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Saturday, January 31, 2015

More on HoloLens Research

Another view.   The first practical, general purpose augmented reality systems?  Interested in the design and virtual prototyping applications being suggested.  What is the timing and cost of the technology?  Also, to what degree is the 3-D space modeling technology data available to other applications?  Useful to robotics  and navigation application as well.  Also thinking how this could be used in evaluating objects in space interaction and evaluation. Clearly a good example of Microsoft innovation.  Looking forward to seeing more and reporting on it here

Setting your CIO Free to Innovate

In Innovation Excellence:

“The CIO’s role is changing driven by cloud and an increasing number of ‘as a Service’ solutions that progressively reduce the organisations dependency on maintaining a high number of specially skilled ICT staff. Under these new conditions organisations have two options – they can make their technology managers, architects and administrators redundant and reap the short term rewards in an uptick in profits and share price or they can retain these highly skilled staff who sit at the intersection of the business and technology and create an impressive innovation team that adds considerably more value. ”

MIT ConceptNet5 Stores Knowledge

Via Jim Spohrer, some Notes from the recent AAAI meetings:

" .. I ran into Henry Lieberman (MIT) at AAAI15 conference on Artificial Intelligence/Robotics/CognitiveScience (AI/Robotics/CogSci). Henry suggested that I check out MIT's ConceptNet5

ConceptNet5 contains over 10 millions assertions (facts) about the world.  An example fact is "An apple is a fruit" ... Here are some fun facts about MIT's ConceptNet5: (1) over 10 million assertions (facts)  (2) over 7 million English assertions (facts) (3) 50 relationships (4) nearly 3 million English concepts  If you want to know more, check out my blog post here:
http://service-science.info/archives/3701    

Further .... ConceptNet includes Cyc's upper ontology and some items from DBpedia as well.    ... "  

Some of my response: I wrote more about our investigation of the Cyclopedia work here. 

Also for a while, Cycorp was posting snippets of knowledge on Twitter. Which I thought was a clever idea. But they have not done so since March 2013. More about that effort here, and a link to the tweets to date.  With IBM's collaboration with Twitter this might be an interesting effort to reexamine.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SAP Complex Event Processing

In Statupfocus: Brought to my attention by a colleague. who is working with SAP Hana.  This lays out the reasons for dealing with more and more complex events.

Sharing Data is Crucial

Something we knew for a long time.  This often also requires the expertise available to make the case that sharing data is valuable for both parties.  That alone is an interesting decision process.  Mapping it out is a great first step to move forward. Expertise is also useful to determine what other, third party or public data can be used to leverage the shared data.  To ultimately produce greater value and a more unified decision process. 

Publix exec: Sharing data is crucial for retailers, suppliers 
" .. Data sharing is key to collaboration between retailers and suppliers, but sometimes patience is necessary when data must be developed strategically, Publix Super Markets President Todd Jones said at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference. "The supplier information that we receive is extremely important...and I hope they would feel the same way about the information they receive from us," he said.  (May require free registration) ... "

Bayesian Networks as Expert Systems

Modeling causal reasoning is a favorite topic for me. Bayesia has posted another easy to understand demo of how a Bayesian network can be used to model a system of expertise.  Nicely done.  My former enterprise uses this methodology.  If how this fits into other expertise capture work is still confusing to you, this is a good place to start:

" ... Using a Bayesian Network as an Expert System ... 
The well-known "Visit Asia" example in this Quick Start Demo dates back to a seminal paper by Lauritzen and Spiegelhalter (1988). It describes how a Bayesian network can be used as an expert system for medical diagnosis. Visit Asia has been widely used in the literature to illustrate observational and causal inference in Bayesian networks. ... "

Bill Gates on Dangers of AI

In the Wash Post.  He makes some good points about the need for concern. He points to work by MS on personal agents.  And warns: " ... I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn't work out. ... " 

Working Ontologist

Had reason to go back and look at ontologies and semantic web solutions, first I had since 2008.  See the Working Ontologist site.  Thought not recently updated.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Driverless Cars and Traffic

Design and Efficiency.  Some simulation work seems to show that driverless cars would make traffic worse.  Early thought assumed that cars could travel closer together and thus decrease traffic. But cars could also be used as moving offices, increasing use?   Would like to see the assumptions behind this simulation.  It is likely that there would be other unintended consequences of the social changes involved.

Unified Decision Processes Driven with Data

At the Webinar today from Innovation Excellence by Julie Anixter on Big Data and New Product development,  Kobi Gershoni and Tom Davenport highlighted the work done over the years by Procter & Gamble in driving analytics towards operational big data, and by using their Business Sphere and Data Cockpit models.   These are ecosystems that provide a means towards a unified decision model.   Linking analytics ever more closely to the decision process.   Some excellent examples provided.   Slides and recording here.  Glad to have been a part of that analytics emphasis there over a number of years.  The alumni of that effort continue to drive this ahead.

(Updated:  See this startup, which is doing fundamental work about getting NPD data entered into the system and thus an excellent first step for a unified system )

Coke to Open Innovation Center at GA Tech

Coke and Ga Tech start Center in Atlanta. A favorite topic in these pages.  We established innovation centers starting in 2001.  As places to provide the infrastructure for innovation and link to our regional partners and the increasing amount of data involved.   Also there is increasing interest in emphasis on open innovation approaches.   Later we also looked at regional innovation links to university creativity.   These centers appear to be primarily software oriented. " ... The innovation center, which opens next month, will house about 20 software developers. CCE is attracted to Tech Square for access to Georgia Tech's students, faculty, research. "It's about tapping into Georgia Tech's ecosystem of innovation and people," ... " 

Crowdflower Crowdsourcing

I was asked to take a look at Crowdflower  in order to construct a database of HR data.  Previously we had used Mechanical Turk for a related need.   To provide a crowdsourced way to construct a derived database.   Background.   Comments on its use?

Older Style Prolog AI Still in Use

I just got a note from LPA. relating how their version of the declarative language Prolog is being used to power an Ebola trial in West Africa.  We used Prolog Style declarative languages to deliver successful expert systems in the enterprise.

"... MACRO made it easy to develop the database, data entry forms and validations while the Oxford team were finalizing the trial protocol, thus getting the trial data-ready within six weeks. InferMed efforts included a dramatic dash to Amsterdam by Oli Cram carrying MACRO configured Toughbooks that can withstand repeated sterilization, toensure they caught the connecting flight to West Africa. This version of MACRO uses LPA WIN-PROLOG. ... " 

Crowd Governance Using the Wikipedia

This upcoming talk is intriguing:

OBAIS Seminar SeriesOBAIS Seminar Series
Crowd Governance: The Monitoring Role of Wikipedia in the Financial Market.
Ms Weifang Wu. Phd Candidate at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Wednesday, Feb 4, 1:30-3:00 PM EST, 219 Carl H Lindner Hall
At the University of Cincinnati

Abstract:  In this study, we explore whether Wikipedia plays a governance role in the financial market by reducing the information disadvantage of individual investors. We hypothesize that the aggregation of information on Wikipedia enables individual investors to collectively monitor insiders and institutional investors.  Using the creation of a firm Wikipedia page as an information event, our empirical results support our hypothesis and further show that the governance effect is stronger for firms with higher institutional ownership concentration as well as those with more intensive insider trading activity.  Taken together, these findings support the view that Wikipedia helps mitigate the information asymmetry among individual investors, institutional investors and corporate insiders.

