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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Google Password Ring

A USB device meant to replace a password.  Simple idea to use the form of a ring.  We do need something new.  " ... As part of research into doing away with typed passwords, Google has built rings that not only adorn a finger but also can be used to log in to a computer or online account. The search and ad company first revealed its plans to put an end to passwords in an academic paper published online in January (see “Google’s Alternative to the Password”). The effort focused on having people plug a small USB key that provides their credentials into a computer. The possibility of using special jewelry in a similar manner was mentioned in that paper.... " 

Tableau Software

I have had cause to take a look at the latest version of Tableau Software's  approach to visualization.  In particular how it can be used with large columnar databases, and results displayed on tablets securely.  Its been a few years since working with it.  I point you their blog for more information.  I welcome any thoughts or directions.  In particular how it compares to software with similar capabilities.

Huxley vs Orwell

Or 1984 vs Brave new World  and Amusing ourself to death.  I remember the hoopla when 1984 rolled  around, and we apparently had not driven ourselves to those lows.  So was Huxley ultimately more accurate in Brave New World?  The article simplifies the two novels as prediction, and you could make the case that we are living elements of both these predictions, though with very different details.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

On the New Analytic Stack

In GigaOM:  Good thoughts, I am in the midst of scoping a 'big data' style poof of concept, so its useful thinking this way.    " ... Spurred by infrastructural innovations such as Hadoop and NoSQL, we’re seeing the beginning of a new analytic stack that’s all about dealing with big data in an easier, more-transparent way than ever before. ... "

CSX Efficiency Statement

In a CSX advertising piece, they point out that one of their trains can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a gallon of fuel.  Nice going.   More from CSX.

Toxic Workplaces

Good piece on the characteristics of a toxic workplace.  I have never worked in such a place, but have seen at times some of the characteristics emerge.  Good watchouts.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Science of Swarms

Lots of interesting examples of swarm complexity models.  In Wired.  Simulation of cancer and the prediction of the future.  An area we explored, but did not ultimately come up with a breakthrough example application.  I am optimistic that this combination of simulation and simple AI has much in its future.  " ...  example of a phenomenon that has captured the imagination of researchers around the world. For more than a century people have tried to understand how individuals become unified groups. The hints were tantalizing—animals spontaneously generate the same formations that physicists observe in statistical models. There had to be underlying commonalities. The secrets of the swarm hinted at a whole new way of looking at the world... ." 
See also this recent book.

Large Interactive Public Displays

In IEEE Computer:   An area we looked at for retail presence.  We worked with several companies that used novel light fiber approaches and installed them high on the walls of our retail lab.  The impact could be considerable.  Lower down, on shelf systems could be used to conduct directly the flow of shoppers with messages.  This article is about public displays, but has broader application.  See also the book by 5th-Screen's Keith Kelsen for key insights about display.   Much more on digital signage here.

Neuroscience and Innovation

In Forbes:  " ... Our brains naturally look for patterns in the world around us, according to Janet Crawford, principal of Cascadance who is working to apply neuroscience to business performance. That's often a good thing, but sometimes these patterns are a poor fit for current circumstances. To develop innovative ways of thinking, it's important to seek out "diverse people, activities and experience to provide the raw materials for serendipitous insight ... " .  Of course diversity has taken on its own meaning in our current world.   So the conclusion is weak.  Define it more precisely for the purposes of your conclusion.

Is Big Data about Big?

A nice short piece about the reality of the value of data.   The most important watchout of all in this space.  Should be the most obvious, but is often forgotten.  Just because your data is 'big' does not mean it is valuable.  And the value of data is not linearly related to its size.  This is further applicable to all modeling, statistical or logical.  You need the right data for the problem.  Getting more data may find you the patterns you need, but it is not assured.

The Alleged Spontaneity of Viral and Tremor

My former colleague Kevin Ashton writes about the 'Harlem Shake', which I admit I just noticed a few weeks ago.  My connectedness is more about the technical than the social.  He suggests that the swift movement of the meme was more about what corporations wanted to spread than the spontaneous eruptions of the  'hive mind'.  He tracks the emergence of the idea in early February, and how it was promoted by the press.  With lots of video examples.   Chicken and egg here.  It is scary, though that commercial interests may be able to build the wave to their purposes.   Or inevitable.  Reminds me of Tremor, which I had just heard has been abandoned by its corporate sponsors.  Or has it?  More about Tremor written here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wal-Mart Crowdsourcing Delivery

Not a new idea.  Delivery is expensive, yet there are many people who would welcome the ability to deliver items in their spare time for a small payment.  Here, an indication that Walmart is thinking of doing this to deliver their online orders from stores.  Deliverers would register and give their location.  The order would be placed in the hands of the most efficiently located driver.  Lots of little details to work out, but worth looking at.  Can it work?  If so, look out post office.

Aimia Helping Kellogg for Loyalty Data

Aimia, mentioned here previously working with Kellogg.  Interesting in particular because it is a work with a CPG manufacturer rather than a retailer:    " ... Aimia's development of the platform for the Kellogg's Family Rewards program was guided by the intelligence and insights that are possible through the intersection of technology and marketing. Aimia's proprietary platform assigns a value to each code based on product, size and item cost, but also factors in a bonus point structure and national promotion overlays. The data that is generated when the consumer enters codes is analyzed to more effectively target promotions and offers to specific members. ... "

Mobile Employees Driving Cloud

Makes sense.   Which also increases the need to make sure that the connections are secure and reliable.

Tyranny of Things

In GigaOM:   This reminds me of how our devices and software have started to control us.  Smartphonesvibrating and a sales forecast changing what we do next.  Algorithms combining the signals between many elements of the world to influence our decisions.  And once everything is tagged and communicating on the net?  Cisco in recent communications is probing this exploding market: " ... Cisco, a company that stands to make a lot of money by bringing the network to the disconnected objects in our lives, has released a study exploring what the networking giant is re-branding the “Internet of Everything.” On the one hand, its content is comfortably predictable – essentially a wide-eyed promise that the market is going to be really, really big. More interesting though is the accompanying blog entry by CEO John Chambers, who doesn’t just summarize his company’s findings, but actually offers an important shoutout to the Internet of Everything Economy.... " .  It will happen, and we need to be ready, both technologically and preserving our own humanity.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Silicon Valley Running out of Innovation

Says Alan Kay, who we met a number of times at Xerox PARC in the day.   We used his Smalltalk and Logo languages for AI projects.  We respected his thoughts about the direction of computer interfaces, and were an early tester of Windows and Apple.  Now, his concept of the Dynabook can be seen in the form of tablets everywhere.  Good to understand what he is saying now in this video and commentary. 

Thinking Through the Forecast

I just caught this article in the Insiders Group blog and thought I would comment about our demand forecasting experiences and how they can be applied to the midsize business.

