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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Future Tech Offices

In the BBC:    How offices are being redefined with futuristic architecture.  Mostly as seen by the tech industry giants.  Good examples.

" ... Another challenge for designers of the future office is catering for workers from four generations, Millennials, Generations X and Y, and Baby Boomers in senior management. ... Open-plan offices can be cheaper for companies to set up, by up to 20%, according to Dr Vinesh Oommen, at the Queensland University of Technology. ... But despite the efforts of some architects, they can easily be done badly. .... 90% of studies found open-plan offices were associated with higher levels of stress and elevated blood pressure, Dr Oommen found. ... "

Games and Cognitive Computing

In Today's CSIG, series: Simon Ellis,  Phd student from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) "Playing Games with Cognitive Computing"  Slides.     You can also get a recording of the talk.  This is not about serious games or gamification, but about the long history of AI being tested with games using methods like simulation and search.

Redefining Browser Experience

Had seen the Microsoft Edge Browser demonstrated recently.  It did not appear to greatly change the experience beyond adding a voice component.  More.

Micro Moments and Marketing

Via Google.  New idea to me.  The Micro Moment as describing how people use mobile.  By my observation, these are not always that 'micro'.   The concept is an interesting one.    How much are they changing the rules of marketing?

" .... Consumer behavior has changed forever. Today's battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.   Read more about this new mental model for marketing. .. As mobile has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, we're witnessing a fundamental change in the way people consume media. What used to be our predictable, daily sessions online have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. Many of these moments have become quite routine as we check the time or text a friend. ... " 

Financial Literacy and Follow-up

In K@W: Points to an analytical study:

“A one-time financial education program may have little effect, as expected, but the long-term effects of a persistent financial education program can be sizable.” .... 

“It’s very useful, because you can simulate them over their lifetimes and all it takes is a few hours on the computer instead of waiting 80 years,” Mitchell says. .... " 

IBM Advances Quantum Computing

In CW: Have followed this for years with regard to the practical application to complex combinatorial  problems.   See previously our interaction with D-Wave.   New advances by IBM, but some suggestion there is still far to go:

" ... IBM scientists say they have made two critical advances in an industrywide effort to build a practical quantum computer, shaving years off the time expected to have a working system.

"This is critical," said Jay Gambetta, IBM's manager of theory of quantum computing. "The field has got a lot more competitive. You could say the [quantum computing] race is just starting to begin… This is a small step on the journey but it's an important one."

Gambetta told Computerworld that IBM's scientists have created a square quantum bit circuit design, which could be scaled to much larger dimensions. This new two-dimensional design also helped the researchers figure out a way to detect and measure errors. ... " 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Signals Group Update

Signals Group sends along a new video on what they are up to.  Have had a number of interesting interactions with them over the last year.  Worth a look.

" ... Signals Intelligence Group is a technology-enabled solution provider that delivers decision analytics based on open source intelligence for better, faster decision-making in the new product development cycle. Intelligence Models are at the core of our superior technology for targeted big data collection and analysis, and our subject matter experts validate insight delivery and verification -- giving corporate teams the best of both worlds. Our solutions provide the fastest time to insight for clients developing and launching new products.  ... " 

Artificial Precognition Links Data and AI

In Datanami, the broad thought is interesting, and  recalls ideas of our own to link together data analytics and cognitive computing, aka AI.   Directly linking decisions and advisory components.  It also makes one think of any kind event based forecasting, which is typically high risk.  See also Recorded Future, mentioned here a number of times, which extracts time domain online unstructured data for analysts, but does not claim to predict anything directly.

Have not seen this at any depth as yet.   Will ask for more information.

" ... London-based Massive Analytic said its Oscar AP artificial intelligence platform was being made available for beta testing so partners can use the tool to analyze business moves and predict the outcomes of those decisions.

Oscar AP, which runs on native Hadoop, is billed as a kind of artificial intelligence “trusted advisor” capable of analyzing a company’s business operations to study the possible outcomes of decisions before they are implemented. The goal is to produce outcomes that boost revenues, reduce operating costs and identify “previous undetected revenue opportunities,” according to George Frangou founder, president and executive chairman of Massive Analytic. .. 

Oscar AP is based on patented artificial precognition technology the company describes as providing knowledge of possible events and outcomes before they occur for different types of data, including structured, text, image, video and audio. The platform runs on Spark, enabling it to crunch real-time or batch data."   ... ' 

Sainsbury Provides Streaming Services with Chromecast

A look at Sainsbury's providing entertainment services with Chromecast.   " ... A quick look at the Sainsbury's Entertainment apps shows that the supermarket added the feature to its Android app earlier this month, with its iOS app gaining Chromecast integration over this past weekend. Once set up, you'll be able to buy or rent titles from its catalog and throw them over to your big screen with a touch of a button, allowing you to then use the app as a dedicated remote   ... "  

Clorox CIO Discusses Challenge of Big Data

Former colleague discusses Big Data value in the enterprise.    And like any analytics application, Big data or not, it is about getting to a real business process solution.  Insight needs to drive real action.   Starting with knowing what the questions are.

" ... Many big companies today do a great job of collecting big data, However, the challenge remains to get insights out of the data. Clorox CIO Manjit Singh suggests taking a more agile approach.

Big data is top of mind for the C-suite and IT executives today, particularly in the realm of marketing data and marketing analytics, says Manjit Singh, CIO of The Clorox Company. While organizations are focused on big data, many are failing to act upon their data because they simply get sidetracked.

Where the data challenge lies

"The challenge is not in collecting the data," Singh says. "We're challenged in how to get insight out of the data — what questions to ask and how to use the data to predict results in the business." ... '

(Read the whole thing .... some very useful thoughts)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ham Radio Returns in Disaster

In Ars Technica:   Adaptation to Nepal earthquake disaster leads people back to older technologies.   "  .... An old tech shows its resilience, while new tech reveals its problems. ... " .  

CrowdChat for Market Research

CrowdChat was brought to my attention.    Could this be used in a focus group style interaction?   Perhaps with exposure to images?  Longitudinal?  Other measures?  They describe it as " ... New and innovative social chat platform where the crowd creates the content.  ... Host engaging conversations across multiple social networks with hashtags. ... Amazing group experiences with an easy to use and advanced platform. ... " 

RFID Reader Determines Speed, Direction

An RFID reader that can, for example, show the direction of a tagged item when it moves.
" ... Tyco Retail Solutions' Steerable Beam Antenna Brings Movement Data to Retailers ... The company's new IDA-3100 antenna is intended to bridge a gap between a traditional handheld or fixed UHF reader   .... " 

Driverless Platforms

I was pointed to this as a advertisement in IEEE Spectrum, and found it interesting.  Especially dealing with the current and potential autonomy of such systems.   Have worked with a  number of advanced tracking systems in supply chain applications.

" .... KVH Industries is a leading manufacturer of solutions that provide global high-speed Internet, television, and voice services via satellite to mobile users at sea and on land. These solutions include the mini-VSAT Broadband network, TracPhone satellite communications systems, and TracVision satellite television systems. KVH is also a premier manufacturer of high performance sensors and integrated inertial systems for defense and commercial guidance and stabilization applications. ... " 

 " ... The Navigation Technology Behind Driverless Platforms ... Precision sensors are critical components in driverless vehicles. These sensors are integrated with LIDAR, cameras and other systems to enable obstacle avoidance and relative navigation. Learn why KVH sensors are preferred for autonomous platforms, even in GNSS-denied environments.  ... " 

Kroger Buys most of Dunnhumby USA

In Cincinnati.com:    It will be interesting to see how this changes how Kroger utilizes analytical methodologies.

