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Friday, February 28, 2014

SXSW Accelerator Finalists in Big Data and Beyond

Thought provocative SXSW accelerator finalists. In particular the big data in the enterprise section, but more beyond that.

 " ... For the 2014 SXSW Accelerator pitch competition presented by Oracle, more than 500 web-based companies applied for their chance to shine at Startup Village. We are excited to announce the finalist that will pitch on stage on Saturday, March 8th and Sunday, March 9th in the Hilton Hotel with some of the best in recent startups from around world.

The level of innovative ideas that were submitted made it very challenging to pick the top companies for each category. Some highlights include online identity verification that will help eliminate fraud and increase revenues for retailers, and a service that enhances your travel experience allowing you to point your smart-phone camera and translate images instantly without a data connection.  ... " 

What Consumer Segments Say

Regrettably presented as an infographic, but an interesting view of consumer segmentation.  Points through to a white paper that requires registration.  " .... The white paper provides critical insights by exploring the attitudes of American consumers toward sweeteners and how those attitudes affect shopping behavior for specific products and brands.  ... "  ... What percentage of consumers say they "avoid or are consuming less soda" vs. the percentage that actually buy? Find out the answer to these and other questions that reveal the difference between what consumers say vs. what they do in this fascinating online infographic ... " 

Trade Marking Simple English Phrases

Can you trademark a phrase?  To the extent to which you are willing to sue.  In Language Log.  A list of phrases and their defenders. Here the defenders are promoters of higher learning.   Language trolling that is a waste of everyone's time.  At very best, silliness.

Shaping the Future of Manufacturing

In McKinsey:  Some interesting views on manufacturing.

 " ...  A Video: Shaping the future of manufacturing  ... Advances in technology are allowing companies to rethink how and where goods are made. This series examines how manufacturing is evolving.

Many questions, many answers. Getting closer to demandA revolution in manufacturing technologyThinking more broadly. McKinsey director Katy George explains next-shoring and why dramatic changes in demand and technology, as well as in energy and labor costs, are forcing manufacturers to rethink production and distribution strategies. ... " 

Duke Coursera Course on Data Analysis

Pointed out to me, this course on data analytics, from Duke, which includes a free PDF text.  Examining.  " ... Data Analysis and Statistical Inference.  Part of the "Reasoning, Data Analysis and Writing" Specialization » This course introduces you to the discipline of statistics as a science of understanding and analyzing data. You will learn how to effectively make use of data in the face of uncertainty: how to collect data, how to analyze data, and how to use data to make inferences and conclusions about real world phenomena. ... " 

Hidden Markov and More

A non technical description of a very technical set of methods for forecasting. Baum-Welch and Hidden Markov.  Don't know much about this direction but looks to be interesting.
New ideas are sprouting up. Not too much here on the how to use this method, but looking further.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

P&G, Target and the Future of Retailing

In Retailwire:  Another indication of how the world of retail is changing.  And in particular the relationship between manufacturers and retailers.  Do also read the comments at the link, some interesting insight there.  The warehouse agreement with with Amazon was mentioned here earlier.  " ... a Wall Street Journal report that Target is taking issue with Procter & Gamble's agreement to allow Amazon.com to set up shop inside its warehouses to speed online orders to customers. P&G made a similar offer to Target and other retailers, but some turned it down because e-commerce remains a relatively small part of their overall business. ... " 

Wikipedia Editing Bots

Editing Bots: Did not realize that so much WP editing was done with bots.  Implications and dangers are still unclear. How does it influence confidence in the knowledge provided?

Cross Targeting Multiple Devices

In CLickZ:  What it is and why the hype?   Most of us today use multiple devices.  " ... Cross-device targeting, the ability to serve targeted advertising to consumers across multiple digital devices, is an emerging technology challenge and will be a hot topic this year and beyond.

Cookies and mobile IDs (UUID, Apple’s IFDA, etc.) allow advertisers to track and serve targeted advertising to uniquely identifiable users but only on a single device or even on a specific app where the ID or cookie is available. Broadly speaking, cookies enable targeting on desktop and laptop browsers and mobile IDs enable targeting on smartphones, tablets, and apps. ... " 

John Curran (Updated)

I see that John Curran, who we worked with extensively in our innovation centers and with retail innovations using advanced display technologies, has unexpectedly passed away.  I mentioned him a number of times in this blog.   He was most recently connected with MCOSM Digital signage solutions.   And the 5th screen startup addressing multiple media delivery modes.  Our condolences to his colleagues and family.  I will follow with more information as it is received.

I see that the 5th screen blog has put up a remembrance post

Please pass this on to others that may have known John, especially regarding his work at P&G.

Another tribute from the DOOH (Digital Out of Home) site for John.  I can relate to this, several times when I met with John he was keying away developing software for clients.

A Look at R Histograms

A look at the humble histogram. In Flowingdata. There would not seem to be much to say about this, but the details are interesting.  Comparing them to the similar looking bar chart.  Also how to display them in the language R.  Along the way you get a simple idea of how R works for a typical task.

Swallowing Microchips for ID

Another sensor development.    In this case for identification.  But also for reading the brain?   Overstatement I think.  " ... “This pill has a small chip inside of it with a switch,” said Dugan. “It also has what amounts to an inside out potato battery. When you swallow it, the acids in your stomach serve as the electrolyte and that powers it up. And the switch goes on and off and creates an 18 bit ECG wide signal in your body and essentially your entire body becomes your authentication token.” Dugan added that the chip had already been FDA approved and could be taken 30 times a day for someone’s entire life without effecting their health, a seemingly dubious claim. ... " 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On Packaging Innovation

Interesting viewpoint piece on innovation in packaging in CPG.  Understanding the context and consumer behavior interacting with packaging is a key function of an innovation center.

" ... For any consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, innovative packaging can set a product apart from the competition and help ensure the success of a new product launch. But the challenge of coordinating packaging development with product launch schedules, strict retailer requirements and consumer research often stands in the way of true packaging innovation. 

Retailers have strict packaging requirements for sustainability, design, size and configuration. Fail to meet these requirements, or fail to differentiate your package from the competition, and a product is less likely to get a preferred shelf location, end cap or promotion. Worse yet, a new product with a poorly designed package may not even be carried by the retailer ... " 

New in Business Intelligence

GigaOM writes about new things in BI,  a renaissance it implies.   At least from the perspective of a VC.  Ok, lots there I had not heard of, and the descriptions are good.  Are they really new though?  Remains to be seen.  " ... We know all about the giga-tons of information businesses are generating — and now collecting — in the era of big data. Now, judging by a rush of funding flowing into new-look business intelligence (BI) companies, there’s huge opportunity in helping mere mortals — line-of-business managers, not just CEOs and data geeks — see and analyze that data. ... " 

A Mainstream Internet of Things

In MIIT Technology Review:  Short piece on the mainstreaming of the IOT.  I agree, starting in areas were sensors are needed to monitor and look for outliers.  The analytics will quickly combine this data with contexts and other data points, leading to simulations of states in the real world. It makes much sense, and it can start very simple.

