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Saturday, October 31, 2015

HP Splits in Two

Worked with them for a long time, since they ran our plant systems:
Afterwards with HP Labs.

" ... When HP splits in two on Sunday after a year of planning, what is left will bear little resemblance to the engineering-driven company founded more than 75 years ago in a garage not far from Stanford University. 

On one side will be HP Inc., which will largely consist of personal computers and printers. On the other, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, or HPE, which will sell the computer servers, data storage, networking, software and consulting services that run a modern company. Each company is expected to have annual revenue of about $50 billion and will be among America’s 500 largest public companies.  ... " 

Watson Provides Health on Apple Watch

In Fortune:  IBM's Watson makes its health care debut on the Apple Watch  by  Laura Lorenzetti
" ... The app, developed by Welltok of Denver, takes advantage of Watson’s natural language capabilities to allow CaféWell Concierge to become more personalized over time as the cognitive computer reasons and learns. Users can talk directly to the app to ask questions about health, nutrition, exercise or even IBM’s health benefit details and get quick answers. ... " 

Chatham House Rules

This was brought to mind during planning for a meeting, I researched the background of the 'Chatham house rules', which we used at times when working with external experts:  From the Wikipedia:

" ... The Chatham House Rule or rules is a system for holding debates and discussion panels on controversial issues, named after the headquarters of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (situated in St James's Square, London), also known as Chatham House, where the rule originated in June 1927.

At a meeting held under the Chatham House Rule, anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion, but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment. It is designed to increase openness of discussion.  ... " 

Instrumenting the Human

A rapid convergence of human and machine work processes.  Happening now.

" ... When it comes to the digital workplace, the popular opinion, and fear, is that machines are encroaching upon human work activities and taking an ever larger percentage of this work away for good — from the dirty and dangerous, to the dull, to decisions. Fortunately, this doesn’t take into account the realm of possibilities created when work processes are reimagined in the context of mutual human-machine collaboration.

By instrumenting the human and socializing the machine, we can redesign business processes to optimize the blend of human-machine participation and interaction — and complete tasks far more efficiently than either could individually. Machines are stepping out from behind the cage, and humans are stepping into their worlds. ... "

Think Tanks on Demand

Was just exposed to   Convetit:   " ... ThinkTanks On Demand  .... Custom research in days instead of months ... ... How we work ... From a single scoping discussion with your team .... Convetit Certified Facilitators orchestrate custom engagements yielding compelling results in just 14 days, end to end.  ... " 

Some examples in their blog.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Even Wal-Mart is Thinking about Drones

Google, Amazon and Wal-Mart join FAA drone task force

Google, Amazon and Wal-Mart have joined the government's task force charged with figuring out a registration and identification system for drones.

The companies, all three of which are working on drone delivery systems, are among 25 members that have been asked to formulate recommendations by Nov. 20 on how such a registration system would work and what types of drones should be exempt. Their work will begin with a three-day meeting next week.   .... "

More on Wal-Mart testing Drones.  In Reuters:

" ... Wal-Mart Stores Inc applied Monday to U.S. regulators for permission to test drones for home delivery, curbside pickup and checking warehouse inventories, a sign it plans to go head-to-head with Amazon in using drones to fill and deliver online orders.

The world's largest retailer by revenue has for several months been conducting indoor tests of small unmanned aircraft systems – the term regulators use for drones - and is now seeking for the first time to test the machines outdoors. It plans to use drones manufactured by China's SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd. ... " 

Example Use of Watson for Social Benchmarking

Always looking for good, simple examples of the use of cognitive methods, and thus also Watson. Just recently connected with Eric Santos, of Benchmark Intelligence,  and he writes how they use Watson for their social intelligence bench marking and trending. A good example of what can be done.

" ... Benchmark is a product suite that helps retail chains understand why certain locations perform better than others. Benchmark discovers the factors (customer service, product quality, cleanliness, etc) that affect unit performance. Benchmark Intelligence is a proud IBM Watson ecosystem partner. 

Currently Benchmark collects its data through various ways which includes social media listening, SMS comments, surveys and field audits. A good portion of this data is qualitative and unstructured. We needed a way to run analysis on this data and identify trends, that’s why we turned to IBM Watson. 

Benchmark is leveraging Watson’s Alchemy languages, specifically their sentiment analysis and keyword extraction technologies. We are using these cognitive technologies to analyze this unstructured data and discover the variables (customer service, cleanliness, etc.) that affect performance at each location. 

Watson looks at thousands of open-ended data points (social media reviews, SMS comments, etc.) on our platform for any given chain. For each data point Watson defines whether the statement as a whole is positive, negative or neutral. Watson also identifies the key words that make up the statement. That way as locations gather more data points, we can identify the trends that are going on at each location in the chain. 

Example use cases of this include knowing that customers complained about cockroaches at a specific location 5 times in one week and customers at another location in the same chain complained about a cashier named Bryan 4 times in one week.

Once Benchmark understand what these trends are, we can surface actionable insights that retail chains can use to improve the performance across their portfolio of locations.   .... " 

Clorox Mapping Flu Real Time with Social

This relates to some work we did in the 90s on detecting epidemics and bioterror.  See the tag,

Clorox analyzes social media to predict flu outbreaks 
Clorox is promoting its sanitation products with an online push called Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse, which gives consumers a real-time flu report for their locality based on analysis of social media conversations. Clorox's tool is the first to use social chatter for flu predictions, rather than mapping outbreaks as they happen, said marketing professor Jonah Berger. Consumers can also add their own information using the hashtag #StoptheSpread. MediaPost Communications (10/28)

Games, Visualization and the Supply Chain

Nice idea, recall doing a similar thing with a simulation.   Any visualization can be seen as a simple game. You interact, see changes visually and repeat. A 'score' is recorded.  Constraints can often be seen well visually.  

Visualizing supply chain improvements in a gamelike atmosphere 
Robert Carver provides a clear look at how to see yard management system and supply chain methods as a game, where it's possible to visualize capabilities and react intuitively using a graphic interface. Melded with the transportation management system and warehouse management system, it allows a business to schedule inbound and outboard loads to optimize dock and yard space, manage maintenance and upkeep, manage third-party trailers and coordinate inventory, he says. Manufacturing Business Technology  .... " 

Quotes from a Data Science Pioneer

There is truth in these 30 quotes.   But many are debate-able depending on context. My favorite is the very first:

1.) Data science without sustainable, measurable added value, is not data science ...... 

Worth a further scan.

IOT, a Nightmare?

This points back to needing better IOT standards and methods.   I am seeing this already as I attach a few new devices to a still relatively simple smart home.

" ... You’ve heard the hype: The Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the way we live and work, bring us untold benefits like cutting our utility bills and warning us when the milk has gone sour, and be the engine for the next great economic boom. McKinsey claims, for example, that the IoT could have an impact of $11.1 trillion per year by 2025 — about 11% of the world economy, by McKinsey’s estimate.

I’m not an economist, so I can’t comment on McKinsey’s estimates. But based on my recent experiences with Internet access built into a variety of “things” in my house, the IoT could become our worst personal IT nightmare ..." 

" ... Once upon a time, being your home’s IT director meant knowing how to troubleshoot one or two PCs. Then you had to learn how to troubleshoot wireless networks. After that came smartphones and tablets. Soon it will be every device you own. How many hours do you think you’ll be spending being your house’s IT director in the IoT future? More than you want to spend. Certainly more than I do. Because I have seen the IoT future, and it doesn’t work. .. " 

Clorox Bets on Programmatic Advertising

Another example of automation, widely underway.

" ... Cleaning supply company Clorox is a big believer in programmatic online advertising, despite industry-wide challenges around fraud, viewability and transparency.

