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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Amazon Dash Button

Amazon Dash.  Automating Resupply.  A Buy button.   Simple IOT in the Smart Home?   Connects to a smartphone App.  Invitation for Prime Members.  Clever idea. What will the uptake be?  

" .... Place it. Press it. Get it. ... Dash Button comes with a reusable adhesive and a hook so you can hang, stick, or place it right where you need it. Keep Dash Button handy in the kitchen, bath, laundry, or anywhere you store your favorite products. When you're running low, simply press Dash Button, and Amazon quickly delivers household favorites so you can skip the last-minute trip to the store. ... " 

Ordered, will provide more information later.
More generally, for other applications, see the Dash Replenishment Service.

" How it works ... 

Dash Button is simple to set up. Use the Amazon app on your smartphone to easily connect to your home Wi-Fi network and select the product you want to reorder with Dash Button. Once connected, a single press automatically places your order. Amazon sends an order alert to your phone, so it's easy to cancel if you change your mind. Unless you elect otherwise, Dash Button responds only to your first press until your order is delivered. ... " 

Which further points out:

" ... Dash Replenishment Service can be integrated with devices in two ways. Device makers can either build a physical button into their hardware to reorder consumables or they can measure consumable usage so that reordering happens automatically.

For example, an automatic pet food dispenser made with built-in sensors can measure the amount of pet food remaining in its container and place an order before running out. Device makers can start using DRS with as few as 10 lines of code. ... " 

Chromebit to Turn Display into Chromebook

Have experimented with the Chromecast idea, has somewhat limited usefulness, turning TVs into somewhat smarter devices.   Now Engadget reports on the Chromebit, which can convert any HDMI connected display into a Chromebook.  Available later this year for less that $100.  Taking displays into new levels of intelligence.   I can see many applications.   How will this effect system sales?   Or replace a more expensive smart TV?    Or in-store displays?  I saw in the article that Intel there has a similar solution:  the Compute Stick.

RFID at Item Level Reaching Tipping Point

For years starting in 2000, we predicted the near approach of common item level RFID use  in retail.    It eventually became much more common at the pallet and case level in some industries, for supply chain transparency.    In Retailwire quoting GS1:

" .... More than half (57 percent) of the retailers surveyed in the "2014 GS1 US Standards Usage Survey" reported that they are now implementing item level Electronic Product Code-enabled radio frequency identification and an additional 21.1 percent plan to implement the technology in the next 13 to 24 months. ... " 

Tipping point perhaps, but still think the common use of this is at least some years away.

Watson Cognitive is Part of Cloud Service

Some of the functionality of IBM's Watson is available on their cloud.    More on this in Computerworld.  Have worked with this for a while now.  The services are by no means complete, and are Betas that have been constructed for particular problem domains.   So don't expect it to solve your problems.  It does give you a good idea of what they mean by cognitive solutions.  A big part of it is how we can effectively communicate with systems.  Mostly we still just type.  But we are starting to increasingly see more cognitive (sensory, verbal, textual, behavioral, pattern, contextual ... ) interaction.

Virtual Reality Big Data Analytics

Have mentioned experiments we did in this space,   Which were not successful.   Primarily because you already needed to be in this reality to make it work.   Once people are there, there will be opportunities,   Infoworld:

" ... Many analytical dashboards are graphical clickfests -- it's great that you see the high level, but when you want to get to the next level, guess what? You have several layers of abstraction to click through. They are as byzantine as they are informative. This is particularly true where real-world assets are involved.

Take the power industry, for instance. Having worked on a few smart-grid analytics projects, this is near and dear to my heart. Great, you have an outage. You see there is a faulty asset. How do you inspect what is wrong? Obviously you can go there, but if you have most of the data in electronic form, what is the next best thing to being there? Virtual reality offers a solution. ... " 

IBM Throws $3B into the Internet of Things

Not an unexpected direction, maps well with some of their other efforts.   " ... Big Blue is a keen adherent of the idea that connected devices (be they sensors, cars or fridges) will be able to provide real-time data that makes everyone’s lives that much easier. Its master plan calls for the development and installation of IoT systems worldwide, and to that end its dedicating more than 2,000 consultants, developers and researchers to achieving it. ... " 

Big Data Videos

A selection of Big Data Videos:
" .... Whether you’re entirely new to the field of big data, or looking to expand your machine learning knowledge; whether you have 3 hours or 3 minutes; whether you want you want to know more about the technology, or the high-level applications- this list is a sample of the best Youtube has to offer on big data. Hit play, and enjoy a time- and cost-effective way to continue your big data exploration.

(A note on selecting the videos: we took the most viewed videos in the “Science and Tech” and “Education” categories on Youtube on the subjects of big data, data science, machine learning and analytics. We then used a formulae that weighs up rates of engagement (likes and dislikes) with views. Got a great video that you think is missing from the list below? Let us know in the comments.) ... " 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Amazon Launches Home Services

Amazon Home Services. Have done some work with Amazon buying sites.  Now they have launched an offering similar to Angies List.   On the surface of it, very nicely done.  I can see this integrated with product associated with services, and even their Echo system.  Available in only some cities at this time.

" .... a new and simple way to buy and schedule professional services such as furniture assembly, house cleaning, and lawn care directly on Amazon. We've handpicked the best service providers in your neighborhood and require all service pros to be background checked, insured, and licensed if applicable. Service pros compete for your business based on price, quality, and availability. If customers find a lower price for the same service and pro, we will match it. Pre-packaged services have upfront prices so you can add a service right to your cart. No special sign up or subscription is required. Your Amazon account is only charged after the service is completed. And best of all, all services are backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee. If you’re not 100% satisfied, Amazon will make it right or give you a full refund. ... " 

Kraft Data Based Marketing

An example of data driven marketing, from Kraft.    " ... The company was wedded to a TV-centric model, wasn’t committed to measurement, and thought of media buying as the last step in a marketing plan. It also had a “do what worked last year mentality,” which led Kraft to plan for trends that were likely already outdated in the fast-moving digital world. When forming a reinvention plan about two years ago, Fleischer said the company told itself internally to expect that change will only get faster — there will never be a lull in which you can catch up. ... " 

Financial Effect of Information Management

White paper: A Forrester study determines the impact of solving business problems By IBMdatamag News Desk on January 30, 2015

Understanding the impact on finances from solving their business problems can be useful for organizations’ business decisions. Forrester offers a Total Economic Impact (TEI) portfolio that helps organizations enhance successful outcomes for their products and services by utilizing a method for effectively verifying the business value of solutions. ...  "    (Link to complete Paper)

Persuasive Technology

A long time favorite topic.  How can technology persuade?    Special Report from the MIT technology review.

Persuasive technologies surround us, and they’re growing smarter. How do these technologies work? And why? ... By Nanette Byrnes 

The idea that computers, mobile phones, websites, and other technologies could be designed to influence people’s behavior and even attitudes dates back to the early 1990s, when Stanford researcher B. J. Fogg coined the term “persuasive computing” (later broadened to “persuasive technology”). But today many companies have taken that one step further: using technologies that measure customer behavior to design products that are not just persuasive but specifically aimed at forging new habits. ... "  

Real Time Data Analytics at Pinterest

Short case study of the use of analytics on streaming data, using Spark.  " ... Pinterest, the company behind the visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas, is using real-time data analytics for data-driven decision making purposes. It’s experimenting with MemSQL and Spark technologies for real-time user engagement ... " 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sales by Kaizen

Kaizen:  Continuous improvement in sales.  " ... It's in sales that I am most intrigued by the possibilities of a kaizen strategy. A slim majority of sales people make or exceed quota -- in recent years, 58 percent, plus or minus a little. The interesting thing about selling, for me, is that there's usually only one evaluation point: Did you close the deal? What if we used a more incremental approach to assess sales? ... " 

How will the Internet of Things Work?

