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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smartphones and PCs

Post and discussion about how Smartphones will displace PCs. I agree, if I can project from my smartphone when it is needed, and have a means for rapid text entry.


A friend recommended the Posterous package some time ago. It's a quick and easy way to set up a blog from email and mobile. I will not be replacing this blog, but I will use it as a place to store more informal information, drafts and documents I will not place here directly. See my posterous space here, which I will continue to refine. Based on what I have seen there so far it looks like a good place to start blogging, with the right elements needed to provide value. You can even automatically add Google Analytics to your site. Like to see your comments on Posterous.

Math Models for Solving Crimes

From recent predictive modeling advances: " ... Most crime happens somewhere familiar to the criminal. Burglars return to the scenes of a crime to replicate the success or exploit vulnerabilities identified during previous offenses, according to Andrea Bertozzi, a professor at UCLA and one of the authors of Dissipation and Displacement of Hotspots in Reaction-Diffusion Models of Crime, which will appear in the March 2, 2010 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences... "

Tableau Examples Blog

A blog of Tableau examples. For example, constructing radial charts.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Songdo City, South Korea

Regret I cannot attend this call. I have been pitched a number of these 'smart cities' and related ideas during my connection with innovation centers. All intriguing in their approach and scope. The Songdo City's official site is here.

"Jerry Michalski is hosting a conference talk on Monday, March 1 2010 at 1:30 PM EST. Dial-in Number: 1-270-400-1500 Participant Access Code: 778778

Its about New Songdo City.
Despite the known dangers of centralized planning of new, idealized cities, South Korea has undertaken one that is to be a green, high-tech mecca, called New Songdo City. Greg Lindsay wrote a piece about New Songdo for Fast Company, describing how developer Stan Gale nexted LG and Microsoft in favor of Cisco for the major tech elements.

The vision is even more ambitious: New Songdo is a prototype for "instant cities" that Gale expects to build across China and elsewhere. Cisco sees a $30B opportunity, but it may be larger. Look at HP and IBM's related initiatives and consider worldwide population shifts.

With Greg, let's discuss:
How has work on New Songdo gone?
What are the big aha!s? the obstacles?
How do Cisco, HP and IBM's initiatives relate?
What does the future of smart cities look like? ... '

Augmented Maps

Ted talk on augmented maps in Bing from the Snapdragon developer and how it includes Twitter, Flickr and other geolocated blog content Have not taken a look at Bing Maps in detail yet, but will do so.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Being Investigated?

My former colleague John Sopko has published a paper from the Washington Legal Foundation titled “Trial By Ordeal: A Survival Guide For Congressional Investigations”. If you are being investigated or anticipate it, this may be an important read.

Recommending New Things

New ideas in adding novelty to recommendation algorithms. Have always thought that accuracy is not everything. I don't always want the same thing, give me something new.

Creating a Location-Based Service

In Adage, I like the basic idea. Especially since the more I have looked at services like FourSquare, the more I think there is a big idea that is being missed. ' ... Some, including Bravo, HBO and Warner Brothers, are partnering with consumer-facing location-based services (LBS) like Foursquare to do so. Others are seeing a benefit in creating their own communities and geo-apps, though this can be a development-heavy and costly process. Through a new DIY platform, Socialight hopes to make this a much simpler proposition ... " Of course what you do not get immediately is the existing base of consumers that is available for you clients. Worth a look.

New Random Number Generation Method

Having a good random number generator is critical for constructing simulation methods to build models. Some new reported progress is reported:
" ... New Approach to Generating Truly Random Numbers May Improve Internet Security, Weather Forecasts
ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2010) — A new approach to generating truly random numbers could lead to improved Internet security and better weather forecasts, according to researchers writing in the International Journal of Critical Computer-Based Systems... "

Multiple Agent Decision Making

From the CACM, very instructive piece:

Making Decisions Based on the Preferences of Multiple Agents, by Vincent Conitzer
Computer scientists have made great strides in how decision-making mechanisms are used. Communications of the ACM , Vol. 53 No. 3, Pages 84-94

People often must reach a joint decision even though they have conflicting preferences over the alternatives. Examples range from the mundane (such as allocating chores among the members of a household) to the sublime (such as electing a government and thereby charting the course for a country). The joint decision can be reached by an informal negotiating process or by a carefully specified protocol.

Philosophers, mathematicians, political scientists, economists, and others have studied the merits of various protocols for centuries. More recently, especially over the last decade, computer scientists have also become deeply involved in this study .... '.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wearable Patches Contain Scannable Code

Stan Dyck points me to this example of a scannable code that can be placed on clothing and then read from a smartphone. Cleverly called in the image an 'extended identity'. Note somewhat of a similarity to TalkingTag, which I mentioned recently. We examined on-clothing messaging as early as 2000, but well before smartphone scanners were available to the consumer, I have seen RF tag applications do similar things as well. Controlling your message selectively for privacy is also part of the capability to consider.

Podcast on Advanced BIS

From the Business Intelligence Network:

Teradata and SAS Address the Challenges of Advanced Business Analytics
Rob Berman, Teradata Vice President, and Scott Van Valkenburgh, Director of Global Alliances at SAS, present the top challenges facing today’s business leaders trying to leverage advanced business analytics, and they describe the SAS and Teradata partnership and vision for addressing these challenges.

Superbowl Ad Analyses

Sands Research sends along complete rankings and background from their yearly Superbowl Ad study.

" ... Leading neuromarketing firm Sands Research announced today that it has completed its annual study gauging the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials. The 2010 results were compiled using electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and eye-tracking data gathered from study participants...