More info contact Uday Rao:  uday.rao@uc.edu

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Computing Now Startup Channel

A Channel, ok a blog, that includes posts and links about computing startups. Have followed the parent Computing Now magazine for years, always very well done.

" ... TV shows like Shark Tank, Project Startup, and Silicon Valley are evidence of an unprecedented wave of interest in entrepreneurship. Driven by crowdfunding, new forms of mentoring, and the ceaseless urge to innovate, startups are popping up everywhere. To hear from successful entrepreneurs, keep abreast of the latest startup news, and find out how to launch and grow a company, read some of the articles below or visit CN's new startup channel .... " 

DashDB Announced as Sandbox Solution

In particular,  presenting the sandbox idea for connecting analytics to data warehouses.  Analytics often requires the ability to test multiple methods and data sets.

Bluemix Announces dashDB is Now Open for Business
IBM dashDB™ continues to grow and improve. A data warehousing and analytics as a service offering, dashDB on the cloud is an easy solution for many different needs. As you build new Bluemix applications, add the dashDB service for fast, easy analytics. If your data warehouse is at capacity, dashDB lets you extend to a hybrid model using proven IBM in-database analytics technology as well as hyper-fast in-memory processing. And if you are a data scientist, dashDB makes an ideal sandbox to solve new analytics problems. ....  " 

Customization Nation with Services and Supply Chain

In Retailwire:   Thoughts about the meaning of services in retail.  Beyond the classic offering of a selection of products.  New changes in the relationship of retailer and manufacturer.  I like the idea that customers are building their own supply chains with the same customization idea.

" ... Supermarket operators are buying into the concept of customization, taking risks and challenging the old ways of doing business. The reward is a distinct uptick in relevance to the shopper.

"As retailers, we have the intimate relation with the shopper," said Bill Nasshan, executive vice president & chief merchandising officer at Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC. "But to become even better, we need to move from just asking the shopper, 'Did you find everything you needed' to 'You should try this product.'" ... ' 

" ... In a session presented by Anthony Flynn, CEO of YouBar and author of Custom Nation, the premise was that grocery retailing is an industry grounded in the delivery of mass produced goods through bricks and mortar locations. But technology now enables consumers to create their own customized supply chains and requires personalized products designed to meet particular needs. What impact will the rise of customization have on traditional and ecommerce retailing? ... " 

Metamind vs Watson

Useful piece in KDNuggets:   In recent conversations with decision makers in the enterprise, see they are always emphasizing the need for more technology as a service.  " ... MetaMind Competes with IBM Watson Analytics and Microsoft Azure Machine Learning ... While Microsoft and IBM rush to bring data science and visualization to the masses, MetaMind follows another path, offering deep learning as a service. .... " 

Changing Role of the CIO

The changing role.  But consider the role too of formulating and directing technical  innovation strategy  as it applies to the needs of the company.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reinventing Supply Chains

From Bain:  Reinventing.  Something we did every few years, and quite successfully.   Most recently just a few years ago.   Here are two public examples:  A Data visualization optimization aided simulation model, with gaming elements.   And an agent based simulation model.  The winning strategy was always to link analytical methods as closely as possible to the decisions involved.  Here an interview with Bain's Adam Borchert. on their take.

Brands Want Actionable Insight

In AdAge:  What we have said for a long time, and why we are still uncertain about the BigData term.  " ... Agencies: Does Your Data Pass the 'So-What' Test? ... ".  Also, I would add, analytics is the driving force to find insight.  But by analytics I mean not just complex (big) analytics, but whatever is needed to get insight.  That can be something as simple as visualizing your data and interacting with it to find value sweet spots.  

Data Science for the Masses

Paper by a colleague. Kirk Borne.  This is not just about Astronomy science data, but broadly applicable to science and industry.  Everyone needs to understand the implications of more and better data and analytics.

The Revolution in Astronomy Education: Data Science for the Masses
Kirk D. Borne (George Mason University), Suzanne Jacoby (LSST Corporation). Karen Carney (Adler Planetarium), Andy Connolly (University of Washington),Timothy Eastman (Wyle Information Systems),  M. Jordan Raddick (JHU/SDSS), J. A. Tyson (UC Davis), John Wallin (GMU)

Abstract:

As our capacity to study ever-expanding domains of our science has increased (including the time domain, non-electromagnetic phenomena, magnetized plasmas, and numerous sky surveys in multiple wavebands with broad spatial coverage and unprecedented depths), so have the horizons of our understanding of the Universe been similarly expanding. This expansion is coupled to the exponential data deluge from multiple sky surveys, which have grown from gigabytes into terabytes during the past decade, and will grow from terabytes into Petabytes (even hundreds of Petabytes) in the next decade. With this increased vastness of information, there is a growing gap between our awareness of that information and our understanding of it. Training the next generation in the fine art of deriving intelligent understanding from data is needed for the success of sciences, communities, projects, agencies, businesses, and economies.

This is true for both specialists (scientists) and non-specialists (everyone else: the public, educators and students, workforce). Specialists must learn and apply new data science research techniques in order to advance our understanding of the Universe. Non-specialists require information literacy skills as productive members of the 21st century workforce, integrating foundational skills for lifelong learning in a world increasingly dominated by data. We address the impact of the emerging discipline of data science on astronomy education within two contexts: formal education and lifelong learners. ...... "

High Speed 3D Microscope

In Kurzweil:   A microscope to take high speed 3D recordings of living things.  " ... A Columbia University scientist has developed a new microscope that can image freely moving living things in 3D at very high speeds — up to 100 times faster 3D imaging than laser-scanning confocal, two-photon, and light-sheet microscopy. ... " 

Content Engineering and AI

Short piece by Omri Astel made me think about how ad content can be engineered based upon the audience.  Early steps have been taken in this direction.  For example, with Watson User Modeling. See this Description/Documentation.    And also some demonstrations.   We experimented with similar methods in the late 80s, managing the interactions of our brand equity.  Based on those early experiences, considerable progress has been made, but not yet to the level of what we would call intelligence.

Smart Phones Altering Brains

In the BBC:   Based on EEG studies.     It is notable that this is a small N study:    " .. Study author Arko Ghosh, from the Institute of Neuroinformatics of the University of Zurich, said: "I was really surprised by the scale of the changes introduced by the use of smartphones."  ... He said the discovery underlines how commonplace smartphones have become in our daily lives. ... " 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ontologies of Jobs and their Related Tasks and Data


Last year I posted the text below.  Am now in the midst of working on an effort to  classify jobs and included tasks to determine how they can be linked to cognitive and data focused solutions.  Below I link to a very useful resource.   One additional resource would be a more specific and semantic ontology of jobs and task words in context.  Anyone point me to something like that?  ----

---- Have recently started to look at how expertise matches tasks that need to be done.  I have worked in this area in the enterprise  to attempt to optimize resource allocation.  I was pointed to a resource called O Net Online, which includes detailed job task and resource descriptions.  Here is the entry for 'Supply Chain Manager', which I studied in some detail.  While I would disagree with some of the entry, it is still a good place to start.  Generally would need to adapt to your situation anyway.

Further, in our new data intensive world, it is also necessary to add the specifics of data needed to do the work AND the data needed to feed any analytics needed to do the work effectively.   Also consider needs like  the data pattern understanding that might lead to better results.   Making those connections leads to better focus and results.   Also can lead to better tailoring of key advisory systems.