About the sales forecast.  Or for that matter any forecast.  In my own experience this has yet to be solved generally.   We worked for years aiming to perfect the methods used.  It is often not so much about the analytical technology you can apply, but the number of contextual influences you can include.   Can you include the influence of promotion, of the economy, of competitor activity?  Depending on the industry cyclical and the changes in fashion are also important.  The article states:

" ... Instead of relying on gut feelings and hope when forecasting , top-performing companies in Aberdeen's research are 46% more likely than all others to perform regular sales pipeline modeling and simulation exercises.

On a tactical level, predictive analytics can cut down on the end-of-cycle demands for C-level support to close deals that their reps claim are "THIS close to the goal line!" In reality, there are only so many opportunities that merit high-level help, volume discounting, and the other forms of late-stage motivators.

Accurate forecasts have benefits across the business. For example, the folks who run purchasing, inventory, logistics, supply chain, operations, and even human capital management, can dramatically benefit from realistic sales forecasts that helps them more efficiently plan for their own activities post-sale. .. ." 

Good thoughts,  and I will add a few.  First is that you need a single set of forecasts, so that all the company is being driven from the same numbers.  You need to frequently calibrate the numbers, as the context of your markets change.  You also need either a corporate economist, or access to good econometric models.  This last point has changed radically in the last few decades.  When I arrived at the enterprise we had a room full of corporate economists.  When I left we had none, and had outsourced the entire econometric process.  This created several problems in our ability to deal with  changes proactively.

What does this mean for the small to midsize company?  The forecast is very important to the Midsize, even more important because minor changes in forecasts can severely hurt the small business.  A close linking between true business process and forecast is also important.  A forecast should be a key part of the business process model, so it can help direct next steps and cautions.  Make sure there is a business model, and you know where it links to sales and demand forecasts. Make the forecasts count, and continually re calibrate them.  Any technology choices should support this process and be clear to executive using the results.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Wal-Mart Optimizing On-Shelf Availability

Another example, in Progressive Grocer, of how Wal-Mart is active in analytical methods.  " ... A new service from Plano, Texas-based sales and marketing services company Crossmark, is helping manufacturers to better address the challenge of a product’s on-shelf availability at Walmart stores. Called OSA Now, and developed by Plano, Texas-based Crossmark, the solution uses sophisticated algorithms -- customized for each supplier -- to identify store/item combinations that have a high likelihood of having an OSA problem. Typical issues include out-of-stocks, incorrect on-hand inventory, or products that are not on the planogram.... " 

Big Data Disaster, Get the Data Right.

Stephen Few on the problems with too much analytics before you get the data right.  Getting the data right.  And visualizing it to make sure you understand it .... is key.

Super Bowl Neuromarketing Study

Neurorelay summarizes the yearly Sands Research Super Bowl advertisement study.   Well done overview of method and results.  A few years ago I had a chance to statistically compare their results to TV tracking studies and found reasonable but not remarkable correlation.  No surprises.  So the results were confirming but did not necessarily provide useful surprises in this case.  Surprising results, that can be used with trust are what companies are looking for

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Read Me: I am a Curator too

I have been playing with Flipboard for some time.  On the iPhone and Pad. A very nice, image-oriented way to organize and deliver information.  A more sophisticated RSS feed.  I just saw a good discussion and video about the intent of the Flipboard service, which made a big deal about how everyone can be a curator there.  Their newest version allows you to create slick magazine-like creations.  This struck me as what I have been doing here for ten years publicly, and three years privately before that.  I am primarily a curator of a number of topics that support by skills.  Essentially what is now called business analytics.  Most of what I do is curate essential information that relates to the work I do. I save the bulk of my applied creativity for actual paying projects.  This blog also forms a repository for my knowledge and the knowledge of my collaborators.  I often use it as a memory of my past work.  Read it and you will get an idea of what interests me.  You can read me on Flipboard by copying the URL of this site there.

Want to use my skills?  Work with me?  Have an idea you want promoted here? Or collaborate with me by writing an interesting post?  Contact me at the URL embedded in the left hand column.



Friendly Home Printable Robots

From the NSF:  This seems to be an overreach based on current capabilities.  Though you can't argue with the goal.   " ... The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding a project that seeks to automate the process of designing and manufacturing robots for the average consumer. The process makes use of two-dimensional desktop technology fabrication methods. Users would be able to design, customize, and print a specialized robotic system in a matter of hours.... "

Brands Getting Creative with Data

In Digiday:  short pieces on the use of data by companies.  It is always useful to see a number of examples of systems using data.  But then all systems use data in some way.  I wouldn't call these especially creative, but they are worthwhile considering.

Stealth Innovation as a Solution

This HBR article suggests it is not.  I suggest that stealth is one tool to get innovation done.  It creates a startup style atmosphere that does not look to get immediate and ongoing approval.  It works with the right corporate environment.  Transferal to budgets under organization control usually makes sense at some later time.  So I suggest stealth is good, properly and selectively applied.  We did this with our  innovation centers, with an executive champion, to considerable ultimate success.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Starbucks Loyalty Data Use

In Adage: Data pours in at Starbucks, a quarter using loyalty cards.  Yet much of this data is not effectively used.  Sounds like most of the loyalty systems I have examined.

Real Time Analysis Requires Business Saavy

I take this further. All Business Intelligence requires some business saavy.  Or a close connection with the people responsible for decisions made with the data and the underlying processes.  A good piece, mostly obvious, but reaffirming thoughts are useful.

Tibco Acquires Maporama

I see that Tibco Spotfire has acquired Maporama.   " ... a privately-held, cloud-based provider of location intelligence and geospatial analytics solutions ... " .   They are holding some upcoming webinars on the implications and integration of this capability.  More about this here.

Using a Cloud Phone To Your Benefit

Molly Malone a freelance writer relates, in a guest post:

As a technology enthusiast, you’ve no doubt heard of the cloud – cloud computing, cloud-based storage, cloud phone systems, and more. By harnessing the power and ubiquity of the Internet, the cloud ensures that your files are safe and can be shared and that your phone systems aren’t dependent on a landline. This is great news for people who telecommute or travel often; being out of the office doesn’t have to mean being disconnected. You can easily harness the power of the cloud by using products like Google Drive for managing projects and documents; whether you need to work on a spreadsheet or presentation, Google offers ways to manage these while also remaining compatible with Microsoft Office. 

But how do you keep your phone line when you’re traveling or telecommuting? Cloud phone systems, like those offered from companies like Broadview Networks, keep you in the loop no matter where you are. All you need is an Internet connection and a cell phone, and you can easily use the same phone number and extension that you would in the office. This helps project a professional image to clients and stakeholders, no matter where you are. Click here to learn more about how cloud phone systems might be a great solution for you and your business. Beyond phone systems and managing documents, however, the cloud is also a much safer storage space than your typical hard drive.  Save photos, music, and important files to the cloud and access them wherever, whenever – without the worry of losing them! How else have you used the cloud?  

Bio: Molly Malone is a Philadelphia-based copywriter and public relations specialist, with a great deal of freelance and telecommuting experience. Follow her on Google+! 