This year, Clorox Co. will spend three times as much on digital advertising purchased with automated buying tools than it did during 2014, according to Chief Marketing Officer Eric Reynolds. That means about 50% of its entire digital budget will end up being dedicated to programmatic buying this year. .... " 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Internet of Things: Why Now?

Why now?  Because the ability to connect universally is coming into place, and the analytics to make some useful sense of it is also.  We saw the early years of it in the application of first barcodes and then RFID in retail.  Now we are approaching much more connectivity, more pervasive signalling and better analytics.

From the question posed in the Cisco Blog. 

Cognitive Assistant for Dementia Patients

Today's CSIG talk.  Slides, video, discussion and more at the link.   A focused example of an intelligent assistant.

Kognit - a Cognitive Assistant for Dementia Patients! Amazing research and demonstration!
Daniel Sonntag, from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, gave an amazing presentation and demonstration today on "Kognit: Cognitive Assistants for Dementia Patients" as part of our Cognitive Systems Institute Speaker Series.    ...   "

Social Oculus App Brings Group Interaction

New Alpha social version of the Oculus VR:  Could this be used to test kinds of social behavior?  Social as a new form of augmentation?   Physical space and layered social spaces.  What are the rules of behavior?

Exploring Business Models

In Tech Review: Good, short statement of the past and the future regarding atoms vs bits.  " ... Business Models, Information Technology, and the Company of the Future ..... " .  

Intelligence TV

Intelligence TV is a world‑class team of dedicated machine learning entrepreneurs, luminaries and scholars — a cogent growing force of true connoisseurs, innovative organizations and ultra-affluent leaders — offering state of the art techniques from artificial intelligence to build the best deep learning algorithms ... "   Via Conor Cusack

Teradata Listener

Analyzing real time streams of data,  from real systems, or from simulations or prototypes or models, is a useful concept.

Teradata doubles down on IoT with two new tools .... 
" ... The Internet of Things is a big part of what makes big data so big, and on Monday, analytics provider Teradata unleashed two new tools to help make sense of the vast troves of data it produces.

Teradata Listener and Teradata Aster Analytics on Hadoop help users "listen" to massive streams of IoT data in real time and then use analytics to find the distinctive underlying patterns.

Teradata Listener is self-service software for ingesting and distributing individual or multiple data streams from sources including sensors, telematics, mobile events, click streams, social media feeds and IT server logs. ... " 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Issues with Qualitative Data

Via O'Reilly:   " ... 10 problems with qualitative data .... Pitfalls to avoid when you're dealing with qualitative information. ... "    Video by Farrah Bostic.   Some very good, but qualitative,  thoughts.   Many that are really just forms of confirmation bias.

Data as Liability vs Asset

In Adage:   " ... Why Data Can Be More of a Liability Than an Asset  ... When the Amount of Data Gets Truly Big, So Do the Problems in Managing It All   ... ".  Good general piece.   Would further consider formal risk management before stepping into this, and comparing data as assets to data as risk.   Metadata management can also be important to assure risk management.

Amazon Fulfillment Networks

I am a long time supply chain designer and engineer.  So it was interesting to see how one of the biggest retailers on earth addresses the problem.  In RetailingToday. Fulfillment here, not the same thing as a manufacturer's end to end supply chain, but it turns out also to be very complex.    Mostly a surface description, but with some interesting implications for all supply networks.   And how they evolve.   Also very heavily number driven and leveraged by anaytical needs .

IT Trends and Service Management

Presenter for the ISSIP Service Innovation Weekly Speaker Series was Professor Jerry Luftman, Founder & Managing Director of the Global Institute for IT Management.  We will continue discussions from his earlier presentation on March 18, 2015 (IT Trends & Service Management).   Slides.

Selection of IOT Books

A list of good Internet of Things books.  Admit I have not read any of these.  Books on technology can be useful and interesting, but by their nature are always out of date.  I generally find resources on the Web more useful.

Kroger Expands Click and Collect

Another option for the consumer.   I assume then that the creative and engaging aspects of shopping will have to be placed in the device?

Kroger customers who don’t have time to do their own shopping have another option.
At its investor meeting, Kroger officially announced the name of its click & collect program – “ClickList.” Click & collect lets customers select (and in many cases pay) for groceries online. Store employees then gather the items off store shelves for convenient customer pickup. .... "

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

IBM Buying Weather Co. Digital and Data Assets

We watched the early use of weather data by Wal-Mart.  Now a major player thinks this data source can provide key context to many decisions.   In the WSJ: " .... IBM Nearing Acquisition of Weather Co.’s Digital and Data Assets .... Deal could be announced as early as Wednesday ... "   Again, always understand context.    Many pieces coming out of IBM on its uses.

Machine Learning Elevator Models

Some of the earliest modeling work we did was with elevator like conveyance systems ....  Where we used data from real elevator operations.  But the results seem never to have been useful enough.  For some interesting reasons that may be be bridged by the IOT.  In FastCompany: 

How Microsoft and ThyssenKrupp's Elevator tech saves office workers years of waiting.  MAX brings elevators into the Internet of Things with hughway-like traffic control.  Your morning commute might just get faster.  .... 

"Machine learning is the real secret sauce," says Turner. "Predictive analytics let us know exceptions. But we no longer want to report exceptions—we want to prevent them." ... 

IoT hasn't reached elevators partially because they've lasted so long. It would be easier to iterate if elevators wore out quickly, but elevators aren’t smartphones. With 50- or 60-year life spans, ThyssenKrupp decided that their MAX technology must be able to retrofit old elevators instead of requiring companies to buy wholly new elevators. And even if they're upgrading elevators they didn't build, retrofitting elevators is still a booming field: There are 20,000 new elevators installed in the U.S. every year. China, meanwhile, is expecting 500,000 new elevators every year, says Schierenbeck.  ... " 

Neural Networks and Deep Learning

Neural Networks and Deep Learning is a free online book. The book will teach you about:  Neural networks, a beautiful biologically-inspired programming paradigm which enables a computer to learn from observational data Deep learning, a powerful set of techniques for learning in neural networks  ...   " 

Governance and Analytics

Data and governance manager speaks about analytics.

" ... Ritika Gunnar, VP of information integration and governance for IBM’s $30 billion analytics business, said that her focus within the division isn’t nearly as complicated as her lengthy job title makes it out to be. Managing an organization’s data effectively boils down to merging the disparate metrics into a usable form and ensuring the combined whole is handled properly from there onward.
But the task wasn’t always that straightforward. “Traditionally, governance was seen as something that is overwhelming, centralized and process-oriented for businesses,” Gunnar detailed on theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM Insight 2015 summit this week. “But a trend is now emerging very vehemently in the market towards self-service access to data for lines-of-business,” which is what she is in charge of seeing through. ... " 

Wal-Mart Health Kiosks

Did much study of the kiosk idea, but now we have our own personal smart-phone kiosks.  The standalone kiosk can add additional marketing experience in physical spaces.  What has been done to compare the results?  Wal-Mart example of health assessment and reward  kiosks. 

Industrial Data Lakes

Doing some explorations of work in Industry for dealing with large quantities of data,  supporting key operational decisions.    Work by GE,  much more at this link: 

A New Approach to Industrial Data

The Industrial Data Lake provides data management solutions for the Industrial Internet, enabling rapid insights across fleets of assets and industrial processes, for data-driven business decisions. Read more:  

GE Reports on Industrial Data Lake
Learn more about GE's answer to the unique data challenges posed by the Industrial Internet.

Pivotal P.O.V.: GE Shores Up Savings for Aviation with a Data Lake
Learn more about GE's answer to the unique data challenges posed by the Industrial Internet.

