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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Exit Google Reader

Google Reader is shutting down tonight.   I used it for years to gather information that ultimately showed up in this blog.    I had the feeds from several hundred resources included.  I tested several replacements and ultimately came up with a system called Feedly, which can be configured to look much like Reader.  It also works well on tablets,laptops and smartphones.  A slight alteration in blog construction process will be required, but this blog will continue as before.   If anyone else who runs similar blog resources has further ideas, let me know.

Browser Based R

Brought to my attention.  A Browser based R system called StatAce.  They warn it is an early Beta with some instabilities.  Some comments in LinkedIn like it.    " .... An appealing and functional interface that even works on your tablet. ... " 

Preparing for the Internet of Things

Microsoft Preparing for the Internet of Things.  An intriguing development.  First I have seen by a major operating system developer.  " ... The Internet of Things has steadily been gaining momentum, as more and more objects become networked. Over the past week alone, Microsoft has released a Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry preview and AT&T has said it will invest in two foundry facilities to design and build prototypes of new, machine-to-machine apps. ... " 

IMDB Again

Have used the Internet Movie Database or IMDB since shortly after its creation in 1990, and through its acquisition by Amazon in 1998 ... My research orientation, even for non work things,  has always made it an intriguing thing.   I have spend some time playing around with it on the ipad, and was surprised how much it had changed. Somehow I had been mostly using the Wikipedia for searching movies lately.  IMDB has been adapted well for the tablet and includes many more images of actors,  images of scenes from movies ... current movie reviews, showing locations and times ....  AND still has a depth of information way down to the really obscure ... no long existent .. media, including TV ...   one episode pilots in the 60s ... the depth and breadth is amazing.   Not too long ago you would have needed  a library of reference books to have this information, and those books would not be updated continuously.  We live in a new world .... Now I am back to IMBD for media research ....  A good example of knowledge management that could be useful for corporation knowledge.  Which we discussed, but never followed up on.  I have not heard IMDB discussed as an infrastructure for other knowledge bases for some time.

Technology Impact on Supply Chain

Insightful piece (Complete article is behind a pay wall) about implications for the supply chain of new technologies. " ... This report examines the long-term strategic impacts of this shift, highlighting the changes in the environment, the potential competitive responses, and a new generation of technologies that could accelerate these changes. Strategists and technologists in the retail sector as well as distributors and manufacturers must drive or adapt to the following ... " .   (The list of the adaptations are available at the link)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How SAS Does Agile

In SASCom:   The concept of the Agile Scrum and how it is used at SAS.  " ... Walk the halls in R&D and you’ll hear people speaking about their sprints and stories, you’ll see teams having scrums, and you’ll sense that they’re engaged in both planning and implementation. Sprints? Scrums? Stories? Jargon like this comes from the Agile Scrum. In effect, it’s a new way to apply older time-tested software development principles.  Principles like laser-focus within short time-boxes (also known as sprints), collaborating together to work on plans and customer requirements (stories), holding frequent 15-minute checkpoints to share news and remove delays if issues arise (scrums), and providing internal demonstrations throughout the project life-cycle. ... " 

Eyetracking with Google Glass

In Mashable:  On the basis of a patent, which we know may not mean much, but it is inevitable that we will see the capabilities integrated.    " ... Google has been awarded a patent that could allow Google Glass users to unlock the screen using eye tracking. As of now, a single side swipe across the high-tech spec's touchpad unlocks the device, but if the patent is any indicator, that may soon get even easier.

In the patent filing, Google details how a moving object could appear on Glass' projected screen, sort of like a screensaver, and unlock a wearable device when eyes align with the movement. In this case, we're assuming the "wearable device" the company refers to is its own Google Glass, but it notes wearable computers can be worn "under or on top of clothing or integrated into eye glasses." ... ' 

About 'Natural' Resources

An interesting look at natural resources.  All are created by human effort.  Some just require more effort than others.

To Save Everything, Click Here

Brought to my attention by Stephen Few, a new book:  To Save Everything Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, by Evgeny Morozov   His very positive review.   " ... Technologies are important. They give us opportunities to extend our reach and improve our world, but they also give us opportunities to do the opposite. Morozov understands this. He is not a Luddite, he’s a responsible technologist. I recommend that you consider what he has to say.. "

On the stack for later reading.

Seizing Big Data Opportunity

A balanced view from E-Commerce Times about the topic.  What it is and is definitely not.  Recently have been asked for a concise definition of Big Data, and though not short, this does a good job of outlining the form and value.  And it is certainly not all about hardware, either more of it, or cheaper, parallel systems.  Like all efforts like this. it is about the proper Analytics.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Predictive Assistants that Take the Initiative

We worked with and visited the nonprofit research group SRI a number of times.  They originally had been spun out of Stanford University.   They were involved in detergent formulations for our enterprise years ago. The computer mouse had been invented in their labs.  I had forgotten that they had been involved with the development of the assistant Siri.  

They are now developing a system called Bright that looks at data rich and intense environments where the system that is helping needs to model the human user and take the initiative to solve a problem.  Such problems, which we designed for enterprise AI applications, are much more difficult to deliver than simple conversational, question and answer systems like Siri.

  More about the Bright environment and where it is going in Technology Review.  Note this also has similarities to Google Now but expanding the initiative aspect.

Travel Industry Big Data

Thomas Davenport on the use of Big Data in the travel industry.  A very nontechnical view of the potential, but not necessarily current use of Big Data in the online travel industry.  " ... Analytics guru Thomas Davenport assesses the potential and pitfalls of unstructured data, social streams and other advanced analytic capabilities ... "  And to me surprisingly:  " ... Even with that early start with some facets of business data, those travel industry leaders are “really just getting started” when it comes to advanced analytics. To blame are factors such as the reliance on but stunted capabilities of legacy systems, and, for the U.S. airline industry, the number of mergers that have providers dealing with integration rather than innovation. ... " .   Has a link to a 32 page report on the use of big data in the travel/hospitality industry.

Emotions Based on Brain Activity

Out of Carnegie Mellon, new research about how brain activities link to emotions.    Further research into nonconscious activity of the brain.   Depends strongly on how emotions are defined, and how the activity in areas of the brain are measured.   The machine learning aspects are novel.   " ... The method combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to measure brain signals to accurately read emotions in individuals.  "This research introduces a new method with potential to identify emotions without relying on people's ability to self-report," says CMU professor Karim Kassam.  ... " 

Microsoft Research Tracks Phone Mood

A fairly detailed article on work MS is doing to track the mood of people using a smartphone.  Called MoodScope. Of interest to enterprises that would like another measure of non conscious interactions with consumers.  With the potential for using in conjunction with other neuromarketing  methods.

The Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Another good example of time forward looking search.    From a company I have followed for some time: Recorded Future.  Good understanding of possible futures has always been an interest.  Here looking at the future of the autonomous car.  A good simple example of the idea.  Depends, of course, on the validity of the future pointing indicators that it is based on.   See the link for complete and interactive capability, which shows the power of this timeline plot of search.

MOOC in Progress

Good examples of the MOOC educational process in progress.  Will this be our future education process?  How will it be layered with more traditional methods?  Efficiencies yes, but effectiveness?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

GS1 Standards Page

GS1's newly redesigned Standards Page.  With loads of information on the management of standards in many domains.   " ... GS1 develops global standards using the Global Standards Management Process (GSMP). This comprehensive set of rules allows a community of stakeholders to reach consensus on user-driven standards.  ... " 

Top 5 R Packages

An instructive survey by a data scientist of how they use packages in R, the open source statistics, graphics and modeling environment.  (analytics productivity) These seem to be an excellent set of useful resources for predictive analytics.  Digging into these examples more deeply.

Specializing in the Visually Impossible

In our innovation center we featured a number of technologies to engage with the consumer in retail.  Digital signage was a common application.  We invited companies, large and small, to participate in providing new technologies.  One such company was 5th Screen, which has just updated their web site.  See also Digital SignageToday, which mentions one of their principals, Keith Kelsen, Who posts about trends in the space.   Very visual and forward looking, they have much experience in retail.    They write in their blog:

" ... We help you bring discovery and education to the in-store experience and deliver an Immersive experience. Every visit is an opportunity to create loyalty, add value and tell the brand story.We develop, with our clients, unique in-store digital experiences that serve to ENTERTAIN and EDUCATE the consumer.  The success of our digital engagement projects are a result of their VISUAL APPEAL, integration with the overall store design and their EASE OF USE.  We understand that retailers and brands have different and sometimes conflicting goals.  Retailers focus on increasing their top line sales SELLING MORE.  Brands increase their top lines sales by ENHANCING THE BRAND experience.  Our challenge is to create a store environment that meets both brand enhancement and retail sales objectives. We work with our client, store designers and fabricators to create a true DIGITAL DESTINATON STORE that develops and maintains an engaging, ongoing and relevant relationship with the consumer.  ... " 

Display as a Service

More on Intel's wireless display aggregating system, dubbed DaaS, or Display as a Service.  A friend who knows this space well cautions me that the effort is from their research labs, has seen the demo and it is not ready for prime time ....  Still I think the method shows great promise in a number of areas. As I talked about previously.

" ... Intel's technology works wirelessly. It essentially "virtualizes" the pixels on a display, separating them from the underlying hardware so that they can be sent via Wi-Fi and reassembled on other screens for viewing. Intel calls the technology Display as a Service, or DaaS, and it was one of several projects on show at an Intel research event in San Francisco on Tuesday. Technologies exist today that can mirror a display wirelessly onto another screen. They include Intel's own WiDi (Wireless Display Interface). But those systems can connect only two screens, while DaaS can operate among a potentially limitless number of screens, said Greg Leeming, program director for the Intel Visual Computing Institute. ... " 

On Cloud Interoperability and Portability

In CN Now:  Don't know much about the specifics of this topic, but the article provides a good but technical overview.  I have been a user of personal and company clouds for some time, well before they were called that.   But as they are established for serious and secure use,  its very useful for understand the issues.  Once again, its all about setting up consistent standards.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Teradata Announces Hadoop Portfolio

Newly reviewing: 

Teradata delivers industry's first flexible, comprehensive Hadoop portfolio 

Teradata offers a single source for all things Hadoop - new products, services, and support making Hadoop easy to deploy and manage  

SAN DIEGO, June 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Teradata (NYSE: TDC), the leading analytic data solutions company, today introduced the Teradata Portfolio for Hadoop that provides the most open, flexible, and comprehensive options to deploy and manage Apache™ Hadoop. The Teradata Portfolio for Hadoop offers customers new flexible Hadoop®-based product platforms, software, consulting services, training, and customer support. Teradata's innovations have made Hadoop easier to integrate into modern enterprise data architectures and enable more users to know more, and do more with data in Hadoop.  ... " 

Limits to the Limits of Growth

I read the Club of Rome's Limits to Growth shortly before entering college.  I was much impressed by the details and predictions for the near future. The lesson I learned, now finally resolved, is that you should not believe everything you read.   Models are always wrong, the question only being: How wrong are they?  More on Limits from MJ Perry.

Linking Many Screens into One

Another advance from Intel Labs.  Linking many screens into one large screen.  We looked at these kinds of approaches in two areas:  For retail display of engaging interaction with consumers and the creation of new media to support this.  And second, for large scale data visualization for employee interaction via dashboards style displays.  Such as that used in P&G's Business Sphere.  In the picture below are shown a number of tablets as components, where the tablet displays are combined into one wall display, suggesting the further implications of multiple display integration.

Brain Scanning for Driver Awareness

Study by Intel using brain scanning to determine driver awareness.   A different technique to determine a measure of awareness:  " ... Infrared sensors fitted to a cap over the driver's head sensed activity in the outermost 2 centimeters of the driver's brain. By measuring differences between the two drives, researchers start to be able to tell the difference between intense concentration -- when the race car is being driven at top speed -- and the much-reduced amount needed at lower speeds. "When you're driving, sometimes you're looking at the road and paying attention, and sometimes you're looking at the road and you're not paying attention. There are some subtle differences there that I hope, and I hypothesize, we can tease out," said Crawford. ... " 

Games Creating Acheivement

Article about how game dynamics have been used inside companies to engage and prod achievement.  Notably mentioned is consulting giant Accenture.   And the example of their use for knowledge management.  Most of the points made are obvious.  Part of the problem of broad use is still the use of the term 'game'.    " ... The “games people play” these days are often launched by CIOs and other senior executives as gamification is emerging as a viable business trend. For external purposes, the concept may produce outcomes such as greater brand visibility and customer loyalty. Internally, it's capable of motivating employees to new levels of performance. A recent report from APQC, Gamification in Knowledge Management: How It Works and What Your Organization Should Know, primarily focuses on the latter, internal side of the topic, incorporating research based on game initiatives launched by companies such as Intel and Accenture.... " 

Boredom and Creativity

In Fastcompany:  Having enough boring, as opposed to focused work hours, leads to more creativity, the article says.  Depends on the kind of creativity involved.  Clearly so when you are looking for open solutions, but not so much to problem solve.    Also mentions a correlation between personality openness and creativity.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Intel Projects from a Smartphone

In GigaOM: Intel has developed technology to put a multipurpose projector into a phone.  It is also said that the projected image can be scaled up and down.  Still in the prototype phases.    I am involved in a business intelligence project now that specifies that business visualizations be show on a phone,  and such a compact approach would be much easier than zooming into a browser on a smartphone screen. Can use this now.