SAP community on how the IOT will really work.  I like their speculation about what the killer App might be.  I think it is doing something that we are doing haphazardly today that can be systematized with segmentation analytics.

Learning to See Data as Art

In the NYT:  The art and science of data visualization.   " ... Advanced computing produces waves of abstract digital data that in many cases defy interpretation; there’s no way to discern a meaningful pattern in any intuitive way. To extract some order from this chaos, analysts need to continually reimagine the ways in which they represent their data — which is where Mr. Kohn comes in. He spent 10 years working with scientists and knows how to pose useful questions. He might ask, for instance, What if the data were turned sideways? Or upside down? Or what if you could click on a point on the plotted data and see another dimension? ... " 

I re-read this and thought: Do we really need artists to help us find subtle patterns in data?  I thought that humans were already too good at finding spurious patterns when not there..

Big Data Blurring Industry Lines

In Forbes,   Morphing of analyses and businesses. Expect more of this.   And the partnership aspects, note the book Reciprocity Advantage , by colleagues Bob Johansen and Karl Ronn  previously mentioned, on this topic

" .. By way of example, let’s examine a well-known company being driven into multiple new industries through analytics. If you asked 100 people randomly on the street what Nike does, you’d probably get 98-percent or more telling you the company makes sneakers or sportswear. That’s true enough, but Nike has also become a pioneer in smart, wearable technologies, from its Nike+ running app in 2006, to the 2012 release of its FuelBand fitness tracker and its potential wearable tech-focused partnership with Apple. Products like the FuelBand contain sensors that automatically measure things like your sleep patterns and the number of steps you take each day.  I’m among the 3.3 million Americans who use FuelBand, or other devices like it. And, while Nike has plans to discontinue that particular physical product, wearable technology is helping Nike’s business model morph in new ways.  ... "

Architecture for Self Service Analytics

Increasingly important.  Also important is the metadata required for current needs, and predicted future needs of the firm. A forecast.

Architecture for Self Service Analytics

The adoption of self-service BI and analytics tools continues to grow. But understanding how to support their use is a must -- and that starts with a solid architecture for analytics.

Consultancy Gartner Inc. expects a majority of businesses to put in place some kind of self-service business intelligence and data visualization software by the end of 2016. But simply implementing a set of self-service analytics tools isn't enough to fully realize the promise of opening up the BI process to more workers in an organization. It also requires lots of behind-the-scenes work to properly prepare data architectures so business users will be well-positioned to succeed with the new technologies.  ... " 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the Architecture and Why of Neural Nets

A good overview of the concepts and key characteristics of neural nets by Stuart Reid.   We used these methods in the enterprise to replace some stat methods, especially when we wanted more control of the method involved.

They were also used where we wanted direct control of nonlinear and complex methods that we knew would address some kinds of data. They worked when we needed to rapidly re-train data in time.

The article is more on the subtleties of why you might use these, rather than the how.    He also mentions some books that address application methods in specific business domains where they are can be useful.   You can build some of these yourself, we did some of that, but its better to use well tested prefabricated systems, there are many out there in R and Python and elsewhere.

Polinode: Leveraging Visual Enterprise Networks

Polinode was brought to my attention because we also looked at using visualized networks to understand how our company worked, and could be simulated in its adaptation to changes over time and context, both slow and rapid.   A kind of dynamic, simulation of  corporate people architecture.   The thought was to further add the interaction of people with their data.  We also used highly visual network representations.  Polinode writes:

" Polinode is a powerful and easy-to-use platform for mapping, visualizing and analyzing relationships across organizations  .... We help organizations become more Agile and Innovative ... 
Polinode is a flexible tool that helps cut through complexity. At its core is the ability to map, visualize and analyze relationships. Applications range from identifying change agents and finding critical links through to promoting diversity and improving workplace layouts....plus a lot more.... " 

Check out Polinode here, you can apply for trying a closed Beta.
You can also see a video demo here.   I am looking further.

Who Owns Big Data?

Invitation to the discussion.  Which brings us back to the value of data and its ultimate view as an asset.  Ans as an asset in particular contexts of process.  As we have also seen, it remains a risk as well.

IRI on Speed in Marketing

Speed will be key in future of CPG marketing

The future of shopper marketing lies in how fast consumer packaged good companies can act on market and consumer insights, according to Information Resources President and CEO Andrew Appel. Other important factors in future growth among CPG companies include customized offerings for local populations and expansion of digital marketing through advancing consumer technologies, he said ... " 

Unified Sensor Interface

For Windows 10:  With implications for a number of systems.  Sensors are a form of augmentation, so it is a natural step.

" ... Microsoft is building a unified sensor interface and universal driver for Windows 10 that will support a slew of environmental, biometric, proximity, health and motion sensors, the company said last week at the WinHEC trade show in Shenzhen. Microsoft is also providing the building blocks for Windows 10 to support sensors that haven't yet been released.

With support for more sensors, Microsoft hopes to bring "new functionality" to PCs, smartphones, tablets, gadgets and electronics running Windows 10, according to a slide from a presentation.

Microsoft is putting Windows 10 -- which is due for release later this year -- in PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart devices, wearables, gadgets and Internet of things devices. The company has also shown the future-looking HoloLens holographic headset working with Windows 10; together, the OS and the headset could act as a launchpad for new sensor applications. ... " 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cisco Beacon Management System

In RFIDJournal. Includes a screen shot of how the beacons are managed.

" ... Several companies, including sports arenas, hotels and shopping areas, are piloting a new beacon-management dashboard provided by network technology company Cisco. Using Cisco's Connected Mobile Experience (CMX 10.0) software and Wi-Fi access points fitted with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules, the dashboard (part of the company's CMX 10.0 platform) can calculate the locations of Bluetooth beacons and place them on an indoor map. By viewing the map, users can verify the locations of beacons installed on their premises, as well as determine when the devices are moved or may be placed too close together, and thus need to be re-deployed in such a way that they do not interfere with each other's transmissions. Users can also ascertain if any beacons were installed by an unauthorized party. ... " 

DARPA Promoting New Tracking Methods

What are the broader implications of these new methods commercially?   What comes to mind are technologies that will be more precise and reliable inside buildings,  notably for retail applications and emergency response. .In CWorld:

" ... New types of self-contained instruments are under development that could better track position, time and direction of motion, which are critical aspects of GPS. DARPA is developing high-precision clocks, self-calibrating gyroscopes and accelerometers, and high-precision navigation instruments that can track position for long periods without relying on external sources.

DARPA is also researching new technologies that could make real-time tracking possible through a number of sources. DARPA is developing sensors that "use signals of opportunity" such as television, radio, cell towers, satellites, and even lightning, for real-time tracking. The effort, called ASPN (All Source Positioning and Navigation) alleviates issues related to fixing locations in buildings, deep foliage, underwater or underground, where GPS access can be limited ... "

Extracting Data from PDF Documents

Could have used this idea a number of years ago. In projects meant to gather and archive enterprise knowledge.  Data tables are often embedded in PDF documents, and extracting these systematically, in volume, sometimes ends up as a manual task with potential for error.  In CWorld:  Tabula, a free open source tool to do this.    Have not tried.

