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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sifting Your Big Ideas

Colleague Bob Herbold from his blog:   " ..... Is Your Big Idea Really Big? Really?  ....  Beware, when searching for the big idea and finding that to be difficult, it is very easy to convince yourself that a very modest idea will certainly do the job. ..... This very trait is built into humans and it’s the job of leaders to recognize that and to be stubborn enough to demand the really big idea, not a weak substitute!  ... " 

Google Docs Dictate and Translate

In Time: Google Docs is said to now have both voice to text dictation,  and translation to over 40 languages.   Together these are quite an interesting combination.  A Babel fish kind of combination on a phone.  But how well?  Trying, works quite well in my short test.

Unintended Consequence Algorithms

This is not uncommon.  And things are getting more and more complex. Many more variables.   Black boxes are out there.  But be ready to explain how your box works, or show its track record compared to the current process, to those that make the decisions.   Putting these algorithms in charge will require better risk management.

In the Atlantic: Not Even the People Who Write Algorithms Really Know How They Work ...  The web's information filters are making assumptions about you based on details that you might not even notice yourself.  ...  " 

Generation Z is Coming

I am not a fan of generational labels.  I have seen too much variance within them to trust them much. But still, you have to know the definitions to follow what is said about this large scale age-based segmentation.  Quite an extensive survey.

 Useful piece in Knowledge@Wharton:

Millennials on Steroids’: Is Your Brand Ready for Generation Z?   It’s still early days for Gen Z — its oldest members are still in their teens or early 20s — but marketers are trying to get a handle on what they want and expect from brands. ... 

And now here comes Generation Z, the post-millennials loosely defined as those born between the mid- to late-1990s and 2010. Gen Z, which represents about a quarter of the U.S. population, is coming of age in the Era of Instagram; coming of age post-the Great Recession, and coming of age when an African American president and multiple women running for the title is a political reality. (This group hasn’t been the source of any generational angst yet, but give it time.)   ... " 

Watson Personality Insights for Shoppers

A demonstration of Watson's personality services capability for shopping.  " ... The Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through text messages, tweets, posts, and more. ... ".   You can test it with own text and see how you the author is classified.    Aimed at segmenting shoppers based on streams like those from Twitter. See my previous post on this.  It also has a link to the science and cautions about the methods.  Have yet to see the personality classification tested  in retail.   Note that this basic service can already be tested and integrated free in the Bluemix services cloud.   This demo appears to show how this can be used with a data and analysis wrapper.   CGT registration required.

Low Cost 3D Printing Driving Massive Sales

In CWorld:  Apparently many people think they need 3D printing.  Have seen the store demos,  saw it used in the enterprise for packaging prototype development.  Intriguing, but finding it hard to justify this for home or current business. Understand specific business uses.   Would like to see a further breakdown of personal uses.

Data Lakes and Accuracy

Silicon Angle discusses a side effect of the concept of data lakes.  Governance is easier to apply.

" ..... Progressing into the “total customer experience,” one of EMC’s key initiatives is the “Business Data Lake.” The idea is to have data scientists pull from a single, organized source as opposed to various chaotic sources.

Having multiple data warehouses, for instance, allows for “ponds,” which are small arms of data stored aside from the parent data, according to Barbara Latulippe, chief data governance officer at EMC, and Anand Singh, enterprise data management architect at EMC. Latulippe and Singh joined John Furrier of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s production team, at Informatica World 2015.
The data warehouses or “data lake” are of benefit to data scientists and analysts because they focus on making sense of the data in preparation for analytics, including very specific demographic details, such as age, gender, what kind of tendencies, etc, according to Latulippe and Singh.  ,,, " 

Smarter Automotive Systems

Very good overview piece in the CACM, as I see more automotive examples, this is the crux of it, at least before we use self driving cars.

" .... "There is a huge challenge associated with providing a driver with the right amount of information at the right time. You don't want to overwhelm a driver or have someone get to the point where they are distracted or tuning out crucial information," says Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst on the Transportation Efficiencies Team at Navigant Research, which closely tracks automobile technologies. In recent years, auto manufacturers have introduced apps, speech recognition, and other systems, but often with limited success. "While these systems have delivered extra features to drivers, they've been limited in capabilities and the user interfaces have been relatively clunky," he notes. ... " 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Watson and Creativity

Upcoming talk of particular interest:   Thu Oct 1, 2015,  10:30am – 11am (EDT)

" .... Our scheduled speaker is Bryan Wiltgen from Georgia Tech, who will be presenting "Using Watson for Enhancing Human-Computer Co-Creativity."

Dial-In Number(s):   888-426-6840, Participant Code:  48982031. Dial in on phone and also Join Web meeting: https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491 password=cognitive. 

If you are not a member, Join as a Guest. When you click on Join as Guest, you will be asked for your name and organization then click on Join meeting to be taken to screen to enter the password = cognitive .... 

Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452 on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call. .... " 

Industry Collaborative Robotics: Rethink's Sawyer

In IEEE Spectrum:  How collaborative?  How autonomous?

Rethink Robotics' Sawyer Goes on Sale, Rodney Brooks Says 'There May Be More Robots'   By Erico Guizzo   ....

" .... Rethink introduced Sawyer, the company’s second robot, earlier this year. Like Baxter, its predecessor, Sawyer can safely operate alongside human workers, who can teach the robot to perform tasks simply by moving its arm though a series of motions. But whereas Baxter has two arms and can help with packaging and material handling tasks, the single-arm Sawyer is designed for tasks that require more precision, including machine tending and circuit board testing. .... " 

GE Lighting example below: 

Trillion Devices at Hand

What so we expect to do with so many devices, and many more connections?  Over many more slices of time and location?   In CWorld:  " ... Forget thinking about the Internet of Things where your coffee maker and refrigerator are connected. By 2025, we could very well live in a trillion-device world. .... That's the prediction from Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley.

"Smartness can be embedded everywhere," said Sangiovanni-Vincentelli. "The entire environment is going to be full of sensors of all kinds. Chemical sensors, cameras and microphones of all types and shapes. Sensors will check the quality of the air and temperatures. Microphones around your environment will listen to you giving commands." ... " 

On Silo Organizations

Book review in the NYT.   ‘The Silo Effect,’ by Gillian Tett .  On my reading list.   Silos of value and attention are  very common and often destructive in the enterprise.

Rebel Statistics

Good view of the topic by Granville at DSC.   A challenge to relevance?

" .... any of those who call themselves statisticians just won't admit that data science heavily relies on and uses (heretical, rule-breaking) statistical science, or they don't recognize the true statistical nature of these data science techniques (some are 15-year old), or are opposed to the modernization of their statistical arsenal. They already missed the train when machine learning became a popular discipline (also heavily based on statistics) more than 15 years ago. Now machine learning professionals, who are statistical practitioners working on problems such as clustering, far outnumber statisticians. ... " 

Winning with 3D Printing

From Bain & Company:   An infographic:   "  ... Winning with 3D Printing.  How additive manufacturing, popularly known as 3D printing, can help companies rethink product design. ....  The cost of complexity is no longer a design barrier ..... "   Not sure if the final statement is necessarily or even often true.  But nicely done.   Has link to a longer text outline.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Internet Tells you How with Services

Since the beginning of the Internet, I have been interested in how it can provide teachable moments, and how people have used it as a primary place to find information to get things done. Google writes about their YouTube service as a means for visual, tactile instruction.   " .... For big projects and small fixes, people look for how-to videos on YouTube, increasingly on mobile. Of smartphone users, 91% turn to their devices for ideas while completing a task. See how brands like Home Depot and M·A·C are using mobile video to reach people in these 'I-want-to-do' micro-moments. .... " .   

Take this further, based on the O*Net job database (See tag below) which decomposes jobs into component services.     Could the same be done to provide links between requirements for a job and available micro moment services?    Selectively accessing and combining data, cognitive systems and human resources.