From the comments:
In case you haven't seen it, you may be interested in this paper, which uses the occupations database to forecast how many jobs are "vulnerable" to automation.  - David Schatsky
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf

EU Internet of Things Architecture Project

I was pointed to this site which reports on the completion of an EU project on IOT architecture.   I like its form.   Its first goal: " ... an architectural reference model for the interoperability of Internet-of-Things systems, outlining principles and guidelines for the technical design of its protocols, interfaces, and algorithms; ... " .  Can anyone point me to to related and up to date work in Europe or elsewhere I can reference for an ongoing study?

Platfora Solution

This Platfora solution was recently mentioned to me.  Examining.

" ... The only complete solution out there. Platfora is the only end-to-end software platform to run natively on Hadoop and provide raw data preparation, in-memory acceleration, and rich visualizations to better share insights. ... " 

Wrist Smart Marketing

In Retailwire:  In-store broadcasting to Smart Watches.  More from InMarket.  I see they are looking at the behavioral interaction between shopper and wearable.  We were also most concerned with what the shopper really wanted in such communications.   We looked at smart displays, cart based devices, smartphones and even wearables before they were feasible.

" ...    Working with Los Angeles-based startup InMarket, Marsh installed beacons across its 75 stores. Shoppers who use Marsh's mobile app or one of the apps in inMarket's numerous applications will be able to decide if they want to receive push notifications on their Watch (when it arrives in March) or smartphone when they enter the store. InMarket's apps include LisEase, Key Ring, Epicurious and CheckPoints. The company's beacon platform reaches 18 percent of all U.S. mobile users, per comScore.

Marsh decides which apps are triggered by the beacons and customers are able to choose which apps work. If approved, a shopping list may pop up for a customer when they enter the store. Shoppers may also be pinged with recipe suggestions or offers in aisles. InMarket believes the Watch is more suitable for messaging than the smartphone. ... " 

Can Big Data Give us Bionic Brains?

Deloitte Analytics report talks about "Bionic Brains"
Juha Hulkkonen,  Business Development Leader at IBM, writes:  "The So What" section in Deloitte Analytics report is good plain language discussion of how cognitive computing will impact any knowledge-intensive domain ... 

Internet of Things from Davos

Correspondent Shoumen Datta of MIT sends along his PDF presentation on the Internet of Systems from Davos.  Always an interesting and a strongly visual resource. Now emphasizing the systems aspects.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Herb Simon's Last Lecture

From the currently ongoing AAAI conference via Jim Spohrer.  On Herb Simon.  I was most interested in his work about systematizing decision making and AI, still very relevant in the new cognitive world.  Some discussion of Herb Simon's last public lecture.   Will follow up on that.   Also, a YouTube video of Herb Simon speaking.  Talked of engaging him, but never met him.

Microsoft Surface Hub

Saw a demonstration of this last week,  Microsoft Surface Hub, with the aim to make it useable from phones to large touch screens using the upcoming Windows 10.  Beyond conferences, can be used to deliver data directly to multiple decision makers that need process synchronization. Saw a presentation of this when it was being delivered by Perceptive Pixel.   And more in CWorld.

" ... Microsoft wants Windows 10 to run on everything—phones, tablets, PCs, and even whiteboards. The Surface Hub is its take on the interactive whiteboard—a collaboration tool for businesses that combines Skype for Business, a 4K HDTV, and the largest capacitive Pen/touch display on the market.

I got some hands-on time with the product at Microsoft's Windows 10 launch event, and came away with one thought—we have to get one of these for the Labs.

I tried the 84-inch and 55-inch versions of the device. Standing next to the 84-inch version, you really get the sense you are standing in front of an enormous blank canvas. The screen runs at 120Hz, which is double what competing whiteboards can deliver.

If you are familiar with Perceptive Pixel, the display company Microsoft acquired two years ago, the Surface Hub will seem familiar, too. In fact, this is the same technology you see on most broadcast news shows. But Microsoft has made some important changes. ... " 

How Big Data is Changing New Product Development

Below is an  collaborative webinar featuring two groups I have done work with.  And includes Tom Davenport, who included our analytics efforts at Procter & Gamble in his books.   I am looking forward to attending.


WHAT: How Big Data is Changing New Product Development + FREE white paper "Product Development in the Age of Big Data: What You Need to Know"
WHO: A Live Webinar with Tom Davenport and Kobi Gershoni
WHEN: January 29, at 11:00 am Pacific Time/2:00 pm Eastern Time
HOW: Click this link to register

Signals is proud to announce a webinar in partnership with Innovation Excellence, the world’s largest crowdsourced innovation website, with over 150,000 unique visitors from 170 countries.
In this 50-minute webinar, Tom Davenport and Kobi Gershoni will answer questions around what it means to embed the intelligence from Big Data in the development of new products and services and how it will change the work and landscape of new product development. They will explain the practical challenges organizations are facing today and share the key success factors for embedding Big Data in the NPD.

WHAT will you learn:
The main decision points in every NPD process, from ideation to launch that can be supported with Big Data
The types of new product data with which companies are increasingly being faced with
The current and future role of product developers
How other companies are harnessing “product intelligence” - from better, faster decision-making to embedding better data and smarter analytics in the NPD process

Pivoting on your Business Model

In Entrpreneur: Have not seen this covered before, but some of the recent enterprise changes made me think about it. Some good, simple ideas.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gartner: Mobile Apps will be Hybrid

A Gartner prediction that over 50 percent of Apps will be hybrid by 2016.  This question came to mind during the recent announcement of Windows 10 enhancements running on Windows phones.   Which of those will also operate on different architectures?  A concern for BYOD enterprises.

' ... "Our advice would be to assume the enterprise will have to manage a large and diverse set of mobile applications that will span all major architectures," said Van Baker, research vice president at Gartner. "Enterprises should consider how applications can be enriched or improved by the addition of native device capabilities and evaluate development frameworks that offer the ability to develop native, hybrid and Web applications using the same code base. Where possible, development activities should be consolidated via cross-platform frameworks."  ... ' 

Mentioned at the meeting were 'Universal Apps', though the meaning of universal is not quite what you might expect.  It means that the same Apps will run on all Windows 10 devices,  but not on other OS like Android or IOS.

Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

In Radar O'Reilly:  More detailed information about the concept and its broader applications.

Getting Knowledge Management Right

In the APQC Blog:  Some useful thoughts about knowledge management.    KM is still an important topic, but I see it being mentioned less often.   Is that because we have access to so much more knowledge now?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Systematizing Training Tasks for Specific Goals

I just got a promotion from the Kahn Academy pointing to their new iPad App.  Now available for download.    Always thought it would be a good to systematize the kind of capabilities that Kahn has for topics like math.  For example, consider training as a set of short incremental tasks.  For a manager that wants to update their knowledge, say in business statistics to better understand Big Data, put together a series of these tasks, then prompt them on their tablet to complete sections daily. If useful, gamifying the process.  Here is what they write about the resources they have:

" ... Sharpen your skills: Over 150,000 interactive exercises with instant feedback and step-by-step hints for each question.

Flex your muscles: Get interactive math exercise recommendations tailored just for you.

Show your work: No need for paper or typing -- use our touch scratchpad to work through math problems! Once you have your answer, just write it with your fingertip and we’ll recognize it!

