Category Archives: Media

People Turn Toward “Data Banks” to Commoditize on their Purchase and User Behavior Profiles

Anyone who is anti “Big Brother”, this may not be the article for you, in fact, skip it. ūüôā

 

The Pendulum Swings Away from GDPR

In the not so distant future, “Data Bank” companies consisting of¬†Subject Matter Experts¬†(SME) across all verticals, ¬†may process¬†your data¬†feeds collected from your purchase and user behavior profiles.¬† Consumers will be encouraged to submit their data profiles into a Data Bank who will offer incentives such as a reduction of¬†insurance premiums to cash back rewards.

 

Everything from activity trackers, home¬†automation, to¬†vehicular automation¬†data may be captured and aggregated. ¬† ¬†The data collected can then be sliced and diced to provide macro and¬†micro views of the information. ¬† ¬†On the abstract, macro level the¬†information¬†may allow for demographic, statistical correlations, which may¬†contribute to corporate strategy. On a¬†granular¬†view, the data¬†will provide “data banks” the opportunity to sift through data to perform analysis and correlations that lead to actionable information.

 

Is it secure?  Do you care if a hacker steals your weight loss information? May not be an issue if collected Purchase and Use Behavior Profiles aggregate into a Blockchain general ledger.  Data Curators and Aggregators work with SMEs to correlate the data into:

  • Canned, ‘intelligent’ reports targeted for a specific subject matter, or across silos of¬†data types
  • ‘Universes’ (i.e. ¬†Business Objects) of data that may be ‘mined’ by consumer approved, ‘trusted’ third party companies, e.g. your insurance companies.
  • Actionable information based on AI subject matter rules engines and consumer rule transparency may be provided.

 

¬†“Data Banks” may be required to report to their customers who agreed to sell their data examples of specific rows of the data, which was sold on a “Data Market”.

Consumers may have¬†the option of sharing their personal¬†data with specific companies by proxy, through a ‘data bank’¬†granular to the data point¬†collected.¬† Sharing of Purchase and User Behavior Profiles:

  1. may lower [or raise] your insurance premiums
  2. provide discounts on preventive health care products and services, e.g. vitamins to yoga classes
  3. Targeted, affordable,  medicine that may redirect the choice of the doctor to an alternate.  The MD would be contacted to validate the alternate.

 

The curriated data collected may be harnessed by thousands of affinity groups to offer very discrete products and services.  Purchase and User Behavior Profiles,  correlated information stretches beyond any consumer relationship experienced today.

 

At some point, health insurance companies may require you to wear a tracker to increase or slash premiums.  Auto Insurance companies may offer discounts for access to car smart data to make sure suggested maintenance guidelines for service are met.

 

You may approve your “data bank”¬†to give access¬†to specific soliciting government agencies or private firms looking to analyze data for their studies. You may qualify based on the demographic, abstracted data points collected for incentives provided may be tax credits, or paying studies.

Purchase and User Behavior Profiles:  Adoption and Affordability

If ‘Data Banks’ are allowed to collect Internet of Things (IoT)¬†device profile and the devices themselves are cost prohibitive. ¬†here are a few¬†ways to increase their adoption:

  1.  [US] tax coupons to enable the buyer, at the time of purchase, to save money.  For example, a 100 USD discount applied at the time of purchase of an Activity Tracker, with the stipulation that you may agree,  at some point, to participate in a study.
  2. Government subsidies: the cost of aggregating and archiving Purchase and Behavioral profiles through annual tax deductions.  Today, tax incentives may allow you to purchase an IoT device if the cost is an itemized medical tax deduction, such as an Activity Tracker that monitors your heart rate, if your medical condition requires it.
  3. Auto, Life, Homeowners, and Health policyholders may qualify for additional insurance deductions
  4. Affinity branded IoT devices, such as American Lung Association may sell a logo branded Activity Tracker.  People may sponsor the owner of the tracking pedometer to raise funds for the cause.

The World Bank has a repository of data, World DataBank, which seems to store a large depth of information:

World Bank Open Data: free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.”

