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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Senior Sensors

The need seems to be generating lots of solutions. Eldercare was pioneered by the Japanese, due to an aging population, we saw a number of examples at Fujitsu labs in a visit a decade ago.   The CACM describes system examples.  See also the recent Smartstones example.

Retail Game Design from IKEA.

In ReadWrite Web:   When I saw the mention I immediately thought: A retail maze as game.   But it is also probably the main reason I have at times avoided going there.    I see this piece quotes Alan Penn, at the UCL, and Space Syntax, who we worked with, building retail simulations with game-like elements.

" .... The thing is, it’s easy to make a really hard maze. Just don’t add an exit. But Ikea has made a maze that is designed to keep you in the store long enough to grab a Bumerang, but not long enough to murder your family. In fact, Alan Penn at the University College of London studied the layout of Ikea stores and found that common paths through Ikea resemble a tangled web of seeming chaos but connected but a simple through-route.

He wrote: "Ikea is highly disorienting and yet there is only one route to follow.” This disorientation increases the odds that you’ll grab a Sinnlig on your way out—and, as it turns out, 60% of purchases at Ikea are made unintentionally. ... "

Risk for Sustainable Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:

" ... Of the ten imperatives to Roberts Rules of Innovation, “No Risk… No Innovation” is arguably one of the most important. There are many possible roads to innovation, and unfortunately many of them lead to a dead end. Successful innovation means defining your own road, and learning to celebrate the wrong turns that ultimately lead to victory. It is inevitable that every success sees failures along the way. Sustainable innovation requires a strategy from start to finish, and an acceptance (if not celebration), of failure ... "  

Microservices for an Enterprise

Had not thought about the concept, but InfoQ takes a critical look.  Admit I needed a definition, which is embedded.    A technical consideration of design, which in the past might have been called Widgets, and now might be called Apps.  But clearly Apps that can work together in a way that most cannot today.   " .... The term "Microservice Architecture" has sprung up over the last few years to describe a particular way of designing software applications as suites of independently deployable services. While there is no precise definition of this architectural style, there are certain common characteristics around organization around business capability, automated deployment, intelligence in the endpoints, and decentralized control of languages and data. .... "   

OK, considering.  Can advisory service intelligence be defined as a collection of interacting microservices?

Simple Open Source Data Visualization

In GigaOM:   Overview of a simple data visualization tool called Charted, with limited options that might be handy to visualize data from a URL.   I have been analyzing some Windows analytics data monthly for some time.   Excel works fine to quickly interact with the data.   Tableau can take me farther.  This solution could be useful for quick interactions.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Data Journalism Handbook

Have not yet looked at this, so cannot measure this free online source.  But I have seen some very bad data visualization recently in USA Today being syndicated to local metro papers.  This is just confusing the knowledge in data, without even making their supposed point.  I do hope the instruction and resources being given journalists these days is better than that.

Dawn of the Smart, Connected Home

The Smart Home was an early development area for our innovation centers.  So we followed what it meant to be connected, and the implications for commerce and marketing.  For a long time the cost of building such homes made them uncommon.  In the CACM, a good update piece which suggests that we are reaching a new era of the Smart Home.  The interaction of the Internet of Things (IOT) was also an area we examined, in home and retail. It is natural that the two concepts will combine.

EU Right to be Forgotten Guidelines

The concept continues to intrigue.  The EU delivers guidelines.  Of course the very act of wiping yourself clean from popular searches draws attention to you.   The WP provides a good outline of the idea and how it has been implemented, and consequences.

Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach

Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach  (Site) (Third edition) by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig

The leading textbook in Artificial Intelligence. 
Used in over 1200 universities in over 100 countries. 
The 22nd most cited computer science publication on Citeseer (and 4th most cited publication of this century). 

Site and PDF.

Via Kirk Borne

Friday, November 28, 2014

Machine Learning Blog on Technet

Introduced rather late to this.  Looks to be a good resource.  Most recently: " ... Microsoft’s Machine Learning technology got a bit of press coverage in the past week – here’s a quick round up of the major stories: 1. Internet of Things Helps Asthma Patients Breathe Easily Medical device company Aerocrine is reducing. .... "  

Executives Understanding Emerging Technology

I spent years explaining emerging technology to the C-Suite.  So this article in CIO Insight reminded me of the complexity involved. We also worked this during the emergence of the commercial Internet, which started with executive disbelief,  led to unrealistic expectations, then had the technology dominating both internal and external operations.  Who could have predicted the extent and speed of these changes?  We are still in the midst of this, so doing a good job of technology forecast remains  important.

Lufthansa Outsources to IBM

In Reuters: Pointing to a $1.25 Billion agreement.  With some mention of including some Watson based efforts.

Considering 'The Box'

In Innovation Excellence:    Working inside the box.  I like the idea.  When we build models there are always constraints that specify 'a box' we operate in.  You cannot ignore them.   Just need to consider when and where we apply them.

More Process Models

Was recently reminded of some acronym based processes.  Which are easy to remember, but also a little too cute.  Notable and used in design is ADDIE: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation.   (Too wordy I think).  Now add BAR:  Baseline, Assess, Remediation.  Which is brought up in a recent post as   " .... A New Learning Approach Enabled by Big Data & Neuroscience ...  The genesis of BAR comes from two primary emerging areas Big Data and Neuroscience. Big Data affords the data and analysis needed and the Neuroscience provides an instructional method. Combining these two to stitch together learning solutions and delivering them via multiple channels can be a powerful mechanism. .... " 

P&G Back to Product Sampling

A long time emphasis, being renewed.  Trial is a powerful method.

" ... Procter & Gamble – the world’s biggest advertiser – is placing a renewed focus on product sampling, according to a report in Advertising Age. Dubbing the practice “Point of Market Entry” or POME, P&G is planning to use the technique of letting consumers try before they buy to address shortcomings amongst their biggest brands. For example, Swiffer has only been tried by 10 percent of U.S. households, which may explain the “Lee & Morty” ads that prominently show a likably old-fashioned elderly U.S. couple trying (and liking) the cleaning product. ... " 

Communicating with Brands

Just how do consumers want to communicate with brands? 

" ... Some brand communication practices — such as sending useful information or tailored emails based on past purchases — resonate well with consumers, but other proactive outreach methods are disliked by many, according to results from an SAP SE poll conducted by Ipsos.

Indeed, 37 percent of respondents said they like it when companies they have bought something from adjust offers to them based on where they live, with 18 percent disliking this and 31 percent saying it depends on the company. ... " 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Shopping with Large Scale Touch Screens

E-Bay and so called 'Magic Mirror' systems in retail.  We tested the idea extensively.  Technology has continued to improve.  See the tag shelf virtualization for related technology and applications, for both in store sales and behavioral testing.

" .... At the new Rebecca Minkoff store in San Francisco, the mirrors come alive. Walk into the fitting room with, say, a blouse and a jacket, and the dark glass lights up with a suggested handbag to match. You can browse the racks at the upscale fashion boutique or swipe through “looks” on massive touchscreens. If you see something you like, you tap in your phone number, and you’ll get a text when it’s ready to try on.

From the sharp interface design to the seemingly seamless fusion of digital connectedness to physical retail, this place feels like the brick-and-mortar store of the future. But the brains behind it come from the online world. This Rebecca Minkoff store and a partner location in New York are opening for the holidays to show off eBay’s latest tech for re-inventing in-store shopping.

Yes, that eBay. ... "      Includes video demo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Causality for Policy Assessment and Impact Analysis

From BayesiaLab.     Nicely done live recorded lecture.  To get the full extensive tutorial you need to register.  The video is open without registration.