Track back: Your activity auto-magically syncs between your iPad and khanacademy.org, so your progress and recommendations are always up-to-date, anytime, anywhere.    ... "

User Centered Design

In Wired:  Fascinating piece.   " ... How the Home Telephone Sparked the User-Centered Design Revolution .... Have you ever thought about why doorknobs are positioned at around two-fifths of the door’s height, instead of right in the middle? Or why a washing machine is of its particular shape and size? These sound like stoner thoughts, but there’s actually an entire discipline and rich design history devoted to the answers. ... "  ... " 

First Look at Apache Spark

A video and technical view intro of the programming capability.  Examining. " .... Apache Spark, the open-source, cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley and now championed by Databricks is rapidly moving from the bleeding edge of data science to the mainstream. Interest in Spark, demand for training and overall hype is on a trajectory to match the frenzy surrounding Hadoop in recent years. Next month's Strata + Hadoop World conference, for example, will offer three serious Spark training sessions: Apache Spark Advanced Training, SparkCamp and Spark developer certification with additional spark related talks on the schedule. It is only a matter of time before Spark becomes a big deal in the R world as well. ... " 

Comment Requirements Changed

Due to increasing Spam in comments,  you now need to register to post a comment.  In addition, as before, all comments are moderated.  Historically this blog has few comments. I still welcome your thoughts, my address can be found in a number of locations.  I will answer any serious questions.  I also sometimes repeat a conversation here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The In-Store Internet of Things

In Retailwire:  From research by Cisco.  We talked to Cisco when the only connective technology was phone and RFID tags.  Everything can and will be connected.  Good overview, shows again the need for better standards.

Google Buys Lift

Late, but of interest.   A move in life sciences.  " ... Google has acquired Lift Labs, which makes a mechanical spoon for people suffering from tremors, in a move giving Google new technology for combating neurodegenerative diseases. ... San Francisco-based Lift Labs will become part of Google's Life Sciences division within its Google X research facility for next-generation projects. Terms of the deal, which has already closed, were not disclosed.  ... " 

Mobile Shopping Myths from Data Insight

In McKinsey:   An instructive look at UK mobile data:

" ... Understanding what matters in mobile is increasingly critical as people become ever more wedded to digital devices. In the United Kingdom, for instance, two out of three adults own a smartphone, checking it an average of more than 150 times a day.1 And two-thirds of smartphone and tablet users say mobile has meaningfully changed the way they shop, with more than a third of them visiting fewer brick-and-mortar stores2 —a number that only seems set to rise.

Perhaps it’s no wonder many retailers are scrambling to invest in digital apps, as well as other sophisticated tools and features. Yet they should stop and ask what consumers really want. Because while the perfect mobile strategy has yet to be devised, fresh McKinsey research on mobile habits in the United Kingdom3 suggests it should be based on a simple principle: providing a fast, easy, enjoyable shopping experience. Few mobile shoppers are actively looking for “bells and whistles,” such as video, expert opinions, or magazine-style articles—at least not yet. They want clean, mobile-optimized sites with easy-to-read pages that load quickly, easy-to-use shopping carts, and smooth checkouts  ... "

Leadership Development in a Changing World

My former enterprise is in the news with speculation about who the next CEO will be.   It is still mostly promotion from within there. Candidates mentioned for CEO are still all long time employees. How is this changing in a rapidly changing technology world?  HBR on evaluating your leadership development.

Microsoft HoloLens Demonstration

Saw a demonstration of Microsoft HoloLens today.  An impressive see-through visor that sits on your head and can give you 3-D holographic experiences.   Wirelessly.   Spatial Audio.  Gaze tracking. Gesture and Voice driven.  3D Spatial sensors and mapping without markers.  An associated creation and design tool called HoloStudio.

 I have worked on industry applications for the concept for years, but this is the first approach that appears to be business practical.  Works under the soon forthcoming Windows 10. More obtrusive now than Google Glass, but clearly not meant to be worn all the time.    Link to 3D printing was shown. Could change the way much  complex 3D design and interactions are done.  Obvious gaming implications.  A new interface with computing.   Overlaps virtual reality AND augmented reality. More in Mashable.  Demo at about 1:37 in video here.  Developed in collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulson Laboratory.

This also has the potential as another data source for analytics applications.  Or how about analytic applications that interact with the 3D world?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Knowledge Discovery with Unsupervised Learning

Fascinating example using Bayesia's graphical methods.   I like how the visualization leads to useful  implications of the discovery.  Easy to follow example with stock market data.  Links to a complete tutorial.   Why Stocks?  They motivate:

" .... This area can perhaps serve as a very practical proof of the powerful properties of Bayesian networks, as we can quickly compare machine-learned findings with our own understanding of market dynamics. For instance, the prevailing opinions among investors regarding the relationships between major stocks should be reflected in any structure that is to be discovered by our algorithms.

More specifically, we will utilize the unsupervised and supervised learning algorithms of the BayesiaLab software package to automatically generate Bayesian networks from daily stock returns over a six-year period. We will examine 459 stocks from the S&P 500 index, for which observations are available over the entire timeframe. We selected the S&P 500 as the basis for our study, as the companies listed on this index are presumably among the best-known corporations worldwide, so even a casual observer should be able to critically review the machine-learned findings. In other words, we are trying to machine-learn the obvious, as any mistakes in this process would automatically become self-evident. Quite often experts’ reaction to such machine-learned findings is, “well, we already knew that.” That is the very point we want to make, as machine-learning can — within seconds — catch up with human expertise accumulated over years, and then rapidly expand beyond what is already known.expertise accumulated over years, and then rapidly expand beyond what is already known. .... " 

Cognitive Computing Book

Cognitive Computing, A Brief Guide for Game Changers  by Peter Fingar,  just received.  I commented on early versions.   They write:

" ... This book is a concise report on the most noteworthy developments in artificial intelligence having a transformational impact on work and society as a whole. Leaders in government and business can ill afford to miss this early-warning book. A lot of effort went into making the book concise so that very busy people will have time to grab the essence of this hugely important subject —and act! 

This book is a concise report on the most noteworthy developments in artificial intelligence, a field of endeavor that's been around since the 1950s. But now, with a breakthrough called "deep learning," artificial intelligence is finally getting human-like intelligence. The AI redux, Cognitive Computing, is having a transformational impact on work and society as a whole. This quantum leap requires a whole new way of thinking and acting if we are to reap the benefits and understand the potentially catastrophic downsides. The book uses a unique multimedia format with QR codes and tiny URL links that let readers drill down on many of the topics. Leaders in government and business can ill afford to miss this early-warning book. A lot of effort went into making the book concise so that very busy people who have little time to read, the game changers, will have time to grab the essence of this hugely important subject -and act!   ... " 

New Product Development and Big Data

Below is an  collaborative webinar featuring two groups I have done work with.  And includes Tom Davenport, who included our analytics efforts at Procter & Gamble in his books.   I am looking forward to attend.


" .....

WHAT: How Big Data is Changing New Product Development + FREE white paper "Product Development in the Age of Big Data: What You Need to Know"
WHO: A Live Webinar with Tom Davenport and Kobi Gershoni
WHEN: January 29, at 11:00 am Pacific Time/2:00 pm Eastern Time
HOW: Click this link to register

Signals is proud to announce a webinar in partnership with Innovation Excellence, the world’s largest crowdsourced innovation website, with over 150,000 unique visitors from 170 countries.
In this 50-minute webinar, Tom Davenport and Kobi Gershoni will answer questions around what it means to embed the intelligence from Big Data in the development of new products and services and how it will change the work and landscape of new product development. They will explain the practical challenges organizations are facing today and share the key success factors for embedding Big Data in the NPD.

WHAT will you learn:
The main decision points in every NPD process, from ideation to launch that can be supported with Big Data
The types of new product data with which companies are increasingly being faced with
The current and future role of product developers
How other companies are harnessing “product intelligence” - from better, faster decision-making to embedding better data and smarter analytics in the NPD process   ... " 

When to Analyze Big Data

In Smart Data Collective, by Richard Boire  I like the mentions of real time data and also that we need to look at longitudinal (historical) views to understand its implications.

