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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ohio Aerospace Hub

Was introduced to the Ohio Aerospace Hub.  Whose vision is to " ... Become the magnet for aerospace entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners seeking opportunity in a live-work-play-learn environment that fosters creativity and growth ... " 

3D Printer Startups Video

Makerbot and other low cost 3D Printer companies are examined in a Netflix video exclusive. Called 'Print the Legend'.  A familiar look at the atmosphere of startups, before and after they become successful.  If they do.  This may give you the impression that most startups are successful.  Not the case.

Mercedes Self Driving 18 Wheeler

In CWorld:  Concept Vehicle.  Impressive design.  This should have considerable influence on supply chain efficiency. Good detail in the article.

" ... Mercedes-Benz showed off an autonomous semi-trailer truck that will be available in a decade and allow long-haul drivers to relax and tend to paperwork and duties other than driving.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 was displayed at the 2014 International Commercial Vehicle show this month.

"In ten years' time, trucks could be driving autonomously on motorways. Transport efficiency will increase, traffic will be safer for all road users and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will be further reduced," Mercedes said in a blog post. "Autonomous driving is already possible at realistic speeds and in realistic motorway traffic situations." ... "  

Newspaper Goes to Virtual Reality

A curious example of how newspapers are looking at using virtual reality.  Look at the tag link below  for examples about how we experimented with this.   I have not though, been in Second Life for a number of years.  It has not led to the establishment of useful virtual spaces in VR as yet. The gaming angle in VR has not combined well with serious business applications.

" ...  Gannett (GCI), publisher of USA Today and dozens of regional publications, has released its debut report made specifically for the Oculus VR headset: an interactive view of a farm in Iowa designed to accompany a series of newspaper articles being published by the Register this week. It’s the very start of what will likely be a wave of journalistic experiments with virtual reality in the next few years, and this project shows that there’s still some thinking to be done about what news organizations should be trying to accomplish in the medium. ... " 

Research Transformation

Sounds very familiar.

Creating a research transformation agenda for 2015

The two most powerful concepts in marketing research — trends and norms — are also the biggest enemies to innovation. And research programs are falling more and more out of sync with marketing in a digital, social, mobile world. What's missing from traditional marketing research methods in the digital and social age? ... " 

Cheap Gesture Detection in Smartphones

In Technology Review:  Another one of our research areas.  In particular how you might use it for consumer interaction in retail.   " .... A research project at the University of Washington shows a way to add gesture control to phones without requiring sophisticated new sensors. It works by identifying the interference that hand gestures cause in the radio signals that are already transmitted to and from a phone. ... " 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Launch: A Whole New Engineer

Long time correspondent Dave Goldberg has a book coming out, and there is a party.  I plan to read and review here.

Google On Air Hangout to Celebrate Launch of a New Book - Kindle Edition:
A Whole New Engineer: The Coming Revolution in Engineering Education 
by Dave Goldberg and Mark Somerville

Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 7:30-8:00 pm Eastern

The party starts with a Google On Air Hangout at the link: http://bit.ly/1paU558 at 7:30-8:00 pm (Eastern).  Listen in as the writing team talks about the making of the book and the surprises, twists, and turns of bringing the book to fruition. Live tweeting of the video conversation will take place on Twitter at hashtag #BigBeacon.  Send your comments to other partygoers or send questions to the Google Hangout using twitter with the hashtag #BigBeacon.  Use http://tchat.io to automate the #BigBeacon hashtag and listen to all the tweeters. .....

Join the Big Beacon twitter chat from 8:00-9:00 pm Eastern (Hashtag #BigBeacon) as Meagan Pollock (@MeaganPollock) and Erica Lee Garcia (@EngineerYrLife) pose thought-provoking questions for an open discussion arising from The Making of A Whole New Engineer.  What do you think?  Share your opinion with others .... 

Write to Dave Goldberg, deg@wholenewengineer.org with any questions you have about this invitation.

Steven Pinker on Academic Writing

He complains about the quality of academic writing.  As usual, he writes well.  An example:  " .... The other major contributor to academese is a cognitive blind spot called the Curse of Knowledge: a difficulty in imagining what it is like for someone else not to know something that you know. The term comes from economics, but the general inability to set aside something that you know but someone else does not know is such a pervasive affliction of the human mind that psychologists keep discovering related versions of it and giving it new names: egocentrism, hindsight bias, false consensus, illusory transparency, mind-blindness, failure to mentalize, and lack of a theory of mind. ... "

Amelia Thinks like You

Emergence of more companies in the conversational advisory space.  IPsoft gets publicity in the WSJ today with their cognitive offering:  Amelia, a Machine, Thinks Like You ... She Can Solve Problems if Answer Is in Data She Gets....  With some interesting comparisions to Watson.  Includes a transcript of a conversation with Amelia.

"  .... incubated for the past decade at a privately owned, relatively obscure IT services firm called IPSoft—is different. She learns from textbooks, transcriptions of conversations, email chains and just about any other text. As long as the answer appears in the data she gets, she can solve problems.

IPSoft's main product is another bit of artificial intelligence, a software suite known for automatically resolving IT infrastructure issues known as IPcenter. A Gartner analyst wrote that IPSoft is a "stealthy newcomer," competing with the likes of IBM. IPSoft was founded in 1998 and has offices in nine countries ... "

Competing in a Digital Age

How do you compete in a digital age?  In McKinsey.   " ...  Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind. Here are six critical decisions CEOs must make to address the strategic challenge posed by the digital revolution. ... " 

Sankey Diagrams in Google Charts

Notes on elements of advanced visualizations.  Sankey diagrams including multilevel forms, are available in Google Charts.   " ... A sankey diagram is a visualization used to depict a flow from one set of values to another. The things being connected are called nodes and the connections are called links. Sankeys are best used when you want to show a many-to-many mapping between two domains (e.g., universities and majors) or multiple paths through a set of stages (for instance, Google Analytics uses sankeys to show how traffic flows from pages to other pages on your web site). ...  "

Kroger Tests Customer Pick-Up

In the Local Paper: Extending their supply chain in a very natural way. Without the expense and complexity of delivery. What will the uptake be?  Plan to try this service myself.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Common Language for Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:  Interesting points about how to outline a common language for innovation.  Like the idea, but implementing them in a cultural context can be tough.

Analytics Linked with Business Process Modeling

Re examining business process modeling (BPM) and in particular how it can connect with new methods of analytics and data sources.   We used BPM extensively in the enterprise.  And examined how it would link to intelligent, cognitive applications.  Was pointed to Emericon.  They offer a free basic introduction to Operational Decision Management, with registration.

Humans and Automation

Good You Tube video: Humans Need not Apply. On the continued progress of automation, and what it means to jobs.  It not only about replacing humans, it is also about making them much more efficient and extending that efficiency with pervasive networks.  An issue we are contending with now.

Is Your Content Compelling?

Could be quite valuable for a number of areas.  This is being experimented with every day in advertising and online.  The data to confirm or deny it is considerable.  Have not read as yet.

  In Fastcocreate:   " ... RivetedA book from cognitive science professor Jim Davies, presents a unified theory of compellingness. ....  What makes for compelling art? Any creator who has given half a thought to paying the rent, or achieving immortality, has considered what makes art sell. We know that the notion of quality--the idea that "the best" art and marketing and media reaches the most people--is insufficient to explain what gives some creations mass appeal. So why do people--large number of people--find books, ads, movies and art works compelling? How can we know, ahead of time, what will pique our curiosity and sustain our interest?   ... " 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feature Engineering as the Basis of Analytics

Very good informal and non technical look at feature engineering.   It is part of any analytic process, sometimes obvious, but also sometimes subtle. My definition:  It's adjusting the data and decision problem you have to the tools available,  that can then create a useful and accurate solution.  Or as the article suggests:  " ... Feature engineering is the process of transforming raw data into features that better represent the underlying problem to the predictive models, resulting in improved model accuracy on unseen data. ... " .  I never called it 'feature engineering',  but rather 'Modeling' but it was always a key aspect of any analytics effort we did.