Here is the article that inspired me to write this article:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/you-might-be-wearing-a-health-tracker-at-work-one-day-2015-03-11

 

Privacy and Data Protection Creates Data Markets

Initiatives such as¬†General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy initiatives which seek to constrict access to your data to you as the “owner”, as a byproduct, create opportunities for you to¬†sell your data.¬†¬†

 

Blockchain: Purchase, and User Behavior Profiles

As your “vault”, “Data Banks” will collect and maintain your two primary datasets:

  1. As a consumer of goods and services, a Purchase Profile is established and evolves over time.¬† Online purchases are automatically collected, curated, appended with metadata, and stored in a data vault [Blockchain].¬† “Offline” purchases at some point, may become a hybrid [on/off] line purchase, with advances in traditional monetary exchanges, and would follow the online transaction model.
  2. User Behavior (UB)¬† profiles, both on and offline will be collected and stored for analytical purposes.¬† A user behavior “session” is a use case of activity where YOU are the prime actor.¬† Each session would create a single UB transaction and are also stored in a “Data Vault”.¬† ¬†UB use cases may not lead to any purchases.

Not all Purchase and User Behavior profiles are created equal.¬† Eg. One person’s profile may show a monthly spend higher than another.¬† The consumer who purchases more may be entitled to more benefits.

These datasets wholly owned by the consumer, are safely stored, propagated, and immutable with a solution such as with a Blockchain general ledger.

Microsoft Productivity Suite – Content Creation, Ingestion, Curation, Search, and Repurpose

Auto Curation: AI Rules Engine Processing

There are, of course, 3rd party platforms that perform very well, are feature rich, and agnostic to all file types.  For example, within a very short period of time, low cost, and possibly a few plugins, a WordPress site can be configured and deployed to suit your needs of Digital Asset Managment (DAM).  The long-term goal is to incorporate techniques such as Auto Curation to any/all files, leveraging an ever-growing intelligent taxonomy, a taxonomy built on user-defined labels/tags, as well an AI rules engine with ML techniques.   OneDrive, as a cloud storage platform, may bridge the gap between JUST cloud storage and a DAM.

Ingestion and Curation Workflow

Content Creation Apps and Auto Curation

  • The ability for Content Creation applications, such as Microsoft Word, to capture not only the user-defined tags but also the context of the tags relating to the content.
    • When ingesting a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, after consuming the file, and Auto Curation process can extract “reusable components” of the file, such as¬†slide¬†header/name, and the correlated content such as a table, chart, or graphics.
    • Ingesting Microsoft Excel and Auto Curation of Workbooks may yield “reusable components” stored as metadata tags, and their correlated content, such as chart and table names.
    • Ingesting and Auto Curation of Microsoft Word documents may build a classic Index for all the most frequently occurring words, and augment the manually user-defined tags in the file.
    • Ingestion of Photos [and Videos] into and Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform, during the Auto Curation process, may identify commonly identifiable objects, such as trees or people.¬† These objects would be automatically tagged through the Auto Curation process after Ingestion.
  • Ability to extract the content file metadata, objects and text tags, to be stored in a standard format to be extracted by DAMs, or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platforms with file and metadata search capabilities.¬† Could OneDrive be that intelligent platform?
  • A user can search for a¬†file title or throughout the Manual and Auto Curated, defined metadata¬†associated with the file.¬† The¬†DAM or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform provides both search results.¬† ¬†“Reusable components” of files are also searchable.¬†
    • For “Reusable Components” to be parsed out of the files to be separate entities, a process needs to occur after Ingestion Auto Curration.
  • Content Creation application, user-entry tag/text fields should have “drop-down” access to the search index populated with auto/manual created tags.

Auto Curation and Intelligent Cloud Storage

  • The intelligence of Auto Curation should be built into the Cloud Storage Platform, e.g. potentially OneDrive.
  • At a minimum, auto curation should update the cloud storage platform indexing engine to correlate files and metadata.
  • Auto Curation is the ‘secret sauce’ that “digests” the content to build the search engine index, which contains identified objects (e.g. tag and text or¬†coordinates)¬† automatically
    • Auto Curation may leverage a rules engine (AI) and apply user configurable rules such as “keyword density” thresholds
    • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning rules may be applied to the content to derive additional¬†labels/tags.
  • If leveraging version control of the intelligent cloud storage platform, each iteration should “re-index” the content, and update the Auto Curation metadata tags.¬† User-created tags are untouched.
  • If no user-defined labels/tags exist, upon ingestion, the user may be prompted for tags

Auto Curation and “3rd Party” Sources

In the context of sources such as a Twitter feed, there exists no incorporation of feeds into an Intelligent Cloud Storage.  OneDrive, Cloud Intelligent Storage may import feeds from 3rd party sources, and each Tweet would be defined as an object which is searchable along with its metadata (e.g. likes; tags).

