobile device rather than a stationary self-checkout." Progressive Grocer (7/13) ... "

Recorded Future Examined

I have been asked to take a closer look at the Recorded Future site. A number of posts will follow that will track my interaction with the site and company.

The idea of a temporal analytics engine much intrigued me because time is usually the most difficult aspect of understanding data. That dimension is strongly complicating when we examine the past, because we often do not understand the contexts involved when the data was gathered. And in the future ... it is even more difficult to understand the contexts that will exist. Classic demand forecasting, practiced by every company juggles these issues to get the best results that it can. History is then be balanced against prediction to construct a useful model.

Recorded Future connects together a number of threads from predictors of the future, often stated in inexact human language, to predict aspects of the future. These are then visually presented to the analyst or executive to provide a solid basis for context rich understanding of a prediction. What will be particularly interesting is an exploration of how this kind of analysis can bridge the gap between classical, largely quantitative forecasting methods and more qualitative analysis of past and future events.

What I have seen so far is very impressive. Here is an example from an area I have worked in: Researching a Brand using Recorded Future. This short video example uses the IPad device and it's market as an example.

One thing to note that the demonstration shows. Prediction in time is dependent on relationships in time. And it is also strongly dependent upon networks of entities that influence changes. Recorded Future addresses and visualizes both

Would appreciate getting reports of experience with this idea in comments or privately. I am about to start a personal examination of it's use.

More posts on this concept will follow.

Robot Industry

A good CWorld article on the the bloom of the robotics industry. I like this because it links the challenge to artificial intelligence (AI) which I covered for the enterprise for year. Advances in AI are a necessity for the advances of even semi-autonomous robotics. Examples like the IRobot Roomba take the first step, but much more has to be done before they are in every home. This article is a good non-technical state of the industry look,

Old Spice and Social Engagement

Insider Dave Knox on taking social engagement to a new level at Procter & Gamble's Old Spice brand. Via Walter Riker.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Math Book

The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics by Clifford A. Pickover.

Just found this recently published book by a well known biophysicist who I have read over the years. It is a 'coffee-table' style work, with few details. Yet is covers nicely a number of math and math related subjects since Pythagoras. Beautiful images and an easy scan. Interesting even for a person who is a long time follower of and an often user of math in his work. Recommended for kids who have a spark in this area, could further convince them that this is really interesting. I got it from the library.

Dominos Credits Social Media

Dominos is crediting social media for increases in profits. Good case study. Via Paul Gillin. See also his blog.

Field Agent Crowd Sources Retail Discovery

I was recently pointed to the Field Agent IPhone App. It implemented an idea which was discussed a number of times in the enterprise before the emergence of Apps and Smartphones. The idea was to crowdsource some of the time-consuming work that is necessary to verify aspects of retail execution. Has a display been set up? Is an item out of stock? Can someone follow posted directions in a store?

Once registering as a 'field agent' you can choose assignments that are close to your location, go to that location and get paid a few dollars for your assignment's completion. After verification, you are paid for your task.

I read some of the reviews and there is considerable complaint about the actual number of assignments that are available. For example, when I checked the App recently it assigned me to go to a Target store 29 miles away to take a picture and verify some installations. For $4. So if you could get enough assignments you might make a living at it. The company acknowledges that they have just started up and are in the process of gathering more clients to match to agents. Overall a nice idea, must have been since we thought of it, that needs some additional work. More review.

Crisis of Choice Online

Intriguing project and link to video.