Tweeting Code

To my still enthusiastic Wolfram network, a clever marketing idea.  Not sure how practical.  What I see are more clever than practical.

" ... With Tweet-a-Program, anyone can compose a tweet-length Wolfram Language program and tweet it to @WolframTaP. We'll run the code in the Wolfram Cloud and tweet back the result, whether it's a simple evaluation, a dynamic graphic, or a full application. Please tell your readers--we're excited to see what they create!

For more information on Tweet-a-Program, read Stephen Wolfram's launch post ...  Follow Tweet-a-Program on Twitter:    ... " 

Watson in the Organization

In the 90s, during the last rise in the use of artificial intelligence in business, we were also impressed with how the basic capabilities could improve and extend expertise.  We built dozens of advisory systems that saved millions.  Management was planning some very impressive next steps.  Now we are back to where we were then, we have tools, but will they consistently deliver  practical applications in business?  A look at the current state of progress.

My view of key challenges:  Linking strongly to the decision process.  Acceptance by management.   Strong connections to required data and sensors.   Supporting maintenance of knowledge in given context.  Integration of analytical methods.

Cloaking Lenses

Ordinary lenses produce cloaking.  Fascinating application that at one level is very easy to understand. Everyday applications?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Evolution of Computer Languages

In the CACM:  A view of common computing languages.  Interesting, but most likely for those that have used several.  Non technical in that it deals with a view of the evolution of languages and their use. Includes video.

Seeking Assumption Free Data Science

Steve Miller on 'Freak Data Science', where freak means roughly assumption-free, understandable and useful.  Always like that approach, and he has much to say on the topic, like:

" ... in agreement with this need to view data science through the lenses of both “what” and “how”. The what provides the conceptual foundation; the how articulates the tools and skills needed to progress toward that foundation – to “create meaning”. .... 

.... Author Malcolm Gladwell's  .... opining “Think Like a Freak is … about the attitude we need to take towards the tricks and the problems that the world throws at us. Dubner and Levitt have a set of prescriptions about what that attitude comes down to.” In short, the authors are scientific methodologists par excellence. ....  "

Learning or Cloning

Cognitive requires learning. At very least an intelligent system needs to be updated as its context changes. There are many kinds of learning.  Passive, active, statistical, inductive, example based … If I buy a book and put it on my shelf, have I learned? I am connected to the Web, so as it changes, am I more knowledgeable?

Do Cognitive systems know what they don't know?

Do I know what other people in my network know? How much effort will it take to update my cognitive system to keep it up to date? How do I know it’s up to date?

Those two last questions were major breaking points for our own use of advisory cognitive systems.

Alternatively, you could learn from cloning (or at least mimicking) your best decision makers, assuming they would know where to get the best and most current data needed. An 'expert system' style learning method. Using biological methods at their grandest. Which was recently discussed here.

UXMag and Psychology

Of interest, on psych and design, in user experience:

" ... UX Magazine is a central, one-stop resource for everything related to user experience. We provide a steady stream of current, informative, and credible information about UX and related fields to enhance the professional and creative lives of UX practitioners and those exploring the field. Our content is driven and created by an impressive roster of experienced professionals who work in all areas of UX and cover the field from diverse angles and perspectives. ... " 

Specifically on psychology and design.

An Online Right to be Forgotten

In the New Yorker, a non technical, very readable article about the 'right to be forgotten' on the Internet, which is being exercised now in Europe.   Examples and exploration of implications.  The selective and accurate redaction of the internet would be a very difficult cognitive problem.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tracking Data Use Online

From MIT, with possible use to understand data use and valuation.   " ... Researchers in the Decentralized Information Group (DIG) at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe the solution may be transparency rather than obscurity. To that end, they’re developing a protocol they call “HTTP with Accountability,” or HTTPA, which will automatically monitor the transmission of private data and allow the data owner to examine how it’s being used. ... " 

Computer Learning Neighborhoods from Images

An example of the ability to make a classification of an image by subtle attributes.  Images are a form of unstructured data increasingly being found in large databases.  Medical imagery is close behind.  In Engadget.   " ... Us humans are normally good at making quick judgments about neighborhoods. We can figure out whether we're safe, or if we're likely to find a certain store. Computers haven't had such an easy time of it, but that's changing now that MIT researchers have created a deep learning algorithm that sizes up neighborhoods roughly as well as humans. The code correlates what it sees in millions of Google Street View images with crime rates and points of interest; it can tell what a sketchy part of town looks like, or what you're likely to see near a McDonald's (taxis and police vans, apparently). ... " 

Cyber Security Lab Game

A laboratory for teaching online security concepts in the form of a simulation game.  We created similar simulation games for teaching and option evaluation for in store sensor applications. Includes a basic introduction to computer programming. Mentioned in the recent Nova program: Rise of the Hackers.  Also, Nova Labs is doing other similar things I had not noticed before, worth a look.   Might be inspiring to young students interested in how computing technology supports science.

Company Gets Rid of Email

In FastCompany.  I saw this direction proposed some time ago.  At that time it was suggested that a wiki like structure would be set up, and any communication would be placed in its appropriate knowledge position.  So you would also get knowledge management as well.  Course you would still need email for external communications.  Will have to see if I can find my writing then to see if that example has survived.

Service Design and Journey Mapping

Via the Service Innovation group, a video on Service design and journey mapping. Mulling how such systems differ from advisory applications.   Is it a matter of who is assumed to be in control?  See also the ISSIP site.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Enterprise Thinking Blog

See Computing Now's Enterprise Thinking Blog.  Part of the IEEE Computing Now effort.  Nicely done, by Joshua Greenbaum, Principal, Enterprise Applications Consulting

Kraft and Data Integration for Analytics

I note in particular here the use of third party data to integrate with their own.  Good case study for CPG.   It is becoming common to understand and utilize free and syndicated data to apply with your own.  This requires understanding the parameters for useful integration.   This also speaks to the increasing value of internal data in this integration.  How do we understand the value of these data assets?  An Opportunity for a cognitive advisor?  Used with specific analytic solutions?  More thoughts on that to follow.

How Kraft uses data integration to boost ROI 
Kraft's focus on data integration following its split from Mondelez allowed the company to leverage consumer information to optimize the effectiveness of its data, infrastructure and content and increase its return on investment, Kraft Vice President of Media and Consumer Engagement Bob Rupczynski said. For example, Kraft used first- and third-party data to find that its Planters brand could be marketed to female consumers seeking healthy nighttime snack options, he said ... "

Kroger Looks to Digital for Shopper Experience

Another example of increasing use of data to understand and anticipate shopper experience.