Grocery Bag as an Indicator

In HBS Working Knowledge: An interesting example. But also an example of lack of actual causality in an indicator as well.  Still useful for understanding the multiple reasons a person comes to a conclusion.  " ... "I'm of the mindset that it's useful to know the kinds of things that influence your own behavior," Karmarkar says. "If you're trying to maintain a strict diet, maybe you can recognize the bag's influence, and consciously fill the desire to treat yourself in another way that doesn't interfere with your goals. Maybe you can treat yourself to an extra half hour of sleep." .... " 

Fraud Detection Using Big Data

Using Big Data to Prevent Fraud:  A fairly obvious application when you start to gather lots of operational data.    See Zylab.   " ... When it comes to data that will be analyzed and managed by outside parties, organizations need to develop policies and procedures around the data they plan to share to determine how those parties will protect the data once it is shared, says Tom Zeno, a former federal prosecutor who now has a data privacy practice at the Washington-based law firm Squire Sanders. ... "Data storage is huge, and not everyone needs access to all the data," he says. "This is a whole growing area as far as lawsuits." ... '

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Visualizing a Conditional Probability

This is a visual simulation of conditional probability.   The description at the link is quite technical and mathematical, but the visual simulation there provides a good example of what is happening.   I like these kinds of visuals, useful for explanation with non technical decision makers.   -  via Ramon Martinez- Advisor in Health Metrics, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  

I see that the creator of this: Setosa does a number of web and data visualizations and animated explanations, more examples here.

Value of Business Simulation

If you could only understand how your business would operate before making changes?   All business is based on prediction. You predict you will make money under future contexts.   Yet all prediction is inaccurate.  We know that finding the means to simulate your business can aid you in making the right choices.  An interesting look at business simulation.  Both Big data methods and predictive analytics are giving us new approaches.  More in this blog on the considerable business simulation methods we experimented with.  It surprises me to revisit the great breadth of these efforts.

Destroying Online Reputation

An area we looked at in the early days of the Wikipedia. Now becoming considerably more sophisticated.    From The Intercept:   A number of documents extracted to show how governments in infiltrate the Internet to influence reputation.  Not unexpected at all.   Not particularly sophisticated either, but the breadth of it is telling. What has happened is that destroying online reputation now has become a big portion of your entire reputation.

Rise of Robotics

Ray Kurzweil on the rise of robotics.   With much about the need for artificial intelligence to support them.

Trends in Visualization

In Computing Now: Trends in visualization.   Including but beyond what would usually call data visualization.  It is good to make the distinction.  " ... For this issue of Computing Now, we gathered a set of articles that exemplifies current trends in computer-generated visualization. The field of visualization was benchmarked in 1987 with a landmark report, entitled "Visualization in Scientific Computing," which was prepared by the (US) National Science Foundation (NSF) Panel on Graphics, Image Processing, and Workstations. That report set out the vision for developing visualization as a scientific field. Over the past 25 years, the field has expanded to encompass three major subfields — namely, scientific visualization, information visualization, and visual analytics — as well as many domain-specific areas, such as geo-information visualization, biological data visualization, and software visualization. ... "

Monday, February 24, 2014

Generating Serious Games Scenarios with Crowdsourcing

In MIT Technology Review:  As summary of a technical paper, which is pointed to.  This is the kind of application we used to call 'serious games', but now is more often called gamification.  Currently involved in such an effort.  It can be messy to generate such games.  I like the attempt at modeling and simulating real scenarios using game dynamics with crowdsourcing.   Worth a further look as a methodology.  " ... solves a significant problem with serious games. Until now, developers have had to spend an awful lot of time producing realistic content, a process known as procedural content generation. That’s always been straightforward for things like textures, models and terrain in game settings. Now, thanks to this new crowdsourcing technique, it can be just as easy for human interactions in serious games too. .... "  

Business Intelligence Quadrant

Nice overview of the current state of business intelligence and descriptive analytics.  Includes an overview with the Gartner Quadrant.  Also a complete supporting report.  Quite complete in what it describes.  Provided in a mailing by Tableau software, but appears relatively objective.

Packaging Drives Purchases

From Kraft:  Fairly obvious, packaging should act a signboard that will stop customers in their tracks.  A few years ago we looked at approaches like electro luminescence, but never applied them directly.   " ... "Advertising increases awareness, but it doesn't make consumers buy. The drive to purchase happens in the store, which is why packaging is so important," said Peter Borowski, head of design for Kraft Foods. In a panel discussion earlier this week at the Packaging Conference, Borowski said 72% of purchasing decisions are made while the consumer is in the store and emphasized the importance of collaboration between packaging designers and marketers
 ... " 

IDEO and Fun in Innovation

From Innovation Excellence via Linkedin:  A look at IDEO, asking why the fun has not spread.  Worked with IDEO a number of times, including our work at the Innovation Centers and GYM.  Always interesting collaborations, often useful.  Applied fun in innovation is a good idea.  Making it useful is often difficult.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My Updated One Page Bio

I have updated my one page bio, it continues after the paragraphs below.  Feel free to contact me about consulting, strategic and tactical.

Franz A. Dill

Franz Dill’s academic background is in astrophysics and mathematics, with degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida.  He worked developing tank battle simulations in the 1970s for the office of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon, where he won a Defense Department scholarship for information Technology.  

For thirty years he worked for the Procter & Gamble Company.  At P&G he reported to the CIO as part of an information technology research organization which scouted and vetted emergent technology use.   He worked directly with the CEO developing their first executive information systems.  This led directly to P&G’s Business Sphere data focused experience.  He led the company in the application of modeling to enterprise supply chains.   He managed work with many academic and vendor partners.   .....

End of Willow Garage

A robotics research center, Willow Garage, that we followed for some time has apparently ended operation, with employees going on to a number of startups.  More detail in Bloomberg Business Week.  They acted as a west coast center of robotics research. As has been talked about here, a number of key startups have now been picked up by Google.

On the Growth of Online Grocery

In the newly discovered Retail Remedy Blog.   Where they write: " ... We offer support and advice to all types of retailers from £bn+ multi nationals to high growth start-ups. Our team has a wealth of hands-on experience covering all aspects of retail, including strategy, sourcing, buying, marketing, store design, team development and, most importantly, customer advocacy ... " 

A post regarding Online Grocery: 
" ... The growth of online grocery has been meteoric and is now worth £6.5bn a year with one in six households placing a grocery order online. Last week Ocado reported the departure of one of its founding partners, Gissing, after reporting a substantial loss when a close to break-even profit was expected. This has again stirred up the debate about whether online grocery can ever be profitable which has yet to be decided one way of the other but has also given Waitrose a poke after falling out over the deal between Ocado and Morrisons. ... "   By Phil Dorrell

Best and Brightest and Wall Street

On the best and brightest being attracted to Wall Street, or not.  Have followed the repeating Wall Street 'rocket scientist' phenomenon for years and   Its mostly been relating hype and luck.  How about today?   " ... So where are the graduates turning for jobs? Increasingly, it's technology and telecommunications. From 2006 through 2009, this sector drew 7 percent of HBS grads. Tech's share then began rising, albeit slowly: To 8 percent in 2010, 11 percent in 2011, 12 percent in 2012. Then, last year, it jumped all the way to 18 percent. ... " 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

AutoDesk and 3D Printing

Used to commonly work with Autodesk.  They were the first company to provide PC based  drawing management.  More mentions in this blog about Autodesk. Later we worked with them to do advanced image interaction.    Now they are doing some interesting things with remote manufacture.   In FastCodesign: 

 " ... How Autodesk Helped Create An Incredible New Technique For 3-D Printing Metal In Midair ...  Autodesk and desiged Joris Laarman are introducing the next wave in manufacturing large scale, affordable, digitally fabricated metal structures ...   " 

Swarms of Intelligent Cooperative Drones

Swarms of drones as emergency responders.  See some of my previous writings about swarms. How do we install cooperative intelligence? How is cooperative intelligence different from individual intelligence?