IDC Report: "A Software Platform for OT Innovation"
Read IDC's argument for a new platform, purpose-built to deploy and run analytic applications for asset performance management.  .... " 

Monday, October 26, 2015

IBM Bets on Big Data

From IBM Insight meetings underway today.    More engagement between our rapidly increasing data resources and Cognitive/Watson.   Video of talk and more:

" ... IBM said it was going to make a big bet on something that would change the world. It would seem that the big bet IBM is making is on Big Data analytics. And this year, IBM Watson (IBM’s cognitive technology) has turned into a powerful processing engine that is helping people solve real-world problems. ... 

During theCUBE’s kickoff segment at IBM Insight 2015, Dave Vellante, Paul Gillin and George Gilbert, cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, discussed IBM’s Big Data mission:  ... " 

Follow #ibminsight for more.   Also  #theCUBE

Skill Testing for Intelligent Assistants

Fascinating view of how skills are constructed from microelements and tested.   Just updated. Informative for those thinking about constructing intelligent assistants with a vocal interface.   Technical, but understandable for seeing how assistant interactions can be scripted.   Also shows how complex it is to construct simple elements of skill interaction. " .... How your skill is reviewed during Alexa Skills Kit Voice Interface & User Experience Testing  ... "  via developer David Isbitski @thedavedev     ....   #AmazonEcho #IoT #Cloud

Tesco fails to sell DunnHumby

Considerable local presence, with their US HQ, they hire many entry level data analysts.  We used many of DunnHumby's services for targeted coupons.

Tesco’s Prophecy Proves Costly as Sale of Dunnhumby Falls Flat
Tesco's Dunnhumby specialises in predicting buying habits. Unfortunately for Britain’s largest retailer, it couldn’t foresee that nobody would stump up the cash it wanted for the data-analytics unit.

Since Tesco put the company on the block nine months ago, Dunnhumby has become a less attractive asset. The April dissolution of a joint venture with American supermarket chain Kroger Co. meant Dunnhumby’s US arm could pitch other grocers for new business, but at the same time it cut off a steady income stream from a high profile client. .... " 

Analytics Reference Architecture

Nicely done look at a Cloud Analytics Playbook & Reference Architecture  by @BoozAllen at Booz Allen Consulting  via Kirk Borne.  I like the inclusion of metadata tagging in the design.

Companies Reaching out to Millennials

In the HBR:  How established companies, as in  hospitality and insurance,  are reaching out to Millennials.  Need for a new kind of talking.  We met with their innovation people five years ago, and the changes were understood even then.  There is also a significant contingent of people of all ages behaving this way.  Technology integration was and is a strong component.     Changing both the style, frequency and content of conversation.

" .... By now, we have all heard a great deal about marketing to Millennials. Where do they shop? The internet. What don’t they like? Being pitched to. How do we know what they do like? They tell their friends (and the world) on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, and other platforms that many non-Millennials haven’t even heard of. If they don’t like a company’s product, or an experience they had, the whole world will know about it. Fast. ... " 

Amelia Virtual Assistant. Understanding Risk

Amelia. The Virtual Assistant that May Take Your Job
Continued emergence of virtual assistants with new capabilities: How will these be integrated into the workplace?    I have been receiving more interest recently in understanding this.   A key aspect will be for companies to understand the capabilities and risks involved.    Expect to see continued parallel testing.

Progress of Online Shopping

Marketist Mark J Perry charts the progress of online shopping with stock prices.

" ....  There may be no other large company operating today that better illustrates the economic concepts of creative destruction and consumer sovereignty than Amazon – to the significant benefit of consumers, who are the direct beneficiaries of Amazon’s success as an Internet-based online retailer. The rise in Amazon’s share price is a market measure of its success at fulfilling The Amazon Doctrine of aligning with customers – its stock is winning in the market only because its customers are winning daily with low prices, a wide selection of great products and the convenience of shopping online from home – or from anywhere with a Smartphone. ... " 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Another look at Vizable: Simplicity in Design

Fast CoDesign looks at the design of Tableau's free tablet oriented Vizable, which I recently reviewed. They say nicely done, and I agree.   Not nearly all the bells and whistles of Tableau senior, but that is actually a good thing in disguise.   I look for some reasonable, simple,  standard approach, rather than an artistic design tool.  The best stories are simple ones.  Still testing with fresh data.  " .... An Easy, Intuitive Tool For Making Sense Of Your Data  ... Tableau's new Vizable App Transforms spreadsheets into information you can actually use and understand.  ... "

Employee Advocacy

The idea was brought back to mind by reading the Shareology book by Bryan Kramer.  Having your employees help you market.    But how to do that well?    Pointed to Dynamic Signal.  Empowering the right employees that have, and can be given the most valuable and useful marketing information. An example of its results.

Example of Connecting Home IOT Devices

Have been exploring the integration of multiple control devices for the home IOT.  Here is an example that lets your connect the Amazon Echo to the Nest Thermostat.    Thus command it by voice from the Echo.    Also a good simple demonstration of Echo control and integration.     This alone requires only a little working technical ability.  Consider this to be an Alpha, with the usual cautions:

   Full instructions:   alexa.zpriddy.com/alexa/nest   by  @ZpriddyAZ     Support him if you can.

Linking Mobile Gaming and Customer Journey

Some examples of how people are using mobile games to enhance customer experiences.

In Customer Think:  " ... Last week the technology company Qmatic hosted their annual partner and client event in Amsterdam with 267 delegates from 50 countries. The theme of the event was “Smart Technology Driving Exceptional Customer Experience”. With speakers from companies such as Forrester, Marks & Spencers, Dixons Carphone, ING, Time Warner Cable and many more the event was both educational and inspirational.  ... " 

R vs Python for Data Analytics

From the Data Camp Blog.   A comparative look at the two data analysis languages R and Python. Have had to look at this question recently.  I agree with the general points made.  And often, you are forced into what is already being used.   So a working knowledge of both is useful.   Helps if you have at least looked at some examples.  Good visual comparison that is easy to scan.

Google Thinking Everything Around Machine Learning

Quite a considerable statement.  We know the founders of Google were always interested in leveraging AI more fundamentally.  Machine learning is a way to find pattern in information.   Cognitive methods then link such patterns to making decisions.   Leading to useful intelligence.   Pulling it all together consistently to make it work is transformative.

" .... It’s already sorting your email and translating your voice searches, and machine learning will play a bigger role in Google’s services moving forward.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, reported its quarterly financial results Thursday, with revenue and profit both up from a year earlier. New Google CEO Sundar Pichai took part in his first earnings call, and in between discussing the numbers he revealed how important Google thinks machine learning is to its future.

”Machine learning is a core, transformative way by which we’re rethinking everything we’re doing,” he said. .... " 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Steve Omohundro on Tesla, Echo and AI

Steve Omohundro interview.  Covering a number of favorite topics.

Vincent Everts interview on self-driving Teslas, Amazon Echo and Moral AI

Vincent Everts is a fascinating Dutch technologist who also travels around the world interviewing interesting people. He has a Tesla car whose software just got a “self-driving” update. We discussed the social impact of autonomous vehicles. On the one hand, it is likely to have positive effects such as reducing car accidents, eliminating parking problems, ameliorating traffic jams, etc. On the other hand, it brings up moral and ethical issues related to autonomous technology: How can we be sure these vehicles will drive safely? How should they decide whose safety to prioritize? Will current truck drivers, taxi drivers, and Uber drivers soon be out of a job? Military drones bring these questions into even sharper focus. And recent reports of Russia developing nuclear-armed drone submarines make them even more pressing. .... " 

Data Scientists in an Insight Economy

What is the Role of the Data Scientist in the Insight Economy?
The insight economy is based on the monetization of data and analytics. This model isn’t new — I mean, what do you think Bloomberg does all day? — but it goes beyond that. Really, it’s all about changing the way you look at people’s roles within a company. The data scientist is an important part of the team that facilitates the transition to the “insight economy” model. .... " 

Binge Buying and Clumpiness

I recall looking at measures of 'clumpiness' in market basket analysis.  The power of the clump?

