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Monday, January 31, 2011

Social Network Connector from IBM

I have talked to IBM several times about their development of social connectivity software.  What I saw, developed for internal use, was impressive.  Now they have announced a solution for the enterprise. " ... IBM is hoping to bring the concept of Facebook's activity streams to enterprise applications, using a vastly expanded social networking toolkit that the company released Monday. In much the same way that Facebook and Twitter users can easily share links, photos and video, users of IBM's applications could enjoy similar activity streams, in which they would be able to view and access information from different enterprise applications ... "

Need Help? Expert Help Available.

I wanted to remind my readers that I am a consultant. I have over thirty years of experience with major companies and the US government. I have saved companies many millions of dollars in costs and led a number of major innovation projects. This year I am starting a push to link with new clients. Available in a number of potential ways. Need help? Lets talk. Contact me. More details and my contact information can be found in the left hand column.

Kyield Founder Discusses the Value it Enables

See the video by Kyield Founder Mark Montgomery, at the Kyield site:

" ... Kyield is an enterprise software company that revolutionizes the digital work environment through superior data governance, advanced analytics, and more accurate predictive technologies. The result for client organizations is precision data retrieval, rational organizational productivity, enhanced crisis prevention, and expedited innovation. To discover the benefits of our semantic enterprise system, view the video below by Kyield's founder as he explores the value enabled by the revolutionary leap that can only be realized in a fully structured organization operating system .... "

Update on Camera Apps

In Technology Review:   An update on camera Apps that analyze smartphone camera information and adapt and improve it to improve images.

New Science of Retailing: Flexible Supply Chains

In the midst of reading: The New Science of Retailing: How Analytics are Transforming the Supply Chain and Improving Performance by Marshall Fisher and Ananth Raman.

I am currently reading the section on Flexible Supply Chains: How to Design for Greater Agility End to End , which deals with the inherent inaccuracy of the demand forecast and how the ability to respond quickly to unexpected changes in demand can have a large impact on profitability.The book studies a number of cases of flexibility in meeting demand.  I was particularly struck by the statement that often the trust needed for supply chain flexibility may be missing.  Very true.  In a following chapter on goal alignment It is pointed out that incentives are often misaligned and can create problems for supply chain implementation and operation. 

Overall I found this book to be an excellent outline-style introduction to the use of analytics in the supply chain. Solving your particular problem will require much data gathering and analysis.

I have heard Marshall Fisher talk several times and have been impressed by the well positioned and yet practical analytics approaches he demonstrates. Worth taking a further look at. See also his Wharton site.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Logical, Experimental Economics

In  Dan Ariely's excellent blog, He again positions the non rationality of the consumer.  Or even of groups of consumers.   I have been involved in a number of projects where we attempted to model the consumer.  It turns out this is tough, they do not easily bend to engineering modeling.  The suggestion he ends up with here is to construct small experiments, like we did at our innovation centers, to test what works, and what the unintended consequences are of change.  See the credit card interest example as one of those unintended consequences.  Yet models are also not reality, and have to be carefully tested themselves.   Agent based models are also something we experimented with and are worth examining.  Consumers cannot be modeled by an equation, but as groups statistically.   Ariely ends with this obvious and important point:

" ... I realize that this is not an elegant solution because conducting rigorous experiments in public policy, in business, or even in our personal lives is not simple, nor will it provide simple answers to all of our problems. But given the complexity of life and the speed at which our world is changing, I don’t see any other way to truly learn the best ways to improve our human lot. ... "

Finding Usability Bugs with Automated Tests

In the ACM: " .... Ideally, all software should be easy to use and accessible for a wide range of people. However, software often falls short of these basic goals. We therefore need ways to help us discover usability and accessibility problems... ".  Have been involved in some of this kind of testing, and it is much harder than you often think. Simpler, though, is almost always better.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Credit Card Laws Result in Record Interest Rates

The laws that restricted non interest fees and retroactive interest rates have resulted in rapidly increasing interest rates.  Unintended consequences.   And the consequences primarily hurt the riskiest accounts.  More details in Volokh.

When Your Government Shuts Down the Internet

With the Egyptian crisis and talk of giving our leaders an Internet off switch, we may need to think through how to deal with non universal or non continuous access.  PC World suggests that  dial up modems, still available, will be more reliable.  Maybe, but so many business depend on the Internet, for how long?.  " ... In the land of no Internet connection, the man with dial-up is king. Here are a few gadgets that you could use to prepare for the day they cut the lines ... "

Every Song an App, Any Stream of Data also?

A recent Wired article made the case that songs can be Apps by adding visuals and anything else the Web can provide.  Every song can be an App.  It brought to mind that the same idea can be applied to any stream of data.  An App can be built around that data, linking to context, expertise and whatever else may support it's use. 

Ads Whispering to the Brain

Now somewhat dated, but still good article on Neuroomarketing in the NYT.

What happens in our brains when we watch a compelling TV commercial?
For one thing, certain brain waves that correlate with heightened attention become more active, according to researchers who have used EEGs, or electroencephalographs, to study the brain’s electrical frequencies. Brain waves that signal less-focused attention, meanwhile, tend to subside. In other words, this is your brain on ads.