“Our technology measures engagement millisecond by millisecond and is the only to reflect frame by frame changes in emotion. Volkswagen’s ‘Punch Dub’ was our top scorer this year with a commercial that engaged viewers in virtually all of the frames,” stated Dr. Stephen Sands, Chairman and Chief Science Officer at Sands Research. “The company turned viewers into ‘Volkswagen detectors’ by having them look for and anticipate the cars – VW really maximized their entire 30 seconds.” Dr. Sands also noted that Google’s “Parisian Love” advertisement used an engaging storyline to elicit a consistent, deep emotional response from viewers.

Using its proprietary Neuro Engagement Factor (NEF)™, the company ranked these spots and 61 other commercials. The top ads and their respective scores are as follows, click on any of these below to see the ad and the brain reaction. This is a chance to see how the ad stim matches up against the details of the brain scan:

#1: Volkswagen - Punch Dub/Deutsch – Los Angeles (4.71)
#2: Vizio - Forge/Venables, Bell and Partners – San Francisco (3.96)
#3: Budweiser - Bridge/DDB – Chicago (3.91)
#4: Google - Parisian/Google Creative Lab (3.80)
#5: Bridgestone - Whale of a Tail/Richards Group – Dallas (3.71)

More information and complete ratings


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In-Store Food Preparation

Some time ago I mentioned the increasing drive for in-store automatic preparation of foods, here in the Chicago Sun Times, the manufacture of snack chips in the store. High margin and shopper engagement with the process . See Jiminy Chips.

Convergence of BI and BPM Examined

Holger Kisker in the Forrester blog writes about the convergence of business intelligence and business process management. ' ... When business processes finally become intelligent? Over the past several months I have done a lot of research on the BI market, the trends and the vendor landscape. There is a clear indication that BI solutions are becoming more sophisticated, more intelligent and – more integrated into other applications to enhance the performance of the application supported business processes...' .

See also colleague Mark Montgomery's comments about his long-time work in this area using semantic methods. He also cites this intriguing intelligence domain case scenario, using the KYield system. I think that one way to insert intelligence into BPM systems is to use increasingly sophisticated BI systems to tailor the relationships necessary. The automating of this into fully adapting systems is a big challenge with considerable potential benefits.

The Design of Procter and Gamble

I have been reading The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger L. Martin of the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. The book does an excellent job of introducing you to design concepts, and their applications in business.

I will review the introductory parts of the book in another post, but I want to point out that Chapter 4 of the book, pp. 75- 103, called Transforming the Organization, are devoted to describing P&G's embracing of the design concept in the 2000s, and the remarkable results that came about. I was hired into P&G in the late 70s, very much an analytically and engineering oriented problem solver. I saw this transition occur and although I was skeptical at first, saw a number of very useful results.

A number of new design processes were created to make the best use of mysteries, heuristics and algorithms within the knowledge funnel (well defined in the book) to further the abilities of the company. Top down organizations were set up under the leadership of Claudia Kotchka, to help people understand design.

A method of solving 'wicked problems' was instituted to remove some of the friction in moving innovation forward. Connect & Develop was created to effectively bring in external innovation. I would have included more about how P&G's innovation centers were used to establish laboratories to test the ideas. They also engaged Global Business Services to use IT methods to build 'decision cockpits' to help groups work together.

As the book points out: the idea of 'design is NOT about making things pretty', but how to spark innovation and make it work. It is about continuously demonstrating and letting people experience the value of design in business.

Anyone interested in P&G's approach, and how this is credited by many with saving P&G in the early 2000s should read this book. It's business writing of the best kind, describing both the theory and why it works with great examples. Experience at several other companies is also covered. Its also a nice slice of corporate history at P&G.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Simplicity is King

Simplicity is the mother of adoption, by Tim McLaughlin. Could not agree more.

Smartphone Scanning: Beyond Barcodes

I have been following and testing uses of smartphones as sensors. The obvious connection is using the ubiquitous barcodes to identify things in their environments. One alternative way is to use a scanned image of a product itself and matching that to a library of images. We tested that idea with a number of methods in the innovation center. The following article shows its being implemented already:

" Find products by scanning barcodes, cover art with Google Shopper for Android
by Brad Linder
Google has just rolled out a new application for Android called Google Shopper that lets you comparison shop for items by scanning a barcode or cover art of books, music, movies, and other objects with your Android smartphone's camera. You can also use Google's voice search capabilities.

In other words, if you see a book in a store and want to know if you can get it cheaper online, you can grab your phone and point it at the barcode or cover, or while nobody's within earshot, you can speak the title into your phone. Google Shopper will attempt to find the correct book and hook you up with the prices at various web retailers... '.

Brain Systems and General Intelligence

In Science Daily, good overview of work at Caltech on the brain systems that affect general intelligence. The study shows that general intelligence is not localized, but not surprisingly, depends on how the whole brain works as a system. Via Stan Dyck.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Brands Using Facebook

In Adage, a good number of examples of major brands using Facebook. ' ... "What Facebook does is connect people into communities," said an official with P&G, which recently began efforts to team with Facebook on new digital and social-media capabilities... '

Addictive Sounds

Fast Company article on addictive sounds. I agree with a number of commenters who say that these sounds are US sounds and not global. Some of the thoughts included are worth understanding, we still do not use sounds effectively, even after all the many years of jingles. Our own experiments in this space dealt with the influence of focused sounds in the context of retail spaces.

Foursquare Signs Deal with Zagat

An interesting development which links the game like approach of Foursquare with restaurant rating service Zagat. I am still skeptical since there is no assurance that the participant has ever physically visited the restaurant and thus the system is easily cheated. Still looking for an easy way to ensure this, based on my reading of the article though there will be ways to see reviews entered, people will still be able to check-in to a restaurant from anywhere. Comments?