Misunderstanding Social Media

Via Knowledge@Wharton, Podcast and text by Nancy Rothbard and Amanda Gailey

When Using Social Media, Beware the Invisible Audience
Social media has augmented our ability to communicate, but it has also made it easier to misunderstand and misread our audience — or to be misunderstood. ...   Just one post to a social media site has the power to reach millions. But when we post, most of us are just thinking of, and writing for, a few people — a small audience of family, friends or the people we regularly interact with on each platform.   ... " 

Future of Learning Assessment: Sero!

Brian Moon is a collaborator,  he writes:

Our company is currently competing in Destination Innovation, a program hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and Capital Business @ The Washington Post. 

Next week, from Monday, March 30 through April 2, anyone can vote for us. We need to finish in the top 4 from our group of 8 in order to advance. 

I’ll send out the voting details as soon as they become available. I want to give you this preliminary notice in hopes that you’ll consider how you might share the request with your networks. 

For now, our corporate and project description has been posted:

You can also learn about our project at:

Thanks in advance,

Brian Moon
Chief Technology Office, Perigean Technologies LLC

Sero! is a learning assessment platform that uses Concept Maps to assess higher order thinking skills. Sero! will enable teachers and assessors to design, administer and analyze summative and formative assessments of any topic.

Visualizing Sets

Interesting example of a novel data visualization.  From Microsoft Labs.  " .... Computing and visualizing sets of elements and their relationships is one of the most common tasks one performs when analyzing and organizing large amounts of data. Common representations of sets such as convex or concave geometries can become cluttered and difficult to parse when these sets overlap in multiple or complex ways, e.g., when multiple elements belong to multiple sets. In this paper, we present a design study of a novel set visual representation, LineSets, consisting of a curve connecting all of the setʼs elements. ... " 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gamification at SAP in May 2015

First example I had heard of a major software company being involved seriously in gamification.   With mention of the key analytcs involved. Available soon.    Will be fun to see that the pilots are,  You can sign up at the link:

" ... The SAP HCP Gamification Service will be publicly available at SAPPHIRE (May 2015). You will then be able to try out the new gamification platform as service in your SAP HANA Cloud Platform Trial account. The service comes with a web-based gamification workbench for modelling game mechanics and arbitrary complex rules. The underlying gamification engine is designed for real-time processing of sophisticated gamification concepts, e.g. involving time constraints and cooperation.

Since the service relies on SAP HANA Cloud Platform it comes with built-in runtime game analytics for continuous improvement of game designs. The integration into your application works simply via Web APIs. Comprehensive code examples will demonstrate how to integrate your application, including the implementation of widgets based on SAP UI5 for the representation of your achievements. The SAP Cloud Identity Service allows you to support Single-Sign-On (SSO) .... "

This led me to the SAP Community Network, and then to the Jive Gamification Module, discussion devoted to gamification applications.  Would like to get more descriptions of applications and how successful this has been in delivery.  Or propose a pilot yourself.

See the gamification tag below for mention of some of our enterprise experiences.

Tackling Wicked Problems

This week’s presenter for the ISSIP SIG Education & Research Service Evangelist Series is Professor Gerald Midgley, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, Hull University Business School, University of Hull.    In the enterprise we had teams devoted to the concept of wicked problems.

Title of his presentation is:
Introduction to Systems Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems.  Slides Here.


TIBCO BPM Offerings: Brought to my attention and attended an introductory seminar:   Nimbus and ActiveMatrix.

Digital Colleagues for Smarter Aging

Presentation today from Cognitive Systems Institute on the idea of a 'Digital Colleague', by Polly Tremoulet, of Drexel University - Starting with a use case of  "Digital Colleagues for Smart Aging". This uses simplified sensors to aid a aging population to remain effective.  Of course these same methods could augment and thus make any age  population more effective.  Not dissimilar to some of our own work in the idea of automatically getting the right data to people as needed.  Good background history and overview of work underway.

Fujitsu Thin Solar Powered IOT Beacon

Solar powering in particular is interesting. We will continue to see developments of this type.

Fujitsu develops thin, solar-powered IoT beacon
In a move that could help spread IoT (Internet of Things) devices, Fujitsu has developed a thin, flexible IoT beacon that can send out location and ID information to smartphones and other mobile devices.

Measuring 2.5 millimeters thick and weighing 3 grams, the beacon is mounted on an elastic silicone substrate and can be rolled up and attached to curved surfaces as well as corners or even clothing. It uses a Bluetooth Low Energy module to send out pings at regular intervals.... " 

Social Graphs for Business

Starting to think more rigorously about the definition and delivery of occupations.   It is natural to think about work that has already been done to understand the formal work and social interactions of people in their jobs.  In the HBR:

" .... If you’re a savvy social media user then you’ve already figured out that the knowledge a tool like Facebook is able to gather about your social connections is not only valuable to you. For you, Facebook’s ability to depict your network of friends and the varying strengths of those relationships supports all your mutual information sharing. For others — third parties — this “social graph” makes it possible to make personalized recommendations to you, and everyone else. For example, TripAdvisor leverages Facebook’s social graph to ensure that, when you are looking for reviews of hotels, restaurants, and so forth, any reviews posted by people you know appear right at the top.

For the social network companies, it didn’t take long to realize that the latter form of value creation should be the real focus of their business models. Early ventures like MySpace primarily focused on the social activity among their account holders, working to provide better tools to help them manage their relationships. Today’s social networks see social tools not as their end product but as a means for acquiring data. Facebook, in particular, saw the big opportunity in the “information exhaust” produced by all that user activity to produce a higher-level intelligence layer that would be useful to other businesses. Having graphed its users’ relationships and interactions, it could offer anyone else interested in those users the insight to reach them with highly targeted services. ... " 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Customizing Project Management

A change by Oracle.  A natural idea to change project management by business line.  I would like to see the same done by business process.

BPM lntegrating IBM Watson, A Starting point for Modeling and Improvement

Integrate IBM BPM with IBM Watson, Part 1 ... by Raj Mehra, IBM Senior Architect. ... Improve decision making in process applications with the Question .... and Answer service on IBM Bluemix.  

  I am taking a closer look in  conversations with reearchers and practitioners. .  We developed many business process models, anc considered such a model would be an ideal place to start to create advsory models in business,

In general these models can be hard to build, and sometimes difficult to reconcile with reality but once built they can be an excellent starting point for improvements.  They can also be a means for understanding how data can be retrieved or inserted to create analytical solutions.  They are an ideal way to engage those that are curators of the real process to engineer the insertion of solutions.   Do you have some BPM models to use as starting points?  This does NOT have to be using IBM BPM models.

Twitter Services on BlueMix Creating Collective Intelligence

Results from the collaborative work between IBM and Twitter.  Relates to other things I have posted here recently on User Modeling.    To what degree does Twitter act as 'Collective intelligence'?    will continue to follow.

  " ... Last October, IBM and Twitter announced that they were combining forces to integrate Twitter data with IBM analytics services on the cloud that will help transform how businesses understand their customers, markets and trends – and inform every business decision.

Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of IBM Insights for Twitter service on Bluemix. Developers can now take advantage of the collective intelligence of hundreds of millions of people to create unique, social media applications quickly and easily, directly in the IBM Bluemix environment. The service enriches tweets, based on deep natural language processing algorithms from IBM Social Media Analytics. Real-time processing of Twitter data streams is fully supported; configurable through a rich set of query parameters and keywords. ... " 

Schemes to Revolutize Nuclear Power

A favorite topic.  A good summary from the IEEE to improve the options.  " ... Three Schemes to Revolutionize Nuclear Power ... The future of nuclear energy could lie with supersmall reactors and alternative technologies ... " 

Open Data Center Steering Group

The Open Data Center Alliance Welcomes The Coca-Cola Company And Intel To Steering Group  by Priya Rana
The Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA), the global organization where members work together to advance the deployment of enterprise cloud solutions and services that are interoperable, secure and free of vendor lock-in, today announced The Coca-Cola Company as the newest member of its Steering Group. Intel Corporation, which previously served as a technical advisor to the ODCA, has transitioned its role to Steering Group member.     "

P&G on Digital Marketing

P&G Chief Brand Officer Talks Digital Marketing  By Nicole Giannopoulos

While speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' Media Leadership Conference yesterday (5 March), Pritchard said that the use of digital technology for creativity marks one of the most important moments the advertising industry has ever seen.