In CACM: Solving the Crisis of Choice Online
The MyMedia Project

Content is everywhere these days, forcing consumers to make decisions at every turn: Which TV channel to watch? Which website to go to for news? Which video to download? In what format? What book to buy from where? Consumers feel overwhelmed and standard search technology can only do so much to help. Dynamic personalized recommendations, generated automatically by smart software that gets to know your likes and dislikes over time, promise to solve the problem ... '

Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience

This eCommerce Times article reminded me how difficult this is to do. And how it has become necessary for companies, large and small to manage a number of channels to be successful. Not only multichannel, but multiple delivery vehicles within that channel ... evidence is the IPhone, Droid and Blackberry solutions. Then beyond that the rapid evolution within those worlds.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Insurance Companies Build Games

Insurance companies build games to engage consumers and educate them. In a startup I worked for we examined simple games to bring people in, you had to win in a puzzle task to proceed in the game.

Apps for Your TV

A short Baseline piece suggesting that Apple intends to make moves in the TV Internet space by leveraging need tailored Apps. Rumblings in this are my big players like Apple and Microsoft have happened a number of times. Why not use your TV for Internet access? Our own consumer conversations say that they would like to have one less device to deal with, if they get all the capabilities and mobility and display in one device.

KDD Data Mining Event

SASCOM voices outlines the upcoming 16th annual ACM SIGKDD conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Even if you cannot make it t Washington DC to attend this on July 25-28, they provide you with some hints about attending it from afar. The special interest group links academics and practitioners. SAS is a sponsor this year.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Neuromarketing Trends and Research

A blog site under Deeper Web on Neuromarketing trends, research, vendors and technologies.

Taking Business Intelligence Mobile

Always interesting Doug Lautzenheiser does a nice job of outlining a MicroStrategy whitepaper on mobile business intelligence. I think this is ultimately a place where we need to look for in hand dynamic intelligence, which can be built on top of location information provided by the user. Also a useful place to get push information about changes in the data. I have had only minor connections with MicroStrategy, but they make claim for being ahead in this domain. Thanks for the pointer, Doug! ... Follow his blog on this and related BI subjects.

Kitchen Countertop with a Brain

We saw something similar shown at the MIT Media Lab a long time ago. Countertops with Brains. But do they need brains? " ... A depth-sensing camera and palm-top projector turn an ordinary work surface into an interactive one.... " Our interest was how consumers could improve the efficiency of their kitchen activities. As a confirmed Foodie, the processes of the Kitchen are important. We followed, more simply, with an always-on laptop. with preset useful links, on the kitchen counter. To see what the requireed information flow there might be.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Death of Photography

In Engadget, on the death of photography, at least with a separate still camera. As I am about to upgrade to a more complex cellphone camera I muse again about where this will go. A colleague and I traded impressions about where the archival aspects of images are evolving. Its not all good, you can store lots of them, but they are easier to get lost among all the bits.

Wal-Mart in Chicago

I always get mail when I comment on something that Wal-Mart has done. So what about the recent Wal-Mart store installation in Chicago? What has happened so far?

Random Numbers from a Chip

Intel circuits that can generate random numbers. Could increase the speed of encryption processes, simulation systems.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Behavioral Economics

Dan Ariely answers three questions about behavioral economics. Does a good job of defining and positioning it versus standard economic practice. I am in the midst of reading his new book: The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and Home.

Shared Knowledge

In Baseline Mag a good suggestion of direction, sharing not just managing:
Knowledge Management and Collaboration Create Knowledge Sharing By Guy Currier
An age-old corporate maxim says, “Our strength is in our people.” Cliché? Definitely. But the concept should see new life today, as knowledge management systems merge with collaborative and social technologies to create a new category of business tool: knowledge sharing technology ... "

Maga Design Group

I was recently pointed to Maga Design Group. Clever and interesting design maps. See their site for more information. They also have a blog:

" ... Our visual information maps are used by senior executives and their leadership to build any number of strategies across their organization, that is communicable to partners, sponsors and other internal and external stakeholders. Through the mapping engagement, the discovery process acts as a vehicle for shared understanding and generates measurable outcomes for the organization(s). Visual Information Maps simplify complex information, focus on the most powerful and significant ideas and concepts, are contextually aware and relevant, and allow both executives and their customers to arrive at meaningful insights ... "

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Cyberwar Overhyped

Well known security analyst and writer Bruce Schneier writes that the idea of cyberwar has been greatly overhyped.