Or so say neuromarketers, a nascent group of researchers who use techniques from neuroscience to analyze people’s responses to products and promotions.

Neuromarketing’s raison d’ĂȘtre derives from the fact that the brain expends only 2 percent of its energy on conscious activity, with the rest devoted largely to unconscious processing. Thus, neuromarketers believe, traditional market research methods — like consumer surveys and focus groups — are inherently inaccurate because the participants can never articulate the unconscious impressions that whet their appetites for certain products ... "

Friday, January 28, 2011

NFC: Near Field Communications

A Computerworld short article on the details of NFC.   The rumors are out that this technology will be used for i-Wallet applications in Smarpones usch as the I-Phone.

Giant Eagle Uses Behavioral Clusters

Not unusual, but a good direction for Giant Eagle:

Giant Eagle will implement "behavioral cluster planning"

Giant Eagle will begin using an automated computer system called "behavioral cluster planning" to ensure the company never runs low on best-sellers at certain locations. "There's so much more information that is available out there now to make better decisions, and this tool will help us do that better," said Giant Eagle's Dan Schnorr ...

Superbowl Ad Research Competition

Sands Research reports on their annual comparison of Superbowl ads using neuromarketing techniques. An entertaining and instructive experiment of emerging marketing measurement methods.  Also reported in this document, an early report on the Advertising Research Foundation's Neurostandards Study.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

EmPower Research

Newly discovered: EmPower Research " ... EmPower Research provides Custom Market and Media Intelligence services to Global 2000 companies, and Advertising and PR agencies worldwide. It was founded in 2004 by MIT Sloan MBAs, former Booz Allen Hamilton consultants, and senior marketing managers from Gillette, Whirlpool, and Applied Materials. Our client list today includes some of the world’s best known brands and companies. Our success is driven by a singular commitment to integrity and customer satisfaction. Our goal is to establish long-term relationships with our clients – built on winning recurring business earned via successful prior engagements ... " .  Much more here.  What I have seen so far is impressive.

IT's Change of Focus to the Front End

Interesting thoughts about a change in IT direction.  Mobile, Front-End, Sensor based, making just-in-time and place practical sense and value of lots of data (analytics):

Why today's IT focus is now on the front end
The focus of IT departments will no longer be solely on back-end operations and security as the focus shifts to advancing capabilities such as mobile applications and data analytics; for IT leaders, that means shoring up skills and business savvy on their teams ... "

British Library App

An interesting British Library App.  Capabilities continue to move to mobile. Even things you might expect to be there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

E-Mail Use Changes

In Computerworld: E-mail use advances on mobile devices, declines on laptops. Fundamental change.

Wallet Apps

In Technology Review:  Apps that could change your smartphone into a wallet. Overview of the state of the technology.

Wolfram on Jeopardy

Fascinating piece in Stephen Wolfram's blog on the IBM assault on the Jeopardy game.  Includes some intriguing comparisons about how other online knowledge search mechanisms can be used to get to the same answers, including Wolfram Alpha.  Addresses an always important set of corporate questions: 1. Are we asking the right question?  2. Is the question in the right context?  2. Is the answer understandable enough to make a decision?  3. Who is standing behind the answer when implemented?

Personalizing the Message

A case study of personalizing the message with Technology: " .... Digitized window displays, motion-gesture navigation signs and custom e-mail messages are some of the technological advances retailers are using to win customers. "We want to provide an experience for shoppers that allows them to engage and interact with the brand and products in a whole new level," said Jose Avalos, a general manager at Intel. "We have to really bring the product to shoppers."  .... '

Neuroscience Boot Camp

Third annual Neuroscience boot camp at the University of Pennsylvania this summer, have not been, but looks to be good or those seeking to understand the space.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pay by IPhone

More on the motivations of Apple to include near field communications and Wallet software in the IPhone.  A long expected direction ... Phone as Wallet.

Visualizing Your Professional Network

A clever visualization of your Linkedin Network.  My network is on the right.

" ... It's often hard to visualize the connections between your plethora of contacts, more so when they're scattered across the globe. LinkedIn, the 'professional' network, is no exception; but InMaps from LinkedIn Labs is hoping to change that.

By creating a network of interconnecting nodes representing each of your contacts, InMaps help you visualize clusters of your contacts based on how well they're interconnected. You can then add labels to your groups of contacts, and zoom in and out of the map to discover trends or more detail. For instance, by studying the interconnectedness of certain nodes, you can see who is the 'bridge' in your relationships with groups of contacts. You can also see who knows the most people in a particular working sphere by how big their node is, which could be useful if you ever need to find a contact or someone with influence.... "

Robust Robotic Hands

In IEEE: Building a super robust Anthropomorphic robotic hand. An example where the robotic can exceed the human.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amazon Delivers

Mashable reports that Amazon is about to start a grocery delivery service.  Convenient but pricey.

Industrial Engineering of Business Services

The term ' Industrial Engineering' struck me in an Ecommerce Times article. IE is part of my background, and I have seen it applied in many areas, even services.  So why not think about that application in more depth?  " ... The ability of the cloud to transform enterprises into business service factories is a change that mimics the maturation of other business aspects. Industrial engineering, lean manufacturing and just-in-time inventory follow roughly the same line as the modernization of IT. Now the question is how to attain IT transformation in order to leverage cloud computing ... " .