Friday, February 21, 2014

SNCR Millennial Report Abstracts

SNCR Supported Study ....  (Society of New Consumer Research)

Millennials are leading the social commerce movement. They are more likely than any other group to like/follow/pin companies and brands. They are enticed by coupons and discounts, purchase hair/beauty products and apparel, often using mobile phones and tablets. They are multi-channel shoppers, buying both online and in-store. This cohort is active online in ways that allow them to connect, organize and stay informed and shop.  ...  by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., and Ava Lescault, of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Dr. Barnes is a Senior Fellow and Research Co-Chair of the Society for New Communications Research.

Key findings of this study include:
- Facebook is the most popular platform among Millennials when looking to interact with companies/brands online.  Sixty-two percent of respondents currently like at least one brand on Facebook.  Twitter has 23% of respondents following a brand and Pinterest has 11% of Millennials pinning a brand (Nike is the most liked/followed brand). 

- Across all platforms, the top reason why Millennials ‘like/follow/pin’ is to support a brand.  Being unlike any other generation, Millennials pick and choose not only which information they will be exposed to, but also how the information is delivered.  By liking/following/pinning a particular brand they support, Millennials are customizing their exposure to advertising based on their preferences.

- Of those who reported they had never purchased something after liking, following or pinning it online, offering a coupon or discount was the most frequently cited lead conversion tactic for Millennials.  Respondents indicated this is the top motivator leading to a sale.  Similarly, Millennials indicated that companies giving exclusive offers or appealing to their interests were more likely to see an increase in sales as a result of online interaction.

- Relative to users of larger platforms, Pinterest has the highest sales conversion rate.   The user-friendly highly visual design of the website facilitates information search and evaluation of alternatives.  Pinterest makes the transaction process flow with optimal ease for consumers. 

- Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest contribute to both online and in-store purchasing.  Seventy-seven percent of Facebook users, 66% of Twitter users and 63% of Pinterest users are multi-channel shoppers.

Full Study Report  

Hospitality Internet of Everything

I like this take on the hospitality industry.   And its relationship to Big Data.  The industry is an example where it makes much sense to utilize real time data, while learning from the patterns in historical knowledge.

History of Rational Economic Forecasting

In the Harvard Business Review Blogs:  May require registration. Good thoughts.  When I taught forecasting it was always about understanding how the forecast was wrong.  It can never contain all the external influences except in the most simplistic cases.  An interview:  " ... Harvard Business School historian Walter Friedman chronicles in his new book Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters. ... " 

Stop Small Thinking about Big Data

A good, free 15 page pamphlet about Big Data.  Co Sponsored by Teradata.  Looks to be a set of objective observations about the opportunities and cautions.   Integration of new technologies into existing systems of information technology and decision making is always useful.  Revisit that integration early and often.

"How to Stop Small Thinking from Preventing Big Data Victories
Power your enterprise with data-driven insight by making the most of big data and data science. This requires you to think big and differently. But not in the ways you may assume. Asking the wrong questions will limit the capabilities of your data.

Big data is really just data. So why do organizations continue to limit their potential by focusing on questions like “how do we store all of this data” and “what’s a different way to analyze this”?

This is small thinking. And it’s dangerous. Focusing on the technology and new forms of data in isolated and abstract ways will ultimately limit the value. Instead, organizations should be searching for ways to incorporate big data and data science into their existing capabilities. Preexisting business intelligence activities still have value but can be enhanced by adding new big data capabilities.

For any organizational change to succeed it must have broad support to maintain momentum. Opening up the data and making it accessible to the enterprise is critical to creating a culture that can extract the maximum value from its data.

Learn what’s true and false about big data, the right questions to ask and how to start a data movement in your organization. ... " 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

3D Sensor Enabled Smartphone

In Mashable:   Project Tango from Google.  Quite an interesting effort.   Relates to a number of our indoor navigation experiments.  Ready here to do a retail store test.

   " ... an experimental Android-powered smartphone with powerful 3D sensors called Project Tango on Thursday. The phone is the latest project out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group.

"The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," Johnny Lee, ATAP's technical program lead, wrote in a Google+ post announcing the project.

The 5-inch phone will run Android and be equipped a series of 3D sensors capable of taking more than a quarter of a million measurements each second. Google envisions these sensors will have a number of applications from gaming to indoor navigation. ... " 

A Twisting Phone

My son pointed me to this iPhone App, that twists a phone on its long axis, to enable automated panorama images. It was featured recently on Shark Tank.   An example where devices in a phone can be used via their unintended consequences.   I do note that there are many 'it doesn't work', comments in the  Reviews, and its stability on an on end phone are suspect.  And, what if Apple slightly changes the physical specs of the phone operation and the effect goes away?  Also there are competitive solutions.   So what are its realistic applications, beyond a 360 degree selfie?

Augmented Reality and 3D Remote Manufacturing

Had explored the close connection between augmented reality and remote manufacturing / 3D Printing.  Its interesting to see that the AR company Metaio is now offering developer kits that support this connection.   They write:

“3-D cameras will soon arrive on mobile devices,” said Metaio CTO Peter Meier. “Developers and businesses alike will be able to take advantage of this new technology through the support for 3-D cameras in the Metaio SDK. This year in Barcelona we are showcasing how we have adapted our core technology to support this new wave of 3-D integration, while also demonstrating the power of silicon integration, especially with regard to a wearable future. AR has already shown usefulness and value in both enterprise and consumer sectors, and we will continue to lead the way in innovation for 2014.”

3-D integration opens up numerous possibilities for everyday use: consumers could visualize products in home without the need for markers or printouts; utilize gestures to interact with their devices and the real world; reconstruct or modify entire environments; or even create 3-D models on the fly that could be pushed to 3-D printing devices.  ... "

Comcast and Time Warner

Locally we are part of Time Warner.  Whose support I am less than enthusiastic about.   What will the change mean?  I would prefer some competition.  In Knowledge@Wharton:

Will Comcast’s Merger with Time Warner Give It Too Much Power?
The proposed $45.2 billion deal will create a media giant that will control 30% of the country’s pay TV market and a third of broadband Internet subscribers. According to Wharton experts, the consumer benefits are unclear. ... " 

Gamification of the Office

Our own experiments showed that it was much easier to gamify external facing systems than to make game dynamics work internally.   Internally you have the control, but corporate culture can easily interfere.  This article does a good job of providing an overview of issues in the design of internal game systems.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More IT Outsourcing at Procter & Gamble

More P&G Outsourcing, announced in CGT: 
" P&G Strikes Big Outsourcing Deal 
CenturyLink will offer hybrid IT infrastructure services, with access to technologies from its ecosystem of solutions from Cisco, NetApp, SAP and other key alliances. ... " 

CenturyLink P&G Strategic outsourcing Press Release.

Tweets About TV on the Second Screen

The second screen exists today.   I often use a tablet while using TV, as an information source, but rarely to react to what is on the TV, despite predictions that the TV Twitter connection would grow.  I tested an App that was designed to improve that communication on a Smart TV, but saw little traffic there. Ad Age on the phenomenon.