Short Non Mathematical Statistics Course

Nice idea, Kaiser Fung from Junkcharts.   I have often been in the need of having concise statistics training for managers and executives.  "How to do statistics without really doing statistics?"  .... Not a math course.  Have not looked at this, but will.

This also introduced me to the training system and construct called 3 Nights and Done, which I like the general premise of.  " ... It's free. It's non-profit. It won't sell your student activity records. It makes learning fun for people of all ages. You watch 1 hour of educational material each night, and in 3 nights' time it's done. Simple as that. You will get a sense of accomplishment instantly over say a weekend. ... " 

Real Time Robotic (Agent) Game

In IEEE Spectrum: An intriguing view of upcoming robotics games and AI.  Will this result in game style interaction with the real world?  It could be described as a physical implementation of an agent model.   " ... Anki, a startup founded by three Carnegie Mellon roboticists, had been in stealth mode for a long time, but now it's ready to unveil its first product: a racing game featuring toy-size robotic cars controlled by iPhones. The company has raised an eye-popping $50 million from investors and says its racing game is "only the beginning."  .... '

Cyber Security from Recorded Future

Have presented Recorded Future a number of times as a forward looking unstructured analysis method.  Now they announced something new, using their unique methods to do Cyber Security Monitoring.  Worth examining.  Much in the news today.  They write and I am currently reading:

"Today, we're excited to introduce our Cyber Security Monitoring application.

Together with our existing analyst tools, this new capability enables security teams to uniquely leverage the web in support of threat intelligence and cyber situational awareness.

The web is an immensely rich resource for signals of cyber threats, but its lack of structured information is a challenge for maintaining a real-time view of the cyber landscape.

Our breakthrough web intelligence platform aggregates, organizes, and effectively surfaces indicators of threats and attacks reported in open web sources. This information is now available in the Recorded Future Cyber Security Monitoring application.

If you believe your company needs better protection against cyber threats then make sure you grab a copy of our *new* white paper.

It explains our Cyber Security Monitoring application in more detail and it doesn't cost anything. Go here to get started: http://go.recordedfuture.com/cyber-security-insights-from-web-intelligence/

Monday, June 24, 2013

Do Data Scientists Scale?

Andrew Brust on the nature of data scientists and the scalability of what they do, or claim to do.  I agree with many of the points made.   I will summarize my view .. the term Data Scientist implies that there is some deep science involved, and simplicity cannot be part of that.  It makes things harder than they need to be.  Analytics should only be as hard as it needs to be.  Read the whole article.

Batch Mode Productivity

Our wealth of digital tools allow a broad range of time sharing to perform tasks.   This can be selectively useful, but is clearly not the way to get real things done.  CIO Minute piece on the value and productivity of the Batch mode.  Deciding which works best is crucial.

The Nature of the Data Scientist

Stephen Few writes  about the nature of the term 'data scientist'.  I personally don't like the term,  I prefer the term 'analyst', which has fewer implications of complexity. The term also is more of a grouping of technical and business interests meant to solve problems.  Needing a 'scientist' may be overdoing it.  Few does a good job of addressing the nature of the term.

Google Now Topics

A piece on the access of topics in the intelligent assistant Google Now.  Intrguing, but it did give me what I expected when I accessed the topics page.  Interesting because it reveals the structure of some of the knowledge that Google is capturing.  See also the links there to previous explanatory articles.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Discarding the Loyalty Card

Albertson's drops the loyalty card.  With all the data being generated by loyalty ideas, and new ones blooming, some retailers are moving the other way.  And some very large retailers don't use them at all.

R in Action

Some time ago I ordered the Book: R in Action: Data Analysis and Graphics with R, by Robert I Kabakoff.  Have had cause to refer to it a number of times, but have now started a deeper dive.  Covers data visualization examples,  including interactive visualization.  Good for the beginner who has programming and statistical experience.  " ... The book begins by introducing the R language, including the development environment. Focusing on practical solutions, the book also offers a crash course in practical statistics and covers elegant methods for dealing with messy and incomplete data using features of R. .. " 

Changing CIOs

A view of how the role of CIOs is changing.   The short article makes the point that we have known for a long time.  CIO's cannot be players that are in love with technology, they have to care deeply about the workings of and innovations in the business.

GE, AI and Modeling Hospitals with Corvix

Fascinating work by GE in the use of artificial intelligence in a system called Corvix.   During the AI   explosion of the 80s we talked to GE about what I would call manufacturing maintenance AI.   It is good to see another large technology company playing seriously in this space.   We note further that this approach uses a simulation method called Agent Based Modeling, which we applied in supply chain and economic modeling.   Also specific future predictive analytic methods.  Their use in Corvix is broadly outlined below:

" ... Around the world, the health care system is rife with inefficiencies, and General Electric thinks it can help solve the problem using data. Only it’s not talking about bureaucrats looking at reports: GE has built an artificial intelligence system called Corvix that uses historical data to predict the future, including everything from how diseases will spread to the cities where hospitals will be needed the most.

It might sound futuristic, but the techniques behind Corvix have actually been around for a while. The platform uses agent-based modeling to build, essentially, a reasonable facsimile of some sort of complex system and then simulate its evolution over time. The “agents” represent the atomic units of those systems, such as individual people in the case of human populations or perhaps cells in the case of a biological simulation. They act according to a set of rules in any given situation, which is how the models are able to keep the simulations progressing... " 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Foundation of the Internet of Things

In E-Commerce Times:   Interesting idea, but how do we get all the things to work together?   Where are the standards to make it work?    Also good mention of how analytics can link into this same interoperable world. " ... The Internet of Things is coming, but so far it's a fragmented mess. In order for it to work the way it's envisioned, some coopetition may be in order. The business models that reward innovation, that are open, and that are fully interoperable at all levels are the ones that will be successful. The Internet of Things will come into being only when the interoperability challenges are conquered. .. " 

Marketing Mix Criticized, Defended

Defense In AdAge:  We used marketing mix since their very earliest inception.   It is a relatively simple statistical technique that suggests the best investment of money to media and marketing channels.  It has become a classical technique in common use in may companies.  It had been getting criticism for dealing well with new channels like the Internet and Social .  Yet it had been adapted reasonably to these channels as well.  Here is the article detailing with the attacks.  Companies are expanding the capabilities and accuracy for marketing mix, by adding newly available detailed data to tune marketing systems to many channels and dynamics.   See, for example. the company Thinkvine,  who we worked with and have covered here a number of times.

Avoiding Pitfalls in Predictive Analytics

Venkat Viswanathan  makes some useful comments.  Some of them relate to my favorite suggestion: Simplify.

" Predictive analytics will almost always enable better business decisions. While customer behavior may have changed due to the current economic climate, the value provided by a predictive model will always be better than that driven by instinct or gut-feelings.