The Passive vs Active in English

I don't usually cover language details here in this blog.  When I took writing courses in the enterprise I was taught to carefully avoid the 'passive voice', and use the more powerful  'active'.   Near canonical  resources like Strunk & White also made the same recommendation.  In the Language Log blog, the authors make a careful, sometimes technical review of passive vs active, and come to the conclusion that the passive is not as bad as your English teacher or writing coach advised you.   Using it wisely puts you in league with many of the best known writers of written English. Good piece if you like the complexities of our language.

Recorded Future Applications

Curious about investment and other applications using recorded future? They link to a blog and podcast on the subject that is informative.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Foodspotting What You Eat

FoodSpotting: Intriguing idea for Foodies like me.  You take a picture of a plate of food on an IPhone App where you are and add a capsule review.  I have known a number of people that do this informally in Facebook and elsewhere.  It can be entertaining.  The posted pictures are apparently cleared by the company.  They expectedly range from very good to very poor snapshots of what you may be eating.  Actual reviews are usually curt and not very useful.   Lots of fast food spots are included and since I usually know what to expect there, that is not too useful.   Agree completely that it is most useful as a 'celebration of local food',  but the fast food chains crowd that out. If there was a way to focus this a bit more. The interface is very simple, yet it is still too hard to do certain kind of things.  Most useful on mobile.  See their site.

" .... If you haven't tried the food photo social network app Foodspotting, you're missing out. The company announced today that it has raised $3 million in venture capital to fund further international expansion and to build what it calls "Pandora for food." ... I just started using Foodspotting a few weeks ago and have fallen in love with it. From discovering places to eat to seeing what a menu looks like on a plate before I order to reading it like a hyper-local foodie newspaper, there are lots of different ways to use the app. The six-person company will celebrate its one-year anniversary this weekend and has a compelling vision for the future ... '

Kitchen Cooking Autonomously?

Well, sort of.   Gorenje's IChef is another example of a kitchen of the future idea we experimented with and examined many examples of.   It fails the same way that automated clothes washing does.  The complicated part of cooking is not the precise heating and timing or even required stirring.  It is in the preparation of the dish with multiple ingredients and techniques that is hard.  Just like in washing clothes it is the gathering, sorting and ultimate folding that is the more tedious part. Try again.

Technology Isolating People

In the Guardian. There is lots of writing lately on how how technologies can increasingly isolate people.  It can bring far apart people together, but also isolate people that are in close proximity.  Like many things, it can be mis-used and has an inherently addictive nature.  Yet it is here to stay.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

IBM History

Video of 100 years of IBM and related Technology History.

Reality is Broken

Just brought to my attention: Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World: by Jane McGonigal.   Saw some interesting things she had done at the Institute for the Future.  I am a long time practitioner of industrial simulation, and always thought there was a competition dynamic that could bring together simulation and gaming, and we experimented with the idea.  It can and has been done, but is still expensive, inexact and cumbersome.  Look forward to the read.

Wolfram Alpha API

Interesting, technical discussion of Wolfram Alpha's API.  Dealing in particular with its openness.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Data Blogs

ReadWriteWeb presents some links about blogs that discuss data.   Some I had not seen yet. 

Disconnect Between Intelligence and Analytics

The disconnect between intelligence and analytics? " .... Being analytics savvy is no longer an option for most businesses but a matter of survival. If a company can gain insight into customer, product, channel, pricing and supply chain and predict the best customers, best pricing and most profitable products by analyzing business data, it will leave competitors in the dust. Analytic competition is increasingly the norm, and gets more sophisticated every day as companies strive to "out-data-mine" their competitors ..."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google Launching Groupon Competitor

Mashable reports that Google is about to launch a Groupon competitor.  A simple idea and a pretty obvious direction, finally happening. You just need lots of willing participants.  More detail at link.

ACM Tech Packs: Cloud Computing

I see that the Association of Computing Machinery has created a concept they call Tech Packs.  You have to be a member of ACM to get access to these.  Most recently they have created one on Cloud Computing that looks to be interesting.   They combine the expertise of computing professionals and the excellent digital library that ACM maintains.

" ... ACM Tech Packs are innovative, authoritative learning packages developed by subject experts for serious computing professionals.

ACM Tech Pack are an ongoing project of the ACM Professional Development Committee. Please use the links above to visit the home pages for Mobility, Software as a Service, Globalization/Localization, Security, and Gaming to check out who's heading the effort and sign up to be notified when these Tech Packs become available ... "

B2B vs B2C Marketing

Paul Gillin posts on how B2B abd B2C Marketing differ.  He also covers this in his new book:  Social Marketing to the Business Customer.  You can download a free chapter at the link.

Alone Together

A teaser for a review of Sherry Turkels book: Alone Together in Kurzwel AI.  I anticipate reading the book.

 " ... Sherry Turkle, the widely noted MIT professor and explorer of human psychology and relationships as they are impacted by new communications technologies, has just released her latest book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other.  Don’t let the book title scare you off. This is not a polemic. While Turkle is certainly out to make a point about (among other things) the possibility that the human-bot connection may satiate our desires for human-to-human connections — ultimately leaving us poorer for it — this is an enjoyable read ... "

Who Will Pay?