Artificial Hands with Feelings

Haptics is the science of touch.  New ideas in their application.  " .... An Artificial Hand with Real Feelings A new nerve interface can simulate a sense of touch from 20 spots on a prosthetic hand. ...  " 

Thermal Imaging on Smartphones

Of interest for compliance operations: FLIR Systems Introduces First Thermal Imager Designed for Smartphones - MarketWatch As more sensors emerge, we will be able to apply retail time analytics to mobile systems.  Includes a video demonstration.

Longer Distance RFID

Making RFID work at long distances.  From the always interesting RFID Journal.  Usefulness implicatons, and privacy considerations.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Class of Shapes

Mathematicians find a new class of shapes, 400 years later.  My first article in a blog (a math newsletter)  long ago was on one such class: platonic solids.     " .... Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, mathematicians claim that they may have now identified a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra. In the process of making this discovery, they think they’ve demonstrated that an infinite number of these solids could exist.   'Take a square and blow it up like a balloon .. '  ... ". Applications in design?  Bio mimicry?

At the right an example, like a soccer ball, with each element planar.

IBM and AT&T Partner for the Internet of Things

In CIO Today:  Fairly straightforward.   " ... To enable an Internet of Things solution as envisioned by IBM and AT&T, you need access to a robust network, intelligent sensors or endpoints, and a backend IT infrastructure capable of supporting complex, secure analytics. In this instance, ATT is providing the first two elements and IBM is supplying the third, said analyst Charles King. ... " 

Delivering Hyper Addictive Games

The 'Flappy Bird' Phenomenon it is being called.  Now it is being suggested that the idea will soon be used by big marketing companies like Purina and Target. (Good examples at the Adage Link)  In a startup project we looked at exactly this.  Can you create a game that makes a player do 'work', whatever that work may be?  One kind of work is greatly increased engagement.   Just getting the proximity of your eyeballs.   Classical gamification builds in technical game dynamics  Yet everyone know that what really works best is to create a simple, addictive game that everyone wants to play and talk about.   A game meme is all you need. More on Flappy Bird.  The term hyper-addictive has been used several times to describe the game.

Location of the Brain's Emotions

In Neurorelay:   Intriguing visual.   Having looked into this area I would be careful about direct implications.  I have worked with neuroscientists in this area and there is NOT complete knowledge of the interaction of brain location and emotions.  This serves as a useful list of locations and terms, and an outline of issues, but not explicit information.  Remember that it is an infographic.

Consolidation of App Experience in Enterprise Mobile Strategy

In the Cisco Blog.  Too many Apps with too little experience?  " ... Apps, apps and more apps, is your company experiencing a proliferation of apps?  Cisco certainly is.  We are moving out of the experimental stage of app development and shifting toward measuring ‘repetitive usage’ as one of the main gauges for on-going support and improvements. ... " 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thinking Under Biases. Fast and Slow

A friend sends a  link from the WSJ:  Why the Grass Seem's Greener.  " ... We are of Two Minds - One deliberative and rational, the other quick and intuitive.  They often don't agree. ... "  A review of the book by economist Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

STEM, Thinking Logically, Starting at Kahn

Brought to my attention. From the Kahn Academy.   A short tutorial on thinking logically.  A reminder of early training and implementation we did using first order logic.  Essential for programming and understanding computers. There has been much emphasis on STEM (Science,  Technology,  Engineering and Math) training recently.    Especially useful for Math, which is often the most difficult thing to get students interested in.  This will become increasingly important for any re-emergence of AI.  One of the most important concepts for STEM is logical thinking.  Here is a great place to start, and its completely free.   Point it out to your children or those you are mentoring.  It's essential.

Philips Intelligent Store Lighting

In GigaOM: Remember seeing this at a Philips visit.  A retail approach we looked at.  The integrating into existing retail infrastructure is key. " .... The Dutch tech giant has come up with a way to use connected lighting as the basis for in-store location-based services, such as finding items and offering highly targeted coupons. .... " 

Update:  More on LED lighting that tracks.

New Brain Recording Methods

In the Algamest:  " .... Method of recording brain activity could lead to mind-reading devices, Stanford scientists say ... "  What do we do with it and what protections will have to be built in?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Use of Alternative Business Intelligence Solutions

Correspondent Doug Lautzenheiser looks at alternative solutions for business intelligence and data visualization. The article includes a visualization of how a number of competitive BI tools are used. Indications are that Tableau software is winning.   Qlikview, Spotfire and Tableau are compared visually, but not R.

Strategies for Businesses Using Data Visualization

Specifically the article covers Small and Medium Sized Businesses. (SMBs)   But the recommendations are good for any new and emerging technology. And a large business has probably dabbled here before, these are mostly about making quick, efficient and correct decisions. With that in mind, good quick read for anyone.

On the Re-Dawn of AI

Atlantic takes a look at a new dawn of AI.   See this blog for lots more on the topic. Always of interest here.  Our enterprise was an early industrial pioneer of the science.   With only partial success.  Were we just a few years too early?   Efforts like IBM's Watson are taking a similar, but more powerfully armed, approach.   We consulted with IBM actively during our experiments with related technologies.  Walter Riker, see his blog, sends me this short non-technical article from the Atlantic that takes another look, worth reading. Will follow with more thoughts.   Pass along any of your own.

" Digital machines have escaped their narrow confines and started to demonstrate broad abilities in pattern recognition, complex communication, and other domains that used to be exclusively human. We’ve recently seen great progress in natural language processing, machine learning (the ability of a computer to automatically refine its methods and improve its results as it gets more data), computer vision, simultaneous localization and mapping, and many other areas.

We’re going to see artificial intelligence do more and more, and as this happens costs will go down, outcomes will improve, and our lives will get better. Soon countless pieces of AI will be working on our behalf, often in the background. They’ll help us in areas ranging from trivial to substantive to life changing. Trivial uses of AI include recognizing our friends’ faces in photos and recommending products.  .... " 

Lots more in this blog on the history and direction
 of enterprise AI.

Gladwell on Power

In Knowledge @ Wharton:   Malcolm Gladwell interviewed on the advantages of disadvantages.  " .... looks at what happens when ordinary people confront powerful opponents. He starts the book by dissecting the classic tale of David and Goliath, challenging our beliefs about what the story tells us regarding underdogs and giants, and ultimately, our fundamental assumptions about power. ... "  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Upending the Pharmacy Model

In Wired:   Design thinking it says.  More like back to the economics of labor costs.   Drug companies may like it because will increase compliance in taking the prescription.    " ... A startup pharmacy called PillPack hopes to change this archaic process. For $20 a month, PillPack will deliver prescription drugs to patients with the efficiency of Amazon Prime. Pillpack came to life thanks to a new incubator program at the famed design consultancy IDEO and the core of their service is a small blue box that organizes all of your med into “dose packets,” little plastic baggies marked with the date and time they’re to be taken. A jumble of amber bottles are replaced by an efficient to-do list made of drugs. .... " 

MIT Heads up Display Technology

Delivered through a transparent film.    Could be used on eyeglasses.  Competing with Google Glass?   Includes a video.

 " ... Other heads-up display technologies have been developed, but MIT says the new technology has significant differences, including a wide viewing angle, and it can be simply, and potentially inexpensively, manufactured.

The technology, a thin plastic coating applied to the glass, could be used to display navigation or dashboard information while looking through the windshield of a car or plane, or to project video onto a window or a pair of eyeglasses, the university said.