But there are also many pitfalls associated with predictive analytical modeling that can seriously and wrongfully skew the results. For example, wrong or out-of-date data going in can result in an incorrect prediction coming out. So can using irrelevant data points or giving them too much weight in the overall consideration. Mistaking correlation for causation is yet another common pitfall. A related misjudgement is investing too heavily in analytic tools. Companies often buy expensive and complex software that is just too sophisticated for their needs.... " 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Customer Engagement Analytics for Cultural Venues

Its all about engaging the customer.   All companies, large, small and midsize need better ways to engage with and retain  their customers.  And as the context of engagement varies over time, how they engage will have to be adapted to new customers and their needs.

I was recently sent some information from the IBM Midsize smarter commerce group that addresses exactly these issues.   How do millennials use and engage with cultural venues, typically midsize enterprises?    Two excellent examples here: The Point Defiance NY Zoo and Aquarium, and  The Colorado History Center.   In each link there are embedded videos which describe their experiences using big data.  These examples are also good general useful case studies of the general use of data mining of experience in data.    Recall also the example  I wrote  about the Cincinnati Zoo.  Above an infographic expressing the relationship beween Big Data and Cultural Venues for Millennials.

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.

Kroger Checkout Time Technology

Good USA Today article on a number of methods that Kroger is using to improve checkout times.    A high labor cost in retail, and frequent complaint of shoppers.  We examined a number of shopper assisted checkout methods in our lab environments.

" ...  "Nobody likes to wait in line," said Marnette Perry, senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives at Cincinnati-based Kroger. "If we wanted to develop loyalty from our customers, we really had to respect their time and improve the checkout experience."
By year's end, the nation's largest grocer expects to complete the installation of overhead infrared sensors that count customers in all 2,424 supermarkets operated by Kroger. In the past few years, the retailer has quietly widened the use of technology to analyze most popular shopping times to better staff cash registers.... " 

Black Swans Circling?

In the HBR Blog.  Provocative piece on the number of changes occurring that could influence the near term future of P&G.   And many other consumer goods companies.   I take issue to some degree with the term being used ... A black swan is a metaphor for a unique surprise with potential major effect.  None of the examples given are surprises.  P&G has know for some time that they will be very important, and I agree.   Its not only the existence of these issues, but the degree to which they will exist that is key. As the article says the co-occurrence of even a few of these things could be disastrous.  How can we diminish or prevent their influence?  Article is a very good check list of cautions.

Drones Will Bring us Data

In Nature:  We thought of using teams of robots to gather information from the plant and manufacturing spaces and outdoor staging yard floor.  We did use satellite data when it became commercially available for agricultural monitoring.  At the time we did not think of using controllable flying robots.  Another rich data source for analytics, with privacy concerns.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Analytics E Newsletter

The Informs Analytics e-Newsletter.  Always informative.  Subscribe.  Latest articles:

- Continuing education for analytics professionals

- Big data paying off for big companies

- Study: Top CPOs drive higher profit margins

- Retail stores set for digital makeover

Welcome to Complex Event Processing

Thinking about real time processing.    Getting more important every day.  We addressed this for complex high speed manufacturing lines.  Linking advanced analytics methods to rare failure processes using simulation techniques.  This article is a good introductory view.  Especially with regard to the companies now investing in CEP strategies:  " ... Big Data Reboots Real-Time Analysis ... Why did Software AG buy Apama and Tibco buy StreamBase? Perhaps the Internet of Things is giving complex event processing a second chance. 
You hear so much about "real-time" performance, you would think it's a pervasive capability. The fact is, real real-time analytic performance, as in millisecond-latency analysis of data in movement, isn't all that common. That's why the acquisitions of Apama and StreamBase, complex event processing (CEP) technologies purchased last week by SoftwareAG and Tibco, respectively, kind of stood out. ... " 

Corning and Electronically Tinted Windows

In IEEE Spectrum:  An energy savings idea, but one that does increase the complexity of the smart home.  Visited Corning some years ago and enjoyed their approaches to innovation.

Waiting in Line

A long time interest of mine is covered in the current Knowledge @ Wharton,  why and when do people balk in a queue?   What are the dynamics involved and how can they be handled?  Here studied in an emergency medical context.

What Does Data Gate Mean for Marketers?

In Ad Age:  Insightful, thinking now how about the interaction of privacy and big data.  Are the algorithms involved also privacy sensitive?   " ... In addition to all the questions it's raised about privacy expectations and government overreach, recent revelations about the National Security Administration's Prism surveillance program has thrust another debate into the spotlight: How much data should marketers and media companies be able to collect and store? ... " 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CPG Growing With Innovation

Short piece on the use of innovation and digital marketing to improve CPG sales.    " ... A new report by the GMA and PwC found that despite lagging sales in 2012, 2013 is proving to be a lucrative year for food, beverage and household product companies that focus on marketing to current customers via mobile technology. "CPG companies that engage with consumers directly through digital channels and build out their direct-to-consumer processes will have the best advantage for creating new growth," said Steven Barr of PwC. "Fifty-two percent of U.S. consumers are already buying directly online from brands they trust .... "

Managing Creative People

In Fastcompany.  Good view.  Frequently an issue.  Especially if the people involved do not have the very best people skills.  How many of us do.  Individual creativity still exists and can produce real value.

GE and Industrial Data in the Cloud

In CWorld:  " ... GE thinks it's time to put industrial data in the cloud. The company is introducing a platform for collecting and analyzing data from industrial gear ...  Internet tools are just starting to be applied to industrial tasks such as maintaining equipment and optimizing operations, but the wealth of data being produced by industrial systems could make this a major focus of development in the coming years. ... "   Matches well with out work in gathering data to improve reliability in high speed manufacturing lines.

Fake Shops

In our innovation labs we experimented with using false front displays to set contexts for consumers in a laboratory.  Interesting and obvious idea, but the coverings tend to be much more permanent than expected.  Stifling innovative experience.  The same idea has been used for a long time in the real world.  My UK correspondent sends about this in a BBC article.  Cover ups are all around us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Smaller Tablets

Looking a several projects that aim to deliver information to small executive groups.  Mobile is esential.   The question is what are the likely formats of the tablets being used in the next 18 months?   Applications include data visualization and analytics to engage and focus decision makers to their work.    Now the move seems to be to smaller format tablets.  How much adaptation will be required for these formats to be adequate?  We are also seeing an expectation for some of these same applications to also be usable on smartphone sized devices.

DunnHumby Buys Standard Analytics

Just announced.  A further indication of movement of more data gathering and integrating companies moving towards the use of stronger predictive analytics.    " ... Dunnhumby said the acquisition would allow it to offer clients greater understanding of customer purchasing patterns and behaviours through Standard Analytics’ predictive sales modelling and real-time out of stock alerts. ... " 

Sandra Hughes Coaching Strategies

Former colleague Sandra Hughes,  For a time chief privacy officer of Procter & Gamble, has just set up a blog: Sandra Hughes Strategies.  Check it out.  She does consulting and life coaching. She writes: " ... I am a consultant, a mentor and a coach—I can help realize your objectives and aspirations for the future. ... "   I will report more about the blog as it develops.