New Video Lecture: Causality for Policy Assessment and Impact Analysis
Presenters: Stefan Conrady and Dr. Lionel Jouffe
Recorded on November 18, 2014, at George Mason University Arlington Campus.
Runtime: 01:52:24

The objective of this presentation is to provide a practical framework for causal effect estimation with non-experimental data. We will present a range of methods, including Directed Acyclic Graphs and Bayesian networks, which can help distinguish causation from association when working with data from observational studies. The presentation revolves around a seemingly trivial example, Simpson’s Paradox, which turns out to be rather tricky to interpret in practice.

This talk is a "live" version of a recent tutorial, Causality for Policy Assessment and Impact Analysis - Directed Acyclic Graphs and Bayesian Networks for Causal Identification and Estimation. .... " 

Seeking More Humane Computing

IBM’s Brad Becker, chief design officer for Watson on the ‘More Humane’ Promise of Cognitive Computing, in a very thought provoking interview with Knowledge@Wharton. We always thought of cognitive systems as specialized, engineering style interactions, for specialized decision makers.

We dabbled with applications like the still available 'Stain Brain' App, now 25+ years old, that can be used directly by consumers.  (See the Stain Detective tag below for more on this)

What are the implications of  having applications like Chef Watson that take this to a new human level?  What are the specifications for humane computing?  This also combines well with new, open source and accessible sources of data.

API Innovation from McCormick

More innovation from the spice giant.   " ... the company introduced FlavorPrint, a service that allows customers to create a personal profile and enter information on a Website and receive relevant ideas and recipes through McCormick's Website, as well as mobile apps offered by grocery store chains. The company turned to API management and analytics firm Apogee to extend data and touch points to business partners and other outside sources.  ... "

More on Flavorprint in this blog.

This kind of knowledge and loyalty play can work well in their business, especially in an area where people need direct advice, as McCormick extends their business to more complex solutions.

Preparation for Cloudification

Good short piece on the topic by Pearl Zhu.

Cloudification is a journey to reinvent IT via modernization, classification, integration and optimization. ... More and more organizations are pushing their cloud envelop and migrate more IT applications, platform, or even infrastructure to the cloud, what are the logic steps you should follow, and what’re the pitfalls you need to avoid? ... "

Viable Synergy

Brought to my attention via Founder and CEO: Sunnie Southern

" .. Viable Synergy is a product and services innovation firm. We help individuals, organizations and communities turn ideas into viable products and services from concept to customer. We offer proprietary technology solutions, commercialization consulting services, custom development, and operational support that enables innovators to bring solutions to life.

Viable Synergy was created out of the belief that people deserve to have access to the tools and information they need to make better decisions about health for themselves and their families no matter where they are in the world.  We are committed to making this belief a reality and are diligently working to create products, solutions and partnerships that contribute to that vision. ... " 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Unexpected Delight in Service Design

Upcoming Talk

The OBAIS Department at the Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati, invites you to attend the following research seminar.

DATE & TIME: Friday, December 5, 2014, 1:30 PM  
LOCATION: UC Carl H. Lindner Hall, Room 219

SPEAKER: Dr. Rohit Verma, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University
TOPIC: Surprise! How Unexpected Delight Influences Sequence Effects in Service Bundles

Full Abstract and Speaker Background.

Uday S. Rao, Associate Professor
Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems (OBAIS)
Email: raous@ucmail.uc.edu Ph: 513 556 7138, Fax: 513 556 5499

Smart Door Lock

A capability always mentioned in our brainstorms for considering the Smart Home.  The Smart Door Lock.  The Verge looks at Smart Lock.  Which includes one time use smartphone 'keys' to give to friends and family.  Is this a place where sheer simplicity will dominate new technology for a long time?

Wired on the Future of AI

The term Artificial Intelligence - AI is not used as much any more, probably to deal with controlling expectations.   The considerable activity today tends to be very focused, which based on our own experience, is the best direction.  A good piece in Wired that covers the space.   A view of recent breakthroughs that have led to this explosion of activity.  Also a mention of some of the cautions we need to consider.

IOT and Disruptive Innovation

In the Cisco Blog:   IOT in manufacturing innovation.  We used early forms of IOT as key aspects of retail applications.   Have asked for and will report on the forthcoming survey mentioned below.

" .... Perhaps no other industry is being disrupted by technology more than manufacturing. As manufacturers digitize their businesses, operational complexity increases and competitive pressure builds—driving the need for faster innovation, quicker time to market, and more efficient processes. Those who can’t keep up are left behind.

The Internet of Things is in the middle of all this, both spurring disruption and helping companies deal with it. IoT is a key component of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. A soon-to-be-released Cisco Consulting Services survey of IT and operational technology executives in 16 countries shows that it’s hard to talk about connecting things without also talking data and process. ... " 

Internet of Things in China

First I had seen of reports on the IOT in China.  In GigaOM:

" ... In conversations with companies doing business in China on the IoT front, the picture that emerged was clear. China is adapting to the internet of things like it adapted to mobile — by leapfrogging earlier infrastructure efforts and letting the consumers adopt services with rapidity not seen in the U.S. ... " 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Google does Scene Analysis


In DigitalStrategy: Don't know where the IP rests today, but here is Google also doing scene analysis on images.  Again I can see some interesting applications with Ad copy analysis, and real time interaction between displays and shoppers.   See also, related work at Stanford.

CIO vs an IT Services Supermarket

Don Tapscott on the continued need for a CIO in industry. Interesting thoughts, but by the same reasoning why do we need any executive leaders?  A CIO should be a leader, both for current needs, and for forecasting future information technology needs.   Also for communicating to other executives about the power of technologies. We worked with a number of models in an executive information technology research organization to make this happen.   In Linkedin.

How Does Word of Mouth Drive Sales?

In Retailwire:  A favorite concept that we modeled in depth a number of times.  It also merits further direct lab and online testing. Still believe there are opportunities to understand the network interactions of WOM better.   This piece summarizes 'advanced econometric modeling'. " ... According to a study organized by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), online and offline consumer conversations and recommendations account for 13 percent of consumer sales, on average, which represents $6 trillion in annual consumer spending. In higher price point categories, word of mouth's impact is almost 20 percent of sales. ... " 

Print Thyself

In the New Yorker.  How 3D Printing is revolutionizing medicine.  Good non-technical article on the topic.   Possibilities and limitations.  Via Walter Riker.

" ... For her part, Lewis is passionate about the changes that 3-D printing could bring to the pharmaceutical industry. Billions of dollars each year are spent on drug development that fails. If bioprinted tissues were readily available, experimental drugs could be tested on them to see how the drugs are metabolized and what side effects result. “We want to provide a fail-fast model,” Lewis said, “so that drugs can be assessed in 3-D human tissue and their toxic properties identified before spending money and effort in animal and human testing.” ...  ' 

Fidelity Labs Develops StockCity

Have examined a number of methods that use realistic spaces to represent abstract data. Never found these methods that useful beyond attracting curiosity.  Here another example by Fidelity. With the latest technology:

" ... Fidelity isn't the first company to launch an interactive virtual city app, but it's the first to create one in which the city is built entirely out of stocks. StockCity, developed by Fidelity's research and development think tank Fidelity Labs, is a data visualization app that recreates investors' portfolios as a 3-D city.

StockCity was developed for virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, and it's also compatible with the Google Chrome Web browser. In StockCity, each stock in a portfolio is a skyscraper, and the height of each tall building is determined by its closing stock price. Buildings are clustered together in neighborhoods that represent market sectors.  .... " 

See also, Fidelity Labs.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Foresight Institute's Feynman Prize

Nobel Prize winning Physicist Richard Feynman is known for having issued the challenge that has inspired nanotechnology research for years.  See his talk: There is plenty of room at the bottom.   Also known as a very enthusiastic popularizer of physics. The Foresight Institute has a prize in his honor.  The site also links a number of interesting Feynman resources.