Reminder.  All new blog posts, and many older ones are now tagged.  Which means that at the end of each post there are listed a set of 'Labels', underlined words or phrases,  which categorize the posts.  Clicking on any one of these brings up a list of similarly themed posts, aiding in research.    Ultimately all blog posts will be tagged.

Computers that Can Teach Themselves

Machine learning is a favorite topic in AI.  We did that in a simple form in what was called case based reasoning.  But who directs learning?  Can a machine create its own appetite for learning by knowing what it does not know?  DARPA thinks so.   Using methods " ... Called “Probabilistic Programming for Advanced Machine Learning,” or PPAML, scientists will be asked to figure out how to “enable new applications that are impossible to conceive of using today’s technology,” while making experts in the field “radically more effective,” according to a recent agency announcement. At the same time, Darpa wants to make the machines simpler and easier for non-experts to build machine-learning applications too.... "  This remains a very tough problem, even as DARPA repositions it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Black Holes of Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:  Some cautionary thoughts about black holes of innovation.  " ... Over the past few years, companies let go large numbers of research scientists, middle management and other staff.   It made the balance sheets look rosier, which combined with hundreds of billions of dollars in quantitative easing, that is cheap money, has resulted in companies with trillions of dollars of ready-to-spend cash on the books today. However, they did not invest in innovation, like Black Holes little or no capital emitted from these companies; instead, they sucked in all the smaller profitable companies within range. It may cheer investors and stockbrokers, but it left entrepreneurs and promising early start-ups without funds to develop their companies. It has to change. ... " 

Predicting Asset Failure

Always good question to ask.  How can I accurately predict system failure and prepare for it?  Especially when failure is rare?  Failures can often cascade. We explored this in the manufacturing line space and collaborated with national lab manufacturing mathematicians to solve the problem. Now an announcement by IBM:   " ... Through IBM's predictive analytics software and business consulting services, the new solution harnesses big data from instrumented assets and identifies irregularities in the manufacturing process, spots product irregularities, and forecasts a range of asset performance risks before a problem ever arises.... ".  See the full press release.

Compost Analytics for the City

This is a classic example of vehicle routing using analytics.  I have worked on problems as disparate as ambulance routing in semi rural counties and routing log trucks to pulp mills, to minimizing the travel of fork lifts in product warehouses.  We called these methods 'operations research'.  They are about doing things smarter, by being faster and cheaper.

Examples where the profit margin of an operation is small to begin are particularly interesting. This video outlines the example of gathering trimmings and cast offs from San Francisco restaurants and efficiently getting the resulting compost to vineyards to use for fertilizer.  How should I route trucks though complex city streets, do pickups and then get the result to far away vineyards while minimizing costs? It is all about becoming smarter using analytical methods.

The company doing the work to take trimmings from recycle bins to composting center to vineyard is done by Recology Inc  with data and analytics help from IBM Partner Key Info Systems. More on that collaboration.

Problems like routing are combinations of data, timing, resource and goal management.  With the data often changing based on the dynamics of streets, labor and schedule.  All needed to ultimately feed the smarter city.  Mining data for doing something effectively is not unlike mining minerals. Or mining compost for its value in agriculture.

More about the analytics dimensions of these problems.  Also this blog often covers the topic of analytics for any size company.  Posts about that here.   #Midsize

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Business Analytics Book

Business Analytics: A Practitioner's Guide (International Series in Operations Research & Management Science)A review of  recent book  Business Analytics: A Practitioner's Guide (International Series in Operations Research & Management Science) by Rahul Saxena and Anand Srinivasan.   Saxhena  is a practitioner at Cisco.   They decribe:  " ... This book provides a guide to businesses on how to use analytics to help drive from ideas to execution. Analytics used in this way provides “full lifecycle support” for business and helps during all stages of management decision-making and execution. The framework presented in the book enables the effective interplay of business, analytics, and information technology (business intelligence) both to leverage analytics for competitive advantage and to embed the use of business analytics into the business culture. It lays out an approach for analytics, describes the processes used, and provides guidance on how to scale analytics and how to develop analytics teams. ... " Have not seen yet, but am asking for a copy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Videolocators Case Study

Some time ago I mentioned the Videolocators startup.  Which uses some intriguing SEO methods.  Ed Burns, their CEO sends along a case study of the service which " ... serves two groups – those who need help finding lost family, loved ones (or the wanted), and those who want to help. Those that need help can post their information at Video Locators for FREE. If they want to include social media marketing, this is at less than $14/month ... "

A case study:
" ... The worst thing that can ever happen to a parent is to lose a child, whether by separation, divorce, abduction or otherwise. Imagine the devastation that a mother or father feels when a child is missing because a parent stepped outside the law and did what they thought was best for them and a child, instead of what was really best for the child. It is very emotional to suddenly feel the cruelness of an ex-spouse taking a child away. ... "

Lockheed and Quantum Computing

Have followed quantum computing here for specialized problem solving for some time.  Here a GigaOM article with more detail about how Lockheed-Martin is using the technology.   And more from this blog about the topic.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Petroleum Geology

Reading for data analysis background:

Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling & Production, 3rd Ed. by Norman J. Hyne (Mar 31, 2012)

Very readable, for introduction to terms used in this industry.

Wal-Mart Expands Smartphone Checkout

It is reported that Wal-Mart will expand its test of using smartphones for in-aisle checkout.  The system they are using is Scan & Go, delivered as an App for popular smartphones.  The idea is becoming more popular and being tested by a number of retailers.

Google Keep vs Evernote

A comparison of newly available Google Keep, and well known note taking system Evernote.  Have used Evernote for years. In recent weeks I have been helping a client understand the issues behind mobile information gathering and sharing.   Anything with the Google clout and integration with other resources behind it is important.  In particular, the integration of visualization capabilities like image indexing, concept and process mapping are necessary.  Also the capability to easily sync in the Cloud.  Look forward to a closer view.

Innovative Supply Chain Solutions

In SCDigest:  An exploration of the 'pain to gain ratio', of various supply chain innovations.  Well done. I did such an analysis a few years ago.  I love the term too, there are always costs thus pains involved to make innovation useful.

Natural Gas and Commercial Trucking

An area I investigated several years ago.  MJ Perry examines.  While natural gas is now considerably cheaper and more energy efficient than gasoline today, commercial fleets have not been overhauled to use natural gas.    Nor have sufficient fueling points been established.  But that situation is changing. Another project has me looking at predictions of natural gas availability and cost.  The future of this fuel to drive commercial supply chains is bright.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Analytics Newsletter

Always good Analytics Newsletter.  Latest issue.  Lots of directly useful topics.  Tied directly to the modern issues of data, decisions and results.   Subscribe to it if you do any kind of analytics work.

Solving Big Data Problems with Visualization

A SAS paper, which requires some registration.    I believe you should always build a sandbox for relevant visualization when doing analytics on a data set.  Let people that understand the business origins and uses of the data work with it visually.    Data visualization IS a key part of analytics.  Where you bring human pattern recognition and models together.  You can't do better than that.  With data Big or Small.  Good to see that a major vendor understands it.

