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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yield Management of Knowledge

Mark Montgomery of KYield posts about Realizing the Theory: Yield Management of Knowledge. He defines it as: " ... Yield Management of Knowledge: The process by which individuals and organizations manage the quality and quantity of information consumption, storage, and retrieval in order to optimize knowledge yield ... " . Read the full post ...

Managing Social Media Presence

A short article on how to manage time for social media presence. Mostly common sense, but also worth a look.

Chief Listener

A good article in AdAge: My thoughts: Listening, whether it be to consumers, trends, the pulse of technology, is very important. Maybe it should be called observing or even interacting because it should not be passive ... you should be able to question, track and even prod the objects of your interest. It should also be done by the entire organization. We were told shortly after arriving that everyone in the company had a responsibility to observe the market in all of its contexts. What has never been completely solved is how to efficiently gather, analyze, synthesize and then redeliver this information to the right decision makers. Much opportunity there. A chief listening officer should work on that.

Autocad on the IPhone

In a very interesting development a version of the very well known CAD system will become available for the IPhone and IPad, available by this fall.... I used AutoCad early in the enterprise for manufacturing design applications. This won't be a complete application, I doubt you would want to extensive work on a smartphone. It could have some interesting location based applications. I will be curious to see that it will include, and how useful that subset of capabilities will be on smaller devices:

' ... Autodesk is bringing its AutoCAD architecture, design, and engineering software back to the Mac OS after an 18-year absence, the company announced this evening. But the company plans to do more than offer a Mac OS X version of AutoCAD: It says it will release a free version of the software, dubbed AutoCAD WS, for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch that lets users review, edit, and share AutoCAD files on those popular mobile devices.. "

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review Your Offering Here

Want your service, book, software or consulting skills presented to an elite audience here in review form? See my Ad and review policies here.

Independent Review of Recorded Future

I have now mentioned Recorded Future a number of times in this space, here is another independent review that does a good job of introducing it for niche research. Continuing to explore it myself. Love to hear of other experiences. My other posts on Recorded Future.

Tag Strategy at Wal-Mart

More in Storefrontbacktalk about Wal-Mart's RFID tagging strategy.

" ... When Wal-Mart this week confirmed it has been quietly testing item-level RFID in two Arkansas stores for several months—along with plans to “incrementally roll out [item-level RFID] throughout the chain”—it raised quite a few eyebrows because of the way it’s being done. The company is initially only tagging denim jeans, socks and underwear (let’s try and ignore the fact that a radio transmitter inside a guy’s boxers is nothing shy of creepy), and it’s leaving the tags active until customers opt to throw them away ... "

Digital Bread Crumbs

So if you don't have GPS, can you use digital bread crumbs to track your movements?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brandery Welcomes Inaugural Class

Dave Knox welcomes the inaugural class to a concept he calls the Brandery on Monday. " ... If you’re consumer focused, you must be brand focused ... Apply for a 12-week program that includes 20K in financing as well as access to the partners, mentors and resources typically reserved for major corporations ... " . Intriguing concept we will follow. See also their blog.

Wrist Watch Comeback

With more people using data and information rich smartphones, wristwatches are not selling well beyond their jewelry appeal. But a new Blue Tooth 4.0 standard that will allow information to be transmitted from another nearby device, a watch could essentially be a small auxiliary display. This could also promote the addition of other close-by remote sensors.

BI Platform is Dead: an Interactive e-book

The BI Platform is Dead: A fresh look at what business analytics means for today's organizations

View this interactive eBook now (Registration with Information management required)
The promise of business intelligence (BI) has always been to empower business users with better information than they could obtain directly from operational systems. Traditional BI relies on a centralized, cleansed, and transformed store of data that business users can access through standardized reports and perhaps an ad hoc query tool. However, the development and maintenance of this type of system takes time and imposes constraints on the types of analysis that users can perform.

On a day-to-day basis, though, the types of decisions that business users must make frequently require information that is not yet (or never will be) in the data warehouse.

While traditional BI continues to fulfill certain needs, self-service BI addresses the problem with ever-shifting demands for information. Self-service BI shifts the emphasis away from the processes required to manage data in a centralized store and towards processes for finding, accessing, and integrating information on-the-fly. With self-service BI, a decision-maker is better able to respond to changes in business conditions quickly ... '

Retailer Helpers

In Bloomberg BusinessWeek: a Good overview article on a number of startups that are using smartphones to bring e-commerce advantages to real-world stores. Mentions a number we have looked at and some not. Some useful statements from manufacturers and retailers about how they are approaching these opportunities.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Considering the Whorfian Hypothesis

An extensive NYT Magazine article on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: That the language you speak effects how you think. Was often characterized by the observation that some far-northern peoples had many more words for snow, caused by the need for the specificity. But its much more than that, including things like the effect of differing genders for nouns. This was generally debunked, and I think they spend a lot of time getting to that fact. Some new and intriguing nuggets are tossed out, but it mostly plays to misplaced relativistic theories.

Field Agent Re-look

I mentioned the Field Agent IPhone App some time ago. It allows a retailer or manufacturer to pay people to perform simple tasks at a store and get paid for doing it. The companies get data about what is really on shelf and other data about real environments. Cheap for them. In my first look there was very little that was interesting to me, and most tasks had long drives. Not likely.

A second look shows a number of possible tasks at Sam's Clubs ... mostly include taking pictures of things on the shelf, for about five dollars. These tasks seem to be about display compliance. I think the directions may be too confusing for the average consumer. Pictures might be better to show the task steps. I still like the basic idea of the Field Agent App.

The RBR Group and other Sites Then and Now

I have been loosely affiliated with the RBR group since my retirement from Procter & Gamble over two years ago. They just updated their web site with some new features and information. P&G has also updated their web site, giving it a much cleaner look. Comparing these gives very different looks, with different purposes of course.

In the case of P&G, you can see what the site looked like to as far back as 1996 in the Internet Archive, when we designed it much more simply, and called it a 'global community', rather than a company site.

IBM Makes a Nano Map

IBM makes a clever nano world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand . Small things can be useful.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Changing Your Privacy Mind

EchoEcho: A startup that lets you ask of anyone: Where are you? - The receiver can provide or deny the information. The approach is different because you can change your answer each time, not set it as a forgotten parameter setting.

Which leads to the GigaOM piece: Privacy is hard because people change their minds. Or even know what their choice was, or that they have the ability to change it.

RFID Location of Sponges, Instruments

In RFID Journal: The FDA has approved the use of passive RFID tags for the location and counting of surgical instruments and sponges. I recall this being brought up in application sessions ten years ago. Surprising that it has taken this long to get the approval. A fairly obvious and very useful application.

On Luring Shoppers to the Store

A good WSJ article on various uses of technology to get people to physical retail. This was an area we worked on extensively with a number of vendors.

