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Friday, October 31, 2014

How Many Vs in Big Data?

Had a conversation about this recently.  Three is quite sufficient to categorize the key aspects of Big Data (Volume, Velocity, Variety).  This article explains them well.  If I had to add another letter I would add an A for analytics.  Just because you have the data does not mean you will do anything useful with it.  But I am perfectly fine with have the A implied.

Wirelessly Charging Devices from your Washer

An unexpected thought covered in Engadget.    " ...   WattUp technology promises to deliver power over the same radio bands as a WiFi router and is apparently able to charge a smartphone from distances of up to 15 feet. The idea, at this early stage, is to cram these power transmitters into Haier's refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves, so that you can re-juice your phone while you wait for your dinner and do your laundry. .. " 

Mending Networks

Network design is a favorite topic.  It was taught in Operations Research classes.  It was both analytical and visual.  Combining two appealing ideas. Here, more about the form of networks that have best system resiliency.

Virtual Reality Boom Beyond Gaming

In Ars Technica:  For a while there it seemed like VR was being used much less outside of gaming. Now the tide seems to have turned.   This article is rich in surprising examples. " ... Considering that the new wave of virtual reality doesn’t even have any consumer-facing hardware products at the moment, it’s pretty incredible how many different companies and industries are already exploring the medium’s potential. It might be gaming that convinces millions of people to put a VR headset in their house, but it could very well be these non-gaming uses for virtual reality that turn the devices into what Oculus is already calling “the final compute platform.” .... " 

Ant Size Radios

Back to idea of swarming intelligence, but now linking to an Internet of Things.

" ... Scientists at Stanford University have built ant-sized radios that could one day help track patients' temperatures, turn on coffee makers in the morning and prevent forgery.

A Stanford engineering team has built a radio, equipped with sensors, computational units and antennas one-tenth the size of Wi-Fi antennas, that is able to gain all the power it needs from the same electromagnetic waves that carry signals to its receiving antenna. No batteries are required.

These radios, which are designed to compute, execute and relay commands, could be the key to linking gadgets together in the increasingly popular idea of the Internet of Things. ... " 

Enterprise Message from Microsoft

In Computing Now:   I have started to wonder more about how the typical office utilities and methods, like Office 365, will integrate with the cognitive sciences. Documents are information, will they look the same when converted into knowledge?   What will the tools and services be that will connect these as needed in the cloud?   A technical view at the link that does not address this, but is about the infrastructure involved.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cognitive Systems Colloquium

Jim Spohrer writes, more at the live blogging link:

" ... Today’s Cognitive Systems Colloquium at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., brings together leaders in science, technology and psychology to discuss the coming era of cognitive computing and to craft a shared agenda among industry, academia and government. Come back during the all-day event for updates on presentations by Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman, A.I pioneer Danny Hillis and others.   More. 

Live Blogging from the IBM Research Cognitive Systems Colloquium smarterplanet.tumblr.com

Today's Cognitive Systems Colloquium at IBM Research brings together leaders in science, technology and psychology to craft a shared agenda for the future. By Steve Hamm Today's Cognitive Systems Colloquium at IBM Research in Yorktown.  ... " 

White Noise for the Nose

We spent much time looking at how to deliver aromas  Which are difficult to manage in complex spaces.  Now some research indicates that you can use the equivalent of white noise to remove pungent aromas.

Service Robots at Lowes

Lowes has always been high on innovation.  Now taking a new retail step forward.  I like in particular the idea of the robots working collaboratively with live associates  A Work force has to be collaborative.

 In Retailwire: 
" .. In late November, the Lowe's-owned Orchard Supply Hardware will be rolling out in-store robotic shopping assistants, which glide around the store interacting with customers and catering to their shopping needs.

A promotional video posted on YouTube shows the sleek robotic shopping assistant, OSHbot, rolling up to individuals in the store and interacting with them, introducing itself by name. OSHbot is shown identifying items that customers place within its view and leading the customer to where similar items can be found. Marco Mascarro CEO and co-Founder of Fellow Robots explains that OSHbot maps out the store as it moves through it, so that it is aware of sales floor reconfigurations and changes in stock. OSHbot is also shown enabling touch-screen searches for items, communicating with customers in multiple languages, and facilitating cross-store video chats with live associates. .. " 

Also more technical details in IEEE.

Connected Health Focus

The latest Cisco Focus Magazine is devoted to Connected Health.

" .... This month, Focus, Cisco’s monthly online publication, takes a look at the latest Connected Health trends and technology news.  Data-driven decisions, better specialized care and improved patient experiences are transforming healthcare, and I encourage you to read about it in this month’s issue of Focus.

Highlights include:

The Internet of Everything in HealthcareFocus
The Big Data Opportunity in Medicine
New Human-Machine Interfaces
The Startups are Coming
Telemedicine Transforms Care in Brazil
The Devices Making Healthcare Smarter .... " 

A Less Stable Social Media World

Social media leading to a less stable world?   In Knowledge@ Wharton:  " ... While social media provides myriad benefits, the advances in connectivity and wealth may come at the expense of the state and the world’s stability, writes Curtis Hougland, CEO of Attentionusa.com, a global social marketing agency. ... " 

Recomputing Visualizations

Recently did work on the area of laboratory data business intelligence, and this work at MIT came up:

" ... In the age of big data, visualization tools are vital. With a single glance at a graphic display, a human being can recognize patterns that a computer might fail to find even after hours of analysis.

But what if there are aberrations in the patterns? Or what if there’s just a suggestion of a visual pattern that’s not distinct enough to justify any strong inferences? Or what if the pattern is clear, but not what was to be expected?

The Database Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has released a data-visualization tool that lets users highlight aberrations and possible patterns in the graphical display. The tool then automatically determines which data sources are responsible for which. ... " 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Watson Analytics Preps the Data

In InfoWorld:  Looking forward to seeing this.  It is a very key thing to getting analytics done right.  " ... "Often what business users do is rely on a data scientist or business analysts to help them, which can be too slow, or those people may not be available. So they make a decision without any analysis," said Eric Sall, IBM vice president of marketing for business analytics. ... ".  Cleansing, though,  can be a subjective thing,  removing some of the useful essences of knowledge.  So I want to see the details here before handing over the data.

IBM and Twitter form Partnership to Help Enterprise Decisions

Press release:

" .. Twitter and IBM  today announced a landmark partnership that will help transform how businesses and institutions understand their customers, markets and trends – and inform every business decision. The alliance brings together Twitter data that distinctively represents the public pulse of the planet with IBM’s industry-leading cloud-based analytics, customer engagement platforms, and consulting services. ..... " 

Additional Information and Links:

Hashtag: #IBMandTwitter
Main landing page: www.ibm.com/IBMandTwitter
IBM News Room Kit: https://ibm.biz/BdE2g2
Press Release: https://ibm.biz/BdE28s
IBM Smarter Planet Blog: http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2014/10/tapping-public-pulse-planet.html
Twitter Blog: https://blog.twitter.com/ibm


Health Scanning with Sweat Sensors

From our local University of Cincinnati, whose board I was on for years:

" ... A University of Cincinnati partnership is reporting a significant leap forward in health diagnostics that are more accurate than what’s available today, yet considerably less invasive than something like a blood screening. It’s a lightweight, wearable device that analyzes sweat by using a smartphone.  UC researcher Jason Heikenfeld is holding next generation of sweat sensor pad and flexible bluetooth circuit. .... 

In an article published in the latest issue of IEEE Spectrum Magazine, Jason Heikenfeld, a UC professor of electrical engineering and computing systems, highlights new developments regarding the gadget that can gather vital medical information in almost real time.  ... " .    Bravo. Look forward to hearing more.