However, this comes with both benefits and downturns. Pritchard says: "We are only at the beginning of mastering this amazing new creative canvas, and the media machine behind it."

Brands should be careful of becoming obsessed with technology when it comes at the cost of creating a better customer experience according to Pritchard. ... " 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tools for the Data Scientist

A look at the Data Science ecosystem.  Nice to see it all in one place.  By Lukas Biewald.   Would like further to see what all the competing claims are.   Though simply stating the claims will be controversial.   And what the relative costs are.   Reviewing,    More articles are coming.  I do like this description:

" ... Since data science is so inherently cross-functional, many of these companies and tools are hard to categorize. But at the very highest level, they break down into the three main parts of a data scientist's work flow. Namely: getting data, wrangling data and analyzing data. I'll be covering them in that real-world order, starting first with getting data, or data sources. ... " 

Device Fingerprint Tracking in Europe

It is well known that all devices have their own fingerprint.    Europe plans increased use.  " ... Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users.  .... European data protection watchdogs publish guidance on web tracking using device fingerprinting that could result in more ‘I agree’ forms  ... " 

Juji: Behavior-based Individuality Analysis

Michelle Zhou brought to my attention their new personality analysis startup that creates people profiles from Twitter and Facebook streams.  I  gave it a try and was impressed by its ease of use.     The idea of this kind of user modeling has been around for a long time, we tested related ideas with text analyses of 800 line calls.  This example is one of the first that uses new sources of social data effectively.  Consider if you combined results of this system with streams of IOT data, you could provide an analysis of people in context.

Juji has similarities to and in part derives from work done at IBM, that I have reported on previously, but it is now a unconnected startup.  It provides both profiles and alternative use case scenarios.  Give it a try, they need a critical mass of testers, and are providing incentives for students to participate.

Sign up and test the system.

They write about their goals:

Our Vision
Juji's mission is to discover the world’s people by their individuality, and to enable individualization at scale. Our notion of individualization includes two aspects. One is self individuation, a concept proposed by the renowned Psychologist Carl Jung: one should be aware of and realize one's true self. The other is for individuals to obtain hyper-personalized experiences that suit their true nature, including their personality, physical and emotional needs, values and beliefs, and taste and style.

As the first step toward fulfilling our mission, we empower our users, individuals and businesses alike, to automatically derive deep insights about people of interest from opt-in or public data (e.g., public blogs and web pages). Such insights characterize a person's or a group's individuality from multiple aspects, encompassing their professional and personal lives. Our users can then use the derived insights to develop and improve their own brand personality, and create individualized engagements at scale (e.g., interacting with hundreds or thousands of customers in an personalized way).  ....    "

Monday, March 23, 2015

Computational Thinking With Wolfram Language

An excellent transcript (with pictures) of the talk and detailed demonstration given by Stephen Wolfram at the recent SXSW on their Wolfram Language.    We looked at Wolfram Alpha when it was released, but I have not looked at their generalized computation language for some time.   Looks impressive, deserves a look.  

" ... From an intellectual point of view, the goal of the Wolfram Language is basically to express as much as possible computationally—to provide a very broad way to encapsulate computation and knowledge, and to automate, as much as possible, what can be done with them. ... " .  

All that being said, as a practitioner and leader of computational competencies in the enterprise, who interviewed many students, I saw relatively few students trained in Wolfram methods.  What we saw were typically those trained in the languages of the big computer software companies, or were open source methods now being used in schools,  like R or Python.   Wolfram seems to make a good case that their methods are better, now how can they show that to schools?   Is it better enough to make the case?

Perhaps better for generalized problem solving courses, but such courses are not common, rather than programming or machine learning courses.  This may well be the fault of CS curricula today, companies like mine now do little low-level programming, but need to do lots of problem solving.

Check out the examples in the demonstration above, these are things that would be very difficult to do readily with general purpose programming, or R or Python.

Leading with Strategic Thinking at Gillette

Via José Ignacio Sordo Galarza:

I hope this note finds you in good health and spirits!  If you recall right, almost 10 years ago, in early 2005 P&G agreed to acquire Gillette in an effort to combine many of the world’s top brands and broaden P&G’s portfolio of consumer products. P&G set a goal of generating more than $1 billion annually in combined revenue and savings within three years of merging with Gillette. ... 

Time pass by.  Last year I was blessed to meet a couple of Northwestern University Professors (Olson and Simerson) and while talking about business strategy and best in class cases, we all agree to write down about the case of the LA P&G merger with Gillette and integrate it as part of a Business Strategy book.  

As of April 13, 2015, our book will be available .  The title is “Leading with Strategic Thinking” and “our” chapter is “Driving Strategy through Structure and Process”.  This is a really nice testament of what Jorge Montoya used to say about the Latino 4F’s:   Focus, Force, Frugality and Foresee Crisis.    Here is a link to the teaser about our work.   .... " 

Future of Data Visualization

In Flowingdata:  A short talk on Data visualization.  Speaker is Jeffrey Heer, founder of Trifacta. Mentions keeping people in the loop.  Also quotes Edward Tufte's statement that we should make sure we include data variation as well as design variation in visualizations.   Which leads to including better interaction methods.   Promotes automation of alternative  design aspects of visualization  Well done.   Key further is the direct connection to other basic forms of analytics

Personal Blogs

Despite many people running off to simpler models like Twitter and Tumblr, I still like personal blog. I can even to be said to collect them.  Here is an example just brought to my attention:

A Blog by Edward B. Rockower, Ph.D. Research Professor at The Naval Postgraduate School  - One man's ruminations, explanations, pontifications ... "

Oceans of Data Institute

Brought to my attention, the Oceans of Data Institute.   " ... The Oceans of Data Institute (ODI) is dedicated to raising a generation equipped to unlock the potential of big data. From identifying the skills needed in the modern big-data workplace to exploring innovative technology and interface design that accelerate the big data learning process, ODI is changing the conversation about big data and education. ... " 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Large Scale Graphics Visualization

Just noticed this new system.  I have been working with GePhi:

An interview with Leo Meyerovich:

Who is behind Graphistry?
Graphistry spun out of UC Berkeley’s Parallel Computing lab last year. It stems from my Ph.D. on the first parallel web browser (Mozilla etc. are building new browsers around those ideas) and from Matt Torok (my RA), who built Superconductor, a GPU scripting language for big interactive data visualizations. 

What does Graphistry do?
Graphistry scales and streamlines visual analysis of big graphs.  Think answering questions about people (intelligence, sales, marketing), about things (data centers, sensors), and combinations of them (e.g., financial transactions). For example, we used it to crack a 70K+ node botnet a couple days ago. Our tool immediately revealed the accounts involved, their different roles, especially key accounts, and, after 30min of interactive analysis & googling, the credit card & passport theft operation it funneled to. Most tools can only sensibly show hundreds of nodes,  and a couple open source ones handle tens of thousands, but we’re already pushing 100X more than that. ... " 

Vinimaya Visual Marketplace Discovery

Mentioned last week in conjunction with delivering visual Marketplaces.  Can you understand your market visually through search?  Impressive approach.