Are Your Customers ‘Clumpy’? What Binge-buying Means for Marketers
It’s no secret that many consumers now binge-buy online. But new research by Wharton’s Eric Bradlow shows how marketers can track that behavior to effectively target these profitable  ... "  an   Interview  " .... based on a research paper titled “New Measures of Clumpiness for Incidence Data,” which he co-authored with Yao Zhang, an associate at Credit Suisse, and Dylan Small, a Wharton statistics professor. ... "   

David Eagleman's: The Brain

Have been watching David Eagleman's six part popular neuroscience program on PBS: The Brain.   Very nicely done non-technical and personal overview of recent learnings in neuroscience.   A number  of his other works are worth examining.   Will follow with more.

More about the series and online streaming.     
Eagleman's site regarding the programs.   #BrainPBS

TED Talk.   Can we create new senses for humans?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Managing Very Big Data: Detailed Map of the Milky Way

The results of an experiment to display and navigate a combined observational image of the entire Milky Way Galaxy.   64 billion bits.   Description and links to a viewer.

CPG Supply Chains

An element of cost and capability that cannot be ignored.  Do you know the processes in play? Architecture should be frequently re-examined.

Rising costs, complexities of supply chain are top concern for CPG companies 
Increased product portfolios and online shopping formats have contributed to a decline in customer service and rising freight costs for manufacturers, according to a survey from GMA and Boston Consulting Group. "Traditional best practices are no longer sufficient," said Peter Dawe, a Boston Consulting Group partner and a co-author of the report. "Today's challenges require greater strategic partnership between the supply chain and the business as a whole. And when that happens, the supply chain can actually enable enterprise growth ...  " 

Digital Transformation

Reasonable thoughts for any analytics as well. Pick a place where you know the process and can support the underlying context.

Digital Transformation - Where do you start?
by  Pearl Zhu

Start with the process or capability that is most critical (customer impacting) with the largest potential impact to the success of your firm.

Organizations large or small are on the journey for digital transformation. Audacious goals are absolutely important, but "boil the ocean" approaches seldom deliver expected results. So where do you start? And what’s the logical scenario to manage digital transformation seamlessly? ... " 

Predicting Consumer Behavior

In the WSJ: Outline of a forthcoming paper.  To which I respond, anyone can predict, but how well and in what context?   " .... “Once we understand the factors affecting consumer behavior, we are then able to predict it,” the researchers reported in their paper, which they will present in February at the International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining in San Francisco. “Given a user’s history of purchases and demographic data, we attempt to predict when the user will make the next purchase, or how much money the user will spend.”

Knowing when shoppers are more likely to make online purchases and how much money they will spend helps merchants target advertising. ... " 

Autonomy of Driverless Cars

In CWorld: At what point should cars be completely driverless?    The direction, certainly for delivery, seems to be fast approaching.   Some thoughts.

" .... If the problems that robotics encounters in extreme environments are any indicator, then self-driving cars are a bad idea, according to an MIT engineer and author of a new book on the subject. 

David Mindell, a professor of the History of Engineering and author of  Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy, said his argument against fully autonomous vehicles isn't based on principles, but on history.

"That's just proven to be a loser of an approach in a lot of other domains," Mindell said in an interview with the MIT News. "There are 40 years' worth of examples." ... " 

Skip: More In Aisle Checkout

One of the holy grails of retail is to much decrease or even eliminate the checkout experience .  It would cut labor needs, and also eliminate one of the most common complaints of shoppers, the long checkout line. We examined a number of methods that used kiosks or checkout devices loaned to the shopper.  But better yet, why couldn't they use their own smart phones to scan items?   Minimizes retailer cost.    At last week's Brandery  event we were pitched another such approach called Skip.  http://GoSkip.com   A partnership with Microsoft and P&G was stated.   " ... A mobile POS integration system giving shoppers the power to scan, pay and skip the line -- all from the convenience of their smartphones ... " .   Ideas were good.  Look forward to seeing a live demo.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Visualizing Shopping Trends Across the US

In Shopping with Google: (Beta shopping trend visualization)

Shopping Insights: Explore How People Shop for Products Across the U.S.

In today's connected world, 87% of shopping research happens online, yet 92% of goods are still purchased in stores. Shopping Insights by Google helps you understand what products are rising in popularity in your area and use that insight to help plan local campaigns. Explore trends by time, city, and device. .... 

Informs Analytics E-News

The Informs e-News: From The Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences.   Lots of practical news and information for the analytics practitioner.

Quantum Computing Within a Decade

Predicts Microsoft.   In the CACM.   Most interesting part:  " ...  The Microsoft team maintains a "hybrid quantum-classical" algorithm needs to be utilized in order to incorporate the power of a small quantum computer into a conventional framework. ... " 

Health Games Research

The gamification of persuasion to improve health has been around for a long time.  Initially as part of game platforms, then later as part of wearable systems.  People create their own games when shown  data about behavior, and that trend can be enhanced with good data and its presentation.   Here  pointers to work underway.  See also:  Center for Digital Games Research.

Talk: Enhancing Ability Through Smart Cognitive Support Systems

This week's talk today looks to be very interesting.  I have had a conversation with the speaker regarding  augmenting workers.   Join us.    Slides here.

Dear Professors, Students, IBMers and others, 

Just a reminder about our Cognitive Systems Institute Group Speaker Series call this week on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 10:30 am ET (7:30 am PT).  Our presenter on Thursday is Madelaine Sayko from Cognitive Compass, who will be presenting "Enhancing Ability Through Smart Cognitive Support Systems."     http://cognitivecompass.com/    I hope you will join the call.  

Dial-In Number(s):   888-426-6840, Participant Code:  48982031.  Dial in on the phone and also Join Web meeting:  https://apps.na.collabserv.com/meetings/join?id=2894-8491 password=cognitive.   Non-IBMers, please use the "guest" option.   

Please find the schedule of presenters herefor the next several calls and please sign up for making a presentation by sending a note to me (fodell@us.ibm.com).   A link to slides (if used) and a recording of each call will be available on the CSIG website (http://cognitive-science.info/community/weekly-update/).   

We encourage those who join the calls to add questions and comments to the https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Cognitive-Systems-Institute-6729452 on LinkedIn and we ask that you ask questions at the end of the call.
Thank you,  

Dianne Fodell

IBM Global University Programs

Fung Group Lab for Shopper Behavior

This was mentioned to me in a conversation recently, now the first reports from people who have visited.   Quite a bit of leading edge tech, including 3D printing and VR is also included.   Note especially the work with omnichannel interaction, which we rarely address in lab settings.  For More on related work in China, see the Hualian tag below.

In Retailwire:
" ... The shopping lab is devoted to analyzing omnichannel consumer behavior and is operated by the giant Fung Group (a mega-conglomerate with a strong presence in retailing and operators of Toys "R" Us, Circle K, and Gieves and Hawkes, to name a few, in Asia.), in partnership with IBM (a RetailWire sponsor) and brand activation firm Pico. The "lab" is actually 250,000 square feet of space at Li Fung Plaza, where select members can shop and businesses can observe how consumers interact with new tech, products and environments. There is a plethora of stores and customer behavior is analyzed by beacons and other store-monitoring devices.  ... " 

NYTimes to Use Simple Virtual Reality

 In Adage.  Leading to more general exposure and interest?    Beyond ads to actual content.

The New York Times Introduces Virtual Reality Project With Google Cardboard
New VR Projects Include Editorial and Sponsored Videos
By Felicia Greiff.

The New York Times is collaborating with Google Cardboard on a new project called "NYT VR" that includes an app, virtual reality films and the distribution of more than one million Google Cardboard viewers. ... " 

Cyber Insurance Policies

In the CACM:   A good overview of the direction and providers of Cyber insurance policies.