Analyzing Your Quantified Self

In Mashable:   We are quantifying ourselves every day.  A massive amount of data, mostly shared.   But it is also a movement that is attempting to leverage their own data.  I heard much this week about democratizing this ability, but have not seen much evidence of it.

" ... The rise of the quantified self movement means we're all living by numbers. In the past, industries harped on understanding consumers and measuring their behavior — today, consumers themselves are tracking and generating enormous amounts of data.

Before things like smartphones or wearables, we’d have to consult doctors or data technicians or manually log activities to determine how many calories we consume and burn. But now, with Fitbits, Fuelbands, Jawbones and Whistles (even our dogs are tracking activity!), we can capture this data in a snap, see it updated in real time and use it to make better, more healthy decisions. ... " 

Water Canary

Brought to my attention as a sensor and data gathering example: The Water Canary.

" ... The Water Canary is an inexpensive water-testing device that makes it possible to collect real-time water quality data from the field. With the push of a button, anyone can measure water quality and share that information with the world. .. 

By placing real-time water quality information within reach, the devices make it possible to quickly identify invisible threats so that appropriate actions can be taken to protect people and ecosystems and prevent hazards from erupting into full-scale emergencies. ... "  

Big Data Analytics Platforms

In Informationweek: " ... Data analysis is a do-or-die requirement for today's businesses. We analyze notable vendor choices,  from Hadoop upstarts to traditional database players. ... " 

Future of Automobiles from Bill Ford

From McKinsey:  Long view on the future of automobile technology.  " ... There are a lot of forces converging in the auto industry right now, including urbanization in emerging markets, powertrain electrification, emissions concerns, and trends toward active safety systems, semiautonomous driving, and vehicle connectivity. Is it an understatement to call this an interesting time? .... "   Interview with  " ... William Clay Ford Jr. is known for taking the long view. The great-grandson of Henry Ford and the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford was an early advocate for sustainability at the company, which earned the number-one spot on Interbrand’s list of Best Global Green Brands in 2014 and also has been improving its competitive position.  ... " 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Key to Change is Middle Management

In the HBR:  With some interesting hints on how this can be achieved.  A little soft, but useful thoughts.   Middle management is a squishy thing, strongly culture influenced. It can be very influential, or just support staff.

Big Basketball Data

In Wired:  Excellent non technical look at tracking the complexity of sports.  Have followed this technically for a few years, this is a good non-tech view.  Nice example too of how data can be scrounged from multiple sources ...

" ... tracking 10 players in constant motion isn't trivial. He started scouring fan sites and sports coverage, and eventually he found stats for every shot taken in the NBA. It wasn't much—just who took the shot, from where, and whether it went in. But it was a start.

The data wasn't exactly private, but neither was it public—Goldsberry scraped it from the web. Specifically, he found that ESPN.com published shot charts with the box score of each game. He found the files that powered them and grabbed their information. “They were publishing these data sets but not using them to the potential that I saw in them,” Goldsberry says.

Eventually he pulled together a database with the spatial coordinates for every shot taken from 2006 to 2011—more than 700,000 of them. Then Goldsberry the cartographer teamed up with Goldsberry the hoops junkie. “I wanted to find a way to get this data to sing a new song, to tell us things like where Kobe is good and where Kobe is bad,” he says. And he wanted to do more than just crunch numbers. Goldsberry wanted to show people, “to communicate to players, and fans, and the media.”  ... ' 

For the technically minded here is the paper.

Watson Determining Personality and Resonance of Message

Today at the Insight meetings we saw a Watson cognitive App being built from a number of Bluemix services and prefabricated Java.  Of particular interest was a user personality modeling mechanism.   They showed it being used to determine how well a message resonated with a recipient. A near definition of advertising.

The simple model was built and embodied in an App in a few minutes.  What they showed could be done by anyone with just a little computer dev experience.  Potentially a very big idea, especially when being used online.  Genesys was an example of a company using the idea today, for call center style applications.

It was unclear what theory of personality was being used.  Someone know?  I am sure there will be some push back on relevance of the model.  Also matches well with service and advisory applications.   I have asked for a complete demo video of the personality feature and will post it here, hopefully sometime soon.


Scene Understanding and Labeling Pixels

A problem I looked at for a startup a few years ago.  Ultimately it was chosen to address it by using crowdsourcing.  Here a Vimeo interview with Stephen Gould discusses image understanding and pixel labeling, the topic of   " ... Scene Understanding by Labeling Pixels".  What do you see? How about now? And now? Because that's what your computer sees. Can we teach it to understand that these arbitrary pixels are a tree, a car, a chair? Then can we teach it to put it all together and describe an entire scene ... Join us as we talk with Stephen Gould about how computer vision goes from individual pixels to full scenes, and then back again, in Scene Understanding by Labeling Pixels. ... " 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Watson Analytics Seen Today

Watson Analytics    Have yet to get a beta loaner, but today I did get several more in depth demonstrations of the idea.  In one case I was able to at least suggest entries.  The idea is good, but not new.  Why not have a data analytics system ask you for all the input needed to perform an analysis, have it perform it and then show the results, with some guiding words about the results.  An advisory style wizard.  With cautions.

But Watson is more than that, mainly because of its interface.  You choose the structure for the analysis based on the data.  Then it guides you in the right direction to get something meaningful.  Several unusual visualizations are used along the way.   One, for example, uses a word cloud to describe a decision tree. This struck me as very useful for an interface to be used to scan possible solutions quickly, say for an executive with little mathematics background.

Each interface comes with loaded additional options, suggestions or advice.  Still there might be some criticism for the complexity of some of their visuals. I am assuming that there will be warnings provided with information about the validity of the analysis. Looking forward to further hands on.


Whole Foods Digital Signage

Whole Foods Store of the future utilizes digital signage.  They have been innovators in this space for some time.   " .... Whole Foods has unveiled a new range of touch screens and other digital tools at its new flagship store in Alpharetta, Ga., that incorporate social media and other technology to provide product information such as food source and nutrition. The move is part of the retailer's effort to stand out among an increasingly crowded market in which more traditional retailers are starting to offer natural and organic items.   ... " 

USPS to Test Delivery of Groceries

The idea has been suggested for years, now finally the Feds have approved a test.  Why not?   " ... Federal authorities have given approval for the U.S. Postal Service to commence a two-year test of a customized delivery program for grocery e-tailers. .... The USPS began operational tests on such a service earlier this year in partnership with AmazonFresh in San Francisco. The Postal Regulatory Commission approved a further test allowing for USPS to work with retail partners to deliver bins of groceries to customer homes between 3 and 7 a.m. ... " 

Haptic Handles

In CWorld:
It's not quite the same as thumbing a ride, but a cylindrical gadget that nestles in your palm can get you where you want to go.

Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo on Monday showed off Yubi Navi, a prototype navigation and communication device that uses haptic feedback to convey information. ... " 

Big Data Retail Program

At Insight2014: IBM Big Data & Analytics: Retail Business and Industry Leadership Program  Retail continues to be an important place to gather and leverage complex data.  #ibminsight 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gartner Identifies Key Technology Trends

 I don't usually like top ten lists.  But in this list I do like the general descriptions.  Top strategic technology trends. No big surprises, and the order is debatable.

Tracking the Value of Corporate Get-togethers

This week attending IBM's big conference on Big Data and Analytics called Insight2014.  In progress all this week.  A huge affair with thousands of participants.  Each IBM participant is given an RFID tag.  They are allowed to opt out of this, but few do.  This allows IBM to understand not who particularly attends what, but how many people attend what parts of the conference, even the path of individual people.  You can also do data queries against the data.  How many people from a particular organization attended a key talk?   How many meals need to be ready for lunch. It's not that tagging has not been tried in conferences before, its that this data is designed to better understand the microstructure of the data. The statistics of the data.  In aggregate and in real time.  Leading to an understanding of the conference's value. A display in the lobby lets you visualize the results and pose new hypotheses.  An excellent example of behavioral data.