Text Mining using R

In BiCorner: An introduction to text mining using R.   Nicely done.   Motivation for using text mining and some simple examples.

Stanford Building Stories from Pictures

This was a sub problem solution we needed for an expert system that worked with archives of advertising copy.  Later I worked with a startup that aimed to classify photographs for their potential use in Ads.   Good progress in this space.

Stanford team creates computer vision algorithm that can describe photos
Computers only recently began to get the software needed to discern unknown objects; now machine-learning takes computer vision to the next level with a system that can describe objects and put them into context. Coming soon, better visual search?

Stanford Professor Fei-Fei Li, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, leads work on a computer vision system. ... Computer software only recently became smart enough to recognize objects in photographs. Now, Stanford researchers using machine learning have created a system that takes the next step, writing a simple story of what's happening in any digital image. ... " 

Update:  Here is a link to Google's work on image scene description.

Changes in Word Meanings as Context

A challenge for delivering intelligence as implemented in ontologies.  Which we discovered quickly when implementing knowledge provided by advertising equities.   Its all about the context, in time and space.

Big Data Delusions and Assumption Fever

  I like push backs, especially on very complex, big investments.  Be aware of the big assumptions that are included.  Does not mean the concepts are not useful.  The comments, some by practitioners, are worth reading.  In IEEE Spectrum:

" .... Machine-Learning Maestro Michael Jordan on the Delusions of Big Data and Other Huge Engineering Efforts .....  Big-data boondoggles and brain-inspired chips are just two of the things we’re really getting wrong ... "

Games are for Learning

On Games and learning.  The idea has been around for a long time, but have seen relatively few really good examples of success.  Our own successes stemmed from competitive solution exploration.

" ... When I entered the games for learning business a little over two years ago, there was one word everyone wanted to talk about: “Gamification.” I was asked about gamification by top philanthropists, accosted at the Game Developers Conference about the subject, and even had to drive by a gamification billboard every evening on my Silicon Valley commute.

The “gamification” concept goes something like this: Take an existing set of activities – say banking, or exercise, or rote schoolwork (the more mundane the better, apparently) – apply a set of “game rewards” in the form of points (or leveling, or badges), and as if by magic the world will become more fun, workers more efficient, and learning more effective.

As a game designer of more than twenty years, this idea rubbed me wrong. Like, really wrong. ... " 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On What the Eye is Prepared to See

Was taken by this Smithsonian article on unexpected events on dunes in Michigan.    " ... a quote from the French philosopher Henri Bergson: “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” .. ".   The article makes a compelling case for that.  We have to continue to remember that as scientists or technologists.

Leadership vs Fellowship and Data Value

In Future of CIO:  Interesting points. Clearly different roles.  Have they been moving closer together? How does technology influence this?  Today, more than ever, people have access to information that influences these roles.  But how does that influence internal data transparency?   Consider how data value is influenced by its use for leadership versus other internal roles.  I continue to examine data asset value.

Netflix Technology

Interesting GigaOm piece on Netflix use of technology, especially the relationship between recommender technology and content.  I am a fairly recent user of Netflix.  The recommendations are fine, but despite all the advanced technology claims,  the connections seem simplistic.  More problematic is that content has become very fragmented among services, so it is rare that I can find exactly what I want.

Refresher on Net Present Value

Something I learned long ago.  But we can use a revisit of basic economics.  Nicely presented in the HBR.

" ... Most people know that money you have in hand now is more valuable than money you collect later on. That’s because you can use it to make more money by running a business, or buying something now and selling it later for more, or simply putting it in the bank and earning interest. Future money is also less valuable because inflation erodes its buying power. This is called the time value of money. But how exactly do you compare the value of money now with the value of money in the future? That is where net present value comes in.  ... "

Tesla CIO and IT

How does a new car company deal with the challenge of evolving IT?  A CIO at the leading edge discusses.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Modeling Movement of Crowds

In Nature:  We looked at this kind of research for retail behavior insight.

Mathematical time law governs crowd flow

Pedestrians avoid bumping into each other by anticipating when their paths would collide.

Walking in crowds means predicting the future. When navigating heavily trafficked areas, people adjust their paths after subconsciously calculating how long it would take to collide with another person.

Researchers have come to this conclusion by analysing videos of crowds. They say that it could lead to safer design of public spaces and help in the development of crowd-monitoring methods to prevent deadly stampedes. .... "

Tesco Clubcard and Twitter

Like to see new ideas for using the loyalty engagement. A somewhat novel one here.

" ... Tesco Clubcard has partnered with We Are Social to create holiday gift guides of affordable items based on Twitter accounts of users' friends and family. The Secret Scan-ta campaign lets shoppers input the Twitter handles of gift recipients so the software can generate a list of potential gifts based on who the recipients follow ... " 

Automating Business Process

In CIO Insight:  Ultimately managing and automating your process is key to being efficient.  In labor, speed, scale, value and beyond.  Analytics can show the way, but the implementation of the findings make the difference.  It is why methods like Watson get lots of attention.  That is why I have been asking about how to link BPM to Intelligence and Big Data analytics methods being evolved now.  Not getting very coherent answers yet.  Good outline here for consideration.

Credit for Multi Channel Sales

A classic problem.  In RetailWire:

" ... One of the murkier aspects of omni-channel retailing continues to be "revenue attribution." The challenges assessing proper credit for an omni-channel sale — when it's partly influenced by offline or online — appear to be leading to under-investments in worthwhile marketing tools in some cases and one channel sabotaging the other's sales in others.  .... "

Social Business Governance

First I came  upon this concept.  Worth a closer look.  By EdTarpening:

" ... Charlene Li and I are pleased to offer you Altimeter’s latest research report focused on Social Business Governance.  In the course of our research, governance was described as everything from social media policies to organizational structure.  To paint a complete picture, we took a broad view that resonated with the many brands and thought leaders we spoke to. In the absence of a common definition, Altimeter studied the key building blocks of social business governance to define it this way: 

Social Business Governance (SBG) is an integrated system of people, policies, processes, and practices that defines organizational structure and decision process to ensure effective management of social business at scale.  ... " 

Linked Data Ontology

Part of an exploration:    Much more at the link.

" ... What is Linked Data?
The Web enables us to link related documents. Similarly it enables us to link related data. The term Linked Data refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web. Data from heterogeneous sources can be combined using typed links. Key technologies that support Linked Data are URIs (a generic means to identify entities or concepts in the world), HTTP(a simple yet universal mechanism for retrieving resources, or descriptions of resources), and RDF (a generic graph-based data model which helps to structure and link conceptual data).  ... "

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Protege for Ontologies

Brought to my attention again. Stanford's Protege.  I recall we were shown a very early version of this when we explored ontology methods for the enterpise in the 90s.    " ... A free, open-source ontology editor and framework for building intelligent systems ... Protégé is supported by a strong community of academic, government, and corporate users, who use Protégé to build knowledge-based solutions in areas as diverse as biomedicine, e-commerce, and organizational modeling. ... " 

Recall that " ... an ontology is a formal naming and definition of the types, properties, and interrelationships of the entities that really or fundamentally exist for a particular domain of discourse. ... ".  It is important for reasoning about things in a particular domain.  Our goal was to develop one to effectively store and leverage intelligence about what happens in a large enterprise.  It is also useful for thinking about how business intelligence, visualization and analytics methods are to be delivered.

