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Monday, March 31, 2014

Data Visualization Resources

A library site describing and linking to books, papers and white papers of data visualization expert Stephen Few.

Updated ShortBio 5/4/2014

Short Bio for Franz A. Dill Franz's academic background is in astrophysics and industrial mathematics. For the past thirty years he has been with the Procter & Gamble Company. There he acted as a chief scientist for analytics and as an emergent technologist. He founded P&G's groundbreaking contextual innovation centers, now with over sixteen centers world-wide. He established the company's Web 2.0 capabilities, writing the most read blog in the company. He was also a member of Procter & Gamble's Cognitive Analysis Council. He is responsible for many innovations and hundreds of millions of dollars in savings. He retired in March of 2008 and is now an active consultant in business intelligence in marketing, retail innovation, HR, knowledge management and other areas.  ....

Franz A. Dill,   Retired Procter & Gamble
PKL Knowledge Partners LLC -  Data Decision Scientist
Advanced Analytics Consulting
Phone:  (513) 405 7387
Twitter: @FranzD
Cincinnati, Ohio Area

Research: Hand Written Notes Improve Recall

Interesting take in the Chronical for Higher Education.   " ... Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil. ... "   Though I doubt that we are heading back to that.

Virtual Retail Shopping vs Shelf Research

Will we eventually be using virtual reality to shop?  Another area of examination in the innovation center.  The recent emergence of Oculus and Google Glass brings the idea to the surface again. Virtual shelves are being used to shelf test presence, but not often full presence for shopping.  Had a long conversation recently about the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality.  The former will likely prevail for now except in the most specialized areas. The picture at the right shows an example of virtual shelf research at Full Scale Virtual Research.

Designing and Visualization Connected

Stephen Few on Design in the Real World.  Have discussed our experiments in this space recently.  He states " ... designer/teacher Victor Papanek, whose work I only recently discovered. You can read them yourself in Papanek’s important and thoughtful book entitled Design for the Real World (Academy Chicago Publishers). This is a true classic that all designers should read, especially those of us who design information displays. ...   "  Will take a closer look myself.

Pepsi in Augmented Reality Digest

An interesting digest of augmented reality applications, most in marketing and entertainment driven, a good view of what is going on commercially in the space.  From Augmented Pixels.  Featured, Pepsi's effort:

" ...  Pepsi Max Launches “Invading” Campaign in London
london augmented pepsiPepsi utilized augmented reality technology long time ago, Their campaigns and app always provide some fresh ideas and original look and feel. This time Pepsi installed the “Unbelievable Bus Shelter” as a part of the brand’s Unbelievable campaign on New Oxford Street in London with digital technology and a camera facing the street behind the shelter, giving the allusion that the digital display was a glass window panel.

The different effects including an alien invasion, falling fireballs, running tigers, killer robots, etc.were then played on top of this image, causing passers by to stop, stare and take pictures. Augmented reality is used to play digital content on top of real-world images, giving the illusion that situations are happening in real life. ... " 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Birds and Gamified Education

Having been involved in a number of gamification projects, I have always thought it is the gaming companies that could ultimately do the best in applying game dynamics to serious learning problems.  So I like this effort of trying to bring game developers to education.  Look forward to seeing some actual examples.

' .... “We are active in all areas of entertainment and we are now expanding into education,” he told TES. “We like to look at ourselves as a ‘triple E’ company, so entertainment, education and we apply entrepreneurship to everything we do, which is where our crazy ambition comes from.

“When we look at Angry Birds and education, we are not really talking about the games so much as the characters. The characters engage people of all ages [and] it’s very clear there will be very limited learning if you don’t have engaged students.” ... ' 

The Meaning of R for Science and Industry

In FastcoLabs:   Thoughtful piece about open source and science.  I am in the midst of looking at packages for the application of data modeling and mining capabilities.   This project will not need to be inserted into an enterprise solution, or integrated with current enterprise infrastructure.  In the past I would have used a license I had, or as needed acquired a new one.  But as an independent, this is the first time I have become more comfortable than ever in using an open source platform like R.  Science in academia has discovered this too.  R is being taught and used there.  Students emerging from school know it.   New ideas are being developed in it.  Software companies are also making sure that you can use R developments from their offerings.   It has become a common tool for science.

Democratizing Data Visualization

An upcoming look at the 'Exhibit' experiment, which I remember hearing about, but have not followed.  In a couple of corporate connections the concept of 'democratizing data' has been emphasized.  Here is a good example of its leverage, because visualization is better understood by the public, versus other forms of analytics.  Will report on this further.

" ... In 2007, members of the Haystack Group in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory released a set of Web development tools called “Exhibit.” Exhibit lets novices quickly put together interactive data visualizations, such as maps with sortable data embedded in them; sortable tables that automatically pull in updated data from other sites; and sortable displays of linked thumbnail images.

In April, at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Haystack members will present an in-depth study of the ways in which Exhibit has been used — with ramifications for the design of data-visualization tools; data-management software, such as spreadsheets; and Web-authoring software, such as content management systems. ... " 

Wearables as a Sixth Health Sense

In CWorld:  How do you think of wearable computing?  We have become very used to having a device next to us that acts as sensor, library and communicator.  So is it another sense that we need to treat the same way as our others?  How do we combine it with the other senses?   In particular about health:

" .... People will one day depend on wearable computers to monitor not just their activities but a myriad of data about their health, making the devices basically like a sixth sense. ... That's the vision that was laid out during the MIT Tech Conference on disruptive technologies in Cambridge, Mass. this past weekend. The wearable computer market will see the kind of dramatic growth that the smartphone market has over the last decade and wearables will morph from Fitbit-like bracelets to patches that stick to users' skin and sensors embedded in t-shirts and sneakers. ... " 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Robots Taking Jobs

To what extent are robots starting to take substantial jobs?  As an example, we examined ways to use robots in repetitive motion supply chain jobs, and in some limited lab work applications.   The work of knowledge workers has been broadly 'roboticized' in a number of ways.  How does the hope of a paperless future influence this?  Ultimately how are robots likely to take many other jobs soon?  In the National Journal.

Email Triggers and Analytics

Obvious, most interesting are the details of how this can extend these capabilities with new data and analytics.  Then, where does the analytics invade?   In ClickZ: 

When a marketer sets up email triggers to send messages to customers, it is for usually for something straightforward: a birthday discount code, a welcome email, or a reminder that the customer left something in his or her cart.