 Vinimaya’s Visual Discovery capabilities provides users of MarketPlace an experience beyond  “Amazon-like” shopping. 
 vMarketPlace Procurement Shopping Experience Enhanced Through Visual Discovery To achieve success with any eProcurement system, it is essential that organizations overcome the challenges of user adoption and content enablement – getting quality catalog content from suppliers quickly into a user-friendly digital format. Employee buy-in and adoption are key to driving spend under management using eProcurement systems.  .... "

Providing App Development Services for the Enterprise

In CWorld:  Which then makes me ask the question, what is the portfolio of services that are most important?  Again, I suggest that a form of business process modeling could be key.

" ... IBM has built a team of experts on "devops," a hot, emerging approach to fast enterprise application development, and developed a collection of tools for deploying IT operations to the cloud. Devops is a set of practices for accelerating the development and release cycle of software applications by pairing the development team with the operations teams, tightening the feedback loop so the software can be updated more quickly. Often, large, highly competitive Web-facing services, such as Pinterest or Facebook, will update their services many times in a single day in a devops approach.... " 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tibco Spotfire Review

We were early users of Spotfire, and ultimately it became the standard for BI and analytics on our delivered Business Sphere systems.   Was always impressed with the ease of use of their systems. Also how easily the analytics could be integrated into a system.  Here an extensive review of the latest version.

Introduction: Neural Networks in Machine Learning

We used neural networks for some classical needs in understanding customer data.  Now they have expanded in use, via advanced hardware, to provide much 'deeper' results.   Here an introduction, quite technical beyond the first few pages. Has some Python code implementation of the underlying concepts. Worth examining for practitioners.

Artificial Neurons and Single-Layer Neural Networks
- How Machine Learning Algorithms Work Part 1
-- written by Sebastian Raschka on March 14, 2015
This article offers a brief glimpse of the history and basic concepts of machine learning. We will take a look at the first algorithmically described neural network and the gradient descent algorithm in context of adaptive linear neurons, which will not only introduce the principles of machine learning but also serve as the basis for modern multilayer neural networks in future articles.... " 

Memory Implants for the Brain via Advisory Systems

I think we are some ways from being able to do this, at least in the sense it can be connected directly to the brain. Perhaps sooner as an external interface that forms a 'remembrance engine'.  Search engines by themselves already do this to a degree.  Perhaps they can be augmented to do it better.   Beyond the military, It has also been suggested for Alzheimer therapy.  Essentially it can be seen as an advisory system based on context.    In Military.com: 

" ... Now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to expand on that cutting-edge work to build other potential breakthrough medical technologies, including a pacemaker-sized device that might someday improve the memory of troops who suffered a traumatic brain injury. Think of it as a hard drive of sorts for the brain.  ... "

Building User Models with Twitter

Have recently had to look at how user models can be built from a Twitter stream.  In particular for retail interactions.  Took a look at some of IBM's Watson influenced services in Bluemix.  Here a non technical piece in the New Yorker on the topic. The question remains if you can create a user model that has some clear value.  Good piece.

Big Data Paying Off

In Innovation Excellence: The payoff from big data.  More clearly, it is the payoff from understanding your data and they using analytics to improve your process.

A Strange New Look at Time

New, more accurate clock makes us revisit the concept of time

"We can measure time much better than the weight of something or an electrical current," he says, "but what time really is, is a question that I can't answer for you."

Maybe its because we don't understand time, that we keep trying to measure it more accurately. But that desire to pin down the elusive ticking of the clock may soon be the undoing of time as we know it: The next generation of clocks will not tell time in a way that most people understand. ... " 

And after you have ingested that, more about the arrow-of-time from an even broader perspective.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative

A reminder about the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) , who we connected with from time to time via Peter Fader.  

" .... the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) is the preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer analytic methods. Acting as “matchmaker” between academia and industry, WCAI has a broad impact on the practice of data-driven business decision-making, and the dissemination of relevant insights to managers, students and policy makers.

Based in the Wharton School’s Marketing Department and designed to capitalize on Wharton’s longstanding strength in conducting empirical research, WCAI is an interdisciplinary effort that brings a passionate data-driven perspective unmatched by any other business school. ... " 

Customer Analytics refers to the collection, management, analysis and strategic leverage of a firm\’s granular data about the behavior(s) of its customers. There are several features that distinguish customer analytics from other types of data collection/analysis. ... " 

Google and AI

In the CACM:  Google's Eric Schmidt downplays fear over AI.  " ... He also says machine learning has the potential to help solve every problem. "I can't think of a field of study, a field of research — whether it's English, soft sciences, hard sciences, or any corporation — that can't become far more efficient, far more powerful, far more clever," Schmidt said. "I think that this technology will ultimately be one of the greatest forces for good in mankind's history simply because it makes people smarter." ...  

Tweets vs Blog Posts

I blog first, and then write tweets (@FranzD) pointing to a select some of the blog entries.  Blogging itself is declining, because it is just easier to write little tweets.  Apparently Google has an algorithm where site posts that have more than 500 words get higher gravitas ranking.    And now, sites are interlacing blog post articles and tweets. 

TAG Heuer Competes with Apple Smart Watch

Not unexpected.  Apple will sell many watches because it is Apple.  Then  It comes down to what the user experience will be like, which is where Google can provide value.  Is it a techno fashion statement or a UX statement?

TAG Heuer to give Apple smartwatch competition 
According to consensus estimates, Apple is expected to sell more than 22 million units of its new smartwatch this year. Those projections may need to be adjusted, however, now that Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has announced plans to team with Google and Intel to launch an Android-based timepiece this year. How will the entry of traditional watchmakers shape the future of the smartwatch market?  ... 

A Peek at University Watson

A good slideshare on what Watson is all about. From the RPI University perspective. See also the Cognitive Systems Institute for many additional university and research resources.

Value and Risk of Data in Context. Open Group on Risk

Open Group on Data Risk.  An notes on data asset/risk architecture.

The broader task has been to look at both the VALUE and the RISK of data in CONTEXT Knowing that accurately would be very valuable. But further, it came to mind, and prompted me to post this discussion, that the architecture of the data would also be useful to evaluate this way. Alternatively you could consider the architecture a key part of the CONTEXT. And further, is the metadata also part of the CONTEXT?

Thinfilm NFC Bottle Labels

The use of RFID to replace bar codes always run into the fact that packaging forms are so variable. Here is an interesting example.in RFID Journal.    " ... Printed electronics company Thin Film Electronics (Thinfilm) has announced a Near Field Communication (NFC) sensor tag known as OpenSense, a product designed for use on bottles to authenticate a bottle's contents, or to indicate (when read) if its seal has been broken. The "smart bottle" tag (slated for commercial launch during the third quarter of this year) will be displayed in prototype version by Thinfilm and Diageo, a maker of alcoholic beverages that assisted in the tag's development. The two companies will demonstrate a "smart bottle" of Johnnie Walker Blue Label with the OpenSense label attached to its cap and bottle at the Mobile World Conference, being held on Mar. 2-5 in Barcelona. ... " 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book: Marketing Research Using R

Had not seen a book yet that looked at marketing research problems using the analytics language R, This is written by a Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) fellow and colleague.  I plan to get a copy.

R for Marketing Research and Analytics (Use R!) Paperback – March 10, 2015 by Christopher N. Chapman, Elea McDonnell Feit

They write:

   " ... This book is a complete introduction to the power of R for marketing research practitioners. The text describes statistical models from a conceptual point of view with a minimal amount of mathematics, presuming only an introductory knowledge of statistics. Hands-on chapters accelerate the learning curve by asking readers to interact with R from the beginning. Core topics include the R language, basic statistics, linear modeling, and data visualization, which is presented throughout as an integral part of analysis.