Character Amnesia in Chinese

Lots of thoughts out about how technology is altering aspects of literacy. This article from Language Log, about how text messaging is influencing Chinese characters. From the language log:

" ... Pessimists and alarmists have long been lamenting the negative impact of computers upon the ability of Chinese to write characters by hand. See, for example, Jennifer 8. Lee's article entitled "In China, Computer Use Erodes Traditional Handwriting, Stirring a Cultural Debate" in the Technology section of the New York Times for February 1, 2001.

If the situation was bad already a decade ago, it is far more grave now that short text messaging is so wildly popular. In "China worries about losing its character(s)," Los Angeles Times (July 12, 2010), Barbara Demick provides graphic evidence of the starkly diminishing powers of supposedly literate Chinese to produce many characters that are essential for daily usage ... "

Also see the following article ... The comments in both posts are also interesting.

Seaswarm Spill Robotics

Report about an MIT project called Seaswarm. Autonomous robotics to address oil spills. Includes an interesting video. I do always wonder about the contextual complexity of a system that claims to be autonomous.

Learn from Old Spice

This received considerable publicity. Is it for everyone? Likely not, but it does indicate what can work:
What Marketers Can Learn From the Old Spice 'Your Man' Campaign
Stick to P&G's Well-Stirred Mix of the Three Media: Paid, Owned and Earned ... '

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Paul Gillin deftly discusses Millenials: Coming soon to a cubical near you. I see the same behavior in my millenial children.

Weak Link between Popularity and Influence

HP Researchers find only weak link between popularity and influence.

" ... It is worth emphasizing that HP's studies are designed to the highest scientific standards; they are not isolated case studies or the musings of a "social media expert." They typically involve the study of very large numbers of people and thus they reveal some fundamental aspects of our increasingly online culture, and our common humanity.

The latest study from Dr Huberman and team is on what makes a Tweet or a Twitter user influential. More than 22 million tweets were analyzed and it has led to the creation of the IP Algorithm, which measures the influence and passivity of Twitter users.

The study found:

- Most Twitter users are passive, they do not re-Tweet.

- There is a difference between popularity and influence. High numbers of followers does not equal influence because those followers do not re-Tweet.

- To become influential, Twitter users must somehow persuade their followers to re-Tweet.

To measure influence, the study looked at how much traffic a Tweeted URL received, using the Bit.ly shortening service, which also tracks clicks ... "

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making Calls from GMail

You can now make free calls to within the US and Canada from GMail. And make international calls at a low rate. If you have a Google Voice phone number you can also receive calls. Strong competition for Skype? More attachment to Google?

Update: It took a few days until this was up and running. Works well. I would also like a conference call mechanism attached. There may also be a problem if the number is blocked when calling free conference lines. Largely I still use my cell, but this is a convenient connection at times.

IPhone Location App for Meijer

A new location and promotion IPhone App for Meijer stores. I would much rather have one location standard for multiple stores. Another example of smartphone applications to improve shopper interaction in-store.

Achieving Marketplace 2.0

Tomorrow at 2 PM EDT: A free webinar on virtual e-procurement. Registration and more. I will attend and review.

Xerox Innovation

In HBR: How Xerox innovates with emerging markets brainpower.

AisleBuyer Eliminates Checkout Wait

An early collaboration between startup AisleBuyer and MagicBeans. Former colleage Andrew Paradies is the CEO. Previously mentioned here. Overall a very good idea for leveraging smartphones in retail. Good review that includes experience specifics.

iPhone app eliminates waiting in checkout line
By Scott Kirsner Globe Correspondent

Most of us have had a chance to use self-checkout systems at stores like Home Depot, Shaw’s, and CVS by now. At some places, they’re popular enough that there’s no difference between the length of the cashier’s queue and the self-checkout queue.

But what if you could scan items in the store as you put them into your shopping cart, using your iPhone, and pay with a credit card — without waiting in line? That’s the idea behind the new app from Boston-based AisleBuyer, which showed up on the iTunes Store earlier this month. The free AisleBuyer app also lets you read product descriptions and reviews on your iPhone. The company calls it the “world’s first mobile checkout system,’’ and I had a chance to try it out last week at Magic Beans, a Brookline store that is the company’s first retail partner ... "

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Layar Augmented Reality Browser

I recently upgraded to an IPhone 4 so I was able to download the Layar Augmented reality browser. It is also available for the Android. Most interesting aspect so far, the hundreds of augmentation layers available. Most are free but about ten cost a small fee. Scanning the paid layers do not show any I would be willing to pay for. The layers act as data for the Layar browser. You load one of them ... for example google local search ... and it will show the direction and distance for a search item. For example, asking for pizza within three miles, about ten locations are shown.

Probably more useful in the city than the suburbs. Most of the application layers are restaurants and sightseeing guides. Or as expected other items that have locational tags, like Wikipedia entries, or tweets. Some Layers allow you to post items in space as well. Will continue exploration.

Google Lets You Improve the View

Gooogle continues to improve how we can see ourselves geographically, both in understanding what is where, but also in being able to see the view from many points on earth. Now they have reported they let you use some of the images they have collected in Streetview, and add better images you may have. Uses their Building Maker system ... Much more in their lat-long blog.

What Motivates Us

Reading: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. A fundamental question for marketers, employers, really anyone. Well written look at what we might call neuromotivation. Pink's earlier book 'A Whole New Mind' was one we featured in our enterprise book club and it was much talked about there, as we started to look at design versus engineering approaches to problem solving.

Solar Toothbrush

From the IdeaConnection, a solar toothbrush that claims to kill bacteria.

Demystifying Kyield

Category demystification from Mark Montgomery, CEO of KYield:

Demystifying Kyield
" ... For the record, we don’t consider Kyield knowledge management (KM), although defined as broadly as some, KM can be considered anything. We do acknowledge that others have placed the label on Kyield that stuck to the point where we debated changing the name, which dates back to discussions with top tier VC firms a few years ago. I also plead guilty to contributing to the confusion as I am less interested these days in what VCs and Wall Street think than overcoming real problems, although customer education seems to take up most of my time. As I am fond of claiming: “most easy problems were solved long ago, so those relying on elevator pitches will be increasingly left behind.” ... "

Read the whole thing, with lots more detail and links.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seth Godin Rethinks the Book

Seth Godin, well known new media author and blogger, says he is starting to rethink the standard publishing model. Saying that his last book Linchpin, is the last one he will publish in a traditional way. I still think the paper book will exist for a long time, but the way knowledge gets to people has changed and will change quickly.

Mobile Neuromarketing Webinar

Sand's Research shows some of their unique mobile capabilities which I have now seen a number of times:

Why Pretend to be in the Store Aisle?

Real time data collection in the real world using Mobile EEG and Eye-Tracking Technology

In the shopping aisle, that is where you want to know how the consumer is reacting to your product, pricing and packaging. That millisecond before and after when they are making that key purchase decision. Not in a mocked up virtual world but in a real-life shopping environment. Identifying that point in time when your target consumer decides to select their purchase and why.

Sands Research will demonstrate and discuss how we collect this key data using our EEG and Eye-tracking technology. Learn more by attending our webinar tomorrow led by Dr. Steve Sands, Chairman of Sands Research Inc.