A retailer might also use it one day to display an image on a store window, while still allowing passers-by to see what's inside the store. .... " 

IBM Speed Record for Big Data

Of Interest:   Press release, more implications at the link:

" ... IBM today announced that it has achieved a new technological advancement that will help improve Internet speeds to 200 - 400 Gigabits per second (Gb/s) at extremely low power.

The speed boost is based on a device that can be used to improve transferring Big Data between clouds and data centers four times faster than current technology. At this speed 160 Gigabytes, the equivalent of a two-hour, 4K ultra-high definition movie or 40,000 songs, could be downloaded in only a few seconds. The device was presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. ... " 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Better Data on Online Education

In GigaOM:  " .... Collecting student data digitally isn’t solely something for massive open online courses. Even university professors and their students can benefit from transforming the lecture experience into one designed to go anywhere and collect data all along the way. .... "  

P&G Winning with Olympics Social Media Strategy

A look at how P&G succeeded in using social media at the Sochi Olympics.   In USA Today.  Mostly through preparing the field for competition:

" ... . P&G is leaps and bounds beyond all corporate competitors, with more than 27 million YouTube views through the first seven days of the Winter Games, according to a new study by Kontera, which, at USA TODAY's request, tracked total English-language YouTube views through midday Thursday.

"P&G did a bunch of things right leading into the Games," says Ammiel Kamon, executive vice president of product and marketing at Kontera, a brand insights technology specialist. "Most of all, they've been at it for months." ... '  

Intel as Operating System for Big Data

Intel wants to be the operating system for Big Data.  Interesting thought.  They had better understand the analytics of it.  It is not just about the hardware.  Or even data manipulation software. Have not looked at exactly what this is, but I like the thought:   " ... Intel is continuing to build out its array of software tools for the Hadoop open-source big data processing framework, with an emphasis on the security and reliability features demanded by large enterprises. A Data Platform tools suite will become available in the next quarter as a free-of-charge but self-supported Enterprise Edition, as well as a subscription Premium Edition that provides features such as proactive security fixes, regular enhancements and live support. ... " 

Loyalty Optimization with Bayesian Networks

Another interesting example of the use of Bayesian networks for data mining. via Stefan Conrady of Bayesia.   Nice understandable draft tutorial.  " ... Identifying Priorities for Maximizing Repurchase Intent ... This tutorial illustrates an innovative market research workflow for deriving marketing and product planning priorities from auto buyer surveys. In this study, we utilize the Strategic Vision New Vehicle Experience Survey, which includes, among many other items, customers’ satisfaction ratings with regard to over 100 individual product attributes. ... " 

More Head Mounted Displays in Works

In CWorld:  Based on supplier comments, this seems to be in the works.  Is the future now wearables and head mounted, augmented reality style displays?   And notably systems that will be able to quickly record what the operator is seeing.  Even more so than having a smartphone readily available.  Just look and shoot.  The implications?

IT Hiring Slowing

In ComputerWorld:  By my own unscientific view as well, talking to several big hiring companies. Caused by continuing uncertainty about the economy, and thus unwillingness to make long term commitments on things like health care costs.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Deep Learning in Neural Nets

General outline and technical detailed article in the WP about deep learning in neural nets.   And further about deep learning in general:  " ... Deep learning is a set of algorithms in machine learning that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data by using architectures composed of multiple non-linear transformations. ...  Deep learning is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on learning representations. An observation (e.g., an image) can be represented in many ways (e.g., a vector of pixels), but some representations make it easier to learn tasks of interest (e.g., is this the image of a human face?) from examples, and research in this area attempts to define what makes better representations and how to create models to learn these representations. ... " 

Netflix Using Distributed Neural Nets

In the enterprise we actively used artificial neural nets to perform various scoring functions for analytical learning methods.  They were particularly useful for anchoring other analytical methods in ensemble solutions.  Here an article about how Netflix is using nets to do deep learning.  Very intriguing, extensive and technical piece.  It ultimately boils down to how you aim to distribute the learning you aim to achieve.  Something to learn from.

Previously in this blog on neural nets. 

Ultra Simple User Interfaces

The best user interface should predictively anticipate our needs.    Focus us on the right data and tools to do our job best.    Feed us the proper sensor readings to protect us, and to provide information in value sorted order.   And at the same time not confuse us with complexity.  In CWorld: Mitsubishi on its ultra simple machine interface.  Calling it a predictive agent.   Agent to me implies an element of autonomy.   For automobiles and their internal and external environments.

CPG Companies vs Amazon or With Them?

In Retailwire:

" ... Are CPG companies consciously deciding to align with the logistic powerhouse of the future instead of the distribution giants (brick-and-mortar retailers) of the 20th century?

It's not so far-fetched. Early signs indicate that's where we are headed, with Amazon's well-known ambition and nascent expansion into grocery delivery. If Amazon can habituate people to repeat purchases through scheduled deliveries, where does that leave retailers or upstart, category-busting brands? ... " 

Ford Autonomous Vehicle

A look at an autonomous vehicle prototype by Ford.  When will the vision of fully autonomous vehicles become common?  Still wonder the liability issues.

Square at Whole Foods

Did an early experiment with the Square system for client payment, it has continued to progress in POS system,  here it continues its push into retailer payment systems:

" ... Running into Whole Foods to grab a fresh-pressed juice on the way to work can be quite the operation, depending on the line situation. But in some stores, that process is getting quite a bit faster.

Whole Foods stores in a handful of U.S. cities are now equipped with Square payment registers at in-store venues such as sandwich counters, juice and coffee bars, pizzerias and beer and wine bars, according to a joint statement from the companies released today. The payment system is available in seven stores in Austin, New York City, Florida and the San Francisco Bay area.

At stores where Square is integrated, you can go right to the juice counter, grab a beverage, flash your smartphone and be out the door. Square Wallet is the application that allows users to pay with their smartphone and is part of the Square Register payment system. ... " 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

On Applied Concept Mapping

Some time ago I mentioned the book Applied Concept Mapping, by Brian Moon, et al  and also posts about concept mapping in general.   Also about how it can be implemented on a tablet.  And here is a concept map about the book itself.   Currently looking at how to link this idea to maps which describe linkages quantitative relationships, like Bayesian nets.  More details to follow as this evolves.

Team Robotics: Loving the Swarm

New research on a topic we had examined.  Using cheap, simple and disposable robots to perform sensor activity, like performing inventory in a warehouse.      " ...  It's one thing for a robot to walk around your house and do the dishes or fold the laundry. It's entirely another thing for 20, 50 or 1,000 robots to work together to complete a large, complex task. That's what researchers at MIT are figuring out how to do. MIT scientists are writing computer programs that can control large teams of robots or networks of devices with different functions. ... " 

Gamification Reviewed

Knowledge@Wharton looks at the state of Gamification.   I have noticed a decrease in communication about the approach, since we did a number of experiments in the supply chain innovation space.  Still well worth following.

Deep Data Insights

Stephen Few reviews the book:   Data Insights: New Ways to Visualize and Make Sense of Data, by Hunter Whitney.    Taking a look myself.  " ... Data Insights is not a “how to” book in the sense of comprehensive instruction in the principles and practices of data visualization, but more of a philosophical grounding in the thinking that a data sensemaker must have to make the journey from data to insights. ... " 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Yahoo Expands Research Labs

To further address the personalized experience.  In Technology Review.  " .... The rejuvenated research labs at Yahoo are investigating ways to predict what users want and new forms of mobile hardware. .... "   Good details.