Data and Analytics Need Stories

In Fast Company:   Stories simplify, integrate complex things into an understandable thread, engage.   That includes data and analytics, but is not often done well.  " ... Speaking to us backstage at SapientNitro’s iEX conference in London last week, the author of the bestselling Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, abandons his fine line in self-deprecation for a moment to enthuse about the power of a good story. “I think storytelling is the heart of everything. People have this false impression that science is science, and it isn’t. There is so much art, even in science,” he says.... " 

Weave Data Visualization into Your Business

Excellent overview piece on the topic, which makes the point that the business process must be woven into the quantifications and visuals,  a favorite topic of mine.   The author discusses the various transformation your business will go through, and the implications of doing them well.   Nicely put together.

Communicating Data

In the HBR: Data needs to be gathered, understood, communicated and embedded in the decision process.  You need quant people to make this happen.  This article makes these points and more.  In the process of several such projects now.  Some excellent links here.  " ... There is a pressing need for more businesspeople who can think quantitatively and make decisions based on data and analysis, and businesspeople who can do so will become increasingly valuable. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report on big data, we'll need over 1.5 million more data-savvy managers to take advantage of all the data we generate. ... " 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Feedly Replaces My Google Reader

In anticipation of Google's Reader RSS shut down in a couple of weeks I have moved to the free  Feedly service.  Both as an App and in Chrome.  Works well, and for those that like tradition, it can be made to look exactly the way Google Reader did.  It can quickly download your current feed.  Or modernized to include images.  I like one liners that I can scan quickly at the gym and bookmark for looking at later.  Recommended.

Consequence of EU Tightening Data Privacy Further

A good Adage Article on how the revelations of massive private data leaks could make the EU further tighten data privacy. What does this mean and and what are the consequences.  Will this sequestering of the data end the domination of Silicon Valley in data hungry applications?  An extreme thought I think, but there will be consequences.

P&G Takes IT Work from India

Via my UK consultant, in the India Times.  P&G aims to cut down outsourced IT work in India.  A surprise which is making Indian vendors nervous.

Strategy's Tough Choices

Came late to my inbox.  In the HBR's blog in late May.  Former and current P&G's CEO AG Lafley  on Strategy's Tough Choices.  A video.

Fracturing of Corporate IT

In CIO Insight:  Different and becoming more so.  Not going away, as some say, standards and security still need to exist.  But the nature of enterprise IT is changing quickly.   Betting linking to business problems and decision making will be a stronger requirement.

Data Visualization Startup

First I had heard of this.  A simple to use solution by former Facebook employees.  Probably for everyday visual data solutions.   See Polychart.

Networked Things

A good overview of the current state of the network of things.  Which points back to our own experiments with networked refrigerators, in that nexus of the modern home, the kitchen.   A talk by Bill Joy inspired us to take closer look.   Now it seems the future is very close.  " ... Well over a decade ago, Bill Joy was mocked for talking about a future that included network-enabled refrigerators. That was both unfair and unproductive, and since then, I’ve been interested in a related game: take the most unlikely household product you can and figure out what you could do if it were network-enabled. That might have been a futuristic exercise in 1998, but the future is here. Now. And there are few reasons we couldn’t have had that future back then, if we’d have the vision.... " 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Failure of Design Thinking

In Innovation Excellence:  Interesting thoughts on the failure of design thinking.   A little muddled, but I do think there must be a stronger combination of business, quantitative/analytic and design thinking to get to useful results.   What I saw in the enterprise did not do this well.  " ... What will come next after Design Thinking will be an evolution of how Design Thinking will be integrated towards business and becomes a process with synergy. A holistic process that combines the user and the market, analytical and intuitive, deductive, inductive and abductive. What will complement more from Design Thinking will be how strategy, leadership and culture can be fully integrated into the system with synergy which will have a dominant effect in shaping the future of business in innovation. .... "

The Uncomfortable CEO

Former colleague José Ignacio Sordo Galarza  has a new site: The Uncomfortable CEO.   I will follow with more about his new book mentioned: " ... Exceptional CEOs approach work in a very consistent fashion: They are uncomfortable! They are interested in what’s right, rather than who’s right; they have a general dissatisfaction with the status quo, and are always looking for ways to explore new boundaries.The Uncomfortable CEO: Making Information Technology Overcome Business Uncertainty is a handbook for CEOs and other senior executives that lays out the argument for leveraging IT’s key role overcoming business uncertainty and provides guidance for doing so successfully.Be prepared for something different from a typical business book. ... " 

Deep Learning with Neural Nets

In CACM:  Deep learning finally comes of age.  Still a bit skeptical about what deep really means here.  I need it be useful.   We used neural nets extensively to replace specific statistical methods in decision resolution, but not to generally 'learn'.  I still don't see how what they suggest here provides generalized learning,  but the progress may be there.  High speed parallel methods of the kind used in 'Big' methods may be applicable.   " ...  "A wave of excitement today comes from the application of unsupervised learning to deep neural nets," LeCun says, adding that another wave of excitement surrounds the use of the more-traditional supervised training of multilayer systems called "convolutional" neural nets. LeCun developed convolutional neural nets at Bell Laboratories in the late 1980s; they were among the earliest to employ multilayer learning. ... " 

Note that the method of Neural Networks  is more correctly called Artificial Neural Nets (ANN).    The neural models used in these methods are only superficially inspired by animal neurons.  They are also not currently used to my knowledge in neuroscience or neuromarketing methods,

Glass to Create Huge Data?

Via Gib Bassett:  Will Glass make Big Data into Huge Data? Yes, definitely if it becomes popular, and something like it will, we will be collecting increasing amounts of data in many new contexts.   Get ready for the analytics required.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Monetizing Mobile

In the midst if a mobile application.  But the value will be in efficiency, connectivity and supporting decisions from anywhere.  Not advertising dollars from consumers.  So how do you measure the value?   Something to consider as mobile use grows.   More thoughts.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Brainwashed Review

In the WSJ: A balanced review of correspondent Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld's  book:  Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience.

Neuroscience and Marketing

In Mediapost, Elissa Moses posts a good introduction about a number of non conscious methods and their use in marketing analysis. For a largely contrary critical view, see my note about Sally Satel's book: Brainwashed.  I have come to believe  in her take, that strong reliance on neuroscience approaches can be a seductive application of methods based on perceived magic rather than real science.  Its good to look at both sides of this argument,  and first proceed with a traditional view.  Then experiment with neuroscience based methods.   Combine these methods to test.  My own experience with companies pitching these methods makes it clear that caution is a necessity. Some of the deeper insight suggested come from the brains of the researchers rather than the consumer experiments.