When: Tuesday, August 24th 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST

How: For log-in information contact - info@sandsresearch.com

To view a segement on our mobile activity from the NBC Today Show ... '

Creating Linked Innovation Groups

A case study from HBR provides a number of suggestions about how to create innovation groups, especially for the large global enterprise.

Creating Distinct but linked Innovation Groups
Conventional wisdom suggests you should isolate innovation from the core — separate the new from the old. But this approach misses the important advantage that big corporations can bring to innovation. Global companies own mammoth assets and capabilities that innovation initiatives must leverage. GE Healthcare in India innovated a $400 portable ECG machine by leveraging GE's vast reservoir of knowledge about ECG technologies that reside in their R&D center in Milwaukee ... '

Art of Taxonomy

This issue has become important in several recent projects:

The Art of Taxonomy: Creating Concept-Rich Services
by Rockmore Marlene

Understanding and organizing data is increasingly important as organizational repositories and websites grow in size and add more content -- including content uploaded by visitors. The Art of Taxonomy introduces low-cost, low-risk tools and techniques for using taxonomies to help. With them, you can implement high-performing applications, manage websites and content management systems (CMS), improve search results, direct visitors to content of interest, and even predict trends in your field.
The Art of Taxonomy shows you how to improve search and navigation to your data, supply links to related content, and target feeds to different audiences. Thoroughly practical and bolstered by in-depth case studies .... '

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Swarm Intelligence

Mind Hacks deftly discusses an article in the Economist I missed on swarm intelligence. This method uses a biologically inspired intelligence metaphor to solve some kinds of otherwise very difficult problems. The group behavior of ants is often used. The broad premise is that we are not close to using brains as our model, so lets use simpler bio forms. We looked at several examples of its application to problems of the enterprise. I would say that net this method was not successful, but it did make us think differently. The economist article: Riders on a Swarm.

Common Culture Locked Up by Copyright

In TechDirt. I have added the book to my lengthening reading list. The struggle between rewarding the author for constructing a work, and making that same work ... also derived from our common culture, available to all. As a believer in the market the exchange of payment makes sense. Yet I do not think that exchange is rich enough to make sure knowledge flows freely.

New Book Shows How Our Common Culture Has Been Locked Up Via Copyright

Well respected author and professor Lewis Hyde, who has done tremendous work in the past on the concept of "gift economies," apparently has a new book out that sounds quite interesting -- though may cover some well-tread ground for folks around here. It's all about how the bastardization of intellectual property law has locked up and diminished our common cultural heritage, and why that's a problem. The book is called Common as Air ... '

Procrastination and Self Control

Dan Ariely author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality posts his yearly video on procrastination and self control and the tool to address it that he provides to his students as they arrive for the term. More at his blog.

Agile Business Intelligence

Debating agile business intelligence.

Mobile Face Biometrics

What looks like a considerable advance in face tracking on a smart phone. Including tracking specific features of a face. All done on a Nokia N900 phone. Includes technical paper links and a video demo. From the University of Manchester, UK

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Super Passwords

On creating super passwords. Work ongoing at Georgia Tech.

Groupon Goes National

Continued emergence of online couponing. This and increasing mobile interaction with stores and other locations is clearly our future. Get ready. Follow Frenda's site which covers retail nicely.

Groupon Launches National Deal With Gap, Selling 10 Groupons A Second ... by sjfrenda

What a difference a day and a deal makes. Yesterday morning, Groupon launched its first nationwide deal, $25 off a $50 purchase at Gap. The promotion, which was available in every city, briefly crashed Groupon’s servers as deal-happy consumers clicked on the 50% discount and pinged their friends ... '

Steering by Sniffing

New, to my knowledge, In the CACM:

Device Lets Disabled Steer Wheelchair, Communicate by Sniffing
Weizmann Institute of Science

A unique device based on sniffing—inhaling and exhaling through the nose—might enable numerous disabled people to navigate wheelchairs or communicate with their loved ones. Sniffing technology might even be used in the future to create a sort of "third hand" to assist healthy surgeons or pilots.

Developed by Professor Noam Sobel, electronics engineers Anton Plotkin and Aharon Weissbrod, and research student Lee Sela in the Weizmann Institute of Science's Department of Neurobiology, the new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered. Users were able to navigate a wheelchair around a complex path or play a computer game with nearly the speed and accuracy of a mouse or joystick ... '

Microindustries Checkout Director

MicroIndustries on their touch&Go Digital Signage. A classic problem. Including this new development:

" ... Here at Micro Industries, we offer retailers one of the most advance queueing systems available. We designed our Touch&Go Checkout Director™ to manage multiple queuing lines. This gives a retailer several options for controlling checkout flow, so that customers don’t disrupt in-store traffic patterns. The Checkout Director incorporates one or more all-in-one computer display systems and provides both voice and visual indications of the next available checkout register. These announcements are triggered either by a wireless connection activated by a store associate at the point of sale (POS) or directly through a LAN connection. ... it’s also scalable for up to 64 checkout lines.... "

And more detail.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FM Radios Mandatory on Cells?

The buzz is out that there may be US laws enacted that require an FM receiver on ever cellphone. Essentially another subsidization of an industry, the broadcasting community. Free market? I wonder who will pay for that?

Tom Peter's Slides

Sort of a Friday's assortment of things for contemplation. Tom Peters shares some of the slides he uses for presentations. Some interesting, some confusing, some insightful that are worth a ponder. Is this an example of the good use or mis-use of powerpoint? Your call.

Developing Software for Digital Cameras

Open source software development for digital cameras. Great direction.

" ... "My hope is that this will shift the camera industry," says Stanford's Marc Levoy, who leads the group that released the software this week at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles.

Digital photography is normally constrained by the software built into the camera by its manufacturer. A field known as "computational photography" expands the possibilities of digital photography. It does this by using software to provide the user with more control over a camera's components ... "

Railfax Data

A good example of using Tableau systems online, by Drew Robertson

Summary of Rail Freight Traffic from Atlantic Systems Inc.
Data through July 31, 2010 -- 30 W 2010
A Weekly Report of North American Rail Freight Traffic, by Major Railroad and Commodity

"One of the timeliest gauges of economic activity" - WSJ 1/10/2010 ... "

Procter Future Friendly

Press Release: P&G Future Friendly Joins National Geographic Society, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD to Launch Interactive School Conservation Program ... "

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A First Look at Facebook Places

I downloaded the new Facebook IPhone App that includes the Places locational capability. It took about 24 hours before Places was implemented 'for my area'. It is very similar to Foursquare, showing you nearby places and then letting you check-in. It showed a reasonable close place, a few hundred yards away. Yet asking for more places did not give you any more businesses nearby. You can add locations. By default your friends are given an alert to your check-in, which I will shut off. Places shows far fewer options for check in, I am not sure that this sensitivity can be changed. Overall looks good, considerable opportunities present themselves.

There was a good article in Adage today about how developers and marketers might use the Places capability. Its worth looking at the API documentation to get a sense of what data is being generated and used.