Steganographic Malware

Network threats based on hidden malware.   " .... Researchers at the Hungary-based Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security have uncovered Duqu, an unusual form of steganography-based malware that embeds itself in Microsoft Windows machines, gathers information about industrial control systems, and then transmits it to its command-and-control center. ... " 

Galactic Shadows

My colleague Keith J Caserta has come out with a second book in his Kindle series called: Galactic Shadows. Science fiction about AI and how aliens are likely to interact with us.   His web page and ordering information. Much enjoyed his previous book: Soul Searching, reading this one now.

Fast Track Back to Kanban

It has been a considerable time since I have worked with Kanban, the lean,  just in time manufacturing process.   This InfoQ piece outlines what it is and a workshop that addresses how to achieve it.  Even including a Kanban game to teach the concepts.

" ... So you are considering getting started with Kanban, but where do you start? In this article we describe the approach we used in Danske Bank to get teams off to a good start with Kanban. You are free to use the material and content to get started yourself and the purpose of the article is to explain the what and how of the workshop to enable you to use it. .... " 

This also makes me think of electronic or e-Kanban, which has been integrated into corporate systems such as ERP.   I often thought of Kanban as 'activated' business process models.   Now with more data and better analytics, might we take e-Kanban further, analyzing the streams of data now created in the enterprise to create new kinds of Kanban intervention?   What might that look like?  Thoughts?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Productivity Startups

We need more of these, in particular startups that deliver more efficient connections to each other, supplanting regular e-mail, focus data to value and have the ability to improve process.

Kroger Scan, Bag and Go

Got a chance today to use the Kroger in-aisle checkout method at the Middletown,  Ohio Kroger today.   This was a concept we tested with many alternatives in the innovation center and in lab stores. Nicely done example here.

You pick up a small hand scanning device just inside the entrance.  A  sign billed it as being in test.  Only about half of maybe twenty devices were being used today.   This could be replaced with an App to simplify the process.  You scan your loyalty card barcode to identify yourself.   Then you are off and scanning.   Its easy to learn, tried the always problematic produce identification and weigh in, but as long as you followed the instructions it went fine. All barcode tagged items were identified first time.

You can add and remove items. Get total cost.  No way to upload a shopping list, which would be useful. Also no way I saw to see your whole basket at once.  A store item locator would be useful as well.  These additional features could be integrated into an App on the customers smartphone.  No obvious place to place your device when shopping,  so it takes up one hand.  Saw this solved with a handle-holster in some experiments. Did not check how this handled coupons.  No way to send any messages back to the shopper, an obvious next step.

It was a little unclear to find where to check out, but as expected this was being handled next to the other self checkout.  It works similarly to self checkout, payment is gathered by  a payment system or employee.  Any ID checks needed are signaled as well.  No wait at all occurred on a relatively busy Saturday afternoon. Overall a good experience that I would use again.

Business Strategy and Execution for CIO

In Future of CIO: Business strategy and execution challenges. " ... Many companies spend significant portion of time for formulating rock solid strategies, focuses on business strategy development and puts a lot of efforts to develop a great strategy with strategic initiatives. On the other hand, strategy execution does not get the same attention which leads to misalignment with business objectives and not achieving the expected results. But more specifically, what are the business strategy execution challenges? .... '

Watson Cognitive Computing as Taught at Columbia

How is Watson cognitive technology being taught today in universities?  Here is an example of how it is described in a curriculum at Columbia:

" ... IBM Watson is ushering in a new era of computing, cognitive systems.  Based on natural language processing, generate hypothesis, algorithmically test possible responses, navigate Big Data, deliver evidence based insights, and learn through iterations and outcomes, this new class of computing  behaves more like the world’s most sophisticated computer—the human brain.  Since its historic debut on Jeopardy!, IBM Watson has been put to work in healthcare and financial services helping to transform these industries.

This course covers background concepts for working with IBM Watson and semantic technology in general, highlighting the current research problems and describing existing solutions. Students will gain an appreciation for what it’s like to work in one of the most advanced software research environments in the world. They will have the opportunity of learning from the developers of IBM Watson, providing their own insights, ideas and solutions to problems.....  

The full course description 

Many Worlds

Many Worlds is a 1950s idea that came out of physics.  A result of  the math that works very well predictively at the tiny, particle level, but for the real world gives results that don't match our every day reality.   A new theory suggests why.   It may have implications for the future of computing.

Manufacturing and the IOT

Manufacturing and the Internet of Things.  "... Manufacturers like GM and Stanley Black and Decker are creating this platform for innovation by deploying open standards–based Internet Protocol (IP) technologies that converge their enterprise and plant floor networks.  ... " 

Friday, October 24, 2014

How Watson Works

A straight forward, non-technical video of how Watson/Cognitive is designed to work,  implemented in the real world.    Worth a look if you are at all interested.  This does not mean that considerable work will not be needed to use it for your application.  See also my previous note about the upcoming webinar for more directly practical information.

New Realities of Local Retail

In ThinkwithGoogle:
" ... The relationship between digital and local stores is changing—something we learned from our new Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping study, commissioned from Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands. From it, we identified three new realities of retail: digital drives in-store traffic; smartphones are in-store shopping assistants and varied shopping habits call for a holistic approach to measuring retail success. Savvy retailers are learning how to reach customers by better connecting the online to the offline and by caring less about where a sale happens and more about how to help shoppers convert. Some brands, such as Macy's, REI and Sephora, are already doing so. Find out how. ... "

P&G to Spin off Duracell

Not unexpected.  But the form of the move is unusual. Not a profitable enough business.  " .... Though P&G said that the Duracell has 'attractive operating profit margins... and cash generation,' it saw its growth prospects as limited. ... ".    What is the growth potential of batteries?  Many more devices but mostly chargeable.

Update:  Received through the Alumni network.

On the Role of the Chief Data Officer

Excellent piece here. Have worked in the area of regulatory compliance.  Here the idea is to consider the more formal roles involved to address this problem systematically over time.

" ... In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage and control the terabytes of data embedded within different parts of an organisation.  The evolution of the “data lake” into the “data ocean” has resulted in the necessity for companies to assign a custodian representing key stakeholders’ interests.  A perennial hot topic is the role of the chief data officer (CDO); according to Gartner, 25% of major global organisations will have appointed a chief data officer by the end of next year (Gartner, 2014)[1].

This article aims to discuss the topic of the CDO and in particular, data governance; what characteristics are required by the person entrusted to harness data and protect stakeholder interests in an organisation? Does the seniority of this person warrant a title at C-level to be truly effective?  Time to look at these points in more detail. ... " 

Former Apple Retail Store Manager Will help You Choose.

The Apple store is impressive.  A showy blend of service, expertise and demonstration.   With lots of geeky camaraderie.

The Genius Behind The Apple Store Wants To Help You Choose Your Next Gadget 
Former J.C. Penny CEO and Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has a new startup that hopes to help you buy new things, according to the Wall Street Journal's Daisuke Wakabayashi. Johnson said Enjoy, as the startup will be called, wants to help consumers find the right product for them.  Enjoy may fill a much-needed gap in technology retail. .... "

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Google and AI with DeepMind

More examples of Cognitive, here with Google.

" ... Google, the search company that's investing heavily in robotics, is teaming with Oxford University researchers to work on artificial intelligence.

In January, Google bought the London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind. Now the Google DeepMind group will work with two of Oxford's artificial intelligence (AI) research teams.

