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Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Web Format

Google has developed a new web format called WebP to replace Jpeg. Why? Because they believe that it will greatly diminish storage space used for still images on the web, which they says comprises 40% of the storage used on the web. Also speed up the Web's operation.

BMW Integrates IPads

Report in Engadget: BMW has shown an integration of IPads into the back seats of one of their cars. Interesting and amusing. I am assuming these would then be removable as required. Click through to see more. This is a pretty easy to mock up so I am skeptical about this being an option quite yet. Is this the future of cars, an office in the back seat? Or is it just an easier way to show entertainment?

P&G Innovation Center in Asia

Procter & Gamble continues to open new innovation centers. Increasingly focused to region and goal. Just begun in Singapore

" ... the LWC-S is an independent innovation research center focused on revolutionizing product design and development for consumers aged 50 and above in Asia. It is an extension of the Live Well Collaborative in Cincinnati (LWC-C), the breakthrough business-academia partnership model pioneered by P&G and the University of Cincinnati in the United States and based on P&G's Connect+Develop open innovation model ... "

Future Jobs

In Small Business Labs: Future jobs that are available today. A look at job, primarily technically related, that are exploding today.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Texting with no Hands

In GigaOM: An Android App that allows texting and receiving texts without hands. The dangers of texting and driving are much in the news. A possible solution. But at what accuracy? The claim is that the speech recognition used is very good.

Neurofocus Announces own Standards

Nielsen associated Neuromarketing company Neurofocus sets up their own standards. They further offer to share these standards with companies. You can hardly set up a standard unless others join in. They have not joined the ARF group seeking to test Neuromarketing methodologies. Apparently not thinking it is required.

Future of Augmented Reality

Just received from Metaio. This is interesting because it talks about both a definition of AR and its direction. This is clearly a marketing piece, but it does provide some excellent examples. See the video below. Others provide a much simpler definition of AR ... even adding some click throughs on a map augments a map reality with a layer of information.

"The Future of Augmented Reality
Munich, September 29th, 2010 - metaio GmbH, the leading expert on Augmented Reality (AR), held a conference in Munich, called "insideAR", with focus on current practical applications in marketing and industry as well as on the future of this exciting field, which is being identified by many analysts as one of the most disruptive technologies of the years to come. 250 attendees from many countries and industries were able to follow insightful presentations by Intel, Nokia, Siemens and others about their company`s contributions and plans regarding AR. As the many money-earning practical applications on display during the conference demonstrated, Augmented Reality is definitely here to stay and has found its place in everyday life. metaio, as conference host, took opportunity to present its view of market opportunities ...."
--- Video from/about the conference. Note that the video provides few details, just examples of some advanced possibilities. Also, the keynote addresses from the conference can be found here (Click on individual presentations in the right hand column)

Phones Nagging Patients

In CACM: a study about using a cell phone to improve pharma compliance. Not a new idea at all. The general idea was demonstrated in the contextual innovation centers including things like a 'smart' medicine cabinet which would detect an RFID tag on a prescription, and then alert the consumer to take their meds. Including a smartphone connection makes sense. Of course you could just robo call someone and remind them, but there is something that makes your own smart phone personal. You set up the App ... approved the parameters. This could make it more likely that you would be compliant.

Open Questions in Neuroscience Symposium

Ongoing ... note also that founder Paul G Allen is now on Twitter ...

2010 Annual Symposium: Open Questions in Neuroscience

September 28-29, 2010
Seattle, WA
The theme of this first annual symposium is deliberately broad, translating into a thought-provoking program that addresses key areas of neuroscience and looks to the future of the field.

Bringing together a diverse group of leading scientists, the meeting will feature a series of presentations and opportunities for formal and informal discussion. The mixture of talks and discussion is intended to inspire innovative thinking and engage participants in exploring compelling and promising avenues for advancing brain research .... "

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mission Control for Social Media and Retail

In AdAge: Gatorade has established an 'mission control' room for tracking how their message is working. " ... In a room crammed with flat-screen monitors, Gatorade monitors social media and deduces what its customers want and what's next -- or should be next -- for the multibillion-dollar beverage brand ... " .

Though this sounds a little ludicrous, I worked with some vendors on a related concept which would track in real time how well a physical store, promotions, displays and other in-store fixtures would be operated based on incoming data. Why not link in social data as well? Great opportunity for business intelligence and real time data mining. Love to talk the general idea ... Contact me ... email address in left column.

Eye Tracking Case Studies

Just brought to my attention for a study: A set of case studies from the eye-tracking vendor Tobii that covers a number of capabilities and study contexts. Previous mentions here about Tobii.

Apple TV

Apple TV is to arrive by this Friday. Sounds like an interesting change is underway. " ... Apple's focus is on selling you 99¢ TV show rentals plus movie rentals from its iTunes storefront, which would stream over the Internet to your Apple TV from Apple's faraway servers. ... "

How Facebook Sells You

A very instructive piece in the current Bloomberg Businessweek on How Facebook Sells You.

Rise of Apps Culture

Pew Internet on the rise of Apps culture. Or based on the stats, perhaps a non-apps culture: " ... Some 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones, yet only 24% of adults use those apps. Many adults who have apps on their phones, particularly older adults, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps. Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps .... "

Chicago Thinkubator

I have been involved with innovation contexts in the enterprise, and had heard of the Thinkubator in Chicago, but never visited. They have established a new web site that is worth a look. Personally I think that a space by itself cannot deliver strong innovation unless it creates a strong context presence for the kind of innovation desired.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tableau Software Blog

I just spent some time updating my Tableau Software visualization system to the latest version. I brought it into the enterprise when Tableau was first released, seeking an easy-to-use method that the data analyst could add to their toolkit and would first emphasize data visualization and the ability to tailor interactive visuals for the decision maker.

In a recent meeting with a former colleague there we both agreed that it had served well in its application. Since leaving the enterprise I have successfully used it in a number of applications. That also reminded me of Elissa Fink's excellent blog at Tableau. A good source of whats new there. Again I recommend taking a close look.

Understanding the ROI for BPM

Thinking about the ROI for business process modeling (BPM). We never directly calculated such an ROI in the enterprise. The modeling alone was useful to understand changes and proposals of interest. The ROI can be very useful as an additional insight into prioritizing its further evolution. Especially when evaluating new technologies.

The Application of Scientific Method in Healthcare

Mark Montgomery sends along a link to a talk by Dr. Donald Berwick. Provocative talk about how the scientific method is modified by social interaction in a health care scenario. A short but very powerful thought. Is the scientific method supreme in all facets of health care delivery?