Superbowl Neuromarketing Report

In their February newsletter Sands Research is offering their report on their yearly report of superbowl ads. ' .. Each year, the Sands Research team prepares for the big event - our annual neuro-engagement ranking of the seventy plus television advertisements that run during the big game. Will this year's Bridgstone spot repeat in the number one position or is a new champion crowned? In 2009, three out of our top five ranked spots were nominated for Emmy's and the Coke Heist spot from Super Bowl XLIII created by Wieden + Kennedy, won the 2009 Emmy Award for outstanding TV commercial ... ' .

They also have a Webinar this Wednesday on the study:

When: Wednesday, February 24th
Time: 2:00 pm EST / 11:00 am PST (19:00 UTC /GMT)
Contact at: info@sandsresearch.com for the login information.

Coffee and the Artificial Nose

Short piece on coffee and the artificial nose. It was an area that we examined closely and tried to understand from both linking to the real world world of the agricultural commodity called coffee, and how it related to simulated process changes like roasting. I still have my doubts that these methods can yet detect the parts-per-billion requirements that drive coffee flavor. Still all these sensor improvements are worth following, the sense of detailed machine smell will ultimately be solved. Much more in this blog on the sense of smell.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Time vs Psychological Value of Money

Good piece by Jim Benson. About the Psychological vs the Time value of money, and how to leverage that effect.

Procter Product Lifecycle Management

From Consumer Goods Magazine:

P&G Optimizes Packaging and Artwork Initiatives
Procter & Gamble (P&G) extends the scope of its V6 PLM implementation to incorporate global packaging and artwork initiatives. This builds on the previously announced strategic selection of Dassault Systemes' (DS) solutions for an enterprise-wide PLM process. Together, P&G and Dassault are developing an integrated suite of products to help make the packaging process more efficient, improve speed to market, increase shelf impact and, ultimately, create a better experience for consumers. Streamlining these services is another example of how DS is supporting P&G's focus on "Simplify, Scale & Execute", which is one of the company's key growth strategies.

"As P&G continues to serve more consumers, in more parts of the world, more completely, it is essential we have the right tools in place to drive greater efficiency," says Michael Telljohann, PLM director, P&G. "To address these opportunities as they arise, it's imperative that mission critical business processes like artwork and packaging move from a series of best-in-class point solutions to enterprise-wide integrated solutions. Dassault Systèmes' suite of V6 PLM products will help P&G drive scale, improve R&D productivity and accelerate the delivery of new products to market." .... '

Team Kanban

Jerry Michalski is hosting a conference talk on Monday February 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM EST. Dial-in Number: 1-270-400-1500 Participant Access Code: 778778 ... Its about ' ... Personal Kanban, a applied to the team, developed by Jim Benson. There's a team side to this technique, too, and it changes the dynamics of a work group in useful ways. Seeing the group's real work in one place helps everyone focus on useful tasks, connect with their purpose in the group and more.

With Jim, let's discuss:
- How does a group of Personal Kanban practitioners scale up to team work?
- What effects does that have on team dynamics? on managers' participation?
- How can groups tune Team Kanban for better alignment?

To get the most from this call, open Jim's SlideShare presentation.... '

You are not a Gadget

Finished reading Jaron Lanier's You are not a Gadget: A Manifesto. (The Amazon link has a look-inside-the-book and a good Q&A with Lanier). We met Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality, through the Institute for the Future. He does bring some needed sanity in discussing the relationship between humans and computers. Especially useful since the emergence of social networks. Since he is a musician he carefully discusses the whole issue of payment for creativity. Is at his best when he clearly dismisses the hive-brain idea. Anyone interested in both the possibility and implications of AI should give it a read. It is somewhat disjoint, having been created from articles in Discover Magazine. Still worth the read.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Global Internet Usage Stats

Good compilation of Global Internet usage statistics.

Blogging to Drive Business

After a number of warnings following around blogging be passe lately, its good to see a new book on blogging and business ... '

" ... From Eric Butow and Rebecca Bollwitt, this week's selection is Blogging to Drive Business: Create and Maintain Valuable Customer Connections, an overview of the tips and techniques needed to excel at business blogging.

Earlier this week we provided our own 6 Approaches to Your Company Blog and mentioned that "corporate blogging" is moving up the "slope of enlightenment" to the "plateau of productivity" on the 2009 Gartner Hype Cycle. Basically what this means is if you have a business that isn't blogging, you're about to miss the boat, so you'd better hop on before it leaves dock ... '

Friday, February 19, 2010

Time on Advertising Sounds

A Time Mag article: Now Hear This. A good piece, on sounds in advertising, see also my previous post on Martin Lindstrom and Buyology Inc's work in this area.

Talking Smartphone Tags

I happened on a demonstration of Talking Tag by Air Arts via Ven Chava while I was in Chicago yesterday. A clever and simple idea that attaches an audio track (or other kinds of content) to a post-it or other kind of attachable label. The tag, identified by a 2D barcode, can then be placed on anything. They showed a simple yellow sticky example. The tag can then be read with a smartphone, which speaks or shows the content. We set it up on my IPhone in a few minutes. Another example of the IPhone as a sensor, and about identifying and interactively augmenting things. Well done, thinking about applications. Check it out.