Technology, though, has advanced to the point that on-site behaviors, such as browsing and buying, can be leveraged to create dynamic triggers, helping marketers pinpoint the right audience for the right message, gain conversions, and retain customers. Marketers, then, need to think more strategically about how and when they're using triggers to reach a customer's inbox. ... "

Persuading and Looking Smart

I like the notion of a "Re-engineered Engineer', and try to look smart.  And that I can persuade.  While being friendly.  But we all wonder, are we succeeding?   Here is where I got the idea: 

Dave Hill - The Re-Engineered Engineer
Professional Speaker, Trainer, Author, & Speech Coach
Re-Engineer Your Communication Strategies – How to Persuade and Look... ardmoremedia.com
FRIENDLY PERSUASION Get people to buy into your concepts and take action. Make sure your ‘call to action’ is clear and achievable. Whether you are an engineer, leader or executive, you are i...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Products and Manufacturing

Newly discovered blog:  Product Lifestyle Stories: Insights on Products, manufacturing and service.

SIRI and Watson and Natural Language Processing

Interesting thoughts comparing SIRI and Watson.   SIRI's natural language processing (NLP) capabilities and interface are her most obvious characteristics .... how does this compare to how Watson is being positioned?  We will continue to see more examples of the public and enterprise face of what has been in the past been called AI.  NLP is often the portal for any such systems.  In our own experiments with NLP driven expertise we chose to do as little as possible, where data was available, it was used instead of the natural imprecision of natural language.

Kimberly Clark : More Specialists Needed

KC says more marketing specialists needed.  In particular technological skill that can determine what is possible with new data.

" .... As companies turn to digital marketing to build their brands, they will need marketing specialists that have a combination of marketing, technological and creative skills, according to Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology at Kimberly-Clark. Consumers have more of a voice than ever before on digital platforms, and marketers need to respond to what they say about their brand. "It’s the modern consumer who is omnipresent and is pretty much everywhere," Gupta said ... " 

Microsoft Word on ipad

I have been using the iPad for a note taking and consulting tool for some time now.   With Evernote as an organization tool.  This has been a problem at times when I needed to create or utilize existing MS Word documents on the road.  Microsoft has now created Microsoft Word for the iPad and I have uploaded it.  So far works well for existing Word documents.  Makes the iPad a more rounded out tool.  Also makes me more likely to use the MS Cloud.

Industrial Internet Consortium Resources

Correspondent Shoumen Datta reports that the Industrial Internet Consortium Site has been made public.   " ... Accelerating Innovation In Connected, Intelligent Machines and Processes ... "   He has also updated his tutorial on the Industrial Internet[Link Updated 8/23/14] This is a very extensive PDF/Presentation on the topic that I have seen and reviewed earlier versions of.  Will continue to follow and report on here.   Includes a blog worth following. See also articles and press releases on the topic.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shelf Eye Tracking

In Progressive Grocer: Report on how people interact with grocery shelves.    We always knew it was more than just about having the eye level shelf.  Its about category too.  And other aspects of shopper behavior

Big Data for Better Design via Simulation

Intriguing view from IBM.  I further like the idea of using data and then creating simulations, perhaps more commonly called emulations, based on that data gathered.  That can then provide a method to test out alternative designs. This approach is sometimes called abductive reasoning, which we sought to use to combine quantitative and design approaches.  Have not seen the idea used to any degree elsewhere.  Also, could a decision style system be attached to guide the design process?  The article contains some interesting related examples.

Modernizing Manufacturing Economy

Via Lisa Kaczmarczyk.  How can networks help modernize a manufacturing economy?    A look at changing manufacturing economy in NE Ohio.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Considering an Enterprise of Things

Enterprise of Things.   A natural organization.    Had not thought of it in this way before. But it is a natural next step. It is likely that the enterprises will invest in this to create tailored experiences and benefits to help focus their work.

" ... I expect the average enterprise to ultimately have tens of thousands of corporately connected/deployed EoT devices to interact with. These will include embedded sensors of all types (e.g., automotive, tooling, usage monitors, personal concierge devices, location-based sensors, worker concierge devices, etc.). Most will focus on supplying data, but many will also require command and control inputs/direction. While each transaction with a device may be small (hundreds to thousands of bytes), the sheer number will stretch many corporate systems beyond their current limits.... " 

Building a Learning Organization

Learning is often poorly executed in the organization.  It is assumed that the memory of people will be sufficient to act as a corporate memory.  Yet people forget, or move.  So this is often inadequate.  In particular what is learned can often be wrong or impossible to retrieve when it could be useful.  How do you build a learning organization?

Reducing Costs vs Agility

A common problem in IT projects.  A view from CIO Insight.   Which summarizes a broader document.  " ... Not only should governance help determine whether a process or system should be standardized, but it should also provide a mechanism for moving from one category to another as the business environment changes ..." 

Why Big Data Innovation is Interesting to Execs

Interesting comments on Big Data and innovation.  The provocative thought is often repeated: " ... Big data’s appeal to executives is obvious because it predicts how every action or initiative will turn out based on what has happened before. As said by Vivek Ranadiv√©, founder and CEO of financial-data software provider TIBCO: “I believe that math is trumping science. What I mean by that is you don’t really have to know why, you just have to know that if A and B happen, C will happen.” This logic is why 64% of executives cite “new product development and innovation” as one of their main reasons for investing in big data .... " 

Data-Driven Operations Research Analyses in the Public Sector

From University of Cincinnati Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems (OBAIS) department at the Lindner College of Business (LCB). Please reply to uday.rao@uc.edu to add / modify / delete addresses in this distribution list.

The OBAIS department’s Arnoff Lecture will be on Monday, March 31, 2014. Please feel free to attend and advertise this event, which I believe will be spectacular.

Speaker: Professor Lawrence M. Wein, Stanford University
Topic: Data-Driven Operations Research Analyses in the Public Sector
Date, Time, Location: Monday, March 31, 7:30 PM, Lindner Hall Room 112 (Fealy Auditorium)

He writes: I will describe several recent projects in the public sector, including screening and treatment for childhood obesity, allocating blood for transfusions, optimizing ballistic imaging performance using spatiotemporal crime data, allocating ready-to-use food to undernourished children in developing countries, and optimizing the biometric aspects of India's universal identification (UIDAI) program. Each project started with a large longitudinal data set that guided the mathematical modeling, and resulted in a recommended policy that outperforms the current policy. I will briefly describe the problem motivation, the data set, the mathematical model (which was embedded into an optimization problem), the statistical analysis required to calibrate the model, the numerical results from solving the optimization problem, and the policy implications.
Uday S. Rao
Associate Professor
Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems (OBAIS)
Room 528, Carl H. Lindner College of Business
2925 Campus Green Drive, University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0130
Email: raous@ucmail.uc.edu
Ph: 513 556 7138, Fax: 513 556 5499

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting to Business Basics: PO Dispatch and eInvoicing.

I have mentioned ViniMaya here a number of times.  A value driven method for improving revenue.  For businesses small and large.   A short webinar on its use March 27, 2PM EDT.  More information and registration.