Extensible Ad Formulas

In AdAge: A formula for ads by Procter & Gamble's Men's grooming. Is it extensible to other categories? " ... Cracking Viral Code: Look at Your Ads. Now Look at Old Spice ... String of Hits From P&G Grooming Biz Seem to Point to Formula -- Engaging, Surprising Media That Appeals to Both Genders ... "

Visual Dictionaries

A friend and I recently discussed how we had both grown up scanning pages in the encyclopedia and dictionary. What I found interesting about that were not only the words, but also the images that gave the terms for many parts of a thing. These were often strange and wonderful revelations. Its also very useful if you are trying to extend your knowledge of terms in a new language. In the age of the Internet this has changed. You can ask questions like what does an X look like, and definitions of what an X is but you have to know the term X to do that. The Download Squad reminded me was that there is an excellent, free visual dictionary online: The Merriam Webster Visual Dictionary. It is probably worth scanning as well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Green Boxes

An interesting idea via IFTF: Take unused warehouse space in a city and use it to implement aquaponics ... a combination of soil-less growing of plants, and using fish to provide manure to fertilize the plants in a closed system. In particular they mention growing herbs at lower cost. Herbs are notoriously expensive and they make the economic case that this would be cheaper and more sustainable than traditional agriculture. Distribution of the product nearby would be emphasized.

Very interesting idea, though I am skeptical. The required infrastructure ... heat, light and plumbing would be considerable. Energy costs high. Hydroponics (soil-less growing) are done today with crops like tomatoes, but are done primarily with high end and high cost crops. It adds to distribution costs and managing a 'just local' sales approach loses any economy of scale. Although this sounds very 'green', it is much more complex than doing it the old way ... also done for thousands of years. Maybe if you can get a big government grant?

Enforcing Fun at Work

I always loved having fun at work. Yet in my years at the enterprise there were a couple of times where there was an attempt to enforce or systematize fun. It never worked, in fact was downright embarrassing. This economist article posts about that, giving some examples I had never hear of. Recall though my previous post on gamification, making something productive fun a part of work is a subtle process.

" ... From Red Bull's in-office slide to TD Bank's costumed morale-boosting team, companies are trying harder than ever to ensure that their workers are having fun. They shouldn't bother, argues The Economist -- workers hate feeling that they're being forced to have fun, and there are less embarrassing ways to boost employee engagement. "The cult of fun has spread like some disgusting haemorrhagic disease," this column notes. "Compulsory fun is nearly always cringe-making ... "

Berners-Lee and the Mobile Web

In Read Write Web: Comments by the Web Inventor Berners-Lee on concerns with important issues regarding the mobile Web. Some points I had not thought of. Inevitable though that the Web combined with mobile-sensed information, will continue to expand.

On Not Finishing the Book

An interesting Volokh piece about the ethics of reviewing or criticizing books (or anything) without finishing the whole thing. Guilty at times of exactly that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Managing Data as an Asset

Thinking about managing data as an asset. It is surprising how often we do not think about this. Could be a key aspect of managing knowledge.

Business Card Scanning

In the NYT, an overview of a number of business card scanning applications. I still hand business cards manually, it would be good to digitize these and add them to a contact list on my smart phone. Update: I ended up buying the Camcard App for my IPhone. It works reasonably well, but there is never a case where you don't need to edit the results of the picture scan. Works well for simple cards, less well for more artistic business cards.

A House that Knows Family Mood

Another example of sensing and automating common home processes such washing your hair. Or integrating sensory processes into the home itself. In the early 2000s we looked at many aspects of home automation and intelligence. It is still evolving, though slowly. Sometimes doing things simply can be better, unless the automation can be easily integrated very deeply in the very essence of the thing. Not sure if this is such an example ...

" ... Auger Loizeau, in collaboration with Reyer Zwiggelaar and Bashar Al-Rjoub, describe their smart-home project Happylife. It monitors facial expressions and movements to estimate a family's mood, displayed via four glowing orbs on the wall, one for each member:

We built a visual display linked to the thermal image camera. This employs facial recognition to differentiate between members of the family. Each member has one rotary dial and one RGB LED display effectively acting like emotional barometers. These show current state and predicted state, the predicted state being based on years of accumulated statistical data.... "

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hair Washing Robot

Panasonic announces a robot that washes your hair. Designed primarily for health institutional and caregiving scenarios.

ARF Neuromarketing Standards Study

This makes great sense, it is overdue that this is looked at closely to try to produce useful standards. Sands Research pointed this out to me.

Eight firms to take part in ARF neuroscience validation study
The Advertising Research Foundation is about to put the science behind neuromarketing research on trial.

Innerscope, Mindlab International, Neurosense and Sands Research are among eight companies who have agreed to submit their work for peer review.

The ARF says neurological and biometric research methods have become popular in media and marketing research but “no major validation studies have been conducted to properly assess neuroscience as it applies to media and advertising response”. ..... "

Talent Analytics

This piece relates to several posts I have done recently on retiree knowledge retention and linking specific corporate needs to expertise based on assignment approach analytics.

"Competing on Talent Analytics
by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne Harris, and Jeremy Shapiro
What the best companies know about their people—and how they use that information to outperform rivals.by Jeffrey Stibel

Leading-edge companies are increasingly adopting sophisticated methods of analyzing employee data to enhance their competitive advantage. Google, Best Buy, Sysco, and others are beginning to understand exactly how to ensure the highest productivity, engagement, and retention of top talent, and then replicating their successes. If you want better performance from your top employees—who are perhaps your greatest asset and your largest expense—you’ll do well to favor analytics over your gut instincts.... "

Companion Future of Smartphones

Intel talks about the future of smartphones as assistants, and interestingly companions. It is to be expected as phones become more context aware, include more sensors and can embody new intelligence.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Kind of Science on the iPad

Stephen Wolfram blogs about the appearance of his mega book: A New Kind of Science on the IPad, with enhanced graphics. I bought this book when it first came out in 2002. It is 5.5 lbs of paper. I remember when it was placed on the Web in its entirety. Have never finished it, but found it quite interesting, linking cellular automata and natural science. Over the years at times it has become a doorstop to my office. I now scan it from time to time, looking for pieces of insight. Wolfram provides an overview of the process, and now how you can carry it along anywhere.

Super Wifi Space Approved

Engadget on Super Wifi. Followed Wimax for years and its potential application for retail. Is this the same thing? No it is not, but it is very likely to compete. In particular there are claims that the frequencies used for Super-Wifi will allow better penetration of walls, and thus are more likely to be useful for retail applications. The space is there, what will the costs be, what hardware and software will have to be developed to make it happen. What will this mean to a consumer, once their smartphone is properly outfitted, to get information anywhere, anytime about products?