Kroger looks to digital to improve shopping experience 
Kroger's recent acquisitions of Harris Teeter and Vitacost.com are part of its experimentation with improving the shopping experience through offering more digital options to help customers save time and money, according to the retailer's Director of Digital and E-Commerce Matt Thompson. Currently, about 20% of shoppers prepare for a grocery trip online, and 60% of all consumers consider grocery shopping their least favorite chore, he said  ... " 

Mining Your Medical Data

On mining medical data.  " .... Your Doctor Knows You're Killing Yourself. The Data Brokers Told Her - in Bloomberg  ... "

"  .... You may soon get a call from your doctor if you’ve let your gym membership lapse, made a habit of picking up candy bars at the check-out counter or begin shopping at plus-sized stores. ... 
That’s because some hospitals are starting to use detailed consumer data to create profiles on current and potential patients to identify those most likely to get sick, so the hospitals can intervene before they do. ... " 

On Rewards for Motivation

An overview of motivational rewards as used in gamification.  In particular a comparison of instrinsic and extrinsic methods.   What works in which conditions.  Which leads to the typical methods of Points, Badges and Leaderboards (or PBLs).  Good introduction to the basic methods behind gamification.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Buildings and Innovation

How much do buildings influence creativity?  Apparently they have at MIT.  An interesting study of a particular building that provided a locus for innovation for 55 years.  Chance or not?    There was hope for this at our innovation centers.  Only partially successful.   I believed in formative context, but not sure everyone did.

Google Balloons will Ring the Globe

In Tech Review:  Though I heard of it, its progress was new to me.  " .... The boss of the Google X research lab, Astro Teller, says his company’s experimental wireless Internet balloons will deliver Internet access throughout the Southern Hemisphere next year. ... " 

Future of Data Science

In the NYT: A look at the future of Data Science.   " ... “Current knowledge bases are full of facts,” Mr. Etzioni observed, “but they are surprisingly knowledge poor.” ...  the long-range goal is computer systems that can reason rather than merely recognize patterns and correlations and make predictions. But Mr. Horvitz chose a different emphasis. “I think we can have a huge impact in so many fields, in the shorter term, along the way to deeper machine intelligences.” Mr. Horvitz said. ... " 

Anticipating Value of Analytic Oracles and Advisors

In ClickZ:  Thoughts on analytics advisory and automating functions:

" ... Could the "Analytics Oracle" Be the Next Evolution of Convergence Analytics?  ... A new ascendance of smart platforms that clean and converge data sets, while also answering questions, could change the convergence analytics landscape as we know it. ... "   by Marshall Sponder .  ... " 

Mentions of Watson Analytics and a to be announced Salesforce 'Analytics Cloud'.   Where does the advisory action end and the business decision depth begin?   Key element of how such systems will be used.

Presentations on the Future of AI

On the Future of AI, In GigaOM.  " .... Gigaom recently hosted a meetup featuring thought leaders and entrepreneurs in the world of artificial intelligence and deep learning. Watch the videos of their presentations here. ... ".   Interesting set of presentations.  Nice view of whats going on, without a mention of Watson.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kroger Private Label Growth

Continued growth of retail private label, statistics:

How Kroger's private-label brands fuel growth 
Kroger's Simple Truth natural private-label brand is on track to reach $1 billion in annual sales, and its Kroger brand is the top-selling brand in its stores. The retailer's private-label brands have grown to account for 25% of grocery sales, company executives said, and Kroger has also added a range of lower-priced private labels for shoppers with smaller budgets, including P$$t for nonperishable items, Check this Out for household goods and Heritage Farm for fresh foods .... " 

Lean Innovation at Amazon

In Innovation Excellence:  Fascinating piece.  Reporting on a piece in the McKinsey Quarterly.    " ... The company’s information technology was always very good at understanding what the customer wanted and passing the right signal down. For example, the selection of the transportation method for a given package is driven, first, by the promised delivery date to the customer. Lower-cost options enter the equation only if they provide an equal probability of on-time delivery. That’s basically a Lean Principle  ... " 

Apple Pay vs the Wallet

In Adage:   A long time examination.  In particular, what are the retail implications of having an easy to use,  location aware system for payment and information access.

Google Goes Darpa

More on innovation strategies.

" ... The famously innovative search company has taken a page from the Pentagon’s radical ideas factory. Here’s what’s brewing in Silicon Valley’s coolest skunkworks.

Today Dugan is leading a cadre of big-idea special forces—called Advanced Technology and Projects group, or ATAP for short—on an even grander mission for parent Google, where the unit is slated to remain after the sale of Motorola to Lenovo is completed later this year. ... The challenge? Bringing to fruition a slew of next-generation mobile wonders—not in a generation’s time, mind you, but in a handful of years instead. And though the group is still in its early days, it appears on track to deliver some jaw-dropping technological leaps that would help cement the 51-year-old Dugan’s cachet in Silicon Valley and beyond. ....

So what’s the ATAP playbook? It starts with identifying a project that demands a quantum leap in both scientific understanding and engineering capability to pull off (more on that soon). Once that is done, Dugan works to assemble a core team of experts at Google. But that team quickly casts a much wider net, tapping what are often a huge number of outside collaborators from across a mix of disciplines in industry and academia. That allows ATAP, with a staff of just 75 full-time members, to be far smaller and scrappier than traditional research labs. ....  "

Cincinnati Business Intelligence Symposium


The 11th Cincinnati Business Intelligence Symposium on October 9, 2014 will showcase presentations from thought leaders in business analytics. Each presenter will discuss how big-data analytics can be used to give companies a competitive advantage. The event will also include opportunities for networking with other leading analytics professionals. Attendees will receive continental breakfast, box lunch and free parking.

Business Intelligence Speakers

Andy Kriebel: Data Visualization Guru, Facebook    "From Insights to Actions - Using Big Data to Drive Market Changing Decisions"

Jude Schramm: Chief Information Officer, Digital: GE Aviation   "The Industrial Internet: How GE is Optimizing Assets and Operations with Big Data and Analytics"

Steven Pino, National Vice President of Business Analytics Services North America SAP  "Reimagining Sports and Business with Big Data"

Jeff Ficke: Senior Vice President, Payments Strategy & Innovation, Fifth Third Bancorp "TBA"



World Bank Data Visualization Tool

Visualization at the World Bank ...  in particular integrating visualization into communications and decision process is a good direction.

" ... The World Bank has launched a new website that allows users to track progress toward 12 of the institution’s key targets, including process simplification, citizen engagement and knowledge sharing with clients. ....

The World Bank chief suggested that the next step will be to turn the real-time tracking tool into an information platform for the way the financial institution does business every day. How that may affect bank employees, partners, contractors and clients, however, remains to be seen. ... " 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Future of Work is Face to Face

In FastCompany:   Look at the future of work.

" ... Forget what you think you know about the office of the future.  No you won't all be working from home. The surprising reasons while Google's Bee keeping group and Instant messengers are so powerful. .... 

Forget what you know about how to maximize productivity. ... 

That includes knowing which tasks can be breezed through with the help of a playlist, or exactly when to down that cup of coffee (or switch to another beverage) and when to mindlessly surf the web. .... According to a new report published in Harvard Business Review, the key to unlock the greatest productivity isn’t necessarily in the hands of the individual employee. Rather, authors Ben Waber, Jennifer Magnolfi, and Greg Lindsay posit that chance and face-to-face encounters are the way anyone working in the knowledge economy is going to improve performance. That’s in spite of technology that keeps us “connected,” even when we work remotely. .... " 

Supply Chain Control Risks

More compliance hints, here in the supply chain.  Emphasized in our talk this past week at the SCCE conference.  Just keeping an accurate list of connections like suppliers can be of considerable value in understanding risks.

How eSourcing software can tighten supply chain control
Complex, global supply chains present risks, but eSourcing software can improve oversight of suppliers and streamline the assessment of potential suppliers. For example, eSourcing allows supply chain managers to easily capture and analyze data on suppliers, highlighting potential problems. Meanwhile, "[c]aptured data can also easily be integrated into other supporting business systems e.g. Purchase-to-Pay, finance, MRP or logistics to offer users of these systems greater insight into supplier activity," writes Alun Morris of WaxDigital. .....  "

Media and Big Data

In Forbes:   Lots of rapidly changing data with great variety.   An excellent example of good place for applying big data analytics.  " ... Executives in nearly every industry are looking for ways to reap value from analytics, but media companies may have better opportunities than most. Every song listened to, every minute of video viewed, every online page that is clicked contributes to the mountains of data that tell them what audiences want. ... "

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3D Printer Launch into Space

In Mashable:  A 3D printer is scheduled to be launched into space tomorrow.   I remember a number of plans to test manufacture in zero G.  Not sure of the results of those experiments.   A natural next step?

