Building Apps Incorporating the AI Power of IBM Watson’s Cognative Computing Cloud

IBM Watson’s APIs are available today so teams may ramp up quickly and use IBM’s cognitive computing engine.  From IBM Watson’s site, it seems like anyone may build against their cognitive computing platform.  In addition,  your team may submit to be ‘Featured’ in their application Gallery.  Explore the library of featured applications produced by this partnership.  At the time of this writing, there were 14 applications.
Several of these apps have been created by IBM to showcase their technology.  IBM Watson APIs are categorized into ‘Services’ used:
  • Dialog
  • Natural Language Classifier
  • AlchemyData News
  • Personality Insights
  • Tradeoff Analytics
  • Speech to Text
  • Language Translation
  • Text to Speech
  • Visual Recognition
  • Concept Insights
  • Relationship Extraction

They sound like AI,BI comprehensive services, but in full disclosure, I’ve not read though the API docs available by IBM.  It can be found here, grouped by IBM Watson’s Cognitive Services.

One of the applications powered by IBM Watson in their gallery is a “News Explorer”, which leverages the Service ‘AlchemyData News’.
The app runs in a browser, and consists of 5 main User Interface components.  The centrally placed, “News Network” widget similar to a mind map, correlates articles, companies, organizations, and people.  Visually it displays these components and their relationships in groupings similar to a relationship tree.
 News Network
The left side of the screen has a table called ‘Details’, one column with short descriptions of the stories.  From the UI perspective, it enables users to follow the data from left to right, from details to graphical representations.
The right most side of the screen contains a world map leveraged as a heat map in which all the News is derived.
Right under the ‘Locations’ widget, there is a ‘Topics’ tag cloud.
I encourage you to check out the News application, click here.
In addition to UI drill down within the widgets, there is a comprehensive search capacity.
Are you ready to compete with Siri, or Cortana, or build your own Expert solution?  Looks like IBM is empowering you to do so!

Apple iOS Email: Boldly Building an AI Rules Engine

When selecting the ‘flag’ option on an email, one of the menu options shown is ‘Notify Me…’  When anyone replies to that email thread, the person/me is notified.

This Apple iOS email feature, ‘Notify Me…” seems like a toe dip into an AI Email Rules Engine with the one condition and without customization. Is a full blown engine in the Apple product roadmap akin to Outlook?  Has this feature been ‘out there’ for awhile, and I just missed it?

Regardless, a more powerful, robust AI Rules engine, yet keeping the iOS simple, and elegant design could enhance business savvy user’s experience.

Notify Me Feature
Notify Me Feature

Streaming Companies Provide the Power of their Platform to Any Content Provider

Streaming companies enable any digital entertainment producer to use branded, customized “copy” of the streaming platform to reach their audience, and potentially growth, exposure into new markets.

  • Direct competition with Google’s YouTube.
  • Microsoft to stretch SharePoint’s abilities re: video streaming, Video on Demand, and Broadcast Live, as well as it’s user licensing model, it could be another tool for entrepreneurs to offer any content creator a “Digital Entertainment Portal”.

Any content provider of digital media entertainment:

  • Broadcast Television Channels – e.g. CBS, NBC, SyFy
  • Independent digital media producers, e.g. currently using channels to reach a large audience, e.g. YouTube

The streaming company can create a portal wizard to buildcopy a streaming portal template.  The digital media producer uses web app widgets, similar to Microsoft SharePoint sites, to customize their portal to their digital media video / assets.  The Streaming “Portal” provider, as part of their service, handles the monetary transactions for customer subscriptions, or other business models supported.  In addition, the bandwidth load from streaming would be handled by the Streaming “Portal Provider”, a major benefit, leveraging the companies’ Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Anyone could apply for a partnership with the streaming company, and once approved, may use the tools provided by the streaming partner to spawn a new platform site around the customer  / producer’s content.

This new revenue stream of streaming companies platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Instant, may be vastly multiplied using a “Partner Portal” model.


G.E. Plans Big Entry into IoT, Providing Analytics and Predictive Rules

G.E. Plans App Store for Gears of Industry

The investment of $500 million annually signals the importance of the so-called Internet of Things to the future of manufacturing.

G.E. expects revenue of $6 billion from software in 2015, a 50 percent increase in one year. Much of this is from a pattern-finding system called Predix.  G.E. calls its new service the Predix Cloud, and hopes it will be used by both customers and competitors, along with independent software developers. “We can take sensor data from anybody, though it’s optimized for our own products,” Mr. Ruh said.

[Competitive solutions from IBM, Microsoft, and Google] raises the stakes for G.E. “It’s a whole new competition for them,” said Yefim Natis, a senior analyst with Gartner. “To run businesses in a modern way you have to be analytic and predictive.”

G.E. is running the Predix Cloud on a combination of G.E. computers, the vast computing resources of Amazon Web Services, and a few [local] providers, like China Telecom.

China, along with countries like Germany, [are] sensitive about moving its data offshore, or even holding information on computers in the United States.  
The practice of “Ring fencing”  data exists in dozens of jurisdictions globally.  Ring fencing of data may be a legal and/or regulatory issue, that may inhibit the global growth of cloud services moving forward.