Gillette, Razor and Blade Strategy

In the HBR blog, more history and discussion of the renowned Gillette razor and blade strategy. " ... What should we take away from this? Did Gillette just miss a better strategy or was Gillette investing in a high-quality brand, which required high prices for the razor handles? Are psychological ties — habit and the like — more important than the legal ties that could have come with the patents? In 1904, knowing what you know about razors-and-blades today, what strategy would you have advised King Gillette to play? .... " . Read the whole piece.

Reality Has a Gaming Layer

In O'Reilly Radar, a good interview piece on integrating reality and games. I know about attempts like FourSquare that make weak attempts to do this. In the world of the real enterprise there are other opportunities. Consider product design ... there can be a gaming dimension competing for a best design and a real world on the shelf dimension. The latter measures the design results. That world can be an actual physical store, a laboratory store, or even a agent simulation of a store. All these choices have different complexities and costs, yet all have been shown to have value in understanding the real world. The interview below makes some useful points about alternative and physical realities.

"Reality has a gaming layer
from O'Reilly Radar - Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies by James Turner

Kevin Slavin has been thinking about the intersection of games and daily life for nearly a decade. As the managing director of Area/Code, he's worked with Frank Lantz to integrate gameplay into the fabric of reality using a technique they call "big games." In the following interview, Slavin discusses the thinning boundary between the game world and the real world .... "

Pay with Your Smartphone

An Engadget report. We saw experimental examples done in this space over two years ago, it is surprising that we are still not seeing the right hardware in smartphones to enable remote payment. This uses an installation inside a microSD chip.

Visa rolling out payWave mobile phone payments in NY subway and taxis

New Science of Retailing

A book I had missed when it came out earlier this year: The New Science of Retailing: How Analytics are Transforming the Supply Chain and Improving Performance by Marshall Fisher and Ananth Raman. Discovered in a review in the HBR. Note to publisher: Send a review copy and I will publish a more detailed review.

I have heard Marshall Fisher talk several times and have been impressed by the well positioned and yet practical analytics approaches he demonstrates. Worth taking a further look at. See also his Wharton site.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Digital Media Measurement

Accurate measurement is important:

Why Measurement Is Still Screwing Up the Online Ad Business
" ... Digital media measurement is a mess, and we're all responsible for it. There are multiple vendors producing ever-growing quantities of data that often do not agree with each other, even directionally. ... "

Human Centric Analysis

Well known visualization guru Stephen Few on human centric analysis." ... All of the traditional BI software vendors and most of the industry’s thought leaders are stuck on the left side of the wall. The software vendors that are providing effective data sensemaking solutions—those that make it possible to work in the realm of analytics on the right side of the wall—have come from outside the traditional BI marketplace ... " ... (To see the graphic slide that makes sense of this, click through above)

Data Storm in mHealth

Mark Montgomery of KYield continues his insightful writing about issues in mHealth. Make sure to read the whole thing:

" ... Imagine the gasp from the family physician when he is confronted with the first text message from a patient asking whether they are dying due to the asynchronistic patterns displayed by their new mobile app, which is being downloaded by the millions daily. Or consider the cardiologist who suddenly has the opportunity to observe a continuous mobile data stream 24/7/365 sourced from multiple sensors on 95% of her patients, creating more data in a day than the previous decade .... "

Keeping Retiree Knowledge in the Game

Keeping knowledge in the company is an increasingly difficult task. It is a key part of the whole process called knowledge management. Where is the knowledge I need, what do I know and what do I not know? Often it is selectively kept in the minds of people like retirees who have helped develop it over long periods at a company.

I met today with Peter Kleinhenz at YourEncore, a company devoted to dealing with this problem. I was impressed by what I saw. They have four companies that acted as founding members: P&G, Lilly, Boeing and General Mills.

Need some expertise from some of these and other top companies to help with wicked problems? Give them a call. There is also a recent BW article on them that provides additional information.

Capturing the Biometrics of Motion

In the RFID Journal, a development with a number of interesting applications.
Michigan Researchers Develop RFID-based Sensors to Measure Physical Activity
The system would enable physicians or therapists to capture sophisticated data about an individual's expended energy, based on the movement, angle and relative position of three EPC Gen 2 RFID tags worn on that person's body ... "

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More on IBM and Netezza

O'Reilly has more on the acquisition of Netezza by IBM. In particular about the implications of its use for big data. " ... t's not just the marketers that are throwing petabytes of information at problems. Scientists, intelligence analysts, governments, meteorologists, air traffic controllers, architects, civil engineers-nearly every industry or profession is touched by the era of big data. Add to that the fact that the democratization of IT has made everyone a (sort of) data expert, familiar with searches and queries, and we're seeing a huge burst of interest in big data..... "

Procter Unveils New Drinking Water Effort

Announcement below, see also the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program site:

"Procter & Gamble unveils global drinking water effort
Procter & Gamble Co. is expanding its efforts to help provide clean drinking water in the developing world and will build a new manufacturing facility in Singapore to help in the initiative. Called the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program... "

On Localization and Globalization

Colleague Donna Sturgess in Am Marketing Assoc Journal, Via Melissa Hobley at Buyology Inc:

" .... a great article attached in the new Amerian Marketing Association journal titled "The State of Localization and Globalization" featuring some great advice from Donna Sturgess. Donna is in great company next to Mary Garrett, vice president of marketing communications, global sales and distribution at IBM, and Alexander Schlaubitz, director of marketing strategy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Intel. The AMA journal (Marketing Power) goes to AMAs 100,000 members in marketing.

The roundtable is also available as a podcast with Part 1 available below (part 2 will be posted Sept 27) ... "

Bunchball Nitro: A Gamification example

In my recent Gamification post I received a comment from Rajat Paharia, the founder of Bunchball. He recently gave a talk on Gamification and Behavioral Economics at Stanford. You can see the video here.

They write in their site:

" ... Participation builds lasting relationships and impacts your fundamental business objectives. It doesn't matter if you're dealing with customers, students, employees, or fans - we're all people, and if you can get us to participate, you can drive business value.

Nitro drives participation using Gamification.

Gamification works because it satisfies our fundamental human needs and desires. People have fundamental needs and desires - for reward, status, achievement, self-expression, competition, and altruism among others. These needs are universal, and cross generations, demographics, cultures and genders. Is your website or experience doing anything to address these needs? Most aren't ... "

Well worth a look. Also points back to a related video by Leighton Read, co-author of the book 'Total Engagement' on the value of using game playing for work.

WiFi vs 3G at Panera Bread

This GigaOM article answered some questions I have had about how people access their increasingly large datastream. I always use WiFi at home and have helped several people set up their own secure Wifi connections. I was further struck by the discovery at Panera Bread that they had instituted a 30 minute maximum access to their WiFi. Foolish of them since I can get unlimited connections at several other restaurants nearby, where I am likely to move my meetings. Yes, I know and have observed that people hog their Wifi. Yet a simple upgrade would solve their problem and ensure their customers staying around. Foolish move. The post above talks more about how people are using and expecting Wifi in their environments.