Blog Stats and Tags

This blog is now nearly ten years old, has nearly 10,000 posts. It is supported by over 5,000 tweets.  @FranzD  ..  It grew out of an earlier enterprise blog that was started in 2001. Wanted to point out that all new posts are now tagged,  see the list  of 'Labels' at the bottom of each post.  Many older posts are now also tagged.   That often leads to useful additional coverage of a topic. You can also search by text at the top left of the blog, including text within quotes.  You can contact me via the comments, please do include your name.  I usually ignore anonymous comments, I will not post your info if it is obviously a private request.

Introduction to Ethnographic Field Research

Article and link to a PDF article on the topic.  We had an informal representative of the role in the enterprise, and found in particular the aspect of how they gathered knowledge about people and their behavior to be very useful.  " ... In this article, I will provide a simple introduction to the practice of ethnographic fieldwork and practical advice for writing fieldnotes. Ethnographic approaches, while born of the work conducted by anthropologists over one hundred years ago, are increasingly employed by researchers and others from a variety of backgrounds and for a multitude of purposes from the academic to the applied and even commercial.  ... " 

The New Digital Medicine

In the CACM:  How Digital Medicine is changing health care.  And a caution:  " ... Despite the pace of technological development, experts caution all these devices and digital platforms will not force major change quickly. "I do believe that this is the future of healthcare, but you can't just throw the technology out there and hope it will cure everything," says Steinhubl.  ... "It's going to take a really concerted effort of payers and providers and industry support to say we're going to totally reengineer health care and take advantage of this technology." ... " 

Evaluating MOOC in Coursera

One of the founding partners of the MOOC giant Coursera is the University of Pennsylvania.  The Most recent alumni magazine has an article on the evaluation of the MOOC experience  that contains useful in depth experiences and statistics.

" ... When Penn leapt into online education through a partnership with Coursera two years ago, the abrupt rise of “massively open online courses” was fueling rampant speculation about how they might transform the higher-education marketplace ... . Two million students later—that’s how many had registered for Penn’s Coursera offerings through this spring—emerging evidence has tempered expectations and begun to provide a more nuanced perspective. Appropriately enough, given the University’s large footprint in the MOOC realm, some of the most illuminating research has come out of Penn. ... " 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Alibaba IPO Emerges

If you have not seen it yet.  Alibaba.com  " ... We operate leading online and mobile marketplaces in retail and wholesale trade, as well as cloud computing and other services. We provide technology and services to enable consumers, merchants, and other participants to conduct commerce in our ecosystem. ... " 

My first look at this shows an Amazon like site with a very wide variety of goods.   Very fast response time. Prices look very good, but shipping prices were high on the few items I examined.

AI Meets the C-Suite

Good Historically Looking view of executive AI via McKinsey.
" ... Technology is getting smarter, faster. Are you? Experts including the authors of The Second Machine Age, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, examine the impact that “thinking” machines may have on top-management roles. ... " 

As this relates to cognitive assistants for executives, see this recent post. for considerable additional detail.

Multi Sensory Packaging

In Packaging Digest:  A long time area of innovation research. The use of touch sensory design in packaging and display. Tactility they are calling it.   Here there is no digital technology mentioned, but this leads to thinking about how touch can influence interaction.

Proximity Marketing

Short article in ClickZ on proximity marketing with beacons.  " .... Beacons have the ability to accelerate the mobile shopping experience and create increased engagement with consumers. Here are some examples of companies utilizing the technology to influence purchasing behavior. ... " 

The Challenge to Innovation

In Innovation Excellence:  The No. 1 Challenge.  To me it is culture and context.  Over a long career have seen many examples.  Here they suggest:   " ... The biggest challenge to innovation is not how to generate new ideas and opportunities. It’s how to make innovation a deeply embedded capability in the organization. 

What usually happens is that companies focus most of their efforts on the front end of innovation – so they launch some kind of ideation initiative with a lot of hoopla and they get a whole bunch of ideas. But then they hit a wall because there is no back end – there is no organizational system for effectively screening ideas, aligning them with the business strategy, allocating seed funding and management resources, and guiding a mixed portfolio of opportunities through the pipeline toward commercialization. So, invariably, what we find is that the whole innovation effort eventually withers. And all those enthusiastic innovators inside and outside the company become cynical and discouraged as they watch their ideas go nowhere  ... " 

Countering Fraud With Big Data

Obvious application.  Having more data lets you more easily extract outliers and patterns of interest.  Find correlations that don't need to be causation.  This has been done long before data was big, or even commonly available.  It can also lead you to patterns that I was reminded of by a practitioner of compliance earlier this week.  Data can be too good, track other indicators too well.  Indicating a manipulation to influence a result.

Simpler 3D Printing

3d printing for everyone.  Dremel's device is relatively simple to use.   Will these be as common as computers in the home?  " ... Dremel has announced the first 3D printer to come from a major tool manufacturer, the $999 Dremel 3D Idea Builder. Dremel called it a desktop machine for the masses.

The 3D Idea Builder is a fused deposition modeling (FDM) machine that uses a printer head that melts and extrudes a plastic filament layer upon layer to build an object; the thinner the layers, the better the "resolution" or smoothness of an 3D object's surface. ... " 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

P&G Looks for Video Innovation

In Adage:  " ... P&G Reaches Far and Wide, Including to NASA, to Cut Video Costs ... Space: The Final Frontier for Marketing Procurement? ... P&G casts wide net for ideas to cut $1B from marketing budget  ... Procter & Gamble is looking for fresh ideas on how to trim its marketing budget and cut costs on video production. The company recently posted a call for ideas on NASA.gov, among other websites, hoping to catch the attention of innovative thinkers ... " 

More About Watson Analytics

More about  Watson Analytics, from the recent announcements and presentations. Nicely done by connection Lillian Pierson in Data-Mania.com.  Would still like to see more views by data scientists in particular domain areas to see how it extends, augments and scales.

D2Cincinnati Speaks Digital Marketing

On September 22-23 a number of my former colleagues will be speaking at the D2Cincinnati conference at the Cincinnati HorseShoe Casino.  " ... Bringing together the best and the brightest minds in the digital field ...  ".   Still open for attendance, I plan to be there.    Sponsored by Kroger and others.

" ... D²Cincinnati (as in “Digital Dialogue”), now in its seventh year, is the one digital marketing conference to focus specifically on customer centricity – the concept of putting an organization’s customers at the center of its business and marketing decisions. Designed to capitalize on the wealth of consumer marketing and customer-centric companies in the Cincinnati area, D²Cincinnati zeroes in on the intersection where brands, retailers, and technology companies digitally connect with consumers to build relationships and foster long-term loyalty. .. " 

->[ I would have linked to the Cincinnati Enquirer's article on this, but their new slide-style interstitial ads are too confusing and irritating  to submit my readers to.  To the Enquirer's digital crew, fix this, or I will cease linking to your articles]

Best Practices for ECommerce Conversion

Interesting piece that covers many of the issues and best practices in ECommerce conversion, with associated statistics.

Lego as a Tool for Serious Thinking

Remember looking at this long ago.  Not sure how commonly it is used.  Small and useful tools for thinking.