New Products from Procter

From the WSJ: Expect a flurry of new products from P&G: ' Robert McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble, said the company's growth strategies "are starting to work" and said the company will launch 30% more products in key countries and main categories than in 2009. These include a "reinvention" for Pantene, new Crest whitening products and lower-priced detergents in India and China ... '

World's Most Addictive Sounds Discovered

From Martin Lindstrom: Analyzing sounds

" ... The article probes the results of a new 9-month study conducted by the New York Buyology Inc., team, in partnership with global audio identity experts, Elias Arts, to determine precisely how we're impacted by everyday sounds. And how, by using advanced neuroscience equipment, we have been able to identify the world's most addictive sounds, branded and unbranded! ... '

I am associated with Buyology Inc.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Data and Dating

Steve King reports on Data and Dating in Small Biz Labs. The topic has always been of interest to me. I worked with some matching algorithms in the enterprise, and worked with a startup that was looking at how to address linking careers to knowledge and tasks as boomers retired. The startup went under, but the interest remains. How can statistical methods be used to advance the science of matchmaking? See his post for more information.

Grocery Barcode Scanning Comparison

For a research investigation I have been comparing smartphone-based 2D barcode scanners using an IPhone 3G. Specifically for typical grocery scans of multiple items in a bright light environment. Another requirement is that the device needs to be a relatively standard version that would be used by a typical shopper.

I have mentioned a number of tests I have done with the Redlaser App, which has made some excellent recent updates. Notably speeding up the scan and allowing quick continuous multiple scans, typical at-shelf usage. And its integration with a the popular Shopper application.

Another IPhone example I have just tested is ShopSavvy from Big in Japan. This latter system is covered in a recent informative press release. They have recently made several updates of their system. Still the ShopSavvy system is slower, requires better alignment with the code and takes longer to make a match with a product database. I look forward to upcoming updates that will make them more competitive.

I continue to make these tests in both laboratory and real store environments. If anyone else has other applications for this kind of scanning application let me know. I would also invite anyone who has testable beta versions they would like us to test to contact me so we can include them as well. My contact information is in the left column. Pass this on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NBC, the Olympics and the Internet

A considerable criticism of NBC's use of the Internet to provide coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. I have done only a little of searching around for alternative streaming content, and as they say there seems to be very little of it. So there are very few alternative options if you are not satisfied by the scheduled track. " ... It sure looks like NBC is terrified of the Internet, and wants to have as little to do with it as the broadcaster can possibly get away with. Sadly, this is not an unusual reaction in the content business ... " . There are links in the article to technologies being used that I have yet to explore.

Insincere Flattery can Work

Roger Dooley reports on a recent study that appears to show is ' .. that even when we realize we are being flattered, and “correct” for that when we think about the flatterer, there is still an underlying positive impression that can be strong and long-lasting ... ' . So flattery is powerful, and has non-conscious effects that can trump the conscious and logical ones.

Google CEO Pushes Mobile

In ComputerWorld, from a recent talk, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says that mobile devices are replacing all other tyes of personal computing. Among the evidence ' ... He argued that mobile Web adoption is growing eight times faster annually than Web adoption did 10 years ago for the desktop. Half the Internet connections are made by mobile devices, he said, noting that more Google searches are done on mobile devices than on desktops in emerging countries ... '

Campbell Soup Labels and Neuromarketing

Good case study on the use of non-conscious biometric measurements to determine consumers reaction to packaging. Note this was a two year study, indicating considerable investment in time.

' ... For two years, Campbell researchers studied microscopic changes in skin moisture, heart rate and other biometrics to see how consumers react to everything from pictures of bowls of soup to logo design.

This "neuromarketing" approach is a fresh attempt among consumer-good companies to understand how consumers really respond to marketing and advertising.

Technological advances have made the research cheaper and faster, making it accessible to more companies. Scientists also better understand how near-instant brain and body responses relate to how people generate meaning from new information, says Robert Barocci, president of the Advertising Research Foundation ... '

Mobile Intelligence

In the January/February issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems, a number of papers devoted to mobile information retrieval and contextual knowledge systems. Including location based systems. Their site, though not all articles are yet there and some require subscription.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Creative Destruction and Gillette

Walter Riker sends this interesting quote and link along. Profound thoughts. Read it all.

Gillette, Razor Blades, and Creative Destruction
by Jeff Stibel
Gillette is perhaps one of the most innovative companies in the world, constantly reinventing its own model, often upending past products in favor of the new in a fit of what most people call creative destruction. And no surprise, Gillette is at it again, with the first new shaver developed since Procter & Gamble bought them in 2005 .. '

Online Communities Building Loyalty

A general article on the topic, but concentrates too much on the current rather than the future possibilities, which are building rapidly. Worth a look.

Agent-Based Consumer Market Modeling

A number of my former colleagues at Procter & Gamble have co-authored a paper with some smart people I met at Argonne National Labs. Abstract below. Fascinating application of agents to markets. With very interesting details. To appear in Complexity Magazine. Congrats for its publication to everyone.

Multiscale agent-based consumer market modeling
Michael J. North 1 , Charles M. Macal 1, James St. Aubin 2, Prakash Thimmapuram 3, Mark Bragen 2, June Hahn 4, James Karr 4, Nancy Brigham 4, Mark E. Lacy 4, Delaine Hampton 4
1Center for Complex Adaptive Agent Systems Simulation, Argonne, Illinois 60439
2Modeling, Simulation, and Visualization Group, Argonne, Illinois 60439
3Center for Energy, Environmental, and Economic Systems Analysis, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439
4The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Consumer markets have been studied in great depth, and many techniques have been used to represent them. These have included regression-based models, logit models, and theoretical market-level models, such as the NBD-Dirichlet approach. Although many important contributions and insights have resulted from studies that relied on these models, there is still a need for a model that could more holistically represent the interdependencies of the decisions made by consumers, retailers, and manufacturers. When the need is for a model that could be used repeatedly over time to support decisions in an industrial setting, it is particularly critical. Although some existing methods can, in principle, represent such complex interdependencies, their capabilities might be outstripped if they had to be used for industrial applications, because of the details this type of modeling requires. However, a complementary method - agent-based modeling - shows promise for addressing these issues. Agent-based models use business-driven rules for individuals (e.g., individual consumer rules for buying items, individual retailer rules for stocking items, or individual firm rules for advertizing items) to determine holistic, system-level outcomes (e.g., to determine if brand X's market share is increasing). We applied agent-based modeling to develop a multi-scale consumer market model. We then conducted calibration, verification, and validation tests of this model. The model was successfully applied by Procter & Gamble to several challenging business problems. In these situations, it directly influenced managerial decision making and produced substantial cost savings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Layar Takes a Big Step Forward