Mini Windows Stores at Best Buy

I mentioned some time ago visiting a new Microsoft Store in the local mall.  Located very close to the Apple store, which had been around for a couple of years.  The proximity made them easy to compare. On a midweek afternoon the Apple store was crowded and full of activity.  Classes going on, kids being taught, expertise being exchanged.  The Microsoft store was quiet with mostly workers demonstrating tablets.  Now MS is teaming with Best Buy to set up mini stores in their retail.   The Mall stores do set up an aura of event and excitement that online cannot.

Retail Data Synchronization

Kroger and GS1 are beginning a three year Project Mercury effort to synchronize data.  A key element of running any large, complex retail operation.   " ... Under the system, suppliers will give as many as 150 "attributes" for each product, including size, weight and nutrition information.
... " 

Unemployed Geniuses

An intriguing article on the employment of genius.  By their carefully limiting definition.  Seen this effect relatively often.  Genius does not always combine with social or collaborative skills.   Includes some interesting discussion of the nature of genius.

Telepresence Robotics in the Office

In IEEE Spectrum:  Cisco and iRobot working to produce a telepresence robot.  Conceptually an appealing idea, but I wonder about the practicality before robotic systems are more autonomous.  The proposed system seems to be remotely driven.  Experienced some uni task systems in the office halls of the enterprise that were less than successful.    " ... One of the biggest companies in robotics has teamed up with one of the biggest in telepresence to create a new remote collaboration robot. iRobot and Cisco announced today they are working together to develop a robot called Ava 500 that can autonomously drive around an office and offers crisp HD video experience. The two companies, which are demonstrating the new robot at a trade show this week in Florida, say it will be available early next year (no details on price yet some reports say the robot will cost around US $2,000 to $2,500 per month to lease). The Ava 500 blends technologies from both companies: iRobot has built a capable autonomous navigation platform that it's been integrating into its remote presence robots; and networking giant Cisco is a major provider of video telepresence systems to the corporate market (and to Jack Bauer). Telepresence robots designed to let off-site workers participate in meetings and visit remote locations are becoming increasingly popular. Offerings vary from streamlined models like the Double to sophisticated and more costly robots like iRobot's RP-VITA, which can be used in hospitals. Other remote presence robots include Jazz, Vgo, QB, and Beam. ... " 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mitigating Risk in the Supply Chain

In Industry Week:

" ... Supply chain managers adopt new strategies to mitigate risks 
Research has shown that major interruptions in the supply chain can sap a company's share price by 7%, so supply chain managers are adopting new strategies to avoid disruptions, according to this analysis. The effects of globalization, cyberattacks and natural disasters pose a threat to smooth supply chain operations. To make supply chains more resilient, companies should improve data-sharing along the chain, specify lines of authority and a "common risk vocabulary," and use exercises to test their plans. ... " 

Tesco Supply Chain Big Data

From Tableau Software:   Major global retailer on the use of visualization:  " ... Tesco uses Teradata to warehouse their supply and inventory data. They've got 5 years of data and 100 Terabytes on 100 cores in Teradata. On using Teradata with Tableau: “We connect live and it just works.”  .... " 

A Short History of TV

Though there is starting to be some serious competition at the edges, Television continues to be a very big means of one to many conversation.  Ars Technica has a good history of the medium and its direction.

Smarter Packaging Yet

A long time interest in making packaging more intelligent.  Making it a broader part of the intelligence network.  Now we have devices in the hands of consumers that can interpret images and codes,  All the possibilities are broadening now,   More from Popai.  " ... Think about it: you’re walking through a supermarket aisle, and all around you, products are attempting to engage you, whether by carefully crafted design and color; video; winking at you or even talking to you. You can scan coupons on products and find you’ve won something free or become alerted to promotions. At the drugstore, your prescription label boasts an embedded calculator to help you determine dosage. It’s all happening, and it’s all just the tip of the iceberg. ... " 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crowdsourcing Data Analytics

Recently pointed to. Worry about sharing data and ownership of the methods used:       " ... Kaggle is the world's largest community of data scientists. They compete with each other to solve complex data science problems, and the top competitors get invited to consult on interesting projects from some of the world’s biggest companies through Kaggle Connect. Kaggle provides cutting-edge data science results to companies of all sizes. We have a proven track-record of solving real-world problems across a diverse array of industries including life sciences, financial services, energy, information technology, and retail. /solutions/connect ... " 

P&G Reorganizes into Four Industry Specific Sectors

Not unexpected to see a reorganization event here.    Reported in CGT.  " ... The businesses in each sector are focused on common consumer benefits, share common technologies and face common competitors. Each sector will be led by a Group President named after the jump. ... " 

EU and Prism

Was expecting an issue here.  The EU is known for its strong data privacy laws.  Now word that EU companies or those doing work with the EU, may be subject to lawsuits if they cooperated with  NSA's PRISM data gathering.

Analytics in The Boardroom

A whitepaper of particular interest because of our involvement with executive information systems over the years.    Currently involved with a mobile delivery design for executive clients.  How do you deliver analytics and make the context and value and correctness of analytics clear to executive users?  A powerful but complex challenge.

Talking Advanced Technology and its Delivery

Gave an invited talk at a large energy services company yesterday on the progress of emergent technologies and analytics in the enterprise.  The talk, given to some 400 people globally, led to considerable conversation about how the learning of a consumer goods company can be transferred to the seemingly very dissimilar world of energy.   The world of big and new data, new analytical methods, and the means to deliver the learning anywhere and in easy to understand visual form, has led to a revolution in value.   Thanks for the invite, and the continuing conversation.  Want to learn more, contact me.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gamification and Loyalty

Rajat Paharia writes from Bunchball: " ... Next week, our book "Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification" comes out. We recently found out that if we can get 11,000 copies ordered before June 18th, the book will debut on the NY Times Bestseller list. Being on a list like the NY Times has become crucial in building momentum for books and their ideas, especially for first time authors like myself. We are actually well on our way with some large bulk purchases and it is within reach, but we need some help to get us the final mile. ... "   Amazon link.   

CYC Corp

Been a long time since I looked there, or visited them, Doug Lenat's CYC group.  I was reminded by a mention in a book ...  worth a reexamination. Early pioneer in AI that we followed.

Wal-Mart Labs Buys Analytics

Have not heard much from WM labs of late, but these acquisitions are interesting.  " ... Walmart, via its Silicon Valley innovation lab @WalmartLabs, has made another acquisition today, continuing its shopping spree. The company is announcing that predictive intelligence startup Inkiru will be joining Walmart Labs to accelerate the retail giant’s analytics capabilities. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Inkiru’s platform is an active learning system that combines predictive intelligence, data abalytics and a decision engine to influence and determine customer interactions. Benefits to using Inkiru include being able to reduce fraud, improve customer segmentation and targeting, and more. .. " 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Apple IOS7 Redesign

Images Shown in this report show a flatter, simpler, fewer color design. I know that this is 'in' now, but my initial reaction that this mostly looks 'cheaper'.   Long time users may accept the radical change, but new users might turn away from it.  I hope they have done their homework with consumers.