Xerox Licenses Thinfilm Labels

Interesting characteristics of this labeling system, with likely applications to Internet of things applications.

" ... Each label, costing a few pennies, is a plastic tag that’s based on ferroelectric capacitors and allows for power-free archival storage in the 10-15-year range. This isn’t some data center technology though; we’re only talking 10-36 bits. They are however very rewriteable – the data can be rewritten 100,000 times. This means the labels are perfect for continually storing and refreshing the output of sensors. ... "    

Amazon pulls Diaper Brand

This very notable private label introduction has been pulled after six weeks on the market.  In GigaOM.  They say for redesign.   Do expect more examples of private label CPG from Amazon, leveraging their delivery and consumer knowledge expertise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hyper Relevance in Retail

So what is hyper relevance?  And all about dark assets that you are not using. Read about it in the Cisco blog.

Personality Judgements by Computer

Supporting information for a proposed project:
" ... This study compares the accuracy of personality judgment—a ubiquitous and important social-cognitive activity—between computer models and humans. Using several criteria, we show that computers’ judgments of people’s personalities based on their digital footprints are more accurate and valid than judgments made by their close others or acquaintances (friends, family, spouse, colleagues, etc.). Our findings highlight that people’s personalities can be predicted automatically and without involving human social-cognitive skills. ...  " 

New Mobile Business in the Enterprise

We looked at this topic a dozen years ago in the enterprise.  It is not only just about phone calls, but also about how two way, interactive, data rich interactions can be supported.  Its about creating foundational business Apps that will drive focus and the business.  It is creating the right standards and architectures to make that work.   The problem has not been solved to date.   More in CIOInsight.

Pizza Business Insights

In GigaOM:  Case study of the use of Splunk for mining business insight by Dominos.  Intrigued by the use of this new capability, especially for time domain, real time examples in marketing.  " ....  Domino’s can make more precise marketing decisions—for example, the company can determine where and when it may be more lucrative to run promotional campaigns and analyze the success of these campaigns as well as one-off promotions in real time.  ... " 

Wearable Data in the Medical Record

In Forbes: Wearables and analytical value.  Should they be in the medical record?

" ... The great promise of wearables for medicine includes the opportunity for health measurement to participate more naturally in the flow of our lives, and provide a richer and more nuanced assessment of phenotype than that offered by the traditional labs and blood pressure assessments now found in our medical record.  Health, as we appreciate, exists outside the four walls of a clinical or hospital, and wearables (as now championed by Apple, Google, and others) would seem to offer an obvious vehicle to mediate our increasingly expansive perspective. ... " 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Turning a Boring Task into a Game

A classic reason for gamifying a task.  In the news today:  The Airport Scanner game shows how you can get millions of people to perform the luggage scanning task as a simple game.   In a former role I worked on a related gamification problem.  You can also use the game play to gather data about the real world process.  That is a form of crowd sourcing to get enough data.  And a form of virtual reality in its modeling of the real process.  This is being done today with this game by Duke University.   Consider that if you model a job as a set of tasks in a business process, you could use a method like this to discover and selectively gamify included tasks.  Even redesign tasks to minimize errors based on subtle patterns found in the data generated.    

Unilever Shares Selfies

In Internet Retailer: Another example of shoppers using their phones to explore the marketing space.   It is much done already, but how are the results managed, explored, evaluated?   See also Storeflix, which is more B to B, but with related direction.   ".... Recognizing that consumers put a lot of trust in photos from other consumers, Unilever’s Simple Skincare brand is using a new service from Olapic to pass on photos shoppers send it from social media to retailers selling the brand’s products. ... " 

AI Arrives, Worries People

In Wired, discussing an arrival of AI and how it worries people.  I remember that this was warned of  in the late 80s as well.   Now we have marched down the road some distance, but we are still not at the general intelligence place yet.  Yes, we will soon have to make adjustments about jobs are done, we did this quickly after the rise of the personal computer.  If you push on the large companies that are doing AI, you still get the answer that the jobs it will do now are focused sub-tasks.  Yes, add these up and jobs will be re-engineered, then lost.   Expect that in the near future.

And in Kurzweil, Elon Musk donates to a fund to keep AI beneficial.

Emotional Ads more Impactful in Wealthier Nations

Perhaps Obvious.  But have never seen a study attempting to quantify it.  In Research Live Magazine.

" ... A paper published in the Journal of Advertising Research, How to Advertise and Build Brand Knowledge Globally: Comparing Television Advertising Appeals across Developed and Emerging Economies, suggests that brands using TV ads to reach consumers may benefit more from using emotional appeals in affluent countries and more functional messaging in less affluent countries. .. " 

Gesture Sensing Armband

In Engadget:    Have been looking at applications of gestural interfaces to analytics  " ....  Muscle-sensing Myo gesture armband will be on Amazon this quarter ... For those who aren't already familiar with the Myo, it consists of eight muscle-sensing modules that you strap onto the widest part of your forearm, which then lets the device detect your hand gestures. These include squeezing your fist, spreading your hand, waving your hand left or right, rotating your fist, or something as minute as a quick pinch with your thumb and another finger (which can be set to activate or pause the Myo). On top of that, there's the combination of a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a magnetometer to detect your arm motion.   ... "  

Kroger Digital Strategy to Save Customers Time and Money

More on Kroger Digital Strategy.    " ... Kroger keeps studying online shopping because 60 percent of all consumers consider trips to the grocery store their least favorite chore. Matt Thompson, Kroger's director of digital and e-commerce, says 20 percent of shoppers plan and prepare for shopping by going online before they go to the grocery store. He envisions a day not too far off when customers skip some store visits to instead have some items delivered to their home or ready for drive-through pickup. ... " 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Structural Data Objects

Interesting piece.   I recall working on something like this for the construction of a competitive analysis database.    Though it was not called a structural data object.   Maintenance of an unexpectedly varying structure became an issue.  Detailed piece.

Science and Art of Segmentation

A favorite topic.  Segmentation.  Classically a large amount of analytical effort in CPG  has been put into this topic. Is it science or art?   It is, both I agree.  But the specifics of this art and how it interacts with design or management decisions are often hard to describe.  Should it continue that way since we now have much more data?   What are the implications?

Patterns in Traffic Flow

Interesting piece in the BBC on the hidden ways of traffic flows.   A favorite topic.  In paricular how groups of entities act and interact in a set of paths.  Here it is more about transportation flows.  We also worked the problem, but in retail, dealing with traffic flow in the market aisle.  Just recently I  reviewed some of the work we had done simulating store activity using agent models.  See the tag below for more detail about agent models.