" ... The cyber attacks carried out against Sony, Target, Home Depot, and J.P. Morgan Chase garnered a great deal of press coverage in 2014, but data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, and other acts of electronic malfeasance are hardly limited to large, multinational corporations. However, it is the high-profile nature of these breaches—as well as the staggering monetary costs associated with several of the attacks—that are driving businesses of all types and sizes to seriously look at purchasing cybersecurity insurance.

Currently, the global market for cybersecurity insurance policies is estimated at around $1.5 billion in gross written premiums, according to reinsurance giant Aon Benfield. ... "

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coursolve: A Marketplace for Digital Internships

Coursolve - The World’s Marketplace for Digital Internships

" ... Coursolve is an experiential learning platform that connects learners and organizations through digital internships. Organizations post projects, called "digital internships", and select learners to work with them to develop ideas and solutions. Learners, meanwhile, who are typically mid-career professionals, can put into practice the theories and skills they have from their academic learning or current jobs, and can build relationships for the long term with different project mentors and organizations.

Today, we have nearly 15,000 learners on our platform from over 100 countries, alongside over 150 organizations who have posted projects. We’re also working with educational institutions ranging from the University of Virginia to MIT. ... " 

Overview Presentation slides today.

Retailers Tackling Amazon

Evan Schuman comments on the right way that retailers should tackle amazon. In ComputerWorld.

Graph Query Language is Open Source

Neo4j:  Brought to my attention.  Have announced open source.  This is known to be used by Wal-Mart and Ebay.   Case studies at their site.   " ... An Intuitive Approach to Data Problems ... Graphs are the most efficient and natural way of working with data. ... They are deeply intuitive, and mimic the interconnectedness of concepts and ideas in the human mind.  ... " .   I see they have an apparently free community edition, and a number of other resources at their site.     See also their blog.

Beauty Talent for Supply Chain

In CGT: 
" .... Attracting, building and developing a talented, entrepreneurial supply chain planning team is a challenge. Add in the pressure of making significant improvements in forecast accuracy, inventory and service, while becoming a strategic partner within your organization, and describing it as daunting becomes an understatement. In June this year, CGT received a nomination for a visionary individual: Andrea Atwell, vice president U.S. Supply Chain, L’Oréal USA, Luxe Division — from a L’Oréal competitor! Atwell’s stance on building supply chain talent has been impressionable to say the least, and through this exclusive interview she reveals her recipe for success in this dynamic and quickly evolving marketplace.  ... " 

Google Books is Legal

Followed this for a long time.  The underlying idea is very powerful, scan all books and make them available.  The legal issues are complex.  Have been worked on for a decade.   Google wins.  Now What?   Good piece on this in the Atlantic.

Review: Tableau Launches Vizable for Tablet

Tableau has launched a free data visualization capability for the iPad called Vizable.   I loaded it up today and ran through a number of examples. Includes basic visualization forms.  Nicely done, includes the ability to import data, filter variables, plot and to export the results.  No analytics.  No way to save visual models,  just resulting images.  No calculated fields.

Its nowhere near like all of Tableau, but covers basics.    Notably leaves out things like Geo mapping and range filter selection.  Also no advanced formatting of visualizations.   Has impressive multiple column manipulation.  Pinch style editing on tablet.  Sorting and rearrangement of columns. Simple comparison trends.  The export is a fixed  image and non interactive.  Says it will import up to 200K rows and 25 MB  files.  CSV and simply formatted Excel files.  Implies it will only work for later version iPads.  But I got it to work well on an iPad 2 running IOS 9 with small files.

Vizable would be a good thing to point out to students,  to get them used to manipulating files and variables under multiple visualizations.  That's often hard to get used to.  Also being on a tablet is nice for easy interaction and demonstration.  Although for now it is only on one tablet and not on a laptop.   Impressive for free.  See the Vizable community site for more information, getting started, help and hints and social conversations about its use.

Will follow with other review links here.  ....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UC Center for Business Analytics

A very late invite, I just received, but here it is:

You are invited to a free special event at University of Cincinnati,  Lindner College of Business tonight at 7:30 PM in Room 112. 

J.T. Kostman, Chief Data Officer, Time, Inc., and  Neil Hoyne, Head of Customer Analytics, Google will present.

This event is sponsored by the UC INFORMS Student Chapter

More information here.


(Did anyone get slides for these,  if so pass them along and I will post them)

Strap Startup for Marketing Analytics

Brought to my attention via the Brandery.  Strap.      Also, their Brandery information.

" .... Strap enables actionable human data to inform and improve marketing and engagement programs. We believe the consumer centered journey must be personalized because a more personal world is a better world. Through powerful analytics and segmentation from smartphones, wearables and health data applications, Strap empowers some of the world’s largest brands and retailers to securely engage consumers at the right time while building brand loyalty and gaining valuable consumer insights. Strap was founded in early 2014 by Steve Caldwell, Patrick Henshaw, and Joey Brennan, and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Strap on Twitter at @getstrap. ... " 

Medical Early Detection Systems

In CWorld:  ' ... Penn Medicine’s big data system triggers early detection of life-threatening infections ...  Insights drawn from a massively parallel computer cluster loaded with vast amounts of data help doctors develop new approaches to patient care  .... "    By Ken Terry

HoloLens Future

An update on expectations for Microsoft's Hololens.  No consumer version until 2017?   I got a developer invite recently which led me to think possibilities.  It seems the direction continues to pull towards gaming rather than business applications.  Is it to be expected that gaming will always proceed other applications in VR while lagging in augmented reality?   Serious realities needed.

Think Further DNA

I was pointed to the Think Further web site.  A post there on disruptive financial tools.   " .... Life Code is the extraordinary technology built from DNA. From healthcare to energy, media to retailing, Life Code is transforming every business on earth. Futurist and Author Juan Enríquez explains how and explores the potential impact of Life Code’s disruptive effects on business in the latest film in our series "Conversations with Tomorrow." ... " 

Shared Experience and Empathy

In the HBR:    Indications that the very old adage of having to 'walk in their shoes' may not work the way we always expected.

Connecting to China's Wired Consumers

In McKinsey:
Five keys to connecting with China’s wired consumers
China is the world’s largest and most dynamic e-commerce market. But being successful requires understanding and embracing its unique digital landscape and consumers. ... 

 China’s annual online-retail sales passed those of the United States in 2013. By 2018, they are estimated to reach about $610 billion—passing Europe and the United States combined (exhibit). Yet though the market is vast, succeeding in China is far from easy. While select leading Western companies have captured some of the country’s explosive e-commerce growth, many make basic mistakes, from equating China’s e-commerce leaders with US companies (“Alibaba is China’s Amazon!”) to assuming selling and distribution practices from home markets are transferable. The reality is that China is simply different. As a point of comparison for consumer and retail companies, we regard the combination of the size of the prize and the degree of change needed to succeed as roughly analogous to what consumer-packaged-goods companies experienced in the late 1980s when Walmart changed the consumer game. ... " 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hyperspectral Cameras as Sensors

In the CACM: 

" .... Researchers at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research say they are developing HyperCam, affordable camera technology that could soon enable consumers to tell if fruits or vegetables are ripe or starting to rot underneath the surface.

HyperCam is a lower-cost hyperspectral camera that uses both visible and invisible near-infrared light to "see" beneath surfaces and capture unseen details. In a paper presented last month at the ACM UbiComp 2015 conference in Osaka, Japan, the team detailed a hardware solution that costs about $800, or potentially as little as $50 to add to a mobile phone camera. They also developed intelligent software that finds "hidden" differences between what the hyperspectral camera captures and what can be seen with the naked eye.  ... " 

And beyond rotting fruit?  More in the article ... "

State of Neuromarketing

In New York Magazine: Good non technical article on the state of the use of neuromarketing techniques in industry.   Some of the things stated as starting to happen are already here.  Still, the approaches have yet to largely replace classic consumer research methods.  Most work is still in parallel, looking for confirmation.  Largely because we do not exactly understand the connections between brain activity and purchasing behavior.  There are hints,  perhaps useful, but the contexts involved are still complex.