" ... LEGO Serious Play is a way of using LEGO bricks to express feelings and ideas. It is used by adults (mostly), to collaborate and discuss relationships and concepts. The building is done in metaphors – which might sound odd at first, but our research shows that almost anyone can pick it up. The process offers a unique and powerful way for people to exchange ideas. .... "

See also Lego's description.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mining Massive Datasets

Coursera course from Stanford on Mining Massive Data Sets.  " ... This class teaches algorithms for extracting models and other information from very large amounts of data. The emphasis is on techniques that are efficient and that scale well. ...  "

CPG and E-Commerce

In AdAge: " ... Packaged-Goods Marketers Wade Warily Into E-commerce ... Big Brands Stymied by Executional Strategies in a World Where Online Retailers Control the Consumer Relationship ... " . Also with implications to current CPG to retailer relationships.   Lots of good stats in the piece.

Lying and Ethics

Since I was speaking at a compliance and ethics conference yesterday I have been keenly attuned to the meaning of the terms used by professionals in that area.  So is lying ethical ... good?  Under what conditions?    In Fastcompany, commenting on work at Wharton.  Video and text about the work at Wharton.

Apple Watch and Local Search

The emergence of the Apple Watch will likely start to popularize the use of watch displays by the public.  How will it influence location plays?  In Search Engine Watch:

" ...  Apple Watch will likely increase the number and frequency of hyper-local searches, making it even more important for businesses to ensure they can be found by consumers on the go.

What's more, per Apple, its WatchKit tool set means developers will "be able to easily create experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch," which, in turn, could also theoretically influence search and/or the interaction between businesses and consumers, depending what those developers cook up. ... "

Identity and Access Intelligence

Gave an invited talk at the SCCE Corporate Compliance conference yesterday in Chicago about compliance analytics.  Met a number of new people and saw examples of their work.  Here is an example that looked of interest, they are using data visualization to provide identity and access intelligence to detect data privacy breaches.  Good use of the method.  See:   Veriphyer.   See also their blog, which has lots of interesting examples.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Watson Analytics Announced Today

( More here later )  Have asked, and am getting more in depth access to this capability.  Will be posting more about the experience, and in particular how  it links to, augments, or even replaces current applications of analytics in a number of corporate contexts.  Stay tuned.   Particular thoughts?  Contact me.

Expected to be in Beta in September, available later this year.


" ... Developing technology is one thing; democratizing it is another. The latter involves finding the innovation that opens the door to widespread adoption with usefulness and usability.

In the personal computer era, it was the spreadsheet that transformed a hobbyists’ plaything into a must-have machine in corporate America. In mobile computing, it was Apple’s iPhone that brought the smartphone to the masses, establishing a new model for the gadgets as both smart and easy to use. In the era of big data, start-ups and big companies are in hot pursuit of a similar breakthrough, a vehicle to bring modern data analysis and prediction to the rank and file of business.

IBM thinks it has an answer, called Watson Analytics, which it announced on Tuesday. The offering is a software service, delivered over the cloud. As its name suggests, Watson Analytics is a result of a collaboration between teams from IBM’s data analysis group and its Watson unit, which has been built into a business in the three years since Watson beat human champions in the question-and-answer game “Jeopardy.”.... " 

In Smarter Planet.

Descriptive video.

And in CWorld.

Machine Learning for Data Value

In Informs Analytics Magazine

Machine Learning for Big Data Value.
Yes, big data helps unveil millions of facts about consumer behavior and trends. Leveraging emerging big data sources and types to gain a much more complete understanding of customer behavior – what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, what factors lead them to recommend a company to others – is strategic for virtually every company. But have data science organizations built the capabilities to truly harness big data? .... "

Macy's Rolls out Biggest Beacon Installation

Location based systems continue to move forward.  In ZDNet.

" ... Macy's rolls out retail's largest beacon installation  —  Summary: Macy's expects to complete the installation by early fall, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season.  —  Following a test run during last year's holiday shopping season at its flagship stores in New York City and San Francisco ...  Macy's expects to complete the installation by early fall, just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Once the rollout is completed, the department store chain said the shopBeacons will prompt users of the Shopkick to opt-in to receive store notifications. The retailer plans to begin more tailored shopper notifications in early spring 2015 ... "

The article also has a link to an article on five competitors to Apple iBeacon.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mathematica Launches in the Cloud

Now you can run Mathematica in the cloud.  " ... In the past, using Mathematica has always involved first installing software on your computer. But as of today that’s no longer true. Instead, all you have to do is point a web browser at Mathematica Online, then log in, and immediately you can start to use Mathematica—with zero configuration. .... ".  

More Research on History of Cognitive Assistants in Business

A number of past blog posts here, over a number of years,  have been mentioned in Jim Spohrer's Paper: "More Research on the History of Cognitive Assistants in Business"  in his service science archive.  This indexes some of the work that me and my colleagues did in this space.    He also transcribes the essence of some of our conversations about the topic.  I do hope that some of this learning from the past can be applied to some of the new cognitive/AI/Advisory advances being made today.  Many mentioned in this blog.  Your comments?  How can we work seriously together in this space?

Communities Work Better than Networks

We observed this too, just watching your network grow does not buy you anything.   You also need a community with purpose, alerts and measures.  Says the HBR.  I will add to that, the communities can also have little value if they do not have useful purposes.  That can be provided by leadership that observes and adjusts their activity.  And those steps reflect the context of what the community is about. Been observing several Linkedin Groups I am a member of and you can feel the difference in their direction and progress based on steps taken.  I want to go back to a group a month later and see it has achieved something.

Smart Cities as Big Opportunity

In the Cisco Blog.   A pretty common thought.  Consider a city as an internet of many things.  What can be done to improve, enhance and monetize the resulting mega network?  First I have seen numbers to support the effort.  Useful numbers, but I think this will move along incrementally and selectively.  I also rarely see the supply chain aspects of this.   Everyone understand cities need better transportation systems.  They also need that same transportation system to deliver resources effectively.

MIT AI Influencing Sensor Work

Had a reminder of MIT work with AI.  They influenced us, especially in manufacturing and sensor based applications of data AI.  And more about their history and projects underway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mayo Clinic Trials and Watson

In CIO:   The use of Watson for clinical trials.   Note the use of natural language interaction.  Key for what IBM is seeing as cognitive advisory applications.  " ... Mayo clinicians will leverage Watson's natural language processing and data analytics capabilities to quickly sift through millions of pages of clinical trial and patient data to match patients with appropriate clinical trials. ... " 

Three Vs vs Decision Process in Analytics

Three big Data Vs.   I agree with the premise, the decision process is more important than labels.  " .... Tony Cosentino, vice president and research director at research and advisory services firm Ventana Research, sees unanticipated outcomes and challenges with big data implementations. He warns that defining big data by the “three Vs” - volume, velocity and variety - turns into a very technical discussion and encourages organizations to focus instead on the decision-making process to find the most value from the data. ... "   (You need to register, I usually do not pass on links to these kinds of things, but I liked this. )

Smell Maps in the City

Interesting work in FastCompany.     With a geographic visualization.  We looked at a similar idea in retail, to influence shopping behavior.  But we did not get anywhere as far as this.    " ...  “Smellmaps” Chart City Odors, Mouth-Watering Or Repellant, Street By Street    ... Like a sommelier appreciates a fine wine, nose to glass, graphic designer Kate McLean appreciates a pungent street odor. Garlic, fresh laundry, cigarettes, malt: Nothing escapes the sensory maps she creates, charting cities in all their smelly glory. ... "

Cool DARPA Projects

Good overview, interesting ideas.  Often, as it says, addressing important real-world, civilian issues.
" ...  The experimental projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) often bring to mind the tech found in some sci-fi movies: robots, brain chips, self-patching defense systems. But DARPA's projects also point to some of the current real-world challenges the agency is trying to help solve.