Later chapters cover more advanced topics yet are intended to be approachable for all analysts. These sections examine logistic regression, customer segmentation, hierarchical linear modeling, market basket analysis, structural equation modeling, and conjoint analysis in R. The text uniquely presents Bayesian models with a minimally complex approach, demonstrating and explaining Bayesian methods alongside traditional analyses for analysis of variance, linear models, and metric and choice-based conjoint analysis.

With its emphasis on data visualization, model assessment, and development of statistical intuition, this book provides guidance for any analyst looking to develop or improve skills in R for marketing applications. ... " 

Network Economics of Cybercrime and Data Assets

In Analytics Magazine:  This connects with some of my recent work looking at data asset and risk value.  Technical details at the link, reviewing. 

" ... A new computer-based model examining cybercrimes adds an important way of examining the perishable value of stolen data so policymakers can plan against future hacks such as the recent Anthem data breach, according to a study authored by Anna Nagurney and published by the INFORMS journal Service Science. The model captures the network economics of cybercrime activity and permits the policy evaluation of interventions. ...   A novel feature of the model is its inclusion of the critical time element and perishability of stolen cyber financial products whose value, as in the case of fresh produce, decreases over time, which in turn impacts their price on the black market. The model also identifies different demand prices for different financial products, with certain credit cards being more valuable because of credit limit, expiration date and continent of origin. ... " 

Google Advances in Facial Recognition

In Forbes:   " .. Google: Our new system for recognizing faces is the best one ever ... 

Last week, a trio of Google  ...  researchers published a paper on a new artificial intelligence system dubbed FaceNet that it claims represents the most-accurate approach yet to recognizing human faces. FaceNet achieved nearly 100-percent accuracy on a popular facial-recognition dataset called Labeled Faces in the Wild, which includes more than 13,000 pictures of faces from across the web. Trained on a massive 260-million-image dataset, FaceNet performed with better than 86 percent accuracy. .... "
Recall my recent pieces on the neural network method called deep learning.

Challenge of Cognitive Assistants for Knowledge Workers

Just attended a talk by Hamid R Motahari Nezhad of IBM Almaden, on Cognitive Work Assistants. His slides here.  As part of the Cognitive Systems Institute series.  This relates to the overall problem of how we will see AI at work, and how it may augment or replace labor.   Examples like Siri are getting people used to the process of cognitive interaction with an assistant.  Recall my particular interest has been how business process models will be used to bootstrap this process.

The talk provided a view of how such assistants will augment knowledge workers, what is currently working and the many challenges that still exist.   Although we have made considerable strides in the last decade, there are still a number of challenges to make the generalized assistant work.   The slides also include an excellent historical perspective.

Still disappointed to see that there seems to be relatively little work on how the considerable efforts already done with BPM to model work can be used to get this kind of augmentation started.   This relates to the distinction between generalized work augmentation and interaction and focus as part of a specific job and it's required data.    Hope to post more here on that soon.

Good talk, essential for understanding the current state of challenges and solutions,

Smart Machines Now Seen at Work

Good look at how machines replace people at work.   Similar concerns were written about in the late 80s.   Clearly AI will change how we work,  the systems are augmenting and thus changing the nature of jobs and their component tasks.  Survey of current applied work underway, including Watson. Attending a presentation on just such work this morning.

' ...  "In the next five years I expect that the range of decisions we let machines make autonomously will grow substantially," says Tim Estes, CEO and founder of Digital Reasoning, which offers a natural language processing engine.

"Over the next five or 10 years we will see the rise of a class of useful, personalized, AI-based machines that can do things for you," agrees Neff Hudson, vice president at insurer USAA. "It will proceed in stages, and now it's in the personalized scripting phase," in other words, the ability to respond to questions. ... ' 

Shopper Anonymity not Possible

In Retailwire:  Good piece on how little information it takes to reveal an account.    

" ... A new study led by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that even with names and account numbers deleted from credit cards, just four other pieces of information were enough to re-identify 90 percent of the individual shoppers.

The researchers analyzed transactions made by 1.1 million people in 10,000 stores over three months. Although the information had been "anonymized" by removing names and account numbers, each purchase made by the same credit card was tagged with the same random identification number.... " 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What Went Wrong with Glass?

Thoughts from a former Google exec.  Will Microsoft's HoloLens learn from this experience?  I still want a workable means to do augmented reality.   I have seen attempts to do it since 1990.   Doing it on a smartphone is interesting, but not satisfying.

Rebooting the Retail Beacon for Experience

In Retailwire: A look at beacons and their purpose. from SXSW.  Certainly you don't want them to assault you,  or erode your privacy.  Now how can they serve you?  A panel discussion.  " ... A key theme to the panel was how technologies such as beacons have extraordinarily powerful potential for morphing the retail experience, but that the industry should not consider beacons as tools to "take back control" of the shopper experience. Rather, we should be thinking about how to make their experience better with them. ... "

GSMA Telecom MarketPlace

Brought to my attention by Vinimaya, a long time provider of online marketplaces for efficient procurement. Now they are announcing a new service that effectively connects buyers and sellers in Telecom.

Much more here, with some excellent examples and visuals, contact them for a free demo system.

" ... The Research Centre offers innovative tools and data that allow  buyers and sellers to gain valuable insight into products, potential  partners, competitors or even an entire market. 

The Web Visualization Tool enables users to view into the “deep web” by seeing the top 500 search results in a heat map format.  The Message Analysis Tool distills a website or document into an  easy to digest visual format. ... " 

What is the GSMA Marketplace?
The GSMA Marketplace is a new online commerce platform that enables buyers and sellers in the telecommunications industry to connect with each other. Sellers can create customized storefronts and post product  catalogues. Buyers can search for new suppliers or products and can initiate RFPs and RFXs. Both buyers and sellers can use the Research Centre, which allows detailed analysis of markets, potential partners and competitors.

As the trade association representing over 800 mobile network operators worldwide, GSMA is a trusted intermediary within the telecoms industry. By running successful events like Mobile World Congress, GSMA has significant experience in connecting buyers and sellers. The GSMA 
Marketplace will leverage the relationships and trust we have developed in the ecosystem to improve the procurement and business development activity of the entire industry.

Who will Participate in the GSMA Marketplace?
The GSMA Marketplace will include mobile network operators, network infrastructure providers, device manufacturers, application and service providers, system integrators and many other companies that buy and sell in the mobile ecosystem. ... " 

GSMA Introductory site and Video.

GSMA Press release on the GSMA Marketplace.

Behavioral Analysis and Motivation

I was reminded of the work of Professor BJ Fogg at Stanford, which we used in a number of projects His site describing his work on human behavioral Analysis and motivation.  Worth a look.  More at his tag below, even hints at project work with us.

Classification Example Using Deep learning

Want to understand the use of artificial neural networks for analytics?

" ... The National Data Science Bowl, a data science competition where the goal was to classify images of plankton, ... participated with six other members of my research lab, the Reservoir lab of prof. Joni Dambre at Ghent University in Belgium. Our team finished 1st! In this post, we’ll explain our approach. ...  

Interesting and instructive image recognition case study. Considerable detail provided.