Semiconductor Opportunities in the Internet of Things

Very good piece from McKinsey.  Lots of opportunity here in the semicondictor industry.   " ... The data amassed from these devices can then be analyzed to optimize products, services, and operations. Perhaps one of the earliest and best-known applications of such technology has been in the area of energy optimization: sensors deployed across the electricity grid can help utilities remotely monitor energy usage and adjust generation and distribution flows to account for peak times and downtimes. But applications are also being introduced in a number of other industries. Some insurance companies, for example, now offer plans that require drivers to install a sensor in their cars, allowing insurers to base premiums on actual driving behavior rather than projections. And physicians can use the information collected from wireless sensors in their patients’ homes to improve their management of chronic diseases. Through continuous monitoring rather than periodic testing, physicians could reduce their treatment costs by between 10 and 20 percent, according to McKinsey Global Institute research—billions of dollars could be saved in the care of congestive heart failure alone. ... " 

Stand Alone Loyalty Systems

Can Loyalty Marketing fulfill its promise? Good examination of the topic.  Ultimately it can achieve its promise through the natural integration of its data with other data resources.Without that it remains simplistic.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Creating Cognitive Applications with the Watson API

Creating Cognitive Applications Powered by IBM Watson: Getting started with the API
by Kevin Haverlock, Sridhar Sudarsan
" ... Cognitive computing systems are built to learn from how they are used and adapt to their processing. They provide insight into content; offer context specific responses and guidance, and learn through iterative feedback cycles. While there are numerous ways to understand and extract meaningful information from structured data, the process of understanding and making sense of unstructured data is in its infancy. It requires systems to cull through and analyze complex and heterogeneous content sources to identify vague and abstruse information, patterns and relationships.

IBM Watson is at the forefront of cognitive computing. It furthers advances in natural language processing and analytics and provides the unique ability to comprehend the subtle nuances of human language, sift through vast amounts of content, and provide evidence-based responses to users' questions. Watson can be trained to provide responses with an increasing relevance over time. These capabilities, when access to them are embedded within an application, start them on a journey to building cognitive applications. .... "

Only Data Science Skill you Need

In Data Science Central.  A simplistic view.  But true in a sense that it is the most important skill you should have.  Being able to come to understand and solve real business problems.  Yet it is also efficient to have specialists work along with generalists to assemble data, create architectures, deliver results and re-use learning.  You need designers and builders.

Microsoft Shuts Down Silicon Valley Research Lab

(In September) Unfortunate to hear, visited a number of times.  Is it because they feel they don't need a physical place to do research, or are they breaking it down into regional locations?  Reminds me of our ongoing argument about the need for creating specific locations or general work environments for innovation and research.

Power of Dark Data

A favorite topic.  Though I see my definition is broader.  It is data that is not used.  Maybe that is not accessible, but even that we do not know about.   The Big Data solution proposed is often  Store it all! But that creates complexities as well.

" ... ‘Big data’ has become an industry buzzword amongst today’s business leaders. Corporate spending on infrastructure to capture and store diverse volumes of rapidly-changing data has risen significantly in recent years as organisations have scrambled to collect all of the consumer information they believe will help them stay ahead of the competition. However, it’s becoming clear that collecting data alone isn’t enough. Indeed, this year’s Gartner’s Hype Cycle Special Report cites big data as moving beyond the peak of inflated expectations – with businesses now beginning to see that data must not only be harvested and stored, but also analysed and mined efficiently for new insights if it is to be of any strategic value. However, with so much data now being collected, how do organisations know what is useful and what isn’t, and how does one make the insights actionable?  ... " 

Distributed Information Processing

A lengthy article that gives cues to how we can use biological models for computation.  Video.
"... Biological systems, ranging from the molecular to the cellular to the organism level, are distributed and in most cases operate without central control. Such systems must solve information processing problems that are often very similar to problems faced by computational systems, including coordinated decision making,29 leader election,2 routing and navigation,52 and more.42 .. "

Friday, January 16, 2015

Continuous POV Cameras For Compliance

It has been called lifelogging, a means to record continuous clips of point-of-view images as you work or play.  It was suggested and tested for easily gathering information about in-store conditions.  The Narrative-2 is a recent example.  Relatively cheap, wearable and easy to use.  A somewhat related method is Storeflix,  which we tested and emphasizes the management of select images for compliance applications,  as opposed to gathering continuous streams of images.

An Evolution of Wearables

Thad Starner, who we followed from his days at MIT, now a Prof at Ga Tech, discusses the history and evolution of wearbles.  In Computing Now.   Excellent details are included.  " ... Thad Starner, who has been wearing a "homebrew" computer with a head-up display as part of his daily life since 1993, discusses why it has taken so long for wearables to capture consumer interest. He discusses the various challenges of designing wearable systems and presents five different phases of head-mounted displays, illustrating how improvements in technology allowed progressively more useful and usable devices. ... " 

Related, we hear today about the reported restructuring of the Google Glass project at Apple.  Is this evidence of its demise?   My discussions with futurists and developers shows that Glass now  focuses on hands-free, narrow task specific oriented applications.  Not general consumer browsing awareness. And thus shrinking in volume.

Interceptor Towers

In Popsci: Phony cell phone towers.  This has been reported on for some time, with more details emerging.

Internet of Things and Big Data

Is it all about data and leveraging analytics.  And an architecture to support them.

In OReilly: " ... The Internet of Things (IoT) has a data problem. Well, four data problems. Walking the halls of CES in Las Vegas last week, it’s abundantly clear that the IoT is hot. Everyone is claiming to be the world’s smartest something. But that sprawl of devices, lacking context, with fragmented user groups, is a huge challenge for the burgeoning industry.

What the IoT needs is data. Big data and the IoT are two sides of the same coin. The IoT collects data from myriad sensors; that data is classified, organized, and used to make automated decisions; and the IoT, in turn, acts on it. It’s precisely this ever-accelerating feedback loop that makes the coin as a whole so compelling. ... " 

Mining Massive Databases

 Vincent Granville started the discussion "Mining Massive Datasets - Coursera Course (Stanford)" in the group Analytics Courses on AnalyticBridge.     Now looking at the scale of databases more closely.

Thinking Moments of Truth with Google

I recall that we introduced Google to the moment of truth mantra, and they popularized the zero aspect.  Just now in Thinking With Google, a collection of their writings on the topic.  Twenty-one articles.  A worthwhile way to categorize the engagement, decision and use process in CPG.  Also previously in this blog on the topic.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Open Source Application of Natural Language

Natural language, our use of communications like text and speech and documents to communicate with other people,  would be the ideal way to communicate with computers.    Yet there are still complexities of its use that are difficult to implement.  Today as part of the Cognitive Systems Institute weekly talk series,  attended a presentation by Prof Chris Biemann of the University of Darmstadt, that described their work in this area.   Here are the slides.   Good, brief exposition of the problem and application directions.

Some of this can be explored interactively here:  JoBimText :
JoBimText is an open source framework for application of Distributional Semantics using lexicalized features. It is providing a software solution for automatic text expansion using contextualized distributional similarity The project is maintained by the Language Technology group at the TU Darmstadt and IBM Research. .. " 

Data Brokers are Watching You

In the CACM:  " ... Digitization of analog data, along with advances in algorithms behind data analytics, has enabled a dramatic leap in the ability of data brokers to track individuals. ... ".   Considerable, but largely non technical coverage.

Cognitively: How People Can and will Cooperate with Computers

Computers have already markedly changed the way we do work, in just a few decades.   Three sources below that show how we are taking another major step forward, by cooperating with computers, and working along side them in new and exciting ways.

 Shyam Sankar: The rise of human-computer cooperation  TED Talk.
Brute computing force alone can’t solve the world’s problems. Data mining innovator Shyam Sankar explains why solving big problems (like catching terrorists or identifying huge hidden trends) is not a question of finding the right algorithm, but rather the right symbiotic relationship between computation and human creativity.  (With a bow to J. C. R. Licklider)

Professor Ed Hess at the Darden Graduate School of Business, U of Va, writes about how AI 
could change the work humans do and how they are managed

From the Cognitive Systems Institute, via Jim Spohrer: An excellent cognitive computing repository   Updating examples of our work in progress.