" .... The Kroger Co. said Monday it will buy much of dunnhumbyUSA from the United Kingdom-based analytics firm and create a new consumer insights subsidiary called 84.51°, effective immediately. The number is a reference to the longitude of the new subsidiary's location.

About 500 former dunnhumbyUSA workers – including more than 450 locally – will become employees of the independently operated Kroger unit and the retailer will occupy its newly constructed headquarters at Fifth and Race streets in Downtown.

Newly named 84.51 CEO Stuart Aitken said he hopes the new consumer insights arm of Kroger will continue to grow at the same rate or that it will speed up. .... "  

DunnHumby press release on the Kroger restructure.

How P&G and Google Approach New Markets

In the HBR:      Excellent piece.  " ... Leading companies such as Procter & Gamble and Google have realized that the more clearly you understand your customer or partner, and their context(s), the more likely you will be able to offer the right solutions, build the right business models and win through global expansion – in India, Mexico, China, Russia, or beyond. ... ".   Lays out three straightforward  techniques, well described as I encountered them.

Analytics Summit 2015: May 29

Analytics Summit 2015 

Friday, May 29, 2015 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (Eastern Time)
Marriott Kingsgate at the University of Cincinnati
(513) 487-3800
151 Goodman Dr. Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

Analytics Summit 2015 is the premiere analytics event of the year. This year we will feature TWO keynote presentations: one by John Elder (an ​international ​expert ​and author on ​data ​mining ​and applications of advanced analytics, as well as ​a ​well-known ​speaker ​and author) and one by Stephen Few an international expert in the fields of business intelligence (a.k.a. data warehousing and decision support) and information design, and a recognized world leader in the field of data visualization.

We will have full-day tracks on different areas of analytics: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive, as well as an additional track focused on "Building Your Analytics Team".

More info and registration.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Gamification and Enterprise Engagement

Nicely done CW Piece:    " ... Can gamification solve enterprises' engagement problem?  Big data and other new technologies are fueling the use of gaming principles in the workplace  ....  Contrary to popular belief, gamification is not about turning everything into a game. Rather, it's essentially the application of game-design principles in non-game scenarios to solve a problem or engage an audience. "Gamification is really about thinking about what you want in terms of behaviors in the organization and creating incentives to reinforce that," said Janaki Kumar, head of Strategic Design Services for America in SAPs Design and Co-Innovation Center and co-author of the book,  Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software, by Janaki Mythily Kumar and Mario Herger. ..  Worth reading ..

Have given a number of talks on the subject   Our enterprise experimented with the idea.   This blog has covered that for years.  Also has some clear opportunity for data analytics and broader social crowd sourcing. See the tag below for more details.  Anyone have interest in collaborating, let me know.  franzdill Atsign Gmail.com

John Cleese has a Message for Geeks

Hardly a supporter of social media, but humorist John Cleese makes the case that the social is much harder than the technological.   Video.

Google Mobile Search Update

From a number of sources.  That Google is measuring mobile friendliness for sites and is using and acting on that as one measure for measuring search relevance.    Is this an overreaction?   Discussion.

" ... Google's big search algorithm switch happened on Apr. 21, meaning mobile-friendly sites will enjoy the most searchability from mobile devices and retailers, especially small businesses without mobile-friendly sites, could take the biggest hit. Is Google's update of its mobile-friendly algorithm a big deal for retailers?  ... " 

Leading Indicators of Innovation

Good general thoughts, but no precise metrics.   Bottom line, results in your domain.

" ... Metrics, indicators, best practices, success stories – everyone is looking for the magical baseline data to compare to in order to define shortcomings and close them. But it’s largely a waste of time, because with innovation, it’s different every time. Look back two years – today’s technology is different, the market is different, and the people are different. If you look back and evaluate what went on and then use that learning to extrapolate what will happen in the future, well, that’s like driving a Formula One car around the track while looking in the rear view mirror. You will crash and you will get hurt because, by definition, with innovation, what you did in the past no longer applies, even to you.  ... " 

McKinsey Quarterly on Golden Age of Marketing and Analytics

McKinsey Quarterly 2015 Number 1: Overview and full issue
This issue of the Quarterly, available here as a PDF download, describes the dawn of marketing’s next golden age, new ways to create value in the sales channel, the power of people analytics, and more. .... " 

Google Ads to Watch You

In Wired:

GOOGLE IS ABOUT to make ads on television work just like ads on the web. Through Google, advertisers will know how many times their ads were viewed. They’ll be able to target audiences based on location and viewing history. In other words, TV advertisers will have access to the same audience intel online advertisers take for granted. ... Finally, after all this time, your TV is going to know as much about you as your web browser. .... " 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chartjunk Tufte Extract

If you have yet to see it,  over the years have picked up several copies of the book, have seen Edward Tufte present it a few times, always something new stands out, here is an extract to get you interested:

Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983, 2001), page 106-121:

Linkurious: New Tool for Graph Data Visualization

An interesting new tool I had not heard of, it competes with tools like Gephi (Open source, free) and Polinode,  which I have used.  Have not had experience with this one as yet.

Linkurious unveils enterprise graph data visualization tool
Data visualizations represent one of the easiest ways to explore business data, revealing all kinds of hidden nuggets that businesses can derive actionable insights from. Now, data visualization outfit Linkurious has come up with a way to help businesses to ‘see’ their graph-based data more easily with the launch of its enterprise platform, Linkurious Enterprise, designed to search, explore and visualize connections in graph data.  ... "

Book: Open Source Operation Research (OR) Tools

New book:
Operations Research using Open-Source Tools,  Hardcover – April 8, 2015
by Jeffrey Strickland

They write: ...Operations Research using open-source tools is a book that is affordable to everyone and uses tools that do not cost you anything. For less than $50, you can begin to learn and apply operations research, which includes analytics, predictive modeling, mathematical optimization and simulation. Plus there are ample examples and exercise incorporating the use of SCILAB, LPSolve and R. In fact, all the graphs and plot in the book were generated with SCILAB and R. Code is provided for every example and solutions are available at the authors website. The book covers the typical topics in a one or two semester upper division undergrad program or can be used in a graduate level course. ....  "

Disrupting Markets with Data

Using Big Data technology to disrupt markets.  " ... Big data has made a dramatic impact on companies all over America, but running big data programs is only one side of the puzzle. After collecting the data, companies need to analyze it. A huge part of analysis is creating visuals that explain large amounts of seemingly abstract data in a clear, concise way. It’s no surprise then that many companies are turning to data visualization tools to streamline the transformation of their business data into something more useful. ... "  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What is Operations Research?

Nicely done overview of OR, my formal training and thirty plus years of experience.  Closely connected to Analytics, with the inclusion of the decisions needed.   By Jeffrey Strickland.   " .... Many people probably never heard the phrase “Operations Research” used. Operations Research (OR), or operational research in the U.K, is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. The terms management science and analytics are sometimes used as synonyms for operations research. Yet, in my experience OR extends far beyond either. The figure shows a hierarchy of operations research activities, and I’ll let you decide if they are also performed in analytics. ... " 

  At the link above an excellent chart describing key components.   Tag below links to many examples and resources.

To follow, a new book on open source Operations Research ....

New System Modeler Capabilities: Reliability

Wolfram's new SystemModeler version brings new capabilities, examining.  I like the mention of 'cyber-physical' systems.    Most anything these days can be considered a member of that set.  And has performance, reliability and operational considerations.

Champaign, IL--With today's release of SystemModeler 4.1, Wolframis unveiling the next iteration of features in an easy-to-use modeling and simulation environment for cyber-physical systems. ...