Monday, September 20, 2010

IBM Acquires Netezza

We see that IBM has acquired the database appliance maker Netezza. You may recall I have a short engagement with Netezza last year. Here is what I have written previously on Netezza. My view is they were an impressive company. I hope the acquisition maintains that.

Employee Behavioral Assessment

Had a meeting with Joe Koczwara at an interesting company, Devine Group, that links potential employees to what they can really do best. Have always been interested in the modeling of consumer behavior in retail and employee HR behavior in the enterprise. With some excellent analytical power behind the idea. They write:

" ... Our platform is built on a simple truth: People will rarely perform exactly how we think they will perform.

Our behavioral assessment provides an additional data point on the individual—one that has been scientifically proven to be an effective element in the prediction of successful employment.

By asking people what they will do in a very scientific and standardized way, we are able to mathematically define the relationship between behavioral traits and employee performance. This core relationship is the foundation of The Devine Group's forecasting models ... "

Xerox Parc Turns 40

A good CW piece on the innovation that has come out of Xerox Parc. We visited them a number of times and were always impressed by what we saw. Sometimes they are mentioned today only in reference to things they missed, but they deserve much credit for being truly innovative.

Visualizing Big Data

The Wikibon Blog, fifteen examples of visualizing big data. Some interesting examples here that are worth looking at. Some beautiful graphics. Yet here I protest again, shouldn't visualization simplify the understanding of data and the patterns within it? That is not always done here. Infographics is often done more to impress rather than to inform. I want to be able to say aha, not wow.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

GIS and Agent Based Modeling

An article from a while back that addresses how virtual worlds,GIS and agent based modeling can be linked together for research applications. Via Dave Cohen. This blog has covered these and related topics for some time.

Here are a few examples of posts on work in the enterprise I have been involved in. For example, a paper published that used agent based modeling to solve difficult market models, in conjunction with Argonne National Labs. A book published that does a good job of describing a number of models that can be used as examples. Finally, a local company, Thinkvine, which is using agent models to understand the interaction between promotions and results.

The GIS interaction is also something we also explored, in 2004 we were finalists for the Edelman prize in the use of interactive GIS to solve supply chain models. I still remain closely connected to location and model based applications. Need to know more? Contact me, email address in the left column.

Grasp Lab at Penn

I don't remember Penn being particularly well known for robotics work. Yet their Grasp lab (general robotics, automation, sensing and perception) around since 1979, has been in the news lately for putting flying drones through hoops. Cool video. Now I know and will follow.

Carrefour Reinventing the Hypermarket

An interesting piece that seems to indicate that mega French retailer Carrefour is taking a more revolutionary than evolutionary approach in design. Nice to see this direction. Considerable statistical data from pilot stores is included in the piece.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It has been called 'serious games', 'total engagement', 'turning work into play' and collaborative competition. Now Russell Brumfield, who we worked with on a scent branding project, has come up with a set of methods to game-ify real work in the enterprise. He has published some presentations in Youtube to introduce them. I can see these methods being combined with simulations to serve up exactly the kinds of problems that can be solved with games. I will follow with more information here as I learn it. See also my review of Byron Reeves' Book: Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete. Which does an excellent job of positioning the value of these methods.

New Category Management Paradigm

Interbrand top 100 brand brand report and a new approach to category management. " .... Now, in 2010, we are seeing the starts and stops of a recovery coupled with profound changes in the relationships between brands and their customers ... " ... Includes a link to full report. Via Steve Frenda.

Razors and Razor Blade Strategy

An interesting piece in Techdirt, commenting on an original paper in the Social Science Research Network, about the classic business strategy of razors and razor blades.

We heard it often as a governing profit strategy. That it makes sense to sell the razors at a loss or small profit, knowing that you can sell many compatible razor blades at considerable profit. Those blades can be made so they only work with your razor handle.

Although this seems to be a working strategy, the article examines the history of Gillette, and makes the case that the original razor handle was protected by patents rather than compatibility. A useful commentary on the history of common consumer technology.

Metadata Management

From TDWI: Cost Justification for Metadata Management.

" ... Pinning a dollar value or other metric to metadata’s contribution is problematic—but it can be done. Even when the metric is fuzzy, metadata’s influence on IT and business success is evident. And you need metrics to provide a credible business case that justifies further investment in metadata management.

This TDWI Checklist Report explains how to provide justification for time and money invested in metadata management solutions. The report points out a few ways to quantify metadata’s contribution to IT projects and business initiatives. It also discusses numerous benefits and how they further justify the development of a modern metadata management solution ... "

Friday, September 17, 2010

Social Tech Retail Value.

An interesting early experiment with a restaurant using social technology. Did McDonald's get a 33% increase in foot traffic from Foursquare? ReadWriteWeb looks at the numbers.

Google Scribe

This Google writing capability fills in phrases for you. Generally a reasonable idea, but can also be annoying unless you are used to it.


An interesting article on detecting lies in conversations. The article makes the case that there is currently an epidemic of deception. Everyone wants to know how reliable the information they get is, so there is lots of interest in this kind of thing. I am personally skeptical that these methods are a science or are reliable themselves. I think it is useful to be more observant of people in general.

Billion in Digital Book Sales

Barnes & Noble expects to have a billion dollars in digital book sales by 2013. Another example of the changes from paper to digital format. Get your readers ready..... " Online retailer Amazon.com has also found that e-book sales are outpacing hardcover book sales. Amazon sold 143 Kindle books for every 100 hardcover books during the previous three-month period, it said in July.... "

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Myths and Truths About Innovation

Mark Montgomery of Kyield posts on Myths and Truths about Innovation. Something he has been working on for some time. " ... In my daily filtering of news and intelligence, I usually find one or more quotes on innovation that blatantly abuses the term for some other agenda. While such efforts are obvious to me, they are obviously not obvious to many or presumably such attempts would not receive so much digital ink. It’s an issue that has bothered me for many years, with almost daily reminders so this morning I am taking a bit of time to clear the air ... "

Mapping Remarkable Relationships

Colleague Julie Anixter video on her new Youtube presence:

On Mapping Remarkable Relationships: Four Seasons
The essence of every great customer experience is a human experience, a relationship. Not with a brand or a company, but with the people that make it up. Sometimes that relationship is direct and face to face, sometimes it's indirect, sometimes virtual. Have relationships lost some of their currency and their value in the fast paced, over stimulated, multi-tasking, stressed out business world? I think so! This project begins to document, to map, some of the remarkable relationships I've experienced, with the hopes they may inspire ... "