The agency, for instance, is exploring virtual robotics to be used for disaster response. It's also building micro-scale vacuum pumps that could be incorporated into gas analyzers for detecting chemical agents. These are just some of the tech applications in the works. .... "

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bio Inspired Design for Cognitive Assistants

By Jim Spohrer:    In a piece about articles relevant to the topic, he writes:  " ... Third, this article made me think more about the question – what is the difference between a “good tool” and a cognitive assistant? CAD systems may be “good tools” but if the user or even better multiple users can talk and gesture with the systems understanding the input and changing what is displayed, and the system can learn by being shown or asked to refer to relevant examples in the literature, and the system can provide levels of confidence in proposed solutions (see discussion thread “A Very Brief History of Cognitive Assistants”) – then we have from “good tool” to more clearly a cognitive assistant for engineers working on bio-inspired designs. ... " 

Note further that this comes from  Service Science: Community site for Service Science Education and Research.  Which was new to me.  Now following.

Disappearance of Software Patents

In the US at least.  Software patents are rapidly disappearing as it is understood that software is not patentable. Interesting view and comments too.  I sent this on to people that should be in the know to determine if this is true and am awaiting response.    How will this influence compliance decisions?

SRI Cognitive Agents

Cognitive Agents that Learn and Organize

" ... SRI has dubbed its new project CALO, for Cognitive Agent that Learns and Organizes. The name was inspired by the Latin word "calonis", which means "soldier’s servant". The goal of the project is to create cognitive software systems, that is, systems that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise.

The software, which will learn by interacting with and being advised by its users, will handle a broad range of interrelated decision-making tasks that have in the past been resistant to automation. It will have the capability to engage in and lead routine tasks, and to assist when the unexpected happens. To focus the research on real problems and to ensure the software meets requirements such as privacy, security, and trust, the CALO project researchers will themselves use the technology during its development. .... " 

Digitizing the Customer Decision Journey

From McKinsey:  A Thoughtful piece.  " ... In a world where physical and virtual environments are rapidly converging, companies need to meet customer needs anytime, anywhere. Here’s how.
Many of the executives we speak with in banking, retail, and other sectors are still struggling to devise the perfect cross-channel experiences for their customers—experiences that take advantage of digitization to provide customers with targeted, just-in-time product or service information in an effective and seamless way. ... " 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kellogg Consumer Centric Data Case Study

An Ad from Aimia.

" ... Transforming CPG Loyalty With Consumer Centric Data    
It is an exciting time for the CPG industry. Building loyalty with consumers is no longer limited to retailers, airlines and hotels. CPG's also have the ability for direct dialogue and access to end users without the historical dependency on the retailer to provide this data. With more power than ever over the consumer-brand relationships, loyalty programs provide the means to capture direct insight into CPG end users in turn fostering deeper relationships. ... " 

" ... These are just a few of the benefits loyalty programs can provide. Download the Kellogg's Family Rewards case study to learn how Aimia helped create a program for Kellogg Company, designed to drive engagement and build real relationships with their consumers... " 

Sounds like P&G's 1 Consumer Place.

Complete Overview description from GMA.
For complete report.  Requires registration.

Big Data and C Suite Value

In CIO.  Lots of stories to tell here.   Not too much different than it has always been when translating any kinds of analytics to executives.  But now the promise of value and its scale may be greater.  Also, many execs are realizing that their data is an asset, and has value.    Also that their data includes a risk, and just understanding it as liability is of value.

A View of the Future of Analytics

Short post from IBM's AnalyticsZone Blog on The current state of analytics and visualization.  There you can sign up for the Watson Analytics beta.  But it just asks for an email address to get back to you later, which is what I did months ago.  The connection between the two is crucial and needed now.

SAP Improves its Visualization, Analytics

Good to finally see this.  It seems they had fallen behind for some time. " ...  SAP has made a series of updates to its InfiniteInsight predictive modeling software and Lumira data-visualization tool in a bid to shore up its foothold in the analytics market.  ... "  Has links to a deeper description.


I see that colleagues Elena and Ed Fullman are featured in the local paper.  Best of luck to them.

" ... Each week Cintrifuse and Cincinnati.com turn the spotlight on a hometown startup - highlighting the activity and stories around companies getting their start in the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem.

... InfraRed's FUSION analytics product helps marketers and IT organizations make sense of complex data generated by partners, third parties, and within their enterprise (e.g. back-office systems, retail locations, call centers, logistics, online and e-commerce, etc.). ... 

FUSION enables business users to understand the relationship and the performance of their strategies for advertising and marketing, customer service, distribution and inventory, retail and ecommerce, and even product design and pricing ... " 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MCX Mobile Wallet

In GigaOM:  More mobile wallets emerging.  Are we finally seeing the major move? Ten years plus since we saw the first presentations from vendors.  " ... MCX launches CurrentC, a mobile wallet for Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers ... MCX’s long-awaited mobile wallet is now in a few pilot programs, but starting in 2015, it will become available to consumers at some of the biggest retail and restaurant chains in the country. ... " 

Understanding Ageing with Calico

Calico Labs:
" ... We’re tackling aging, one of life’s greatest mysteries. ... Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place. .. " 

Thomas Wilckens, MD, serial entrepreneur, visionary technology, innovation and business model leader, PRECISION   Takes a further look in Linkedin.  Saying it will be a success and why.

DebateGraph Visualizing Networks of Thought

Brought to my attention again via a connect with co-founder David Price.  DebateGraph: " ... DebateGraph is an award-winning, web-platform for visualizing and sharing networks of thought – and opening reasoning and action to collaborative learning and iterative improvement. ... Create your own maps and explore and contribute to maps created by amongst others: CNN, the White House, the UK Prime Minister's Office, The Independent, and the Foreign Office. ... " 

Viv Intelligence as a Utility

Continuing to follow.

" ... Siri’s Inventors Are Building a Radical New AI That Does Anything You Ask ....

 " ... Viv is a global platform that enables developers to plug into and create an intelligent, conversational interface to anything. It is the simplest way for the world to interact with devices, services and things everywhere. Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day. Learn about Viv’s team, technology, and vision.

How will this compete with projects like Watson?  Now examining how the enterprise will utilize AI.

Math Makes the Internet Faster

From this summer, just taking a closer look:

" ... Researchers at Aalborg University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the California Institute of Technology say they have developed software that can make Internet communications via computer, mobile phone, or satellite significantly faster and more secure. The researchers used their new method to download a four-minute video five times faster than with existing state-of-the-art technology. ... " 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

On a Robot as Your Boss

Nice article in K@W:  The scenario of how robots could be used in close collaboration and real autonomy have been researched.  Closing the loop on measures that have been captured for a long time. And just recently the topic of 'your data as your boss' has also been brought up.   But then it is really happening already, though still loosely:  

" .... Totally automated management may seem far-fetched, and, indeed, few see the day when the authority figure in the corner office is an automaton. But in recent years, a surprising array of managerial functions has been turned over to artificial intelligence. Computers are sorting resumes of job seekers for relevant experience and to estimate how long a potential employee is likely to stay. They are mapping email exchanges, phone calls and even impromptu hallway interactions to track workflow and recommend changes. Widely used software is analyzing customer data for algorithms, which in turn is changing when and where workers are deployed. ... " 

Soft Starfish Robots

More practical than models that use stiff bodies?  Unclear, but an interesting play ... " ... The bots undulate and walk using compressed air that is forced in and out of many tiny pneumatic channels running through their limbs—essentially, they get inflated and deflated like balloons. These soft robots, inspired by creatures such as starfish, worms, and squid, could one day squirm through obstacle courses that might prove challenging or impossible for metallic robots.  ... " 

Whole Foods Accepts Apple Pay

Continuing to follow efficient and secure digital wallet ideas.  Here a new development with major players. " ... Whole Foods Market Inc. will be among the first merchants to participate with Apple Pay, Apple Inc.’s new mobile payment program that uses the iPhone to make purchases, the grocery store company announced. .. " .  An ambitious bet, the NYT says.   Due in October.