One highlight is the integration of Mathematica's complete suite for reliability analysis. Consumer electronics, satellite systems, and flight systems all have different reasons for valuing reliability. Reliability analysis can show where to concentrate engineering efforts to produce the most reliable products, estimate where failure will happen, and price warranties accordingly.

In all, SystemModeler 4.1 adds or improves over 24 applications, alongside many features. Highlights include:

* SystemModeler capabilities for exporting models extended to importing models
* Import from tools such as Simulink, Flowmaster, and IBM Rational Rhapsody enabled based on the FMI standard
* Import subsystems, e.g. control system models from other tools, and integrate them with your Modelica models ...

Industries that rely on Wolfram's SystemModeler include but are not limited to aerospace, automotive, pharmaceuticals, systems biology, and electrical engineering.  ....  "

Peak Work Performance

Former P&G and Microsoft executive Bob Herbold on How to Achieve Peak Work Performance.  In his insightful blog.

" ... A couple of years ago a management research firm did a massive survey of almost 100,000 people employed worldwide and surprisingly almost a third cited “burnout” as a problem they were experiencing.

Further analysis found that individuals experiencing burnout were typically doing a poor job of managing their energy and time.  While working very hard, they complained of constant interruptions, the need to constantly check their e-mail, and no time for breaks.  ... "     

Article goes on to makes some useful points.

Coke Consumer Clusters

Coca-Cola rewiring marketing around ‘consumer clusters’ to make sales pop

 The drinks maker’s chief executive Muhtar Kent let slip the strategic shift today (22 April) when he told analysts on a conference call that its focus on “customer clusters” had helped put sales on the road to recovery. Sales jumped 1.3 per cent to $10.7bn in the three months to March, propelled by a 6 per cent boost in North America, its biggest market. .... 

   .... Struck by the terminology,   'Consumer clusters' that I cannot define precisely .... Nor can the article .... Segmentation in the usual sense, I presume.

Convergence of Retail and Mobile

In Think with Google:
In this month's Creative Shortlist, John Boiler, founder of 72andSunny, spotlights digital campaigns from brands such as Target and Topman that are changing the way we shop. But as retail and mobile converge, he can't help but wonder whether this is a shopping apocalypse or an opportunity for a new kind of physical and virtual engagement.  ....

Talk to some retailers and they'll tell you the business is under siege. The proliferation of online platforms and shopping apps is keeping people glued to their screens. They're scanning for options and deals instead of shopping the aisles and discovering new things to put in their carts. Is this a retail apocalypse or is it an opportunity? .... 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lack of Broadband Limits Telemedicine

 In CWorld: 

A lack of broadband service is limiting the deployment of telemedicine services in some places of the U.S., and not just remote rural areas, some experts say.

Panasonic of North America, while providing Internet-based heart monitoring services for elderly residents of the New York City area, found several places were there were no wired broadband, Wi-Fi or strong mobile signals available, Todd Rytting, CTO for the company, told a U.S. Senate committee Tuesday.

The SmartCare monitoring service significantly reduced the numbers of heart patients who had to return to the hospital, but "the biggest problem we faced was the lack of broadband to some of our citizens," Rytting said. Some potential users of the service couldn't get a broadband connection in "downtown New York City," he added. .... "

More Automated Analytics

In CW: The idea has long been considered, now many vendors are emerging.  Here more add ons to Excel.

On Timing and Decision Making

Its not only the decision, its about its timing.  Brought to mind how decisions and their timing are linked with data.  Data that is available, that which is forecast,and  that which we can acquire on demand or at cost.   The value of perfect information is a famous way of creating a bound for decision value.  Also relates back to the idea of data as an asset.  Consider how the synchronicity of a decision can change a business process model.   And much more.

MindMeld and Documents

Voice Drive content discovery from MindMeld.   " .... You can index documents by crawling a website or by using our API -- and we’ve just open-sourced a new way to post documents to the MindMeld API! Using our new Node.js poster script, you can programmatically upload a very large collection of documents for your app (we're talking millions of nodes). Once you add your document collection, we build a custom knowledge graph that enables highly accurate natural language understanding for your application domain. ... " 

Insight from Innovation

Interesting piece that pulls together data about the insight achieved from innovation.  An area we also researched, looking at the path from ideas to actionable insight.  

Connecting RFID Readers to Smartphones

In RFID Journal: Not quite the same thing as integrating RFID reading directly from within a smartphone, but clever integration.  Good sensor idea.  Applications in retail and many inventory control areas.   Connecting it to commonly used devices with other commercial applications, like inventory control, is useful.  Another example of mobile sensor integration. " .... Zebra's Sled Reader Enables UHF RFID Tag Reads Via Smartphone ... The RFD8500 reads EPC UHF RFID tags and sends that data to iOS and some Android devices via a Bluetooth connection, enabling users, such as store personnel, to collect read data on their mobile devices. ... " .  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

IBM and Design Thinking

Fascinating piece on design at IBM.     Have never thought of them as design oriented.   More marketing oriented, like my previous enterprise.   Is that changing?     Be careful too, what expertise you hire as design.  Technical design is different from external design.

IBM is banking on design’s ROI
Phil Gilbert on IBM’s deep design roots, change management, and hiring for culture fit. ... 
Companies of all sizes are recognizing that by taking a design-first approach to product development, they can improve profit. I recently sat down with Phil Gilbert, GM of design at IBM, to discuss how he is helping to lead the transformation to a design-first company within IBM. Adopting design as a key corporate asset may seem like a no-brainer, but for a company of more than 350,000 employees, it’s a massive undertaking. IBM hasn’t been quiet about its plans to hire 1,000 designers over the course of five years and embed design in product teams throughout the organization. ...  "

Intel Compute Stick

Another example of a device that can be connected to an HDMI port of a big screen TV to turn it into a Windows 8.1 computer for about $150.   Connects to Internet with Wifi.  You likely also need a mouse and a keyboard.  Nice idea, but probably with a somewhat limited market.     See also a similar offering by Google/Chrome: Chromebit.

(Update) Gizmodo has strong criticism of the Compute Stick, tested with gaming applications.
(Update) CW says it provides just adequate Windows or Linux power for typical Biz applications.

Machines and the Connected Supply Chain

A long time goal is getting closer. In SupplyDemandChain:  " ... Machines Are Finally Earning their Way in the Connected Supply Chain  ....  ".   Lots of new opportunities for analytics.

Human in the Loop Planning

Attended excellent CSig talk today by Subbarao Kambhampati and Kartik Talamadupula of ASU and  IBM Watson on Human-in-the-Loop Planning and Decision Support.

Human in the Loop Planning (HILP) is a classic example of studying how people interact with smart systems.  These systems are getting much smarter, but how they interact and cooperate with people is still a problem. You can say that any advisory system has components of planning systems.   In the enterprise we looked at many such systems, and delivered a few.  Yet there are many 'challenges' that still exist in making such systems work, still not resolved after decades of work.

   The slides from the talk give an excellent overview of work still underway.   Recording replay.  Also, they point to their much more detailed tutorial on the subject.    An interesting aspect, an idea we never addressed directly,  they call:  "Planning for Crowdsourcing".  Since we were involved with marketing problems, which dealt with consumer group activities, this could have been of much use to us.

If you have any interest in applied AI for commercial use, this is an area to follow.