Snapchat and Showrooming

Did a long hands-on look in the early days of showrooming.  See the tag below.  Now some approaches in Adage where stores could use the ephemeral message service Snapchat to control it. I have my doubts. " ... How Snapchat Can Help Retailers Kill 'Showrooming' ... Five Ways Brands Can Use Snapchat to Take Back Control of the Retail Experience ... " 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unilever and Data Visualization

From FusionCharts:  Big companies understand the value.
" ... In 2010, the company set itself the target of doubling its revenues in a decade or less – without doubling its costs. According to Greg Swimer, Vice President for Business Intelligence at Unilever, information management was to play a crucial role in achieving this goal. To help its employees make better decisions, the company sought to embed data into its business processes and make effective use of data visualization and analytics. .. " 

Instacart Fueling E-Commerce

This slogs along slowly, but we are finally seeing more interest in the idea.  Informal polling of consumers in the early 2000s showed little interest.  Now the model of getting most everything online is accepted.  The pairing of consumers to personal, or algorithmic shopping,  can further drive the idea.

" ... How Instacart is fueling e-commerce growth in grocery 
Instacart is looking to expand into new markets and bring more grocers online following a round of funding that brought $220 million to the company, which partners with grocers to provide shoppers with delivery services. The funds will also allow Instacart to work on improving its algorithms that pair personal shoppers with consumers and help the company to continue empowering grocers against large-scale online grocers and grocery-delivery outlets like Amazon, said Nilam Ganenthiran, Instacart's head of business development and strategy ... " 

Flywheel Power

A soluton we examined.  The use of flywheels to store power to reduce charges for electical power spikes. In IEEE.

Top Papers in Data Science Survey

In KDNuggets, a summary of trends and interesting papers in data science in 2014, done by a survey of its readers.   Overviews, readily scannable even if you don't want to dive into the technical depths, mostly from academic sources, and in many cases links to the papers mentioned.  In a number of problem domains.

Finalists in Innovation by Design

In Fastcodesign: Some interesting examples of using data visualization design.  Certainly eye catching, but more artistic than providing interactive and objective information delivery.  I like the examples showing projected information delivery.  Inspiring graphics.

Fusion Charts Blog

Brought to my attention with some interesting data visualization posts.  Fusion Charts Blog.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beyond Customer Recognition for Retailers

Not a new thing, casinos have been doing it for years.  The capability has been improving for some time.  Now with cheaper hardware?   What is more interesting is how the consumer might gesture back to truly interact with the system.  Where Apple has patents. That was in The Minority Report.   Also, once you are recognizing the face, can you extend the process to eye tracking?  Both recognition and interaction will provide new forms of data.  But is that intrusive?  In Mashable:

" ... Microsoft hints at 'Minority Report'-style customer recognition for retailers ... 
Imagine a store that knows about the outfit you just bought, and can tell you exactly which shoes will go with it. .... 

Microsoft has teased the ability for retailers to employ its Kinect technology to identify customers through facial recognition, bringing the world one step closer to the weirdly prescient future displayed in the 2002 film Minority Report, which was based on a 1956 short story by Philip K. Dick. The introduction of such personalized retail has been viewed not only as a way to provide better service, but also as a dangerous entry into the personal lives of shoppers. ... "

Your Cognitive Future

A cross industry report from IBM.  Detailed look at what to expect and what to prepare for.

" ... Cognitive-based systems extend the capabilities of humans. They achieve this by learning and building knowledge, understanding natural language and interacting more naturally with human beings than traditional programmable systems. Over time, cognitive systems will simulate even more closely how the brain actually works. In doing so, they could help us solve the world's most complex problems by penetrating the complexity of big data and exploiting the power of natural language processing and machine learning.

Despite tremendous advances in cognitive computing capabilities, organizations have only begun to scratch the surface of potential for this innovative technology. From improving customer engagement to enhancing research capabilities that identify new, life-saving medical treatments, the potential value of cognitive-based solutions is boundless. .... " 

Beaconing at Marsh Supermarkets

Continued indication that the interconnection of shoppers and physical spaces is progressing, this was reported on previously here in more detail, see tags below.  Note in particular the mention of a Watch.  Wearable solutions could make this a more convenient and natural interaction. The data gathered, linked with loyalty information, could provide further capabilities.

Marsh Supermarkets offers Beacon messaging to Apple Watch, smartphones 
Marsh Supermarkets has partnered with InMarket to install a Beacon messaging system that communicates with shoppers via the Apple Watch and smartphones to offer relevant content such as shopping lists, coupons and promotions when they walk in the door. The company has also integrated its customer service management software to track purchases matched with app usage to measure the sales impact of coupons, ads and even store layout. ... "

Robots for Retail

Discussion in Retailwire: Saw several demonstrations of this idea.   Now there are examples in the hospitality industry that are worth watching.  Consumers still need to be made comfortable with the idea. Levels of autonomy, kinds of interaction and task value definition will be key concepts to experiment with.  While considering the comfort of a retail space.  Not unlike the challenge of putting more general robotics in the home.

Defining Your Business

In Innovation Excellence:   by Ty Montaque.  " ... Whitespace vs. Rightspace: How Quest-led Innovation Finds Right Space for Breakthrough Innovation   ... " .  Figuring out how to manage your innovation process.  Have seen this in startups and in mega enterprises.

Automated Hypothesis Generation

Took a brief look at this at the request of a client, it is still in evolution.    The Watson Chef is an interesting example, but it is overwhelmed today by dozens of recipe search engines that are 'good enough'.   More generally hypothesis generation is a very valuable direction.

In the Economist:  A new type of software helps researchers decide what they should be looking for

" .... Devising new recipes sounds a trivial use for a multimillion-dollar piece of kit. But Dr Gordon’s culinary experiment neatly demonstrates the idea of automated hypothesis generation—and the possible uses of that are certainly not trivial. More than 90 groups of scientists are now developing hypothesis-generation software. They hope to use it not on recipe books but on the vast corpus of scientific literature (by one tally at least 50m scientific papers) that has piled up in public databases. ... 

It all, then, looks rather promising, both for science and for IBM—which launched a commercial version of its automated-hypothesis-generation software in August. Dr Gordon hopes Discovery Advisor, as this service is known, will be a money-spinner for the firm. If that does happen, it will probably be because it has also proved an ideas-spinner for science. ... "

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wal-Mart on the Strength of Physical Retail

Bill Simon, former president and CEO, Walmart U.S, speaks at the NRF on e-commerce, technology and design that helps physical retail. " ... "It's pretty one dimensional," he said of the e-commerce shopping experience. "You get what you want and you get it at some point in the future." ... Indeed, he believes most of e-commerce's robust growth in the last couple of years has come from its "interaction with physical retail" and that continued omnichannel pushes should play to the advantage of retailers with physical stores. ... " 

Touch Interfaces in Communications

This is not new, but continues to advance.  " .... The Communication Of The Future Is So Real You Can Touch It. Companies are starting to integrate Haptic Feedback into their technology.  Welcome to the future you can reach out and touch.   ... "    See previous posts with the Haptics tag for more.

DataFloq: Connecting Data and People

Had heard of Datafloq before, now taking a closer look.  " ... Datafloq is the One-Stop Shop around Big Data. We are the number one Big Data platform connecting Data and People, connecting all stakeholders in the global Big Data market. ... " 

Debunking Data Myths

In ClickZ: A set of useful cautions about what are really mostly very human assumptions.   Which summarize well in the statement that   'More is not always better' .   You don't have to have bigger data or more sophisticated methods, or choose the biggest or best known technology company.  Smarter and simpler can be best.  Prototype Big Data small and fast.