'Increase Savings through PO Dispatch & eInvoicing
Let’s face it.  Every supplier you deal with has its own way of doing things when it comes to purchase orders and invoicing.  Some need to receive POs via fax or email.  Others may accept electronic transmission, but that requires IT resources to support a wide variety of protocols.  All of it takes time, money and resources that you could be using for higher priority tasks.    ... " 

Readiness for a Resource Revolution

Intriguing thoughts and new directions. From The McKinsey Quarterly: 

" ...  Are you ready for the resource revolution?
Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well. ... " 

Making a Game of Chores

I see that colleague Chris Bergman's ChoreMonster startup was mentioned in this morning's Cincinnati Enquirer. Nice idea that I have not been following for a while.  Worth taking a look at.

The premise: " ... What if your kids begged you to do their chores? ... With ChoreMonster, it's possible. No chore charts required. ChoreMonster is a suite of web and mobile apps that make chores fun for kids. ... "

Will follow with more from Chris as this progresses.    @Choremonster  See also their blog.

Evaluating the Nature of Online Community

In the HBR Blog   A good look at the Nike example of how community works, and sometimes does not.  This is a very old Web problem we examined in the dawn of communities online.    I suggest Paul Gillin's book: Attack of the Customers, mentioned here a number of times.  For an outline of notion of community and how people interact with brand.

3D Printing for Fashion

Continued examples of 3D Printing.  Also note this as an example of what is called late stage differentiation, which improves supply chain efficiency.   But also does conflict with economies of scale that have been key to manufacturing costs for a long time.  Colleague Walter Riker just passed along a link on what is being 3D printed today.

" .... The 3D printing technology is most widely used for manufacturing prototypes quickly and inexpensively. Over the past several years, however, 3D printing has moved into applications such as architecture, dental and medical and even human tissue replication. One burgeoning marketplace is 3D printing is fashion, including garments, footwear, jewelry and eye wear. For example, South African fashion designer Michaella Janse van Vuuren just announced a collection multi-material 3D printed designs using Stratasys¿ new Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer. San Francisco-based startup Continuum lets anyone design their own clothing through its Constrvct online destination, where digital designs are exported to pattern files. The company then uses the files to manufacture the garments on 3-D printers. ... " 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Executive View: of Big Data

WSJ on Big Data: What the management is scanning at least.  Registration required.    " ... Meet the New Boss: Big Data .... Companies Trade In Hunch-Based Hiring for Computer Modeling ... " .   When my job was to explain new technologies to executives, it was very useful to scan the WSJ to understand your starting point.  Here they do a good job.  Though the term itself is deceptive.   It's not just about the 'Big' part.  The solution is, as in the quote above says, dependent on computer modeling,  AKA 'Big Data Analytics.'

Busting Glass Myths

Have been looking at Glass for the enterprise issues lately, and this CW Google piece on the myths behind the Glass makes me think.    Applicable issues to other wearable devices as well.  For general applicable systems issues, but how about for App driven specialized applications?

Going Visual with Your Research

I see that Zakta is putting out some new marketing on their research methodology.  Have been talking to them for years (but have never been paid by them).  They started their work emphasizing how groups can improve, direct and speed research.  A very nice idea that has been well done.  I see they are now emphasizing the speed of research and the visualization of results.   Good idea. Will take another, deeper dive.

Wal-Mart Labs and Yumprint

A recent post on YumPrint made me look at the Wal-Mart Labs site.   Well worth a follow by those interested in retail technology.  I visited their labs a number of times, and they mine.  Very impressive.  .. Worth a look and follow at their site devoted to:  " ... Read about how we’re innovating the way our customers shop. ... " 

Walmart's New Blog Leveraging Acquisition

Late on this, but of interest.  Leveraging knowledge and storytelling online.   " ... Walmart launches its new corporate blog, utilizing it to announce that it is also acquiring Yumprint, a start-up company in the recipes and meal planning space. ... According to the blog, Chad Mitchell, senior director for Walmart Digital Communications, writes, “Our goal with this new channel is to tell real stories that you might not have heard, and our hope is that we can bring you a renewed perspective about our company.” ... ' 

I note also the simularity to storytelling in Pinterest.

Basic R Tutorials in YouTube

Basic R for Newbies In Youtube.   Have not looked at these closely yet, but looks to be worth while. Several dozen short tutorials, in understandable English, with the limitations of serial instruction. I repeat that R is a programming language, and having some experience with programming language is essential.  Content overview:  " ... Statistics with R for newbies Content 1. Working with R - data management, opening data 2. Plots - basic plots 3. Standard Regression (where DV is continuous) - simple (bivariate) linear regression; multiple linear regression; Issues in modeling .... "

Data Visualization and Storytelling

Does data visualization plus story telling equal infographics?   It can be done, but often is is sloppy and non objective.  How can you tell the difference?   In iDatassist:  About a means to address this. But are the stories objective?

Value of Open Government Data Streams

Lots of open government data is available, and combined with corporate data, can lead to value. But since it has not been constructed with usability in mind, its use can be problematical.  Can we improve and generalize the design?   In CWorld: 

" ...  what many didn't bargain for was the state in which they'd find these once-buried data sets. "A dog's breakfast," "a train wreck," "a massive hairball" -- those are a few of the terms IT leaders have used to describe the vast volumes of public data now being made available to the general public.

Yet the business opportunities are unprecedented -- open data offers bits and bytes of public information that are freely available for anyone to use to build new businesses, generate revenue, develop new products, conduct research or empower consumers. With the federal government as the single largest source of open data in the U.S., we now have unfettered access to information about everything from bus routes and pollution levels to SEC filings and weather patterns. Savvy businesses are using public data to predict consumer behavior, shape marketing campaigns, develop life-saving medications, evaluate home properties, even rate retirement plans. ... " 

Devices Can Have Personalities

The personality of devices.    An interesting experiment that creates some new approaches to design consideration between product and consumer.

" ... Injecting some personality into products might be one way to help people notice that they’re not really using everything filling their home. As Rebaudengo tested his network of toasters, people were suddenly hyper-aware of an object they'd never noticed before. They started changing their everyday lives; one family even had a party just so they had a reason to make more toast.

"Suddenly an object that has no real value gets a lot of value because you are judged as an owner," he says. "It was kind of fun because even though it was a speculative vision, by making it real enough you get these full reactions. What if this was true?" ... " 

Your Product and Word of Mouth

Word of mouth for any product?