EU Strategy for Tech Market

In FastCompany:

Europe unveils strategy to finally compete with US Tech Titans ....  The EU's proposed "Unified Digital Marketplace"  Would Revise Laws that Discourage Cross-Border Trade and Access to Services like Netflix .....  ' 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Benford's Law for Twitter Data

Nicely done Tech Review piece on Benford's Law, a practical piece of pattern recognition knowledge every analyst should know.  It is used in fraud and risk analysis.  It finds strangeness in certain kinds of patterns.   Learned it early in my career.   Turns out it now has value even in the analysis of social media.  It's discovery is a fun case study by itself, which makes the point that you should aim to dive into the physical whenever given only abstract data:

" ... The counterintuitive distribution of digits in certain data sets turns out to be a powerful tool for detecting strange behavior on social networks.  It turns out it is even finding use in the analysis of social networks. 

Back in the 1880s, the American astronomer Simon Newcomb noticed something strange about the book of logarithmic tables in his library—the earlier pages were much more heavily thumbed than later ones implying that people looked up logarithms beginning with “1” much more often than “9.”
After some investigation, his concluded that in any list of data, numbers beginning with the digit “1” must be much more common than numbers beginning with other digits. He went on to formulate mathematical rationale behind this phenomenon, which later became known as Benford’s law, after the physicist Frank Benford who discovered it independently some 50 years later. ... " 

Following the quote is a look how it applies to social data.  Includes link to a technical paper.

Wal-Mart is Largest IT Investor

In the world?  Surprising claim, that I find hard to believe.   Still there is a lot there:

" ... Walmart topped IDC's "The Big Guns: IDC's Worldwide Top 10 IT Spenders" report beating out heavy hitters like Citigroup, AT&T and ExxonMobil for the title of biggest IT spender. The competition for the top spot wasn't even close, with Walmart nearly doubling second place finisher Bank of America's seemingly paltry $5.33 billion investment, with a jaw-dropping $10.16 billion tally according to IDC estimates.

The $10-billion estimate for Walmart's IT expenditures includes hardware, software, IT services, telecommunication service, and internal IT spending. With revenue approaching $500 billion in 2014 the retailing giant certainly has money to spend, and although $10 billion is a massive figure it is really just a drop in the Walmart bucket. ... " 

Knowing what Part of your Knowledge and Data Matters

K&W:   Talk and transcript.   And you can add to this, data as an asset, both structured and unstructured.   Data can be turned into applicable knowledge with analytics, which nicely combines all of these concerns and measurements.   See tab link Data Assets for more here on that topic.

 " ... In the corporate world, businesses are regularly graded on the value of their assets: They report to their shareholders about the physical assets they own, their cash in hand, and revenues and profits, both past and expected. But when it comes to measuring their knowledge assets — the value of those can be harder to gauge. However, the entrepreneurial management of knowledge assets can be critical to the success of any business.

In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Wharton management professor Ian MacMillan, who is also director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center, and Wharton adjunct professor Martin Ihrig, who is also a practice professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, talk about how organizations can determine which of their knowledge assets are the most strategically relevant, and how best to deploy them. ... "   

Update: Polinode Visualizes Organizations

Continue to follow Polinode as a means to model and analyze organizations.  The Australian company has added some new features that are of interest.  This is a survey based system that allows you to construct a visual graph model of your organization.  Or model an organization you might be merging with. Lots of possibilities.  Future versions will allow means to merge the surveys with other meta organization data. Also output the data to other graphics engines like Gephi.  Apply for a free beta trial at the link.

Resist False Big Data Promises

In Forbes via McCain:    Good points to consider before diving in.  In particular I emphasize asking how do the possibilities connect to real business decisions?  Have seen many projects started that do not first examine this carefully.  Include real decision makers and data architects early.  Good case studies are shown:  " ... Gartner recently predicted that “through 2017, 60% of big data projects will fail to go beyond piloting and experimentation and will be abandoned.” This reflects the difficulty of generating value from existing customer, operational and service data, let alone the reams of unstructured internal and external data generated from social media, mobile devices and online activity. ... " 

Learning to Love Your Robot Colleagues

In the WSJ:    A historic view about how workers dealt with classic factory robots.  But this goes beyond history and robotics.  With the emergence of new, smarter, more autonomous AI systems, more workers will have to deal with more help in the workplace.  Not that this has not been happening for years,  but is there a tipping point of revolt?  It more than just coming up with cute names.  " .... How Factory Workers Learned to Love Their Robot Colleagues ... Tesla names its robots after superheroes, but Nissan prefers anime characters. Godzilla is a favorite everywhere.  ... " 

Knowledge Based Trust

Some of Google's work on knowledge-based trust is reviewed.  But it is still unclear what this is.  Are we trusting Google to determine truth?  You could say they have been doing that for a long time with search algorithms.  Is truth what is on the first search results page?

Ineffectiveness of Time Management Training

In the HBR:   " ... The problem’s not just that we’re getting distracted from work; it’s that we’re getting distracted from important work by other work. How many times have you sat down to do more thoughtful, in-depth tasks, only to be lured away by incoming emails from clients or colleagues? Knowledge workers are so overwhelmed by incoming information, they spend much of their time “playing defense,” operating without a clear picture of their total responsibilities.  ,,, "

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R Clustering and Data Visualization Example

Nice technical piece on advanced use of clustering and data visualization.    Gives you an example of the kinds of choices being made by data scientists, and their application to a real problem:

" ... R showcases several useful clustering tools, but the one that seems particularly powerful is the marriage of hierarchical clustering with a visual display of its results in a heatmap. The term “heatmap” is often confusing, making most wonder – which is it? A "colorful visual representation of data in a matrix" or "a (thematic) map in which areas are represented in patterns ("heat" colors) that are proportionate to the measurement of some information being displayed on the map"? For our sole clustering purpose, the former meaning of a heatmap is more appropriate, while the latter is a choropleth. ... " 

Promoting Grocer Loyalty

In Progressive Grocer:  Some of the classic concerns of retailers. Note the mention of fuel incentives, a popular recent loyalty component.  " ... Five Ways Grocers Can Stop Consumers from Visiting Multiple Retailers ... Tapping data, fuel incentives to win shopper loyalty  ... " 

More HoloLens Intro

More on Microsoft HoloLens.  Impressive examples shown.  You can sign up for alerts.  Currently examining business and personal applications.  When will this come into common use?  What other advances, image recognition for example, will be needed to push this idea forward?

On Twitter.

Company Culture

A misleading term, the HBR article says.    Ill defined, I agree, but it does define how companies are different, and similar.    " ... The problem with the term “culture” is that it tends to essentialize groups: it simplistically represents a particular group of people as a unified whole that share simple common values, ideas, practices, and beliefs. But the fact is, such groups really don’t exist. Within any group characterized as having a culture, there are numerous contested opinions, beliefs, and behaviors. People may align themselves to behave in a way that seems as though they buy into expressed corporate values and “culture,” but this is just as likely to be a product of self-preservation as it is of actually believing in those values or identifying with some sloganized organizational culture. ... "

CGT on Amazon Dash

In CGT:  Makes the argument that Amazon Dash creates an edge for major CPG brands.  Still awaiting the invitation to see one:

" ... According to AdAge, Amazon hasn't said exactly how the model would work, but Dash could easily become a conduit for trade-promotion funds as brands bid for buttons, which would be like miniature end-caps in millions of homes.

"One of the key barriers for many consumers to participate in subscription models is the need to predict your usage," said a K-C spokesman. By participating in Dash, he said, "we are able to offer consumers greater control on when their next order of Cottonelle or Huggies will ship." ... " 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Business Reliability with System Modeler

I see that Wofram is starting to put out their system modeling software.    Here nicely described for reliability problems.   A number of times we used this basic concept for calibrating some business process models (BPM).   Should be easier to do with this software.