Big Data Ducklings

In Teradata Mag:   " ... Ugly Duckling or Black Swan?  Big Data gives businesses the periheral vision to detect and respond to catastropic events before it is too late. ... " .  Thoughtful piece,  but I define black swans as those that cannot be completely predicted.  So this is more like risk management, which has its own literature.  If I build a portfolio of risks, and can define potential occurrences, then Black Swans are very low probability possibilities.  How low?  Completely unanticipated?   Events that I do not have lots of data about, are by definition not 'big' data.  Yes I know it is not all about 'big', which is part of the reason I do not like the term.  So lets just call it data analytics under unusual contexts.

Reacting to Robot Colleagues

The world of robot colleagues.  Which also leaves open the world of robot bosses as well.  How much autonomy this permits us will likely vary,   Technology review explores:   " ....  Are You Ready for a Robot Colleague? .... Robots are moving into new areas of work, and it isn’t entirely clear how staff and customers will react. ..... " 

Cost of a World Without Ads

Ad Age looks at a world without Ads.  Responding to the emergence of new ad blocking technology.  Which sounds like a relief, but    " .... Ad Age Imagines a World Without Ads -- and It's Not Cheap .... Ever Wonder How Much Content Would Cost Without Advertising to Subsidize It? We Did the Math ... " .  Not an objective source for alternative funding ideas.

Demystifying Self Service Data to Gain Insight

Looking at the state of service Business Intelligence. Time to insight is an interesting concept.

" .... Based on a concept of centralized data analysts, traditional BI creates a system where IT specialists create deep-dive reports, typically for C-suite executives because analysts’ time is too valuable to spread any thinner.

Traditional BI is better than no BI, but business happens outside the C-suite, too, and traditional BI can’t hope to meet the breadth and volume of data demands from every business user or keep pace with the competitive data landscape. The “time to insight” is just too slow. Users can’t afford to send requests and wait days or weeks for a report that could already be outdated. To get the most out of the data your company collects, relevant data points need to be available to all business users when they need it. .... " 

Loyalty Cards Driving Savings

New looks at changes in loyalty plays.  The number of loyalty plays per household is interesting,

" ... Food retailers look to loyalty card programs to drive sales, particularly as consumers abandon the primary store shopping model. However, the average US household is enrolled in 29 loyalty programs and only actively uses 12 of those programs, according to market researcher Colloquy. Retailers including Hy-Vee, SpartanNash and Whole Foods Market are adding programs and perks to help drive sales and reward return visitors.    .... " 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mobile Water Data Sampling Startup

Great local startup story.    In the Cinci Enquirer  " .... This month, Jacob Shidler, now 31, found himself launching an iPhone app, being involved in a NASA flyover to analyze these pesky toxic algal blooms ....  His product, Liquid, is basically an electronic, online version of the scientific method. ....  With the cloud-based system – built predominantly by Shidler’s business partner, software developer Caleb LeNoir – researchers and scientists can collect, analyze and share data in real time. .... They’re working on wirelessly hooking up scientific instruments straight into the Liquid system. ....  "

Taking a closer look at their site, which has a number of useful examples.

More about his related work at UC.

Teaching Robots Social Skills

Akin to common sense, a tough challenge.   Specifically using the normally intensely numerical approaches of machine learning is particularly interesting.  An application for more fuzzy logic?

IBM Wants Watson to Teach Robots Some Social Skills
Because language is only part of human communication, IBM is using machine learning to teach robots social skills like gestures, eye movements, and voice intonations.   .... "  

" ..... During a keynote speech at a conference held in San Jose, California, this week, Robert High, chief technology officer of Watson at IBM, demonstrated some of the techniques his team is working on using a small humanoid robot. The robot, a Nao model from the company Alderbaran, spoke with  ...  "

Informed Estimation as Common Sense

Infoq:  A good article on techniques of estimation.  With a number of good examples.  I have found that many people who work with numbers have developed their own methods of estimating values, often because they quickly discover that you don't have all the numbers you need, and  need to check results you are getting.  It is a kind of numbers driven common sense.   It drives looking for more or better data to use.

Technology Autonomy

Had not heard the term before, but it relates to how strongly an IT department can act as a gatekeeper to software, in this new era of 'Bring Your Own' tools.    The proposal that it enhances business performance.  The implications.

" ... Since computers first emerged in the workplace, IT departments have been known as gatekeepers … and, in less positive terms, the "Department of No." But a number of factors—including cloud computing, BYOD and the consumerization of IT—are radically redefining and reshaping the technology landscape. According to a new report, "Freedom to Choose: What Technology Autonomy Means for Business," most CIOs and other senior IT leaders now believe that providing greater freedom to business units to select and acquire the devices and applications of their choice will improve business performance... " 

This piece is delivered in the infographic slide show form, which I have grown to dislike. Very hard to quickly scan information this way.  I avoid the format when I can.

Dislike in Retail

What does a dislike button mean in retail?
Facebook indicated last week it was close to testing a "dislike" button, or at least one that expresses empathy, to sit alongside its thumbs-up "like" button, promising both benefits and risks for retailers. Would the arrival of a dislike button on Facebook be a net positive or negative for retailers and brands?  .... "

And further, a look into the value of a 'dislike'.  Depends on the context.  A better understanding of embedded emotional reaction?  Good piece with a number of interesting connections.    

Responsive Design

Was unaware of the precise definition of responsive design, but OK, worth thinking about:

10 Ways Responsive Design is Critical to the Customer Experience
by Melissa Thompson   

Responsive web design is defined as an approach to designing websites that remain constant across different devices used. Using responsive design is something you should consider if you are looking to improve your customer’s online experience. Whether you are building a website for your business or looking to improve an existing one, here are 10 ways in which responsive web design is critical to your customer experience .... " 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Digital Sampling Analytics

Good idea.  I recall some ideas like this being mocked up, this formalizes the capability. I would want to take it further into an IOT dimension.

Startup takes product sampling into the digital age 
Two-year-old company Sampler was founded to help brands target and measure the distribution of product samples. The company, which was selected by Mondelez to participate in the Shopper Futures program, provides CPG companies with a management and analytics platform that takes traditional samples into the digital age with branded social sampling applications that give brands insights into their customers and allow them to continue to communicate with them, Sampler founder and CEO Marie Chevrier said  ... " 

Ubiquitous Voice Weekly

Just discovered, Ahmed Bouzid, @Didou publishes the Ubiquitous Voice Weekly: News on Voice Interfaces, from Siri to the Amazon Echo  Nicely done about a topic I am passionate about.   Following now as a resource.   Thanks Ahmed, stay on touch.

Global Competition for Profits

In McKinsey:   Having been part of a global enterprise, the dynamics of global profits have always been interesting.    A radical change in progress?

" .... The world’s biggest corporations have been riding a three-decade wave of profit growth, market expansion, and declining costs. Yet this unprecedented run may be coming to an end. Our new McKinsey Global Institute report, Playing to win: The new global competition for corporate profits, projects that the global corporate-profit pool, which currently stands at almost 10 percent of world GDP, could shrink to less than 8 percent by 2025—undoing in a single decade nearly all of the corporate gains achieved relative to the world economy during the past 30 years ... "  

Facial Neuromarketing Lab

Facial methods are expanding.  In PRWeb:  " .... G&R has recently opened a neuro-marketing research lab focused on facial electromyography (“fEMG”) and its applications in evaluating emotional response to advertising, websites, and product design. The lab is located in Pennington, NJ, midway between New York and Philadelphia. It is designed to help companies learn about neuro-physiological measurement and the strengths of using fEMG, try out equipment, conduct pilot studies, and commisssion full-service neuro-marketing research. The facility is also available for researchers interested in using the space and equipment to administer studies themselves.  .... " 

Google Improves Voice Search

Voice interaction continues to be of interest.  Another channel of interaction that can produce more personal engagement.  Accuracy is important.