Shopping Device Dock

In the lab we examined a number of ways to make grocery shopping smarter.   This included a laptop strapped to the cart, a device embedded inside the handle.  And even a holster that could carry a provided scanner.  See more examples. Now that many people carry their own location enabled smart device, the world has changed.  A new device, the Smartdock, addresses this.  Here more and a demonstration video:

" ... Deliver a better in-store shopping experience with SmartDock. Get mobile devices out of purses and pockets and engage your customers while they shop. SmartDock intuitively drives mobile engagement, distinguishes your brand and elevates the in-store shopping experience — helping to build customer loyalty and drive incremental sales ... " 

Oracle Retail

Newly rediscovered blog  Oracle Retail.  Now following.   Some interesting items brought up, like this on 'click and connect':  " ... UK retailer Argos has today announced their collaboration with eBay, the online marketplace with a global customer base of 233 million (18 million in the UK), in providing a ‘click and collect’ service to eBay customers. The agreement means that around 50 eBay merchants will allow customers to purchase goods on eBay, and collect their products at one of 150 UK Argos stores. ... " 

Google and Deep Learning

In Technology Review.  Google seeking Deep learning.  More on the DeepMind acquisition.  With some concerns by those doing academic research.   And motivation:  " ... Companies like Google expect deep learning to help them create new types of products that can understand and learn from the images, text, and video clogging the Web. And to a significant degree, leading academic scientists have embraced Silicon Valley, where they can command teams of engineers instead of students and have access to the largest, most interesting data sets. “It’s a combination of the computing resources we have and the headcounts we can offer,” Norvig said. “At Google, if you want a copy of the Web, well, we just happen to have one sitting around.” ... " 

Bosch and the Integration of Things

In the Forrester Blog:  About Bosch making acquisitions to set themselves up for this integration. Worth thinking.  Not sure there is enough difference between integration/Internet.  The latter only being a means, and we will certainly accept other means that make sense.  In the end they will all be called the Internet, if only for understanding.  Note the connection to the recent construction of the smart home consortium.

Modeling Vehicle Choice and Simulating Market Share with Bayesian Networks

Via Stefan Conrady of Bayesia: Modeling Vehicle Choice and Simulating Market Share with Bayesian Networks    Useful example of the technical application of Bayesian. Downloadable overview whitepaper.   See also their latest newsletter.

" ... We present a new method and the associated workflow for estimating market shares of future products based exclusively on pre-introduction data, such as syndicated studies conducted prior to product launch. Our approach provides a highly practical, fast and economical alternative to conducting new primary research.

With Bayesian networks as the framework, and by employing the BayesiaLab and Bayesia Market Simulator software packages, this approach helps market researchers and product planners to reliably perform market share simulations on their desktop computers, which would have been entirely inconceivable in the past. ... "

Monday, February 10, 2014

IBM Consumer Study: Value for Data

   Consumers want value for personal information.  The survey specifics are interesting.  " ... A new IBM (NYSE: IBM) study of more than 30,000 global consumers released today at the 2014 National Retail Federation convention (#NRF14) found consumers are willing to share their personal information with retailers, particularly if they get good value in exchange.

The percentage of consumers willing to share their current location via GPS with retailers nearly doubled year-over-year to 36 percent. Thirty-eight percent of consumers would provide their mobile number for the purpose of receiving text messages and 32 percent would share their social handles with retailers. ... " 

Sonification Assist for the Blind

Assisting the blind with sonification, changing sensory information to sound.  " ... Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have developed an assistive technology system that works by sounds which contributes to the autonomy of persons with visual impairments.
The commercial systems that exist today in Spain for the mobility of persons with sight impairment are insufficient, according to theseUC3M researchers, because they are costly and too bulky. The assistive technology, conceived as a sound guide that gives information as to the user’s environment, precisely aims to make this ingenious complement to the classic cane or guide dog more economical. ... " 

Internal Social Networks at BASF

BASF's internal network. An area we also worked in the enterprise, and were influenced by both BASF and IBM.   Worth a closer look now regarding where they have traveled.

" ... An industrial company with approximately 110,000 employees and an almost 150-year history hardly sounds like a social media pioneer – yet many BASF characteristics are a strong fit for Web 2.0. These include employees who embrace innovative technologies to the existence of large Verbund sites whose individual production plants are interlinked through a complex network.

BASF started work on a corporate online business platform as early as 2008. Five years later, over 35,000 employees are using connect.BASF to build up their internal network, share knowledge and collaborate more efficiently across units. ... " 

Open Science

Open science and its implications.  See Open Science Foundation, and its twitter feed.  " ... The Open Science Federation is a nonprofit alliance working to improve the conduct and communication of science. We are open source computer scientists, citizen scientists, and scientist-scientists, science writers, journalists, and educators, and makers of and advocates for Open Data, Open Access, and Open Source and Standards. ... " 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Nike Fuel Infographic as a Model

Currently thinking about how a visual could be used to provide an easily scan-able graphic.  Consider the infographic as an easy to refer to summary of the data.  The details remain for those that want to click through. An example written about  in AdAge.  I see an infographic as OK as long as it provides a summary and the user can still interact with the data in meaningful ways. Such a graphic could also be readily compared with other results with the same dimensions.  This looks to be a good example of this.   At the right a portion of the visual is shown.

DARPA Open Catalog of Resources

Brought to my attention, the DARPA open catalog, which links to available computational, analytical and visualization resources.  Note mention of XDATA and Big Data resources.  Worth a look:  " ... contains a curated list of DARPA-sponsored software and peer-reviewed publications. DARPA funds fundamental and applied research in a variety of areas including data science, cyber, anomaly detection, etc., which may lead to experimental results and reusable technology designed to benefit multiple government domains. 

The DARPA Open Catalog organizes publically releasable material from DARPA programs, beginning with the XDATA program in the Information Innovation Office (I2O). XDATA is developing an open source software library for big data. DARPA has an open source strategy through XDATA and other I2O programs to help increase the impact of government investments. ... " 

Grocery and Twitter

Orlando Publix using Twitter.  Good example of simple social media use in physical retail.  " .... A year ago this month, Publix realized its customers were already talking about it on Twitter, so it was time to join the conversation. Now, the Publix handle has more than 57,000 followers. ... " 

The Visual Organization

Forthcoming ( March 31) book brought to my attention, an idea we have frequently supported here.   For example, see the previous post.  Look forward to a deeper examination:

The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions (Wiley and SAS Business Series)  by Phil Simon.

They describe it:   " ... The era of Big Data as arrived but, on many levels, most organizations are woefully unprepared. Far too many enterprises erroneously believe and act like nothing has really changed. As such, they continue to depend exclusively on reporting stalwarts like Microsoft Excel, static dashboards, basic query applications, and even traditional business intelligence tools. And they are missing out on tremendous opportunities. 

Amidst all of the hype and confusion surrounding Big Data, though, a new type of enterprise is emerging: The Visual Organization. A relative handful of organizations has realized that today's ever-increasing data streams, volumes, and velocity require new applications. In turn, these new tools promote a different mind-set--one based upon data discovery and exploration, not conventional enterprise "reporting."  ... ' 

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Get to the Point and the Focus with Data

A long time enterprise goal was to facilitate focus to tasks.  Projects like P&G's Business Sphere, starting with earlier work in executive information systems, focused the right data as a means to provide that focus.  By applying in particular strong visualization methods.  Fast Company makes a related point.