Reliability Analysis New in Wolfram SystemModeler 4.1 »
Mathematica's complete suite for reliability analysis, with functionality for reliability block diagrams, fault trees, and importance measures, can now be used with SystemModeler. Additional updates include FMI-standardized model import and model development. .... "

Future Predicting Neurons

In Nature:  Future predicting neurons. An odd idea, but poses an interesting thought.  If we could tap the output of such a neuron, is it the prediction of what we would do under particular conditions?   Is this akin to the fabled buy switch?    Better than a questionnaire?    But as we often find, the brain is never quite that simple.  What is the link between the operation of neurons and a human decision?   Somewhat too like the discovery of empathetic neurons, around which many stories were spun, but nothing practical I have seen as yet ...

Teradata Rolls out Warehouse Appliance

New warehouse appliance that Teradata means to help with big data applications using virtualization. More data.

Update on Neuromarketing and Advertising

Have tracked the progress and evolution of neuromarketing for years.  Saw some decrease in the hype last year.  But this article takes another look.  It is still being used by major marketers, usually in conjunction with other analytical methods, to micro - analyze the non conscious influence of advertising.

Mathematical Heart of Deep Learning

Technical piece in Pete Warden's blog. Nicely visualized.  I was unaware of the term GEMM, but taking a look at the post, he explains it well.  Mathematically it is how you multiply matrices.   A pretty common thing in applied mathematics.  But now you have to do it more efficiently, under varying conditions of matrix density.  In our own experiments with Neural networks, we quickly discovered this. The basics have been around for a long time, but here is an example where their application for updating neural networks radically changes the needs.  Again, I warn you , this is math-technical.

Machine Learning Education Opportunities

Have never seen a technical topic with so many online learning opportunities.  DSC does a good job of summarizing some of the useful links in a short piece.  Do remember that Machine Learning, for all but academic purposes, is the same thing as as Analytics, Pattern recognition, Statistical Analysis, Operations Research and Big Data Analytics.    Yes, I know this can be debated, but for practical applications in decision improvement, there is huge overlap in all of these, and several other related terms.

Legal Issues of the Internet of Things

Likely not complete, but a long piece on the legal issues to consider concerning the  internet of things. Global regulatory issues are likely also very important.  A legal minefield?  I will ask for specialist comment on this topic.

More Tales of Chef Watson

Have spoken to several people recently on the now free and public cognitive demonstration system.   All the comments I have seen, by non professional cooks, have been positive.  Now here another use case.  Includes a recipe:  Chef Watson's Spicy Avocado Brussels Sprouts.    A book on the system is coming out soon.  A classic example of a domain focused, constraint-based advisory system, based on stored cases.  A form of Case Based Reasoning (CBR).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Goggle Technologies for VR

Brought to my attention  Goggle Tech looking at hardware and software. VR possibilities are continuing to expand. Some interesting examples at the link.

" ... Goggle Tech Inc. is a subsidiary of Go4D Technolgy Corp. We have a consumer technology, manufacturer, company based out of Seoul, South Korea.

Our flagship product, the C1-Glass and Go4D VR Headset enables 3D stereoscopic content viewing for mobile environments, and has been in development over the past 3 years. The company offers other products and apps to enhance virtual reality media experiences. Go4D Technology Corp. has multiple Korea and PCT granted patents and international patent pending on hardware and software of 3D Virtual Reality technology, as shown below, and many pending patents related to stereoscopic HMD for Smartphones.

Get the most of your 3D VR  with your Android or iOS devices and view your even 2D favorite movies in 3D,   ... " 

Freeman Dyson Interview

Interview in the NYTimes,  ".... The physicist, mathematician and author, most recently, of “Dreams of Earth and Sky” says the best books he knows about mathematics and physics are nearly a hundred years old. ... " . A favorite thinker about science, physics and math.  A heretic on a number of issues, I like that.   On that note, see also this 2009 NYT piece.

Damaging Effects of Envy

My former manager Bob Herbold on the damaging effects of envy.

Visualization Tells the Focused Story of Data

In CIO Insight:  Perhaps obvious, but it is a very useful way to show the usefulness and value of your data.   Also to do this in some standardized way, so you can quickly understand how your data relates to your business, your values, contexts and immediate needs. We did some mock ups of data focusing experiments, where a user (or group, division ... ) could see a display of the key data for their responsibilities.  That could lead to not only a better understanding of their job, but an understanding of how other data might improve their work.

Enterprise Agility through Culture

Have been involved in a company with a strong and sometimes difficult culture for years. Worth understanding, In InfoQ:

" .... Culture plays an important role in organizational change. Successful agile adoption tends to depend on the ability to change the culture. Making the culture explicit and becoming more conscious of the existing culture is important in agile transformations according to Olaf Lewitz and Michael Sahota. Giving attention to culture can increase the agility of an organization.

InfoQ did an interview with Lewitz and Sahota about what makes culture important for organizational change, giving attention to and creating awareness for culture, techniques and tools to work with the culture and culture skills for change agents. ... " 

End of the Automobile License Plate

Replacing the classic license place with an RFID tag.  An early idea that is getting new interest.     Visual and RF tagging will probably be combined.   Article.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Androids in Retail

Short Retailwire discussion piece on the use of androids (human-like robots or interactive images) for interactions in retail. Recall our deep diving Mr Clean effort, link below.  How well do we trust images and interactions that we know are not real people?  Compelling or creepy?   Some tests mentioned I had not heard of.

Thinking about Marketing Context with 6 Ws

Rules for thinking about how to communicate. Contextual market planning.  The 6 Ws.  Who-what-when-where-how-why.  I never took a journalism class.  Now I often read many articles these days that do not provide all the basic information.  If I care, I notice.   But is that the same as engaging?

Thumbnail Trackpad

Have not seen a new idea on the pointer space for some time.  A prototype.  In CWorld:

" ... Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a tiny wireless trackpad that can be worn on a thumbnail.

Called NailO, the prototype trackpad is similar to the stick-on nails sometimes used as a fashion accessory. It attaches to the user's thumb and can be controlled by running a finger over its surface.
The researchers say an advantage of the device is that it's discrete. Running a finger over a thumbnail is a natural activity, so most people wouldn't notice this as a deliberate action to control a device. ... " 

Streetlights Watch Residents

Not a new thing,  ten years ago was approached by a company that was planning similar, multi functional devices.  We are in a surveillance society.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Microsoft PowerBI Preview

Walter Riker points me to the Microsoft PowerBI site.   Preview free trial.  Which adds data visualization and dash boards to many MS and other data sources.    "Power BI works for your role ... Reduce risk and increase rewards - unlock insights to drive more informed and confident decisions. ... ".  Also now has an IOS App:  Microsoft Power BI   Which I have installed.  Will be looking more closely.

More on Power BI from article in the MSDN blog announcement:

" ... This morning at Microsoft’s Convergence Conference, we announced new products and services that will enable organizations to create a data culture in all parts of their organizations. Adopting a data culture starts with making information easily accessible to all - our Power BI offering is helping to accelerate that adoption by changing the way people access, use, manage and share data.

First unveiled in January, the new and improved Power BI is a cloud-based (software-as-a-service) business analytics service for non-technical business users. With just a browser or a Power BI mobile app, customers can visualize and analyze their data with easy-to-use, accessible tools and innovative technology  ...... 

With Power BI our customers can keep a pulse on their business by bringing all their data together and monitor it through a single pane of glass. Live Power BI dashboards and reports show visualizations and KPIs from data that reside both on-premises and in the cloud, providing a consolidated view across the business regardless of where the data lives."  ... '

Power BI Blog.