Does Prism Kill the Cloud?

In CWorld:  Not sure I agree with the premise, but it is worth thinking about.  Do concepts like the Cloud concentrate information and thus make it easier for governments to skim?  Enabling methods like Prism?  Strong automatic encryption may be the answer.

What is Shopper Marketing?

In Shopperception:   Part 1 of what looks like a good introduction to the topic." ... If products are not purchased, nothing else matters. The best marketing and advertising campaigns in the planet fail if products stay on the shelf, and the one making the difference is the shopper. This basic realization has made Shopper Marketing so useful and vital for successful brand building in the past few years. Companies have always spent a big part of their budget driving awareness among consumers. ... " 

Gamification for Employees

In CIO, more about using game dynamics to engage employees.  We took a look at this with a number of potential applications, and found it was more difficult than we expected.  Still useful to consider as part of a user engagement idea.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Pointing to This Blog

In preparation for a talk I am giving Tuesday on analytics applications I added a slide that would point to this blog.   Aimed at people in the auditorium that want to use a search term they can remember.  The name of this blog can be cryptic, so I have used:

Search for:  Franz Dill Blog

Which appears to work uniquely on search engines I have tried.   Let me know if you have any comments.

Electronic Contact Lenses

In Technology Review:   Another non new idea.  Brought to the forefront by all the other embed-able ideas like Glass, and even retinal implants.  Would take away the geek stigma of glasses.  " ... Contact Lens Computer: Like Google Glass, without the Glasses ... Soft contact lenses could display information to the wearer and provide continuous medical monitoring. ... " 

Rapid Prototyping for Design

MJ Perry points to a video about the use of 3D printing and rapid prototyping for design by an automobile company.  Instructive piece.

Are We Nodes in the Internet of Things?

In GigaOM:  Will we all become nodes on the Internet of Things?  Our things may be, we are heading quickly in that direction.   But please retain your own individuality.    " ... A group of French researchers believe that the sensors and transmitters we wear will route and relay data, not just collect it. We won’t just be connected to the network. We’ll be the network ... " 

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Focus the Technology on the Purpose

On the business purpose.  Don't just try to stay out ahead of the technologies as they evolve.  Almost all technologies are developments of previous ideas.  Not measured by how many times their buzzwords are mentioned.  Analytics has been under used since the 60s.

CIOs Promoting Gamification

An overplayed piece.  Using game strategy can be useful for internal and externally facing capabilities.  Consider it a deeper, more psychological part of the user interface.  A useful design choice.  Not a solution by itself.

Wal-Mart E-Commerce

Wal-Mart CEO predicts that their E-Commerce sales will be $10 Billion this year.  Continued online surge from traditional retailing.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Combining Bio Sensor Tools

It makes sense to think of using multiple bio sensors and combining their capabilities,  which is what these firms have done, worth a look.  " ... Facial expression analysis specialist Emotient and eye tracking software solutions firm iMotions have teamed up to create a platform that combines their key offerings, along with EEG and GSR technologies. ... "   Have not looked at this in any detail as yet.

Google Comments on Data

In Google Blog:  Commenting on how they deal with government information requests.

Costco vs Amazon in Grocery

In BusinessWeek:    " ... Amazon is expanding in the grocery business, which could create a headache for CEO Jeff Bezos' onetime mentor, Costco Wholesale CEO Jim Sinegal. Executives at Costco say they aren't overly worried but admit they'll be watching Amazon's efforts. "We view Amazon as one of our primary competitors in almost every category," said Paul Latham, Costco's vice president for membership, marketing and services. "We all believe we are going to have to adapt in some form." ... " 

Think Like a Consumer

In AdAge:  Think less like an executive, more like a consumer.  Agree, an executive is not your typical consumer.  In the many innovation center tours I gave for executives I saw the differences and they were obvious and jarring.  Keep the differences in mind.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Multiple Prisms with Similar Purposes

The Prism system has been much in the news today, apparently a multiple dimension-ed data gathering and predictive analytics system,  recently exposed as a government 'spying' system.  The name sounded familiar to me and I found I had written about a Nielsen system written in 2008, that had some similar characteristics.  Is this the same thing?  Probably not, but focusing such a system on multiple channels of retail data is not unexpected.  And now we have much more available data than in 2008.

CG Execs Share Marketing Insights

From CGT:  Mention of a number of interesting items including the use of Big Data.   The meeting was named:   " "Datatopia: From Big Data to Meaningful Customer Dialogue."  ... " 

Fuzzy Logix

Newly brought to my attention and examining in more depth.  Fuzzy Logix.   " .... We enable companies to embed in-database analytics directly into their business processes, data warehouses, enterprise applications, devices and web services. By directly integrating analytics into these existing areas where data already resides, we enable enormous processing efficiencies, and dramatically reduce the cycle time for analytics.  We also offer GPU Analytic Appliances that provide tremendous parallel processing power. .... " 

Disruptive Technologies from McKinsey

McKinsey looks at disruptive technologies.  " ... Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute, cuts through the noise and identifies 12 technologies that could drive truly massive economic transformations and disruptions in the coming years. The report also looks at exactly how these technologies could change our world, as well as their benefits and challenges, and offers guidelines to help leaders from businesses and other institutions respond. .... "

What Big Data Means

Bob Inmon provides a useful Venn diagram to describe what Big Data is and how it relates to other kinds of data.  Text is certainly the most important part of unstructured big data.  But what about other kinds of data, like images, audio and brain scans?  Increasingly large and useful areas.

Collaboration with Lists and Search

In CWorld:  Short view on the continued evolution of collaboration software.  Its acceptance within the enterprise.   As they say there,  this started with a very simple idea, the to-do list.    Most collaboration that exists is based on that humble idea.   Yet another way to look at collaboration is via a common task.  One that needs to be more collaborative and focused.  And what is done more often than search?  See Zakta's approach to this, which I have now reviewed a number of times.   Worth examining.

Gary Cokins on EPM Analytics

A piece that overviews some of Gary Cokin's view on analytics.  Have  read and passed a few of his columns.  Well done.  He talks about Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), not a term we used:  " ... Think of EPM as an umbrella concept. EPM integrates operational and financial information into a single decision support and planning framework. These methods include strategy mapping, balanced scorecards and dashboards, customer profitability analysis (using activity-based costing principles), forecasting, driver-based budgeting with rolling financial projections, and resource capacity requirements planning. Most of these methods have been in existence for decades, and many even before there were computers. What makes them relevant now is the need to integrate them for faster decisions to more complex problems and opportunities. The EPM methods in turn fuel other core solutions, such as customer relationship management, supply chain management, risk management, and human capital management systems, as well as lean management and the Six Sigma initiatives. It is quite a stew, but they all blend together. Embedding analytics of all flavors into EPM methods – such as correlation, clustering and segmentation analysis – enriches each of EPM’s many methods. .... " 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Indoor Positioning and Navigation

An important approach for retail navigation applications.   We studied this for a number of inventory and checkout applications.  Also in conjunction with tagging applications.  Computing Now gives an update of current methods.