Also, the EFF makes some good suggestions about privacy considerations on Places.

Tags in Ducts

A curious little discovery about passive RFID tags, their read range can be extended by placing them in metal ducts. The ducts act as wave guides for the RF transmission. It is suggested that the phenomenon could be used to have them transmit data inside buildings. I don't think this has immediate data privacy implications. Or does it?

Jim Stengel's Blog

Was just reminded of the blog of Jim Stengel, former CMO of Procter & Gamble. Lot of useful thoughts there. Recent post " .... working as a consultant with Luxottica ... "

On the Power of Choice

Marketing and merchandising are about choice. Is there too much or too little? How do we make the consumers choice the choice of our product? What separates one choice from another? This recent Knowledge@Wharton video is related, in particular I like the integration of opportunities and responsibilities, rather than just at-the-shelf impulses, which has been emphasized in recent years:

(Video with Transcript)
Sheena Iyengar on the Power of Choice -- and Why It Doesn't Always Bring Us What We Want ... In March 2010, Sheena Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School, published a book titled, The Art of Choosing. The book, she says, reflects her interest in how people make choices, including how they are able to navigate both the opportunities and responsibilities that an abundance of choice can bring. In a video presentation, Iyengar offers Knowledge@Wharton viewers her perspective on the need to separate choices that are "meaningful and uplifting" from those that tend to distract us or that lead to unwise decisions ... '

Complex Adaptive Healthcare

Colleague Mark Montgomery posts in his Kyield blog about complex adaptive healthcare. Inspired by a meeting at the Santa Fe Institute. I was an enterprise representative there for a number of years and often found the interactions inspirational. Our increasingly complex health care system deserves further intelligent investigations like his.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Utilizing Facebook's Public Data

Very interesting guest column in Readwriteweb on the leveraging of Facebook's Public data. Here on the eve of Facebook starting to gather location-based data and introducing location aware interaction between people, their friends and physical places on FB. I think there are worrisome implications here. The author doesn't just point the problems out, he has used them to download huge amounts of public FB data. I don't think FB itself or their millions of users can predict the implications.

More on the privacy issues of Facebook location data.

The Truth About Wal-Mart RFID Plans

Nice piece in CGT. Worth reading. I find nothing very surprising here. Just that the latest writings indicated a specific set of plans, while previously only general talks were mentioned. Tagging clothes has been talked for a decade. That is what likely galvanized some of the usual critics of tagging. Not unexpected.

The Truth about Wal-Mart's RFID Plans
' ... Retailers, including Dillard's, JCPenney, Bloomingdale's and American Apparel, have publically talked about their RFID tagging efforts over the course of the last couple of years, with no particular public attention or concern. But when news was released that Wal-Mart is RFID tagging garments, the media went nuts as claims ran the gamut from concerns about consumer privacy and surreptitious motives to RFID redo circa 2004.

The truth is, the retail giant has never stopped exploring the potential business value of RFID, and has experimented with various use cases, from the pallet and case efforts of a few years ago to DVD tagging to the now well known apparel tagging efforts. These efforts are all aimed at improving the efficiency by which Wal-Mart does business, thereby reducing the price of goods conveyed to consumers ... '

Change Your Name to Avoid Cyber-Past

Eye opening, given that they are the enablers ... : Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt ... The private lives of young people are now so well documented on the internet that many will have to change their names on reaching adulthood, Google’s CEO has claimed ... "

Airline Traffic Data

Have been following airline network traffic for some time. Fascinating compendium of May 2010 Airline Traffic Data. Via Mark Perry's blog, who has some comments.

Simpler Solar

In the NYT ... a simpler, plug and play solar array system under development. Like to see these kinds of things via markets rather than massive government funding.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wikify Fact Checking

Can you use a Wiki to do true fact checking? A USC journalism Prof attempt. I don't think it is working in the WIkipedia for anything that smells even a tiny amount controversial. The nascent site is called WIkiFactCheck. Good luck.

Achieving Marketplace 2.0

Some of my recent explorations of e-procurement systems led me to this upcoming AMR webinar. See my previous post on ViniMaya, a strong contender in this space. I plan to attend this.

Achieving Marketplace 2.0
Improving Productivity & End-User Satisfaction with Private, Virtual Procurement Marketplaces
: August 26th @ 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST

Registration and more information.

AMR Research Presents:
Is your company’s success with e-Procurement being limited by a complex end-user experience and a supplier data management process that is time-consuming, resource-intensive, and costly to maintain?

Let Mickey North Rizza, Research Director, AMR walk you through the evolution of e-Procurement platforms and provide you with valuable data points you need to make a business case for improving your current Procurement process by creating a private, virtual Marketplace 2.0 .... "

Shopkick at BestBuy, Macys

What appears to be an easy to use location based promotion system that does not require explicit check-in once enabled. Also, the automatic check-in cannot be faked. Benefit for shopper and merchant. Macy's is also mentioned as a participant. Both revealed retail participants are very tech saavy, so I have to respect this involvement.

This is precisely the kind of thing that I was expecting from Foursquare, but did not get. I have subscribed to get a further look at how it works in a real environment and how persuasive the offers look. This could be a killer App for location based services, an augmented loyalty card.

A quick look at the App shows it to be too 'cutesy' by about 50%. Hello Kitty? Its look should be redesigned to look more serious and thus make the promotions look serious.

Best Buy Rolls Out Shopkick’s Geo-Coupon System To 257 Stores
Best Buy is rolling out an in-store mobile couponing system in conjunction with a startup called shopkick. The system will be in place in 187 stores by tomorrow and 257 stores by October 1 .... "



Check out Nathan Yau's always interesting visualization and statistics site: FlowingData.

Advertising Policy

Readers, Publishers, Vendors,

I have had an increasing number of requests to have advertising links placed in this blog.

In general I do not take advertising that does not have some relationship to my blog topics. You can get a general sense of these from my short bio link on the left column. You will see I do not have a blog roll, so I cannot exchange blog roll links.

I will accept books, services, software and other items to review, mention and link to. In the case of software I need more than a 30 day trial period for review. In rare circumstances I might ask for payment if the review process appears it will take much time. I am a consultant so I remind you I can be hired in that respect as well.

I retain complete editorial control, but at minimum will do one neutral 'in review' mention/link of your offering. I can copy at request my reviews to other venues like Amazon. I do not usually heavily criticize most things ... unless ... I think there is an important point to be made. All that being said, if you think you have something I might like, make me an offer.

Answer me in the comments if you do not have my email address. Leave your email address, but I won't publish it.

Franz Dill

Monday, August 16, 2010

SASCom Centers of Excellence Webinar

Upcoming Wednesday, a very useful topic:

"Centers of Excellence 101: How to maximize knowledge from BI and analytical resources
It's webinar time again! This hour session is designed for business analysts, directors of analytics and BI, and business users on the topic of Centers of Excellence. This live "101" webinar will take place live on Aug. 18, and it's the fifth installment in the 2010 Applying Business Analytics Webinar Series ... "

Subtle Patterns in Complex Events

I have now seen a number of live demonstrations of Recorded Future and am increasingly intrigued by the subtle complexity that is revealed when we can do something that is more that just simple search.