CPG and Location Based Advertising

In Mediapost: Mostly about food, but good statistics about CPG and location based mobile advertising.  " ... By targeting custom audiences based on location, traffic patterns and habits, along with demographic and transactional information from matching mobile devices to household-level data, CPG ads generated a 74% increase in foot traffic and 56% lift in visit frequency via location-powered media for retailers. ... "  

Tetherless World Constellation

Was today introduced to RPI's Tetherless World Constellation.   Name too obscure.   " ... Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a constellation of multidisciplinary researchers who study the scientific and engineering principles that underlie the Web, to enhance the Web's reach beyond the desktop and laptop computer, and develops new technologies and languages that expand the capabilities of the Web under three themes: Future Web, Xinformatics and Semantic Foundations. ... ".    Saw a presentation today on how they are working with Watson.   Instructive example.

Table Scalping

Table Scalping?  Love to watch how markets arise in the economy.  Whenever you see evidence of a scarce resource, whose price is being escalated by its scarcity or exclusivity, consider the implications.   Here a perhaps surprising example.  Via Economist M J Perry.

" ....  Back before there were smartphones, reservations at the finest restaurants went to VIPs, celebrities and walk-ins carrying a wad of greenbacks to grease some palms.

But now reservations are becoming a saleable commodity, as increasing numbers of companies create apps that, in partnership with some of the top restaurants in town, hold a table for anyone willing to shell out some extra cash. ... " 

Big Data and McCormick

Have had a few friends who worked projects with McCormick, and am impressed with their approaches to the use of new and innovated technology,  Here more, on their use of Big Data.

Team Innovation and the Art of Problem Solving

A High school oriented piece that is quite useful.    Would have loved to have seen this kind of thing when I was in school, or when I had bright kids in school.  Pass it on to yours.

" .. Talk of innovation is everywhere in the business world. To be an innovator is to position yourself on the path to a successful life and career. In this second part of a four-part audio webcast for educators on innovation and the art of problem solving, Saikat Chaudhuri, executive director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the Wharton School, and Rob Shelton, global innovation strategy lead at PwC, discuss innovation in action — from some inspiring examples to an explanation of why innovation is a team sport. ...  "

Uber of Food Delivery

In Smartblogs: The expansion of food delivery based on new supply chain services and big data.  " .... A new and growing generation of food delivery services is winning investors and customers, and using Big Data to drive sales, writes Datassential Senior Director Maeve Webster. Services such as SpoonRocket and Munchery deliver prepared meals, and others including HelloFresh and Plated deliver fresh, pre-measured ingredients and healthy recipes ... " 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Big Data Value

A favorite topic of mine, the current and forecast value of data, Big or otherwise.  I gave a talk on it today to the ISSIP.  International Society of Service Innovation Professionals .... with a mission to promote Service Innovation for our interconnected world.  Our purpose is to help institutions and individuals to grow and be successful in our global service economy.   .. " More here in this Linkedin piece.

Re-Designing the Business Model

In Knowledge@Wharton:
" ... Innovation has become a buzzword in business today, as new-product sales advantages so often flow from new designs or features. Think mobile phones, tablets, or even autos. But apart from product or service leaps, can innovation in the way a company conducts business give it a leg up? Research from Wharton management professor Raffi Amit and co-author Christoph Zott, a professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, suggests that it can. In this Knowledge@Wharton interview, Amit covers the highlights of a research paper titled, “Business Model Innovation: Creating Value in Times of Change.” The authors note: “Business model innovation … relies on recombining the existing resources of a firm and its partners, and it does not require significant investments in R&D.” ... "

Design as Business Competency

In Marketing Mag: " ... Design as a business competency has never been more important, writes Designworks’ Tim Riches, and the winners of this year’s Good Design Awards prove the point and offer great insight into the convergence of CX, innovation and brand.

In an increasingly competitive market people have more choice, can make more informed choices and are more easily informed by others sharing their experiences. TripAdvisor, Choice, UrbanSpoon and Compare the Market as businesses exemplify the value that people place on making more informed decisions using sources of information other than advertising. .... " 

High Performance Computing in CPG

Video by a former colleague,  Tom Lange, about how High Performance Computing (HPC) is used in consumer packaged goods at Procter & Gamble.  " ....     From toothpaste to diapers to dish soap, companies like Procter & Gamble use high performance computing to create better, more efficient, more cost effective products and services to improve our everyday lives. ... "  And more on HPC in other domains. 

Comparing the Social Landscape in 2014

A one page landscape infographic view of the eight most common types of social media in 2014. Nicely done, but specifics in this space do change quickly.  Includes useful statistics about usage trends as well.  I find that people know about the 1-2 things they use, but little outside of that.  This provides a good comparative look at social effectiveness .

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mail Re-Imagined in Verse

Today from IBM.   Mail that understands you ... Imagine email that works for you instead of email that makes you work. .... Guided by analytics, IBM Verse learns your behaviors to adapt to the way you work, wherever you work. And because it's built for business, it understands you have special security and privacy needs, too. ... " .

You can sign up now.  It describes this as an analytics, not a cognitive App.  Which surprises me. But the classic cognitive function, learning,  is mentioned.

" ... Less clutter, more clarity ... Move to a bright place far beyond the mess of senders, subjects and folders.

With built-in intelligence and a user-first, user-tested design, IBM Verse offers a faster, better way to manage your communications across devices, organize inbound and outbound information, and focus on what you need most. ... " 

All good thoughts.  Would like to try, though for a heavy user changing your E-mail system can be a considerable task.  So many links between documents, contacts, mail, groups, applications.  Link to video demo.  Press release.

Decision Making is Unconscious

Len Stein writes:
" ... Marketers are realizing that decision making is largely an unconscious process. While neuro-scientists continue to expand our knowledge of how the brain functions, psychology will determine how specific decisions are made based on one's values.

Dr. Joel Weinberger, and his partner, professor of psychology Drew Westen (author, The Political Brain), have pioneered the field of implicit association testing. We hope you will want to explore this emerging field and we look forward to discussing the issue. .... ". 

MICA Intel Wearable is Fashionable

Fashion changes.  Pricey at $495.  Will all jewelry soon have an option for computer augmentation?   Intel is an unexpected participant.  I do like the fact that, unlike options like Glass, it's functionality can be completely hidden.   In CWorld.

Understanding the Face of Emotion

Determining emotion from facial images. A long term research and innovation interest.  Here news of a September talk in Edge HeadCon.  The introductory piece also has some interesting details.  Is this breaching the last outpost of privacy?

" ... My name is Lawrence Ian Reed. I’m a Clinical and Evolutionary Psychologist over at Skidmore College. Today I want to talk about facial expression of emotion, and a question that’s been gnawing at me for probably six or seven years. We've got some answers, and I’m excited to talk to you guys about what they are.

The first questions that I asked about facial expression were "how" questions: How do our facial expressions change when we’re feeling depressed or when we’ve got bipolar disorder, or when we’re being deceptive? I don’t ask those questions any more for a couple reasons. One is that the questions I’m asking now are much more interesting. The other reason is that I felt satisfied with a lot of the answers. I’m going to review some of those questions and talk about how they led up to the questions that I’m asking now, and we’ll see what you guys think about what I have to say. ... " 

More interesting details at the link.

Google Glass not Taking Off

It was only early this year I was looking at a way to use Glass to aid in some compliance applications. We approached Google, but got no interest. Now Glass appears to be fading.  They still have immediate value for hands-free type applications.  These exist, and we tested solutions for them long before Glass.  But their application as general wearable devices as interface has not taken off.  Awaiting our evolution, or theirs.  More in CIO Today.

Next 50 Years of Management

McKinsey's always interesting contributions, a look forward at the next 50 years:

McKinsey Quarterly’s 50th anniversary edition
In this unique anniversary edition of the Quarterly, leading management thinkers tackle the management challenges of tomorrow. Leaders including author Tom Peters, former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner, eBay head of HR Beth Axelrod, and The Second Machine Age authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee explore topics such as leadership, the future of the organization, machine learning, long-term capitalism, and global productivity..... " 

A Cisco App for Collaboration

In CWorld: The Cisco App is being positioned as Freemium.  Will also be interesting to see how this is connected to some of its hardware solutions.  See also its similarities to P&G's Business Sphere.