Think Your Product Is Too Boring for Word of Mouth Marketing? Think Again
New Wharton research shows consumers communicate differently depending on the medium, providing food for thought for marketers chasing the ever-elusive word of mouth recommendation. ...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cisco and Conferencing

Cisco targets empty conference rooms with videoconferencing push
Cisco is readying a suite of new and enhanced videoconferencing solutions designed to offer companies a number of high-performance but cost-effective avenues to increase enterprise communication. The new offerings, which will include a price cut of up to 45% on some products, will leverage the popularity of bring-your-own-device by adding employee smartphones and tablets ....  Cisco unveiled Wednesday an array of video conferencing products as it seeks to provide video collaboration systems for meeting rooms of all sizes. ....  " 

Countering Fraud and Financial Crime

I was invited to a meeting on Fraud and Financial crime last week, but due to a number of issues could not make it.  I believe the detection of detecting fraud and how to counter it is an important one and is in particular a place where classic big data analytics can be used to address the problem. I have been involved in several such efforts long before there was the depth of data available today.   We have that data, but where do we start?

Addressing fraud is also an area where any sized company can get benefit.  The large company can employ expertise to address this problem and use the solutions attached to specific problems. Smaller companies often cannot make the same investments.  Its natural that they could leverage automated methods to discover and then address ninety percent of the typical fraud issues that arise.

The problems here are related to generalized compliance activity as it connects to regulations. It can be addressed by constructing a portfolio of most important and likely fraud issues, then taking them in the order of their possible risk and return. Also understanding the costs involved to detect and remedy each component.  An agility also of value to the smaller company.

Below are some documents that cover the meetings, and some comments I provide.   First the NYTimes article: IBM Launches New Software and Consulting Services to Help Organizations Tackle $3.5 Trillion Lost Annually to Fraud and Financial Crime

The meetings can be traced on Twitter with #counterfraud:  https://twitter.com/#Counterfraud

 Read the blog post: http://bit.ly/1eSljbP

 And the related video: http://bit.ly/1qQ0OEV

 Also a supporting infographic: http://bit.ly/1mg0UFg

And the supporting press release: http://ibm.co/Oy94dH  Excerpt:

" ...  IBM launched its “Smarter counter fraud” initiative, drawing on the expertise and innovation from more than 500 fraud consulting experts, 290 fraud-related research patents and $24 billion invested in IBM’s Big Data and Analytics software and services capabilities since 2005. The initiative extends IBM’s leadership in Big Data and Analytics and Cloud to help public and private organizations prevent, identify and investigate fraudulent activities.    ... " 

Continuing to follow the threads above.  Will have more comments in this thread as I digest the approaches mentioned.

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.  #MidsizeIBM

Microchips in Your Head

Beyond wearable, embedded.  An old idea that continues to make steps towards the bionic human.  Can we master the interface to the brain?  ... " ... Google Wants Microphones In Your Ceiling & Microchips In Your Head Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind! ... " 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Software Lie Detection

In New Scientist. Can lies be detected?   A new kind of emotion detection.  " ... An AI system trained on false statements is highly accurate at spotting deceptive language in written or spoken testimony. It can also be used to weed out fake online reviews of books, hotels and restaurants.

The system is the work of computational linguists Massimo Poesio at the University of Essex in Colchester, UK, and Tommaso Fornaciari at the Center for Mind/Brain sciences in Trento, Italy. It is based on a technique called stylometry, which counts how often certain words appear in a passage. ...  " 

More Looks at Google Glass for Expertise

CACM looks at Google Glass.  Another view, positive and negative.  Still looking at what I would call 'office' applications that link to embedded intelligence and quant analytics.   Leading for rapid integration to corporate knowledge and applied collaborative expertise. Any ideas? 

Networking Your Toothbrush as Over-Design App Included

A step towards an Internet of Everything?  Or should everything be just as intelligent as it needs to be?  My former enterprise develops a smarter toothbrush.  " .... Procter & Gamble’s Oral-B announced the release of its first ever web-enabled toothbrush. Setting a new standard for dental hygiene, the next SmartSeries toothbrush will include a smartphone app, helping users to know if they are brushing too hard or if it’s time to brush another area of their mouth. If that’s not enough, the new Oral-B connected toothbrush experience also suggests nearby dentists for you, gamifies teeth cleaning, and even provides weather updates. Sounds exciting, but does it make sense for the customer? ... "

From the HBR Blog.   Hardly simplicity.  With a provided App. You expect a simple tool to do the task well, without any additional complications.  Clear example of attempted over design.   The HBR Blog does a good job of describing the issues involved.  Many of the tasks that are suggested for this newly designed 'tool ensemble' can be readily performed by an App, and a tool we already have to run the App.

Friday, March 21, 2014

FTC on In-Store Tracking and Data Security

In Retailwire:   Key to follow for those that want to gather additional big retail data.   " ... Advertising Age recently reported on five expected areas of focus for the Federal Trade Commission this year. All five revolve around consumer privacy and data security. This could become an uncomfortable situation for retailers and end up costing time, resources and money if the industry doesn't act now. What standards around the use of consumer data should become standardized across retail?  .... " 

Intelligent Light, Efficient Lighting and Sensors

Using light as a means of network construction has existed for some time.  It has interesting advantages and constraints.   We tested it for very specialized retail conditions.  From Radar OReilly:   A good overview of players in the space, which takes the idea beyond networking into energy efficiency:   " .... Consider the electric light: it’s ubiquitous and, well, boring. But meld it with some modern technology and you get intelligent lighting — wirelessly networked LED lights augmented by software and sensors. ... Early adopters have included creators of Las Vegas shows and productions, but in the big picture, entertainment is a mere sideshow. Intelligent lighting’s greatest impacts will be in the commercial and industrial sectors: warehouses, office buildings, factories, cold storage plants, hospitals — any place that encompasses large spaces and employs a lot of lights. ,,, That’s because smart lighting is highly efficient lighting. .... " 

On Data Flow

Agree with the points made here, the topic of lifecycle management is rarely considered seriously.  It also goes beyond lifecycle, to better understand the context of the data and decisions that are influenced by that data.

What Is Data Flow and Why Should You Care?  by Eric Kavanagh
 What goes around surely comes back around, which in the world of data is often called lifecycle management. To be blunt, very few organizations have ever formalized and implemented such a grandiose practice, but that's not a pejorative statement, for only until recently has the concept become seriously doable without great expense. ... " 

Saffron Technology Advances in Associative Memories

New developments from Saffron Technology, often mentioned here, implementer of innovative machine learning techniques. See more about their Natural Intelligence Platform. And current Press release:   Previously about Saffron.