IrezQ - Smartphone Sensors for Travel Safety

I see that my correspondent Art Caisse was the founder of and is now the executive chairman of IrezQ-America.  This smartphone app delivered process automatically contacts emergency services and personal contacts when it detects an accident, based on smartphone sensors.  Check out the link for more details.   Clever idea.  Works on multiple modes of transportation.  Testimonials at the link are quite interesting, especially to people that do lots of travel.   Have not looked at it closely yet, but will.

Art writes:  " ... We are operational in Sweden and just setting up to bring it into the USA.  ... " scheduled for Q2 2014.

Expanding Paths to Online Grocery

Online grocers. An area we watched closely.  It worked then, but selectively.   Has the corner turned? Article contains some good current examples.

" ... As online grocers become bigger players in the grocery industry, many companies are getting creative to avoid the mistakes that caused online grocers such as Webvan to fail in the early 2000s. Relay Foods focuses on user experience and customer service to boost business, while CitySprout operates under a business model that excludes fulfillment centers, vehicles and pre-purchased inventory and connects customers directly with food merchants ... " 

Rise of Wikidata

In Computing Now.  Introduced to the idea a year ago.  Worth a further look.  Using Wikipedia data for a centralized source of structured public data makes much sense. " ... Wikipedia was recently enhanced by a knowledge base: Wikidata. Thousands of volunteers who collect facts and their sources help grow and maintain Wikidata. Within only a few months, more than 16 million statements about more than 4 million items have been added to the project, ready to support Wikipedia and to enable and enrich many different types of external applications. ... " 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Real and Virtual Worlds and the Proteus Effect

I covered virtual worlds extensively in this blog in the past.  In particular how they could be used to simulate real work interactions.  See previous posts on that.  We experimented in many such spaces, but that diminished in coverage.  Will wearables bring back the interest, with a different more realistic and immersive twist?  An interesting piece on the interaction of real and virtual worlds.

In virtual worlds we have what are called avatars, symbols of our presence, often in human form. The author of the article talks about how we interact with them:  " .... It seems that we conform to the expected behaviors and attitudes of our avatars, a phenomenon my colleagues and I have referred to as the “Proteus effect.” We tend to think that avatars are things we create and control, but the opposite is also true. Our avatars change how we think and behave.
 .... " 

Self Destructive Electronics

IBM win a contract to research the topic.     I recall this idea being discussed before the need became more critical.  " ... The military wants to use self-destructing technology for devices such as environmental or health monitoring sensors. ... "A self-destruct capability is very important when it comes to data and devices that might compromise the security of the U.S.," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "If they get their hands on the right device, an enemy might be able to not only harvest the data, but also bypass security walls in order to penetrate supposedly secure networks and get even more data." .... " 

Natural Language Processing in the Enterprise

We worked with Stanford on a number of natural language processing oriented problems, including the Talking Mr. Clean effort.    I note that a number of the spin off companies that came from Stanford no longer exist, at least in the same form.  See, for example, the Barbara Hayes-Roth company Extempo, no longer has a web site.  It specialized in training systems, we used it to provide a voice to brand characters.  Does somewhere know where that company went?  Contact me.   I see now that Coursera has a course originating at Stanford on NLP. Worth a look at to understand the state of the technology.  Update:  I have been told that Extempo failed when attempting to get additional funding during the 2000 dotcom bubble.

Discomfort as Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:   I don't see it as the key to innovation.  Yet it is not by itself a bad sign. Some discomfort is always a sign that any change has been made.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Kurzweil Reviews the Movie Her

An AI view.  Now beyond Minority Report, and with shades of Siri.   Is this where we are headed?   It does provide an interesting structure to think about how we deal with devices.  Have not seen it as yet.

iBeacon and Shopping Behavior

In Mashable: More looks into location based shopping information.   With some obvious comments:

  " ... Will consumers embrace Apple and iBeacon's nearly frictionless in-store buying process and "I'm aware you're there" in-store experience? ...

Rob Garf, VP of Industry Strategy & Insight for Demandware, a digital commerce company said it depends on what's in it for them. "Consumers will embrace technology if there is material value such as greater convenience, service and personalization," he said. Garf added that though adoption can vary by segment and geographic location, digitization of the sales experience may be inevitable: "Over time much of the checkout will be via virtual point-of-sale on the sales floor.” ... " 

Hangout for the Enterprise

Although I have now tested Google+ Hangouts a number of times, have never tried to work with it under enterprise constraints.   A new service permits greater connectivity, but it is relatively expensive.

Big Data as Your Doctor

A very obvious conclusion, it was understood in the AI hype of the late 80's.  But we didn't have all the hardware or software in place to make it happen.  You gather information from steadily increasing number of medical sensors.  You store this data away, with metadata provided by contextual information.

Then use data mining techniques,  to find similarities to new cases.     Not necessarily looking for causal relationships, but for alternatives that may apply, these are provided to the doctors, the direct appliers of medical techniques.  Sometimes linked further to direct models of  human systems, where we have them.  Big Data becomes the partner of physician.   It is approaching quickly.  This article does a good job of currently covering this space.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Facial Encoding by Millward Brown

I was reminded about Millward Brown by this article in Neurorelay.   I met with a number of their people at a conference in Poland now a number of years ago.    They write: " ... Millward Brown (global research agency specializing in advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, media and brand equity research), today announced it has carried out more than 3,000 facial coding studies over the last year, an annual growth rate of 700%. This provider of neuromarketing solutions also announced that Affectiva’s Affdex™ facial coding technology is now included as standard in Link .. " 

Surveillance Generating Big Data

 In Computing Now:  More data, now what do we do with it?    " ... 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 some related references on how to compress and analyze the huge amount of video data that's being generated.  ... "   Author is: 'Tiejun Huang  ... a professor at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, and the director of the Institute for Digital Media Technology at Peking University ...  '

Remaking the Industrial Economy

From McKinsey:    Had not heard of the concept defined here.  " ... Remaking the industrial economy ... A regenerative economic model—the circular economy—is starting to help companies create more value while reducing their dependence on scarce resources. ... "   See also an illustrative slideshow on the circular economy.

More Privacy Implications of Google Glass

In Forbes. Creepier yet?  Or just a natural extension of technology into many parts of or lives.  The power of a single blink.   " .... Google Glass is on a roll. … The newest update to Glass, however, includes…a photo app that lets you take a photo with just a blink ... You wink with your right eye and Google Glass takes a photo. … If you’re just trying to flirt with someone…you might end up taking a series of photos of someone without their permission, getting once more into privacy concerns. ... " 

Self Washing Dishes

From Idea Connection. Another example of materials science advances.   Still in early development.  " .... The dishes, created in collaboration with researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, feature a coating made from wax that has been dissolved at a high temperature and pressure. The coating, said to mimic a lotus leafs’ bumpy nano-structure, repels water, dirt and oil—eliminating the need for soap and water. When the meal is complete, simply tip the dishes over a trash can and let the excess sauces and crumbs slide off. .... "

Big Money in Open Source

There is big money in open source.  " ... Data scientists that focus on open source technologies make more money than those dealing in proprietary technologies.  ... " 

Reinventing the in Store App

Good discussion.  It could use some reinventing. And also some standardizing.  " ... Why exactly does a retail store need a good mobile app? There are two reasons. First, smartphones are stealing attention from the in-store experience. And second, shoppers who use smartphones spend more money than those who don't ... " 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Motorola's Research Lab

Always interested in the concept of innovation and R&D labs, having been involved in several myself.  Now I see that Google has kept Motorola's labs, why?   Because it is hardware oriented? We worked with Motorola in our own labs, even doing some in retail research for them.