Some Consumers Can Predict Product Failures

In RetailWire: " ... While brands and retailers continually try to link themselves to trendsetters, a new university study has identified a unique subset of consumers — "Harbingers of Failure" — for their ability to predict product failures.

The study from Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified these customers either through past purchases of products that failed — such as Diet Crystal Pepsi or Frito Lay Lemonade — or past purchases of existing products that few other customers buy. ... " 

My Writings for Cognitive Systems Group

Links to my writings for the Cognitive Systems Institute Group.  On automated analytics, cognitive systems, virtual advisors and more.  These are links to discussions in the  Linkedin group that will continue to be updated.  Please provide any comments at the group.

Automation in IT Services

Interesting suggestion.  Certainly not what has happened to date.  The growth of IT use and complexity has led to many more workers.  In CWorld: " ... Automation expected to cut workforce needs by 25% at IT services firms.  ... "  

On the Power of Now: Retail Forecasting

In Think with Google.  Have followed a number of growth models.  Examining this one.

Marketing's New 'Power of Now'
In a world of infinite information and product choice, consumers hold more power than brands. For retailers, this means embracing marketing's new 'power of now.' Below, Steve Dennis of SageBerry Consulting offers a strategic growth model for retailers, anchored in five core experiential elements ...  "

Sunday, October 18, 2015

NASA Offering Patents to Startups

In ZDNet:   To include patents in Robotics and Analytics.

" ... US space agency NASA is offering startups a license to 15 categories of patented NASA technologies for free.

The move follows Google's offer earlier this year of 'free' patents to select startups - and it could be just as valuable given the 1,200 patented technologies available for license under NASA's new Technology Transfer Program.

NASA hopes the program will make life easier for cash-strapped startups short on intellectual property, which would effectively be repurposing NASA's existing patents for new commercial products or services. ... " 

Marketing and Design Thinking

Nicely thought out look at the idea.   Embed the consumer.

Marketing takeaways from design thinking  by Mandeep Grover  

As marketers, it's easy to get stuck in campaign cycles and budgets, which is why a design thinking mindset can offer new ways of combating marketing challenges.

At times we can lose track of the consumer and their ever-changing needs. This is why I believe marketers can learn a lot from the art of design thinking: the method of thinking in the design process.

Design thinking offers marketers an approach to generate a deeper understanding of the consumer based on the principles of ethnographic research, and puts the customer at the center. It's the first step in finding innovative solutions to a given problem.

So, what can marketers learn from this approach? A lot if you ask me. Here are a few points to get started. ... " 

Google NGram Viewer

While considering some unstructured text analysis the Google Ngram viewer came to mind.  The system " .... charts frequencies of any word or short sentence using yearly count of n-grams found in the sources printed between 1800 and 2012 ,,, ".  Based on Google Books or other collections of texts.   In multiple languages.  Addictive for the linguistically inquisitive. We had proposed something for a textual 'content analysis' project where we could have used the idea.   In the Wikipedia.  Can anyone point me me its use for text analytics?  This made me recall it had been posted on quite a few times here before, see the tag below.  See also the book: Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel. 

Terrifying Retail Words

In Gartner Blogs, by Robert Hetu,

" ... What are the most terrifying words in retail? “There is nothing here to buy”.  The speaker of these words was none other than my spouse last night in our local Walmart.  So I was glad to hear comments from Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, that I characterize as getting back to the basics.  In particular adding items to the assortment that are new and exciting, as well as better blending of art and science.

McMillon described the balance between art and science that makes a merchant successful and noted that as the company grew ever larger over the years the science side of the merchandising equation had come to dominate decision-making. “You can manage a category to death,” McMillon said. “We need to be creative and do something people don’t expect by getting after items that will surprise and delight shoppers.” (www.retailingtoday.com) ... "

Beetle Blocks

Fun idea,   application to certain kinds of 3D designs, tunneling, extruding, forming?  Reminds me of Turtle progams.  It is inspired by MIT Media Lab Scratch.  Uses Berkeley Snap! language.

Via the CACM Linkedin Group.

Beetle Blocks: Visual Code for 3D Design
Beetle Blocks is a graphical blocks-based programming environment for 3D design and fabrication.
Use code to control a beetle that can place 3D shapes and extrude its path as a tube. Then make a 3D print!Beetle Blocks is a graphical blocks-based programming environment for 3D design and fabrication.

Use code to control a beetle that can place 3D shapes and extrude its path as a tube. Then make a 3D print!

Beetle Blocks is alpha software, currently in development. Only the Chrome browser is currently supported. We'd love to hear your feature requests and bug reports on github.   ..." 

Run demo.  (In Chrome browser only at this time) 

Superforecasting and Straight Thinking

In this week's NYT book review, a piece on  Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction,” by the psychologist Philip E. Tetlock.   I have mentioned the work here a number of times.   This overview does a good job presenting key elements.   Also a review of “Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking,” by the psychologist Richard E. Nisbett.  I have not read the latter,  but based on the review it is a look at principles of thinking that are well known, but could serve as an introduction for students at all ages.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

PureMatter Marketing

Newly discovered:  PureMatter.

" ... Since PureMatter was founded in 2002, the world has changed. The economy tanked. Technology exploded. Expectations keep increasing. Consumers have never been so connected – and there’s no end in sight. Today, we’re excited to be leading the charge toward humanizing business, being led by Bryan Kramer, the instigator of the #H2H movement. (Kramer's Shareology book

As marketers, we use our smartest thinking to stay ahead of these shifts. Our process helps our clients find the very best energy in their marketing that attracts the right customers, and then keeps them there over time. Energy creates momentum. Extreme heat. And nuclear results.

Our process is simple. We leverage technology, structure and methodology to run our business. Smart thinking to drive our strategy. And curiosity and humor to manifest creativity. It keeps us efficient, focused and disciplined, and keeps clients coming back for more. Simplifying the complex is our specialty.

We’re pattern and trend-spotters. Scientists of life. And purveyors of cracking what makes marketing work today. Our formula’s working, and have picked up numerous local, regional and National awards along the way.  ... "   (See also their blog)  @PureMatter 

Surge Pricing Examined

Studied this when it became possible to digitally and dynamically price items in store.  Of course online it can be done much more easily.  Note here it is mostly about service examples.  What are the expectation of customers in varying contexts.

Will surge pricing become the new normal? 
For some, "surge pricing," the use of algorithms to automate price increases on products and services in periods of high demand and limited supply, adheres to a basic principle of a free market economy. Others see it as a form of price gouging. Do you see surge pricing being used by more service companies in the months and years ahead?    ... " 

Dell makes Acquisition

I remember when we regularly bought Dell PCs,  now a change in direction with a big price tag.

From Petri KB: Dell’s $67 Billion Acquisition of EMC to be Biggest Tech Deal Ever

PC giant Dell announced this morning that it would acquire storage giant EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion. Under the terms of the deal, EMC would merge into and become part of Dell, which is privately owned. And VMware—of which EMC owns a controlling interest—will remain a separate, publicly-traded company. Dell will retain EMC’s controlling interest in VMware.  ... " 

The Future of the Intelligent Conversational Interface

The virtual assistant with a conversational interface.  Some just trading questions and answers via text, but increasingly including a human-like voice.   Have explored this for some time.  From building systems we delivered to consumers to converse with a popular brand, to others that helped them solve their laundry problems.   Some of these are still in use.  The progression of AI/Cognitive has made these systems seem much smarter than before.   But they are still not intelligent in any normal sense.