Source: G.E. Plans App Store for Gears of Industry

Verizon Poised to offer the Digital Media Food Chain: Content Creation to Distribution

The service, which Verizon only refers to as OTT, or over-the-top, named because it will be available to anyone with an Internet connection, as opposed to a television subscription, is the company’s big growth engine for the future. So far, the company has been mum on the details.

The telecom company is readying a mobile and online video service for launch in late summer, and a top exec says there’s nothing like it.

Verizon continues to line up video content from partners as well as through acquisitions, such as AOL.

Source: Verizon mulls mobile video that doesn’t eat into your data cap – CNET

Abundant Content: Selecting Your Movie / TV Show is Burdensome

Although content is still ‘King’, the side effect of Streaming Services aggressively rolling out content makes the connection between the ‘ideal’ content and consumer burdensome to initiate.

Streaming Services create a ‘funnel’ to get ‘ideal’ content to the consumer through the use of custom carousels and search.

5 minutes max, I stroll around the Streamers’ carousels for random movies or TV shows that catch my interest.  If I don’t find anything worthy to commit my time, I bounce to another streaming service, and repeat the process.

The problem is compounded when you add broadcast Content Channels: ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, HBO, SyFy,  USA, etc, in addition to Streamers like Amazon Instant and Netflix.

The cost of making a decision of which Movie/TV episode to watch comes down to a basic Microeconomic theory.

In order for the consumer to make an accurate assessment of Opportunity Cost, one has to consider ~ALL available options.

Therefore, the cost of making a decision is inefficient, and most importantly inaccurate due to the amount of Video On Demand, (VOD) repositories available to the consumer.

Opportunities to Curtail Consumer Search Time:

  • On demand chat with a Genre Aficionado, video or text chat, 24/7, an employee of the Streaming Service, or central service contracted to the Service.
  • More robust search that has the capacity to drill down on metadata.  E.g. Filter: N stars rating; Sort: ‘added’ date,
  • Add Closed Captioning  to Search metadata
  • Add object and facial recognition index of objects to Search; Open and Play media at time code. E.g. Nike Sneakers
  • ‘Mad Libs’ style secondary search; fill in fields such as leading actor or actress, director of photography, etc.
  • Inbox – recommendations ‘people’ have sent you, manual and automated messages.  Queue up Search results to notify you once per week.  User may send a message with a link to a movie.
  • Cross Video On Demand (VOD) libraries Searching.  Industry Standards derived and implemented.

Cloud Storage and DAM Solutions: Don’t Reign in the Beast

Are you trying to apply metadata on individual files or en masse, attempting to make the vast  growth of cloud storage usage manageable, meaningful storage?

Best practices leverage a consistent hierarchy, an Information Architecture in which to store and retrieve information, excellent.

Beyond that, capabilities computer science has documented and used time and time again, checksum algorithms. Used frequently after a file transfer to verify the file you requested is the file you received.  Most / All Enterprise DAM solutions use some type of technology to ‘allow’ the enforcement of unique assets [upon upload].  In cloud storage and photo solutions targeted toward the individual, consumer side, the feature does not appear to be up ‘close and personal’ to the user experience, thus building a huge expanse of duplicate data (documents, photos, music, etc.).  Another feature, a database [primary] key has been used for decades to identify that a record of data is unique.

Our family sharing alone has thousands and thousands of photos and music. The names of the files could be different for many of the same digital assets.  Sometimes file names are the same, but the metadata between the same files is not unique, but provides value. Tools for ‘merging’ metadata, DAM tools have value to help manage digital assets.

Cloud storage usage is growing exponentially, and metadata alone won’t help rope in the beast. Maybe ADHOC or periodic indexing of files [e.g. by #checksum algorithm] could take on the task of identifying duplicate assets?  Duplicate  assets could be viewed by the user in an exception report?  Less boring, upon upload, ‘on the fly’ let the user know the asset is already in storage, and show a two column diff. of the metadata.

It’s a pain for me, and quite possibly many cloud storage users.  As more people jump on cloud storage, this feature should be front and center to help users grow into their new virtual warehouse.

The industry of cloud storage most likely believes for the common consumer, storage is ‘cheap’, just provide more.  At some stage, the cloud providers may look to DAM tools as the cost of managing a users’ storage rises.  Tools like:

  • duplicate digital assets, files. Use exception reporting to identify the duplicates, and enable [bulk] corrective action, and/or upon upload, duplicate ‘error/warning’ message.
  • Dynamic metadata tagging upon [bulk] upload using object recognition.  Correlating and cataloging one or more [type] objects in a picture using defined Information Architecture.  In addition, leveraging facial recognition for updates to metadata tagging.
    • e.g. “beach” objects: sand, ocean; [Ian Roseman] surfing;
  • Brief questionnaires may enable the user to ‘smartly’ ingest the digital assets; e.g. ‘themes’ of current upload; e.g. a family, or relationship tree to  extend facial recognition correlations.
    • e.g. themes – summer; party; New Year’s Eve
    • e.g. relationship tree – office / work
  • Pan Information Architecture (IA) spanning multiple cloud storage [silos]. e.g. for Photos, spanning [shared] ‘albums’
  • Publically published / shared components of an IA;  e.g. Legal documents;  standards and reuse

Smart Solutions

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