" ... Cary, NC, March 20, 2014 – Saffron Technology, a cognitive systems company helping Fortune 1000 businesses understand the value of transforming disconnected data into actionable knowledge, today announced that it has closed a $7 million Series B investment round. Funds are earmarked to accelerate business growth, including opening new global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

“Data becomes infinitely more powerful when you tie together its meaning from a multiplicity of disparate sources. Our patented Natural Intelligence Platform unifies all kinds of data – structured and unstructured – in real time, from a large variety of sources and continuously learns about the things in the data without the need for pre-determined rules or models,” said Gayle Sheppard, Saffron Technology CEO. “Now you can automatically see converging and other patterns to anticipate outcomes and prepare to act. These capabilities, combined with our customers’ success with Saffron, position us well for growth. With this additional funding, we will expand customer-centric next generation service teams, build a strong brand presence, create scalability across our business, and establish a Silicon Valley headquarters in spring 2014.” ... "

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Virtual Battlefield: Project Morpheus

I was struck by use of the term virtual battlefield.  See Bloomberg article.  This was precisely what we did now many years ago. With punch cards and mainframes, and also excellent-for-the-time, game style visualizations.   We seem to be ready to take the next step, by creating and augmenting the real world and then interacting with it.   See also Project Morpheus.

" .... Virtual reality has never quite materialized for most consumers. While movies such as Tron and The Matrix conjured immersive, action-packed renditions of computer-simulated environments, contemporary efforts to sell workable VR failed because the systems were expensive and required bulky headsets that left many players woozy and disoriented.

Now, after decades of false promises, virtual reality is starting to feel a lot more real. Much of the credit belongs to geekily named startup Oculus VR, whose ski goggles-like prototype, the Oculus Rift, has gamers spellbound with anticipation for its as-yet-undeclared release. At the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 19, Oculus unveiled a prototype that features a high-definition, organic, light-emitting diode screen with a nifty trick called positional tracking. When users lean forward while wearing the headset, they also lean forward in the virtual world and see their surroundings from a different vantage point. “People want to experience the impossible,” says Palmer Luckey, Oculus’s 21-year-old founder. “Virtual reality is the ultimate conclusion of that human desire.” ...  '

Driving Data Reveals Routes

How driving data can reveal routes.  This has been long known, and has been used in a number of contexts.  A good example of analytical method based on sensor data.  A Podcast.  In the Sciam:  " ... Insurance companies have for years offered a compelling tradeoff to their customers: they track your driving habits, you save up to 30 percent off your bill for driving safely. But researchers now say that consumers may be giving up too much privacy in the deal. ... " 

From Mess to Model Analytics Training

Have seen some of the material for this class, highly recommended at all levels:

On April 17-18, the Center for Business Analytics in the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati will be offering a training course called “From Mess to Model.” This course serves as an introduction to the power of analytics and structured problem-solving methods for dealing with ill-defined and complicated problems. It will teach attendees how to design, formulate and implement analytics models for complex business problems. Attendees will learn how to use influence diagrams, decision trees and other tools to define and explain complicated scenarios. 

The class will also focus on proper spreadsheet design and modeling to facilitate analytics-based decision making. Finally, specific tools including optimization and simulation methods will be presented to solve practical problems. Problem settings will be drawn from many different areas of business including finance and risk, marketing analysis, forecasting, supply chain management and others. All model building will be done within Excel utilizing advanced Excel functionality and powerful Add-Ins that attendees will be able to download for free. The material should be suitable for those with a basic understanding of Excel. The class will be taught by Professors Jeff Camm and Mike Fry from the University of Cincinnati.

For more information and to register see: https://www.regonline.com/UCMessToModel
Discounted registrations are available through March 31 and for groups of 5 or more registrants.

We are also excited to announce the date for Analytics Summit 2014: Friday, May 23, 2014 at the Kingsgate Marriott at the University of Cincinnati. This year we will feature TWO keynote presentations: one by Eric Siegel (founder, Predictive Analytics World and author, Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die) and one by Jack Levis (Director of Process Management at UPS and frequent speaker on the topic of analytics). We will have full-day tracks on different areas of analytics: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive, as well as a special track focused on implementing analytics methods through social and mobile media. Confirmed speakers in these tracks include representatives from such companies as Macy's, Disney, Fifth Third, and many others.

For more information and to register see: https://www.regonline.com/AnalyticsSummit2014 
Discounted registrations are available through May 1 and for groups of 5 or more registrations.
Michael J. Fry, PhD
Associate Professor and Lindner Research Fellow
Assistant Director, Center for Business Analytics
Department of Operations, Business Analytics 
      & Information Systems
Carl H. Lindner College of Business
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
mike.fry@uc.edu  (513) 556 0404

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Unilever and Mobile Marketing

Unilever Deploys Mobile Marketing Platform
Unilever has become the first company to activate Brandtone’s automated mobile marketing platform and engage directly with mobile phone users in the world’s fastest growing markets.

The Konnect platform can send targeted messages to millions of consumers at a time which is most useful and valuable to them.

Through the platform, marketers have access to a vast database containing information that consumers have agreed to share. This allows them to identify a target audience, create a relevant brand promotion offer and issue a call to action using everything from SMS on basic phones to rich media on smartphones. At present over 90 percent of handsets in emerging markets are basic feature phones. ... " 

Watson as a Cognitive Technology

Was told that IBM has just refreshed their Watson site.  Just examined it. IBM now positioning it as a cognitive technology. No longer called AI or Expert Systems, which was the common parlance in our day.  The positioning is interesting too: " ... Watson is a cognitive technology that processes information more like a human than a computer—by understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence and learning as it goes. ... ".  

I emphasize the statement that it is 'more like a human', rather than any claims of intelligence.    Sounds good.  Also, because humans use many tools beyond raw intelligence, as Watson will as well.  Key is how to integrate analytics tools, data and cognition.  Interacting with human expertise.  Site includes video, and implication that early applications are in health care.

Example given: " ...  Revolutionizing Genomics and Personalized Medicine with IBM Watson After a decade of R&D, an IBM Watson™ prototype for genomic research is planned to be used in a clinical study to fight brain cancer. ... "  Just discussed this with a company that have been doing a proof of concept in the area.  More will follow.

Uncertainty Traps

In Knowledge@Wharton:  Had not heard the term before, but knowing what you don't know is always  a useful thing.  And leads to statements like:  "If we had this data ... THEN ... we could calculate predict, refine this result."   So then you can accumulate or buy the data you need at the right level of detail.   Here applied to the operation of economies. " ... The chief culprit: the “uncertainty trap,” a kind of information void that paralyzes economic players even after economic fundamentals improve. .... " 

Samsung Phone Detecting People and Objects

In Engadget: Advanced usability via sensory detection.  " ... Samsung's Ultrasonic Cover: a specialized case that uses sound waves to detect people or objects (in a two-meter radius), helping users navigate new surroundings by sending vibration or spoken alerts. Even without the accessories, the Galaxy Advance Core features a trio of physical buttons on the front and dedicated camera and voice recorder buttons on the side, assisting smartphone owners that don't want to rely solely on on-screen controls. ... " 

McKinsey Apps for Android Now

I see that McKinsey has set up an App for access to its publications.   Here for the Android.  They often have interesting documents, which I have pointed to here.   The process of providing Apps for access to corporate information as opposed to just links to sites, is an increasing practice.   At least for now, looks like a good idea.  But I wonder about the App space becoming yet more cluttered. The expectation for Apps is also to have frequent updates of content, an expectation that is costly to maintain.   For now, worth following:

" ... Introducing the McKinsey Insights app for Android ... We want to share some exciting news: we have just released the McKinsey Insights app for Android, providing smartphone and tablet-device access to the latest perspectives from across our industry and functional practices, the McKinsey Global Institute, and McKinsey Quarterly. ... " 

Also available for the iPad.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pinterest Being Linked Again

In 2012 I did some experiments with Pinterest for a client.  I have been asked to refresh this calibration experiment.  So posts in this blog with visual components will now be selectively pinned. Let me know if you have any reactions to their use in Pinterest by following me there. Also see below, you can pin any blog post in this system by clicking on the Pinterest 'swirl' below. Selectively posts in this blog are also linked to in Twitter and Google+.