Big Data and Visualization in Mining Industry




Embedded image permalinkMining Global (@MiningGlobal) Jason Nitz of @Newmont Mining discusses the potential Big Data presents to the mining industry.   Good piece on an industry you usually do not see talked about in this context.   " ...  There has been a similar explosion of ‘big data’ in mining, albeit slightly behind that of the Internet revolution, but nonetheless, the amount of data now available from mining equipment is staggering. In fact, there is so much data available people often don’t know which way to turn. ... ".  

As described this work is similar work that we did to optimize complex plant operations in other industries. These are usual 'local' supply chain interactions, on a plant floor, or in an operations yard. Doing this well can save millions of dollars in costs, and increase throughput.

And how they are dealing with real time big data by effectively visualizing it in operations centers.  At the same time the results of analytics can be applied and displayed.  This kind of visualization was also an area we spent much time on.

Home of the Future at CES

In Engadget: A connected home wrap up from last weeks CES.   Not very impressive.  Lots of pieces there, as we have seen over a number years, since we built our own in 2000.   But effectively and safely connecting them is still haphazard.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Concept Maps Delivering Cognitive Systems

I just posted a note in the Linkedin Group Cognitive Systems Institute: Using Concept Maps to Deliver Cognitive System Design: One of the methods we used to develop, understand, deliver and maintain high level knowledge representation for cognitive systems were concept maps ...  This relates to the availability of CMapTools now on tablet technology.  A featured we would have liked at the time.

Wearable would have also been very usable, say glasses that would have displayed a blueprint of a machine to be repaired as you received expert device on how to do diagnostic tests.  And data about where failures had been recorded, or were predicted on this machine.  An example of augmenting and scaling expertise delivery.

Disruption of Industry Forces

In GigaOM:  Well put overview of a survey.  Some expected things, others now.  I mostly agree with their statement that:   " ... It’s hard to disagree that new technologies can re-arrange industries and create new markets. But the general consensus as expressed in the survey results might be missing out on the combinatorial power of those plus connected users plus what might be thought of as the new “super platforms.” ... "   

How can CPG Adapt

In CPG Matters,  new and interesting updates on the onrush of digital enterprise and implications for CPG:

6 ways CPG companies can adapt
The consumer packaged goods landscape has become complex, and having channel and digital strategies is essential, writes Strategy& partner Steffen Lauster. Success will include "the development of more effective product portfolios, the use of cutting-edge merchandising, and the flexibility to work with different retail formats, particularly online distributors. In short, manufacturers must find new ways to grow beyond the grocery channel," he writes ... " 

Groups Promoting the Internet of Things

In the CACM: In particular the issue of evolving standards and protocols is becoming important.  A good overview of the groups and participants forming.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Longer Container Ships

A supply chain background piece.  With lots of instructive pictures and data. How container ships are changing world supply chains.  And about the largest container ship in the world.  Larger is better, as evidenced by our own detailed studies of trucks on highways.  But understanding physical and regulatory constraints, now and in the future, is also important. Via MJ Perry.

Cognitive and Neuromorphic Computing

On the reasons for the re-emergence of AI as cognitive computing.    In the Economist:

" ... Cognitive computing is AI redux. Researchers took the successful bits of AI, such as machine learning, natural language processing and reasoning algorithms, and turned them into something useful.

“Cognitive computing is starting to take off because we are having this confluence of the maturity of the technology, the evolution of computing power, and the ability to understand things like language, which is coming together to make this more of a reality now,” says Mr Gordon.

But the phenomenon is not purely driven by technological advances; there is also a pressing need for systems that can organise and make sense of big data. It’s no secret that digital data is growing at a clip—about 3 exabytes of data every day. With the Internet of things – where machines talk to other machines over the Internet – predicted to intensify that growth, this need is only going to become more acute. .... "

Abductive Reasoning, Sensemaking and Design

Via Brian Moon or Perigean Technologies, who writes on making sense of knowledge via methods like concept mapping.  Good piece at link.

Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis by Jon Kolko
Overview: Making Sense of Chaos

Designers, as well as those who research and describe the process of design, continually describe design as a way of organizing complexity or finding clarity in chaos. Jeff Veen, founder of Adaptive Path, has noted that "Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos" 

 The Importance of Synthesis during the Process of Design" IDSA 2007 Educational Conference Proceedings (San Francisco: IDSA), 2007. Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Motorola's Consumer Experience Design group explains that "design is always about synthesis—synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs."[2] During synthesis, designers attempt "to organize, manipulate, prune, and filter gathered data into a cohesive structure for information building."[3] Synthesis reveals a cohesion and sense of continuity; synthesis indicates a push towards organization, reduction, and clarity.   .... "

Cmap Tools now Available for iPad

Cmap is the best known general concept mapping tool, which we tested in the enterprise.  Previously noted about this in test last year.  See previous posts here about concept mapping.

" ... CmapTools for iPad now available for download at the Apple App Store. Give us a great review! https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cmaptools/id927987108?mt=8

Alberto J. CaƱasAssociate Director at IHMC, More details on the App at: http://cmap.ihmc.us/cmaptools-for-ipad/

CmapTools itunes.apple.com
Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about CmapTools on the App Store. Download CmapTools and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. ... " 

Watson Meets Machine Learning

In KDNuggets: An overview of the Watson ecosystem from a recent presentation.  Examples in healthcare and education.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Sports Tactics and Conversion Rates

In Conversioner:  Nicely done short piece that brings together a number of data and behavioral process  methods to address selling.    " ... Surprisingly, competitive sports are much like conversion optimization. Whether you’re playing a sport or optimizing a web-site, you want to be the best you can be in order to increase conversion rate. While conversions might be points or goals in sports, they are purchases and downloads in conversion optimization. Here are some insights that we can gain from competitive sports and apply to conversion optimization. ... " 

Criticizing Neuromarketing

I have been connected to two startups in the neuromarketing domain.  Is the hype fading for non conscious interaction applications of the neural kind?   Have seen large enterprises making investments. Interesting research results, but not definitive. A critical overview of the status in CWorld.

Augmented Reality Projector Interfaces

In Computing Now   An example of new approaches to collaborative interface.  Haptic (touch) included.

Spatial User Interfaces for Large-Scale Projector-Based Augmented Reality
Michael R. Marner, University of South Australia
Ross T. Smith, University of South Australia
James A. Walsh, University of South Australia
Bruce H. Thomas, University of South Australia

Spatial augmented reality environments deal with nonplanar projection surfaces, physical objects that provide natural passive haptic feedback, and systems that naturally support collaboration between users. ....   Full article pdf

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Third Party Sellers Set Record

In Retailwire: Have been involved with a third party seller on Amazon for some time.  The process and dynamics are interesting to watch.   The data use claim is interesting, had not heard that:

" ... Despite concerns raised about Amazon possibly using data from third-party sellers on its Marketplace to benefit itself at the expense of those smaller companies, new numbers from the e-tailing giant show many of the merchants on its site are doing quite well.

According to Amazon, third-party sellers set a record selling more than two billion items worldwide last year. Today, there are two million sellers on Amazon that account for over 40 percent of the total units sold on the site. ... " 

Forbes on Watson Analytics

An overview of the idea.  Continuing to follow.  Have mentioned I think there are some useful integrated visualizations here that are quite good.  Still unclear how much these analytical approaches are completely general, early impressions are that they were adapted for particular industries.  I like the idea that changing data could be consistently analysed with the same methods.  This might provide different kinds of insight than human analysts could provide.