Essay on who will pay for content.   Advertisers or the consumer?  Will the emergence of new devices start a move away from the free Web content model?   If the content is displayed in very high quality that looks much more like a physical magazine or newspaper, will consumers be more willing to pay for it?

HBR on Managing Innovation

I have worked with many o the technologies mentioned here.  They include a number that I would call analytical, but serve to analyze proposed innovations.  These are all very useful to track what works or not.

The Next Big Thing in Managing Innovation by Henry Chesbrough The first decade of the 21st century brought about an incredible amount of technological advances — Facebook, Twitter, Android, iPod/iTunes/iPhone/iPad, and many other innovations transformed how we communicate, work, and live. But it is often the processes that helped create and manage these technologies that prove most enduring. Understanding the most important management innovations of the past will inform how we continue to expand and build on our knowledge to improve the innovation process in the future and advance human progress. So with a decade just ended, it is a good time to take stock of recent developments, and then look ahead to likely future management innovations ... "

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Starbucks Extends Mobile Payments

In Computerworld: We move towards mobile as a wallet: " ...Starbucks extends mobile payments to 7,500 stores, System scans barcodes installed on iPhone, BlackBerry smartphones for coffee payments ... "

Predictions for the Worldwide Supply Chain

Some predictions for the worldwide supply chain.  These are interesting not because I think they will all become true, but they cover some areas that are worth considering when thinking about the sensitivity of your models and plans to changes in the coming years.

Searchers in Networks Talk

For those of you in Cincinnati or nearby this week, Full announcement here.

Update:  Because of weather issues, this talk has been delayed until January 28 at the same time and place.

The Department of Quantitative Analysis & Operations Management at the University of Cincinnati is pleased to welcome Professor Cole Smith from the University of Florida to the QAOM Research Seminar Series on Friday, January 21 at 1:30PM. ...  . If you would like to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Professor Smith, please contact Tricia Burger at tricia.burger@uc.edu.

A Survey of Search Problems on Networks, Cole Smith, Ph.D.  Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering University of Florida ... Friday, January 21, 2010 – 1:30 p.m. – 219 Carl H. Lindner Hall

Abstract: The problem of deploying and controlling a set of searchers on a network to locate a hidden target is referred to as a search game. There are countless variations of this game, depending on, e.g., whether or not the target is mobile, and the searchers’ communication and control capabilities. This talk will examine classical results in this field, discuss contemporary search literature, and explore research directions in this field as driven by future security challenges. In particular, we will explore recent game theoretic and mathematical programming techniques that have been employed to solve such problems, and applications of contemporary interest to researchers and practitioners worldwide ...  "

Why Companies are Ditching Spreadsheets

In CWorld: Short, useful piece on the move by some companies away from the use of spreadsheets.  Dangers and implications.

Content Rules

Paul Gillin reviews the new book: Content Rules, by  C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley as a desktop reference for social marketers.  On the reading list.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Growth of Linked Data

I have covered the concept of 'Linked Data' here before.  A good piece in ReadWriteWeb on how the idea is continuing to grow. Also a site of interest, LinkedData.org, where they define the concept:

" ... The Web enables us to link related documents. Similarly it enables us to link related data. The term Linked Data refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web. Key technologies that support Linked Data are URIs (a generic means to identify entities or concepts in the world), HTTP (a simple yet universal mechanism for retrieving resources, or descriptions of resources), and RDF (a generic graph-based data model with which to structure and link data that describes things in the world). (Contributor: Tom Heath, including excerpts from Bizer, Heath and Berners-Lee (in press)) ... "

Near Field Communications Discount System

A somewhat unqiue method of using both RFID and mobile to redeem discounts in a store:

E. Leclerc Supermarket Tests RFID-enabled Promotional Offers
In Nice, the French retail chain is piloting a system that includes stickers with built-in Near Field Communication RFID readers that customers can use to select and redeem discounts at the store ... "

Freakonomics Blog Moving

Confirmation that the often interesting Freakonomics blog will be leaving the NYT site and becoming standalone and 'indie' once again.  I like it independent.

The Cart Now Belongs to Daddy

In Adage:  Study says that males are the primary grocery shoppers 51% of the time. Big change.   It is the case in my family. Big implications for in-store marketing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MicroStrategy and Mobile BI

Another example of the emergence of mobile business inttelligence.  A good direction. Doug Lautzenheiser writes " ... MicroStrategy continues to aggressively target mobile business intelligence, especially on the Apple iPhone and iPad platforms .. " .  Read his entire post.

A Wireless Primer

A very good, extensive, primer in Engadget:  2G, 3G, 4G, and everything in between: an Engadget wireless primer. I sense there is much confusion here, and this article helps.