" ... Cisco crashes the enterprise mobile party with new collaboration app
Cisco will package and deliver enterprise collaboration capabilities via a mobile and Web app built to replicate the ease of use of consumer software but designed for ad hoc, workplace team interaction. 
The app, called Project Squared, joins a growing number of "consumerized" enterprise mobile and Web apps built by startups and designed to put a spin on collaboration, messaging, productivity, video conferencing and communications. .. 

Some of those include Cotap for enterprise mobile messaging, Quip for word processing and spreadsheets, Slack for chat room-like communication, SmartSheet for project and task management and Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network for cloud-based video conferencing. .... 

A beta version of Project Squared is being announced at Cisco's Collaboration Summit on Monday and made available for free download for iOS and Android devices. The app, which will also be available for MacOS computers and whose Web version works on Chrome, Firefox and Safari, lets users communicate via text chat, audio and video, hold multi-party meetings and share content. ... " 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Context for Evernote

Have now used the Evernote note taking and information management system for years.  I like it, especially since they improved their multiple interfaces.  It also acts as a cloud for your writing from multiple devices.  I see they have just added a module called Context, which automatically does a search (on limited sources) based on the information you are entering.  More on Context.

Had examined this idea in the enterprise.  Once called a 'remembrance engine', which would augment your memory based on stored information.  In the enterprise it could be particularly useful since it could quickly point to internal information:  Local definitions, your previous writing, other people people writing about the same thing, local experts, etc.  Ideally making your composition more efficient, and interlinked with related knowledge.  In theory it could create a 'wiki' of corporate knowledge.  The AI required to do this effectively would be impressive.

How well does Context work?   It is often all in the implementation.  Will report back after I try it. Some commenters suggest this is a ploy to get associated advertising in front of the users.   Others worry about the privacy implications of your text being analyzed by the system, and the difficulty of turning Context off, separately on each device.

Update:  The content given is thin, unclear when I should expect some information.   Unclear if the results will remain attached to a document, or if I have to save or pin them.  Results on different platforms seem to be very different.  In some cases where I know there is a very relevant article on one of the sources, it is not brought up.   So far: Fair.

Smart Connected Products Killing Industries

Have heard this before, not universally true.  Especially when you have to move atoms vs bits. Or apply scarce resources.   Like in all transportation industries to date.  Other examples too.  Still a useful caution when forecasting the future of any industry.   In Wired.  Boosting innovation yes, but not making the innovations necessarily successful.  Clearly often changing the nature of competition.

Big Data is Here to Stay, and don't forget the right Metadata

With some warnings. I agree, we are never going to gather just less complex, wildly aggregated or less data.  We will error on the side of more data.  I add, we will still need to decide what to save, based on some notion of valuation, and make sure that we are careful about how we gather the data, and that the right metadata is included. Metadata is not just a time stamp and origin or author any more, it is about the additional data that will support business intelligence and predictive analytics in the future.   This is also a forecasting task that is not easy, but essential.

Fujitsu Data Enables LED Light

In CWorld: Fujitsu Develops method which will allow products to send data to smartphones.

" ... LED lamps lighting merchandise may soon shine invisible data that your smartphone can pick up.

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a method to include ID data in LED light so that pointing a smartphone camera at an object it illuminates calls up linked information stored on a cloud server.

 The technology could be used to retrieve information about products on display and even trigger a mobile payments system for purchasing them, according to Fujitsu. The technology could be used by retailers as well as in museums and art galleries or trade shows.....  "

Facebook Wants Office Presence

This was an area we examined.  What infrastructure would work best to deliver social style interaction among employees, among employees and contractors?  Linkedin is an obvious alternative.   Now Facebook is also interested in this presence. Was not viable at the time.  My initial impression is that they don't know the cultural implications. More:  In GigaOM.

Tailored Digital Sign Experience

A long time research interest, better and more personalized interaction with the shopper via digital signage:

" ... Photon Interactive, a company that’s been focused on building mobile experiences for large brands, is teaming up with Panasonic to bring what they say will be a more personalized experience to the digital signs you see in stores.

The goal is to combine Photon’s software with Panasonic displays, so that those displays will know more about the customer. That information can be used to deliver targeted offers, as well as check in, make purchases,and more. ... "  

Keeping Online Reviews Honest

In the CACM:   Some useful suggestions and statistics.

" ... As commerce increasingly moves online, consumers worldwide are relying more and more on online reviews to help them make decisions about products to buy and businesses to patronize.

According to a recent study by BrightLocal (http://selnd.com/1xzy0Xb), 88% of U.S. consumers read online reviews "to determine whether a local business is a good business" at least occasionally—39% do so regularly. Also, 72% say positive reviews lead them to trust a business more, while 88% say that in "the right circumstances," they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. ... " 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Handsets and Clouds

Good questions.  Will The Smartphone Become Obsolete? ... A look at how cloud technology may change the future of mobile handsets. ...  In the current mobile manufacturing competition, device makers strive to give users a distinct product with unique features. So is it possible to imagine a common, ubiquitous device? That is, a mobile handset virtually the same as every other? Distinguished not by ‘bells & whistles' and physical features, but by its cloud-based, personalized profile, services & apps delivered to the user via SaaS?   ... ' 

Can Retail Tech Save Stores

In Cisco Blog:   A number of familiar technology areas we worked in.   " .... It’s no surprise retailers are pulling out the stops to get shoppers into stores. E-commerce has been eating into brick-and-mortar sales for years, and the pace is only accelerating. Online sales will account for $291 billion, or 8% of all US retail sales, by the end of this year, and that number will rise to $370 billion, or 10% of all retail sales, by 2017, says Forrester Research. ... " 

Mining a Global New Products Database

For food and beverage, mined to produce an infographic on sweetener indifference.

" ... Research firm Mintel recently analyzed its Global New Products Database (GNPD) to further understand the landscape of consumer perceptions, consumer purchase behavior and how manufacturers react to each. ... " 

Always seeking databases about new products that contain some of the dimensions mentioned.

Kids Programming Toys

In Engadget: An internet of toys?  The idea of specially designed, kid oriented technical toys has been around for some time, most notable is Lego Mindstorms.  Still inclined to think that its best for kids to use systems that are most similar to those that adults use. The transition is easier.  It is more clear that these are serious pursuits.

Thinking Causality in Science and Statistics

I have been looking back to understand how AI has changed since the 90s, when we worked with rule based expert systems.  One book that addresses some of the changes is Judea Pearl's:  Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.  Now over a decade old, it contains some interesting gems. Dealing with the mixing of knowledge in diagrams and equations, and developing approaches that have evolved to now commonly used Bayesian Networks.  More on his site.

There is also a copy of a lecture that Pearl gave at the time:  The Art and Science of Cause and Effect, originally an epilogue in the book.   Now available free at the link. Deals with the interesting concept of Causality, which is remarkably complex.  The idea is essential in working engineered systems, avoided in the physical sciences, and most always warned against in statistics.  The article examines why, and poses some remedies.  I disagree with some of his early historical views, causation was not discovered at the time of Galileo, but the lecture is still an excellent read.

Consider also how Big Data methods have backed off the need for strict causation requirements.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Service Innovation Revisited

Repeating the below introduction, giving a talk to them next week, more to follow about that. I am further struck how much this has to do with cognitive/advisory tasks.  It is all about service: Performing tasks in time with available resources.  All this is developed with up to date, accurate domain knowledge, learned or derived from sensors.   It is Cognitive, expert systems or AI if you like.