Operating System, Intelligent Cloud Storage/DAM

The Intelligent Cloud Storage and DAM solutions should have integrated search capabilities, so on the OS (mobile or desktop) level, the discovery of content through the OS search of tagged metadata is possible.

Current State

  1. OneDrive has no ability to search Microsoft Word tags
  2. The UI for all Productivity Tools must have a comprehensive and simple design for leveraging an existing taxonomy for manual tagging, and the ability to add hints for auto curation
    1. Currently, Microsoft Word has two fields to collect metadata about the file.¬† It’s obscurely found at the “Save As” dialog.
      1. The “Save As”¬†dialogue box allows a user to add tags and authors but only when using the MS Word desktop version.¬† The Online (Cloud) version of Word has no such option when saving to Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage
  3. Auto Curation (Artificial Intelligence, AI) must inspect the MS Productivity suite tools, and extract tags automatically which does not exist today.
  4. No manual taging or Auto Curation/Facial Recognition exists.

KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin cryptocurrency | An Innovative Path Forward

The KODAKOne image rights management platform will create an encrypted, digital ledger of rights ownership for photographers to register both new and archive work that they can then license within the platform. KODAKCoin allows participating photographers to take part in a new economy for photography, receive payment for licensing their work immediately upon sale, and sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain [cryptocurrency] platform.

Source: KODAKOne platform and KODAKCoin  | Kodak Graphic Communications Group

I’m really excited about these two technologies coming to fruition.¬† I believe there are several companies already in the digital asset enforcement and management space, such as embedded digital watermarks, so I’m curious how Kodak and¬†WENN Digital will:

  • Crawl the digital landscape we call the Internet and identify potential infringements of licensing for specific digital photos.
  • The ability to “automatically” notify the person(s) or legal business entity who have been flagged for the infringement.
  • Enforcement of licensing or the removal of images.

I’m more skeptical re: Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.¬† However, with KODAKCoin, it gives me more to reflect upon.

Based on the minimum information currently released:

Government-backed regulation
This community [KODAKCoin] will be supported with a set of unique benefits only available by the issuance of KODAKCoin cryptocurrency via an SEC Regulated Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Branded cryptocurrency could have some legitimate legs which are “relatable” to a wider audience of people who “don’t get it.”¬† Kodak still has a solid brand, and a business model to integrate the coin.

Unlikely Bedfellows as Net Neutrality Sunsets

Coupling Content Distribution (i.e. ISPs) with Content Producers

Verizon FiOS offers Netflix as another channel in their already expansive lineup of content. Is this a deal of convenience for the consumer, keeping consumers going through one medium, or is it something more?  Amazon Video iOS application offers HBO, STARZ, and others as long as Amazon Prime customers have a subscription to the Content Producers. Convenience or more?  The Netflix Content and Distribution via Set-top box (STB) channel should be mimicked by Google YouTube and Amazon Video despite their competing hardware offerings.  Consumers should be empowered to decide how they want to consume Amazon Video; e.g. through their Set-top box (STB).  However,  there may be more than just a convenience benefit.

Amazon Video iOS
Amazon Video iOS
Netflix on FiOS
Netflix on FiOS

As Net Neutrality fades into the sunset of congressional debates and lobbyists, the new FCC ruling indicates the prevailing winds of change.  We question how content providers, large and small, navigate the path to survival/sustainability.  Some business models from content distribution invoke Bandwidth Throttling, which may inhibit the consumers of some content, either by content types (e.g. Video formats) or content providers (e.g. Verizon FiOS providing priority bandwidth to Netflix).

Content Creators / Producers, without a deal with ISPs for ‚Äúpriority bandwidth‚ÄĚ may find their customers flock to ‘larger content creators‚Äô who may be able to get better deals for content throughput.

Akamai and Amazon CloudFront – Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) may find themselves on the better end of this deal, almost as a side-effect to the FCC decision of nixing Net Neutrality.