In the last year there has been an explosion of new efforts, and I have made a point of experiencing a number of them recently.  Although vocal conversation with a limited intelligence assistant needs to be learned,  it does turn out to be more engaging than text interaction.    But is this our future?  Are we willing to take the time to learn how to talk to them?  Or do we need to wait for much better intelligence?  Lets talk.

In Wired, a good look at some of the history, with media examples,  and further directional thoughts.  And an exploratory look on Linkedin.

MIT CSAIL Feature Set Selection

Another kind of analysis automation.   Whereas we might have otherwise used human expertise to choose feature sets. ( Intuition?)   I would also ask if this works for all domains.

MIT developing a system that replaces human intuition for big data analysis
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are looking to take human intuition out of big data analysis by letting computers choose the feature set used to identify predictive patterns in the data. This effort is called “Data Science Machine” and so far the prototype of this software has beaten 615 of 908 teams competing for the same capability (across three data science competitions). ... " 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wal-Mart Readies a Shopping Assistant

Wal-Mart preps an SMS text based virtual shopping assistant called Simple Text.  Based on what I have read it is unclear how much Cognitive technology is being used.    Discussion in retailwire.  An additional piece in FierceRetail.  See also our continuing group discussion in the CSIG: "The Surge of Digital Assistants".    See also, a list of other intelligent personal assistants. 

What Should Kodak have Done?

Fascinating piece in Innovation Excellence.  In particular because we met with Kodak to talk collaboration in innovation at the time of their long slide.   Kodak had some excellent intellectual property that could have been used for reinvention.   Article could have used some more details.

On the Limitations of 3D Printing

In Fast Company.    Prototyping clearly.  But then real world scale and precision become a couple of the problems.  Interesting case study.

 " ... Yet Strauser’s production lines will remain firmly planted in Chinese factories. A 3-D printer wouldn’t be able to handle the volumes of plastic Strauser needs to meet his clients’ volume demands within an acceptable timeframe and with a good quality standard; his distributors ask for a 2,000-item minimum. Mass production, he says, is the only method that can accommodate that volume at a reasonable price point, so he’s staying in China for that, choosing to struggle to keep his business afloat in the sea of factories and companies there. ... " 

Wal-Mart Open Sources Cloud

Walmart decries cloud lock-in, plans to open-source OneOps
Walmart announced that it will open-source the cloud technology it has built up following its acquisition of startup OneOps roughly two years ago ....

Vendor lock-in has plagued the corporate world since well before the arrival of the cloud, but now -- with ever more of today's technology operating in an online environment dominated by providers such as Amazon Web Services -- it's taken on new urgency.

Aiming to strike a blow at the problem, Walmart on Wednesday announced that it will open-source the cloud technology it has built up following its acquisition of startup OneOps roughly two years ago.

Specifically, the retail giant's @WalmartLabs division will upload the technology's source code to GitHub by the end of the year, according to a blog post by Jeremy King, CTO of Walmart global e-commerce and head of @WalmartLabs, along with Tim Kimmet, vice president of platform and systems for @WalmartLabs. That, in turn, will make it freely available to anyone. ... " 

Governance in the Future of the CIO

The Board Leadership & Governance Insight of the “Future of CIO” 
Governance is like a steering wheel, to ensure the business running in the right direction! ... " 

Amazon IOT Strategy, Facing the Consumer

Amazon has been developing some very interesting B to C Internet of Things related offerings, like the Echo and Dash.  So their approach will be good to follow.

Amazon's IoT strategy
A new flywheel emerges. When thinking through an IoT solution, what is most obvious is the end device. But this is the classic "tip of the iceberg" in creating an end-to-end solution. The IoT Value Chain is defined by devices, connectivity, big data, algorithms, actions, and connection to the rest of the enterprise. ... " 

Digital Credentials in Pittsburgh

Steel City Credentials: Building the future of credentials in Pittsburgh, by Jason Swanson.  Badges too.  A kind of low level gamifiction implied?  Mapping micro learning elements to credentials. Would like to see how well this works. Culture dependence on its application?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

DropBox Paper for Simplicity

In Wired:  Dropbox is building  a collaboration and work space tool called Paper to let people in small business work together to get things done.  In early beta.  To manipulate all of those files you have been gathering.  Simple, flexible and creative.  I like getting back to simple.  But are we ready to get back to simple?

Considering Risk Assessments

In CWorld: Good short basic piece on basic risk assessments. Good place to start.  I would further get a professional to do the analysis that really knows the domains involved.   Start with visual methods to display the risk metrics.  Double and triple check your numbers.  You may get many numbers that vary wildly, so show them to multiple experts.  Create a risk portfolio with estimates of costs to address each risk.  Keep a log of near misses and past issues.    Do list 'black swans' and what their effects might be.

Whole Foods Builds New ERP System

Whole Foods to Build New ERP System for ‘Single View’ of Product Data
By Steven Norton in the WSJ Blog.

The move is part of a broader effort by the grocery chain to centralize disparate IT systems, get a better view of its supply chain and improve its data analytics capabilities. “This is going to let us understand how products perform across the entire organization,” CIO Jason Buechel says. “This is the key tool to driving business day-to-day and driving benefits back to our customers. .... " 

Full report requires subscription. 

(Update) Watson Analytics Livestream

... As promised, here is the replay of yesterday's presentations on Watson Analytics. 2 hours+ Reactions?   ....

 .... major announcements on Watson Analytics,  A move towards automating data science. Examples in a number of domains.    I am attending as an invited Influencer/Analyst.

" ... Analytics for All: Empowering Everyone to Know
An IBM livestream event      #Analyticsforall 

Analytics is ready for take off! Leading companies are transforming decision-making at every level with IBM Watson Analytics. This cloud-based data discovery platform empowers people in any role, at any level to gain insight into data as never before. It’s truly “Analytics for All: Empowering Everyone to Know.” 

With that in mind, IBM invites you to join our complimentary livestream event, "Analytics for All: Empowering Everyone to Know," on October 14 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EDT.

You’ll hear about enhancements to IBM Watson Analytics that can help you more easily identify the best practices for understanding data and communicating insights. Speakers from Twitter, Ogilvy and the American Marketing Association will share what they’ve learned in applying analytics to marketing. Leaders from Deloitte and The Weather Company will describe how they’ve applied analytics to sales. And IBM senior executives will add their perspective. ....  "

Register or attend as a guest.      

IVee Voice

Amazon Echo competitor Ivee.  Voice actuated assistant.   An indication that the idea continues to build.

" ... Voice interaction platform ivee has begun an Indiegogo campaign for those interested in purchasing its smart voice assistant, throwing its hat into the ring to do battle against the likes of Amazon Echo, Google Now, Siri, Cortana, and the like. The company is looking to raise at least $50,000 over the next 46 days.

With a retail value of $99, ivee Voice is a product that’s supposed to let you control various aspects of your home thanks to its extensive integrations. Besides telling you what the weather is, the company says it’ll let you request an Uber, play music via Spotify, alert fast-response services, and even potentially have groceries delivered. Ivee also claims that its framework enables seamless interactions with the likes of Hue, Nest, WeMo, Harmony, SmartThings, Wink, and others. ... " 

Domain Scoping for Subject Matter Experts

The capture, sharing and augmentation of expertise is a key topic for Cognitive.   How do we do it well?  By first understanding and then leveraging the language of the domain.

 Elham Khabiri, from IBM Watson Research, presented “Domain Scoping for Subject Matter Experts.”  

Slides here.   Access to recording.
Further Discussion in Linkedin.