' ... Newly brought to my attention:  ISSIP:  Providing Service Innovation for our Interconnected World: " ... Service innovations improve the quality-of-life of individuals and the wealth of institutions, from businesses to nations that are increasingly dominated by service revenues and economics. Advances in information technology and policy support the rapid scaling of new service innovations in health, education, government, finance, hospitality, retail, communications, transportation, energy, utilities; even in advanced agricultural and manufacturing systems viewed as socio-technical systems, in which community-oriented recycling behaviors improve the economics, sustainability, and resilience of these human-serving systems. ... "     https://twitter.com/The_ISSIP ... '

Alan Turing Year and now the Movie

" ... June 23, 2012, was the Centenary of Alan Turing’s birth in London. During his relatively brief life, Turing made a unique impact on the history of computing, computer science, artificial intelligence, developmental biology, and the mathematical theory of computability..... "  This is from a site that continues the observation.  And a Twitter presence.  In addition there is a new movie on the topic: The Imitation Game, to be released this November 28 in the US.  The movie is on my list.

Naturally Intelligent Interaction

Recently received, The BabyX piece at the link is very interesting.    " ... One of my gigs is commercial licensing advisor to Auckland UniServices working with Dr. Mark Sagar Director ​of The Laboratory for Animate Technologies  which is pioneering biologically based methods to give computers the power of expression and naturally intelligent interaction. Check out BabyX ​which is a computer generated psychobiological simulation which learns and interacts in real time with computational neuroscience models of neural systems.‏ ... Steve Ardire  ... "

Intel Edison Chip

In CNet:

"Intel meets its 'makers,' with chips for DIY set and the firms they'll found (Q&A)

The next wave of consumer electronics could come from the maker movement and indie developers. Intel's Edward Ross wants to make the company's chips a key part of that trend. ... 

Behind that effort is Edward Ross, Intel's senior director of inventor platforms, who leads the team working on the Edison and Galileo chips. The Galileo chips were first introduced about a year ago as electronic training wheels for beginners and "makers" -- the growing cadre of do-it-yourselfers who show off their inventions at Maker Faire events. The smaller, more powerful Edison is targeted at "pro-makers" interested in taking their designs a step further with potentially market-ready products. ... "

Watson Academic Perspective

From Jim Spohrer of the Cognitive Systems Institute:  " ... Check out this presentation by Prof. Jim Hendler (RPI) entitled "Watson: An Academic Perspective"   ... ".    The group also just started a speaker series, more on that and their approach to academic engagement.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Edge on AI

On the Edge:  A conversation with Jaron Lanier on the Myth of AI.   Can or will a recommendation engine fool us into thinking it has real content?  Is that the promise of AI?  No, but he makes some good points about being vigilant here.

Google includes Flu Trend Data

Interesting.  Perhaps an admission that these kinds of patterns cannot be derived this way.  Recall we were also involved in a related project, which looked at retail pharma sales to predict bioterrorism.

" ... Finding that aggregate Web searches alone cannot provide an accurate assessment of where the flu has struck and its severity, Google will take into account data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its Google Flu Trends model. .... The Google tool is based on the premise that people turn to the Web when they are searching for information on the flu, making certain search terms good indicators of flu levels. The indicators of flu activity were also provided faster by Google than the weekly reports of the CDC. ... " 

Popular Slideshare Presentations on Data Mining

In KDNuggets:  A list of the most popular Slideshare presentations on data mining.   Slideshare can be a nice way to get an overview of a method, or even basic training for the self-motivated, or filling in your own understanding of an area of technology.

Kroger Smart Shelf

In Smartbrief: An idea that combines electronic shelf labels and small shelf edge displays.  Saw this demonstrated by NCR some years ago.

Kroger tests smart shelf technology
Kroger has launched a test of smart shelf technology at a northern Kentucky store that includes touchscreen labels that offer product information. The technology allows store workers to change prices immediately, and eliminating stickers would make more efficient use of employees' time while also providing an "engaging experience for our customers," Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said. The Cincinnati Enquirer (tiered subscription model)  .....  " 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kawasaki Thoughts on Innovation

Gartner promotes Guy Kawasaki's top ten tips for innovation, given at a recent conference.  Not bad, easily digested, OK as top level possibilities for consideration.  But also, really and basically: trite.  Each of these things have worked, and failed any number of times.  What do we do when the tip we have chosen does not work?  Do we have to march along?

Steve Ballmer on Machine Learning

In CWorld:

Steve Ballmer, who headed Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, said when looking at what's ahead in computer science research, he's most excited about machine learning, the science of building algorithms so that computers can recognize behavior in large data sets. ... "I think it's the dawn of an exciting new era of info and computer science," Ballmer told Computerworld. "It's a new world in which the ability to understand the world and people and draw conclusions will be really quite remarkable… It's a fundamentally different way of doing computer science." 

P&G Details on Duracell Divestiture

I had covered this previously due to its technology component. Now Via the P&G Alumni Network:

Announcement from P&G 

In line with our strategy to explore all options to exit the battery category, we have announced today our plan to divest the Duracell business to Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway has more than $427-billion in assets under management including investments in P&G and other well-known businesses such as IBM and Coca Cola.  P&G will exchange a recapitalized Duracell Company for Berkshire Hathaway's shares of P&G stock.  Berkshire's stock ownership is currently valued at approximately $4.7 billion.  This transaction will likely occur in the second half of calendar year 2015. We will continue to establish Duracell as a standalone business as this will be important for operation within the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. ... "   

Twitter Says it gets Largest Daily Audience

Conversation with colleague yesterday about Twitter and its use.  In some contexts it is still not well thought of, but I have long been a convert for its value for technical connects.   It all depends on if the people you need are on-line.  It turns out that many are.  Are consumers?  In Adage: " .... Twitter Pitches Itself as Reaching the 'Largest Daily Audience' ... New Features to Lure Users and Measure 500 Million Eyeballs Off Network ... "  

Apple Moves for the Enterprise

Funny, I remember previous attempts at this.  In one case where the enterprise had to crack down to keep their personal and mobile systems from becoming too fragmented and expensive to maintain.  Now another attempt.   Apple is now doing many of the right things to make themselves relevant in the enterprise.

Overlaying Journey Maps and Process Mapping

In e-commerce Times: Have not used the idea, but how about linking the idea to Business Process models?   Why not have time flows and value flows in the same map?  " ... You can look at the journey map and its supporting tools as the business' structure-making socio-customer-science effort to keep revenues flowing in one direction and customer happiness percolating in the other, and that would be a good thing. Journey maps will be found all over your business in a few years, starting with marketing's effort to corral customers to sales' attempt to brand them ... " 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mozilla Extending Global Web and Content Creation Tools

Mozilla had not come into my thoughts or work for some time, but this piece was brought to my attention.

" ... Mozilla has announced today that it is entering a partnership with the GSMA to help enable internet access and local content creation and delivery in geographies with poor Web connectivity.

In a recent white paper, Mozilla described the challenge involved in getting the remaining four billion people of the world online: Web-enabled smartphones and mobile networks need to become easily available and affordable, and locally relevant content needs to become easier to create and access. The organization believes allowing for such content in local languages, is ‘the key to unlocking the value of the Web’ for users worldwide. .... " 

Business Excellence Function at Nestle

Late reporting this, but have never heard this being established as a function.  Will be interesting to follow it.  On the further reading it, is this about excellence or reorganization?

" ... Over recent years, Nestlé has consistently strengthened its nutrition, health and wellness strategy and expanded its boundaries with the creation of Nestlé Health Science and Nestlé Skin Health. At the same time, the company has continued its drive to take full benefit of its scale, and to position and organize itself effectively and efficiently for profitable growth.

Given this context, at its meeting on 26 September 2014, the Nestlé Board of Directors supported the proposal to create a new Executive Board function, Nestlé Business Excellence, and to redefine Zone Europe and Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa (AOA).   ... "

Time not Money is the Key to Happiness

Video and text in Knowledge@Wharton.