Insight on Mobility from the NRF

New insights from the Mobility Blueprint of the National Retail Foundation. ' ...  “If there’s one thing we’ve learned about mobile applications, it’s that retailers don’t want to share the space,” says David Dorf, Director of Technology for Oracle. “Retailers want to control their customer experience and they want to brand it to themselves.” In that light, NRF has been working since early last year on a Mobile Retail Initiative focused on helping retailers enter the mobile space. And in June of 2010, NRF released the first Mobile Retailing Blueprint – a best practices report to enhance the industry’s efforts in the area ... '

Jan-Feb Analytics Magazine

In the latest online  bimonthly Analytics Magazine, many interesting articles on the use of analytical methods.  Always interesting and useful.  Here are the areas of emphasis in this issue:

Six 'soft' skills every analyst needs to know
The "art" of communication, team-building and other soft skills are often critical to a project's success.

Why risk analysis fails
Catastrophes as diverse as Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis point to a series of common mistakes in utilizing risk analysis and risk management.

Text Analytics
Deriving meaning from the deluge of documents and purging content chaos.

HP's world-class e-marketing business
How Hewlett-Packard uses advanced analytics to drive its digital marketing strategies.

From business intelligence to analytics
The journey from what to who, when and why.

Different definitions, assumptions make determining return on investment for Radio Frequency Identification tricky business.

Wolfram Alpha and the IPhone 5

Some interesting speculation that the IPhone 5 will contain several AI capabilities, including the Wolfram Alpha natural language data reasoning application.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Smartphone as a Dangerous Possession

In CNN Money, Your Smartphone as your most dangerous posssesson.  Overplayed, yes, but each of the cautions about the security of your data and devices is worth considering.

Looking at Business Intelligence

I continue to enjoy Doug Lautzenheiser's blog:  Business Intelligence Software, where he provides his insightful  " ... personal opinions on the Business Intelligence industry, product usage, and brands such as IBM Cognos, SAP Business Objects, Actuate, Microstrategy, SAS, IBI WebFOCUS, and others ... " .  He is an active and successful practitioner.   In the most recent post he discusses where BI should reside.

Effectiveness of Distributed Teams

This is something we wrestled with a number of times.  Experience did seem to show that a team should be co located to achieve the best effectiveness.  Though the team can often not be co located with all colleagues, customers and vendors, so there are always some adjustments.  Technology helps, but does not solve the problem completely.  Readwriteweb looks at a recent Harvard study that examines this in more detail.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Literary Allusion and Google

In Roughtype, a good piece on literary allusion and the effect of things like Google Search on communicating.  We live in a world where fewer and fewer of the classics are read.  Yet that is OK because we we can search for any phrase we want to understand the allusion being presented.  Or is it?

I tested a system for use inside the enterprise which would automatically search for phrases in a document that your were writing or reading.  In theory, this would alert you to other work, inside the company or being done on a similar subject.  It was suggested that this would make you more efficient, even create a network of research and researchers. It did not work well.  Words had to match,  different people used different terms,  It only worked well if you you used keywords that had been well established.  It helps to understand the classic background.  You can't do it all with search.

Cellular Automata

New book on a favorite topic, Cellular Automata, by Thomas M. Li    The paradigm was used in the enterprise.   Too expensive to assure that I will acquire this, but if the publisher wants a review, send a copy along.  This edited book likely contains more examples of the use of CA. Stephen Wolfram's New Kind of Sceince work is fundamentally based on this model.

" ... A cellular automaton is a discrete model studied in computability theory, mathematics, physics, complexity science, theoretical biology and microstructure modelling. It consists of a regular grid of cells, each in one of a finite number of states, such as 'On' or 'Off'. The grid can be in any finite number of dimensions. For each cell, a set of cells called its neighbourhood (usually including the cell itself) is defined relative to the specified cell. This book presents current research from across the globe in the study of cellular automata, including using cellular automata to solve optimisation problems; modelling drug release science using cellular automata; using the cellular automata model to study the dispersion of aphids and ladybugs in a block of citric trees; and the reversibility of cellular automata ... "

Friday, January 14, 2011

Private Data Analysis

In the CACM: A Firm Foundation for Private Data Analysis.  What does it mean to preserve privacy? There is lots to do here.

Sell to Your Customer's Buying Process

  Another book added to the stack: Slow Down, Sell Faster!: Understand Your Customer's Buying Process and Maximize Your Sales, by Kevin Davis.  We always tried to do this,  and see the recent post on selling to the customer's shopping list.   And their non conscious processes.

Why of Buy, How of Buy

IMedia Connections interviews Donna Sturgess of Buyology Inc. about what her company does to understand the non conscious interactions of consumer to media and marketing.  Very nicely put discussion of the issues involved.  This interview is a good place to start if you seek to concisely understand how marketing methods that seek to use brain and psych based methods are evolving.  I have done consulting work for Buyology Inc.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Global Economy in 2011

A good piece in Knowledge at Wharton about key aspects and directions of  of the global economy in countries  such as India and China.  Particularly useful for those that do not  follow those countries closely.

Social Media Field Guide

I see that former colleague Krista Neher's new book:  The Social Media Field Guide, is now out.  Much more here and ordering information.  Also see her excellent Boot Camp Digital: Social Media Tips and tricks blog.

Locating and Engaging the In-Store Shopper

Newly alerted to ZuluTime,  they have an online video that is worth looking at, more exploration and comments  to follow:

" ... Locate and Engage the In-Store Shopper ZuluTime® delivers cost-effective in-store location solutions, enabling retailers to strengthen customer loyalty and increase sales by engaging shoppers based on their specific location inside the store. See how ZuluTime® brings product-level location services to retailers with superior accuracy and scalability.