Looking at Augmented Data Science

Seeing more of this.   Just saw Watson's newest.  I have mentioned before, we did lots of adaptive script development to do this long ago, so the idea is not new.   Note the mention of workflow, somewhat rare in such projects.   A view from MFG Labs:

Learning to learn, or the advent of augmented data scientists

The job of a data scientist involves finding patterns in data, often in order to automate or augment human decision-making. Is it possible to find patterns in the way data scientists work in order to automate their own job ?

The concept of automatic machine learning (autoML) is compelling, and we at MFG Labs pay close attention to the development of this field, because the way we work and design our processes might be disrupted by theoretical or practical breakthroughs in this area. Furthermore it incites us to step back, deconstruct our typical workflow, and then question each part of it. At ICML (International Conference of Machine Learning), we had the chance to hear the take of the most brilliant minds on this subject. In this article we will present a brief outlook on how algorithms might replace us data scientists, or most likely assist us in doing our job better. Our intent is by no means to comprehensively survey the field of automatic machine learning, but rather to showcase a couple of specific topics that resonated particularly with our current interests. ... " 

SAP Does Analytics Cloud

It seems to be the week for new analytics offerings.   A Software as a Service offering.  Implications of some embedded intelligence, which makes sense since SAP has always delivered some domain  tailored capabilities.

SAP launches souped-up, cloud-based analytics solution
AP SE is getting into the Big Data analytics-on-cloud game with the launch of a new service, SAP Cloud for Analytics that’s able to digest data from multiple stores both on-premise and in the cloud.
Nic Smith, SAP senior marketing director for analytics, told CRN.com that SAP Cloud for Analytics is built natively on the company’s HANA Cloud Platform, and that it can operate as a standalone business analytics tool or in tandem with other SAP apps.

“This is an entirely new Software-as-a-Service solution that we think is going to redefine analytics,” Smith enthused. “This is built from the user-experience perspective [and] will lead to new analytic applications. ... " 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Deception in a Data Driven World

Lots in the news recently about storytelling with data.  Which led me to memories of stories that did not match the actual reality of the data. So a good story is not necessarily good science.  Confirmation bias in storytelling.  And beyond that, even the data itself can lie, for all sorts of reasons.  In Fusion.net. 

Watson Analytics Free Edition

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Thinking an Architecture of Advice

Working thoughts:  There should be a compendium of 'Questions to ask first'!   For all sorts of contexts.  Is it the same as an FAQ?   Not exactly.  But is it enough different?  In the enterprise when we did AI, we developed a one page list of questions that an expert would send to some one with a problem, this was a kind of entry ticket to see the expert.  Sometimes the expert might just respond with 'the answer is 42'.   Or feed the answers to a bot to answer it,  ....  but lastly pick up the phone to talk to the person or see them.   This worked, mostly but had its own issues. Makes me think further about the problem.

Digital Shopping

Is digital grocery shopping hitting critical mass? 

Nearly half of global consumers surveyed by Nielsen say they are ready and willing to grocery shop online, and Web-based grocery sales are on track to hit $13 billion this year, according to IBIS World. Companies like Instacart are allowing traditional grocers to dive into online grocery sales, letting customers choose what they want using the Web, after which a shopper bags the items at the store and delivers them to the consumer's home ... " 

Neuromorphic Chips

In Wired: 48 million neurons mimic the brain of a small rodent.  Increasingly we are looking at how to directly model the biological.   Is it better to mimic biological systems or to directly model them?   Also in Linkedin.

Amazon Launches IOT Platform Beta

Am a subscriber to AWS, will examine.   In Infoq:

' .... At Amazon’s recent re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas, the company announced a new Internet of Things (IoT) platform called AWS IoT.  This platform is currently in beta and is available to AWS subscribers.

Dr. Matt Wood, general manager, product strategy at AWS describes the AWS IoT platform as a way “to connect devices to the AWS cloud.  It also allows your company to collect, store, analyze and take action against the large volumes of data that is streaming from your connected devices.”  .. ' 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Data Scientists Telling Stories

I partially agree.  But there is an implication that they are telling the story they want you to get from the data.  I have seen a number of examples where the 'data scientist' is less than objective.  I want the story that the data tells.  And lets me and others further explore the data.   I know that is harder, but what are you getting otherwise?

The Best Data Scientists Know How to Tell Stories  by Michael Li
When hiring data scientists, people tend to focus primarily on technical qualifications. It’s hard to find candidates who have the right mix of computational and statistical skills. But what’s even harder is finding people who have those skills and are good at communicating the story behind the data. ... " 

Improved Ad Measurement

Measurement is my favorite topic.  If you can't do it well, any amount of analytics or 'Bigger' data will not help.   In Adage: Content Budgets Rise as Measurement Advances  ...  Nearly Half of Marketers Are Spending 20% More on the Discipline   ...  By Kate Maddox. 

Appeal to HoloLens Developers

Thinking possible applications.  See previous writings in the tags below.

Get the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition.
Help develop the future. The first Microsoft HoloLens devices will ship in the first quarter of 2016 to developers in the US and Canada.  ... "

Dashboards that Persuade

Whitepaper by Tableau Software.  Well done.  Registration information required.   " .... Do your dashboards tell the story you want to get across or does your data get lost in a sea of pixels? Tableau strives to keep our users in the flow with software centered on principles of design, cognition, and perception. The same principles apply to great dashboards. .... " 

Sensor Data from Device to Cloud

In ReadwriteWeb:   Deserves better understanding and careful choices.  

" ... The evolution of accessible radio standards over the last 25 years has led to a plethora of ways to pass information collected at a large number of data-gathering devices (sensors, cameras, microphones) to the cloud, and send commands back from the cloud to act on the information. This is why there is such a large buzz over possible benefits of the Internet of Things. 

 The problem for many developers of applications using this new “infrastructure” is choosing the right combination of power, coverage, data rate, and cost.  ... "  

Business HR Simplification

On  simplifying HR in Knowledge@Wharton:

Human resources departments manage a company’s most precious resource — employees — and yet many still use outdated systems that introduce inefficiencies. As companies grow, merge, restructure or enter new markets, the need for business simplification is more urgent than ever, especially in HR. Data analytics can help a company make the right hires, recognize talent and find ways to develop and retain promising workers. ... " 

Unilever Organizing Marketing Team

Sharing and spreading expertise.  An opportunity to gameify?  Contains enough people to perform an internal crowd sourcing.   Process linked to knowledge sharing?

How Unilever spreads expertise across its global marketing team 
Unilever's Keith Weed talks about organizing his 6,000-strong marketing team, and how the company gives its staff the opportunity to work across different categories, countries and brands to build cross-expertise. "[T]o create the right culture, we deliberately move people around. ... Through that, people get to understand what the different roles are and the strengths and expertise different roles play," Weed says .... ' 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Benchmark Intelligence

Brought to my attention by the Brandery.  Benchmark Intelligence. " ... The New way to Manage a Chain ... Operational Business Intelligence for Restaurant Chains (and more)  ... Streamlined field auditing, text based customer feedback with innovative reporting and more. ... "

AI Software is Smart Enough for SAT but ...

In the NYTimes.  Impressive these approaches have become,  especially in narrow applications.  But still not intelligent in a broad sense.   Temper your expectations.

Customer Service and Technology

You need both.   In Customerthink: 

" ... A recent article on RetailWire.com posed a question about which of two customer loyalty strategies delivered greater ROI. Is it a customer service experience, or is it technology that integrates ease, simplicity and speed into the product? My answer to this is simple: Both!

Technology is amazing. Customer service is amazing. When you marry the two of them, you can have a winning combination. But, consider this: A great technological system can’t replace good old fashioned customer service. And in most industries using technology to enhance the customer’s experience shouldn’t be overlooked. ... " 

Similarity to expertise delivery.  So if I had an good virtual advisor that could deliver service well, that would provide the same value?   That is technology and service.