I have been involved in a number of projects that dealt with focused and unfocused competitive intelligence. These are most useful when they utilize human domain expertise to do searches and look ups - and them combine what is found into a useful outline that synthesises the results.

What is often lost are precisely those subtle patterns that search cannot find. Human experts may find it, but they are often not given the right data. Or if they have the right data, cannot quantitatively compare results. Combinatorically too, there may be too many patterns to compare. Time domain aspects of a problem are hard to manage. It is also problem being addressed by interactive, visual business intelligence.

In the Recorded Future Blog, an instructive post on how they are addressing this problem, read the entire post:

Searching Complex Events to Reveal Subtle Patterns: Currencies, Terrorism, and Corporate Actions
A very neat feature in Recorded Future is the ability to do advanced temporal queries looking for complex events involving the relationship of two patterns. We might want to systematically explore or monitor for patterns such as:

» Two people speaking about the same subject within a short period of time
» A person speaking leading to certain actions
» A company action preceeding another action – potentially “shady” combinations
Since the data in Recorded Future comes from thousands and thousands of sources, such trends become particularly interesting to explore .... "

Franz Edelman Award Submissions

While at the Procter & Gamble company I was involved in finalist and winning submissions for the Franz Edelman Award. I am a big proponent. Its purpose " .. is to bring forward, recognize, and reward outstanding examples of operations research, management science, and advanced analytics in practice. The prize is awarded for implemented work, not for a submitted paper or for the presentation describing the work. The client organization that uses the winning work receives a prize citation and the authors of the winning work receive a cash award. All finalists receive the opportunity to publish their papers in INFORMS' prestigious journal, Interfaces."

More details, background and the newest application information.

Kroger Pushes Private Label Beauty

Big brand manufacturers continue to be nervous about how retailers are increasingly promoting private label (aka store brands). Beauty care products have been less prone to this kind of erosion of big brand share due to their heavy marketing costs. But Kroger and others are starting to advance in the private label beauty space to take advantage of the higher margins there.

Infographic Overuse

This infographic about new and declining social media was recently much touted. It would attract attention if hung on the wall, but it is no more than a list of social media players and number of users. The 'geographic' aspect provides no additional value. Infographics should do more than just attract attention.

Marketing Analysis Tools from HBS

These are inexpensive PDFs used in courses that include Excel templates. Have not examined in detail, but might be useful to get started in the basic analytics of marketing:

HBS Introduces Marketing Analysis Tools for Managers
Harvard Business Publishing has released new toolkits to help managers make key marketing decisions on market analysis, breakeven analysis, customer lifetime value, profit and pricing, and analyzing the competitive environment.

The five toolkits were developed by marketing professors Thomas Steenburgh of HBS and Jill Avery (HBS DBA'07) of Simmons School of Management. We asked Steenburgh to explain how practitioners can use the toolkits in their businesses .... "

Does Arithmetic Need to Be Saved?

Arithmetic broken? Provocative little piece via Richard James. In New Scientist: "...Mathematicians are facing a stark choice – embrace monstrous infinite entities or admit the basic rules of arithmetic are broken...". As you might expect this is philosophic rather than immediately practical, but if worth looking at if the mere thought intrigues you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

FourSquare Style Case Studies

Walter Riker, author of the excellent introductory Ease of Blogging space, points me to a good set of examples of using FourSquare type methods. Thanks Walter. How is it being used, effectively or not? See in ClickZ: The Best and Worst Campaign Deals on Foursquare's Turf. I note that the value metrics here are those to the consumer, not directly to the brand. Assumption here since these are big, well known names, the publicity and then sales will follow from the medium. Not always the case.

Brave New Google and Intelligence

Nick Carr satirically views the interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the WSJ yesterday. Schmidt positions the future of search as an artificial intelligence (AI) driven world where the engine will try to anticipate my needs. I was a many year practitioner of AI and I know that it can be done. Not extremely well yet, but that future is approaching rapidly.

I have written about how I would enjoy having my searches augmented to improve their breadth and and accuracy. Yet I am worried that I am not in charge of the information about me that big entities like Google or the Government are using.

The use of AI will allow these groups to pick and choose, integrate and associate, relate and connect information to choose what else you are interested in. Improve your searches. Or determine what you have done or you may be doing. A Minority report connected with a Brave new intelligence world approaches. Be cautious about what you reveal while you still can.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Physics Wins in Net Neutrality

Colleague Mark Montgomery in the KYield blog, On Net Neutrality: " ... The net neutrality issue is finally being debated, thanks not to populist politics, but rather the supply and demand dynamics of electromagnetic spectrum. Unfortunately, I believe activists and advocates have been exploited all along on this issue, often apparently without their awareness ... ". As usual, well put, read the entire essay.


Sammy Haroon on behavior and pricing.

24 Hour Customer

Newly acquired: The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy by Adrian C. Ott. Just started, nicely focused to the time that consumer has online. Emphasizing the time-value tradeoff. We all know it is there, but how do we utilize it? Will followup with a more complete look when done. The author is CEO of Exponential Edge.

Looking for Entelligence

The concept of dedicated devices that reside on the net and update us with key information and services is not a new one.

Nanotech Electronic Noses

New work in building electronic noses. We experimented with the idea for blending beverages. In general the electronic sensors were not accurate enough.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Panic in the Science of Crowds

The science of crowds is another thing we followed to understand what goes on in retail. This is not directly related to the retail context, but shows the depth of work going on.

Solar Storm Watch

There have been a number of notable recent solar storms. BBC article provides some detail. There are some new sites which are crowdsourcing our defense. With that and a number of new satellite observations, we can observe our life giving but also unruly sun.

Live Auction

I posted a while back that I have been helping Cowans, an Auction house. There is a live auction on Decor going on now that you can track via smartphone. The IPhone App Store has an App called LiveAuctioneers. It's free. Load it up, then go to the auctions option, then choose Cowans Live. You can track the progress of the auction without signing in. If you want to bid a short sign in is required. The auction continues this afternoon and tomorrow. These kinds of push Apps are excellent examples of live interactions with a complex remote event. More about Cowan Auctions. Another auction on Western and American Indian Art is upcoming on September 10.

Sensors on Broadway

In ReadWriteWeb: An intriguing use of RFID tags to determine and improve the acoustical characteristics of live performances. Unusual application that could have other locational applications, linking simulations to live data.