Decision Rooms

Your company needs a decision room.     To help create change and foster innovation.  Click on the labels below to see some of Procter & Gamble's work in this area.

" ... Companies may be able to encourage innovation and big-picture discussions by creating "decision rooms," according to David Sibbet, author of "Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management and Organizational Change." These rooms should have plenty of space for employees to write down their ideas and technical infrastructure that allows for the presentation of electronic information. ... " 

Managing Supply Chain Risks

And the dangers of an opaque supply chain.  And how this increases in a complicated world.  And how this relates to the recent horsemeat scandal.    " ... Two companies taking novel approaches to monitoring their supply chains are Sainsbury's, which works closely with farmers in the U.K., and Puma, which began making an economic valuation of the ecological impact of its value chain....  " 

Nielsen Tracking

In Adage:  How Nielsen tracks almost everything, with some mini case studies of how it works. Instructive.

Cheap Data Visualization

There are lot of possibilities here.  This slideshow outlines them.  I also see  that Tableau 8 is out today, plan to look at that excellent package for interactive data visualization.    They have a free form called Tableau Public that you can use for personal visualization needs without an enterprise budget.  Lots of other options, its an area that has received much attention recently.  I will look at a few and come back with some recommendations.  In particular I am further interested in solutions that will work well on mobile tablets. Let me know if you have recos beyond the side show.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Future of MOOC U

In the Pennsylvania Gazette, an excellent and detailed article on Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  My undergraduate alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania, is a big player in the Coursera online system, with a number of its professors contributing.  I have been impressed what I have seen there so far. See the article for an example of areas of learning they teach in.

Will that ultimately hurt universities like Penn, its teachers becoming free agents?  Without the physical plant of the university to pay for, the cost of an education will come down.  And anyone can participate. Accreditation can be done via accounting rather than residence.  Is an institution in place since the seventeenth century about to come tumbling down?  Or can the two methods be successfully combined?  Can more specialized MOOCs be constructed to offer detailed training and social participation to make them work?   I wrote recently about another effort, SlateUp, which has similar but more collaborative education goals.  It further addresses how the enterprise will ultimately consume the educated MOOC graduates.

Consumer Cloud for Mobile Health Data

A not unexpected development.  Standards will lead to the application of analytics:

WebMD, Qualcomm build consumer cloud for mobile health data
WebMD is also building a physician, patient web portal

Computerworld - WebMD and Qualcomm have partnered to offer consumers a way to upload biometric data from wireless home medical devices. That data can then be shared with healthcare providers.

WebMD's new Health Cloud platform is due out this fall and will be based on Qualcomm's 2net platform, a cloud-based system designed to be interoperable with different wireless medical devices and applications, allowing medical device users and their healthcare providers to access biometric data online.   ... "

Urban Mobility Innovation

A topic of particular interest, special report:

Transportation in the 21st century is entering a robust phase that mirrors the early years of the automobile, when gasoline, steam and electric technology vied for market share. Today, urban transit is making a comeback, as is the electric car. Congested highways still face emission concerns, but consumers now often have the choice of light and heavy rail. Car sharing, which began as a European phenomenon, has prospered in U.S. urban centers, along with bicycle sharing, vanpooling and other options. This special report, produced in coordination with Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), explores how cities are expanding their options for cleaner transportation, and how new technologies, innovations and incentives are revitalizing the sector.

Revenue Management with Negotiation

University of Cincinnati's research seminars organized by the  Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems (OBAIS) department at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.   Please reply to uday.rao@uc.edu    

The OBAIS department invites you to attend the following research seminar:
Date & Time: Friday, March 29, 2013, 1 PM in Lindner Hall Room 108
Speaker: Dr. Annabelle Feng, Purdue University
Talk: Revenue Management with Negotiation

Collaborative Next Gen Analytics

A Webex recorded seminar by Robin Bloor in the Briefing Room.  Good overview of the topic.  Requires some registration.  " ... Experienced analysts know there is no single platform that can handle all types of analytic processing efficiently. Invariably, data-driven organizations will use a variety of engines to refine their raw data into usable insights. There are several down sides to this heterogeneity, not the least of which is poor collaboration. But that's starting to change, as many companies focus on creative ways to foster analytical cooperation.  ... "

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Buzz and Lift

In AdAge:   Buzz online creates little or any product lift in the short term for Coke.  Article provides some interesting statistics, with uncertainties.  The comments are also very interesting.

Behavior and Decisions in Organizations

A very nice piece in Bain&Company, Why we Behave and Decide the way we do.   Lots of information out there on why individuals act the way they do.  Even aspects of group behavior.  But how do individuals behave within an organization as a result?  How do they then decide?   This does not solve the problem, but can indicate what to look for.   Again, it is all about the resulting decisions.  "... Organizational ailments, such as too much complexity, often interfere with good business decision making and execution. But they aren’t the only source of trouble. We human beings are even more complicated than a tangled org chart or a messy decision. We are prisoners of emotions, habits and biases. We choose A rather than B for reasons that we often don’t understand. These pitfalls can ensnare individuals who are making decisions; they can also cause groups to go astray.  The good news: If you’re aware of the traps, you are far less likely to be snared by them. In this article, we highlight four reasons people decide the way they do. ..." 

Considering the Cloud

Good Thoughtful podcast piece on the topic

Managing Technology
Up in the Cloud: Hype and High Expectations for Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is creating waves in different industries across the developed world, helping both entrepreneurs and large conglomerates quickly respond to opportunities and manage their business processes more effectively. A recent survey by Knowledge@Wharton and enterprise software firm SAP reveals that people have very high expectations for the future of cloud computing; at the same time, they admit that they don't fully understand the technology. Knowledge@Wharton spoke with David Spencer, vice president at SAP, and Don Huesman, managing director at the Wharton Innovation Group, to clarify questions surrounding the future of cloud computing. (Podcast with transcript)

World Peace via Vending Machines

A curious project from Coke using vending machines to promote world peace.   Would they then need a vending App too?   The Happiness project:  " ... Coke quietly posted this teaser video back in late December, but sources suggest a bigger announcement is coming soon and that it will be a major project for the brand. It shows vending machines capable of connecting users, bound for not-so-friendly neighbors India and Pakistan. Video technology means the users in the two countries will actually be able to see each other and touch hands virtually; the idea is that it could roll out to various countries in conflict.... " 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sands Partners with NVISO

Just announced.  A natural interaction capability for neuromarketing work.  Surprised it it not more often done. Directly linking facial imaging with neuroscience technology. With emotion analysis. Taking that mobile is a further plus.

Data Visualization and BI Tools

Useful comments on the selection process.  Again, I look for methods that do the most common things easily  and directly.  Ignore all the flash, all the visualization that obscures insight.   And today, make sure it can be seen and interacted with on a tablet.