In CWorld: Google said it has built a better neural network that is making its voice search work faster and better in noisy environments.

"We are happy to announce that our new acoustic models are now used for voice searches and commands in the Google app (on Android and iOS), and for dictation on Android devices," Google's Speech Team wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "In addition to requiring much lower computational resources, the new models are more accurate, robust to noise, and faster to respond to voice search queries." ... ' 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Critique of Big Data use in Retail

In Retailwire:  Interesting view of difficulties in how Big Data can be used in retail.    I like when it mentions that the data needs to be integrated well with decision process. Yes.   Large number of interesting comments as well.    " .... While retailers may be saying they are doing a better job of using personal data to reward customers for past behavior and to anticipate their future needs, it's not so clear to customers. What is your take on the advancements (or not) retailers are making in the use of data capture and analysis?  ... " 

Apple Research Kit

I watched the announcement of the Apple Researchkit with interest.  now:

52 Things About ResearchKit That Every Medical Researcher Should Know,  by Shyam Deval

The potential to change the face of Medical research. Apps to revolutionize medical studies and the power to transform medicine. As with any disruptive technology from Apple, the expectations from ResearchKit too have been many. .... " 

Dyson 2.0 Grows New Technology

In Fastcodesign:   Quite a detailed look at what James Dyson is and is trying to become.  Have followed him,  but knew little about where he was going.  (I see that my previous links to 'Dyson' at the tag are about the unrelated physicist Freeman Dyson and kin. I will leave that for now to demonstrate the complexity of textual knowledge)

" .... Sir James Dyson is transforming his powerhouse vacuum brand into what some of his employees call Dyson 2.0: a full-on high-tech hardware manufacturer. The investment has been substantial. The company has brought in hundreds of software and hardware specialists and tripled the size of its engineering staff. Dyson spends $2.5 million in R&D every week, and has invested $8 million on cutting-edge robotics research and another $15 million in the solid-state battery company Sakti3. ..."

Shareology: Why we Share and How We Can do it Better

Reading Bryan Kramer's new book  Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy. Addresses sharing among humans in general, and also why I run a blog and am interested in what I do.  So far a very good and surprisingly up to date book.   It maps some of my own experiences.  Will review further when I complete it.

Beyond Technology Efficiency

Efficiency should give you more time to do the things that you want.   But in practice humans and their managers and organizations often see this as a means to fit more things in.  The measures used and the rewards included are often ill defined and well integrated into our own heads.  So how can we make sure that technology helps us, rather than ensnare us?

Technology Should Be About More than Efficiency
by John Hagel III
" ... The very same technology that is generating this mounting performance pressure also provides us with the platforms and tools to re-awaken our imagination and overcome the cognitive biases that keep us confined within the practices of the past.  ... "

Launching Products

Useful rules for launching products.  Brenden Mulligan provides insight.  ".... In this exclusive interview, Mulligan shares five rules for startups releasing new products. A well-designed launch includes everything from messaging to metrics and press relations to marketing hooks. Every launch is a leap, but Mulligan’s tips will give your products the best lift. .... "  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Expertise and Implementation Bias

Good topics for expertise delivery, how does expertise bend to implementation news?

Blinded by Experience: Prior Experience, Negative News and Belief Updating
by Bradley R. Staats, KC Diwas & Francesca Gino

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY — Theoretical models in operations management assume that decision makers update their beliefs as new information emerges. This paper investigates this process in the field and the lab. Findings show that although individuals do respond to negative news, the rate at which they do so is influenced by their own experience, peers’ experience, and their interaction. Addressing these biases is important for everyday decision makers and operating managers involved in system design as well as for scholars in the development of analytical models. ...  " 

A Security Foundation for the Internet of Things

 The IOTSF: 

" ... Our mission is to make the Internet of Things secure, to aid its adoption and maximise its benefits.  To do this we will promote knowledge and clear best practice in excellent, appropriate security to those who specify, make and use IoT products and systems.

About the IoTSF

The IoT Security Foundation has been established to respond to the myriad of challenges and concerns over security:

It is a non-profit organisation dedicated to driving security excellence.
It is a collaborative, vendor-neutral, international initiative which aspires to be the expert resource for sharing knowledge, best practice and advice.
It is an interactive resource led by an executive steering board.
It has an on-going programme designed to propagate good security practice, increase adopter knowledge and raise user confidence.   .... " 

Talking to the IOT

Intriguing thinking about what a conversation means.  It is not only about context, but building sets of information based on previous questions, answers and reactions.  Expectations about interaction, correctness, trust and risk and even assumed relationships.

In O'Reilly:   " ... When our stuff speaks to us, we exchange more than ideas. We're in the midst of a significant shift in voice and conversation technology, and it's starting to be used in interesting and unexpected ways. ...  "

Visual Management of Knowledge Work

In the HBR:   Non technical solutions for tracking and improving solutions that manage the use of knowledge.   A rare exploration these days.     I don't think you could get a investment for these systems, but they still can be useful.

Metro Group Accelerators

One of the largest global retailers, Metro Group,  pushes innovation via technical accelerators.

" .... The METRO Techstars Accelerator moves into its hot phase: after expiry of the application phase for interested companies at the beginning of August, the task now is to select the participants. Several hundred companies from 20 countries have submitted their application for the Techstars METRO Accelerator. ....  

"The digital transformation pervades all aspects of life and businesses. With the help of digital innovations we want to make our customers in the hospitality segment even more successful", says Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG, describing the goal of the Techstars METRO Accelerator. "We have noticed that our customers are presently only using digital solutions to a very limited extent, either because they are not yet available in this form or because our customers are not familiar with them. With the Accelerator, we want to offer our customers a true value added in this field and help them with digital solutions to be even more successful." During a three-month application period, international start-up teams working on digital solutions in the hospitality and food sector had the opportunity to apply for the Techstars METRO Accelerator. Several hundred applications of start-ups from 20 countries were received-among them also the US, Canada, India, Australia and Israel ... "

Gaining Visual Insights

A favorite topic we worked in a number of contexts for years.  In one case analyzing and reapplying advertising copy.  In another tagging consumer photos for ad applications.   This is also an area where Google has spent much machine learning effort.  Look forward to see how well this works.

In CWorld: " .... A new API called Visual Insights can analyze your images and videos on social networks .... IBM is adding new smarts to its Watson artificial intelligence system, including the ability to scour photos on social networks to see what you've been up to.  .... " 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Watson Ecosystem Talk Tomorrow

This is of general interest, I am attending and will post afterwards.  Join us.  This gets to the crux of what Watson really is today, and how to use it.

(Update) Here are the slides for judging technical complexity.

 " .... Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series call this week Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 10:30pm ET (7:30am PT).  Our scheduled speaker is Morgan Timpson, from IBM,  who will be presenting "The Watson Ecosystem."    I hope you will join the call. 

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

Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call.  .... "

Accenture Leverages Splunk

Good example of how and why a major consultancy Accenture leverages Splunk.   Once again operational and real time problems and analytical results are emphasized.   Video.

Future of Excel in Business Intelligence

Via Paulina Gibson from Investintech:

" .... An interview with 27 Excel experts, where they talk about the future of Excel in Business Intelligence. ... "    Some good thoughts here.    Every enterprise uses Excel, so you can't ignore it as an existing consolidation place for data in the enterprise.  So also a place where business intelligence will live.   It will take some time to evolve away from this situation.   And effort's like Microsoft's Power BI will further slow the change.