The Layar augmented reality application (AR) has taken a big step forward. It is in talks with some top handset manufacturers, which has led to the speculation that it will come pre-installed on some phones. If so a major win for Layar. They have said they will also create their own store that will have free and pay 'Apps' for a number of different reality layers. This could lead Layar more quickly to a more mainstream business. More in Layar's press release. The key here is to get a critical mass of users involved to socialize their environment. Only then can the idea of 'browsing reality' become common.

Previously I have written here about the Junaio AR environment. Will take a look at the Layar environment as well. I think there is real potential for AR augmenting retail environments. Update: In a negative note I see that the Layar application has been removed from the IPhone store due to quality control issues.
Update2: Its back again, but apparently only for the IPhone GS2.

Multiple Mobile IPhone Gmail Accounts

For those of you like me that have multiple Gmail accounts, mine based on multiple clients, there is a new IPhone App that lets you handle these from one place. Very useful. More on the Mailroom App.

Gillette Acquisition Being Realized

An adage article on the acquisition of Gillette, five years later. I saw some of the exchange and I agree there was much hidden value there, and carefully curated can be of considerable value.

Tableau Socialcasting Data Visualization

Have now used Tableau software for developing a number of dashboard-style interactive data visualizations. An excellent package. They are now taking some of these ideas social by sharing visualizations free. Its not a completely new idea, we have seen it in an IBM visual sharing approach called ManyEyes. Will take a look at the new Tableau offering.

' ... Videos, photos and snippets of text are the stuff of social networking. But data is typically a second-class citizen. Tableau Software is hoping to change that with Thursday's launch of TableauPublic.com, a free site that lets users create compelling data visualizations and publish them to blogs, Web sites and Twitter feeds

Tableau's site marries its recognized data visualization technology with embedding capabilities popularized by the likes of Flickr and YouTube. The result gives data-minded collaborators a way to illustrate data ... '

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Twitter's Rapid Growth

Hard Knox Life on Twitter's rapid growth.

Networks of Innovation

Mark Montgomery of Kyield posts on networks of innovation lectures by Andrew Hargadon given at the Santa Fe Institute. Links to the lectures included. This also reminds me of SFI's resources on the web, which are useful. Mark likes the videos as they deal with the need to develop strategic innovation networks, but disagrees that networks themselves ARE the innovation. He also comments on how networks need to be used to figure out what people really need rather than just project what researchers think they need. Agree heartily with that. Lots more from Mark on the relationship of networks to entrepreneurship. Have not seen the lectures yet, but look forward to it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In Context Innovation

In the World Flattener, via Sammy Haroon, a favorite topic of mine. ' ... Prith Banerjee, Director of HP Labs talks about the importance of innovation in-context of the consumer's environment ... '

Report from Computer Supported Cooperative Work

From CACM: ' ... The papers I have chosen to focus on from each of these sessions revisit longstanding problems in computer science and HCI, ranging from what to do when collaborators lose a network connection to examining the traditionally qualitative examination of situated action through a quantitative lens in the healthcare system. The highlighted papers were also selected to give you a taste of the diversity of the papers presented from the system development side to the purely social, and a piece that seems to fit in between ... '

Innovative Online Business Models

A sample of innovative online business models from Openforum. I have seen most of these, but the reminder is useful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Proving Mobile ROI

A good case study in StorefrontBackTalk on the ROI from mobile marketing efforts by Pizza-Hut.

Sustainability Impact on Supply Chain Workshop

This looks to be very interesting, if you are in the Cincinnati area consider attending:

Sixth Annual Workshop on Hot Topics in Supply Chain Analytics, Practice, and Technology
Sustainability's Impact On The Supply Chain
Come hear supply chain experts discuss paths to supply chain sustainability. Learn approaches to build and benefit from green practices within the supply chain. Share knowledge and experience with industry leaders.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2010 at TechSolve Inc. ( http://www.techsolve.org ) 6705 Steger Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45237

Speakers from:
Ethicon Endo-Surgery, GE Aviation, P&G, SAP, and TechSolve.
Registration: Seats are limited! There is a $25 non-refundable registration fee, payable online by credit card. The registration site is http://www.techsolve.org/events/ . Questions? Contact Tricia Burger, tricia.burger@uc.edu, 513 556-7140. ... '

Whole Foods and Social Media

Case study on Whole Foods using social media. ' ... Even if you’re a small business, there’s some great insight to be gained from Marla Erwin, Interactive Art Director for Whole Foods Market. Marla was instrumental in creating Whole Foods’ acclaimed social media program and the results have been phenomenal! For example, in the first year, Twitter.com/Wholefoods gained a million Twitter followers. It has now surpassed 1.75 million people ... '

Progress in Quantum Algorithms

In CACM: Recent Progress in Quantum Algorithms: What quantum algorithms outperform classical computation and how do they do it?. The early parts of this article are a good introduction to this topic, worth reading to get up to date. The later parts are quite technical. This is a very important evolution .... you use the processes that will be improved by these methods, called algorithms, every day.