" ... In a series of papers — “Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences,” co-authored with Dartmouth professor Amit Bhattcharjee; “How Happiness Affects Choice” and “The Shifting Meaning of Happiness,” both co-authored with Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker and MIT professor Sep Kamvar; and “The Pursuit of Happiness: Time, Money and Social Connection” — Mogilner looks at the different experiences and emotions that factor into human contentment, finding that happiness isn’t just one thing, but also isn’t as unique to each person as we might think.  .... " 

US Data Privacy Confidence at New Low

In the BBC:  Telling look at how US consumers are thinking about data privacy.  " ... The vast majority - 91% - of Americans believe that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies, according to a survey. ... A further 80% also felt that Americans should be concerned about government surveillance, Pew Research suggested. ... It looked at attitudes to privacy and data in the wake of Edward Snowden's allegations about government snooping.

One expert described the findings as "unsurprising".  ... " 

Checking out in the Aisle at Sainsbury

An approach we examined over the years in many forms.  In aisle checkout.  Recently took a close-up look at how Kroger was testing this idea with a handheld device.  The Sainsbury test will also include store item location and a shopping list.

In Gizmag: 
" ... No-one likes spending any longer at the supermarket than they have to. Whilst self-service checkouts may have sped things up a touch, one UK supermarket is now set to trial doing away with checkouts altogether. The new Sainsbury's app lets users scan items at the shelf and pay via their smartphone.   .. "

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Google's Culture of Innovation

In FastCompany: Very different from our approach.  Driven by the culture. The culture supported innovation, but did not itself create innovation.  You had to go outside for that. Even create specific places for it.

Oracle on Modern HR in the Cloud

We actively used analytics in HR since the 80s.  From Oracle:

Analytics and faster onboarding will transform HR

Companies looking to differentiate themselves are turning to HR technology as it becomes clear that attracting and retaining skilled talent is key to providing superior employee experiences. Technology companies are delivering HR systems that make it easier to find and onboard the best employees and retain them by providing more streamlined and engaging experiences.  

We spoke with Mark Sunday, senior vice president and chief information officer at Oracle.  Here, Mark shares his insights on how IT and HR should team up to deploy services. ... "

Micro Robots Magnetically Driven

Continuing to follow the use of very small or very many simple robotics solutions. In IEEE Spectrum:

" ... An engineered scallop that is only a fraction of a millimeter in size and that is capable of swimming in biomedically relevant fluids has been developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart. ....

Designing robots on the micro or nano scale (like, small enough to fit inside your body) is all about simplicity. There just isn’t room for complex motors or actuation systems. There’s barely room for any electronics whatsoever, not to mention batteries, which is why robots that can swim inside your bloodstream or zip around your eyeballs are often driven by magnetic fields. .... "

Building User Models with Twitter

An outline about how Bluemix Watson services can be used with Twitter data to do User Modeling.   With a fairly simple process.  This is ultimately quite a powerful idea.  Targeted advertising and loyalty engagement.   Create an automated user model based on online behavior.  It remains to be seen how accurate it can be.  More to follow here.

Are Fingerprints Pins?

Good piece by Evan Schuman on the physical elements of security.  " ... A judge’s ruling that a person can be forced to open his phone with his fingerprint ignores the fact that the fingerprint scan is just a substitute PIN, which can’t be required by law enforcement ... " 

Datawatch Wins Hackathon

I happened to be at a small portion of this Hackathon last week.  Was an interesting experience. In CNN: 

" ... Datawatch .... a leading global provider of visual data discovery solutions, was the winner of a recent Internet of Things (IoT) Hackathon at the IBM Insight 2014 Conference last week in Las Vegas.
The Hackathon was designed to foster new ways to develop cloud-based IoT solutions using Informix as the database repository for sensor data. IBM provided a store of real-time sensor data that could be used to create applications ranging from municipal water usage monitoring to truck fleet maintenance to analyzing the flow of people and traffic in retail stores.

The winner was chosen based on having the most compelling idea for solving a real-world problem, along with providing the most complete solution.

The winning Datawatch entry included an innovative visualization dashboard for monitoring electrical smart meters in homes so that energy companies could be more efficient and effective in the delivery of power. It combined both historical electricity usage data with real-time household data, visualized through interactive, real-time maps for tracking electricity usage by counties, regions and days of the week. Energy companies could use the visualization to foresee trends and spikes in energy demand, diverting power on the electric grid to areas in need or bringing online auxiliary power plants to meet impending demand.   ... ."

Stressed Out by Work

In Knowledge@Wharton:
 " ... If you had asked any worker since the Industrial Revolution whether he or she was experiencing stress on the job, the answer would likely have been in the affirmative—and emphatic. But workplace experts say something unusual is going on today. Global competition, downsizing and the constant state of being electronically tethered to the office are combining to create a perhaps unprecedented level of stress. ... " 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Amazon Echo and Shopping

In Retailwire:  A look at how the Echo assistant and speaker and its implications for a new mode of shopping.  Think of the potential cognitive interactions with a device anywhere in the home.  A new Smart Home connection?   I am reminded of a number of other standalone devices of this type that failed.  But now we have better language processing, cognitive capabilities and the Amazon name.

" .... Amazon surprised the tech community by introducing Echo, a voice-activated, personal digital assistant. While compared to Apple's Siri, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana in many reviews, Echo is a speaker that's designed to sit in living rooms rather than on smartphones.

  .... tech bloggers speculated wildly on how Echo may work to bring "no-click" shopping to reality. Beyond adding to Amazon.com shopping lists, users can buy digital music from Amazon.com. But many predict users will eventually be able to add e-books to their Kindle library or purchase physical items from Amazon directly from Echo. .... 

James McQuivey, at Forrester Research, told Wired. "Sure, it doubles as a connected speaker and some people will end up buying it for that, but the Echo will only achieve its real purpose when you start asking it questions, having it complete tasks for you — especially shopping tasks — just the way Apple hopes its users will interact with Apple Watch."  ... ;

Also in Mashable.

Consider how much this depends on doing your Cognitive AI right.   It turns voice into a multiple direction interface.  No keyboard, no mouse, no screen.

One commenter suggested: This is like permitting an open mic in your home ...  Caution.

Japan's Robot Week

A report from Japan's 2014 Robot Week in October.  Which makes the case that software is becoming more important.   It has always been important, in particular as we expect more contextual autonomy than ever before in applications.

Bringing Clarity to Cognitive Computing

An overview of the topic of cognitive computing, from the recent Dataversity webinar.  Via Steve Ardire.

" ... DATAVERSITY’s™ Cognitive Computing Forum is taking place this August in San Jose, and in advance of the event, the team here also has released the 2014 Cognitive Computing Survey as well as conducted the webinar Understanding The World of Cognitive Computing. Just like the upcoming Forum, with presenters tackling topics ranging from deep neural networks in practice to expressive machines, the survey results and webinar speakers provide some much-needed insight and clarity into just what the new world of Cognitive Computing (CC) encompasses. All of the various projects really demonstrate how CC connects with human intelligence and Big Data, and why it matters to businesses. ... " 

Moving Data Fast in Disaster

Several recent communications have led us to thinking about how data can be moved quickly and reliably in complex times.  Which led to this piece:

" ... Prototype technology developed by AT&T, IBM, and Applied Communications Sciences (ACS) can quickly move large amounts of critical data and software to another location in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The technology would enable governments and companies to shift information and software between private and public data centers, as well as cloud services from different providers, in seconds.

"The key idea here is to have a highly dynamic backbone network," says University of California, Santa Barbara professor Adel Saleh. "If the network is under physical attack or cyberattack, you can recover from this quickly." Users could reconfigure systems on the fly to handle changes in needs, such as bandwidth. ... " 

Consciousness in Computing

The problems of computing consciousness.  An interesting question, but more often wonder what value consciousness will have.  Perhaps as a precursor to certain kinds of creativity?