Social Media Campaigns

In Mashable, a good set of case studies of social media campaigns. " ... A great social marketing campaign can be hard to describe; sometimes it's better just to study what works. Zachary Sniderman rounds up five of this year's best campaigns from the likes of Starbucks and Mountain Dew, offering tips on which elements created the most buzz -- and which just flopped ... "

Data Mining in Financial Industry

Banks using data mining to answer marketing questions. Very large quantities of data are becoming available and mining methods are obvious approaches to synthesize useful choices for marketing and other decisions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wolfram Alpha Includes US Sales Data

I see that Wolfram Alpha has now included some US retail sales data. I admit it has been some time since I have played with WA. I much like the interface, which is reminiscent of 'vector-stype' methods we set up for executives in the 1980s to allow them to manipulate and visualize data. The key then, as is now, was to have the right data available to allow a decision maker to do quick manipulations. What WA has done is a great start in a direction I want to see, but I need much more granularity and data options. There also needs a way to quickly include specific data from the organization as it becomes available.

The Flow Game

I was reminded of the Flow game by Daniel H. Pink's recent book: Drive: The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us. (P. 118) by Jenova Chen and based on Csikszentmihalyi's theory of being 'in the flow' in an almost trance-like state when excelling in performance. The free down-loadable game and more about it can be seen here.

" ... FlOw is a game about piloting an aquatic organism through a surreal biosphere where players consume other organisms, evolve, and advance their organisms to the abyss. As part of Jenova Chen's thesis research, flOw inherits an embedded design of active DDA (dynamic difficulty adjustment), players with differing skill levels can intuitively customize their experiences in the zone and enjoy the game at their own pace. “Addicting” is the most common word its fans use to describe it .... "

More on Flow.

Big Data

Infoworld on the value of what is being called big data. Good piece for the enterprise to understand the implications of such data stores: " ... several pharmaceutical companies, and numerous energy companies have amassed huge amounts of data and now leverage Big Data technologies on a daily basis to extract value from them ... " Good thoughts on the implications. I am starting to see the value for a number of clients.

Sound and Taste

We did research on a number of sensory interactions in retail. In an interesting study, Unilever looks at the interaction of taste and sound. Have not seen a study of this kind done before. Implications in restaurant applications or prepared food in retail.

Disruptive Innovations in Retail Sector

From Sammy Haroon's innovation blog:

Dis-ruptive Innovations - Technology in Retail Investment Sector
The Financial Times published a well thought through analysis on high-frequency trading and its impact on traditional and retail investors here... William Gibson's quote could be used to summarize the essence of HFT: "the future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed".

Wikipedia defines HFT as - "High-frequency trading is the execution of computerized trading strategies characterized by extremely short position-holding periods". Computerized strategies implies simple to complex algorithms and extremely short positions can mean micro seconds to ones that are never executed but are noise generators .... "

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Specialized GMail Statistics

I have done some specialized statistics macros for my Gmail conversations, and now just discover a report on a Chrome extension that does just that. Very nice to know about for future needs. Examining further now.

Gender Discrimination in Graduate School

The numbers show clear gender discrimination in US Graduate school attendance. We are awaiting broad press coverage of this problem, government studies and remedial adjustments.

Decluttering the Organization

This Harvard Business Review View reminds me of experiences we had during the artificial intelligence days in the early 90s ... When we brought up the reasoning behind saving the knowledge of past executives and making it accessible, the first question we received was ... Why? A good thing to consider whenever thinking about what knowledge you might want to retain, and that which you may not.

Shoppers Stick to their Lists?

Reported in Mediapost: This seems to be contrary to our own experiences, even overstating how many people actually make lists. Its good to see more research coming out on this ... The final statement in the paragraph below says much .. '72% say they never deviate ... ". ...

" ... While researchers have been insisting that lists are in and impulse buys are out ever since the recession started, a new study from the NPD Groups sheds new light on just how committed consumers are to those behaviors. An amazing 94% prepare a written list before leaving the house, and 72% say they never or rarely deviate from it .. "

Enabled Surfaces

We talked to several office furniture and space manufacturers and they were all looking at the possibility of making work surfaces, walls and even floors into interactive surfaces. The idea had been around for some time, but too expensive to reasonably deliver. Here, a researcher at Microsoft, talks about their Surface capability in Engadget which he says will be in homes within three years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Promise of Computers in Patient Care

In the latest Communications of the ACM: Computers in Patient Care: Why has progress been so slow?.

A good readable article that includes a good narrative about how the lack of progress effects individuals.

" ... Some of the delay certainly has been technologically related, but not as much as one might think. This article looks at some of these issues and the challenges (there are many) that remain.

First, why bother with computers in health care, anyway? There are many potential advantages from the application of health information technology (or HIT, the current buzzword). These include improved communication between a single patient's multiple health-care providers, elimination of needless medical testing, a decrease in medical errors, improved quality of care, improved patient safety, decreased paperwork, and improved legibility (yes, it's still an issue). Many of these improvements have not yet come to pass and many others are nearly impossible to rigorously prove, but for the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that HIT is a good thing ... "

Wal-Mart Brands a Wireless Plan

Wal-Mart has branded its own wireless plan. " ... it is introducing the first cell phone plan that uses the chain's own branding, further demonstrating its clout in getting special deals from wireless carriers. The Wal-Mart Family Mobile service will run on T-Mobile USA's network. Unlimited calling and texting will cost $45 per month for the first line and $25 for each additional line for the family. The service will be offered starting next week in most of its stores across the nation ... "

Recorded Future Full Text Search

I see that the exciting temporal search engine 'Recorded Furture' has added full text search to its premium interface. A very nice ability, which makes you depend less on their breakdown of the text involved. See much more I have written about Recorded Future.

Hold the In-App Ads

As is obvious, mobile users do not like Ads with their mobile Apps. As in the early days of the Web until now, they will accept them for the right value trade off.

Rise of Social Commerce

Charlene Li, always interesting, on what she calls the rise of social commerce. Which will be talked about at an upcoming meeting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Right vs Left Brain

At the enterprise a dozen years ago there was much talk about the difference between left and right brains, engineering and design minds. The specifics of the 'sided-ness' were debunked some time ago, but we still used the convention. I think it is dangerous to think people work one way or the other. Here Mind Hacks takes another look at the idea, and finds it is still dead.

Cute Geographic Maps

Yet another example of a geographic display with relatively little relationship between the geographic structure and the data itself. As I have said before, these maps are useful mostly in a sense that they show all the topics, but not that they provide relationships between them. Nicely done graphic which shows less than it implies. I did like the click throughs that provided some additional detail. See a more positive view of this graphic in O'Reilly.