The teams will work on image recognition and natural language understanding, according to Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind and vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog post.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, called the collaboration a smart move since AI technology could boost Google Maps, search and Google+, the company's social networking service.

"AI can be used to make applications more predictive, as well as make robots smarter," he said. "Well, it's most directly about robotics but the intelligence can be ported to other applications. It could help anticipate user needs. AI could help apps figure out what users might do based on their past actions." ... '

Available Watson Cognitive Services

Jim Spohrer points to a more complete list of Watson Bluemix services.  I am in the midst of exploring. Here is one example to give you an idea of the granularity of the cognitive offerings.  There are a total of 8 now, but they hint at more coming:

" ... Concept Expansion
Maps euphemisms or colloquial terms to more commonly understood phrases

The Concept Expansion service analyzes text and interprets its meaning based on usage in other similar contexts. For example, it could interpret 'The Big Apple' as meaning 'New York City'. It can be used to create a dictionary of related words and concepts so that euphemisms, colloquialisms, or otherwise unclear phrases can be better understood and analyzed.  .... " 

Update:  An Upcoming webinar on the topic.  Hands On: Building Your Own Watson Powered Application on Bluemix, October 29, 2014 | 11:00 a.m. Eastern / 8:00 a.m. Pacific
Register: http://bit.ly/1sUB50h  

Asimov on How People Get New Ideas

In Technology Review:  Long ago, unpublished essay by beloved science and science fiction author Issac Asimov.  His writings inspired me starting in Jr High.   Good thoughts.

Testing Machine to Machine Systems

Machines are easier to deal with than humans, at least when the machines are not compromised by humans.   This will increase in importance.   But also implies the curation of the process by humans. With the aid of Cognitive systems.   Much more from the talk at link.

" .... Devices are becoming increasingly interconnected through the internet where they are communicating directly with each other. Testing such machine to machine (M2M) systems can be difficult due to their complexity and the usage of different platforms, as Peter Varhol explained in his talk about testing in the M2M world at the QA&Test 2014 conference.

Machine to machine systems are networks of connected machines which usually have little or no human interaction when they are communicating. The machines will do things based on input from other machines. Examples are automotive control systems, home automation, aircraft and aerospace systems and retail or point of sale (POS) systems. These systems can be performing safety-critical or mission-critical functions, therefor it is important to assure that these systems can be accurately tested. .... "

Protein Imaging Data

In Nature:  Heard much about this topic in R&D when we were still in health care product development.  " ... Data bank struggles as protein imaging ups its game Hybrid methods to solve structures of molecular machines create a storage headache. ... ".    Its about the idea of curating structure.  An idea that implies human intervention, but likely with strong cognitive augmentation.

What's in Stock Nearby

In Adage:  Macy's Links With Google To Show Mobile Users What's In Stock Nearby ... Find That Gift You've Been Looking for in the Right Size, Color and Price  ... " .  Call it Precision shopping.

Good Thoughts on E-Mail Responses

Not about managing your email, but the often more important issue of how you should respond to serious questions in email. The most useful element: Pause.   " ... There is a simple two-step method to making the pause work for you. First, buy yourself some time to think. Second, follow the four simple C’s of effective communication that help determine how best to respond in terms of the context, content, channel, and contact. ...  " . Much more at the link.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Analyzing Ebola Data with Watson API


A report via the Cognitive Systems Institute.
Note this is Under Development.  Should not be used conclusively.  It is an example of using Watson services via Bluemix.

Vikash Singh Ruhil. Data Scientist ( Graduate Assistant ) at St. John's University reports:

During HACKNY, I used bluemix service IBM Watson API for a ebola data analysis. Our service is live at http://ebolabigdata.org . Major part of API is under implementation. ....   " 

Here is another example from the competition called a Personality Badge:

Debating Emotional Intelligence

How important is the concept? An interesting debate, that reminds me of the concept and what it has come to mean.   The author concludes:  " ....  I can’t emphasize enough the crucial importance of EI-based competencies for success in leadership roles. ... " 

BBC Time Line of Computing

A slideshow style timeline of the emergence and use of computing, broadly defined.   I dislike this style of presenting information, though I understand it is meant to give more room to advertising.  Also clearly a UK view, based on new declassified understanding of who built the 'First Digital Computer'.    Each slide contains an attached PDF, which I have not examined yet, a nice idea for source information, Great for new students of the topic.  I have always liked the topic of how early non electronic 'computing' links to current digital methods.

On Successful Innovation

Related to topics like Should we build a physical or virtual place to emphasize innovation.  Or should the process be more or less deliberate?    I agree that culture is important, and culture can, to a degree, be molded.

" ... Successful innovators care about solving interesting and important problems — innovation is merely a byproduct. If this distinction seems like hair-splitting, it isn’t. The two focuses create vastly different realities.

Focusing on innovating — as a worthy goal unto itself — tends to be born from self-centered motives: We need to protect ourselves from competitive forces. We need to ensure we have a growth engine. We need to keep up with other companies. To do all these things, we need to innovate. This is often a CYA perspective coming from an executive suite looking to protect its turf. It isn’t inherently bad. It’s just that this focus tends to create a culture where customers are on the sidelines, not in the center of the dialogue. ... " 

Social Robot for the Home: Jibo

The idea of a social, family robot is an interesting idea. None I have I have ever seen has worked very well, or has been very comforting.   Shades of Kismet from the same lab.    Now a new attempt, available in 2015, that is worth a look.  Nothing here to help you do any physical home chores, but just to be friendly.  The idea has been tried and sometimes successfully used  to amuse children, but will it work with adults?

" ... Cynthia Breazeal, the famed roboticist at MIT’s Media Lab and a pioneer of social robotics, is unveiling her latest creation today. Unlike her previous robots, created for research and used in settings like classrooms and hospitals, her newest robotic device is designed for people to use at home. Breazeal hopes users will find the robot, called Jibo, so fun and friendly that it will become "part of the family."

"Jibo, please introduce yourself," Breazeal says, looking at the little robot next to her during a demo last week in New York City.

Jibo doesn’t move. She tries again, and this time the robot springs to life, spins its body, blinks its eye, and talks about itself in an excited—if a bit robotic—voice. .... 

Jibo will come equipped with an initial set of apps, or "skills," as Breazeal calls them, that will allow it to play different "roles." For example, the robot will be able to act as a cameraman, tracking faces and snapping pictures so you can be in the photos. It could also act as an assistant who reminds family members of their schedules, or as a telepresence avatar that helps people connect with each other.  ... "  

Disruptor Foundation

A note from colleague Julie Anixter reminded me of the Disruptor Foundation, where she is executive in residence.  

"  .... Co-founded by Professor Clayton Christensen and Craig Hatkoff in 2009, the Disruptor Foundation is a private 501(C)3 non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness of and encourage the advancement of disruptive innovation theory and its application in societally-critical domains.

The Foundation’s marquee event, the annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, is presented in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival and the Harvard Business School’s Professor Clayton Christensen, originator of disruptive innovation theory.  ... "   

Much more background at the link.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Online TV Tracked Across Devices

Expected next step.

" ... Showing all viewers the same commercial six minutes into, say, an episode of "Modern Family" might soon be over. If you're watching it online.

A new partnership between TV measurement company Nielsen and analytics provider Adobe was announced early Tuesday, presenting detailed data about how people watch TV and other media on the Internet. The team-up adds smarts to existing forms of tracking, by letting broadcasters get a better picture of how Internet users consume media across devices and platforms. ... "

Swash Gathers in-Store Display Data

A thread here since 07, the Swash brand, continues to move on.   Now the collaboration between Whirlpool and P&G that removes clothing wrinkles is using a method to gather how their displays are being interacted with in the store. In Adage.   Recall that this brand was originally marketed using pop-up stores in the Columbus area.