Facebook Privacy

At a dinner last night had a heated conversation about how they were abandoning Facebook for privacy concerns.  Professionals refusing to join as a result. Here some Apps that address the FB privacy issue.  Or are these just band aids?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mining Suicide Notes

Locally a  good example of predictive text analysis.   Mining a large corpus of suicide notes at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital, to model and predict when suicide attempts actually happened.  Plan to dig deeper into this example. Text examples often depend strongly on the size and generality of the text used.  I also like the fact that, based on the article, the analytics have been built directly into the decision process,

Big Data in Wal-Mart's DNA

Gib Bassett of Teradata sends along a link to an article about Wal-Mart's use of Big Data.  Nice detail that can be instructive to others in this space.  If anyone can  utilize the volume, velocity and variability of Big Data, it is Wal-Mart.  Now as they are more  heavily involved with social media, the need to understand the collection of data that streams at them from the register and online sources.  Lots of Analytical potential for problems like assortment there.  The ability has to be in your 'DNA', so the data and the analytics will be there and ready when you need them.  More here on Big Data.  More on Wal-Mart Technologies.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Data Value Stories

Some stories about the value of data in GigaOM.

Informs Analytics

Upcoming Informs Analytics meeting in San Antonio in early April.  I have attended many, hosted a few, written speeches for them, presented at many, even received  an few awards there.  A good conference, like many of them are, if you plan participation carefully.  More here.

Analytics Planning

Something we did for thirty plus years.   Under all sorts of regimes and priorities. Centralized and distributed models.  Among what the article suggests, to be ready for chaos.  Be agile.  Be ready embrace new ideas and technologies without getting buried in their over-blown promises.  Present visually.   Know the fundamentals for the basic solution methods.  Know your business and focus on business answers.  In the  end it is all about linking to decisions.

Rethinking Product Form for 3D Printing

An interesting view.  I am still skeptical about the general use of 3D printing for manufacturing.  But there are some broadening thoughts here.  The designs have to be considered, of course.

" ... 3D printing has already changed the game for manufacturing specialized products such as medical devices but the real revolution will come when designers start to rethink the shapes of objects. 3D printing removes the limitations of the manufacturing process from the equation, which means whatever can be designed on a computer can be turned into an object, 3D printing specialists say.  To really start using the technology to its full potential, designers and engineers need to imagine new products. "You are almost unlimited as to the type of geometric complexity," said Terry Wohlers, an independent analyst who advises companies on the 3D printing sector.... " 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Procter and Verix Partnership

More on the Procter -  Verix partnership , from CEO magazine.  Delivering easier to apply Business Intelligence:  " ... After a year of intensive teamwork between Verix and P&G, we have developed in-depth CPG domain expertise and meticulously crafted our new offering to address the specific needs of commercial operations in this market space.  Today, we officially introduce our game changing CPG business analytics solution.  With that, we aim to repeat our success in the life sciences industry, where some of the largest companies are already benefiting from Verix’s innovative solution, utilizing our easy-to-use analytical apps that leverage data to improve decision-making and significantly increase ROI ...  " 

P&G Press Release.

Visualizing the Internet

Flowing data describes an App that provides a 3D representation of the infrastructure of the Internet.  No specific value, except the knowledge that we are riding on top of something very complex.

Standards in the CPG and Retail Industry

An interesting report via GS1 from CapGemini on the future of standards there.  These are key issues to make these spaces more efficient. " ... Capgemini has released a report entitled "The Future of Standards in the Consumer Goods & Retail Industry: Cut costs and meet new consumer needs". The report is the result of interviews with top industry executives commissioned by GS1 and The Consumer Goods Forum which provided an international perspective and a cross-functional view representing supply chain, IT and beyond. The report is both a strong endorsement of the existing value of standards in the retail.... "

Google Reader Gone

Google reader RSS is scheduled to be gone in 70 days.  I have used it since it first arrived.  It is a simple way to do information feeds.  Very popular from what I can see.  From the complaints I see the speculation is that it is being removed because it is too difficult to monetize, and its use is not increasing fast enough.   RSS is technologically very useful but is not sexy enough for the company of Glass.   A good example about building a basically good idea, roping in a very large audience, and dropping it with little concern for the implications.  Even if Google is not evil, it can hurt technology by making unconsidered changes.  There is a growing petition to reverse the decision.  If not,  A list of alternatives.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Glass as Newton as Vision

A colleague sends along this view in Quartz, of Google Glass as something akin to the Apple Newton, visionary in direction, but something that will pave the way for future applications and players in this space.  I repeat too, that the idea is not new, we tested it a decade ago, but attention is being paid to it because Google is involved.  It is fundamentally augmented reality with the hope of more convenient hardware.  The list of possible possible applications given is interesting, but at a widget rather than surprise application level.  I agree that voice control will not likely be the best interface for its use.  Ultimately eye or neural control makes sense.

And some further thoughts, in Technology Review,  about the social issues that are behind the use of head worn devices.   What will this growing  backlash mean?    I also sense this is fundamentally different from say the bluetooth ear device,  also an indication of implied inattention.  Rude or just better connected?

Cheap Gene Machines

Simpler, cheaper gene analysis could revolutionize medicine.  In IEEE Spectrum.   " ... Soon, Rothberg says, everybody will be sequenced—probably as infants—and will be able to make diet, lifestyle, and medical choices based on specific information, rather than on hunches about vulnerabilities. Knowledge of a person’s genome will allow specialists to customize medical treatments and drugs for that patient, to maximize effectiveness while minimizing side effects. A routine checkup could start with the doctor checking for “updates” to a patient’s genomic file; if medical research has turned up new data about the patient’s particular set of genes, the doctor would get an alert. “Our goal,” Rothberg declares, “is to really transform medicine.” ... 

Unilever's Dove is Mobile

In Mobile Marketer, how Unilever is using mobile and video to promote their Dove brand.

Mobile Promotions and Impulse Buys

In Progressive Grocer: Perhaps a non intuitive linkage?  " ... Research published by the American Marketing Association shows that shoppers make more unplanned purchases when prompted by promotions through a mobile device. "Retailers have the ability to target their promotions in ways that weren't possible before, and our study provides a road map for mobile marketers who seek to increase unplanned spending in stores," said study co-author Sam Hui, a professor at the New York University Stern School of Business. ... " 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quantum Computing Again: D-Wave

Now a number of years ago I met with some former colleagues  to pose appropriately difficult problems for their recently constructed quantum computer D-Wave.   The relationship of quantum computing to computationally complex problems is especially interesting for key commercial problems that we cannot solve today. Since then there has been a controversy about the models they use.  It was nice to see in a New Scientist article that some of these issues have been resolved.  A recent Nature article is linked to provides technical details. I wish them luck as their work proceeds.  Their commercially available systems are already used by companies like Lockheed-Martin.

Tesco and Giraffe to Create Destination

A UK Correspondent RJ writes:

A new Tesco development, sounds almost like they are planning Tesco malls!