Classic AI Resources Online

I see that Georgia Tech is offering a new course on AI and Cognitive systems.  And one of the books of readings is available free online.  This is the same book we used in the 90s.  Excellent resource. Artificial Intelligence. Patrick Winston. Third Edition. MIT Press 1993.   Good, quite readable book we also used as an internal resource.

 .... Later I was pointed to some videos of Winston's teaching.

Disruptive Innovation and Market Leaders

In Knowledge@Wharton:  How does disruptive innovation effect market leaders?  Not unexpected results, will be interesting to see some numbers.

" ... a study soon to be published in Management Science discovered that disruptive innovations need not lead to an incumbent’s fall, despite prevailing academic theory arguing otherwise. The paper, “Dynamic Commercialization Strategies for Disruptive Technologies: Evidence from the Speech Recognition Industry,” was authored by Wharton management professor David Hsu, Matthew Marx, a professor of technological innovation, entrepreneurship and strategic management at MIT, and Joshua Gans, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto.

Indeed, the authors discovered that start-ups introducing disruptive technologies with long-term potential are more likely to end up licensing to incumbents or agreeing to be acquired rather than turning into rivals. While these start-ups would initially compete with established firms, the motivation is to prove the worth of their innovation to a skeptical industry that has not seen it before. ... " 

Advanced Analytics in Insurance

Article from  McKinsey:  " ... Advanced analytics can transform how insurers do business, but realizing its potential requires complex, large-scale organizational changes. ... Actuaries using advanced math and financial theory to analyze and understand the costs of risks have been the stalwarts of the insurance business forever. Indeed, the analytics performed by actuaries are critically important to an insurer’s continued existence and profitability. ... " 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Machine Learning Future

Interview with machine learning expert David Blei.  " ... I think that one of the next breakthroughs in modern machine learning and statistics will involve observational data. Previously, machine learning has focused on prediction; observational data has been difficult to understand and the activity of exploring data was a fuzzily defined activity. Now, data sets are much larger ("big data") and practitioners need to be able to quickly explore, understand, visualize, and summarize them. Revisiting observational data in the context of larger data sets (and the new pressing need) will lead to new methods and new theory around what we can say about observational data. ... " 

Moving Portraits

In CACM:  Augmentation to storytelling?   A Vimeo demonstration.

We present an approach for generating face animations from large image collections of the same person. Such collections, which we call photobios, are remarkable in that they summarize a person's life in photos; the photos sample the appearance of a person over changes in age, pose, facial expression, hairstyle, and other variations. Yet, browsing and exploring photobios is infeasible due to their large volume. By optimizing the quantity and order in which photos are displayed and cross dissolving between them, we can render smooth transitions between face pose (e.g., from frowning to smiling), and create moving portraits from collections of still photos. ... " 

Visual Control of Big Data

Visual Control of Big Data - MIT    Very interesting new development.

" ... The Database Group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has released a data-visualization tool that lets users highlight aberrations and possible patterns in the graphical display; the tool then automatically determines which data sources are responsible for which. ... 

It could be, for instance, that just a couple of faulty sensors among dozens are corrupting a very regular pattern of readings, or that a few underperforming agents are dragging down a company’s sales figures, or that a clogged vent in a hospital is dramatically increasing a few patients’ risk of infection. ...  

  ... The idea of provenance tracking is not new, but Wu’s system is particularly well suited to the task of tracking down outliers in data visualizations. Rather than simply telling the user the million data entries that were used to compute the outliers, it first identifies those that most influenced the outlier values, and summarizes those data entries in human readable terms. ... " 

Monday, September 08, 2014

Navigating the Future, Today

Sorry I saw this very late, someone should have sent it to me!  On a TED talk by Christopher Ahlberg, who worked with us on the question of how to understand and time map the future, based on our knowledge of the past.  I regret we never integrated this into our other knowledge focusing efforts, it should be there.  Still trying to make that happen. " ... Is it really possible to know the future? Recorded Future CEO Christopher Ahlberg says yes, if we organize the web for analysis, rather than search. With those insights in hand, leaders can make remarkably better decisions – and know the future, now. ... " 

Building Google's Quantum Computer.

Google has been working on the idea for some time, including testing the D-Wave computer mentioned here a number of times.  Now some interesting details about the quest in Wired.   This could result in new advances in analytics.  " ... Google launched its Quantum A.I. Lab last year to test a machine called the D-Wave Two, an intriguing but controversial system that its makers bill as a quantum computer, and it believes quantum computing could play a key role in so many of its future ambitions, from self-driving cars and other robots to better predictive analytics systems for products like Google Now to things we haven’t even dreamed up yet. Thanks to what’s called the superposition principle of quantum mechanics, it could process data for such projects at speeds that are exponentially faster than what you get from today’s machines. ... " 

Preferences for Autonomous Control

Some research that seems to indicate how people think about robots that take control.  We will ultimately have to deal with these questions.

" ... If a company wants humans and robots to work more seamlessly together, they need to give the robots more freedom to work on their own.

A study released today from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab shows that despite decades of fear-inducing movies and TV shows like Terminator and Battlestar Galactica , people do want robots to have a lot of autonomy - especially robots working side-by-side with humans.

Giving robots control over manufacturing tasks, for instance, that were once the sole domain of humans is not just more efficient -- it's actually preferred by the workers, according to MIT ... " 

Stress Detection from Google Glass

In Engadget: Saw similar work at MIT in previous years, and tested the use of affective sensors attached to glasses to detect emotional reaction to product in context.  An early neuroscience application.

Disney Magic via Big Data and MagicBand

Interesting examples of a company providing magic via big data.  Disney, quite an entertainment colossus now, is known for leveraging emerging technology. Only one example:

" ... Enter: The MagicBand. It's the magic potion, so to speak, for Disney's MyMagic+ initiative. A wearable piece of technology, customized with your color preference and name, and equipped with RFID as well as a (rumored) long-range radio transceiver. While donning the band on Disney property, your to-the-minute behaviors are collected, processed and activated in real time so that Disney can respond more efficiently and relevantly than ever before. It eliminates the need for room keys, parking tickets and credit cards, thus creating the ultimate convenience for park-goers while also providing Disney with critical data on the behaviors of it's customers. ...  " 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

End of Build it Yourself Software

In GigaOM:   This has been happening for a long time, but recent excursions through enterprise halls show this is becoming more true.   Much less is being purpose built.  Yet if you look at what is actually done, what people are doing looks much like programming.   Or at least carefully arranging to make sure it works. That often requires a good logical understanding of what works.   Under a particular set of application rules.

Advisory System for Recipes

Bon Appetit articles on the use of advisory systems to build or enhance food recipes.  Including a number of actual recipes created this way.  Are the creative?  How would creativity be built into the problem.  Still awaiting my subscription to this capability to test it further.  Includes an interesting history of cooking with computers.

Linkedin Retiring InMaps

We were exposed to this tool some time ago as a means to gain insight into corporate structure.  Now Linkedin is retiring it.  Would like to hear of cases where it was used practically by organizations, beyond simple curiosity.  The service is now already unsupported.  Linkedin says they plan to replace it with an alternative network visualization method.  Previously here on Inmaps.