Compliance on the Shelf

I have recently have been looking at applications of compliance. The application to shelf spaces has been a long term interest, see the thread links below.  Retailwire discusses the obvious, that image taking is making this easier than ever, and can be used to understand the physical status of the shelf. Advanced data analysis methods can make these same images efficiently understandable to decision makers.

Advanced Robot Locomotion

From IEEE Spectrum:  A basic example of biomimicry.   Are four legs required for precise and varied terrain robotic locomotion?   Here a new example with quadropedic motion, and video.   Impressive developments.  " ... In 2011, researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology unveiled HyQ, a quadruped powered by actively compliant hydraulic legs that can adjust their stiffness in real time. The researchers initially taught HyQ to walk and trot, and last year it learned how to avoid stumbles. Now HyQ is back with some new skills. In one demonstration, it was able to traverse inclines without slipping. The robot is also learning to use its perception sensors to react to disturbances—a capability the researchers tested by slamming their robot with a punching bag. ... " 

Gaps in Supply Chain Talent

This came up in a conversation recently. The area is perceived as not sexy enough.  Not the case, we need to work on attaching newest technology to the problems that are better defined here than in most domains. " ... With the more strategic role of the supply chain comes a greater need for supply chain employees who can meet the needs of a complex, global economy. Add to this the fact that many senior supply chain professionals are going to retire soon and you have widespread shortage of desired skills in the supply chain workforce. ... " 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Future of Brain Implants

In the WSJ:  Good piece that overviews a long running concept.  " ... How soon can we expect to see brain implants for perfect memory, enhanced vision, hypernormal focus or an expert golf swing? ..  Sooner than we think. How will the augmented among us differ from others?

Choosing the Next Big Idea

We did lots of work on portfolio analysis. There are usually no loss of interesting ideas to try to make money, with lots of advocates.  But how do you choose?  And how do you integrate those choices with the investments needed to develop the ideas.  A view from the Shark Thank about how to make choices.    Different from the way we operated, but a good screening process at the very least.

Economics as Science

In ZeroHedge: The danger of viewing economics as a science, dismal or otherwise.    A somewhat rambling view but a reminder that economics can work at a micro level, but typically the same kind of model does not work at a larger scale.  Caution should be emphasized.

Google to Open NYC Store

In Retailwire:   Near the now iconic Apple store there. Surely also for prestige purposes.  Also training?   " ... Google will reportedly open its first U.S. store in New York City's trendy SoHo district, right around the corner from Apple's first Manhattan location. With Google not talking, observers ask whether the space will be used to sell or showcase. What do you think should be the focus of Google's initial stores — selling or showcasing?  ... "  

P&G Everyday

This was brought up me to me again, P&G Everyday, emphasizing the Olympics.  Had not looked at it for for some time. Nicely done, very pictorial.  Contains coupons and samples.

" .... P&G everyday™ is an online platform created by Procter & Gamble, a company that has been establishing brands for the past 175 years, helping people around the world have extraordinary days ... every day. ... 

Our family of innovative and trusted brands make every day just a little better for billions of consumers around the world. Procter & Gamble has passionate employees living in and serving the people of 80 countries around the world. Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about Procter & Gamble and how its brands touch and improve everyday life. ... " 

Collaborative Innovation

Via colleague Louis Killeffer:

" ... This week my conversation with Eliot Schreiber,  Chief Operating Officer of Cloverleaf, becomes the fourteenth in a series of interviews with some of the leading practitioners in the world at Innovation Excellence   Cloverleaf Innovation is a Chicago-based consultancy helping companies realize growth through through the application of market insight, strategy, design, and innovation.   ... ".   Collaborative has become the rule in the enterprise.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Digital Asset Management

In the enterprise we were involved some of the earliest forms of what were to be called Digital Asset Management systems.    Although the assets at the time were not necessarily at least originally digital.  One of the first was called the OWL system,  which stored retrieved and re-purposed cataloged advertising images and copy historically.  Also turned out to be very useful for training.  It remains an interesting problem ... have talked to some companies on the potential analytics involved.  I am rethinking that aspect now.   I see there is an online of such systems being given by the AMA on March 18, 2014  11 AM ET More about it and registration here:

Bring Your Product Catalog to Life with Rich Media
According to Nielsen Norman Group, the average web page visit lasts less than a minute, driving marketers to seek new ways to capture their audience’s attention by increasing their use of rich media. As one example, according to Cisco Visual Networking Index, video content accounts for nearly half of internet traffic each month.

To handle the explosion of rich media assets, leading organizations are adopting enterprise Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems. DAM solutions help you monetize your product information and ensure consistent branding in all supporting marketing campaigns and efforts, across a multitude of channels and customer experiences. DAM works through the entire creation-to-consumption workflow, centrally managing media objects and product data. The result is an enriched, media-intensive product catalog that allows workers to easily find the right content, automatically transforms media to the best format for print and web catalogs, and reaches consumers with the right content and experiences on any platform and devices they choose. ... " 

What Makes a Data Visualization Memorable?

Interesting piece in CGW:   The title question alone gives me pause.  I want to make data useful and objective.  I also want a data visualization to be the knowledge infrastructure for dealing with data and its meaning.  It's exactly the reason I often do not like Infographics, which mean to attract attention to data, and make it more memorable.  Often obscuring the actual meaning.   Give me a objective starting point for working with data, and support for further understanding it.   Not attention and spin control.

Data Visualization as the Future

Short comment piece in Forbes.  Worth a look.  Several comments.  It's not a new thing, it's the convenience to the analyst and the ability to make it interactive that is new.   Access to more and new kinds of data is growing.  Also the integration of other kinds of analytics with visualization is more convenient than ever.  Finally the awareness by decision makers that it is available and useful without millions of dollars and teams of deep specialists is the most valuable change of all.

Looking for the Wearable App

Colleague Walter Riker is taking a close look at Google Glass to determine the future of wearable technologies.  Follow his blog here.  Send him some ideas about its use, collaborate with him on approaches.  A smart guy.