"...Supermarket group Tesco has bought the restaurant chain Giraffe for £48.6m.  The move will see the supermarket open Giraffe branches near to Tesco stores as it seeks to create "retail destinations" for customers..."

The above new re-reminded me of this tongue in cheek UK comedy sketch from 2006.

Survey of Statistical Package

A short survey of statistical packages in use by OR professionals.by Vincent Granville in Analytic Bridge.

Explore Data with Excel

A good introductory review.  There are still lots of groups that use Excel exclusively for manipulating data.  Now an add-in that addresses the further exploration of data.    Especially the conversion of data for explorative use.  " ...  Microsoft Data Explorer Preview for Excel is designed to help by easing data import from a variety of sources. You can then massage the data in different ways, from reshaping to filtering and grouping. It also simplifies merging tables on a common column ... " 

Client Composite Background

A document that contains links to a number of blog posts that represent my major work and client relationships.   Still in draft, but provides a good starting point for understanding of my skills and background.      Feel free to ask me for more information.

Teen Smartphone Use Soars

Useful PEW statistics about Teen smartphone use.  Again the expectation that the future will be mobile, local and very personal.  We need to be ready for that.  " ... 78% of teens in the U.S. have a cellphone, a figure that has remained stable since 2011. But about 47% of those owned smartphones in 2012. That means that 37% of all teens had smartphones in 2012, up from 23% in 2011, the Pew Research Center said in a study released on Wednesday.... " 

Body Imaging: Poikos

Stan Dyck sends along a link to Poikos,  " ...  Poikos means 3D body measurement, on any device, in seconds. Thanks for dropping by. After a successful closed beta period last year, we’ve opened our platform to developers world-wide. We’ll build the next phase of the Poikos platform together! Everything you need to know about our API has been released here. Did you see our call for collaborators? Please contact us directly for the SDK (web/smartphone/tablet). Why not give the latest version of our Flixfit iOS app a whirl as well? ... " 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Consumers Want More Information

In POPAI: Also a discussion of standards, which ultimately gets you to comparable information.  Accessing an extended package, like using a barcode reader, or image recognition, is one approach.  But its availability is not universal, and most people don't read the smaller print on packaging of the usual kind.   Which does not require additional devices.  Ultimately, though I still think this is about real value in the short term.  Not elusive and unclear terms like carbon footprint.   Spare me the need for footnotes.

Forget the Tech

Its to easy too just see the technology.  You still have to implement good ideas with it.  Marc Pritchard, P&G's Global Brand Building Officer speaks about this in New Orleans.

Algorithms and Humans in Big Data Decisions

A good overview.  Certainly you want to make automatic anything you  can.   Algorithms are rules for doing that.   It can be cheaper and faster than using a human interaction. However, today it is still common to have a human as part of the decision mix.  So it is essential to understand human decision making, slower, less rational and resource limited,  and how that can be linked with computing power.

Real Time Sales Support and Data

The idea of real time sales support has emerged in recent conversations.  E-Commerce Times article on the subject. What kind of sales support is key to a particular domain.   And how fast is the real time need of that area?  Also, what kind of matching methods can be used to find similar clients, products or solutions for sales support. We examined all of this very early on, but only recently have data and computing methods been able to support real needs.  " ... FirstRain for Touch allows enterprises to integrate real-time customer intelligence into mobile apps deployed over a range of popular mobile devices. The application is an example of Salesforce Touch's "write once, deploy anywhere" model in action. .. "

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blogs Outrank Other Social Media in Influence

This is good to hear.  While the number of blogs seems to be decreasing in favor of easier to do media like Twitter, they still influence customers.

Innovation Ecosystems

In Mediapost.  Good thoughts, rephrasing: All innovation exists within a context, makes sure you and your customers understand it. " ... Certain innovations, such as Instagram or Apple's App Store, open the door for other entrepreneurs to create their own products and services, writes Kathy Oneto. "While marketers' natural instinct is to be protectionist and seek competitive insulation, they just might find that their next innovation is not dependent upon their company or brands alone," she writes. ... " 

Unified Workspace

Cisco presents the Unified Workspace.  General but useful thoughts. " ... Trends such as mobility, virtualization, video, collaboration, knowledge management, and cloud have come to the forefront as companies struggle with how to integrate iPads, tablets, and smartphones into their business and IT models. In response, the Cisco Unified Workspace provides a solution for creating an organization-wide mobility strategy.  ... " 

Release of Geodata

The Geodata from Wikimedia is being released.   Thought this had been done before,  very useful for mobile. " ... The WikiMedia Foundation has added a new extension to MediaWiki, the foundation for Wikipedia, that adds geographic data for individual wiki articles. Aimed primarily at mobile users, GeoData will make finding information about your present location easy and fun. According to WikiMedia, GeoData aims to codify the common practice of adding geographic data to articles.... " 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New P&G Open Innovation Website

In its second decade of running their Connect & Develop approach, P&G has updated their approach and website.  See it here.  I have worked using it to connect to specific innovators.  " ... “As P&G enters its Second Decade of Connect+Develop, our focus is on strengthening areas of our open innovation work to deliver more discontinuous, breakthrough innovations. Part of that work means making connections both easier and more effective,” said Laura Becker, General Manager Connect+Develop and Global Business Development.

The website lets innovators link directly to P&G’s posted needs, which are organized by business area and searchable by topic. Innovators also can access a full description of every need, including scale and success criteria. On the back-end, the site links P&G innovation managers with submissions, letting them search by topic or work area, share internally and track progress.... " 

Blog Tags are Here

Starting now you can utilize blog tags here, also called labels.  They are found at the bottom of each post.  These tags classify the blog post with others that are of related topics.  You can click on these at the bottom of the post to get all blog posts classified this way.  You can also use this syntax - label: tag in the search block at the upper left to search for particular categories. (case sensitive)

For multiple tags use label:tag1 label:tag2 (case sensitive).  Many past key blog posts, but not all, have been tagged.  All new posts from now on will be tagged.  Your comments are welcome.

Recognizing Pattern with Math

Recognizing Patterns

With today’s powerful data analysis systems, users gather a ton of information—a breakdown of Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) sales in the U.S. or things people “like” on Facebook (FB)—in one place and then run queries. The questioner typically comes in with a preconceived idea of what he’s looking for or at least a set of preconceived biases that determine the questions he asks.

The Ayasdi software, which customers including Merck and Raytheon have been testing for several months, runs dozens of algorithms and then illuminates patterns and relations between the data points. BN ImmunoTherapeutics, for example, has turned to the software for research help on Prostvac, a prostate cancer vaccine that is undergoing clinical trials. The researchers compare genetic markers, people’s ages, medical histories, and other factors to figure out which patients will most likely benefit from the vaccine. “In the past, we would form a hypothesis and say, ‘We think these three biomarkers are important,’ ” says Amanda Enstrom, a research scientist at BN ImmunoTherapeutics. “With Ayasdi, we really allow the data to show us what the important biomarkers are.”
of information—a breakdown of Wal-Mart Stores’ (WMT) sales in the U.S. or things people “like” on Facebook (FB)—in one place and tWith today’s powerful data analysis systems, users gather a ton hen run queries. The questioner typically comes in with a preconceived idea of what he’s looking for or at least a set of preconceived biases that determine the questions he asks.