" ... Whirlpool took a risk developing an alternative to the traditional washing machine when it launched Swash in conjunction with Procter & Gamble Co. in July. And now the appliance maker is gathering and analyzing data showing how the novel fabric-care contraption is displayed in stores. It's one way Whirlpool will gauge success of its marketing and consumer education efforts around Swash. ... " 

Getting to Know the Chief Data Officer

Working with the complexity of data and its application to analytics is increasingly complex.

" ... The transformative power of data and analytics is being harnessed by organizations to make smarter, quicker and more analytically-informed decisions. At the helm of this transformation is the Chief Data Officer – a strategic leader who employs data and analytics to create tangible business value.

The IBM Center for Applied Insights spoke in-depth with executives to learn how CDOs are making a difference within organizations. ... " 

AI Becomes Cognitive. Is it Now Ready for Sustained Value?

Is AI finally ready to roll?  Again? Spent years in the 90s working on it, with successes but also ultimately descent into a winter of discontent.  Back then there were a small number of well funded startups that drove the efforts. The last of these, Teknowledge, went away just a few years ago. I am currently reviewing some of the work done with them.

Now the players are the likes of IBM, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, which already have embedded AI technologies deep in their businesses. That's a good sign, they are selling practical information technology, not the promise of disembodied intelligence.  Now can they get non technology companies, like Procter & Gamble, to pay attention?  Or do the AI, now cognitive, solutions need to remain deeply buried in the code?  Formulated in an algorithm?

And it is still hard to track how much progress is being made, and what that progress looks like.  CWorld covers some of the old efforts, and the new.  Tries to make sense of it all. I am along for the ride for now will report on it here.

Web Style Analytics in the Retail Store

Good Forrester report, requires registration.

" ... Retail stores have been living in the analytical "dark ages" in comparison to digital channels, using metrics that rarely take into account customer behavior. But new advances in location-based analytics are transforming how physical store retailers win, serve and retain customers..... 

In this special report, senior Forrester analysts investigate the challenges and rewards of using in-store analytics to drive increased engagement with customers and greater efficiency in retail store operations. ... " 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Channels Become Apps as Advertising Changes Forever

In Adage:   Remarkable piece about the conversion to digital TV happening now, and how it will change advertising.  And create a new flood of advertising data.    " ... The start of TV unbundling is upon us, with HBO and CBS leading the way, but we're not just about to see a new way to discover and consume TV content -- we're going to see what happens when TV advertising becomes fully digital. ... Slowly but surely, a lot of the words we use to describe media and appliances are becoming rather inappropriate. We may use a smartphone, but the phone app for many is one of the least-used apps. We listen to the radio, but we do so from a tablet. We read newspapers from a laptop, and we're about to have watches that have little to do with the time. ...  " 

Chef Watson as an Advisor

Just received early access to IBM's Chef Watson Beta this past week.  I have been testing, not for recipe development, but with an eye to how it's structure could be adapted to other advisory systems. Also, how it really differs from other search style systems.  How does, it adapt, learn, and support creativity? Still trying to understand those dynamics.  Also, how this form of expert system is different, and makes it more likely to be  successful than those of the 90s.  Click the Chef Watson tag for more I have written and will write about this topic.

 IBM writes about how it is different:

    " ... In contrast to a search engine that simply sifts through existing data to serve up a list of already published recipes, Chef Watson is not programmed to come up with a defined answer to a defined question - it understands, learns, and considers not just the data behind recipes and flavor compounds, but also human perception to design highly creative recipe ideas.

Using the app, users can create novel recipes by selecting ingredients, dish type and dish styles, as well as any ingredients to exclude in the final recipe. Once the user has entered in their choices, the app will generate a list of never before seen recipe suggestions.  .... " 

Online Replacing In Store Browsing

The results of an Ipsos and Google survey and report.  " ... Whether through a laptop at work or a smartphone before bed or in-store, online searches continue to replace much of the shopper discovery process that comes from in-store browsing. ... " 

Invention of Google Scholar

Now ten years old.    Contains 160 million documents. " ... Making the world’s problem solvers 10% more efficient ... Ten years after a Google engineer empowered researchers with Scholar, he can’t bear to leave it  .. " 

" ... Some people have never heard of this service, which treats publications from scholarly and professional journals as a separate corpus and makes it easy to find otherwise elusive information. Others have seen it occasionally when a result pops up on their search activity, and may even know enough to use it for a specific task, like digging into medical journals to gather information on a specific ailment. But for a significant and extremely impactful slice of the population: researchers, scientists, academics, lawyers, and students training in those fields — Scholar is a vital part of online existence, a lifeline to critical information, and an indispensable means of getting their work exposed to those who most need it. ....  "

Redesigning Bill Gates Favorite Data Visualization

From Perceptual Edge:  A 3D Treemap is at the link ...
" .... Colorful space filling graphs are visually attractive, they do gather your attention.  But are they good ways to visualize data and really understand it?  It is still better to be simple and readily understandable.  Here a look at Bill Gate's favorite visualization, with a reworking of it in a simpler form.   Some of the comments are also interesting, is the visual interest enough to make a difference? Or is it better to just go back to the simpler bar chart? ... " 

Free Piston Engines

Toyota's remarkable new approach to the gas piston engine, the first in 134 years.  I was truck by the visuals used.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Forecasting Net Site and Blog on Ebola

George Boretos, Strategy & Marketing Expert
Just posted an update, including the most recent cases for October and a forecast of the expected Ebola deaths and mortality rate, also based on actual data up to Oct 1st 2014. ....  "

See in:
The Forecasting Net is  a non-profit think tank for   both professionals and simple enthusiasts interested in forecasting and future thinking. .... Its purpose is to help increase our visibility of the future by monitoring emerging trends and using scientific forecasting, always with an emphasis on simplicity. Every expression of forecasting, from simple trend following to sophisticated forecasting techniques and software apps, is presented in a straightforward way, in an effort to abridge a scientifically challenging field with down to earth ready to use tools. ... " 

Autodesk Prints 3D Virus

Did not know that Autodesk had a genetic engineer.  Worked with them in the area of displaying marketing data for the enterprise.  From 3D Print: " ... Weaving his way through a virtually invisible and widely unknown world of microscopic cells and futuristic technology, Autodesk’s genetic engineer Andrew Hessel is working to fight cancer on a new level: a personalized, affordable one, using 3D printed oncolytic viruses, which literally break cancer cells apart.

He makes fighting cancer sound very simple with the idea of viral engineering, which encompasses using software to design and make viruses — and 3D print them. Obviously, there is quite a body of research and work that goes into making that a reality. ... "

History of Mail and Things Communicating

Recall using mail on the Arpanet in those early days, but it was never seen then as a means to stay generally connected.  Only to answer very specific questions.

Network Trailblazer: A Conversation with Eric Allman
Eric Allman talks about Sendmail, the first "killer app" for the networked age, and gives an update on his  work with the Internet of Things ...

If he had known that most of the email he would receive every day would be unsolicited bulk email, he might have done things differently. Network Trailblazer Eric Allman was the author of delivermail, and its successor sendmail. Delivermail was the mail transport agent (“MTA”) first shipped in 1979 as part of 4.0BSD, a UNIX operating system developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley. ... "

Smart Systems Services

Brought to my attention.  Nothing very new here, but a good overview of the topic.  Enabling Smart System Services in Smart Cities by Dr. Ko-Yang Wang, CTO and Executive Vice President Institute for Information Industry With material from III Advanced Research Institute and Smart Network System Institute.   Still want to see more about supply chain analytics in these systems.