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Future of Matrix Organization

A 1970s McKinsey article on beyond the Matrix Organization.  Where has the emergence of technology changed this?    Not changed this?   " .... Tom Peters examines the flaws of the matrix-organization design and explores several more effective approaches to implement no more than one or two essential corporate thrusts at a time. ... " 

Davidow's Complete Product

Brought to my attention, a book review by Rob Thomas, on the Complete Product.  " ... William Davidow wrote Marketing High Technology in 1986. While we have seen many phases in technology since then, its a timeless piece of work on how to think about building great products. The fundamental message of the book is that a product development organization has to think about building a 'complete product', not a product. A product is something that a client can buy. Whereas, a 'complete product' addresses all the things around and related to the product: market fit, distribution channels, sales, service, marketing, and positioning. ... "  

Taking Autocompletion Further

A simplistic metaphor for intelligence is autocompletion.  We are very used to it today. We have knowledge, now how do we use that knowledge to predict what should be next in a given context?    In Wired:

" .... Now, a government-backed research team wants to provide similar suggestions to the world’s programmers as they’re writing computer code. That’s right: the aim is to guess what programmers are coding before they code it.

This week, Rice University said that Darpa, the Pentagon’s mad science division, has invested $11 million in this autocomplete programming project, dubbed PLINY, after the ancient Roman author of the first encyclopedia, “Text search prediction is the best analogy,” says Vivek Sarkar, the chair of the computer science department at Rice and the principal investigator on the project. “People will be able to will be able to pick from a list of possible solutions.” ... " 

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Why the IBM and Twitter Data Deal

It has been presented as a means to understand the pulse of the planet.   A sensory coup previously impossible.  Connecting the firehose of information created in twitter with the analytics and cognitive capabilities of IBM.  It certainly makes me think.  Is the data represented by Twitter, and other sources, clean enough, precise enough to provide quality predictions?  Good introductory interviews in Fortune,  which don't answer these questions, but address the motivation and possible first steps.  Watching.

Google's Neural Turing Machine

This still does not mean we can replace our conventional machines with such neural networks, but it can have profound implication for analytics.

Google's Secretive DeepMind Startup Unveils a "Neural Turing Machine"
DeepMind has built a neural network that can access an external memory like a conventional Turing machine. The result is a computer that mimics the short-term memory of the human brain. ....  "

Innovation Assessments: Fun and Games

Had missed this previously. Worth a look.

Innovation Assessment is one of the pillars of an innovation program. Evaluation should be done as an on-going activity and revised with the most valuable feedback gathered along the entire innovation journey. In the third of a series of articles focused on Innovation Culture, we are going to propose a different approach for Innovation Assessment that by offering a different user experience could increase awareness, engagement and elicit more valuable contributions from key stakeholders. ... " 

Mobile Optimization

Beyond responsive design.  " ... Conversations on whether to build a responsive site or create dedicated landing pages are everywhere right now. Mobile traffic is rising and while marketers are trying to figure out which is the best way to address and test mobile visitors there are a few interesting statistics that can help path the way to higher mobile conversion.

One of our clients has been running a million dollar mobile campaign for over 2 years with a 0.79% conversion rate to purchase. The client was doing the same as the majority of companies are doing today – Using a responsive site to convert mobile Visitors into Customers. ... " 

Cognitive Process and the Executive

On cognitive assistance for the executive. First a short history of cognitive assistants from Jim Spohrer.  Then a look at some of my previous writings on intelligent executive information systems.   Some of this accumulates posts from this very blog. These links are from the service science information archives a  " ... Community site for Service Science Education and Research ... ".  

Friday, November 07, 2014

Bluemix Cloud Platform Services

For my current work with IBM Bluemix,  as it provides Watson services,  I have been assigned Jacob Krupski as my Cloud Platform Services representative.  Here is his excellent blog, which has lots of interesting hints and information. Upcoming events and links.  Includes a good explanatory video of Bluemix. And more.

Watson Analytics Demonstration




Just received, an excellent demonstration of Watson Analytics, which I am currently taking a close look at.  Full message here.

 " .... We’ve been working hard to prepare an engaging experience for you. We're bringing everyone on board as fast as we can , and we'll reach the open beta milestone soon. We think you’re really going to enjoy it! In the meantime, we thought you’d like to see a little preview of what you can do with Watson Analytics.

Watch this demo for a glimpse into the Watson Analytics capabilities you’ll be using. You’ll see:
  Natural language dialog - use plain English to interact with your data and results (additional languages planned in 2015)
  Data visualizations that lead quickly to deep insights
  Predictive analytics anyone can use (no modeling needed!) to decide on best next actions

Thanks again for your interest and patience, . We’ll be in touch again soon with details for your participation.

Regards, 
The Watson Analytics Team  ....

McKinsey on the Future of Growth

In McKinsey:

" ... Throughout history, economic growth has been fueled by two factors: the expanding pool of workers and their rising productivity. From the perspective of rising prosperity, however, it is productivity that makes all the difference. Disparities in GDP per capita among countries—or between the past and the present in the same country—primarily reflect differences in labor productivity. That in turn is the result of production and operational factors, technological advances, and managerial skills. As managers improve efficiency, invest, and innovate to be competitive, their collective actions expand the global economy. ... " 

Complexity of IOT and Experience Design

In Radar:  Some excellent points made here.  " ... The Internet of Things (IoT) is challenging designers to rethink their craft. I recently sat down with Claire Rowland, independent designer and author of the forthcoming book Designing Connected Products to talk about the changing design landscape. During our interview, Rowland brought up three points that resonated with me. .. .. "   Everything should be thought of in terms of experience design.  This explores the dimensions in the Internet of Things (IOT) .

Connected Products are Next

In Adage: " ... Products as their own media channel ...  " .... But why should anyone in digital media care? Last week at Ad Age's Data Conference, global brands from Loreál to Coca-Cola converged to discuss how IoT-based data (data flowing from and between connectable products, devices, people and brands) can help them build deeper relationships with consumers. While early adopters are now experimenting with creative ways to leverage IoT as a conduit for deeper audience engagement, IoT hasn't reached critical mass yet; IoT discussions still live inside the walls of "digital innovation" and "new product development."   ... "   By Niall Murphy.   Recall discussing this when we were considering only RFID tagging for CPG products on smart shelves.

Advanced Analytics in Consumer Goods: Podcast

Abstract: In Justin Honaman, managing partner for consumer goods for North American industry consulting at Teradata, is interviewed by Ron Powell, independent analyst and consultant focused big data, business intelligence and data warehousing. Ron and Justin discuss the why advanced analytics has become a priority for today’s consumer goods companies. Justin also talks about how consumer goods companies interact more directly with their consumers and why these companies now want to be data driven. He explains how the most successful CPG companies are the ones prioritizing data and information. Podcast. 

Drone Ambulances

The Drone ambulance idea does not deliver a patient to the hospital but rather a defibrillator to the patient.  Nice simplification idea.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Big Data and Analytics Fighting Fraud

The November-December Analytics Magazine discusses Fraud

Big Data, Analytics, Fight Fraud
by Drew Carter and Stephanie Anderson  
Fraud doesn't play favorites; it's a multi-industry problem. How to employ analytics for effective, proactive fraud monitoring.

Goal-Driven Analytics 
by Eric A. King 
Big buzzkill: size and success don't correlate. Big data needs advanced analytics, but analytics does not need big data.

Real-Time Fraud Detection in the Cloud 
by Saurabh Tandon
Detecting fraud among online banking customers in near real time by running a combination of learning algorithms on a data set. ....   "