Interview with Roy Marsten

In Data Science Central.  Dr Roy Marsten comes from a similar background to my own,   Operations Research and computational mathematics.  Good to see related  approaches discussed again.

" ... Dr. Marsten was the recipient of the Beale-Orchard-Hays Prize for Excellence in Computational Mathematics, awarded by the Mathematical Programming Society. He was also a finalist for the Franz Edelman Prize for Excellence in Management Science, awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science.

Dr. Granville: Should companies embrace Big Data? Which ones and how? How would today’s businesses measure ROI on Big Data?

Dr. Marsten: I believe that companies need to embrace Big Data to be successful in today’s economy. Through time, companies have been looking for a new level of improvement and gain, and this has usually been achieved through finding ways to optimize processes, ultimately leading to productivity gains. Through my experience working with major companies, I’ve observed that data is the next frontier. It is everywhere and every vertical stands to benefit from it. Data has changed our lives and it is the language of technology. .... " 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Updated Linkedin Headline

I have updated my Linkedin Headline:

Business Analytics, Data Scientist, Decision and Expertise Systems. Digital Innovator, Writer and Speaker, Cincinnati Area. 

Was just recognized as   " ..... a critical market thought leader on the topic of Big Data & Analytics. Extended an invitation to the exclusive IBM Big Data & Analytics Digital VIP group.  ... "  

My One Page Narrative Bio.  Includes contact information.

My Full Linkedin Information.

Want to hear more?  Contact me.  Feel free to pass this information on.

Consumer Psychology in Surveys

Via Wharton's Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI): "You're always going to want to understand the consumer psychology: why are people doing what they're doing," says WCAI's Eric Bradlow ... Listen to the NPR Morning Edition Story on Customer Surveys here: n.pr/NXGRNu

US to Give up Internet Administration

U.S. aims to give up control over Internet administration - in The Washington Post.  What could go wrong here?  I can understand that all the spying claims can make us want to appease the complaints, but it does not make sense to give away the infrastructure you have built so carefully.

Killer Glass Apps

Been exploring the value of Glass beyond the merely convenient.   Still seeking the killer app that will make it look useful, especially to business.  It will require the integration of capabilities that are being developed by augmented reality players.  Such as real time image analysis.    An examination.  Includes some good examples.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Underlying Foundations of Watson AI

An informative  look at the foundations of the IBM Watson offerings with this interactive Infographic.  Particularly interesting to me, how IBM expects all their other offerings to connect with Watson.  I would not expect that all these connections are mature as yet, but this chart establishes the challenge.   I am particularly interested in how more classic quantitative analytic methods, and decision rules will interact.   I have written much more about how Watson points to a new start in AI.  From IBM Smarter Computing:  @IBMSmrtrCmptng @IBMWatson  

Fingerprint Security

New kinds of fingerprint security approach claimed. " .... IDair’s technology uses the existing cameras on smartphones, coupled with its own software, to take pictures of users’ fingers and pull their fingerprints from these files. The process relies on an algorithm the company has patented, which turns the image into a useful means of identification. ...  " 

KDNuggets Resource for Analytics

I was reminded of KDNuggets, which has been discussing the nuts and bolts of analytical methods for a long time.  Worth following.

Voice Betrays Personality

In New Scientist:  As detected other people, not by machine.  And it is not clear what accuracy means here.  By what other measure?  " ... Although it's not clear how accurate such snap judgements are, what is apparent is that we all make them, and very quickly. "We were surprised by just how similar people's ratings were," says McAleer. Using a scale in which 0 represents no agreement on a perceived trait and 1 reflects complete agreement, all 10 traits scored on average 0.92 – meaning most people agreed very closely to what extent each voice represented each trait. ... " 

Freedom of Press vs Freedom of the Presses as a Technology

Recent rulings on technologies, say making a statement in a newspaper, versus a statement made in a blog.  Volokh and his thoughts about the distinction.  " ... Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes by Eugene Volokh:  .   So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment.  ... " 

Owl Ontologies

OWL Ontology language, an early view. We experimented with this method for corporate understanding projects.  I recall the method did not have sufficient granularity for the purposes involved.  Reviewing the current state of its use. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Web and its Tools, 25 Years Later

A remarkable comparison from economist Mark J Perry.  With advertising flyers!    " ... The web is now 25 years old and the equipment we use to surf the Internet is exponentially cheaper and faster than in 1989 ... " 

It is the 25th Anniversary of the Web

Today is the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web.  It is celebrated here and elsewhere.   I always take care to mention that the WWW is not the same thing as the Internet, though it runs on the Internet. I was a relatively early user of the Internet, developed years before in 1969, when it was mostly being used to remotely test defense systems.    A kind of early compliance system. My things have changed.  What is next?

Price Comparison Startup

A example of using a large scale database.  A startup uses data to make comparison of grocery prices.  Interesting example.

I have been asked about the smattering of posts here about retail.  I used to run an innovation center that was visited by many retailers.   Many of those visitors still use this blog as a place to get information about emergent retailer technologies.  Often about data analytics.  There are several active threads here that still address that need.

Nestle Works with Startups

Former colleague Pete Blackshaw gives some details in Adage about how Nestle is working with startups.    " .... Nestle, which employs 339,000 people in more than 150 countries, has kept its Bay Area outpost small and nimble. Only two employees work there full-time: Stephanie Naegeli, who is a digital innovation manager, and Mark Brodeur, the company's global head of digital marketing innovation. Mr. Brodeur is scheduled to speak at the Ad Age Digital Conference along with Pete Blackshaw, Nestle's global head of digital and social media. ... " 

Owning the Data

Who owns the data?  A question that is increasingly arising as we start to use more complete and valuable data to scout next steps and drive analytical methods.

On the Web of Things

In Computing Now:    A good description and in particular view of its scope.

" .... The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension to the current Internet that enables connections and communication among physical objects and devices (see the September 2013 Computing Now theme for more on IoT and its role in ubiquitous sensing). Estimates suggest that there will be 50 billion devices and people connected and leveraging the vision and technology behind IoT by 2020. A related term that's currently somewhat in vogue is Internet of Everything (IOE), which recognizes the key role of people, or citizen sensing (such as through online social media), to complement the physical sensing implied by IoT.

The term Web of Things (WoT) goes beyond the focus on the Internet as the mode of exchanging data, instead bringing in all resources and interactions involving devices, data, and people on the Web. Correspondingly, it brings into focus a wide variety of challenges and opportunities while paving a way to a variety of exciting applications.