Now, true 1-to-1 in-store marketing and shopper insights are achievable through delivery of highly relevant product information and promotions directly to the shopper’s smartphone at the point of purchase decision ... "

New Tools for Understanding the Brain

In Science Daily via Stan Dyck: " ... UCLA neuroscientists have now collaborated with physicists to develop a non-invasive, ultra-high-speed microscope that can record in real time the firing of thousands of individual neurons in the brain as they communicate, or miscommunicate, with each other ... ".   Consider in particular how this could be used to gather statistical data about the fine grained activity  of neural interaction.  If this plays out it could be a big step forward. 

Smart Fabrics are Now Washable

Baseline article on the washability of smart fabrics.  This had always been a barrier for the broader us of this technology.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Innovation Speed Dating at Kimberly Clark

In Consumer Goods Technology (CGT):  A major competitor of my former enterprise is doing some intriguing innovative work:  " ... Kimberly-Clark recently used an innovative approach to market research called Rapid Innovation Sessions (RIS) to create, design and evaluate innovation ideas. This technique incorporates several rounds of consumer feedback for fast iterative prototyping on products, concepts and packaging. Observers abandon the backroom and engage with consumers directly -- think "speed dating" with ideas ... " .  I like the basic idea, have tried some related things, but I like the organization of this technique. Good detail in the full CGT article.

Exploring Intersections Between Semantics and the Cloud

Forging an interesting relationship between an SAP supported research institute and semantic data management and search.  How the Cloud is specifically brought in,  except in the most obvious sense, is still unclear.  Still this does indicate that SAP is interested in the details of semantically enabled data. Their view:

" ... So far, there’s a bit of a split between those businesses that want semantic data management and those who want enterprise cloud management. The former tend to be those industries already more advanced in applying semantic technologies at a large scale, such as life science and digital library projects. The latter tend to be those large companies hosting or running large enterprise application landscapes, such as SAP. But, says Haase, “I see a need on both sides for the respective other technologies. That’s exactly the reason we are active at that interface.” ... "

Retail and Smartphones

Short local piece on the increasing use of linking smartphone Apps and coupons in retail.  Nothing new here, except that people and the press are starting to take notice.  I have seen more examples in recent weeks of people scanning with their smartphones in the retail aisle.

Sell to Their Shopping Lists

Good piece from Herb Sorensen's Views site.  Read the whole thing.

Sell to Their "Shopping Lists" (Tell'em Which to Buy!)
December 20, 2010 - by Herb Sorensen, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor, TNS Retail and Shopper

This issue of the Views provides further insight on how and why you can use the dominant path through the store to increase sales. Ten years ago I articulated "The Holy Grail of Retailing:"

To know exactly what each shopper wants, or may buy, as they come through the door of the store, and...   To deliver that to them right away, taking their money and speeding them on their way.

So we want to focus here first on "what each shopper wants, or may buy," and will use an expanded view/definition of the "shopping list" to encompass exactly this – what the shopper wants or may buy. It is a mistake to limit this "shopping list" to a piece of paper or other overt evidence of a shopping plan. In fact, with a better understanding of the role of habit (or the subconscious mind) in shopping, the "wants or may" abbreviates what Neale Martin refers to as the executive mind (wants) or habitual mind (may.) (See Neale Martin, Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Ignore.) ... "

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wharton Consumer Analytics Initiative

This is good news, I was impressed by what I saw the Interactive Media Initiative doing.  Very empirically data based. They ask for the data!  Certainly the previous emphasis on interactive media  is important, but not all inclusive.  I look forward to see their new efforts.  They have an interesting Linkedin Group.

"With the start of the new year, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI). This change is fundamentally an expansion of the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI) into a research center where world-class researchers collaborate with leading-edge businesses to ask and answer critical data-driven questions. Many businesses have come to the recent realization that customer analytics is at the heart of what will give them a meaningful competitive edge; WCAI will help them understand how to leverage the individual-level data that they collect about their customers' online and offline behaviors.

This new initiative clearly defines what we really aspire to do as a center, specifically data-driven customer-level analytics, opening our research to a much broader set of industry sectors. This audience, of course, includes interactive media but we want our initiative to be equally attractive to other data-driven businesses, such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, nonprofits and other leading firms that recognize the key role of customer-level data in determining future strategies and tactics.... "

Improved Google Goggles

The mouthful of a smartphone App called Google Goggles has been improved.  It now recognizes print ads. More here. " ... With the new version of Google Goggles, consumers barely need to lift a finger to compare prices or get search results based on images their smartphones capture.... " . Testing this further now.

Kroger Tests New Fujitsu Checkout

Kroger is testing a new Fujitsu Advantage self checkout system that is said to improve interaction with consumers and decrease checkout times. We extensively tested earlier systems in laboratory retail environments. More here. " ... The technology, from Fujitsu, can recognize items that are stacked and alongside one another without having to identify a bar code. ... " .  Note the implications of image analysis.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Future of Interfaces

From CES, in Technology Review: On the Future of Interfaces. " ... The mouse and keyboard have been how nearly everyone has interacted with computers since Apple and Microsoft brought them to the mainstream in the mid 1980s. There have been periodic attempts to replace these devices, mainly on the grounds that because they are so old, there must be something better by now ... " .   Agree .... gestural, neural, eye tracking have all been attempted, but to little general success.