Innovation and Strategic Focus

In Forbes Future of CIO:

Will Innovation Enhance or Distract you from Strategic Focus?

Someone obviously needs to innovate otherwise the world will come to a standstill.  Innovation is the light every organization is pursuing, however, some might complain it has distracted them from their strategic focus, because a company cannot have a clear focus on everything, innovating, bringing products to market and cutting cost/removing complexity to stay profitable. Are companies able to focus on more than one thing, should their primary focus be prosperity via innovation or maintaining a sustained business via efficiency? ... " 

Google, Apple Fight for Car Dashboard

In the NYT,  Registration may be required.  Another screen is in play for communications and consumer engagement.

HBS launches HBX, Learns Online Collaboration

What Harvard Business School Has Learned About Online Collaboration From HBX
In June 2014, Harvard Business School launched HBX, its new online education initiative. At the time, the norm, increasingly, in many online courses was to create a “lean back”, individualized experience where students would primarily watch streamed video lectures that centered on experts. Stimulating lectures with star professors, perhaps, but lectures nonetheless — with a passive, individualized learner experience. We wanted to change that.  ... " 

Talk About Fast Data

Upcoming ONline Talk via ACM:  April 30, 2015   11:30 AM ET  Register.

 ... The Fast Data Challenge and Picking the Right Database: Why One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Interacting with fast data, data that is in motion, is a fundamentally different process than interacting with big data that is at rest. And few businesses have the ability to extract the value of that data when it matters most — at the moment it arrives — because traditional database technology simply hasn't kept pace.

Dr. Michael Stonebraker, Professor at MIT and co-founder of VoltDB, has long held the belief that, without the right database architecture in place, today's organizations run the risk of being left behind in a world that's smarter and faster than what legacy systems can handle.

It’s time to rethink the technology stack needed to enable fast data applications. What’s needed is a framework for making technology choices and architecting fast data applications, the fast data stack.  The fast data stack has three levels: data ingestion, real-time analytics and decisions, and data export.

Dr. Michael Stonebraker will share his "one-size-doesn’t-fit-all" perspective when it comes to picking the right tool for the job. He will explain the fast data stack, why traditional RDBMS’s fall short and how a modern in-memory SQL, ACID compliant, database with a scale-out architecture is the right choice for enabling fast data applications. Then watch as John Hugg provides the “proof in the pudding” with a step-by-step review of his Unique Devices application, which performs real-time analytics on fast moving data. It's a representative implementation of the speed layer in the Lambda Architecture with the logic captured in just 30 lines of code.   ...... " 

Moore's Law is 50

In Recode.  Been reading about Moore's law for many years.    Now over 50 years old, it maps how  " ...  the number-crunching capacity of our computers and the number of transistors on silicon chips double roughly every two years, that prediction has underpinned the unrelenting tide of technological progress. ... " .    Good background and prediction that the continuing change may soon end.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

More Robo Hotels, Robo Behavior

In the CACM:  Update on the use of robotics in hotels globally.    Have yet to see it personally.    A challenge we discussed:  " ... One of the challenges is building systems that people perceive as friendly. "The behavior component is critical to whether people accept robots or not," he explains. This includes mannerisms, speech, words, and visual displays on screens, as well as overall motion. Canosa says Savioke has focused on finding the right balance of interaction with guests and providing a level of politeness that humans demand. "It takes an incredible amount of work and learning to deliver the right level of interaction," he explains. So far, 95% of guests have rated the robot favorably. .... " 

Ferrari Augmented Reality POS

Good example via Metaio:  Expanding showroom experience.  " ... Ferrari Australia commissioned developer ZSPACE to create an awesome showroom companion that overlays cinematic 3D animations right onto the vehicles themselves. Not only are the visuals extremely impressive – what is going on “under the hood” of the application is also at the cutting edge. By Making use of Metaio’s proprietary 3D tracking technology, the application render Hollywood-style visual effects onto the real-world vehicle in real-time. ,,, " 

Amazon Analytical Web Services

This was mentioned previously, AWS makes anaytical services available in new and powerful, and scalable ways.  Much more detail at the link:

" .... The science of Machine Learning (often abbreviated as ML) provides the mathematical underpinnings needed to run the analysis and to make sense of the results.  It can help you to turn all of that data into high-quality predictions by finding and codifying patterns and relationships within it. Properly used, Machine Learning can serve as the basis for systems that perform fraud detection (is this transaction legitimate or not?), demand forecasting (how many widgets can we expect to sell?), ad targeting (which ads should be shown to which users?), and so forth.

Introducing Amazon Machine Learning

Today we are introducing Amazon Machine Learning. This new AWS service helps you to use all of that data you’ve been collecting to improve the quality of your decisions. You can build and fine-tune predictive models using large amounts of data, and then use Amazon Machine Learning to make predictions (in batch mode or in real-time) at scale. You can benefit from machine learning even if you don’t have an advanced degree in statistics or the desire to setup, run, and maintain your own processing and storage infrastructure. .. " 

Experience Design

Doing Design effectively, and efficiently:

Experience design gives you the competitive edge ...
The O'Reilly Radar Podcast: Andy Budd on the rising value of design, the bright future of agencies, and designers on the brink.   ... " 

GE and Industrial Internet

Based on my own interactions with them. thought GE was aligned with industrial internet standards for some time,  but now more:   " ...  The Industrial Internet lets machines communicate over the Internet with their makers. They get software updates and service calls over the Net. It's for machines of all kinds -- from kitchen appliances to factory robots. Just as we have to update our iPhone or Android on a regular basis, we also will have to update our dishwasher or our auto-manufacturing plant equipment. ... " 

Much more detail in this blog on the Industrial Internet, see tag link below.

Cognitive Architecture for Expertise Delivery

FORR: A Cognitive Architecture for Expertise, by Susan Epstein
City University of New York (CUNY). Major support by the NSF

Attended this presentation today.  Very nicely done, especially how it examined the broad  architecture of cognitive problems and links to delivered expertise.   Could have used this systematization during our expert systems development work.  Dealing with quick solutions, inexact and changing data. Also showed a number of applications of FORR, mostly that deal with robotic applications like search and discover.  I see an application to Internet of Things expertise delivery. The problems addressed are still relatively simplistic, generalized problem solving within a domain, this will still require considerable development, but this is a great place to start.

Slides from talk.     Susan L Epstein site and related work.

Further,  my note on IOT integration:

  " ... In her CUNY outline it mentioned multi robot teams, which many of her Cog architecture expertise examples showed.  It came to mind that a similar idea could be used for linking nodes in an Internet of Things (IOT) network, especially in industrial settings.  Maintenance, Inventory, Location, Data Gathering, Human augmentation, Environmental ...  A wearable device then shows where the special expertise of a human being can be best used.  Opportunities abound. ... "

The Magic Lab

Always interested in the concept of Lab innovation spaces.  Here is another, see tags below for more about our use of them.

I am the Director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research Lab (The Magic Lab). It has unique transdisciplinary capabilities in key areas of innovation and enterprise. We specialise in technology enabled innovation and build solutions using design thinking, experimentation and analytics. Our industry and government partners include: IBM, Google, Disrupt, Linkedin, bigtincan, Willow Garage, Suitable Technologies, Amazon, Fusion.io, Denmark's National Bank. ... Mary-Anne Williams 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Talk: A Cognitive Architecture for Expertise

Expertise architecture, a favorite topic.

Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series,
Every Thursday 10:30 AM ET, tomorrow 4/16/2015

FORR: A Cognitive Architecture for Expertise, by Susan Epstein
City University of New York (CUNY)
Major support by the NSF

Slides here. 