Updating Our Address in the Galaxy

I like to know my address.  GPS now provides me with one accurate location metric.  Now Nature reports on another measure: " ... Earth's new address: 'Solar System, Milky Way, Laniakea' ... Analysis of galaxies shows local supercluster to be 100 times larger than previously thought. ... " . Add that to your drivers license.  A nice (Big) data visualization video is included.  Which visualizations describe the results well. .  The clustering methods used made me think of applications to other fields.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Resources for Cognitive App Development

Have been exploring in more depth some of the detail behind IBM Watson/Cognitive.  Particularly interested in how this differs from work we did in the 90s in the field of what we then called  'expert systems', a practically oriented subset of AI.  That work was successful, but ultimately not sustainable and did not meet hype expectations of the time.    Jim Spohrer of IBM sends along a link to some useful introductory video resources. " ...  on developing cognitive apps - part of the Cognitive Computing Courses going on at ten major universities now, with access to the Watson Developer Cloud ..  " 

Capturing Sentiment from Financial News

From the ACM:   Talk on determining sentiment and prediction from text analysis in financial news.  This requires filling out a registration.  " ... Can the choice of words and tone used by the authors of financial news articles correlate to measurable stock price movements?  If so, can the magnitude of price movement be predicted using these same variables ... " 

How Retail Hacking Works: Danger at Point of Sale

A very instructive piece in the Cisco Blog about how retail hacking at point of sale works, and how it can be addressed.  Must reading.   " ... With the announcement that yet another major retailer has allegedly been breached, it is important to review how attackers compromise retail systems and how such intrusions can be prevented. In this latest case, US retailer Home Depot is investigating to determine if a large cache of credit card information offered for sale on the rescator.cc underground trading forum originated as a result of a breach in their systems. ...  " 

Interview with Jim Goodnight

An interview in Forbes with SAS data guru and founder Jim Goodnight.  Met him a number of times during their work with our enterprise, always interesting.  Some useful strategic insight.

Digital Transforming Retail

How digital is transforming retail: The view from eBay
Does mobile commerce spell the end of traditional stores? In this series of short videos, Devin Wenig, the president of eBay Marketplaces, explains the impact of digitization and why retailers must evolve to survive ... " 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Auctioneers Join Forces

More in the auction management space.   Which has many interesting ontological implications.  " ...  Six leading regional auction houses have joined forces to launch the online bidding platform Bidsquare.com. The firms, which include Brunk in Asheville, N.C.; Cowan’s in Cincinnati, Ohio; Leslie Hindman in Chicago; Pook & Pook, Inc, in Downingtown, Penn.; Rago in Lambertville, N.J.; and Skinner, Inc, in Boston, have combined annual sales of roughly $200 million. In a notable display of trust, the sometimes rivals have pooled their client mailing lists numbering 100,000 qualified buyers. The founders are inviting other reputable houses to join their initiative. ... "  

McKinsey on the Next 50 Years

A new collection of articles from McKinsey.   Just starting to take a look at this.  For example: " ... Management intuition for the next 50 years ... The collision of technological disruption, rapid emerging-markets growth, and widespread aging is upending long-held assumptions that underpin strategy setting, decision making, and management. ... " 

Making up Identities

In Wired: Thoughts on what leads people to change their identity, and the implications. " ... Sockpuppetry—using false identities for deception—is centuries old, but the advent of the web has made creating sockpuppets, and falling for their tricks, easier than ever before.

We can’t physically meet most of the people we interact with on the internet. So we create avatars who represent us in the online world, personae that are designed—on some level, conscious or subconscious—to shape others’ ideas about who we really are. Indeed, it’s natural for us to create avatars that represent what we want to be rather than what we are. And it’s only a short step from there to manipulating others’ perceptions of us to give ourselves an advantage of some sort, to deceive. To become puppet masters.  ... " 

Human Computer Interaction: Present and Future

In Computing Now:  Very good,  extensive view of the topic. Increasingly important was we use systems in new ways. Current and future trends.

" ... Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a multidisciplinary research area focused on interaction modalities between humans and computers; sometimes, the more general term human-machine interface (HMI) is used to refer to the user interface in a manufacturing or process-control system. In other words, the HCI discipline investigates and tackles all issues related to the design and implementation of the interface between humans and computers. Due to its nature and goals, HCI innately involves multiple computer science-related disciplines (image processing, computer vision, programming languages, and so on) as well as disciplines related to human sciences (ergonomics, human factors, cognitive psychology, and so on). Research about HCI primarily concerns the design, implementation, and assessment of new interfaces to improve the interaction between humans and machines. The term improve can be related to several aspects, including intuitiveness of use and interface robustness ... "  

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A Dictionary for Text Mining

An interesting article on the topic.  You need some sort of domain area ontology to understand what you are mining.  We built similar dictionaries for parts of an enterprise.  Not sure now practical this is for an application, but worth understanding.

Intel Unveils Bracelets

New kind of wearable, the bracelet.  Intel unveils a 3G simple wearable.  No phone tether required. Message display with a jewelry look.   I know people that are using wearables in watch form that like the idea.

Honda as a World Class Innovator

Bob Herbold uses a recent book to show how Honda is a world class innovator.  Well and simply put.

Partnerships Between Unlikely Brands

In ClickZ.  Becoming more common.  Makes the case that the future is creating opportunities for new connections.  " ... So what's fueling these partnerships? Empowered consumers with the knowledge of the world in their pockets who can force organizations to operate in an ever-more transparent fashion, and expect immediate responsiveness. Customers are expecting seamless experiences. And these expectations of seamless experiences go beyond the boundaries of a business' purview. We see the need for organizations to partner to create engagement ecosystems with companies that may provide a service that somehow relates - and sometimes doesn't - to their own customer value proposition. ... " 

Business Process Management

Looking at Business process modeling.  It seems this technique is less mentioned these days, although it can be a key way to connect business decision process and analytics.  Consider its use.  Even simple applications can lead to improved process.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Reciprocity Advantage: Innovation and Organization

New book by my two former colleagues: The Reciprocity Advantage.

" ... Bob Johansen, best-selling author and Distinguished Fellow at IFTF, has partnered with innovation expert Karl Ronn to uncover what they believe will be the biggest innovation opportunity in history in their forthcoming book, The Reciprocity Advantage. Through illustrative examples from leading organizations and an eye to the future, Johansen and Ronn present a four-part model that shows how organizations can give away assets to form partnerships, leading to collaborative experimentation and scalable new business opportunities.  ... 

" ... Johansen and Ronn explain that reciprocity, an old concept, will be reimagined within a future context of connective technologies, generational shifts, and new organizational models to provide a distinct competitive advantage. To win in this world, businesses will need to  (1) uncover their right-of-way, the underutilized resources they already own that they can share with others; (2) find partners who can help them do what they cannot do alone; (3) experiment to learn through cloud-based systems; and (4) scale the results, but only when the business’ reciprocity advantage is desirable, viable, and ownable. If it’s not scalable, it’s not worth doing—and the authors describe technologies that make scaling up faster than ever. .... " 

More and pre-order information.   Video.   I plan to read and comment here later.

Seeing the Invisible

Seeing through walls with Wifi.   With concern, " .... Wi-Fi makes all kinds of things possible. We can send and receive messages, make phone calls, browse the Internet, even play games with people who are miles away, all without the cords and wires to tie us down. At UC Santa Barbara, researchers are now using this versatile, everyday signal to do something different and powerful: looking through solid walls and seeing every square inch of what’s on the other side. Built into robots, the technology has far-reaching possibilities.  ... "