Amazon CloudFront a global content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to viewers with low latency and high transfer speeds. CloudFront, like Akamai, may significantly benefit from the decision by the FCC to repeal Net Neutrality.

Akamai’s industry-leading scale and resiliency mean delivering critical content with consistency, quality, and security across every device, every time.  Great web and mobile experiences are key to engaging users, yet difficult to achieve. To drive engagement and online revenue, it’s critical to optimize performance for consumer audiences and employees alike to meet or exceed their expectations for consistent, fast, secure experiences.

Integrating into Content/Internet Service Provider’s Bundle of Channels

By elevating Content Producers into the ISP (distribution channel) Set-top box (STB), does this ‘packaging’ go beyond bundling of content for convenience?¬† For example, when Netflix uses Verizon FiOS’ CDN for content delivery to their clients, will the consumer benefit from this bundled partnership beyond convenience (i.e. performance)?¬† When Netflix is invoked by a Verizon FiOS customer from their laptop (direct from Netflix), is there a performance improvement if Netflix is invoked¬†from the Verizon FiOS Set-top Box (STB) instead?¬† Would these two separate use cases for invoking Netflix movies utilize two alternate Content delivery network (CDN) paths, one more optimized than the other?

As of this post update (12/26), there has been no comment from Verizon.

AI Email Workflows Eliminate Need for Manual Email Responses

When i read the article “How to use Gmail templates to answer emails faster.” ¬†I thought wow, what an 1990s throwback!

Microsoft Outlook has had an AI Email Rules Engine for years and years. From using a simple Wizard to an advanced construction rules user interface. Oh the things you can do. Based on a wide away of ‚Äėout of the box‚Äô identifiers to highly customizable conditions, MS Outlook may take action on the client side of the email transaction or on the server side. What types of actions? All kinds of transactions ranging from ‘out of the box‚Äô to a high degree of customization. And yes, Outlook (in conjunction with MS Exchange) may be identified as a digital asset management (DAM) tool.

Email comes into an inbox, based on ‚Äúfrom‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúsubject‚ÄĚ, contents of email, and a long list of attributes, MS Outlook [optionally with MS Exchange], for example, may push the Email and any attached content, to a server folder, perhaps to Amazon AWS S3, or as simple as an MS Exchange folder.

Then, optionally a ‘backend‚Äô workflow may be triggered, for example, with the use of Microsoft Flow. Where you go from there has almost infinite potential.

Analogously, Google Gmail‚Äôs new Inbox UI uses categorization based on ‘some set‚Äô of rules is not something new to the industry, but now Google has the ability. For example, ‚ÄúGroup By‚ÄĚ through Google‚Äôs new Inbox, could be a huge timesaver. Enabling the user to perform actions across predefined email categories, such as delete all ‚Äúpromotional‚ÄĚ emails, could be extremely successful. However, I‚Äôve not yet seen the AI rules that identify particular emails as ‚Äúpromotional‚ÄĚ verses ‚Äúfinancial‚ÄĚ. Google is implying these ‘out of the box‚Äô email categories, and the way users interact, take action, are extremely similar per category.

Google may continue to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft, possibly adding the initiation of workflows based on predetermined criteria. Maybe Google will expose its AI (Email) Rules Engine for users to customize their workflows, just as Microsoft did so many years ago.

Although Microsoft’s Outlook (and Exchange) may have been seen as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool in the past, the user’s email Inbox folder size could have been identified as one of the few sole inhibitors. ¬†Workaround, of course, using service accounts with vastly higher folder quota / size.

My opinions do not reflect that of my employer.

Twitter Trolls caused Salesforce to Walk Away from Deal? Google reCAPTCHA to the Rescue!?

According to CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, Salesforce¬†was turned off by a more fundamental problem that’s been hurting Twitter for years: trolls.

“What’s happened is, a lot of the bidders are looking at people with lots of followers and seeing the hatred,” Cramer said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” citing a recent conversation with Benioff. “I know that the haters reduce the value of the company…I know that Salesforce was very concerned about this notion.”

…Twitter’s troll problem isn’t anything new if you’ve been following the company for a while.”