  ... Dial-In Number(s):   888-426-6840,  215-861-6239, Participant Code:48982031.  Dial in on the phone and also Join Web meeting:  https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491 password=cognitive.   Non-IBMers, please use the "guest" option.   ..... 

I will attend and report on this.

Gamification Leaders in the Enterprise

Enterprise Gamification is selling a report on:

Leaders & Visionaries Rankings of Gamification Platforms
We wanted to share some details from our first Gamification Industry Report that compared and ranked twelve gamification platforms. And you are in for some surprises! If you are in the market shopping for one to get your gamification strategy going, then this is certainly for you. ... " 

I have not bought the report, but it is most interesting because it lists vendors involved, most notably and large, SAP.   Probably worth a deep look if you are involved.  Still looking forward to examples involved with SAP and their enterprise systems.   Below from the report, link above to buy the full report.

Twitter in India: Real time, Mobile First

In K@W:   Podcast and transcript.

" ... Twitter has changed the advertising world, a development that company vice president Shailesh Rao describes as a positive-sum game for traditional and social media. .... 

Shailesh Rao, vice president of Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets for Twitter, sees himself as an educator and an evangelist. He did not know how much he would fit into this role until he arrived in India in 2007 as Google’s head for that country and discovered lack of understanding about the Internet. According to eMarketer, India is set to become Twitter’s largest market after the U.S. with a projected 40 million users by 2018, up from 17 million this year.

Twitter, says Rao, is powerful. It is a platform that enables a specific kind of communication and exchange, which is real time, public and conversational. Everybody on the planet is able to get value and use Twitter, he adds. “It is almost like we are tapping into the collective consciousness of humankind and able to see it reflected back to us.”  ... "  

Surge of Local Search

In Search Engine Watch:   Searching 'near me' has surged considerably since 2011.  Searching is increasingly an automatic reaction to information needs anywhere.  And consumers want the intelligence to include all sensor and context data included.   From a context knowledge graph, to a simple 'where are you'.  Good overview leading to the value of local search.

Schank's XTOL Experiential Learning

A mention of Roger Schank, AI pioneer, founder of the 'AI Boom' company Cognitive Systems, who I recall was critical of our AI work in the 80s.  His work in AI scripting was fundamental. He later did research for Andersen Consulting. Recently became a co founder of XTOL.  " ... Our proven approach provides you with critical technology and business skills. You’ll gain authentic experience at a realistic pace conducive to learning at an affordable price. The Professional Development Center at the University of Texas at Austin has partnered with Experiential Teaching Online (XTOL) — to offer four skills-based technology career programs. In response to the growing demand for highly skilled technical employees in Texas and beyond, these certificate programs offer a real-world, collaboration-driven, skills-based learning experience focused on software technology and data analytics. .. "  

He writes about his latest work in AI, which takes scripts on to expert Storytelling:  " ... I spent 25 years working in Artificial Intelligence. My new goal is not to build intelligent machines, but rather to build an intelligently organized and indexed knowledge base that is easily accessible and gets smarter over time. The current manifestation of this goal is called EXTRA (Experts Telling Relevant Advice). EXTRA is a knowledge management system that stores and retrieves digitally recorded stories. EXTRA has one intention -- and that is to get a story to a user that will help him or her make a decision just at the time that they are about to make a decision. We use storytelling as the vehicle to impart knowledge. You can read more about EXTRA and see a demo here.   ... " 

Further:  Roger Schank's home page.  Recent interview: The Art of Learning.

A thread ongoing in Linkedin, which talks about this connected to Knowledge Graphs, AI and cognitive systems.

Hiding Corporate Data

The broad idea is being seen in a number of places.  This addresses the 'lost laptop' problem, where corporate data could be compromised.

A Way to Hide Corporate Data from Hackers
A system that keeps data on corporate computers and mobile devices encrypted until it is viewed may help prevent breaches.  ... "

Science of Segmentation

The Science of Segmentation: What Questions Should You Be Asking Your Data? Attended this webinar.  Sponsored by Pivotal.  As the webinar suggests,  segmentation is an analytics need that most every company can use, and is an excellent place to start using Big Data methods. The Webinar talks technical details as well as technical process and results analysis.  Slides and recording.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kroger and Omnichannel Balance

Feedback in general is always a key interest, it can exist at many levels and sources.  It still remains difficult thing to combine different kinds and levels of feedback.  This is becoming more interesting as social data is integrated into feedback results ...

How Kroger strives for the omnichannel balance 
Customer feedback is key in shaping a retailer's transition from traditional to omnichannel, said Shashank Saxena, Kroger's director of digital and e-commerce technology. He also advises retailers to keep up with big-picture trends, tweak business models as trends change and take great care when testing changes to core brands. ....   "

Internet of Things Security

Security writer Bruce Schneier on problems with IOT security.   " ... Security expert Bruce Schneier has looked at and written about difficulties the Internet of Things presents -- such as the fact that the “things” are by and large insecure and enable unwanted surveillance -- and concludes that it’s a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better. .... " 


Bought to my attention:  Crowdbucks.

" ... CrowdBucks is intended to help bring about meaningful change to our failing monetary and financial systems. ... From helping communities to develop and integrate flexible "digital currencies" that can stimulate local growth, to providing a framework for CrowdFunding, Micro-Lending, and a global marketplace that offers a smarter way to do business, CrowdBucks helps bring about positive change to our local economies and global economic systems. ... " 

New Data Science Resources

Quite a long list in DataScience Central..  Yes, its all too much to deal with.  But as one who both ingest this and adds to the talk, here is some more.  Imagine that before the Internet getting half of this would have taken a very long time.

Magnetic Brain Stimulation

From MIT: 

"... Researchers at MIT have developed a method to stimulate brain tissue using external magnetic fields and injected magnetic nanoparticles — a technique allowing direct stimulation of neurons, which could be an effective treatment for a variety of neurological diseases, without the need for implants or external connections. .. "

Samsung's Gear, VR in Business

CW on Samsung Gear:
 A Virtual reality Solution that has been around for some time.  For games, yes ... now what are the clear business applications lined up for driving decision driven Apps?    Have not seen a live demonstration of their approach as yet.  Microsoft's Hololens is a clear competitor.   Google Glass will likely also re-emerge.

" ... The scene unfolds before you. There’s Tim in accounting and Roger from the support team. You glance over at the clock on the wall and notice that someone forgot to change the battery. Then, a lanky millennial walks up to the podium and starts talking about a new security app that could change the known universe. Kind of dull. You take off the headset and flip on the news.

Could this be the future of business? After testing the Samsung Gear VR headset this past week (the $200 device requires the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone), there’s a good chance you could be attending virtual sales demos in the near future. The technology is not quite there yet, but there’s a potential to do more than just let you tap into a meeting.

Live streaming an event is one place to start, though. It requires that anyone who wants to live-stream an event install a special 360-degree camera. And, Samsung hasn’t quite offered an app you can use to tap into a live stream. But imagine the benefits. You can look anywhere you want, so it feels like you are really in attendance. You could record the meeting and watch it later, and if you had a way to speak to the room, you could ask questions. ... " 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Free Data Mining Books and Distinction Advice

From Data On Focus.  A list of links to free data mining resources. Nicely done.  No excuse these days for not getting lots of information on the subject.  Likely lots of variance in value and need for preparatory information.    Is it data mining or machine learning or data analytics?   There is great overlap, depending upon if you are talking to an engineer, computer scientist, statistician or marketer. Each can learn from the other, and sometimes even does.   Still hoping to get more executives involved.