(Update) I have added the comments on the interviews of my Excel Expert, Walter Riker below:

Splunk Conference

Reports from the ongoing Splunk conference, describe experiences by business and its use for analytics and data visualization.  I was introduced to it a few years ago and impressed with how it could be used at a number of different levels, from interactive data exploration, to system development.  I like their emphasis on operational intelligence, bringing the results back to real business decisions:

Splunk writes:  " ... We see data—everywhere. Splunk® offers the leading platform for Operational Intelligence. It enables the curious to look closely at what others ignore—machine data—and find what others never see: insights that can help make your company more productive, profitable, competitive and secure. What can you do with Splunk? ... 

Authentic Storytelling

An interesting blog: 

Everyone has a story!
Christoph Trappe is a content and digital branding strategist based in the United States. He has spoken at conferences around the globe, is a member of the Internet Marketing Association's International Executive Council and has been a nonprofit executive and career storyteller. He's a Top 100 content marketing influencer and top healthcare social media influencer. Read his blog below.  ... "

Lowes Innovation Lab uses VR

Increasing use of VR in innovation.   The capabilities have yet to be mainstreamed.

 " ... Lowe’s Innovation Labs (LIL), the innovation hub of Lowe’s Companies Inc has announced its expanding its network into Bangalore, India by launching a startup accelerator program focused on developing technologies including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), 3D scanning and printing, and robotics.

LIL-Bangalore will be creating an intensive 16-week accelerator program for the startups, after which they will have the opportunity to partner with LIL to deploy their technology in the US. ... " 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Virtual Safari Storytelling in Jungle Jims

The question and piece below made me think of two things.  One,  the relationship to storytelling and the ability to do that in a virtual or video environment.    Second the unique Jungle Jim's grocery store in nearby Fairfield Ohio, which we visit weekly.

It was also a place I often took visitors from Europe, China and Japan when they came to our innovation center.   We have been going there for two decades.

And while I love what they have done,  always thought they could take the storytelling metaphor a bit further.  But perhaps that could be best done economically by doing it virtually?   Struck me once while watching manager Jim roaming on his Segway in tan uniform and pith helmet.

Why can't retailers enable us to go on a virtual 'safari' in their stores? 
Google has sent their cameras to Kenya's Samburu National Reserve to enable online browsers to experience a virtual "safari" from their computer via Street View. Why can't retailers create the same experience for their stores?    .... " 

Internet of Things Architecture

Brought to my attention.  Thingworx.   Presentation today was a useful introduction to IOT Edge architectures, models, security and design decisions.   My interest is the interaction of analytics with the IOT edge data.    Nicely done talk, will the first of a series from O'Reilly, worth following.

Slides here.

 " ... The model-based design and search-based intelligence of the ThingWorx IoT Platform simplifies application development efforts by minimizing cost and risk while accelerating time to market. The platform also combines the key functionality of Web 2.0, search, and social collaboration, and applies it to the world of “things”, including connected products, machines, sensors, systems, and industrial equipment.

Businesses use the ThingWorx platform to rapidly deliver innovative applications and connected solutions across markets ranging from manufacturing, energy and food, to Machine-to-Machine (M2M) remote monitoring and service, as well as in emerging Internet of Things applications, including smart cities, smart grid, smart agriculture, and transportation. Learn more about the ThingWorx IoT Platform. ... "

Kaizen Meets Hitachi AI for Workflow Productivity

Via Conor Cusack:  Quite an interesting application direction:

Hitachi puts AI Boss in Charge to Boost Productivity By David Nield
Forget about robots taking over your job — they might be more likely to take over the role of your boss and get you working smarter. Hitachi has been experimenting with software systems that can issue workflows and assign employee duties, and so far there’s been an 8 percent increase in warehouse efficiency and productivity.

According to Hitachi, the new programs are designed to assess fluctuations in demand and productivity levels based on a large database of previous corporate activity. The main benefits over previous automated systems are the way in which the new AI is able to adapt in real time to changes in workflow and unexpected activities — variations that would typically require new code to be added. .... " 

I wrote:  Impressive.  Hitachi talked to us back then. Note mention of Kaizen continuous improvement. Good starting point for cognitive.   I have lots of questions, am looking for more in depth write ups.    Looks like a classic workflow optimization, the kind that was done with flow process models in the past.  Now in real time? Adaptive interactions to changing data?   Dealing with modeling related changeover processes?   Actually managing workers directly?   Which cognitive methods?  While virtual assistants are very interesting,  an AI application of the style of the Hitachi case would be more readily sold to an enterprise, since it can be directly compared to current business process practice.   Impressions?  .....   Continuing Linkedin discussion.

Autonomous Drones Build Bridge

In the Verge:   Video.  Fascinating example.  Particularly interested in the autonomy of such experiments, which relates to other swarming experiments.  The future of this?  Probably more in sensory/observation than construction, at least for now.

Bloomberg Marketing Analytics Tool

In Adage:  Interesting play.  I do wonder about the overall objectivity that is involved.  But a directed marketing mix play is intriguing.    Dueling tools among multiple advertising venues?   What other value propositions could a tailored analytical tool provide?  Integrated forecasting methods that include context expertise?  Cognitive wrapping to learn value drivers?   " ... Bloomberg Launches Marketing Analytics Tool ..... Application Allows Advertisers To Optimize Investments In Group's Properties .... "   

Potential of Virtual Reality

Insightful piece, In ReadwriteWeb: " .... Virtual Reality Meets Actual Reality: Why VR Is Harder Than You Think .... HTC, Sony and Felix and Paul Studios discuss the potential and challenges of VR. ... " 

ACM E-Book Learning Center

I was reminded that the ACM, which I have been a member of for many years, has a learning center that contains hundreds of free to read e-books for members.   Always expanding,  easy to use for reference.  I also contribute items to their blogs, which I often cross post here.   A great privilege of membership.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walgreens to Promote Behavior with Wearables

In  Evan Schuman's column in Computer World.  Contains an interesting detailed analysis of behavior.

" ... Walgreens wants to use wearables to give instant discounts for exercising  ... Walgreens will track the level of exercise and issue automatic credits when customers check out. .... "

A kind of gamification?  With real dollar rewards?   How could this be further designed to include more game dynamics?

Junk Charts: Data Visualizations Reviewed

Recently connected with Kaiser Fung,   Who writes the famous Junk Charts Blog that I have often mentioned here.  I had read about bad visualizing years ago in books like:  How to Lie with Statistics, But never saw a source that systematically looked at criticizing and improving current data visualization.  Kaiser brought that home to me.  Taught me many things.  Thanks Kaiser!

Here is his blog intro:  (Go to the link for details)

Junk Charts is made by Kaiser Fung, the Web’s first data visualization critic. I discuss what makes graphics work, and how to make them better. Think chartjunk + junk art.

Here is my first post from nine years ago. These are the posts with the most (clicks): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. There are some things I say over and over again: the Trifecta Checkup, the self-sufficiency test, bumps charts, small multiples, the power of aggregation. I carefully tag all posts with topics so clicking on map shows all posts about maps. A list of topics is on the right column. Here is a call for more dataviz criticism. ... 

Here is my other blog, about statistics and Big Data. Here is my twitter feed, aggregating both blogs. If you prefer RSS, there's one feed for Junk Charts, and one for Big Data Plainly Spoken.  .... " 

See also his recent book:  Numbersense, which I read this year.  Great stuff for anyone that deals with numbers.

Eyeliner Connecting to the Internet

In SiliconAngle:  "  ... When eyeliner connects to the Internet: L’Oreal hints at IoT plans  ... "    An unusual connection to the Internet of Things.  How broadly will we see commonly used products being connected?   How will this influence how products are purchased or used?

These Glasses Foil Facial Recognition

In the CACM:   We discovered this effect in a retail test.  Here the development of a set of glasses that will hide your identity.   Reminds me of other cases in the 70s where it was discovered that putting simple changes in a face, like adding a mole or band aid could significantly disturb human facial recognition.