Classifying plankton with deep neural networks  ..
(Sample images at the right)
Introduction, The problem ... 
The goal of the competition was to classify grayscale images of plankton into one of 121 classes. They were created using an underwater camera that is towed through an area. The resulting images are then used by scientists to determine which species occur in this area, and how common they are. There are typically a lot of these images, and they need to be annotated before any conclusions can be drawn. Automating this process as much as possible should save a lot of time! ....  :

Brought to my attention by Dirk Borne

Looking for Hard to Find Data

Classic problem.  You have internal data to support an analytic decision.  But you don't have the data required to support the results of the analysis to maximize its value.  Here a service that addresses the problem.

" ... DaaS is a service approach in which unique and Hard-to-Find Data (HTFD) assets are sourced and structured to deliver a constant stream of qualified prospects, including a company’s own customers, who are actively searching for what they are selling. Distinctly different from list buying, these data sources are a highly customized marketing asset versus disconnected, one-time use prospect lists. .... " 

Here is a post on the same topic, but specifically about market research data.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

P&G Builds New Beauty Innovation Center

A continuation of the construction of specialized and global innovation centers that started in 2000.  See this innovation center link for many more examples.

" .... Procter & Gamble Co. revealed today it will spend at least $300 million to build a massive research and development center at its Mason campus. Cincinnati-based P&G intends to move 1,150 employees to the new Beauty Innovation Center from its R&D operations in Blue Ash.
Construction will begin this summer on a 500,000-square-foot facility at 8700 Mason-Montgomery Road. Plans are still being finalized, but preliminary work is expected to start in April. P&G's current facility in Mason is 1.5 million square feet.  ... " 

Data Visualization Playbook

Revisiting the basics.   Nicely done.   I add, always consider visualization as a form of analytics, and the one that should always be used first.  Your eye is the best anomaly detector.  Keep what you use as understandable and simple as possible.   Display  everything well labeled and proportional.  Let the user interact with the data.  This article is a good introduction. Includes links to a number of easy to use applications for data visualization.

Intel's Curie Wearable Component

The Curie Wearable.  It won't be a fashion statement.    But an  interesting component for future IOT applications.   Most interesting, its very small size and its low power consumption,

" ... Intel wants wearable device technology to be inconspicuous, so it's making its Curie wearable computer available through a button-sized board or as part of a chip package. ... The Curie, slated to ship in the second half of the year, was first shown at CES in the form of a button-sized computer on Intel CEO Brian Krzanich's suit. The almost invisible Curie had technology that could read heart rates, and transfer the data wirelessly using Bluetooth. Blending technology discreetly into wearables is Intel's goal with Curie, which will go into a wide range of tiny coin battery devices that can run for days and months without a recharge. ... " 

More from Intel on the Curie.

Sammy Haroon in The BusinessMakers

My longtime colleague at Procter & Gamble is featured on an interview in The BusinessMakers. He gives P&G good credit in molding him.   Nicely done Sammy!   He now works in a Baker Hughes innovation group in Palo Alto, CA   I agree, he has a true excitement for technology of many kinds ....

" ... What’s it like to LIVE on the bleeding edge? Specifically, Sammy Haroon tracks leading research and technology with an eye toward reapplication, incubates proofs of concept, and monitors analytics across multiple industries. And he gets paid to do it! As director of the Palo Alto Innovation Center at Baker Hughes, Haroon’s excitement for technology gives him a unique insight into our future. And a unique philosophy on life. What a great job! And a great guy to fill it. ... " 

Watson, the VA and PTSD

An interesting example for Watson, in Mashable: 

"  ... IBM and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced they'll be using IBM's Watson to develop a clinical reasoning system to help primary care physicians treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Watson will ingest the electronic medical records for millions of veterans to find patterns — the kind that will help the Veteran's Health Administration (part of the V.A) healthcare professionals make diagnoses and find solutions more quickly for the 8.3 million veterans currently in its care.

Like many of Watson's other projects, this will allow clinicians to ask natural-language questions. Watson will answer based on massive amounts of data that, for this project, will reside in an Austin-based data hosting facility. ... "  

Big Data and AI

It makes sense to connect the two more strongly.

The tech industry is placing new bets on artificial intelligence, using massive data sets and powerful computers trying to revive the long sought technology. Thanks to Big Data.

Sentinent Technologies, a San Fransisco based firm is applying large-scale distributed computing to artificial intelligence. The idea behind is to use million or tens of millions of computer nodes located in multiple locations to analyse large amounts of data with AI-based algorithms. ... " 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Graph Analytics to Understand Bigger Data

A way to visually and systematically examine how your Big Data is interconnected.    Here recently in Infoworld,   We used this for a number of projects in the enterprise.  The software is catching up with the volume and complexity of the data.   Again, I point to the free open source system Gephi, a good place to start, see the text link below to much more.

Sometimes a key aspect of what is called exploratory data analysis. 
Its not just about the data, its about how it interacts with other data and its context. The network becomes a form of anaytical metadata.

" ... How graph analytics deliver deeper understanding .. Graph analysis will make big data even bigger

What's the fastest growing use case for big data analytics?

By mapping relationships among high volumes of highly connected data, graph analytics unlocks more insightful questions and produces more accurate outcomes ... 

As the sources, types, and amounts of data continue to expand, so will the need for different kinds of analytics to make something of that data. Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to analytics -- no magic pill that will get your organization the insight it needs to stay competitive. Graph analytics has emerged as the new hot topic, but to what end? What is the impact of graph analytics technology on organizations seeking to discover the cause, effect, and influence of events on business outcomes?  ... " 

Amazon Echo and the IOT

This also made me think of the Amazon Echo effort. With possible applications in store and in enterprise.  Possibly doing a better job of integrating the two as part of an Internet of Things. Another way to connect people into the IOT to capture their input and thus engage them in new ways.

Amazon Accelerates Internet of Things (IoT) Strategy by Joe Panettieri  (May require registration)
Amazon's Internet of Things (IoT) strategy is coming into public focus. The latest move involves Amazon acquiring 2lemetry -- an IoT startup that links machine data with business applications, and potentially drives customers to buy more products and services.

2lemetry confirmed the Amazon buyout on its website. The startup has two core IoT offerings so far:
2lemetry Integrate -- which connects device data to applications and databases like Salesforce.com, Heroku and ThingWorx.

2lemetry Incoming -- which blends the worlds of people, places and things -- covering everything from asset tracking to far more advanced applications like facial recognition with analytics. 2lemetry claims its facial recognition solution "effectively measures and records age and gender– data that can then be used for digital signage or for analytics to drive future decisions. .... "

Taskwatch takes Wearables to Focus Workflow

Local firm Hipaax works with Samsung Wearables.  Love to see wearable ideas that link to enterprise applications.   This links people to focus on work process.We need more innovation in that area.   Like the broad idea, but will take some convincing and educating employees.  In BizJournals:

" ... A firm that got its start at the Mason Tech Center is collaborating with Samsung on its latest wearable tech products.

Hipaax, which creates productivity and collaboration technology, has been named a Silver Partner in the Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program. That means Hipaax's TaskWatch platform will be available across Samsung's global network of customers, carriers and partners.
"Our platform — that customers can configure to their changing workflow needs — will enable companies to mobilize their connected workforce like never before," founder and president Bharat Saini said.

TaskWatch improves a business's workflow through cloud-based computing and wearable devices including smartwatches, tablets and other monitors. It prioritizes tasks and can be constumized to work across a variety of industries, including healthcare, retail, hospitality, warehousing and construction. ... " 

See also HiPaax.    Via Stan Dyck.

Data School for Machine Learning

DataSchool:  Free Stanford based videos, slides, book, exercises and more about machine learning and statistical methods.   Complete practical examples in R code.  Technical, but quite accessible to anyone with beginner to intermediate statistical and coding training.   Covers many of the fundamental methods in use today.