Experience in the Data

Apply Your Experience.
Saffron Technology wants to put your data to work under a completely new approach to data analytics: Experience Management.

The way we see it, countless worlds of Experience are hidden in your data. And they’re all just waiting to be applied toward solving even your toughest business challenges.

Saffron developed the first commercially available, large-scale Associative Memory Base product – the Saffron Natural Intelligence Platform – creating a new generation of data analysis for everyone. With it, you can access, control and manage all of the Experience that’s naturally occurring in your data, but which you may not even have known is in there. You can analyze it, learn from it, remember it and leverage it, all across your business.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Improved Check-in

Foursquare checkins become easier, which eases the whole problem of getting loyalty credit, and also makes  the implementation of location based games more powerful.  This all ends up creating better commercial opportunity,

Your Personal Brand Will be Googled

Good thoughts in Mashable.   It is revealing that some of hints here also use Google to improve your personal brand, regardless you are a regular user of their services.  They have it coming and going.

Future Preview

Pointer to the advertising future via a video by James C Nelson. from 1967.    I remember thinking about adaptive media not long after that, but it seemed the challenges were very great.    In IT even the concept of a 'Notebook' Computer were imagined not long after then, and now they are here.  What was not imagined then was than nearly everyone would want to have one.

IT Driving Employee Passion

Good IT is a magical thing that can drive employees to do new things.  My reaction to the title here. Why else does everyone have a smartphone and/or a tablet, and refers to it constantly?.  You could not have imagined old technology ... a Rolodex, Adding Machine, a tethered phone or a Sears Catalog would have been quite the same thing.  It can be obsessively used, but at the same time the opportunities are endless.  Just create the right App.   Now we have much more, in a nice compact form.  Use it wisely.

Friday, March 08, 2013

What Data Brokers Know About You

In Pro Publica A good overview of how personal data is currently being brokered.  First time that I had seen this much information about the topic in one place.  And addressing the implication for privacy.   " ....  Data companies are scooping up enormous amounts of information about almost every American. They sell information about whether you're pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you have.... "

Coke Neuromarketing

Roger Dooley provides a number of examples of Coke neuromarketing.  I had been sensing that there was a decrease in the use of these technologies to understand market engagement, but this article says otherwise.  In part that some well known companies like Unilever and Coke are requiring subconscious methods to be used with product and packaging evaluation.  I know of other large CPG companies that re actively using the same approaches.   The same companies are reluctant to provide details because of the implied invasive form of the methods.

Tracking Sensors in the Workplace

Via the CACM and the WSJ:   We examined this approach, using RFID badges and portal sensors in the Innovation Centers.  It made things more efficient by letting you know where people were in a large and complex facility.  HR's lawyers ultimately warned us off the practice.  Good cases here of where it is being tried today.

Strong Collaborative Skills Matter

From CIO:   Almost nothing of note in IT can be done today without extensive collaboration.  The skills to do this are essential in companies large and small.   This is obvious.   A puff piece stating that, yet I had not seen some of the specific statistics included in this piece.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Changing Role of IT

Bill Inmon on the changimg role of IT.  The evolution of technology and how the IT department reacted.  Including a look at some of the glorious failures we have all decided to forget.

Finding and Amplifying Creativity

In the HBR Blog:  Why we implemented an innovation center in 2000.  "  ... In 2010, IBM ran a survey of 1,500 CEOs and found that the most valuable management skill was no longer "operations" or "marketing" but "creativity." Since then BCG, Accenture and other consultancies have confirmed the global skill shift. Yet, only 9% of all public and private corporations in the US do any product or service innovation, according to the NSF's Business R&D and Innovation Surveys of 2010 and 2011. CEOs say that creativity is a crucial leadership skill, but few apparently have it. .... " 

CPGs Load for Mobile

A survey of CPG spending that points towards much more spending in the mobile space.  Not unexpected, the new consumer is moving quickly, and they are increasingly looking for mobile answers.  More data will be generated and need to be leveraged.

Disappearing Interface

On the disappearing Interface:  " ... Instead of all-purpose, full-focus devices, these new tools are migrating outward, on and around our bodies, to our fingers and heads and wrists and ears, and even feet. From there, they can be ready to help us the moment we need them, in a manner that’s less abstracted and hard to talk about without referencing science fiction. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s becoming more and more accessible and interesting. You might glue together a bunch of these ideas by thinking of them as the disappearance of the interface. ... " 

Addressing Showrooming with Price Matching

In Shopperception.  Good thoughts on this threat:  " ... Throughout this article we presented a possible threat and how retailers are reacting with defensive campaigns that may just make people wonder about prices even more. But as we keep saying in our blog, there are many factors involved in any shopping trip that create the overall experience and loyalty. Shoppers demand more personalization in terms of product choice, return polices, adequate delivery and product quality; it is not just a race to proclaim the cheapest deal at all. As Durchslag from Business Insider said “Once they’re in the store, they’re yours to lose”..... " 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

To Sell is Human

FromWharton:  Excellent interview and video with Daniel Pink, a favorite author of mine.  He was recently a guest lecturer at my Alma Mater.   About his new book: To Sell is Human, the Surprising Truth About Moving Others.  " ... Wharton management professor Adam M. Grant interviewed Pink while he was there to learn more about the ideas in his book, including why consumers mistrust salespeople, what the new ABCs of selling are and why questions may be the greatest selling tool. ...  " .

It's on my reading list, and I hope to review it here.

Challenges of Mobile Business Intelligence

A topic I am currently exploring.   Scale of display, security, effectiveness of interaction are among the concerns.  And software that can properly deal with that.

Measuring Advertising

Measurement of outcomes is always interesting to me, so this led to the announcement below:

The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) and the SEI Center's Future of Advertising Program (SEI FoA) are pleased to announce a conference ( Thursday, May 16, 2013) focusing on new ways to measure advertising effectiveness. This fast-paced, one-day program will feature presentations on research projects that were selected to receive grants from WCAI and SEI FoA last year, along with commentary from a number of well-recognized practitioners. Presentations will cover a wide range of cutting-edge approaches to gauging advertising’s effectiveness including:

Field experiments
Advertising models: going beyond marketing mix and attribution
Combining experimental and non-experimental data
New measurement techniques: eye tracking and emotional response

To encourage a lively discussion on what these cutting-edge findings mean for today’s marketing analytics professionals, the program will feature short research presentations combined with panel discussions. The highlight of the day will be a keynote from Deb Roy, an expert in data-driven methods for analyzing and modeling human linguistic and social behavior, and founder of Bluefin Labs (recently acquired by Twitter).

The full agenda and registration information can be viewed here.

Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative
t: 215-746-4161 | e: wcai-mail@wharton.upenn.edu 


In Popsci: Understanding gestural generation of text.  Airwriting.

Cautions About Big Data

In TDWI:  Three things that matter with Big Data.  These cautions apply to all data based projects and thus should always be considered and addressed.   I would add: You should always know where the data is used  today in the businesses process.   Or if it is used at all, and why not?    Know the business processes involved.

Online Credit Card Usage

In Supermarket News:   A snippet of information about online credit usage.  " ... Many Wal-Mart Stores shoppers who purchase online and opt to pay with cash at a store actually end up using a credit card, Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon says. This shows many consumers are still reluctant to use a credit card online, he says.... " 

Radio Gets Second Screen

In AdAge:     Music ID App Soundhound will lead you to supporting screen for music playing nearby,   Will be interesting to see how well the combination of media work.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Ahold Boosts Online

In Food Business News, another major retailer pushes online. " ... Ahold USA, which reports that sales increased 3% in fiscal 2012, to $25.8 billion, says it will build business by offering more private-label products and by boosting online shopping. The company has opened nine Peapod pickup points and is planning more. .. " 

Innovation in Consumer Goods Companies

In CGT:  What consumer goods companies are doing for innovation: " ... What do NestlĂ©, Campbell Soup Company and General Mills all have in common? They  all beat the odds by delivering highly successful new consumer products to market. How did they do it? It's simple. They did their homework. Here's a sneak peak of each of their stories, ... "

IBM In-Store Image Recognition App

In PopAI:  IBM Research steering shoppers in the store and combatting showrooming.  In the early days of our retail innovation center we worked with IBM image recognition systems.   Here augmented reality interacts with packaging.  " ... Sorry, showrooming, there’s a new mobile app on the way, and it’s gonna shake up the shopper marketing world like never before. Yup, you read that right–IBM Research in Haifa, Israel, has unveiled a new app idea that is designed to make it easier for brands, retailers, and CPGs to steer shoppers toward what they want them to buy.   Here’s how it works: the app uses image recognition to identify products on store shelves, and from there, shoppers are able to sort through those products on the app under a multitude of different categories such as price, nutrition, brand, etc. The app also uses augmented reality technology to overlay product information on the smartphone screen. ... "

Cisco Pushes Internet of Everything

Cisco putting value on the Internet of everything.    Imagine everything is tagged and communicating on the net.  And smart too.

Causes of Innovation Failure

In Innovation Excellence:  Some fairly obvious, but worth reviewing to understand the process.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Real Air Travel Costs

M J Perry writes that flight travel cost per mile has decreased 50% since 1980.  Interesting statistics and very surprising.   Some of the commenters suggest that the analysis does not include reduced comfort, waiting and smaller seats.   Which are hard to quantify.  Safety meanwhile has also increased.

New Sim City

A new version of SimCity is coming out tomorrow to considerable enthusiasm.  SimCity opened the eyes of a number of executives to the use of simulation when it first came out in 1989.  I had several contact me asking if we simulate the entire enterprise using the same methods.   The enthusiasm had to be calmed down some, but the simulation form of analytics was never the same again.  A version of the system that simulated a health care system was ultimately used internally.  Look forward to looking at the new version.

Gamification and Innovation

In Innovation Excellence: How gamification influences open innovation.  Two favorite topics with spending numbers and forecasts.  We used gamification to innovate around supply chain problems.

Tableau Webinar Tomorrow

Of interest: " ... web seminar Tableau is hosting tomorrow (3/6). The webinar starts at 2p eastern and will feature current Tableau customers speaking about how they’ve been able to drive user engagement with interactive dashboards and visualizations. For more details/registration, please click here.

The Stall at Disney's Tomorrowland

I have grown up around both personal and job related visits to Disney. So this review of Tomorrow Land hit home.  Seen it since the late 60s.  Exactly what I had thought, Disney is not much about predicting the future any more.


In The Edge: Why do simple cues so influence what we perceive?  Reminds me of Semiotics, which is also a way to look at how cues change our view of the world,  recently applied to advertisements by a colleague.  How are the changes ethnically influenced? A conversation with Adam Alter. 

Ultrasound on Smartphones and Tablets

More sensor developments we need to watch.   Directly how practical and accurate remains to be seen.  " ... Qualcomm, in the fourth quarter of 2012, acquired the assets of EPOS, a developer of digital ultrasound technology. Qualcomm plans to incorporate the technology into chips that would go into not only mobile devices but also wearable electronics. Ultrasound could facilitate the use of a stylus as an input device and gesture recognition for smartphones and tablet computers, according to this article ... " 


Real time data visualization on the iPad:  Press release.   " ... Zoomdata makes it easy for data administrators to quickly connect its stream-processing engine to a wide variety of real-time data feeds and historical data sources. Once connected, a real time data feed is instantly available, allowing users to visualize and analyze trends within its most critical data, whether it arises from social networks, IT operations, trading data, transactional systems, or virtually any enterprise or cloud-based application.. ... " 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

SlateUp: A New Knowledge Community

Just brought to my attention: SlateUp.   More to follow as it evolves.  Membership now by invitation to .edu accounts.    Check out the site for more information.  Sponsored by Fortune 500 companies.  More to follow here.    Join us:

" ... SlateUp is a student community built by students. Our goal is to transform the way we learn and facilitate free flow of knowledge amongst students. Through Slateup.com we have made a few tools available to help you do just that - Share Knowledge! We will keep adding tools to the site based on your suggestions  ... " 

Towards an Augmediated Life

The new ideas that have been pushed forward for Google Glass look very similar to ideas that have presented for Augmented Reality (AR), while the AR approaches are delivered using the smartphone camera as an 'eye' portal.  In theory at least,  the eyeglasses of Glass provide a more convenient method.  Also, the broader idea of AR via Glass is not new, Steve Mann, who we talked to over a decade ago, has been examining the broad idea of head mounted cameras and interaction for thirty plus years.  Much more about that now in IEEE Spectrum.  Well worth the look there for fresh  ideas directly from an expert.   He cleverly calls it an Augmediated life, and writes:

" ... For a long time, computer-aided vision and augmented reality were rather obscure topics, of interest only to a few corporate researchers, academics, and a small number of passionate hobbyists. Recently, however, augmented reality has captured the public consciousness. In particular, Google has lately attracted enormous attention to its Project Glass, an eyeglass-like smartphone with a wearable display. I suppose that’s fine as far as it goes. But Google Glass is much less ambitious than the computer-mediated vision systems I constructed decades ago. What Google’s involvement promises, though, is to popularize this kind of technology.  It’s easy to see that coming: Wearable computing equipment, which also includes such items as health monitors and helmet-cams, is already close to a billion-dollar industry worldwide. And if Google’s vigorous media campaign for its Project Glass is any indication of the company’s commitment, wearable computers with head-mounted cameras and displays are poised finally to become more than a geek-chic novelty. ... "