Cisco's New Headquarters

In our innovation collaboration with Cisco we visited their HQ many times.  It has now been rebuilt.   Much more about their facility.  " ... I want Cisco to be viewed as having the most innovative employee experience in technology or in corporate America - Chuck Robbins .... " 

Designing for All Senses

In FastcoDesign:
" .. Our perceptions of the world are built on multiple senses. They interact to help us make sense of our surroundings, so a car will seem to be traveling faster if it makes a lot of noise. And whether we want to buy a sports car, or a vacuum cleaner, it’s our multi-sensory impression of a product or service that dictates how we feel about it. And why companies need to learn the skills to design for all five senses.

 Is Multi Sensorial Design a New Approach?
The concept of multi-sensory design has existed for more than a decade. But want I address the idea of multi-sensory design as it applies to brands. I believe that applying multi-sensory design to all the touchpoints (moments of contact with a user) allows a product or service to produce a more complete, and ultimately better brand experience.  ..... " 

Eye Tracking Study of Product Similarity on Brand Location and Recognition.

Of retail interest from a recent conference:  " ... Para-Sight: A visual search study into the effects of product similarity on brand location and recognition.   by Tim Holmes  ... ".    Good to see this kind experimental research being done with eye tracking.  Now how to effectively apply it.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Quantum Physics and Decision Making

A very broad metaphor based on famous quantum thought experiments.  But still an intriguing idea.   Pointers to some related work by Kahneman and others.  " ... This new theory is still in its infancy, but this type of thinking may lead to better understanding of how we make decisions. It provides a new framework in which previous, sometimes contradictory, theories can live (in superposition?) simultaneously. .... "  

Tablets and Kids

Quite a long piece in Ars Technica on research regarding the value of early childhood experience with tablets.   I am still old school.   Books, laptops, visual media and tablets should be in everyone's training and grasp.   Too easy to get hung up in the most convenient.

" .... The iPad and your kid—digital daycare, empowering educator, or something bad? .... Researchers want to find out, but the subject (and related science) is complicated.  .... " 

MedRespond Simulating Dialog

Simulation of dialog is interesting ....

" .... We combine artificial intelligence, search and streaming media to create communication programs that simulate personal and relevant dialogue between patient/customer and health care professionals.

Health care instructions are complicated and difficult to follow. Website FAQ’s rarely hit the mark. And let’s not get started on the maze of 800-number options that make getting information frustrating – if not impossible.

MedRespond believes that relevant, timely information – delivered in a personal, interactive and cost-effective manner – is a priority for those health care enterprises seeking to optimize patient and consumer care. That’s why health care enterprises – ranging from pharmaceutical companies to managed care organizations to retailers – use MedRespond products to manage communication while optimizing patient care and satisfaction. ... " 

On the Mess of Unstructured Analytics

Dealing with the mess.  Agree that this should not be.  But we have more different kinds of unstructured data today than we ever had.  In face we dealt with it since the content analytics days.   Some very good points are made here.  But I warn that organizational changes are harder to make than statistical choices.

"   .... There’s a reason for this: Because the data is poorly managed to begin with. Businesses are treating analytics as a separate business function from data governance, when it’s actually fundamentally dependent on it. Analysis occurs downstream; so by neglecting initial information governance infrastructure and practices, the enterprise is essentially sampling tiny random buckets of data from a whitewater river of information.

Many firms struggle to manage or even understand what sort of unstructured content they even have, let alone begin to effectively manage it. History is partially to blame, to be sure; most attempts at managing unstructured content were hastily prompted by waves of regulatory and legal reform that demanded immediate action. A reactive response was triggered, and many of those initial “band-aid” information management fixes remain in place today. Simply scratching beneath the surface often reveals a tangled mess of siloed    .... " 

Working on the Edge of the Internet of Things

Heard 'the edge' being used more recently.   And now we can architect what we want there and how it communicates.    Set standards that will be useful in many contexts.  Provide environments useful for our analytic needs.    Make sure appropriate metadata for the edge is captured.   Attending the following webcast:

Life on “The Edge” of the IoT    Webcast Tuesday, September 22, 2015  
It's inevitable that the Internet of Things is rapidly changing the way products and services function across the enterprise. But have you dug down into the details yet, to understand how these things are actually connected? All of the communication between a product, the cloud, and you is made possible by "The Edge" — this is where your things are!

Sensors, actuators, controllers, agents, and communication form the edge and enable you to obtain real-time information from your products and services. This live webcast will help you to gain a clear understanding of how information is gathered from devices and communicated to the cloud and to you. ..... " 

Data Science Glossary

Data Science Glossary. Not a bad idea in an area you are new to, or even not that new to, as new ideas arrive.  Am about to look at some of the definitions.  My criteria have always been:  Can a non technical exec understand this?  Is it stated well for a particular business context?  For a particular enterprise's usage? It is it practically up to date, or does it imply too much capability today?

Glossary run by:   Bob DuCharme is the author of O'Reilly's Learning SPARQL and several other books, as well as a solution architect for TopQuadrant, the leading provider of software and solutions for modeling, developing and deploying semantic web applications.   Bob's blog.   Twitter: @bobdc  ... " 

Also see:  Free data science books. In DSC.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

More Assistants: IPSoft, Amelia and AI

Chetan Dube - CEO and president, IPsoft
" ... For Chetan Dube, the dream of true artificial intelligence—a machine or program that does not simply regurgitate data but can instead interpret the myriad nuances of human speech and logic and respond in kind in real time—has been more of a false promise than a reality. Dube and his colleagues at IPsoft intend to change that with what they have dubbed the first “cognitive agent.” The platform’s name is Amelia and, according to Dube, she (the feminine pronoun is constantly invoked) represents a huge step toward a program that does not merely mimic human intelligence, but interprets a speaker’s intent and then solves problems much like a human assistant might—only much, much faster. ... " 

IPsoft and Amelia

More Assistant Discussion at the CSIG Linkedin site

Contract Guardian Updates

My friends at Contract Guardian continue to meet the challenge of compliance in complex contractual and regulatory agreements.  Favorite topics of mine.  Check them out.

" .... We have released a few new features in Contract Guardian.  I thought you would be interested in some of these new items.  If you want to see any of these in action, just let me know. . .  " John Reuter

Shell Oil Using Analytics

How Shell Uses Analytics To Drive Business Success 
By Bernard Marr  in DSC

The oil and gas industries are facing major challenges - the costs of extraction are rising and the turbulent state of international politics adds to the difficulties of exploration and drilling for new reserves.

In the face of big problems, its key players are turning to Big Data in the hope of finding innovative solutions to these pressing issues.

Big Data is the name used to describe the theory and practice of applying advanced computer analysis to the ever-growing amount of digital information that we can collect and store from the world around us. Over the last few years businesses in every industry have enthusiastically developed data-led strategies for overcoming problems and solving challenges, and the oil and gas industries are no different.  ... " 

Philosopher looks at AI

Will Artificial Intelligence Surpass Our Own?
In Sciam: A philosopher worries about computers’ ever accelerating abilities to outpace human skills Sums it up quite well.  via Spohrer.

Practical Bayesianism

This was hotly debated in a stat course way back when.   Latter part of this post is very technical, but the introduction is useful regardless.  Practical view of the topic.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Product Lifecycle Management Industry Newsletter

I won't always pass these along, but just had to refer to the September PLM Industry Newsletter.  Interesting topics are covered in an capability we used in the enterprise.
" ... CIMdata is the leading independent global strategic management consulting and research authority focused exclusively on the PLM market. We are dedicated to maximizing our clients' ability to design and deliver innovative products and services through the application of PLM.  ... " 

IBM Acquires Strongloop for Digital Transformations

What is unclear here is how closely the processes in the enterprise are being modeled as part of such an effort.   Had always thought such modeling would be the ideal way to re-engineer an enterprise.  The reaction to that was that the modeling part was too complex, and not needed.   Had not heard of StrongLoop.