Graph Networks for Predictive Analytics

Interesting thought here. We used graph network methods for years to understand and optimize supply chains. It is also useful because it can show the relationship between competing entities. Its also a useful way to present analytical structures to the decision makers.

Predictive Analytics: Benefits and Challenges of Using Graph Theoretic Methods

Leveraging Contextual Network Information for Better Accuracy
by Nick Lim

practice of predictive analytics has come a long way since the advent of operations research. Current predictive models routinely use more than 100 variables, most of them are characteristics of the object being analyzed, including age and gender for customer analysis, or color and text for advertisements. In this article, we will explore how graph methods can be used in predictive analytics .... "

Saturday, September 11, 2010

David Sibbet's Book Launch

I have mentioned it here before ... Colleague David Sibbet's new and provocative book: Visual Meetings. He video posts about his book launch. A descriptive video. Looks to be great material, congratulations, David!

Conference App

Long-time correspondent Sy Truong and his company Meta-Xceed, Inc. have developed an IPhone App for the upcoming SAS Global Forum 2011 Conference. This is an interesting example of how an App can be used as a standalone application that contains specific knowledge about an event.

He writes:
" ... The Appstore finally approved the "WUSS 2010" app. You can search for the text "WUSS" and you will find it. This is a beta version since it only has a few of the presentation from AppDev listed. Once the program is finalized, it will be populated with all the papers.... "

Sy is leading a team of developers to design and develop innovative mobile software combining social media and business intelligence analytics. As a principle system architect, he identifies what is coming next as information and data are accessed in a mobile social environment. His company is innovating iPhone/iPad/Blackberry applications setting new trends.

Barcode Hero Addictive Shopping Game

Including games into arduous or boring tasks is a good idea, but in a few examples I have seen, has not worked well. Just starting to take a look at this example, Barcode Hero, a smartphone App, which links shopping and games. Strongly connected to Facebook. Skeptical, but I am taking a closer look at it now.

Barcode Hero Attacks In-Store Shopping With An Addictive Social Game
by MG Siegler on Aug 16, 2010
You’re likely aware of Foursquare, the location-based service that turns checking-in to venues into a game of sorts. You may also be aware of StickyBits, an app that turns barcodes into message boards. What do you get when you combine them? Barcode Hero, a new product by Kima Labs, a startup founded by two Amazon veterans.

The main idea behind the service is an app that attempts to make shopping more social. A user takes their phone into a store, launches the app, and starts scanning the barcodes of items they’re interested in. Doing so unlocks points and rewards such as dukedoms and kingships — yes, the Foursquare idea, but here it’s for product categories. More importantly, this scanning allows Barcode Hero to build up a database of information and will help them to personalize your shopping experience.

“We want to attack in-store shopping,” co-founder Blake Scholl tells us. ... "

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Glucose Meter App for the Android

Via Mark Montgomery of KYield: An example of Smartphone mHealth: A standard meter connected the Android smartphone via a bluetooth connection. Includes a video and some analysis screenshots. We will see much more of this. Some of the back-end analysis, alerting and storing of the knowledge created will be key. More on the meter itself.

Neuromarketing: Fantasy or the Future

In Adage: Is Neuromarketing a Fantasy or the Future?
It Could Give Marketers an Edge, but Questions Remain About Effectiveness and Ethics

Neuromarketing, and the research that supports it, potentially circumvents the battle between good marketing and bad marketing. In a maniacal advertiser's dream, instead of trying to outthink and cajole potential customers into buying a product, the possibility of neuromarketing offers a deeper, more visceral compulsion that can be used to compel consumers to buy, buy, buy. But does it work? And is it ethical? ... "

Facebook Use Exceeds Google

An interesting result from Comscore: U.S. Web surfers are spending more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google, according to new data from researchers at comScore Inc.

Sapir Image Recognition




Image recognition based search from IBM: Sapir.

SAP EcoHub

SAP has put out what they call the SAP EcoHub Newsletter. You can dive deep and find lots of interesting things there, but I wish they were clearer about what EcoHub was all about beyond a marketplace. In addition, they have also set up an IPhone App, for people that are, as they say: On the Go. I like the idea of one-stop shopping to find information about applications. Also includes links to blogs, videos and more. I no longer work with SAP, but based on my recollection of then, this could be useful.

Publishing Decisions

In ReadwriteWeb some interesting questions are posed about how large, complex reference books will, or will not be physically published in the future. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) a stalwart element of every library, but not seen in many other places is a leading indicator of how these choices will be made in the future.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

ANOVA Testing in Excel

Did not know you could do Analysis of Variance, ANOVA, stat testing in Excel, but here is an outline of how to do it. Good explanation of the method and it's uses as well.

Neuromarketing Movies

In Gizmodo, an article about how a number are using neuromarketing methods to predict how people react to movies. In particular the use of fMRI methods. It is very natural to examine new methods like these to look at very high cost and risk efforts like the making and marketing of a film. We examined the use of agent-based models to understand the social dynamics of film marketing in the 90s.

John Cleese on Creativity

Some of you may have followed John Cleese's business videos. Here is a new video excerpt on creativity. His presentations are always fun. From Presentation Zen: " ... One of the main problems for many of use today is that we are always in a hurry and our minds are a bit scattered juggling many balls in the air. But if we are racing around all day with a busy mind, Cleese says, we are not going to have many creative ideas. We must slow down our minds to see the connections. There is some evidence that insights, for example, are best captured when we slow down, clear the noise and do not think about the problem at hand ... "

Videos from KYield

Mark Montgomery of Kyield has added some video clips, linked to below, to explain his impressive plans to support the knwoledge worker.

"Videos — Unleash the Innovation Within
by Mark Montgomery

We have activated our YouTube channel, beginning with a video clip describing the theory of ‘Yield Management of Knowledge’ and the name Kyield.

The second and third clips make up a two-part series discussing the digital workplace environment and our trademark and white paper Unleash the Innovation Within. I thought the timing would be appropriate sharing on Labor Day Weekend here in the U.S. which celebrates workers in our society. Knowledge workers make up an ever-growing portion of our society and workforce, yet are often misunderstood and ill-served by enterprise systems and applications, and so too are their organizations.

While these are short clips that just touch the surface of the topics, I hope you enjoy the videos.
Mark Montgomery
Founder & CEO ... "

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dashboard Solutions: Gartner Research

Via IBM/Cognos. Registration required, access here. Despite some of the criticism of the format, I think that the use of dashboard as a modular component of business intelligence is a very useful approach. Especially if there is the added complexity of interactive access.

" ... A Gartner paper for good practices and common traps to avoid when you build dashboards.