Eyeglass Mounted Augmented Reality

The idea of having visuals presented on eyeglasses is not new. I have mentioned here a number of examples of our maintenance applications that used this idea. Here is a new example. Having something like this approach, rather than holding a smartphone up to a scene, will ultimately be a better way to augment any space. It's just that today many more people have smartphones than are willing to wear specialized glasses. Retinal implants next?

Shared Services

A Baseline article on Shared Services Organizations at Procter & Gamble. Have seen little written about these and how they are run. I was a member of Global Businesss Services at P&G, and this rings true as an introduction. Though it does not detail some of the inherent problems in establishing it in a complex organization. Related: Comparing oursourcing versus shared services.

MRI Scanning Worlds

This article in Mind Hacks hit home, last year I experienced an MRI scan myself. For medical and not for marketing purposes. It was an other worldly, claustrophobic experience. My brain was working overtime as the magnets drummed. How did that change the workings of my brain and what was scanned?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Comfortable Biosensors

In Kruzweil: EEG Biosensors that are comfortable enough to wear all the time. This could lead to many more analyses of 'base' conditions for neuromarketing studies.

Bluespring Sharpens Business Processes

I had a very informative meeting with Bluespring Software today. A very impressive company which uses Visio and Office to deliver business process modeling via simulation methods. My grad school training and early enterprise experience was in precisely this area, so I appreciate their methods. They constructed a simple and easy to use methodology. Worth a good look if you seek to improve any of your methods:

Solutions for Business Process Innovation (BPI)
Bluespring specializes in helping organizations improve or re-engineer key business processes in order to reduce cost, increase customer responsiveness, ensure quality, maintain compliance, and support growth.

We combine a practical BPI roadmap with modular tools for Business Process Analysis (BPA), Business Process Management (BPM) and Operational Excellence (OE), along with a full range of project support services to ensure the success of your process innovation initiatives.... '

Unilever Ice Cream Smile Machine

In StoreFrontBackTalk: " ... Even for an ice cream story, you can’t get much more saccharin than this: A Unilever-backed vending machine that literally takes consumer smiles as payment for its product. Well, a smile plus a photo marketing release form coupled with a biometric guess of the consumer’s age and gender... "

Frontiers of Collaboration

Detailed piece that is interesting, but a tough thing to predict:

In Knowledge@Wharton: Frontier of Collaboration:The Evolution of Social Networking
Social networking tools such as Twitter and the emerging Google Wave web application are taking businesses to the frontiers of real-time communication and collaboration. The technology has the potential to make it easier to discover and share information and interact with others. But the key word is "potential." During a panel at the last Supernova technology strategy conference, experts talked about what makes the current crop of services more promising than those that came before, and the obstacles to further progress ... '

Lego Robotics

Learing the scientific method through Lego Robotics. Making the point that simple rules can lead to complex behavior. Now when shown complex behavior can we determine the simple rules?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Gas vs Stamps vs CPI

MJ Perry does a good job of comparing the US price of postage stamps vs Gasoline vs the Consumer Price Index. Very telling about the increasing lack of efficiency in the USPS. As he suggests, there are no clear market forces that can cause these prices to decrease. See the full article.

Layers for Foursquare

FourSquare has introduced a layer concept that will allow you to view physical map spaces through a number of outside sources of information. More examples at the link. Not new ... in Google Maps for example you can choose layers of information to understand a space. Geographical Information Systems all work with different views of a space built from a number of accumulated information layers based on the interests of an observer. What is a potential big thing here is the commercial link between providers of information and consumers. New focused connections, with a simple gaming element, that can create a useful market.

Data Shaping Store Shelves

Good overview article in a local paper about how companies are using advanced technologies to understand the shopping process. With frequent mention of P&G. Yes, increasing amounts of data are being captured, now its a bigger task to boil all that down into actionable tasks.