TheIsvHub: " ... The team at StrongLoop, Inc. helps companies succeed in connecting mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and next-generation web applications with enterprise data and services in a hybrid cloud environment. Today, IBM announced that it acquired StrongLoop to help you accelerate your digital transformation. .... " 

CEOs Who Return. Seeking the Triumphant

In the New Yorker, featuring CEO  A.G. Lafley of Procter & Gamble.   A common discussion these days in former employee groups.

" ... How could someone who, according to Fortune, was known as “an all-time C.E.O. hero” end up being just O.K.? Well, if commentators had looked at the track record of returning C.E.O.s—boomerang C.E.O.s, as they’re sometimes called—that’s precisely what they’d have predicted. A 2014 study found that profitability at companies run by boomerang C.E.O.s fell slightly, and an earlier study detected no significant difference in long-term performance between firms that reappointed a former C.E.O. and ones that hired someone new. We like triumphant comeback narratives—Jobs and, to a lesser extent, Howard Schultz, at Starbucks. But history tells us that Lafley’s rather ordinary second tour of duty is the way most of these stories end. ... " 

Apple Store designed by Apple Designer

In Nextweb: First Apple retail store designed by their design head Jony Ive shows a future retail direction.  This looks a bit stark and colorless.   Is this the future of physical retail?  If anything most retail today tends to design very lush, colorful and over stocked.

Mapmaking Tool

Maps are a favorite obsession.  A new way to make and play with them.  You can start free.  Mapbox is  nicely described in Wired.      " .... New web-based software from Mapbox aims to help. The DC and San Francisco-based company has been working for more than a year to overhaul its Mapbox Studio software. Its intended audience is developers and “super powerful high-end cartographers,” says CEO Eric Gundersen. But you don’t have to belong to some elite cartographic strike force to use it. It has a graphic interface that’s fairly easy to navigate, especially for people familiar with programs like Illustrator or Photoshop. The idea, Gundersen says, was to create a powerful mapmaking tool for the pros that’s also accessible for the mapmaking masses .... " 

Interruption Still Works

In Adage:
Forget Disruption, Just Get Better at Interruption
" ... 'Pull' advertising is fine and all, but if you want to actually sell something, get better at your 'push' game.  ... It Might Not Be Trendy, but Old-Fashioned Advertising -- Done Right -- Still Works ... " 

More Amazon Dash

Is Amazon Dash a part of the IOT?  Just one small connection between ordering people and the system.   A sensor to determine lack of a product.  But consider also the data being connected.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Managing Improvement Knowledge with Concept Maps

Colleague Brian Moon reports an update in Perigean Technologies capabilities statement.  They use concept mapping among other methods, to accelerate improvement through ....

" .... Knowledge Elicitation
   We help experts articulate what they know so that their expertise can accelerate improvement across an organization.
   We provide services and training in Knowledge Elicitation. 

        Expertise Management
  We help identify, articulate, and represent domain expertise so that organizations can preserve and
transfer it.
  We provide services and training in Expertise Management.    ....  "

They worked with us at Procter & Gamble many times, among other clients,  using Concept Mapping.

See their complete capability overview here.

Exemplary group.  See the tag link below for past mentions of Perigean.

Brian Moon
Chief Technology Officer
Perigean Technologies LLC
P: 540.414.6710
C: 540.429.8126
Skype: perigean
Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA

Smarter Roomba for the Home

We followed iRobot's work for years, since we were fundamentally interested in how consumers did housework, and if we could participate in that journey.   Could we provide consumables?  Say for the Roomba's Scooba brother?   They were featured in our smart homes and innovation efforts.  That led me to look more closely at 'consumer robotics' worldwide.  Still no major breakthrough in home friendly robot butlers or house cleaners, but at least the Roomba is getting smarter.  But what does that mean?  Will they be able to climb up and do windows or ceilings or dishes anytime soon? Roomba has an App now.  How will it integrate with the Smart Home IOT?

" ... Sure, it's very expensive, but that's par for the course for most new Roombas. What's most intriguing about the Roomba 980 is how it fundamentally changes the way robotic vacuums work. Ideally, all of its sensors means you won't have to run around the house clearing your floors of obstacles, or sweep up any stray dirt that Roomba may have missed. And if it's too rich for your blood, take solace in the fact that it may drive down the price of the brushless Roomba 880, as well as older models ... " 

Machine Learning to Automate Clinical Pathways

Professor David Sontag from NYU,  presented "Using Machine Learning to Automate Clinical Pathways."      Very interesting and seemingly very practical effort.  See their site here.  Open source software.  Talk slides here.

Linkedin Discussion

" ... Please find the schedule of presenters here for the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).

Cognitive Compass for Neurodiversity

Just had some conversations with Madelaine Sayko, of Cognitive Compass, who is exploring some of the same problems we did in the enterprise.    Nice direction.

" .... We at Cognitive Compass believe in the value and potential of neurodiversity. It is our commitment to advocate for the successful inclusion of neurodiverse people into the workplace. Our approach incorporates the concepts of self-determination, and equal legitimacy, as is already applied to other disabilities, in order to support employment and community re-integration. It is our strongest belief that neurodiverse individuals bring skills, productivity, and innovation to the workforce that are a benefit to all.  ... Our company provides services that support the employment of people with invisible disabilities, including people with neurodivergent thinking styles. ... ?" 

Algorithm Economy for Data Analytics

Interesting thoughts, At the end of the day an algorithm is a way to concisely encode a better decision process,  it needs to come from some analytical method based on data and testing.   As I have always said,  Big Data methods include analytics of many kinds.    That's why I don't like the BD term itself, its data analytics, used under many kinds of differing data conditions, to get you a better decision.   That decision method is an algorithm.   The economy part says the value of the algorithm has to be measured and competes appropriately

Gartner, Inc.   by Peter Sondergaard
" ... Big data is the oil of the 21st century. But for all of its value, data is inherently dumb. It doesn’t actually do anything unless you know how to use it. Oil is useless thick goop until it’s refined into fuel. Big data’s version of refined fuel – proprietary algorithms that solve specific problems that translate into actions – will be the secret sauce of successful organizations in the future. The next digital gold rush will be focused on how you do something with data, not just what you do with it. This is the promise of the algorithm economy. ... " 

A View of the Future via Cisco

What future do you see? by Rowan Trollope .... 
" ... I see a bright future where technology makes the world a better place, particularly when it comes to the way we communicate. Augmented reality, complete with deep learning and artificial and machine intelligence, is a future state I want to live in. ... " 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Trend of Embedding Beacons in Physical Architectures

Mention in O'Reilly conference today.  That we are starting to see beacons embedded into building fixtures like lights and power sockets.     Also in wearables.  This could result in more easily implementing beacon proximity applications. in smart home and stores.  

Related Slides.
Website: http://blog.seanosullivan.com/
Twitter: @sos100

Beacosystems: Beacons and their Uses and Architectures

Very nicely done, The slides here.  ....  and will likely write about,  interesting thoughts in the invite, thought I would pass along.  Beacosystem?   Not sure that term will prevail , but OK.

" ...... A tour of the Beacosystem: Proximity and the Beacon ecosystem
Background, trends and what's next in the world of Proximity and iBeacon
Wednesday, September 16, 2015  10:00am PT | Show Timezones...

Apple galvanised the whole area of Proximity-enabled applications and services when it launched iBeacon at WWDC in June 2013. When iOS7 launched later that year, it was the first time support for a variety of Proximity use cases was both designed-in and available at scale in a mobile platform. Since then, hundreds of companies have become involved in different ways in the iBeacon ecosystem - the "Beacosystem" - making hardware, offering proximity or iBeacon software platforms, creating shopper marketing platforms, using beacons to deliver signals in location analytics or mobile marketing solutions, enabling indoor location, and much more.