Need for Practical Anthropology

While I was at the enterprise we had precisely, and rather informally, one anthropologist.  Was always fascinated by the role.  Understanding human behavior is important, but is retail behavior in their realm?  So do we need more practical anthropologists?  Experienta points to a further discussion.

Robotic Explorers

Without sensors or GPS a group of robots can explore.  " .... The system uses stereo vision depth-sensing to provide the obstacle map, and other image-processing methods to identify and track all the agents in the system.

The researchers note the performance of traditional stereo vision-based depth-sensing degrades if the distance from the observed objects becomes much larger than the separation of the cameras. However, they say their technology addresses this limitation by using single cameras on two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), providing much greater separation and control of that separation. .... " 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stop Controlling Ex Employees Knowledge?

In the HBR:   This issue has come up a number of times recently.  Here a  good overview of the topic.  Not everyone agrees.   The coverage of the legal, compliance and regulatory knowledge by US state is particularly interesting.

Marketing and the Internet of Things

It is about data.  Its about reach.    Anna Russell writes:

" .... Let’s take a step back and look at just what the Internet of Things contains that might excite marketers.  IoT, the result of a growing number of M2M and internet enabled devices, produces vast and diverse amounts of machine created data such as log files, GIS coordinates, thermostat data, and other sensory data. This data is transmitted to a location (or many locations) outside the device, and can trigger actions in other devices that either guide manufacturing efficiency, change environmental factors or overtly assist human users in selecting a course of action, be it workout intensity, room temperature or driving route.

These data driven decisions and suggestions, when well designed, have the power to surprise and delight device users with their perceptive power. And its that feedback loop -the expectation of users that these devices are trustworthy and will advise them of best thing to do - that presents unparalleled albeit slightly big-brother-ish marketing potential. ... "  

IPad Friendly Kid Augmented Reality Game

Have seen a number of augmented reality games.   These use real world spaces as a playing field. Here Osmo has received considerable funding.

" ... Osmo, the iPad-powered gaming device built by former Googlers (and dads) as a way to turn tablets into more “hands-on” toys, has raised $12 million in Series A funding, the company is announcing today. The round was led by Accel Partners’ Rich Wong, and includes investment from Upfront Ventures and K9 Ventures. The company is also announcing that its products, which are currently available for sale online, will also be made available in 284 Apple stores in the U.S. and Canada. ... The game kit will also be sold in Marbles Toy Stores in the U.S., which has a number of locations mainly in Northeast and Southern California. ... " 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Integrating Work and Life

The ultimate goal. Successfully integrating work and life.  From Knowledge@Wharton.  Book interview and text.

Open Sourcing the Internet of Things

In ReadWriteWeb:  An overview piece about setting standards for the IoT, and how those standards should be open sourced.  Agree, have been through this with the same (and related)  RFID work.  The article makes a good case of why the extreme framentation of IoT developers will make this difficult to do.

Future Software Will be Cognitive

Will the next generation of software be cognitive?  Good piece in Forrester.  I am a keen student of the reasons for the partial success and failures of AI as advisory systems in it's previous wave.  Plan to continue to watch the reports from Forrester and see how this links to our own and other cognitive efforts.

" ... In conclusion, although this is only the start of long series of research we will be writing in Forrester, I recommend developers to prepare to this new wave of technology and integrate it in their practices rather than isolate it out. One reason AI failed once was because it never got integrated into IT. Let’s avoid that mistake. I am hoping to post, based on what I saw at the forum, how cognitive computing impacts the way you develop, and it effects your SDLC similarly to how Agile and Lean do -- a good reason to keep doing what you are doing with Agile!.  In the meantime you should also read the take aways my colleague Michelle Goetz has summarized in her blog about this conference too. ... " 

Stream Data Processing

In Infoq:

The demand for stream processing is increasing a lot these days. The reason is that often processing big volumes of data is not enough. Data has to be processed fast, so that a firm can react to changing business conditions in real time. This is required for trading, fraud detection, system monitoring, and many other examples. A “too late architecture” cannot realize these use cases.

This article discusses what stream processing is, how it fits into a big data architecture with Hadoop and a data warehouse (DWH), when stream processing makes sense, and what technologies and products you can choose from. .... "

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Supply and Demand of Data Scientists

Bruce Langos, COO of Teradata gave a spirited talk today in the atrium of Wright State University today on the nature of the data scientist.   The talk was also transmitted to some area high schools.  The emphasis of the talk addressed what was causing the need to be created and the reason why employers like Teradata were seeing their needs unfulfilled.     It is because it is relatively easy to train people in a technical field, but not so easy to provide them with business experience.

   It is also caused by the dislike many people have for the logical rigor of mathematics.  That is not new, but the very new world of computing systems and gadgets make it more common than ever.  So the world of the device is both creating the wave of data and making it more difficult to analyze.

  Could the automation capabilities of the cognitive fill the gap?  Would have liked to see what the thoughts of the brighter high school students who were listening in.  Would the promise of ready jobs and high salaries drive the interest to fill the jobs?   Wright State plans to establish a lab in the spring to address this need.  This could be used to study and help fill the gap.

3D Printing Your Big Data for Understanding

In Technology Review: Fascinating idea. As 3D printing becomes cheaper, you can quickly create a 3D physical data representation. (You can add more 'Ds' with indicators like color or shape). We did this for displaying real spaces, like retail stores, then overlaying other data, and discovered interacting with the tactile display resulted in better agreement on design than with a screen display. You can touch your decision. Shake hands with the data! Course you can touch the data, but not interact with it in usual way.  Still don't see it as a common approach.

Mobility Foundation of Digital Enterprise

In Baseline:  Becoming more true.  It is now an expectation that we have access anytime and anywhere. With the right data to support our decisions.   

" ... Some industry experts view mobility as the foundation of the digital enterprise, which will include the Internet of things, social, analytics and crowdsourcing.

It's no secret that mobile devices and apps have become valuable corporate information and communications assets. But some industry experts envision mobility as the foundation of the digital enterprise, which will include the Internet of things (IoT), social listening, real-time data analytics and crowdsourcing. ... " 

Mashing up Docs and Spreadsheets

In CWorld: I thought this was being done generally, but this is a better way it seems.

" ... Instead of building a suite of separate productivity apps, a la Microsoft Office, Quip plans to have a single "canvas" where it will incorporate different features and functionality, including presentation software capabilities later.

Thus, the Quip product, which is designed for workplace collaboration, now lets users include spreadsheets within a word processing document, and if changes are made to cell values and formulas, those numbers are automatically updated where they are referenced in the text portions. ... " 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thinking about SuperIntelligence

Brought to my attention, a new book: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies  by Nick Bostrom   http://www.nickbostrom.com/

Will be reading.  They write:

" ... Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life. 

The human brain has some capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. It is to these distinctive capabilities that our species owes its dominant position. If machine brains surpassed human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could become extremely powerful - possibly beyond our control. As the fate of the gorillas now depends more on humans than on the species itself, so would the fate of humankind depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence. ... " 

Demonstration of AI Using Quantum Computing

When we first visited quantum computing we suggested that some AI applications, like image analysis, would be good candidates for the technique.  Now this has come to pass.    In Slashdot:   " ... Machine learning algorithms use a training dataset to learn how to recognize features in images and use this 'knowledge' to spot the same features in new images. The computational complexity of this task is such that the time required to solve it increases in polynomial time with the number of images in the training set and the complexity of the "learned" feature ... " .   Original article with technical details.