Zest at Procter

Procter & Gamble has sold the soap brand Zest, which has an interesting ad history, nicely written about in AdAge.

3D Printing for Rapid Prototyping

A good example of remote 3D  'printing', here of a musical instrument, done by researchers at the MIT Media Lab. A good example of rapid prototyping.  We are learning to make more complex things via construction and assembly.

Cowan's Auctions Special Collections

Cowan's Auctions, who I have been doing consulting work for, has started to do some online-only timed auctions.  This is different from online auctions like eBay, in that Cowan's has expert appraisers in a number of categories of auction items.  You can go to their site to bid, or to use their very extensive database of sold and pending items to estimate the value of your own goods.  They also have a presence on Live Auctioneers, where you can bid from an App on your Smartphone.  See also their well done Facebook page.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Gender Persuader by Next Stage Evolution

I talked to the the NextStage Evolution analysis folks a few years ago, and they have developed some new methods that deal with gender orientation, see here for some details.  This is also discussed in their Linkedin Group.  I would appreciate further thoughts about their methods in practice.

" ... NextStage Gender Persuader Tool (NSGP) analyzes on and offline material and reports whether the material favors a male or female audience. NSGP is based on NextStage's patented technology, been in use as a desktop tool since 2003 and in 2009 was independently evaluated at 98%+ accuracy. Bet you wish your current tool could boast that, huh? NextStage: Results. Nothing Else. Nothing Less ... "

LG Thinq Automates Home Tasks

One of the things we actively looked at in the innovation centers was how changes in home appliances could alter the use of enabling products such as detergents.  While it was interesting to think about broad robotic solutions,  a more likely short range solution would look at the transitions between home appliances, and how knowledge about product needs could be leveraged.  The Korean company LG is known for advanced concept work in this area.  Here are some new examples from the recent CES show.  Interoperability and Smartphone App operation are now often included.  Unfortunately, though advanced, these all appear to be at the concept stage only.  Includes video.

Motion Silences Element Change

A very clever demonstration from the Harvard Vision Lab about how the eye perceives change in moving objects differently from those that are stationary.  It is possible that there are applications of this discovery to advertising and human interface design.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

A Semantic Enterprise OS to Optimize Performance

Mark Montgomery of Kyield publishes a new white paper: Kyield Executive Briefing, A Semantic Enterprise Operating System to Reduce risk and seize opportunities: How Business Managers can employ a Semantic Enterprise OS to Optimize Performance.

Latest Innovations at Procter

A useful outline of the latest innovations at P&G.  Everyone, inside enterprise and out, can be an innovator with open innovation.  These examples are excellent.

Cyberspace after Death

In the NYTimes Mag, an article about deathswitch.com.  Immortality in cyberspace, settle scores and make revelations after you are gone?  Send out email and alerts after death.  At one level a pretty simple thing to do even without the service.  I can time posts from this blog to occur anytime in the future.  The implications are considerably deeper.  Could you set up an AI that would make it seem like you are still here, somewhere? 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Posterous Groups

I see that the Posterous Blogging system has now added a group capability.  Useful for communicating with groups of people via email blog posts.   I have mentioned Posterous here before, a simple, easy to use blogging system that I recommend for novice bloggers.

Supply Network Design

Recently in SpingerLink, book on Supply Network Design, by Hoda Davarzani and Shabnam Rezapour.   An initial look shows some useful parts.

On the Real Price of Gas

In Carpe Diem, an examination of the real price of gasoline.  Cheaper today in the US than in 1920. Market driven innovation works. UpdateA plot of the time-cost of gasoline.

Will Touch Screens Kill the Keyboard?

I thought of just this point while traveling this week.   I learned touch typing in High School.  My phone lets me do lots of new styles of communicating.  I would not use it to type a book, but it sure is convenient.  So does close quarters hunt-and-peck in a convenient place make the difference?  And now Pads are in the mix.  More in Computerworld.

Need Help? I am Available.

Wanted to remind my readers that I am a consultant. I have over thirty years of experience with major companies and the US government. I have saved companies many millions of dollars in costs and led a number of major innovation projects. This year I am starting a push to link with new clients. Available in a number of potential ways.  Need help? Lets talk. Contact me. More details and my contact information can be found in the left hand column.

Predictors Group on Linkedin

The LinkedIn Groups Predictors group has opened:

I am pleased to announce that, as the owner of this group, I have just switched us to an open discussion group. All future discussions will be fully visible, searchable, and shareable on the Web. All past discussions are now closed in a members-only archive. I look forward to our future discussions now joining the broader conversation of the wider Web.  ... Posted By Jason Hines

Thursday, January 06, 2011

RFID Security Cube

In RFID Journal: Had thought these kinds of security applications makes sense, here is a recent example:

Self-contained RFID Cube Helps Keep Out Foreign Material

Access Solutions has devised a turnkey unit that employs EPC Gen 2 tags and readers to streamline the tracking of workers and tools entering and exiting protected areas of power plants and other facilities ... "

Crowdsourcing Site

I was contacted to take a look at a fascinating site that helps you construct crowd sourced solutions.It is called Squad Help.  It looks like it uses contests to help companies solve a soft problem, like naming a product or site.  It names a specific $ reward for a best solution. Examples where the solution does not require any deep expertise. Will examine further and report here.