Sandra Hughes Strategies

Just had an excellent consultation with Sandra Hughes, former P&G colleague and compliance and privacy executive.   She has a strategies group.  See also her Linkedin information.

Why Innovation Programs Fail

In Innovation Excellence:  Why Innovation programs fail.  Good elements to consider.  " ... Program managers who don’t establish clear goals, identify key stakeholders, keep their employees engaged, and allow the feedback loop to deteriorate will find it very difficult to call their innovation program a long-term success. ... "

iTacit Compliance

Also brought to my attention in the area of employee engagement, training and compliance: iTacit.
"  ... iTacit is a next-generation technology company that builds cost-effective products to connect and engage your team, making your organization smarter. Our comprehensive multilingual workforce optimization cloud platform includes Recruitment & Onboarding, Training & Education, Policy & Compliance, Collaboration & Communication, Performance Management and Surveys. Furthermore, iTacit develops Big Data technology that delivers unprecedented visibility into an organization. ... " 

Rethinking Customer Conversion

A new look at the process of conversion.  Good thoughts.  " ... As Peter Drucker elegantly said, “the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer”. ...  By focusing on conversion rates, digital marketers risk losing sight of that original intent. Conversions tend to be about optimizing and measuring discrete interactions - such as obtaining an email address or getting a sign-up. ... "

Monday, February 03, 2014

More Chromecast Apps

A systems developer kit for the Chromecast.    Had cause to look at devices like the Google Chromecast recently for potential retail display applications.  This development opens up some opportunities.  " ... The Chromecast is a $35 HDMI dongle that allows users to wirelessly stream video, audio and web pages from the computer, or any iOS or Android device, to another screen. ... " .  Currently it has relatively few App options.  The Apps that it does have are far fewer and more restrictive than those typically found on a Smart TV.

IARPA Explores Methods to Build Human Analytical Skills

A project to which I am connected started last week.    Will continue to provide updates in this space as I can.

Adam Russell: IARPA Explores Methods to Build Human Analytical Skills
 The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has kicked off a multi-year collaborative research effort to design new tools and work to help analysts solve complex problems.

IARPA launched the Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving project to further study cognitive skills in healthy and high-performing people, IARPA said Monday.

“The long-term goal of SHARP research is to develop evidence-based tools and methods that can improve the quality of human judgment and reasoning in complex, real world environments,” said Adam Russell, an IARPA program manager. ...  "

More on IARPA Sharp.

Broad concepts covered in Dan Hurley's book.

IARPA thread in this blog.

Beyond Data Science Toolkits

In Data Science Central, a post by Peter Higdon about a number of resources for the beginning data scientist.  Courses, videos, definitions, etc.   Usefully done.  In general the whole topic is an umbrella over many technologies we learned long ago ... and have in our tool kits, that need to be re labeled and sometimes reconstructed for easier use.   I will add:  Beyond your set of tools.  You will need many things at hand, the materials you will need to work on (the data), A place to do your work (A workbench) and measurement tools to know you are done.   Also, you need a customer who will pay for your work. Hopefully a rational customer who knows or can be convinced that your work is useful.   Not as easy as it sounds.

Evaluating Product Pricing

On evaluating product pricing, a long time analytics methodology for retail and CPG.    How can pricing be disruptive and what are the long term and short term implications?   " ... Negotiation on pricing is never an easy conversation. Given the demands of today's environment, understanding the price sensitivity across consumer, competitor and customer is absolutely essential to take advantage of every opportunity to gain margin in low-inflationary times. ... " 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Facebook Ethnographically

On a report that has gone viral.    Teens are leaving Facebook as their parents send them friend requests.    " ... Comprehensive study has found teens are moving to services like Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp and are not concerned about commercial use of personal information ...  ".

Future of Analytics

In CIO Insight:

The future of analytics Is Streaming in the Cloud:

" ... Business analytics is becoming more prescriptive and making information available in real-time so it can be directly applied to a specific transaction or event.

Business analytics, as it is applied in most organizations, is about to be utterly transformed. Traditionally, analytics have been the realm of a few high priests in an organization looking to divine trends by discovering new patterns in historical data.

But as analytics continues to rapidly evolve, a fundamental shift is starting to occur. Rather than trying to intermittingly optimize a process based on historical data taken from a large number of applications, analytics is getting more prescriptive and making information available in real-time so that it can be directly applied to a specific transaction or event. .... " 

Discern Analytics

Just brought to my attention, with some former colleagues in its management:  Discern Analytics. They write:

" ... We love data. Massive amounts of it.

Our cloud-based data analytics platform allows us to collect and organize data of all types – structured and unstructured, public and partner, human and machine, business and consumer, internal and external.

Data without context is noise. Data in context leads to insight and knowledge. DISCERN puts data into context for decision-makers through the application of DISCERN “sector” models, heuristics, machine-learning processes and ongoing customer interactions. The DISCERN Aperture enables our customers to further refine and personalize the DISCERN platform for their own unique, proprietary views. ... " 

On Fair Use

In TechDirt:   Good extended piece on recent hearings on copyright and fair use.  A concept often made use of in this blog.   " .... It is twenty years since the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its landmark decision on copyright law and the defence of fair use in the "Pretty Woman" case, Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music. Inspired by the jurisprudence of Justice Story and Justice Leval, Justice Souter developed a doctrine of transformative use. His Honour stressed that "the goal of copyright, to promote science and the arts, is generally furthered by the creation of transformative works." Justice Souter observed: "Such works thus lie at the heart of the fair use doctrine's guarantee of breathing space within the confines of copyright, and the more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use."  ... " 

Getting People to Share Knowledge

Big issue in the enterprise.  A good gook at the topic.   Actual implementation is tougher." ... 9 steps to get people to share knowledge ... From launching a community of practice through to e-learning events to embedding knowledge as part of a response to succession planning, how can you get people sharing knowledge? There are many ways, but we find the following 9-step framework to be highly successful. ,,, " 

Onboarding Users

On how to onboard new users.  Its harder that you think.  Different users have very different expectations of how they expect to be introduced to your great idea.  The comments contain additional useful examples and ideas.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Seeking Data Cubes

Data Cubes came up in a meeting yesterday and though I knew in general what they were, I sought out a more general and useful definition.  I found this.  Comments welcome.

Simplify Outdated Corporate Processes

In the HBR, where registration for full text is now required.  Yes, simplify is always good to consider.   " ... rebuilding your processes from the ground up with a focus on simplicity is a powerful way to improve your competitiveness and energize your staff. Netflix, for example, eliminated all the administrative labor and financial expense that went into managing paid time-off. As described in Patty McCord’s recent HBR article, the company got rid of the standard policies and tracking system and instead simply relied on employees’ judgment: ...  " 

Predicting Product Success

Predicting Product Launch success.  We worked on this using a number of simulation based methods.  Interesting case study here:   " ... Back in May, Kaggle ran a competition with hack/reduce and dunnhumby focused on using big data predictive analysis on product launches. The objective: to discover how to predict the level of success or failure of a product by looking at the first few weeks of sales. Called the “Product launch challenge” the hackathon brought in quite a few interested hacker and data science teams to try their hand at the problem. ... "