Rapid Changes in Programming Languages

Via the ACM:  Encountered this during several interactions about what coding methods are being used and taught today in University.  Includes statistics about how people are learning new coding methods.   Self taught is becoming very common.  All coding methods have similar, logic based fundamentals, so your first exposure to languages is often the most important.

Thinking Differently About Risk

Risk is often not thought about consistently.  In some cases it derives from actuarial tables, in other cases straight from the gut.   It has to deal with both common repetitive events and black swans of unexpectedness.   Insurance protection and cosmic events. . How do we manage this portfolio of expectation?

Thinking Differently About Risk
Risk factors, alternative tools, and the risk manager’s increasingly important role.

The risk profiles of companies operating today – particularly multinationals, but by no means limited to them – are radically different than they were just a few short years ago.  Many factors are driving the change, including several mentioned below.  But the underlying reason can be described in two words: growing complexity.  Managing this complexity and the concomitant risks that go with it requires a broader conception of insurance and its overall role in the risk management mix than in the past.    ... " 

How PARC Saved Xerox

Interesting historical piece about PARC and Xerox.  We visited PARC a number of time, but had no direct connections to Xerox.   " ... And that’s the true lesson of Xerox and PARC.  We tend to see a successful business model as an integral part of company culture, but that’s not really true.  In reality, culture is the way that an organization values its mission.  It has nothing to do with a particular business model, process or procedure.  To believe otherwise is just lazy thinking.

In an age of disruption, the only viable strategy is to adapt and the ability to make shifts in platforms and ecosystems is becoming a core business skill. ...  " 

Kroger Loyalty Program Ranks High

In Adage:  " ... Kroger was among the brands with the highest-rated loyalty programs in various categories, according to a survey by Bond Brand Loyalty, with Amazon, Regal Cinemas, TGI Fridays and Subway also getting high marks. The survey found that consumers belong to 13.3 loyalty programs on average, up from 10.9 a year ago.  ...  

Predicting Future Business

In the HBR:   Good overview of the nature of forecasting, including how Machine Learning will influence the future of doing a better job.  Several technology areas are covered.  And obviously:  " ... Clearly, the future is going to involve change much broader than the three areas that I’ve covered.  But whenever you’re trying to predict the future with any sort of certainty, the key is to identify and articulate the change, identify what services are no longer necessary or optimal for the new environment, and imagine how the world would need to be rebuilt to accommodate the new infrastructure. ... " 

Data Linked for Must-Need Decisions

In Forbes: Predictive Analytics And Novel Visualization Draw Customers To 'Must Have' Data
Its about the data and the decision. And the tools needed to connect them.  Especially for applications like M&A.  Even determining what 'must have' is can be difficult.  Take it beyond to determine what the ideal measures and data need to be to get closest to a best solution.  Data visualization is a clear first step.  Making that easy and interactive is key.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Tutorial in R for Beginners

In Datacamp.  Good piece.   Simple and straightforward look at how to do machine learning in R.  Step by step, includes evaluation of the model results.

Making Open Data Work with Visualization

In Federal Times: 
The DATA Act legislation means that federal agencies need to make their data open to the public: government leaders, watchdog groups, journalists, and citizen activists are demanding accountability and transparency. Everyone wants accountability into budget expenditures and mission success, and no one has a tolerance for fraud or inefficiency. This presents challenges for agencies that struggle to keep up with their data, much less share it publicly in a way that's timely and easy-to-use.

Thanks to data visualization software, such goals are easily in reach. While cumbersome spreadsheet tools tax the patience and eyesight of virtually everyone, data analysis software is designed with people in mind. The strengths and weaknesses of our visual processing systems inform every aspect of the software—using color, font size, page architecture, etc.—to make the viewing experience intuitive and pleasant, not painful.  ... " 

Amazon Launches Machine Learning as a Service

An interesting competitive proposition.  Machine Learning as a Service,  From clear experts in the field.  You add the data and decision expertise.   More companies are seeking this kind of capability with minimal risk.

In IWeek:  " .. Amazon Machine Learning is a managed service that analyzes a user's historical data to look for patterns and deploy predictive models. It can examine customer data and find patterns of likely customer turnover or churn. It can find typical issues in customer support. It can isolate and detect the patterns of problem transactions.

Jassy said parent company Amazon.com for several years has capitalized on machine learning, as in its affinity marketing, or what it calls "Similarities" recommendations that come with a book or other customer purchase on the retail site. It sought to provide its internal teams with machine learning tools that have been put to use multiple times inside the company. 

"We built a platform for users with no experience in machine learning," noted Jassy.   .. "   

Future of Print Newspapers

A Darker narrative on the future of print.  In the NYT opinion page by Clay Shirky.   It will not go away, but will continue to be marginalized.   A look at the economics.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cautions for Solving Big Data Problems

Good earlier piece by Vincent Granville I had reason to review,  He writes:

" ... This seminal article highlights the dangers of reckless applications and scaling of data science techniques that have worked well for small, medium-size and large data. We illustrate the problem with flaws in big data trading, and propose solutions.  ... " 

Full, largely nontechnical article here.    Useful to provide to technical Execs and Managers.

Steve Omohundro on Smart Contracts

Short piece on talk by Steve Omohundro at Stanford School of Business on Smart Contracts, AI, and Robotics.   ( Awaiting link for talk recording ).



On March 26, 2015 Steve Omohundro spoke at the IBM Research Accelerated Discovery Lab in Almaden in the 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series about “AI, Robotics, and Smart Contracts”. There was a lively discussion about the positive and negative impacts of automation and where it is all going. The video and links are available here:


Smart Contracts Defined

Brought to my attention in talk by Steve Mohundro: Smart Contracts.   On line WP definition:  " ... are computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, or that obviate the need for a contractual clause. Smart contracts usually also have a user interface and often emulate the logic of contractual clauses.    ... " .   

Streamlining Meetings, Sharing Ideas

Have recently been looking at how software can improve organization and discovered the below. Not endorsing it, but seeking to understand the options being developed.   In FastCompany: " ... A new meeting platform aims to help introverts get their ideas heard.  Just launched out of Beta, Attentiv aims to streamline meetings, cut down useless chatter and submit anonymous ideas and questions. .. " 

Business Simplification

In Knowledge@Wharton: 

" ... Business simplification is a strategic imperative for today’s companies if they wish to unlock innovation and position themselves for future success in an increasingly complex world. Yet, many corporations are not aligning their actions more effectively with their stated goals of simplifying business processes, decision-making and IT functions — and as such risk falling behind nimbler competitors, according to the “Simplifying the Future of Work Study,” a survey conducted by Knowledge@ Wharton and SAP. ....  "

Ways of Using VR In the Enterprise

A CW piece on using VR in the enterprise.   Have mentioned our own experiments in the past.  Whatever it is it has to be easy to use, provide significant value, and fit into the culture.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Self Organization

Is self organization hard?  Complexity studies would seem to indicate that it is easy, with  just a few rules.  Perhaps it is because we can't state the objective well enough?   I am reminded of Holacracy, or social organization.  I was then struck by this:

" ... This week, Tony Hsieh issued a challenge to every Zappos employee: ... Self-organize or leave the company ...  

We’ve been operating partially under Holacracy and partially under the legacy management hierarchy in parallel for over a year now. Having one foot in one world while having the other foot in the other world has slowed down our transformation towards self-management and self-organization. While we’ve made decent progress on understanding the workings of the system of Holacracy and capturing work/accountabilities in Glass Frog, we haven’t made fast enough progress towards self-management, self-organization, and more efficient structures to run our business. (Holacracy is just one of many tools that can help move us towards self-management and self-organization, but simply abiding by the rules of Holacracy does not equal self-management or self-organization.) ... '  ... "