This webcast gives a tour of the Beacosystem, and will cover:
More and registration.

Proximity (vs Location)
The Beacon Approach: Bluetooth
Apple has iBeacon and Google has Physical Web?
Startups and Giants in the Beacosystem
Standalone versus Embedded
Issues and Hurdles
Resources: where to learn more
About Sean O Sullivan

Techie and entrepreneur with experience in software startups. Background in Mobile, Proximity, Wireless, and Middleware. Co-Founder Rococo Software/ LocalSocial and Dial2Do/mySay.

Website: http://blog.seanosullivan.com/ 
Twitter: @sos100

Social Needs a Dislike Button?

Wired does a good job of looking at the topic.  I wonder how the button will influence any resulting analytics,    Will it get more people to react at all, within the context of how they use Facebook?   I see this getting quite a bit of abuse.

Learning from Emergent Markets

In HBR:   At one level obvious, but useful cautions.    Especially about regulatory warnings, and connected risk.  " ... In a study we recently conducted of 150 North American and European-based companies with revenues over $1 billion, we found that along with growth, those investments can generate huge losses — more than $1 billion per responding company over the last five years. Those losses stemmed not from poor product, marketing, or supply chain decisions but from regulatory violations, loss of business and fines resulting from bribery and fraud, and concomitant reputational damage. .... " 

Framework to Manage Innovation

" .... ISSIP Service Innovation Weekly Speaker Series are Paul Mugge and Michelle L. Grainger from Center for Innovation Management Studies Poole College of Management; NC State University. They introduced CIMS and present “A Framework to Manage Innovation.”    

Slides for this presentation.

“the member talks” past presentations. 

NSF Service Systems Research

NSF funds smart, human-centered service systems research
Smart, human-centered service systems augment the abilities of people:
NSF adds $10M more in funding - to spur research in this very complex, transdisciplinary area:

" ... From transportation to healthcare, service systems make our lives easier and more productive on a daily basis. .... New technologies that learn from data are bringing intelligence to service systems, allowing them to center on people by incorporating individuals' feedback and input. These systems create more value through adaptive and individualized interactions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $10 million in such systems, supporting innovative new partnership projects to create service systems that are smart and human-centric. ... "

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Legal Definition of AI

A Legal definition of AI in Use?  Never used a formal definition,  Probably an evolving concept.  Related  concepts that did often come up were risk, liability and even public relations consequences of an AI driven decision.   Get legal involved.

Student Watson Projects from Georgia Tech

Prof. Ashok Goel (Georgia Tech) shared these fascinating student project videos from his cognitive-related course:

Team 2: Clayton Feustel, Nitin Vijayvargiya, Sanjana Oulkar, and Keith Frazer

Erasmus = Watson + AlChemy

Team 1: Brian Creeden, Abhinaya Shetty, Mithun Kumble, and Shanu Salunke



Team 3: Hans Bergren, Utkarsh Garg, Sridevi Koushik, and Bhavya Dwivedi


Team 4: Shweta Raje, Sasha Azad, Carl Saldanha, Aziz Somani


Team 5: Sriharsha Pothukuchi, Divya Vijayaraghavan, Parul Awasthy, and Sriya Sarathy


Team 6: Jordan Belknap, Tory Anderson, Will Hancock, and Bradley Sheneman


Light Transmitting Data

In CWorld.  Aka Li-Fi.   We looked at this for some specialized retail applications, it has been around for sometime.  It still does not transmit through walls or around corners.   But we all use lighting broadly.   Short non technical introductory piece.  " .... Yes, multiple tests have shown that LED lighting fixtures can transmit wireless data at very competitive high speeds. A commercial product started shipping several months ago. .... " 

A Surge of Digital Assistants

A discussion in the Cognitive Systems Institute group in Linkedin on the topic.  Most recently about Facebook's M.   Join us.   Assistants are a useful way to focus current AI/Cognitive capabilities selectively,  for scaling and augmentation of current skills.  and to start training the workforce in their use.    Posts in this blog on assistants.  See also their implications for flex working, tag below.

Computing: The Human Experience

Brought to my attention by Myra Snyder, nice idea.  Will connect further.   Agree with the point below that this has not been attempted before.   It is much more than just another film about Steve Jobs.  So many have contributed.

" .... Computing: The Human Experience is a transmedia project engaging audiences of all ages in the story of the technology that has changed our civilization. The story of computing is the story of humanity. This is a story of ambition, invention, creativity, vision, avarice, and serendipity, powered by a refusal to accept the limits of our bodies and our minds. Delivered as a five part series of one-hour episodes for broadcast, Computing will teach the essential science of computing, present the stories of the people, events, and inventions in the history of computing, examine the connections among computing, science, and society, and contemplate the future. No documentary project has yet covered this subject in such a scope or style. In the spirit of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Computing will inform, inspire, and entertain.

Computing has been in development for the past five years by IBM Fellow Grady Booch and his wife Jan, in collaboration with John Hollar, CEO of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. To guide our work, we have assembled an advisory board of luminaries including Vint Cerf, Tim O’Reilly, Dr. Mary Shaw, Dag Spicer and Martin Campbell-Kelly – the world’s leading historians on computing, and several others. We expect to deliver the broadcast series in the fall of 2015 or 2016. In addition, this project will deliver a series of books and ebooks, a set of apps, associated informational and social networking web sites, and educational materials. ..... ? 

See their site. 

Update on Fusion Research

Has long been an interest of mine.  Almost took a turn to physics for that reason, but it has been a full thirty years of government funded research with little to show.  Now some results moving forward, with indications that work is moving with private investors, a good sign.  An update in Tech review.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Discover, Access, Distill

Good piece, reasonable and useful way to look at it.   As long as you include  ... 'deliver' in the distill part.    I have too often seen big projects emerge and then assume that by demonstration the results would be well implemented.   Not often enough the case. The workers designated scientists should be involved from the beginning, through business implementation, and beyond,  to the what's next stage.

Google Funding the Automated Statistician

Fundamentally a very old idea.  But much maligned by statisticians.   Our own experiments in this area might be called semi-automated.  Were step by step, with close connections to key needs from business process definitions, and sometimes required check-offs by formally stat trained people.   Some similarities to efforts like Watson Analytics, which focuses to specific business contexts.   Cambridge-Google announcement from last year.  And a related site.   Specific project description. See also:  Automating the Data Scientist by William Vorhies in DSC.

Gamifying An Internet of Toothbrushes

I heard the general idea mentioned years ago.  Toothbrushes detecting how kids brush and gamifying the interaction to promote brushing.  Now Sonicare is taking it further.  Link the brush to the internet and make it a game.  With possible links to insurance?  To a network of Dentists?   In Adage.

Metro Group and Alibaba

Visited and analyzed methods of the German Metro Group AG retail chain.  In particular their innovation center in Germany. They are the seventh largest retailer on earth.

Evan Schuman analyzes their recent deal with Alibaba, with good cautions for retail:

" .... Last week, one of the world's largest retailers cut a deal with Alibaba, China's global e-commerce giant. German retail chain Metro Group will turn over its online operation in China to Alibaba. Unfortunately, this is becoming a familiar tale in e-tail, it just about never ends well.

This kind of alliance only makes sense when the retailer doesn't mind surrendering the territory involved forever. Alas, retailers generally use these kind of deals in the opposite way — for extremely important segments, assuming they can move in directly down the road, after their partner has done the dirty work for a while. Gee, what's wrong with this picture?   .... "

Analyzing Spoken Word Content

How Veritone's Cognitive Platform Analyzes Spoken-Word Content

The next frontier: How do you understand and act upon information that is not written? Veritone has an app for that.