Wisee Body Gesture Recognition

A UK correspondent sends along a BBC article on the use of Wifi for gesture recognition.  We explored how gestures might be used in the store aisle.   The simpler-cheaper aspects are of value in retail.  " ...  Researchers say they have found a way to detect and recognise human gestures based on how they affect wi-fi signals.  They suggest it could let users control home appliances with a wave of the hand while in any room of the house. They say the WiSee system offers a "simpler, cheaper" alternative to Microsoft's camera-based Kinect and other specialist gesture sensors.... " 

FTC Looks at Internet of Things

An upcoming FTC workshop that looks to be of interest.     The emphasis in consumer applications: " ... The workshop aims to help the FTC get to grips with this new smart, connected eco-system: to understand the types of companies and technologies operating in the space, how consumers can benefit, and what the privacy risks are.  “Consumers already are able to use their mobile phones to open their car doors, turn off their home lights, adjust their thermostats, and have their vital signs, such as blood pressure, EKG and blood sugar levels remotely monitored by their physicians,” says the FTC.project, product, or business. ... " 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

On Exiting Unprofitable Businesses

In the HBR:  A video.  This is fundamental.   I would further ask:  How can your predict when a business is declining fundamentally?    " ... Rita Gunther McGrath, author of The End of Competitive Advantage, explains how to identify and abandon a declining project, product, or business. ... " 

Handwashing Compliance Gamification

A good example of the use of gamification to change employee behavior. Also in this article, the use of the term 'engagement science' whose definition is obvious, but I had not heard before. " ... .   It turns out that only 30% of medical professionals wash their hands appropriately, leading to billions of dollars in downstream costs from readmissions, malpractice and secondary infections. While the exact reasons for poor adherence are the subject of speculation, a number of companies have jumped into the fray to try and solve the problem. Their solutions often rest heavily on gamification. .... "

Wearable Existance

Thad Starner, wearable computing pioneer, who we talked to regarding wearable computing in manufacturing settings, his comments on the emergence of wearable computing via Google Glass in Technology Review.   This is an idea that has existed for decades, so his view of its potential broad emergence now is insightful.  More on Starner and his publications back to 2003.

COBOL is still here

The early programming language COBOL is still here and used in many key systems.  I was last informed of that twenty years ago during an audit of important systems.  A reminder that things have not changed greatly in a large number of hidden, but crucial systems.  Time to brush up on your Cobol.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Self Service Business Intelligence

Thoughts on the concept of self-service business intelligence.  True there are many issues to think about, like the use of standards, security and efficiency.  Despite all these things, there is still active value here, with the usual amount of planning and caution required.

CID Topic Analyst

Brought to my attention, and demonstrated to me today, a product called CID Topic Analyst  A means to semantically analyze text and classify its structure for applications like competitive analysis.

Mobile Ads as Betrayal

In Adage:  Yes, I feel this way, there is something more personal about mobile.  But at the end of the day, someone has to pay.

Innovation as Usual: The Book

Newly brought to my attention.  Unread as yet, but on the stack. Innovation as Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life
Paddy Miller, Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

" ... Turn team members into innovatorsMost organizations approach innovation as if it were a sideline activity. Every so often employees are sent to “Brainstorm Island”: an off-site replete with trendy lectures, creative workshops, and overenthusiastic facilitators. But once they return, it’s back to business as usual.Innovation experts Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg suggest a better approach. They recommend that leaders at all levels become “innovation architects,” creating an ecosystem in which people engage in key innovation behaviors as part of their daily work.bIn short, this book is about getting to a state of “innovation as usual,” where regular employees—in jobs like finance, marketing, sales, or operations—make innovation happen in a way that’s both systemic and sustainable.Instead of organizing brainstorming sessions, idea jams, and off-sites that rarely result in success ..... " 

ShopperTrak Buys RapidBlue

We tested Shoppertrak extensively in laboratory and live retail environments.  A very simple, useful systems for in store behavior analysis.  This combination is an interesting development.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Internet Trends

Mary Meeker's  compendium of internet statistics is one that I remember reading every year. Admit I have not for a few years.  But it remains a rich assortment of statistics and trend information.  Slide deck   from KPCB.

Escaping Innovation Brainstorm

Video:  Escaping from the brainstorm in Innovation.  In the HBR.  " ... Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, coauthor of Innovation as Usual, explains how to drive innovation on a daily basis. .. " 

Big Data from Cheap Phones

In Technology Review:  A point I often make in talks I give, the smart phone is a cheap, ubiquitous device that spews data, and thus useful patterns to be detected.   " ... Collecting and analyzing information from simple cell phones can provide surprising insights into how people move about and behave—and even help us understand the spread of diseases ... "

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Wal-Mart Stocks with Neon Dots

In Bloomberg:  Wal-Mart brings in an outside auditor who uses Neon green dots to mark stocking outages.   Hmmm ... this sounds like the  Hawthorne effect.  Workers pay more attention when things are 'illuminated' to require focus.

" .... Wal-Mart prepared a spreadsheet of more than 800 items -- merchandise that included peanut M&Ms, Hanes boxer briefs, Covergirl mascara and Crest toothpaste -- that needed “stickering.” The circle stickers would indicate to Wal-Mart workers which items Acosta would be searching for during its audits.  Tovar said the most recent round of auditing was “the first time the green dots were in place.”  He added: “The reason we went to the green sticker process is because we think this is going to help the store associates do a better job of being in stock in key items. Those are the most important items to be in stock on.”   ... '

Global Workforce Management

IBM uses analytics to deliver global workforce management.  Press release.  An area I did some work in for the enterprise. " .... today unveiled new Big Data analytics software and services to help organizations build and maintain their global workforce.  Developed by IBM Research scientists, the software enables business leaders to analyze massive amounts of data shared by employees and uncover work-related trends that can be used to build and preserve more productive work environments and minimize attrition.  ... " 

Fix Your Processes

For better analytics, fix your processes.    Have always said that, but take it a step forward, analytics is all about fixing and tuning your processes.

Targeted Data Science

In GigaOM:  Still not convinced that it is the sheer wealth of of data that is driving the big data science movement.  Are there are any new analytic methods that have been created in the last decade that make a difference regardless of the richness of data involved?   Of course you look for applications like targeted promotions, that is where continuous stream of  money is.    Solve the world's problems?   Much less sure.