Sentient Robotics

From USA TODAY: Sirius founder Martine Rothblatt envisions world of cyber clones, tech med  ... The founder of Sirius satellite radio is eager for a future where many of our chores are handled by sentient robots 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Free Python Introduction

Working with some students to get them up to speed in the computing language Python.  Here from Infoworld on other programming resources, a nice, free PDF on getting started with Python.  This is probably most useful for people with some programming background.

Python: "Dive Into Python 3"
With Python's developers and various Linux distributions pushing Python 3 as the better long-term choice over Python 2, programmers need guidance on what's new in the language and how to make the most of it. "Dive into Python" covers the topic, and it works as a good general introduction to the Python language. It even includes a set of sections on converting Python 2 code to Python 3. ... "

Exploring Service Economics

Interesting talk given in the ISSIP series on Services Economics by Doug Morse, on 12/17/14,  Slides here.

Space Time Insight

Brought to my attention .... Situational Intelligence

via Correspondent Paul Hofmann CTO

Breakthrough Off-The-Shelf Solutions

Space-Time Insight’s industry solutions include off-the-shelf applications that have already been proven to transform the way companies operate.  These applications take data from across an organization, correlate it, analyze it and present it to users in compelling visualizations that drive faster, more-informed decision-making.  By giving organizations a 360-degree operational view of historical, current and possible future performance, the applications excel at converting big data into actionable insight.  Our customers deploy our solutions in a matter of months with minimal IT resources, hastening time-to-value and reducing implementation and maintenance costs. ... " 

Gathering Television User Sentiment

Gathering Television Viewer Sentiment ... Case study: Learn how Hong Kong–based TVB uses social media to analyze audience sentiment    ... " 

Tableau Free Visualization Tool

 I have been a subscriber to Tableau for so long, I had forgotten about their free data visualization tool.  It has been enhanced.

" ... Tableau Desktop Public, the Tableau Public client app now available for the Mac and Windows, takes data in Microsoft Access, Excel, or CSV format. While the full-blown version of Tableau can connect to remote data sources like Splunk or Hadoop, the Public client is limited to OData and Windows Azure Marketplaces as back ends and will only work with up to 1 million rows of data.

TableauA sample Tableau Public data visualization, with a fully interactive data set. Tableau Desktop Public allows you to create such visualizations from CSV, Excel, or Access data, then publish them as embeddable HTML5.

By dragging and dropping elements from the ingested data, a user can create a visualization in much the same manner as an Excel chart, then upload the results to Tableau Public for sharing. The resulting visualization is HTML5-powered and interactive, but it must come from either Tableau Public's server or one's own server version of Tableau. ... " 

Omni Channel benefit to Ship from Store

In Retailwire: Is ship-from-store a proven omnichannel benefit? "  ...  Many retailers are now using their stores as fulfillment centers to ship a small portion to upwards of 20 percent of the product they sell online. ...  " 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Digital Trends at Frito Lay

Always a leader in technology.  Frito Lay speaks out.  " ... How a Top Frito-Lay Marketer Keeps Up With Digital Trends ... CMO Ram Krishnan is a 'Marketing Technologist' At Snack Maker ... "


I see that comments on posts are increasing.  Spam has decreased now that you need to register. This decreases time needed to manage this blog.  I still approve every comment.  I usually do that within the same day, so be patient.   Comments can disagree, but must be strictly on point, and not just advertisements.  My call.  This blog has now been attracting well over a thousand hits a day, and is approaching one million hits since its formation.  Many posts are mirrored on twitter @FranzD.

Data Science Books for Key Value Topics

Detailed piece on two new books on favorite topics: Time Series and Anomaly detection.  based on my long experience in the enterprise, these were the most important topics that connect with decision science. These were important far before the emergence of 'Big Data'.   They remain essential today.   Also mentioned, key connections to the Internet of things (IOT).  If you are interested in producing value with data science, they are a great place to start.

Making All Ads Shoppable

In Adage: L'Oreal USA Moves to Make All Types of Ads -- Online and Off -- 'Shoppable' ... Deal with Powa Could Allow Direct-Response Tags on All Ads, Promotions .. ".  Have followed L'Oreal for years as a technical innovator, click tag below.

End of Apps via Connections?

As we know them.   by Paul Adams

" ...The experience of our primary mobile screen being a bank of app icons that lead to independent destinations is dying. And that changes what we need to design and build.

How we experience content via connected devices – laptops, phones, tablets, wearables – is undergoing a dramatic change. The idea of an app as an independent destination is becoming less important, and the idea of an app as a publishing tool, with related notifications that contain content and actions, is becoming more important. This will change what we design, and change our product strategy. ... " 

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Algorithms of Robo Journalism

In the NYT.

If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?
LET me hazard a guess that you think a real person has written what you’re reading. Maybe you’re right. Maybe not. Perhaps you should ask me to confirm it the way your computer does when it demands that you type those letters and numbers crammed like abstract art into that annoying little box. ... Because, these days, a shocking amount of what we’re reading is created not by humans, but by computer algorithms. We probably should have suspected that the information assaulting us 24/7 couldn’t all have been created by people bent over their laptops. ... " 

Changing Face of B2B Marketing

In Thinking with Google.  Worthwhile examination.   " ... There have been interesting shifts in B2B in the past two years. What's changed? To find out, we surveyed B2B decision makers about their research and purchase habits. The results debunk a number of widely held beliefs and have major implications for any B2B marketer. .... " 

Following Tableau 9 Beta

This week attended an overview of Tableau 9,0  Nicely done global streamed user meeting.  I have yet to try the Beta myself. Impression based on the presentation.

I much like the use of the phrase 'visual analytics'.   Visualization is analytics, and all analytics should start with visualization of data.

Overall they are basing their changes on the ability to establish 'Flow'  (The psychology theory of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi ) when analysing and visualizing the data.  Good idea, but this depends on the kind and needs of data and decisions being addressed.  I am all for easy of use via Flow.

Quite a few new ways to select data points on maps, which for certain kinds of analyses can be very useful.   The selection methods are quite intuitive.

Showed the integration of simple analytic, like regression based forecasting.  Easy to overlay on existing data.    Well done, but still a minimal amount of analytics.  When comparing it to other visualization packages like Spotfire.

I like very much what they have done with being able to derive level of detail (LOD) variables.  This is a very powerful concept, an excellent way to do some kinds of analysis, like Cohort methods.  But at the same time it takes you away from the purely visual interaction with data.  It is nice to know it is there, but it also gets you into the weeds of analysis.  The average non analytic user may be confused. They have a white paper coming on its value and use.  ( Will place link here ) Good

New kinds of data cleanup, meta data inclusion, ability to manipulate the data during its ingestion. Data that is strangely arranged or poorly pivoted in its original form. All good ideas that should prove useful.  Lots of times you just want to get the data in cleanly for ready use with a minimum of effort.

Look forward to getting my hands on this, which should be very soon.

Rule Based Expert Systems

It is still possible to effectively build rule based expert systems.   I see that LPA has just established a new information and Download page.  Includes some good examples in a number of business contexts. Note how this relates to concept mapping.  Nicely done.  They write:

Rules without Programmers Self-service Expert Systems

Build your own expert applications without programming from simple decision trees to complex interconnected flowcharts.

VisiRule lets you capture your knowledge graphically, test and validate the logic and publish it so that others can benefit from it.

You can even present the VisiRule chart at run-time, as a map to help guide users through your decision logic. ...  "

(Update)   The comments contain a discussion about what knowledge can be implemented using such systems.   We discovered soon that maintenance difficulty was a key issue for updated knowledge in these systems.