What if somebody did for voice content what Google did for Web search, Salesforce did for CRM and SAS does with analytics—all at the same time?

Veritone is a startup with a rather daunting mission: It wants to record, store and analyze all the spoken words in all media. That's right. This means everything spoken in television, radio, online video, podcasts—you name it.

How can this be possible? Actually, while staying way under the radar until now, the young company has been developing this functionality for two years and already has customers using it.
Veritone Media, the advertising arm of the company, is doing the first commercial business for Veritone. Veritone Media is all about producing exact quantifications on the very inexact science of how media affects viewers/listeners/buyers and convinces them to do or buy something. .... " 

Obstacles to Digital Customer Care

In McKinsey:
Overcoming obstacles to digital customer care
Providing superior digital customer care, or e-care, can lower costs and increase customer satisfaction. Yet it’s easier said than done. ... " 

Agreeing on Collaboration

Makes much sense to agree ahead of time how you will collaborate.  In HBR:

" .... Most of us want to do a good job and work well together. But when individuals’ rules of conduct are unspoken, motives are often misinterpreted (“He’s just doing that because he always has to be right” or “She’s trying to hog the spotlight”).

Rules of conduct clarify how you’ll make decisions, keep everyone informed, run meetings, hold one another accountable, assess progress, and continually improve. The purpose of discussing your team’s rules isn’t to determine the one right way of running a team. It’s to agree on the one con­sistent way you’ll run this particular team..... "

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Retail Remodeling Spurts WiFi, 25 Years ago

Fascinating computer history piece.  A meeting that spurred the standards for Wifi.  See why standards are important?

In ComputerWorld:  " ... If you're reading this story over Wi-Fi, thank a department store designer. ....   It was retail remodeling that spurred NCR, a venerable cash-register company, to find out how it could use newly opened frequencies to link registers and mainframes without wires. Its customers wanted to stop drilling new holes in their marble floors for cabling every time they changed a store layout.  .... " 

Jet vs Amazon

Finally had a chance to look at the e-commerce sales venture Jet.    Heavily promoted. Well constructed.  Which makes a particular point of Amazon price comparisons. $50 a year membership, considerable savings claims.  Bundling and quantity savings offers.

Initial thought is that it will be difficult to get the critical mass of those that are already on Amazon, who can try Amazon's offerings. A much smaller number will go to Jet for just what it has to offer.

 Amazon can adjust prices to be competitive.  It also has supply chain scale.  See also  In Mashable.  Which has a good analysis of the effort.  Continuing to follow.

Security vs Quantum Computing

In CACM: How will security have to be improved at the approach of quantum computing?  Technical thoughts.

CartoDB Expanding Tools

Recall using some visualzations developed with CartoDB.   Easy to use.   Now there are many more credible competitors in the GEO visualization space.   About constructing value from location. In GigaOM.  " ... CartoDB raises $23M to expand its data visualization tools ... " 

Augmented Gaming. Linking Location and Wearable

Location expands beyond retail to gaming.  Wearable makes it always available.  New kinds of Augmentation.  Augmented gamification?

Pokémon GO app announced with GPS support and Fitbit-like wearable ...
"... The Pokémon Company has announced a new mobile game for iOS and Android called Pokémon GO, which will be a free app that will work in conjunction with GPS and a new wearable Pokémon device called Pokémon GO Plus.

“Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices,” the site for the new game says. “With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO will use real location information to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon.  ... " 

Commerce on CloudB2C Brand Experience

Brought to my attention:

" ... Your customers search more on smartphones but buy more on tablets. They also place orders online for pick up in store. The point is to be everywhere. IBM Commerce on Cloud lets you build a seamless brand experience across all channels. And helps you do that in minutes with no IT or technical skills.

With IBM Commerce on Cloud you can:
Get insight into what your customers are looking for, thinking or saying almost instantly.
Create continuous, cross-channel customer engagement, and personalize content on the fly.
Build and maintain digital stores, automate and seamlessly execute digital campaigns without IT or technical skills. . ... " 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How Will AI Work in the Real World?

The last AI winter essentially started with this point.  How will AI work in the messy and inconsistent real world?   It works well already in focused approaches to narrow context worlds.   Eric Schmidt of Alphabet (Google) on the topic in the BBC, With links to special reports on AI from the BBC.  Good non technical piece:

" ... Can we reduce the noise of modern life by giving you smarter filters on your emails, your social media feeds, your schedule - can we give you less spam and more time?  ... And how can we help scientists make sense of the overwhelming amount of data in genomics, energy and climate science? ... All those areas stand to benefit from smart, directed, thoughtful innovations in AI, which is why we need to keep thinking first and foremost about people's real needs, and the real world we all inhabit.   .... " 
He makes good points about complex domains, with well known problems of big and messy data flows.  But I suggest there are many mundane domains we have also not started to address.

Qualcomm Advanced Drone Systems

In Wired: How quickly this area of technology has been growing.  Social adaption and regulation are still far behind.    Technical details here.  " ... Now, Qualcomm is trying to become the default central nervous system for the next generation of drones, too. The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight puts a Snapdragon 801 SoC with a quad-core 2.26GHz processor, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, support for real-time flight control systems, a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver, 4K video processing, and support for speedy recharging onto a little board that’s the size of a business card. .... " 

Engineering Mindsets

A view of the book Applied Minds. by Guru Madhavan.   Here I would suggest that the engineering mindset has taken over vast realms of value over the last three decades. Yes, both scientific discovery and design methods are important components.  But at the end of the day engineering thinking makes it work and keeps it working.   Could it be applied?  It is being applied every day.

” Such a thought process could be applied to problems in our everyday lives, Jon writes, as “an organizing principle for personal or professional progress … Engineers translate the realm of ideas into practical reality; they not only make the world work, they make the world not break.”

Google Testing Grocery Delivery

More online retail infrastructure developments:

" ... Google Inc. will start testing a delivery service for fresh food and groceries in two U.S. cities later this year, stepping up competition with online retailer Amazon.com Inc. and startup Instacart Inc.
The trial will begin in San Francisco and another city, said Brian Elliott, general manager of Google Express, which already delivers merchandise, including dry foods, to customers. Whole Foods Market Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. will be among Google’s partners for the new service, he said.

"For a lot of our merchants that have been successful with this, we’re not representing the whole store today," Elliott said in an interview. "It’s in our incentive, as well as the merchant’s incentive, for us to help customers get the full store delivered to them."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tiniest Legos are Ready to Work for us

In CACM:    The robot moves slowly along its track, pausing regularly to reach out an arm that carefully scoops up a component.  ...  The tiniest Lego: a tale of nanoscale motors, rotors, switches and pumps ... Inspired by biology, chemists have created a cornucopia of molecular parts that act as switches, motors and ratchets. Now it is time to do something useful with them.    ... "   Full article pointed to in Nature.

P&G Control Tower for Holistic Optimization

In Forbes, by Steve Banker:  Further examination of the evolution of the Business Sphere.   The control tower metaphor is new to me, with an implication of more real time operations.  Interesting  numbers included.

" ..... They are looking for a “fully interconnected platform” that delivers “holistic optimization.”  If they can get to a “real-time instrumented supply chain,” P&G believes the upside is a 1-2% sales increase, 2-5% margin improvement, and 5-10% improvements in asset utilization.  (See Procter & Gamble Speaks at the 3PL Summit).

But what could a real-time instrumented supply chain actually be?  Some hints are starting to emerge. One thing it appears to mean is a cross functional control tower that exists in a “visually immersive data environment.”  P&G does not call it a control tower, they call it a Business Sphere. But if you read the description, and look at some pictures, it sure looks like a control tower environment. ... "