Automatic Storytelling

Storytelling is a recent topic.  Normally a thing that people do.  To what degree can it be automated with a cognitive system?   The idea has been around for a long time, we thought of using it to outline advertisements.  It can also be seen as means of augmenting a human story teller.  Some new developments in this area.  " ... Many artificial intelligence (AI) researchers believe one of the major breakthroughs in AI will be creating systems that are effective story-tellers. University College Dublin's Tony Veale says story-telling is an essential component of the human condition, and therefore computers need the same capability in order to better understand and communicate with humans. ..."

Slideshare Apps Update

New Slideshare apps are available for Android and IOS.   Impressed by the new interface.  Better display.  Slideshare provides a good way to access and utilize consistently and simply packaged knowledge.  Now has the ability to notify the user of new content of interest.

Cardboard VR

Google develops a cardboard VR viewer (Technical).

" ... The Cardboard project aims at developing inexpensive virtual reality (VR) tools to allow everyone to enjoy VR in a simple, fun, and natural way. The VR Toolkit enables developers familiar with OpenGL to quickly start creating VR applications. The toolkit simplifies many common VR development tasks, including:

Lens distortion correction.
Head tracking.
3D calibration.
Side-by-side rendering.
Stereo geometry configuration.
User input event handling.
We're keeping the hardware and software open to encourage community participation and compatibility with VR content available elsewhere. ....  "

New Mobile in E-Commerce

In Marketing Mag:  New ways to interact and better personalization will emerge.  The future of better mobile. " ... Mobile is increasingly important for online retailers. Rohit Dadwal argues that as more and more customers are shopping online, companies need to go beyond offering a basic ecommerce experience. ... " 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Holiday Shopper Research

Shopping never sleeps  More from Google retail. With statistics and visuals.  " ... This holiday shopping season will be our most connected ever, with devices at our fingertips helping us hunt for deals in stolen moments—whether on a laptop at work or on a smartphone right before bed. In fact, one third of all shopping searches on Google happen between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.1 That's because shopping doesn't stop once the mall closes. Today we’re researching purchases online at all hours of the day. To understand how digital trends will affect this year's shopping season, we conducted our annual Holiday Shopper Intentions research with Ipsos, surveying consumers on their shopping behavior. ... " 

Adapting with Speed

Adapting with speed: How agile selling organizations win in a demanding environment
Adapting with speed in a rapidly changing CPG marketplace 
Winning CPG companies are adapting with speed in an evolving marketplace by anticipating the future and collaborating with customers; making omnichannel investments, and developing and retaining talent. GMA's Customer and Channel Management Survey produced by McKinsey & Co. identifies best practices by linking actions to results visible in Nielsen market data ... " (May require registration)

Innovation by Kraft

A fairly detailed piece on a focused and deliberate drive to innovation by Kraft.   " ... Kraft Foods is aiming for "white space" innovation, which looks for new opportunities in today's crowded marketplace, said Vice President for Breakthrough Innovation Barry Calpino. "Our business unit leaders set the tone and set the example with their sponsorship of innovation -- and innovators. It's important to have empathy to what it's like to work in white space, given the high rate of failure ... " 

Coke Freestyle Gets Personal

Saw some early ideas for delivering this.  Makes a lot of sense to personalize the sometimes complex interaction.  Plan to test. 

" ... Building on its legacy as a game-changing innovation, 
Coca-Cola Freestyle® is set to make the consumer experience even more personal. An enhanced “Create Your Own Mix” feature on the popular Coca-Cola Freestyle app launching in January 2015 allows users to choose from 100+ drink options to create a custom mix of their own and then, for the first time, connect their smartphones to dispensers at participating outlets and pour it on the spot. It works in just a few easy steps – simply download, mix, pour, enjoy and share .. "  

Analytics Unleashed Meeting

Saw this late, but there will be an event at Wright State University this Thursday. Analytics Unleashed.  I plan to be there.

" ... Join the Raj Soin College of Business, and Teradata Chief Operations Officer Bruce A. Langos for a special look into transforming business and higher education through the power of analytics.

Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, 1:00-2:00pm, Student Union Atrium

Bruce A. Langos, COO Teradata
Bruce Langos is Chief Operations Officer for Teradata Corporation. He oversees all operational functions across the company worldwide including supply line management, global procurement, advanced manufacturing, logistics, real estate, aviation, corporate security, intellectual property licensing, and designs and implements programs that strengthen the company’s processes and increase operating efficiency. He also leads the company’s sales support and order management functions. In his current role, Langos is a member of the Teradata leadership team reporting to Mike Koehler, president and chief executive officer of Teradata. ... " 


Toshiba Embedded Glasses Display

Another example of a head mounted display, competing with Google Glass.  More wearable tech. "  ... Called Toshiba Glass, they have a tiny, lightweight projector clipped onto one of the arms near the lens. That projector displays an image that reflects off the inside of the lens to provide an augmented reality-type display.

It's a similar principle to Google Glass, which also uses a built-in projector. But unlike Google Glass, Toshiba's glasses don't have a prism over the lens to reflect the image into the eye. .... " 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Salesforce and Wave Analytics

Just announced:  " .... Wave is the product of two years' worth of engineering and runs on top of Salesforce's core platform, Buscemi said. That means it's integrated with Salesforce's applications for CRM (customer relationship management), support and other areas from the get-go, and can also be embedded into apps built with the platform.

The new service is different from other approaches to analytics: It's search based, with data stored in a schema-less fashion. This allows for rapid, iterative exploration by users who are in search of answers to questions, according to Buscemi. It also means IT departments don't have to pull together traditional data marts for users before they can get started. ... " 

Parenting with a Story

I see that my P&G colleague Paul Smith has a new book coming out Nov 12: Parenting with a Story. A domain sequel to his business oriented book:  Lead with a Story, which was covered here.   And http://www.leadwithastory.com/ Great build on the popular storytelling technique, which was used widely in marketing driven companies, and is becoming broadly popular.

For locals, there is a book signing I will try to make: " ...  In addition to signing books, I’ll be sharing a few of the 101 original stories in the book based on my interviews with over a hundred amazing people from 20 different countries around the world. ..... 

Nov. 13, 7:00pm
Joseph-Beth Booksellers 
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati OH 45208
513 396 8960   ..... " 

The Reciprocity Advantage

Reading The Reciprocity Advantage: A New Way to Partner for Innovation and Growth.  by Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn.  Nicely done with real life enterprise examples, including IBM, TED, Microsoft, Google Apple Store and more.

I like in particular an outline about how each company partnered and what the partnership exchanged.  Also what assets where involved.   Then  the scaling advantage involved.  I also like the emphasis on experimentation being done to figure out what the real value is and how it will be developed.   Included in that is how 'gameful engagement' can be used to figure out how the partnership will work.   The latter parts of the book provide direct  'How to' steps.  Well done.

" ... Bob Johansen, best-selling author and Distinguished Fellow at IFTF, has partnered with innovation expert Karl Ronn to uncover what they believe will be the biggest innovation opportunity in history in their forthcoming book, The Reciprocity Advantage. Through illustrative examples from leading organizations and an eye to the future, Johansen and Ronn present a four-part model that shows how organizations can give away assets to form partnerships, leading to collaborative experimentation and scalable new business opportunities.  ... 

" ... Johansen and Ronn explain that reciprocity, an old concept, will be reimagined within a future context of connective technologies, generational shifts, and new organizational models to provide a distinct competitive advantage. To win in this world, businesses will need to  (1) uncover their right-of-way, the underutilized resources they already own that they can share with others; (2) find partners who can help them do what they cannot do alone; (3) experiment to learn through cloud-based systems; and (4) scale the results, but only when the business’ reciprocity advantage is desirable, viable, and ownable. If it’s not scalable, it’s not worth doing—and the authors describe technologies that make scaling up faster than ever. .... " 

More and ordering information.   Video.   @Reciprocityadv

Examining Data Valuation Methods

Brought this up here some time ago, but thought I would again ....  New analytical methods used with big data have led many companies to think about the value of their data. What is it worth, now and in the future? How about it's value if it is combined with syndicated or public data? How might your data be used to promote creative hypotheses?