Solving Household Problems

In the Enterprise a key goal was intimately understanding the needs of the consumer. It can be done in part by talking to many of them in contextual environments, and it can also be done by talking to others that have worked developing solutions for them. In the WSJ online, an article about the latter: A Housewife Inventor Builds a Homespun Empire.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Junk Chart Book

The author of the always interesting Junk Chart Blog, Kaiser Fung, now has a book out. Described in the blog and now available: Numbers Rule Your World: The hidden influence of probability and statistics on everything you do. Plan to read and review.

A Site-less Web

Paul Gillin has a good post on the emergence of a site-less web. An evolution is occurring, though I think that there will always have to be anchoring points like web sites. Good read with some excellent examples including some from industry using this idea.

Cell Phone Wallets

In Forbes: Smart phones as payment systems. Considerable implications because smartphone acting as a wallet is also a communications device at the point of sale moment of truth. This can only evolve to new modes of marketing and merchandising.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google Buzz in Use

I am now signed into Google Buzz and understand generally how it works. I have also attached this blog to Buzz to see how that works. It also integrates location knowledge. Join up and follow if you would like to join in my experiment. Note that you have to have a Gmail account to be there. That is the big barrier that I see to it being competitive with other social networking approaches. If you are already there it can be used to publicize your blogging and thoughts to other GMail users. Update: More insightful criticism.

Overcome Media Fragmentation with Next-Generation Marketing Planning Tools

Upcoming webinar of interest, given on March 18, 2010, click through for more information, times and registration:

Program: Consumer Goods Technology webCONNECTIONseries
Panelist(s) Info: Moderator: Kara Romanow, Executive Editor, CGT, Steve Steutermann, Research Director, Consumer Products, AMR Research, Damon Ragusa, CEO, ThinkVine, Duration: 1 hour

Description: Today’s Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) need better planning tools to keep up with the fragmentation of media and pace of change of today’s dynamic marketplace. On March 18, 2010, join AMR’s Senior Analyst Steve Steutermann and ThinkVine CEO Damon Ragusa for the latest on Marketing Optimization technologies. Hear case studies from brands with marketing budgets ranging from $10 Million to $80 Million on how they are using these cutting edge planning tools. Speakers will answer critical questions such as:

--How do simulation tools accurately project marketing scenarios?
--What is the optimal mix of my marketing dollars?
--What is the ROI of each marketing outlet?
--What would happen if I moved a large portion of my budget into an emerging media vehicle?

Also, learn why marketing simulation technology is giving consumer goods companies the ability to know the ROI of a marketing plan before the investment is made; test and learn from an unlimited number of detailed “what if” scenarios; and test new media that has not been tried before. ... '


SNCR Research Briefing

' ... Please join the Society for New Communications Research, Middleberg Communications and Marketwire for a complimentary research briefing on February 25th at 10:00 am ET / 1:00pm PT.

During this briefing, SNCR founder and president Jen McClure and Senior Fellow Don Middleberg will share the results of the 2009 Middleberg/SNCR Survey of Media in the Wired World ... examines the trends of how journalists are adopting social media tools and technologies, and their attitudes about how social media and citizen journalism are affecting their profession ....

Which online resources and social media are considered the most valuable tools and how they are being used by journalists The frequency of use and preferences for a variety new media and communications tools and technologies Attitudes of journalists toward the impact and value of these new tools and trends on journalism How the public relations profession can understand these changes in order to work more effectively with journalists, and provide more value to the journalistic community. Register now.


On Poka-Yoke

We often spoke about Poka-Yoke in the enterprise. Also known as fail-safing. Designing the process so it is impossible or much harder to make big errors. Despite recent errors in car accelerator design, the Japanese pioneered this method:

From Voices - HarvardBusiness.org by Michael Schrage
Every manager and executive should perform a "poka-yoke audit": What are the persistently simple — and simply persistent — dumb mistakes we make that our technologies can help us catch and destroy? (If you have trouble coming up with five or six, I'm sure your bosses, colleagues, subordinates, and even a customer or two might constructively suggest a few...)

Why do People Share Information?

A topic we studied in the enterprise. This NYTimes article presents some non-obvious answers. Because we wrote our own e-mail system in the 70s, we had lots of experience in the dynamic of how people communicate. Later, we understood that there was much duplicated and non-productive copying going on, so a number of 'smart-sharing' methods were promoted. The Web changed things since it made lots of information available to many, though even it was initially squelched by requiring high level management permission for open access. Really smart and well focused sharing of innovation and ideas is still not solved.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Google Buzz

Google gets a social networking component within Gmail. ' ... Specifically, Buzz has been designed to help users deal with the often massive amount of information they receive through their social networking sites. "Increasingly, it's becoming harder and harder to make sense and find the signal in the noise," said Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president of product management, at a press conference on Tuesday ...' Can it compete with Twitter or Facebook? Its direct connection to GMail may make that difficult.

BI Software Making Money

Nice overview piece on business intelligence by Doug Lautzenheiser:

BI Software Makes Money
Business Intelligence isn't just about seeing how many cans of beans you sold last month. It's about figuring out how to sell even more in the future ... '

Public vs Private Sector Costs

Michigan economist Mark J. Perry continues to be an excellent source for gathering economic data and providing commentary on its implications. Recent post: the relative cost of US public and private sectors. Here is a snippet: ' ... the number of federal employees making $100,000 or more has increased by 120,595, from 262,163 employees in December 2007 to 382,758 in June 2009, for a 46% increase. The number of federal workers making $150,000 or more has more than doubled since the recession started, from about 30,000 to more than 66,000 ... '

Martin Lindstrom on Personal Branding

Intriguing learnings and video:

Look at Me Now! Personal Branding on TODAY Show(1)
New York City. In a world growing increasingly more obsessed by celebrities, we tend to overlook one important fact: as individuals, celebrities have pretty much mastered the art of turning themselves into powerful, eye-catching and memorable personal brands. Think Madonna, Paris Hilton, Brad Pitt – even Barack Obama. What can we learn from them? In Part 1 of this riveting TODAY Show segment, Lindstrom concludes that by mimicking some of the fundamental rules employed by celebrities, we have the power as individuals to develop ourselves into a influential personal brand. ... '

Monday, February 08, 2010

Chefs, Not Bakers

A collaborator from some time ago, Mark Capper, pointed me to his blog: Chefs Not Bakers. I much like the premise and am adding it to my feed, add it to yours:

... ' This is a blog about entrepreneurship of the high-tech variety. Our basic premise is that chefs make good entrepreneurs; bakers do not. Only fools pour sweat, money, and dreams into the oven and hope for the best. A good chef tastes his creation and adds spice as needed; successful entrepreneurs do the same by systematically measuring and adjusting their strategy along the way ... '

Intel Monitors Social Networks

Several reports are out about how Intel is monitoring the buzz in social networks regarding their Superbowl ads. This is hardly news, since if I had spent four million dollars on ads I also would have wanted to know how effective they are. Any company would do the same. What is interesting is the increased interest in social networking and how it can create viral reaction. Its more of an instantaneous report and indicates how much Intel may be getting into the brain of the consumer.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Where Does this Blog Come From?

This blog was originally established to communicate to visitors at Procter & Gamble's Innovation Centers. I was asked during many visits that major retailers and technology vendors had at the Center: How do I keep up to date with the technology and ideas you are showing us? Nearly every medium to large size retailer on earth visited us over five years and we visited a number of them. It was at the same time that blogging started as a means of communication, so we set up a blog in 2002 and have been blogging ever since.

There were soon people internal to the enterprise that wanted to be connected as well. Despite some comments about how blogging is starting to decline under the pressure of more real-time methods like twitter (Selected post links in this blog also on Twitter: @franzd) we are still posting away here. If you have an idea you would like to present, something interesting you would like to promote, send it along. (franzdill@gmail.com) Always interested in new directions, always available to give input to startups and enterprises. Will continue to blog as long as people respond. Cheers and good luck.

Video Ubiquity

I had thought that video had become as pervasive as it could be. Good GigaOm article on how falling prices are driving it much further. Will introduce new challenges for storing and analyzing video, and big implications for increased bandwidth need.

Report on Spam Content of the Web

An analysis of some recent Websense stats point to the finding that " ... 95% of User Generated Content is either malicious in nature or spam ... " . Not sure what the specific definition of these classifications are, but my observation had been that I had seen less spam recently. Full report, but it requires signup.

Better Ways to Manage Knowledge

Good piece on the subject, they relate some of the same problems we saw in the enterprise regarding institutionalizing knowledge ... and implementing a solution. Note that they have looked into gaming environments for insight into solutions. I like looking far afield from the obvious.

A Better Way to Manage Knowledge
from Voices - HarvardBusiness.org by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown

' ... It's an understandable concern. Knowledge management, after all, was probably the hottest topic in management in the 1990s. "If only our company knew what our company knows" was the mantra in those days. With knowledge becoming the most important factor of production, surely competitive success awaited those companies that could effectively manage what their employees knew.

But we all know by now that despite massive investments and a lot of highly motivated people knowledge management in some instances didn't yield all the benefits it could have. The best KM systems succeeded at capturing and institutionalizing the knowledge of the firm. But for the most part the repositories and directories remained fragmentary and the resources didn't get used. The folks with the knowledge were often reluctant to put what they knew into the database. The folks seeking the knowledge often had trouble finding what they needed ... '

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hyperlocal Coupons

Hyperlocal mobile coupons for the IPhone: Mobiqpons. Tested, well done, it should further locate you when you redeem them for loyalty measures.

On Associative Memory

Good overview on associative memories. We tested these during our AI days and talked to a number of vendors. The hope was that they could include some of the structure of the knowledge in the memory itself. Plus to utilize increasing hardware parallelism. What was called 'case-based reasoning' tried to take advantage of the idea at the knowledge level. At the time they did not provide much additional value, but their time may be approaching.

Paid vs Free Content

An interview with Professors Peter Fader and Stepen Kobrin of Wharton on these and other recent topics in Knowledge@Wharton

Friday, February 05, 2010

Procter Buys Doctor Network

In BizJournals: " ... Procter & Gamble has purchased the remaining shares of the doctors network that it acquired a minority stake in three years ago. The 350 doctors in the network provide enhanced services, on the theory that focusing on wellness and prevention will save medical costs long term ... "

Connecting the Dots in your Business

Tom Davenport in HBR blogs: How to "Connect the Dots" in Your Business, one of a series of interesting posts that examine integrating data.

" ... In this post, I'll describe what needs to happen if you want to connect disparate pieces of information about the same person, organization, or entity. I hope you'll be further persuaded of both the difficulty and the value of such an effort. The need is widely felt, whether you're trying to connect the dots on customers in business, terrorists in intelligence, patients in health care, molecules in drug development, etc ... '

On Linkedin

Just substantially updated my Linkedin entry. For more about me and what I am up to.

Biometrics Examined

Very good IEEE Computer Now issue on the general problem of using biometric methods for identification.

' ... This month, Computing Now explores biometrics—the authentication of persons based on physical or behavioral characteristics. Biometric technology can be found in many aspects of our daily life, from paying for groceries to accessing personal computers and buildings to automatically labeling and organizing digital pictures ....