Gamers Beat Algorithms

It has been suggested that gaming and the human senses can perform better than analytical algorithms. Here is an example in determining protein structures. We also briefly dabbled in this space. Also some links to other gaming examples.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mosaic Theory of Search

Search here is the kind you would need a judicial warrant for, not a search-engine. I Have been involved in the use of a number of technologies like GPS and RFID which can determine the location of someone in a context. A colleague sent me a note about this new ruling, wondering if those kinds of capabilities could be considered a search? Depending on how much location data was saved and the duration of the tracking. I did not think so, but did some research, and found the below in a law blog (Volokh) where the decision is outlined, which is described in what they call a 'mosaic theory of search':

" ... Here, the DC court determined that continuous tracking for a period of over a month did violate a reasonable expectation of privacy—and therefore constituted a Fourth Amendment search requiring a judicial warrant—because such intensive secretive tracking by means of public observation is so costly and risky that no reasonable person expects to be subject to such comprehensive surveillance ... "
This is further discussed in considerable length and detail at Volokh (quoted above) and in Cato. I am no lawyer, but will this have any effect in the private sector, creating search from a mosaic of scans or recordings of GPS locations? Of course tracking does not typically involve a month of surveillance. Thoughts?

Can Social Save Media?

Talk from Supernova: Moderators are Wharton's Peter Fader and Eric Barlow ... Via WIMI: Wharton Interactive Media Initiative.

Chrome Calling Phone

I like this idea, sending multimedia things to your phone. I have often been in this fix. Need to get things to my phone and ready to go. Android-only according the the article.

Visual Meetings!

Newly brought to my attention, we used David's methods to do group productivity sessions. Always very imppressive. I recognize parts of the book as some of the excellent training he provided for us. I will provide more detail in the future.

Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity by David Sibbet.

Best Practices

Interesting thoughts about the development and use of best practices, a common thing in the enterprise. Best practices work under a set of given contexts.

How to Build a Mind

Still waiting for some of the required details for reverse-engineering. I am no neuroscientist, but even I can see that all the blueprints are not ready yet.

"The Mind and How To Build One
August 12, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil
At the Singularity Summit in San Francisco at 11 AM on Saturday August 14, Ray Kurzweil will present an overview of “arguably the most important project in the history of the human-machine civilization”: to model and reverse-engineer the brain, with the goal of creating intelligent machines to address the grand challenges of humanity. He prepared the following statement on his talk at the conference ... "

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Smartphones and Retailers

The possibilities of having shoppers use their own devices to get information to help them understand their options has existed for some time. But now shoppers are getting unprecedented capabilities to make this easy. In a recent shopping trip I saw several people scanning bar codes and gathering data from their phones. Only a few years ago I was the only person doing this. This not so subtly changes aspects of control. The change is quickly approaching. How will retail and manufacturer adapt to this new landscape? Some early thoughts in Supermarket News. Also as an example, see my report on the Aislebuyer system.

Robot Roadmap

In the CACM, A roadmap for the robotic future. " ... The EU-funded CARE project (Coordination Action for Robotics in Europe), coordinated by Rainer Bischoff and Tim Guhl of KUKA Roboter in Augsburg, Germany, was set up in 2006 to create a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) to guide the development of robotics. "We wanted to make sure that a lot of different stakeholders were involved," says Guhl. "And we wanted to have an industrially driven agenda—that was very important." ... '

How Many Books Are There?

I am a book and library nut. A nice piece by Google that takes a cut at the 'N' question about books. Along the way you learn quite a bit about books and how they are classified and counted today. If you have interest in the subject, read this:

"Books of the world, stand up and be counted! All 129,864,880 of you ... When you are part of a company that is trying to digitize all the books in the world, the first question you often get is: “Just how many books are out there?”

Well, it all depends on what exactly you mean by a “book.” We’re not going to count what library scientists call “works,” those elusive "distinct intellectual or artistic creations.” It makes sense to consider all editions of “Hamlet” separately, as we would like to distinguish between -- and scan -- books containing, for example, different forewords and commentaries ... "

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saffron Associative Experience Management

I just received a note announcing Saffron Technologies forthcoming book: Making Memories, Applying Neuron-inspired Associative Memories to National, Business and Consumer Intelligence by Manuel Aparicio IV

You can register and get a free copy of the Prolog and Part One and reserve a free copy of the ebook.

In the enterprise we closely examined the application of associative memories for enterprise experience storage and retrieval applications. I have met with Saffron several times and am impressed with this rare and complete application of this leading edge work.

" .. Making Memories tells a story about the science, technology and business of Saffron's new approach to capturing and reasoning from the "memories" of your data. It's what Saffron calls "Experience Management." ... These sections will give you a strong sense of what Making Memories is about: How an old idea -- human thought processes and how they work -- is being applied to create a completely new arena of data analytics for business that surpasses the need for rules and statistics.
We believe the book is very timely given today's data management challenges ... "

Forbes Requires its Reporters to Blog

Via Paul Gillin ... Forbes is requiring its reporters to blog and is opening a new blog. Will newspapers survive by morphing into blogs? That seems to be be happening on the editorial pages.

Book Review: Hamlet's Blackberry

Just completed the recently released: Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers. The link includes section examples. See also the author's blog.

The broad topic is popular these days, eight books are mentioned in Businessweek discussing if the Web is making the world better or worse. From the cautious or pessimistic point of view many of the books seek to determine who is in control in this new world of endless connectivity. My IPhone dings me whenever there is a new incoming email, dongs me with a new text message and pushes me a new video whenever satellites orbiting the sun detect a new solar storm. New communicating Apps come out every week. I work with several forms of email and a half dozen social networks.

Hamlet's Blackberry does an excellent job of positioning our current place in a connected world. We are connected at anytime, and increasingly in any place. We act as though we believe that the more you are connected the better off you are. As long as we act on this premise, information overloading will get worse. Do we want to give increasing control to the machines?

In its second section Powers discusses the history of how technology has forced these problems to occur a number of times in the past from the time of Plato to that of McLuhan. Each of these essays is done very well, if sometime the point is over-made. If you like the history of technology and how it can influence how people communicate and utilize knowledge, they are excellent introductions. One example covers the use of small erasable tablets by Shakespeare called 'Tables' to temporarily record information. He suggests that simple paper notebooks can be used today to minimize the digitization of all information, letting knowledge 'rest' before it is completely saved. It is something I do myself.

The last sections cover solutions to the overconnection problem. You could go directly to that section if you already agree with the premise in the first part. Powers gives some simple, practical approaches to the problem, based on some of the historical examples. All of these are based on the supposition that you are not as busy as you really think you are. He also tested the methods he suggests with his own family, where they have worked well.

We are not forced to buy new mobile technology or join new social networking groups. Yet people believe it has become a ticket to the inter connected world. There are alternatives, and Hamlets's Blackberry does a good job outlining these for someone who wants an interesting historical premise for the solutions.

Monday, August 09, 2010

How Eye Tracking is Changing the Web

Good intro piece in ReadWriteWeb. Not only about tracking in a passive sense to see where people are looking, but also as a means to interact with the web. Have never tried eye movement for tracking, would be interesting to see how practical that is.

I-Room Virtual Space for Interaction

In the current IEEE Computer Intelligence Systems. An overview of a collaborative space to support sensory decisions. Quite interesting because it includes the input of game developers. The idea of including purposeful, valuable and engaging interaction may be key to make this kind of thing work. Unfortunately only available online in abstract form at this time. I am reviewing the full paper further. More public information about this work here.