Writing for IPhone and Android

Good introductory CWorld piece on writing Apps for multiple mobile smartphone platforms. I have talked to friends who have done both and there is lots of support out there. Given the volatility of the phone market it is an immediate concern.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Accelerating Artificial Intelligence

A redesigned Kurzweil AI site is up, and also an associated blog. We know Ray Kurzweil for his work on intelligence and singularity. Worth watching for tracking the edges of possibility in artificial intelligence. Recently a post on the puzzle of the key in Alice in Wonderland. Jabberwocky as a Turing test? The story and Lewis Carroll are my all time favorites.

You Will Pay for IPhone Ads

AT&T's switch from unlimited data to a tiered data payment program means that you may start paying for seeing complex ads on your IPhone. It will make sense to make sure that you are connected to Wifi before you indulge in ad watching. More details in Mediamemo.

Old Light

From the BBC, a stunning picture of ancient cosmic light. Microwave radiation on to the infrared. Gathering data and assembling it into a visualization. A bit beyond the normal topics of this blog, but astrophysics is my training and I continue to dabble there.

Decision Making Institute Launched

The move to non conscious elements of decision making as opposed to rational processes is interesting and getting more common. Worth following. :

Draftfcb opens Institute of Decision Making
from Research - Latest news
US— Marketing services group Draftfcb has launched the Institute of Decision Making, which the firm says will be used to help apply learnings from fields such as neuroscience and behavioural economics to its marketing communications offering ... '


In ReadWriteWeb, just examined: ' ... Tagwhat, an augmented reality creation and distribution system, publicly launched this week bringing the world of augmented reality into the realm of Web 2.0. While other augmented realtiy browsers, such as Wikitude and Layar, provide the user with information overlays over live video, Tagwhat allows users to create these overlays ... '

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Reflecting on Business Independence

David Sibbet reflects on his own business independence and outlines the excellent work that he does. We used his consulting for years and it always inspired me to think visually about the process. Thanks David! I see he now has a number of his talks on process posted at his site, I will take a listen.

Intelligent Web Book

Algorithms of the Intelligent Web, by Haralambos Marmanis and Dmitry Babenko. Now a year old, but a fairly good introduction that has given me cause to look at it a few times. The Amazon link has a 'look inside' feature, and this is precisely the kind of book where this is useful.

Multimedia Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery

An interesting book download on Multimedia data mining and knowledge discovery.

EEG, Eye-tracking and Purchasing

Neuromarketing in the realm of virtual Shopping:

Virtual shopping company Nimbus has added neuromarketing capabilities to its 3D virtual reality research tool.
The firm said the virtual shopping system already contains eye-tracking technology and the addition of EEG-based brain measurements would provide “neuroscientific knowledge of how the brain perceives and analyses products, package designs and store settings”. ... '

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Impersonation Problems with Check-in Services

Evan Schuman posts on security problems for check-in servces like FourSquare.

"Check-In Services Glitches Allow Customer Impersonation
June 17th, 2010The increasingly popular check-in services, where users let friends know where they are by “checking in” at specific retailers using their smartphones, have two major security flaws, according to one independent testing firm. The first allows consumers to easily impersonate other users—and thereby access their rewards, which means the stores are not attracting the consumer they wanted to attract—and the second defeats users’ efforts to go into a confidential mode, where their whereabouts are not supposed to be distributed ... "

In Store Marketing Expo

Steve Frenda sends this along, looks like lots of interesting views of technology and directions of change. Will try to make it this year. See also Steve's in-store marketing blog.

" ... The Shopper Marketing Expo brochure is now available. This is a major industry event held every October at Navy Pier in Chicago attracting 4,000 plus professionals. Mark your calendar and review the elements of this world class event.