 A rich cyber component of WoT includes Web-resident data, knowledge (in Wikipedia or Linked Open Data, for example), information exchanged over social media (such as sites in which patients share health-related information), and user-submitted physical world observations and measurements. Integrating physical, cyber, and social resources enables the development of physical-cyber-social (PCS) applications and services that can incorporate situation- and context-awareness into the decision-making mechanisms, and can create smart data (see http://wiki.knoesis.org/index.php/Smart_Data) out of big data by harnessing volume, variety, velocity and veracity to create actionable information. Examples of such applications range from personalized health, fitness, and well-being to energy and an increasingly wide variety of business and industrial activities  ... " 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Defining Datability

A term new to me:   " ... Datability is the synthesis of big data and security, accountability and reliability.  ... "

And it is the focus topic of CeBIT 2014 (in Hannover, Germany, March 10 to 14, 2014).

Today we have petabytes of data sent through networks that is filtered, analyzed and stored. The challenge is to make sense out of that data, to make it human readable and interpretable, helping humans to make the correct decisions at the right time. This is big data and analytics, and it is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is about security, accountability and reliability. When billions of messages, photos, documents and files are sent every day, who cares about security, availability, integrity and confidentiality? Who is accountable in the case of leakages, unauthorized access, modification, deletion of sensitive personal data or industry confidential data? ... " 

Don't Bury Business Rules Management

Back in 2012 I wrote a post on Business Rules Management.   This is related to work we had done with expert systems in the enterprise.   Based on conversations I have now had, this rebranding of the former Ilog JRules capability has buried its existence.   It would appear that the capability would be particularly important to connect to Big Data Analytics to real workflow decision streams.    Are there plans to integrate Watson and rule streams?  Can I ask someone at IBM to contact me on this?  Have real applications.

Risk Appetites and Management

A interesting item found lately.  Currently working on a project that deals with risk portfolio in compliance related strategies.  Knowledge@Wharton discusses related issues.   " .... The issue of CEO pay and how to compensate managers in a way that encourages the “right” amount — and type — of risk to grow a company and protect stakeholder interests has garnered a significant amount of debate. Many executive pay packages include incentives that tie compensation to a firm’s performance, often through the use of stock options. But a number of research studies have found that if a manager’s wealth is tied to share price, he or she may be more likely to misreport financial data. ... " 

Big Surveillance Data

In Computing Now.  Looked at several examples of how to use security camera input for other purposes.

Surveillance Video: The Biggest Big Data
"Big data continues to grow exponentially, and surveillance video has become the largest source. Against that backdrop, this issue of Computing Now presents five articles from the IEEE Computer Society Digital Library focused on research activities related to surveillance video. It also includes related references on how to compress and analyze the huge amount of video data that’s being generated. ...  " 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Amazon and Books

Is Amazon good for Books?  In the New Yorker.   " ... In the era of the Kindle, a book costs the same price as a sandwich. Dennis Johnson, an independent publisher, says that “Amazon has successfully fostered the idea that a book is a thing of minimal value—it’s a widget. .. " 

Collaboration Between CPG and Retail

Some fairy obvious observations, but still an interesting set of thoughts on the idea.   Via Kalypso.

What Is Collaborative  Innovation?
" ... Today’s industry leaders are competing to win with open innovation, working with many partners in the value chain—including universities and companies from other industries—by opening up to external partnerships and increasing reliance on collaborative idea generation. As a result, successful open innovation partnerships are enabling the discovery of new and meaningful ways to satisfy the customer and consumer in a way that builds bottom line results for all value chain partners. Collaborative innovation is an open innovation strategy that enables consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers to partner for profit and provide shoppers and consumers with more innovative offerings. ... "

Future of Data Warehouses in Era of Big Data

A dated post, but of interest.   If you read the Big Data literature, there is belief that predefined structure becomes less important in the future.  " ... Many companies are saddled with data warehouses that weren’t designed to handle big data, but they can evolve their data warehouses into “analytics warehouses” capable of processing structured and unstructured data.

Enterprise data warehouses have reached a crossroads. Companies have spent millions of dollars designing, implementing, and updating them, but few organizations have realized the return they expected from their investments, according to Richard Solari, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Information Management service line. ... " 

Managing the Analytical Lifecycle

More from the machine learning meetings at UC a few weeks ago.  SAS went over some interesting case studies I am now examining:   Managing the Analytical Life Cycle for Continuous Innovation
From Data to Decision,  The following describes an old problem with analytical models of any form.  On the right the diagram I use to talk this, a slightly different view than the SAS approach.

" ... The organization has nearly 120 analytical models in production to support marketing, pricing, operational risk, credit risk, fraud and finance functions. Analysts develop these models without formalized or standard processes across business units to store, deploy and manage the portfolio of models. Some models don’t have any documentation describing the model’s owner, business purpose, usage guidelines or other information necessary for managing the model or explaining it to regulators. Model results are provided to management with limited controls and requirements. Because different data sets and variables are used to create the models, results are inconsistent. There is little validation or back testing. Managers make decisions based on the model results they receive, and everyone hopes for the best. ... " 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Watson compared to Wolfram Alpha

Brought to my attention.  A relatively old blog post comparing the operation of IBM's Watson and Wolfram Alpha for expert systems applications.  Nicely portrayed also by some operational diagrams.  Are they competitive?  Worth understanding.

Is AI Changing Business?

A piece in Smart Data Collective, makes some useful points.   I think it is no longer a question.  I was actively involved the last time we rode the AI hype in the late 1980s,   We spent millions on it then, derived more millions in results, but did not get the billions that management was expecting at the time.   Once again I am following it closely, and I think there are indications that real value is starting to emerge, like in the IBM Watson effort, that the world may finally be ready for this.

One reason this is more likely to work this time around is the Big Data explosion.  More data is available in more forms than ever before.  Artificial Intelligence methods are essentially predictive analytical methods.  Our own intelligence works this way.   We have memory that we search, operate on it with our business logic, which uses pattern recognition,  and predict some future state.

We then take that prediction and envelop it some decision we want to influence.  Failures can occur at each of these steps.  We can lack the data to search,  search it poorly,  have inadequate logic or not know how to link it to the actual decisions made in the business.

My own observation was that the failures in AI work occurred for two reasons.  First, we did not have adequate or complete data to understand the process, and secondly, we did not take sufficient care to blend the results into the decision process.

We are ready to address both failures now, the data is there.  The decision process aspect needs to be solved with more care in understanding the connection between prediction and useful decision. We have all the parts to do this now lets put them together.

Am still a believer that this will be useful for any size business.

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. More here.  

Disney People Tracking

Have followed this since a visit to Labs a number of years ago.  Tests have been underway since then, but now they appear to be pushing it ahead more generally. Disney bets big on visitor-tracking technology- MSN Money  Molding experience can start with understand issues with current engagement and experience.  It can also add to security aspects, like knowing where your kids are. But also adds issues with privacy.   Now if there would be an easy way to add an App to a phone and use the visitor's own device?