Think BIG. Start Small.
Drive Better Decisions with Better Dashboard Solutions
According to this research from Gartner: "A good maxim is to keep dashboards simple— this approach is much more likely to be useful in helping you build dashboards that are fit for purpose." ... "

Decoding Words from Brain Signals

In the ACM and From the University of Utah: Scientists Decode Words from Brain Signals. A development that takes the granularity of understanding the brain to a lower and useful level. Also on the hardware side: " ... The study used a new kind of nonpenetrating microelectrode that sits on the brain without poking into it ... ".

Changing Bulbs Turns off the Lights

Carpe Diem points us to the unintended consequences of green legislation. Incandescent bulbs will no longer be legal by 2014. The replacement CFLs are mostly manufactured in China. Jobs move overseas. More market manipulation.

Retailnet Group in India

I recently had a conversation with Keith Anderson of the Retailnet Group. We worked with them a few years ago. He is now just back from India where he did an excellent examination of retail infrastructure there. Took a look at some of his trip overview and this would have been quite useful during our own analyses and modeling of retail changes happening there and in China. Contact Keith for more information.

How Many Careers?

Appropriate for post labor day. How many careers does the average person have in a lifetime? Seven is often mentioned, and I have used that approximation in an HR model. But what evidence exists for this number? In the Numbers Guy in the WSJ this number, background and evidence for its value are examined. When you are building a model of the real world it is good to be skeptical about commonly accepted numerical values. The Web is another example, from which you can scrape lots of numbers. It is good to be careful about their credibiity in the context that you use them.

Will the Smartphone be the Computer?

A question I have been asking myself for a few years. Will the computer of the future be the little device we carry around today? True, the keyboards are now too cramped, and the display is often too small. But both of those deficiencies can be solved by having add-ons to attach to when the need is there. The processors continue to get faster, and wireless connections increasingly ubiquitous and the data and applications can be in the cloud ... so why not? Much more in GigaOhm on the subject.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Nike IPhone Running App

You may remember much earlier in the days of the Web Nike had experimented with this idea, but without Apps or GPS. Our New Business Deveopment team talked to them at the time to see if we could accomplish something similar. When I first saw the App store I though "This is what Nike should do ... " There are some other excellent GPS tracking Apps out there that you could use for this as well ... ". Also, here is another detailed review in Engadget.

Nike iPhone app keeps track of where, how fast you run
There was a time when going out for a run meant putting on some sneakers and leaving for a jog around the park. But if you need any indication of how far we’ve come, take a look at Nike’s latest Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone, released today on Apple’s App Store.

Using the iPhone’s GPS and accelerometer, the app lets you track not only your pace, distance, and calories when you go out for runs, but visually maps your run routes on Google Maps, showing you where you went and at which exact points you sprinted or slowed down.

Unlike previous Nike+ iPod offerings, no special sensors or kits are required for the app to function ... "

Review and 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, I won't publish it.

Franz Dill

Study Habits

A good piece in the NYT Views on study habits. Are people left brain vs right brain? Visual versus analytical learners? This is important not only for kids in school, but also for corporate training, teaching consumers with marketing messages and your own consumption of increasing amounts of information. Their conclusion: We make many assumptions about learning styles that are not well supported.

Robotics Newsletter

NASA has a new robotics newsletter, via IEEE. In the most recent edition they point to a piece by Marvin Minsky on Telepresence. We met with Minsky and read lots of his works in the late 80s while working with artificial intelligence.

IPad Review by Small Biz Labs

The Small Business Labs blog looks at and and reviews the IPad from the perspective of the small business. In particular about its value as a means to consume rather than construct information. I understand there will soon be many competitors from the Android direction.

Clean Water for a Billion People

Our enterprise did considerable work in clean water projects, and won an Amex competition on delivering clean water. I acted as an analyst for the World Bank on a prize that included clean water project funding. This post in KurzweilAI talks about an approach to use desalination to provide cheap clean water for a billion people. I have not studied the practicality of what is presented there yet.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Debating a Signaling Model of Education

In the enterprise we used to talk about how many people joined our company simply to 'get their ticket punched'. Based on my own conversations with some people this was very true ... in the case of some people from the very first day. All these people were very smart with strong academic credentials. As the years progressed this became even more common.

What kinds of signals can you get from education, testing and experience to determine if this is true? And more broadly is

" ... a large part of our education spending (perhaps as much as 80%) socially wasteful “signaling.” It is a kind of arms race where students try to get more education than than their rivals in order to signal their conscientiousness, conformity, and intelligence to potential employers. Crucially, however, much of the information learned is actually not needed for their careers; the real objective is just to rack up better-looking credentials than the Joneses in order to look good to employers ... '
The article in the law blog Volkh takes on the debate. Covers lots of things we believed were true, but had a hard time dealing with.

Doodling at Google

In Cnet: Doodling is real work at Google.

Putting People First

A good blog on Futures and Design: Daily Insights on User Experience Design and People Centered Innovation. From Experientia, a global experience design consultancy, based in Italy,

GS1 Mobile Comm Resource

I have been recommending the GS1 Mobile Comm space and newsletter as an excellent source of information about mobile retail development for some time. We have been members for many years. Their newsletter contains whitepapers created by their community, news and information about their latest conferences. Subscribe and be informed. For example, in the latest issue:

" ... Earlier this year the Coca-Cola Retail Research Council and Deloitte published an in-depth study into consumer information needs entitled "‘Exploring the third dimension: Relevant and timely information to empower shopper’s choice". The study is essential reading for anyone interested in providing extended packaging services to consumers ... " . Download the "Exploring the third dimension" study at the link above.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Changing Mobile Landscape

Dave Knox shares a presentation via Jim Cuene of General Mills on the changing mobile landscape. Well done. See also: Cuene's blog.

Dark Silicon and Smartphone Batteries

I have had discussions with several friends lately about the increasing complexity of smartphones and the contribution of that to short battery life. So I bit at an article in CACM, about dark silicon. Had to admit I had no idea what dark silicon was. The article says: " ... A new smartphone chip prototype under development at the University of California, San Diego will improve smartphone efficiency by making use of "dark silicon"—the underused transistors in modern microprocessors. UC San Diego computer scientists presented GreenDroid, the new smartphone chip prototype at the recent HotChips symposium in Palo Alto, CA ... "

Ingenuity Advisors

A local company of interest that I recently talked to: Ingenuity Advisors. " ... We offer a strategy book honed by decades of experience battling in a myriad of industries, channels and size of companies. 100% Fresh, Grade A ideas and perspective from the outside, without paradigms or political concerns. 5-Star CMO-caliber thinking and experience that companies often don’t have the luxury to focus intensively on an individual project. And uniquely powerful processes and tools proven to help us deliver true ingenuity ... "

Stephen Few on Bullet Graphs

Stephen Few at the recent Tableau users conference talks about bullet graphs. I have been a user of Tableau systems for years, in and outside of the enterprise. I would use it for any interactive business intelligence application.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Untangling and Riding Social Web Structure

A good Economist article on the usefulness of social webs as a source of data about social connection structure. Interesting mentions of SAS social network analysis software. Also the notion of societal networks. That once we understand them, we can use them to promote specific ideas. Scary or just better efficiency for markets and governments?