This year's event includes keynotes from Kroger and P&G along with 50 other seminars and a trade show floor which includes a major exhibit from Google this year. Link to brochure. ... "


Ownership Issues Behind Social Networks

On the legal issues behind social networking. I have thought about this when I look at the list in my Linkedin network. Who owns these when I collected many through relationships at a former employer? Who owns our networks? Expect a much longer and largely incomprehensible agreement to sign when using Linkedin in the future:

" ... Do you connect with your former co-workers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? Of course you do -- everybody does. You move from job to job every few years, and your former co-workers are a valuable network for the next job lead.

So it's perfectly ordinary for Brelyn Hammernik to have connected with her former colleagues on LinkedIn when she left her job as a recruiter for TEKsystems, a Maryland IT staffing firm. But TEKsystems sued her, charging she violated the noncompete provision of her employment contract by soliciting her former co-workers on LinkedIn ... "

Friday, July 02, 2010

Wal-Mart Benefits

Wal-Mart Benefits local Farmers and Suppliers.

Facebook Reco Engine

ReadwriteWeb posts about the newly released Facebook recommendation engine. Have not looked at it yet. I have never had good experience with reco engines. They either suggest things I know already or don't provide the level of serendipity I desire. I learn to ignore the suggestions quickly.

Virtual Reality You Can Touch

From CACM: Continuing developments in the science of haptics:

Virtual Reality You Can Reach Out and Touch
A team of European researchers has "virtually" teleported real objects through cyberspace, touched things in virtual reality and even felt the movements of a virtual dance partner ... "

Holistic Framework for Knowledge Management

An interesting paper recently discovered. Often an issue for the enterprise.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Wharton Studies World Cup Access

Wharton WIMI studies how fans access the World Cup via ESPN:

" ... ESPN, which is televising the World Cup, is using the soccer tournament as a living laboratory to test how people consume sports. Do they watch it on TV? Listen to radio? Watch streaming video online or dial it up on their mobile? Do they use more than one medium at a time? Do they follow particular teams?

"We can get a very clear picture of how people navigate across these platforms and what they do," said Steven Ennen, manager of the Media Initiative. The information can help ESPN price advertising, deploy staffing resources, and select broadcast times ... "

Qualcomm, Mattel Push Augmented Reality

It makes sense for a toy manufacturer to look at Augmented Reality. It is known that some smartphone game Apps are very big profit makers for big toy companies. So why not embrace the rest of reality into your game? These developments will sell more smartphones, and lead to other 'serious' applications of AR to provide precise location-based information and interaction. A Place to watch:

Qualcomm Introduces Mobile Augmented Reality Platform and Software Development
KitMattel and Unity Technologies Demonstrate the Potential for Applications and Tools Based on Qualcomm’s Platform ... today unveiled plans to offer an augmented reality platform and software development kit (SDK) to enable a new generation of vision-based augmented reality applications. Initially available for Android devices, Qualcomm’s augmented reality platform will enable developers to build applications that merge reality and cyberspace. The SDK will be made available at no charge to developers for use in the development and distribution of commercial applications.

Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT), a worldwide leader of toys and family products, is one of the first consumer products companies embracing augmented reality and has used Qualcomm’s SDK to bring the classic Rock ’Em Sock ’Em® game to life in a whole new way. an environment for augmented reality applications ... "

Update: More on the SDK for this application.

Temporal Analytics Engine

Wim Van de Velde points me the Recorded Future Site, which I had missed. What they call a temporal analytics engine. Not descriptive enough as a title. Just exploring. It has many possible applications, but having been involved in CI this interested me:

Competitive intelligence research
Stay up-to-date on corporate activities...
Competitive intelligence- follow future strategic plans and historic activity ; learn from your competition
Find out which products your competitors are using
Spot mergers, acquisitions, financial ratings, analyst guidance,accounting changes
Monitor for product recalls, companies using products, legal issues, IPOs, patent issuances, product releases
Uncover strategic alliances and business relationships
Find quotations and track sentiment in analyst, commentator, news and blog statements ... "