Digital Lightroom

Need to manage your photos?  A look at Digital Lightroom, among other applications for advanced image management.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Kraft Foods and Business Intelligence

An article in Consumer Goods Technology on Kraft Food's use of Business Intelligence. " ... Kraft Foods discusses its voyage toward information access and analysis, and reveals how areas like product freshness and S&OP can benefit from having improved business insight in the right hands and the right time ... "

Sloppy Arithmetic is Useful

In ACM:  Some surprising results regarding the value of imprecise arithmetic and chips that can calculate imprecisely.  Good article about potential applications.

Motorola Splits

The split of the 83 year old company in two pieces is seen in a number of different ways.  We worked with them in the early days of RFID and they provided some excellent technology.  Net I think better focus will result in better innovation.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Linkless Press Releases

Why do many press releases not include links to useful information, in particular to the release itself and the companies involved?  Has always mystified me.   Please make it as easy as possible to provide you with free marketing.  Or it might not happen.  Here is a good discussion of that.

Getting Linked Data to Market

Article about this course is dated, but worth a look as to the direction of this work.  I had always seen this as the most immediately useful aspect of the semantic web:

" ... Linked Data describes a method of publishing structured data, so that it can be interlinked and become more useful. It builds upon standard Web technologies, such as HTTP and URIs - but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried.... "

See also some links in the comments to the course article, which provide more background information and information about the course.  I am sure there was followup, if you have any information about that, pass it along.

Knowledge Management in Fast Moving Industries

In HBR, a good article that scopes out various approaches for knowledge management.  How formal do these approaches have to be?  Or can they just observe in the background and construct knowledge via usage?  An obvious AI - Learning connection.  Or can they be best built by informal user evolved structures, like Wikis?

" ... How can we improve how organizations learn and adapt in fast-moving industries? I recently spoke to a group of Silicon Valley HR leaders and this question came up, along with the related matter of how to do knowledge management better. They asked how we do knowledge management at frog design, since we have studios spread all over the world and work in a diverse range of industries. Frog does relatively little formal knowledge management, but as we talked I realized that there are many things we do to support learning but don't get recognized as knowledge management. I suspect the same is true at many organizations ... "

Big Data Scientists

In the Noisy Channel: About data scientists, what they have been doing lately and their relationships to the increasing amounts of data all of us have been generating.  

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ads thet Changed the World

BBC on six ads that changed the world.

Snap a Picture, Save a Stream

Creek Watch. A simple Smart Water effort via IBM uses a mobile phone application to gather data about stream conditions.  Simple smart sensor application. It does make sense to construct an initial data gathering and sensor application, then later add in smarter capabilities.  You immediately get the crowd sourcing opportunities and data.  You also alert a community to the work.

Earth Project Seeks to Simulate Everything

From the BBC:  Quite a huge undertaking.  Including always problematic aspects of human behavior ... " ... Nicknamed the Living Earth Simulator, the project aims to advance the scientific understanding of what is taking place on the planet, encapsulating the human actions that shape societies and the environmental forces that define the physical world. "Many problems we have today—including social and economic instabilities, wars, disease spreading—are related to human behavior, but there is apparently a serious lack of understanding regarding how society and the economy work," says Dr Helbing, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who chairs the FuturICT project which aims to create the simulator.... "

Developing Robots for the Emergency Room

In CACM: Developing Robots for the hospital emergency room.  I have worked on simulations of an operating room, which would be a good first step for this.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Neuromarketing Daily

Newly discovered: The Neuromarketing Daily.


What Networks Can Tell us About the World

Good overview video about using networks to understand systems they describe.   Talk given at the Santa Fe Institute.   The 2010 Ulam Lecture.

Networks and the World by Mark Newman  2010-09-15

Our Small World: How Networks of People and Information Shape Our World

Networks can tell us many things about the systems they describe. By studying a social network we can learn who the leaders are in a community or predict how individuals will vote in an election. By studying transportation networks, such as road and airline networks, we can improve transportation efficiency, saving us time and money. By looking at the world wide web we can learn which web pages people find most useful, information that is crucial for searching the web effectively. Newman describes how we learn these things and explains some of the insights that network science has produced in areas ranging from sociology and economics to computer science and biology .... "

Saturday, January 01, 2011

100 Things to Watch

The Global Advertising Agency Jay Walter Thompson has put out a slide show on the 100 things to watch in 2011.   Provocative and interesting.

Custom QR Codes

An explosion of interest in using QR codes this past year.  A Mashable piece on how to create your own custom QR codes.  In the comment there is a good point about relying on a thrid part to redirect a code.  Makes sense to think about that carefully.

Real Time Analytics Surge

My UK colleague sends along a link to a note about the increasing use of in memory data management, and it's implications to data infrastructure and center design.  The demands of real time analytics and even the new dimension of mobile location in data will continue to push this.