Data is also risk. What is the cost of protecting it and the risk of keeping it at all? Data can also link to compliance issues. Is it indicative of dangerously approaching regulatory non compliance? All this leads to the question: What is your data worth? Could this be seen as a Watson cognitive advisory task? I will be talking this at an ISSIP http://www.issip.org/about/ call this November. Has anyone worked on this?  Interested in examining or contributing?  Contact me.

Amazon Opening Pickup Store

In Retailwire: Amazon is opening its first physical store in Manhattan.  Real effort or a look to establish a presence?  Isn't their presence already on every smart phone?

" ... Rumors about Amazon.com opening stores have been around for years. Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, the rumors will become reality when the e-commerce giant opens its first store (if you don't count subsidiaries) on one of the busiest streets in the U.S. — 34th Street in New York City.

The store, which will be located across from the Empire State Building, will be used as a place for customers to pick up orders and to make returns or exchanges. It will also serve as distribution center for couriers making same-day deliveries in Manhattan. Many things are not known about the store, including how much if any inventory will be on display, the size of the space, the length of the store lease, etc. .... " 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

How Google Makes us Dumber

In Salon:  " .. .The neuroscience of search engines
As search engines get better, we become lazier. We're hooked on easy answers and undervalue asking good questions ... " 

Finger in the Shopping Wind

A look at the up-coming conference.  Mostly looking at the future of shopping by Peter Hoyt is the CEO of the Path to Purchase Institute. The Path to Purchase Institute is a global association serving the needs of retailers, brands and the entire ecosystem of solution providers along the path to purchase  ... " 

" The 2014 edition of the Shopper Marketing Conference & Expo is going to be held in Minneapolis this year — October 22 & 23 — and you are more than welcome to head over with your own barometer for what’s on trend and who’s blowing smoke. There will be docent-guided technology tours; seminar tracks on everything from online-to-offline sales attribution to insights activation to in-store innovation; special sessions on where venture capitalists are placing their next bets; coffee, keynotes, demos and even digital networking opportunities.  ... " 

Analytics in Executive Process

In CW: Is there a place for the chief analytics officer?  I am more inclined to think that there can be too many chiefs, and not enough practitioners.  But I say yes to this: " .... As organizations seek to not simply corral data, but apply it strategically across the business, analytics experts are making their way into the C-suite. ... ".  Taking that further, the analytics thus created should be integrated into executive business process.  Now including strong cognitive capabilities.

Triple Loop Reboots and Resolving to be Different

The triple loop reboot was new to me.  Via colleague Julie Anixter. " ...  Remember, human beings crave stability and permanence.  When change threatens the stability of what we know, we often seek refuge in “what we have always done.” The paradox in this inclination is that change is the most enduring element of our lives. “What we have always done” is change and unless we willfully initiate a simple but systematic way to ensure we keep learning, unlearning, and relearning, we risk going down the same sad path as the French generals in the first half of the twentieth century.

Resolve to be different. Commit to making the Triple-Loop Reboot a natural part of your strategy to navigate change.  Beginning today. ... " 

Which Chart or Graph?

From Tableau Software.  Which chart or graph is best?   Looks at thirteen chart types. Requires registration.  Have used their software for years, very nicely done.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Computational Cooking Creativity Machine

So what is creativity?  An area we explored.  Discussed here previously: Is it the combination of a list of available resources (your pantry), your cooking skills, and the requirements of your diners?  

Perhaps optimized by some measure like cost and applause?  Plus a novelty measure?  I am going to a dinner party tonight where this will be discussed by some cognitive practitioners.

I still don't have access to the Beta discussed, could have tested that here.

In Technology Review:
" ... Can computers be creative? That’s a question likely to generate controversial answers. It also raises and some important issues too, like how to define creativity.

Seemingly unafraid of the controversy, IBM has darted into the fray by answering this poser with with a resounding ‘yes’. Computers can be creative, they say, and to prove it they have built a computational creativity machine that produces results that a knowledgeable human would consider novel, useful and even valuable—the hallmarks of genuine creativity.

IBM’s chosen field for this endeavour is cooking. The company’s creativity machine produces recipes based on chosen ingredients or cooking styles. And they’ve asked professional chefs to evaluate the results and say the feedback is promising. ... " 

Computing in the Statistics Curricula

The diagram below has been kicking around in twitter lately.  Some think its like the 3Vs of big data description, but it is more about how computing is being used in statistics curricula. From a lengthy detailed article: Computing in the Statistics Curricula by Deborah Nolan and Duncan Temple Lang.  in The American Statistician, May 2010, Vol. 64, No. 2

I like the fact that it covers a number of areas of importance in analytic computing.   But many of these are not new, some have been renamed for marketing purposes, and it is not complete.  You can argue a number of the overlapping aspects of the Venn diagram form.   Yet it is a reminder of how complex this world has become and the technologies that exist.  Few data scientists could fully explain what each of these is in useful detail.

I would like to see further a prioritization of which of these techniques should be included in a statistics curriculum.  You won't be able to cover them all.  Also, how should these be prioritized by industry area?  Also, no mention of 'cognitive systems', AI or Neural nets.   All hot topics today that should be included.  This may be in part from the publication date of the article.


Nanotech Assembly Lines

Used to follow nanotechnology for potential product manufacturing applications.  Less so now, but there are some areas where breakthroughs are key.  Now a new one:  " ... To develop a productive nanosystem for molecular manufacturing/atomically precise manufacturing it would be very useful to have a nanoscale assembly line. A month ago we posted here about a proof of principle for one such assembly line based upon biomolecules. This month Christine Peterson sends word of an assembly line for complex artificial organic molecules. An article on SingularityHUB led to this news release from the University of Bristol “Chemists create ‘assembly-line’ for organic molecules“: ... "

Women of the Eniac

Fascinating piece and images.   I worked with a person at the University of Pennsylvania who had been an electrician working with the Eniac.  We have come a long way from a room full of tubes and wires.

Tom Peters on 21st Century Organization

In McKinsey:   An interview that takes some interesting directions: ' ...  " ... Well, one answer to that, as far as I’m concerned, is “I don’t know.” My real bottom-line hypothesis is that nobody has a sweet clue what they’re doing. Therefore you better be trying stuff at an insanely rapid pace. You want to be screwing around with nearly everything. Relentless experimentation was probably important in the 1970s—now it’s do or die. It takes a certain confidence, though. The first partner I worked for at McKinsey had the self-assurance to look a chief executive officer in the eye and say, “We don’t know what the hell’s going on. Can we play with this together?” .. ' 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Coca-Cola Gathers Streams of Big Data

Another example of the broadening use of Splunk for analyzing data streams.

Coca-Cola gets inspiration for IT automation from its bottling plants
Able to tell what people are buying from vending machines and when

Coca-Cola, the multi billion pound drinks company, today revealed that its automated bottling plants are inspiring its IT operations, particularly in the area of data collection. 

Michael Connor, the multinational corporation's senior platform architect and the man behind the claim, said Coca-Cola is collecting unprecedented levels data as a result of automation processes that have been enabled through Splunk’s data management and analytics platform, in conjunction with the Amazon Web Services cloud platform. .... "

Vinimaya and Procurement Success

Have worked with Vinimaya a number of times.  Impressive capabilities in context sensitive procurement improvement.   By creating marketplaces to focus procurement decisions. They have started a webinar series.