Great Mancession

Economist Mark J Perry makes the case that there is a great mancession going on. The WSJ interactive graphs show it. Yet we dare not mention it out loud.

World Without E-Mail

One man's vision, a world without e-mail. Replacing 90% of your email with social software. Would that work for the typical person online? Here I point back to my review of William Power's Hamlet's Blackberry, which examines the danger of our information addiction.

Household Robotics in Japan

An area we looked at closely. Aiming to include in home-of-the-future applications. An aging population may need many help-mate robots in the future. Japan is well ahead in the application of robotics in the home. This may well radically change the form, packaging usage processes Here Engadget looks at the current state of household robotics in Japan, with some useful links.

Creating Knowledge from Incident Reports

Creating knowledge from events. It is like fitting a line through a number of points. Very valuable, but needs to be carefully done. We experimented with after-action-reports. And sought to include the result into example based knowledge systems. An early experiment in AI. From the HBS:

" ... much research has focused on the underuse of incident-reporting systems. After all, the thinking went, a system used to collect and report incidents will only help an organization learn from its mistakes and lead to better safety results—to the extent that employees report information that can be used for process improvement.

For incident-reporting systems to fulfill their promise, employees must use the system to "speak up" when they encounter a problem. Managers receive additional value when reporters speak up constructively by offering suggestions that facilitate process improvement ... "

Friday, September 03, 2010

Future Internet Architecture

From the CACM: On the future architecture of the Internet. Should it evolve or should we wipe the slate clean?

Flying Drones into a Hurricane

We are gaining an increasing knowledge of 3D Space. The obvious examples are military, but I am glad to see that drones are starting to be applied in the air to understand Hurricanes and in the oceans to understand these spaces as well. The novel use of Drones in Hurricane Earl is a good one. I think there is still much work to be done to develop the models required to utilize the data acquired. We are ready.

NCR Deli Ordering Systems at Big Y

We experimented with kiosk based deli ordering systems in our store innovation spaces. It's an obvious application rather than having people stand in line. IBM featured one in its kiosk systems in 2000. Eventually I would expect these to migrate to smartphones when more shoppers habitually use them in-store. Here is a good case study of an NCR system.

Smart Postage Stamp

In the UK the Royal Mail has launched the first 'smart stamp'. More at the BBC. It utilizes the Junaio system on a smartphone (which is required to see the effect) to see the enhanced image. Not sure I would call this a 'smart stamp', but it is the first postage stamp to use this kind of augmentation, used up to this time primarily for advertisements. I have talked about Junaio a number of times in this blog.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

SAS Predictive Analytics

SAS has rolled out predictive analytics for business users. " ... a new toolset aimed at giving business users the ability to work with predictive analytics software, which has historically been the province of specialized statisticians.Predictive analytics refers to the practice of crunching existing data sets in an effort to determine patterns and predict future outcomes ... " .

This is an ongoing direction, making these systems readily availble for the usual business user. Typically this includes the ability to interactively examine alternative models.

Tesco Trials Drive Through Supermarket

Long time readers of this blog will remember that we examined this topic sometime ago and talked to the group building a system in the US: Autocart. Now Tesco announces the test of the drive-through concept in the UK. I am researching the status of the idea in the US. Let me know if you have any information.

MHealth Summit

Upcoming, the summit on Mobile health, it turns out that Mobile health means two different things:

" ... The National Institutes of Health to Lead 2 of 7 Concurrent Sessions at the 2010 mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C. Sessions to Focus on Healthy Behaviors and Innovative Mobile Technologies

The 2010 mHealth Summit is emerging as the major one-stop venue for mobile health. The event, organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in partnership with the mHealth Alliance and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will take place November 8-10, 2010 at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Two tracks, lead by the NIH, will focus on Healthy Behaviors and Innovative Mobile Technologies. The six sessions within these tracks will explore behavioral patient monitoring, point-of-care diagnostic tools and the use of mobile devices for emergency response. Tracks will feature best practice case studies that discuss approaches, platforms and lessons learned ... "

Much more here.

Outdoor Augmented Reality

On augmented reality in the outdoors. Makes sense to use it to understand your broader environment. In ReadWriteWeb: " ... How many times have you been driving and wondered "What's the name of that mountain?" or "Which river is this I'm crossing?" Maybe you consulted a paper map, or even your GPS, and were still uncertain. Well, that uncertainty may be a thing of the past with a new topographical augmented reality app called Marmota ... " ... More on the Marmota AR prototype.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Myers-Briggs Skeptically Viewed

In my years at the big enterprise I took the Myers-Briggs test at least a half dozen times. The results always interesting, largely self-affirming. I always had my doubts about it's generality, brought up my doubts in meetings even read some of some of the criticism at the time. Now there is much more criticism you can easily get to. Here is a good example in the Skeptoid. Still looking for other examples, especially in its actual use. Update: In the comments I am pointed to a Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker on this, you do have to subscribe to read the whole thing.


I see that Don Tapscott's new book: MacroWikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World is about to come out. We were interviewed for his previous book Wikinomics and used it for internal education and discussion. As in the previous book, this appears to be strongly example-based, which is good, but the relevance of examples does decline over time. The new book's site and pre-order.

More here:
The sequel to the groundbreaking and bestselling Wikinomics, with new ideas and applications for mass collaboration.

In their 2007 bestseller Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams taught the world how mass collaboration was changing the way businesses communicate, compete, and succeed in the new global marketplace. But much has changed in three years, and the principles of wikinomics are now more powerful than ever.

In this new age of networked intelligence, businesses and communities are bypassing crumbling institutions. We are altering the way our financial institutions and governments operate; how we educate our children; and how the healthcare, newspaper, and energy industries serve their customers ..... "

K-Anonymity Privacy Models

In CACM: Privacy protection models for large databases. " ... The "K-anonymity" method of providing anonymity to large data sets has raised excitement in realms as diverse as social networks and medical records, but it appears to need a little help ... "

AisleBuyer on CNBC

Andrew Paradise has sent along a link about his Aislebuyer venture in the news on CNBC. A great example of in-store shopper convenience and engagement via smartphones.

Hannaford's Site

In Progressive Grocer: Hannaford grocer revamps their site to include a number of mobile friendly ideas. Another example of mobile to retail plays. Expect to see much more of this from retail.