Eyeballs Out

I just read the preprint of colleague Donna Sturgess' new book: Eyeballs Out: How To Step Into Another World, Discover New Ideas, and Make Your Business Thrive. In the book she visits the Nuclear Carrier USS Stennis and immerses herself in the life on board. I too have been impressed by the thrill and excellence evoked by those with military experience. She provides a number of 'spectacular' points about how the military uses its understanding of people and technology to provide enduring value.

Some surprising chapters, like a description of the use of chaplains on the carrier and in business. A suggestion of using more incremental badge-style recognition methods. Utlizing games to anticipate action in complex business decisions. The use of immersive strategies to get true understanding of context of the business and customer. Our own innovation centers took this approach. Emphasizes the value of hiring veterans who have experienced this world. All of this provided using the background of a good story.

An easy read, this book would be useful as prereading, chapter by chapter or in its entirety, for innovative management meetings, where you could add examples from your own company. You can preorder now, planned release is in October.

Branded Storytelling Online

Storytelling should work. yes, but it does depend on the story. AdAge presents a number of case studies that worked, and others that did not. An instrutive set of examples.

Saffron Technologies Overview

A good explanatory post on associative memory vendor Saffron Technology ... which I have followed for some time. Will continue to track this impressive effort.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Can you Bulletize that?

This is fairly old, but I was reminded of it by a colleague: Some Problems in the world are not Bullet-izable. And Tufte's classic comments on the subject.

RFID Reads from a Distance

Storefrontbacktalk reports about a passive RFID tag read from a distance of 217 feet, presented at the recent DEFCON conference. The comments debate if it was done with completely legal equipment. Its been long known that tags designed to be read at a few cm distances could be read from farther away.

Micro Drones at Google

Google ordering micro drones. For filling in the details on streetview? Don't swat that fly, could be Google getting data.

Furniture Mass Customization

I have just been looking at at some examples of mass customization. Most appear to be in the clothing area. Here is another, a startup in the mass customization of furniture. Useful case study in an alternate area.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Talking Washers and Dryers

In BWeek, More on work by Kenmore having appliances report their maintenance issues remotely. We experimented with a number of these appliances in the innovation centers. Aware and online appliances have been developed by a number of firms, but consumers are not in general willing to pay considerable premiums for such devices. The new approaches described do not permanently connect the appliance to the net, but use an existing fairly low tech connection, like a telephone, to transmit problem codes to aid repair. Will appliances eventually live online? I think so, but not quite yet.

Procter and Safe Drinking Water

Have followed P&G's safe drinking water for children effort in this blog for some time. Now they are rolling out a new effort featuring female bloggers.

Innovation is not Creativity

In the HBR Blog: by Vijay Govindarajan ' ... We like to think of an organization's capacity for innovation as creativity multiplied by execution. We use "multiplication" rather than "sum" because, if either creativity or execution has a score of zero, then the capacity for innovation is zero.

Chris and I have devoted the last ten years studying one question: What are the best practices for executing an innovation initiative? Our book, The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge, is the result of that effort ... '

Friday, August 06, 2010

Are Marketers Spying on You Online?

A very good little AdAge article that discusses what marketers know and what they don't know about you online. I also recommend reading the comments to the article in this case, which have some interesting things to say, especially about the linkage of business intelligence efforts to data.

Vinimaya Virtual Supplier Network

I have now had a couple of in-depth conversations with the local company Vinimaya. Very impressive and particularly simple and cost effective solutions to company procurement problems. Their site contains a number of current customer and supplier case studies

"The Vinimaya AdvantageThe patent-pending SmartSearch™ helps companies create "virtual Internet supplier networks", solving e-Procurement’s three biggest problems:

1.User Adoption: Access all catalogs, web or stored, from a single, consumer-like user interface!

2.Supplier Adoption: Any punchout site, web site catalog, or stored catalog is “Vinimaya ready” today.

3.Costs: Buying organizations no longer have to manage the catalog content to ensure price compliance ... "

Tesco Mobile Shopping App

In the UK MarketingWeek. Tesco is always innovative. In particular, interesting is their motivation for bypassing some more popular smartphone platforms:

"Tesco is set to roll out its first mobile shopping app on Nokia's Ovi Store next week. The U.K.'s largest retailer bypassed Apple's iPhone for its first effort, focusing instead on making the mobile site accessible to its core customers -- busy moms who tend to use less pricey mobile devices ... "

Airline Booking Augmented Reality

Metaio sends along this simple application of augmented reality in travel services:

' .. The air transport IT specialist, SITA and Malaysia Airlines have developed an augmented reality app - based on the Unifeye Mobile SDK - that allows customers to pick up the best airline deals from nearby airports displayed in the live-camera view of a smartphone. Malaysia`s app, "MHdeals", demonstrates for the first time how airlines can exploit the technology commercially as a new channel to customers for ticket sales: Please find a demonstration video here. ... "

Mass Customization Friday

An interesting mass customization event will be held today on Facebook. They are described at the link. " ... 20 startups in the mass customization space will advertise in a coordinated fashion on Friday (6/8) on Facebook to create awareness for design-your-own and customization. While mass customization start-ups really are popping up all over the place, there still is rather little awareness about this new trend with the general public. 24 mass customization companies set out to change that! They have united in a great way to make August 6 "Mass Customization Friday" by all purchasing and running Facebook Ads with a "design your own" claim on that day ... "

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Google Small Business Blog

Just started up, the Google Small Business Blog. " ... a central hub that brings together all the information about our products, features and projects of specific interest to the small business community ... "

Crowd Wisdom in Small Business

A colleage recently talk to me about projects we had proposed using crowd wisdom. A good NYT article on the use of 'Wisdom of the Crowd' plays, broadly defined, in small business. I always take notice when a new method is successfully used in small business. A big enterprise has the slack and money to test things. In small business the risk is much higher. Useful case studies.

" ... The process of crowdsourcing involves turning to resources outside your company. But instead of outsourcing a specific task or business function to a single company, crowdsourcing — also known as expert-sourcing and open innovation — makes a public, or semipublic, invitation to a community at large to provide input or work.... Thousands of crowdsourcing providers have emerged offering things like product development, logo design, fund-raising and sales-lead generation. What follows are suggestions based on the experiences of other small-business owners ... "

Gulf Spill's Lessons for Robotics

In IEEE Spectrum: A number of strategic and tactical lessons learned for robotics during the Gulf spill.

Ferrari Quits Barcode Logo

It was one of the major claims in Martin Lindstrom's book: Buyology that the tobacco industry was using subliminal triggers in ads, even when explicit brand logos had been removed. In his latest newsletter he reports:

" ..Here’s one for the books. Ferrari racing, for many years emblazoned with Marlboro livery, has succumbed to significant pressure and removed the subliminal and highly controversial bar-code logo from its Formula One cars. As this WSJ article reveals, Lindstrom’s best-seller Buyology played a major role in Ferrari’s decision. Based on the findings from the book, which inexorably linked Ferrari to subliminal cigarette advertising, the European Public Health Commission launched their own investigation, ultimately creating enough pressure to force Phillip Morris and Ferrari to mutually agree to complete removal of the barcode ... '

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Google Drops Wave

In a surprising development Google has decided to drop its Wave social-collaborative capability by year's end. Some of the functionality will be included in other services. I only knew a few people that used it. I played with it for a few hours. A minor backpedal in the rush to infinite social connectivity, which gives me a slight pause of relief. For more on that read William Power's Hamlet's Blackberry. (You can read some of it at the link) I will review further later.