The fevered pace of biometrics research has created new modalities based on keyboarding patterns or mouse movements, walking patterns (gait), types of utterances (speech), the configuration of veins in the finger or hand (veinal), geometries of the finger or hand, the face, and the complex structures of the melanin-rich area of the eye (iris). These emerging biometric modalities have created vast commercial opportunities outside the more common public sector uses. In fact, Acuity Market Intelligence, a technology strategy company located in Louisville, Colorado, predicts a compound annual growth rate of 60.99 percent for biometric technology from 2009 to 2017, at which point commercial deployment of biometrics will outpace public sector use ... '

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Google to Add Store Views

Google is apparently going to add 'store views' to its valuable 'street views', attached by location to its maps. More here. I am assuming with permission, but no confirmation or details are yet forthcoming. Fascinating next step in the evolution of combining mapping and images. Could have used this, assuming there would be lots of views, when doing a study of supermarket contexts.

Shopper App Adds Barcode Scanner

Another development that brings the smartphone closer to everyday use as a sensor by the consumer. I recently reviewed the updates to the Redlaser scanner and found it had finally become easy enough for use by the typical shopper. Now it has been combined with a shopper application (I reviewed here) that seeks to provide direct targeted value to the consumer. I will test them together. Nice development:

" ... Shopper iPhone App Adds Redlaser UPC Scanning, a BlackBerry Version, and a Web Portal
ReachEverywhere's Shopper App now includes barcode scanning directly from the iPhone camera, enabling even easier list building and visual product search capabilities. Simultaneously, it becomes the only major iPhone Shopping App to add BlackBerry support to the award winning platform, enabling real-time sync between Web, BlackBerry and iPhone users- an industry first ... '
Full press release.

Superbowl Ad Biometrics

Good Wired article on a number of ad biometrics studies being done during the Superbowl, which has increasingly become a laboratory for non conscious neuromarketing analysis. Useful introduction to what is being done.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Examining Channels plus Context

Evan Schuman put out a good post on channels and the effect of context. Worth a full read. My thoughts on this: The original idea of the innovation centers was to study the effect of context. Its not just multi-channel, it is multi-context. Mobile means you can take a channel into any context, thus it deserves fuller examination. And the promise of augmented reality means you can at least adjust the appearance of the physical context to your needs.

Target Optimizes

Alison Bolen in SAScom Voices posts about Nine Optimization Lessons from Target. " ... how Target uses guest intelligence to optimize marketing and merchandising processes – with the ultimate goals of enhancing guests' shopping experiences, driving store performance and creating brand cachet that's the envy of the industry.... ". Have worked with Target in the past and they are impressive in this area, worth paying attention to. Also, put SASCom on your feed.

Redlaser: Scanning Faster

I have been closely following scanner smartphone Apps that read barcodes by utilizing the phones's camera. In particular the Redlaser App has gone through a number of recent updates that are real improvements. The codes are read more quickly and a recent addition lets you read multiple barcodes quickly. I tried it with a shelfful of items and it worked well, each time giving you audio feedback and allowing you to go to the next item quickly. One negative is you still have to align the code on the screen and it has to be upright to work. It is getting much closer to being truly useful for real multi-item ahopping trips. Then you can go back and do price checks on what you have scanned. Much better and faster than other Apps I have tried. Try it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Social Informatics

In IEEE Computing:
Social Computing: From Social Informatics to Social Intelligence
by Fei-Yue Wang, Kathleen M. Carley, Daniel Zeng, and Wenji Mao

Readers are introduced to social computing's theoretical, methodological, and technological underpinnings, its major application areas, and key research issues ... '

A Shopper Perspective of the Aisle

You will recall I reviewed Herb Sorensen's book: Inside the Mind of the Shopper". Highly recommended for its insight into the scientific understanding of retail, based on actual consumer behavior. He has been a long-time correspondent. Above is a picture of what he views as the holistic shopper and a diagram of their behavior patterns in-store. A hint at some of his ongoing work that we look forward to experiencing. Will continue to track his work here. See also links to his writings in Retailweek, in twitter at @herbsorensen.

Systemic Failures

Mark Montgomery posts on: Systemic Failures, by Design. See also the newletter of his company: Kyield.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Stronger Flavors Continue to Surge

" ... The year in flavor will be heavily influenced by bitter, warm and earthy notes," said Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick. "We see America's palates embracing stronger flavors -- high-impact combinations that are anything but subtle. For example, bold bitter greens will be appreciated for their assertiveness, tamed with the licorice-like addition of caraway -- one of the 10 pairings in this year's report. The warm and earthy duo of roasted cumin and chickpeas is another expression of the year's big flavors."

In this report from Gourmet Retailer. Seems a bit out of scope for this blog, but really not. In the 80s I was involved in a number of advanced food product blending problems, notably coffee. We used advanced modeling techniques to produce standard flavors at reasonable prices, based on a continually changing agricultural commodity. I am still an amateur chef. There continues to be a strong evolution towards bolder and stronger flavors in North America. I can remember when just a few drops of Tabasco was considered radical.

GS1 Mobile in Retail Paper

Have been members of GS1 for many years, download their excellent 34-page paper on Mobile retail below, they write:

" .... We're pleased to announce the publication of the "Mobile in Retail" White Paper. You can see it free here: http://www.gs1.org/mobile/mir.

Potential for brands and retailers identified

The white paper explores the opportunities for brands and retailers as consumers begin to use mobile phones to plan their shopping and during visits to stores. It identifies clear potential to:

• increase sales
· increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
· add value to physical products and experiences through digital services

Key questions answered

By examining the current and future state of mobile services relevant to retail such as extended packaging, mobile coupons, loyalty, store location, shopping lists and self-scanning, the white paper sets out to answer the following questions:

• What consumer needs can be identified and met using mobile phones in retail environments?
• How can mobile phones support richer, more enjoyable, more efficient and more relevant shopping experiences?
• What changes need to happen in retail stores to support this? .... "