Context Aware Computing

In the August IEEE Computer an issue devoted to Context Aware Computing. Including a good video. So what is it and why does it matter far beyond just your location? How does it link to many new kinds of sensor data being provided to establish a context? Or the context of s grocery aisle. Intelligence itself is a form of context awareness.


Just brought to my attention via Andrew Paradies. AisleBuyer A Smartphone based engagement and convenience enhancement idea for retail. An idea we explored a number of times in the innovation center. The broad use of smartphones makes these kinds of capabilities inevitable. They will change many of the dynamics between manufacturer, retailer and shopper. Worth a close look.

He writes in their blog: " ... We started AisleBuyer with a simple proposition: Why can’t retail shoppers enjoy the same benefits that online shoppers enjoy? After all, E-commerce shopping provides nearly unlimited product information, customer reviews, special offers based on shopping behavior…and when you’re ready to pay – checkout is instantaneous. It seemed strange to us that, while we all own mobile devices that can access online shopping information while you’re in a retail store…yet no one had created a way to combine those features with instantaneous self-checkout... "

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What Online Marketers Know About You

In Flowingdata: What Online Marketers Know About you. I do like the topic, it is something we should be aware of. I am not sure that the graphics add enough to the topic. I remain an advocate of graphics that are just complicated enough to make the data clear.

QR Codes Get Needed Publicity

The square two dimensional QR code, commonly used in Japan, is uncommon in North America. And that is the problem. If people don't know there may be something interesting behind the code, they won't try to scan it. They also need something to scan it with, like a smartphone with an App. Most consumers know about the line barcode on items in a grocery store. As I recall, based on a study we did, less than 10% of consumers know what a QR code is. A considerable minority. Now they are putting QR codes on NYC garbage trucks for a recycling promotion, where they will likely educate what the codes are all about. More about QR codes here. Update: AT&T is offering a free QR code reading App for Smartphones. It will also read several other UPC code standards.

Advances in Vending

We did lots of work on kiosk implementations in the innovation centers. I recently talked to a company, Utiqueshop that was doing some interesting things in advanced kiosks for samples. In the WSJ today, a good article on advances in vending. I think its a natural progression. Just keep them stocked and tailored to the local needs.

Floating Wind Lens

From IdeaConnection. The Floating Wind Lens. Improvement in wind power technology?

Retail Realities Column

Evan Schuman, editor of Storefrontbacktalk, points me to their Retail Realities column published every Friday on CBSNews.com. Add it to your feed. Also on Twitter.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Future of Social Gaming

In the Recorded Future blog, a post about an analysis of the future of social gaming. This is a nice example of the use of the novel Recorded Future predictive approach and the use of visualization to support it. Follow their blog for additional examples.

Rapportive Contact List Management

I just took a look at the Rapportive Rich Contact resource add on to the Chrome browser. It works with the GMail service only. It will not work with the Explorer browser, but will work with Firefox. It replaces the advertising column in GMail with information about the email message sender you click on or mouse-over. It looks up the email address of the person and provides whatever it can find, including their picture, Linkedin profile, social media activity, etc. You can also can add your own private note about a contact.

A very nice idea, especially if you have very many contacts that are also dynamic, as I do. Very useful to have it all in front of you. When I used it at first it could not find a number of my contacts, but indicated it would continue to search offline. I will check again later. This is only good if you nearly always get useful results. Worth trying.

Update: Their CEO Rahul Vohra quickly comments ... Thanks for bearing with us! We can take a few days or so to find social links, and we're improving our systems all the time.

See also more on the company in Readwriteweb.

Internet Time Budgets

Perhaps not unexpected that social networks, (They include blogs in this definiton), are taking over the Internet.

Most Internet time now spent with social networks, games from Ars Technica
Just in case you needed further confirmation that blogs, social networks, and games are overtaking everything else on the Net, Nielsen has released its latest statistics. They show that Americans now spend almost a quarter of their PC/laptop days and nights on social networking sites and blogs. That's a 43 percent jump from a year ago ... '


A new science blogging network.

Wireless Technology on the Road

Addresses some of the standards and issues involved:

In CACM: Communications technology is transforming the driving experience. Automatic toll collection, crash reporting, and satellite-based navigation with traffic updates—as well as the widespread use of cell phones—provide drivers with much better information, as well as more distractions. But many researchers think that car travel is poised for an even bigger transformation as technology allows communications directly between vehicles .... '

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Deeper Motives

This article quotes Gary Singer, CEO of Buyology Inc.

Deeper Motives: Getting Beyond Targeting
by Steve Smith, Friday, July 30, 2010, 2:45 PM

Behavioral targeting generally hunts for affinities. You read this -- so you must be interested in that. You did this online, so it is likely you are in market for that. You are friendly with her, so you must like similar things.

But what about the deeper motives that may drive purchase decisions? Is behavioral targeting even close to tracking the desires and values that drive people to certain brands?

The recent book "Buyology" by Martin Lindstrom, and the company of the same name started by Lindstrom and partner Gary Singer, CEO, Buyology, Inc., explore the "non-conscious" or non-cognitive drivers of decision-making. I spoke with Singer recently about the kinds of insight the company brings to brands, and how this maps against the approaches online ad targeting employs.

The original research on which the Buyology approach is based involved over 2,000 people whose brain patterns were studied as they responded to different kinds of messaging and symbols to determine the key drivers that moved them towards brands ... '

Building a Lego Universe

Via IEEE Spectrum. I much like the idea of a company which has been known for incremental play to become involved in the broader area of gaming.
Building the Lego Universe
Ten years in the making, the online computer game Lego Universe is scheduled for release in October. It marks the iconic building-block maker’s first foray into massively multiplayer gaming, and it’s a major gamble. The creators are aiming to pull off three incredibly difficult feats: translating the creative, distinctly tactile Lego experience into a virtual arena, creating an online environment that’s both kid friendly and kid safe, and opening up a new market for the US $2 billion toy company ... '

Virtual Views of Store Environments

Linking virtual environments and brain behavior. Makes sense since a virtual environment can be quickly modified to construct new experiments. Then the human reaction to the environment can be quickly gauged. Addresses aspects of retail design. Based on the article I do not see how well this has been done, but I expect to see much more of this in the future.

Pepsi and Enterprise Learning

New at Pepsi, in Consumer Goods Tech:

PepsiCo's New Approach to Enterprise Learning
PepsiCo launched an innovative initiative in May 2009 that can serve as a valuable learning model for companies in any industry. Called the PepsiCo Finance University, find out how this initiative provided new understanding of core financial skills ... '