Source: Twitter trolls caused Salesforce to walk away from deal – Business Insider

Anyone with a few neurons will recognize that bots on Twitter are a huge turnoff in some cases. ¬†I like periodic famous quotes as much as the next person, but it seems like bots have invaded Twitter for a long time, and becomes a detractor¬†to using the platform. ¬†The solution in fact is quite easy,¬†reCAPTCHA. ¬†a web application that determines if the user is a human and not a robot. ¬†Twitter users should be required to use¬†an integrated reCAPTCHA Twitter DM, and/or as a “pinned”reCAPTCHA tweet that sticks to the¬†top of your feed,¬†¬†once a calendar week, and go through the “I’m not a robot” quick and easy process.

Additionally, an AI rules engine may identify particular patterns of Bot activity, flag it, and force the user to go through the Human validation process within 24 hours. ¬†If users try to ‘get around’ the Bot\Human identification process, ¬†maybe by tweaking their tweets, Google may employ AI machine learning algorithms to feed the “Bot” AI rules engine patterns.

Every Twitter user identified as “Human” would¬†have the picture of the “Vitruvian Man” by¬† Leonardo da Vinci miniaturized, and placed next to the “Verified Account” check mark. ¬†Maybe there’s a fig leaf too.

In addition, the user MAY¬†declare it IS a bot, and there are certainly valid reasons to utilize bots. ¬†Instead of the “Man” icon, Twitter may allow users to pick the bot icon, including the character¬†from the TV show “Futurama”, Bender miniaturized. ¬†Twitter could¬†collect additional information on Bots for enhanced user experience, e.g. categories and subcategories

reCAPTCHA is owned by Google, so maybe, in some far out distant universe, a Doppelgänger Google would buy Twitter, and either phase out or integrate G+ with Twitter.

If trolls/bots¬†are¬†such a huge issue, why hasn’t Twitter addressed¬†it? ¬†What is Google using to deal with the issue?

The prescribed method seems too easy and cheap to implement, so I must be missing something.  Politics maybe?  Twitter calling upon a rival, Google (G+) to help craft a solution?

Hey Siri, Ready for an Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple? Guess Who’s Suing.

The AI personal assistant with the “most usage” spanning ¬†connectivity across¬†all¬†smart devices, will be¬†the anchor upon which users will gravitate to control their ‘automated’ lives. ¬†An Amazon commercial just aired which depicted ¬†a dad with his daughter, and the daughter was crying about her boyfriend who happened to be in the front yard yelling for her. ¬†The dad says to Amazon’s¬†Alexa, sprinklers on, and yes, the boyfriend got soaked.

What is so special about top spot for the AI Personal Assistant? Controlling the ‘funnel’ upon which all information is accessed, and actions are taken means the intelligent ability to:

  • Serve up content / information, which could then be mixed in with advertisements, or ‘intelligent suggestions’ based on historical data, i.e. machine learning.
  • Proactive, suggestive¬†actions ¬†may lead to¬†sales of goods and services. e.g. AI Personal Assistant flags potential ‘buys’ from eBay based on user profiles.

Three main sources of AI Personal Assistant value add:

  • A portal to the “outside” world; E.g.¬†If I need information, I wouldn’t “surf the web” I would ask Cortana to go “Research” XYZ; ¬† in the Business Intelligence / data warehousing space, a business analyst may need to run a few queries in order to get the information they wanted. ¬†In the same token, Microsoft Cortana may come back to you several times to ask “for your guidance”
  • An abstraction layer between the user and their apps; ¬†The user need not ‘lift a finger’ to any app outside the Personal Assistant with noted exceptions like playing a game for you.
  • User Profiles derived from the first two points; I.e. data collection on everything from¬†spending habits, or other day to day ¬†rituals.

Proactive and chatty assistants may win the “Assistant of Choice” on all platforms. ¬†Being proactive means collecting data more often then¬†when it’s just you asking questions ADHOC. ¬†Proactive AI Personal Assistants that are Geo Aware may may make¬†“timely appropriate interruptions”(notifications) that may be based on time and location. ¬†E.g. “Don’t forget milk” says Siri, ¬†as your passing the grocery store. ¬†Around the time I leave work Google maps tells me if I have traffic and my ETA.

It’s possible for the [non-native] AI Personal Assistant to become the ‘abstract’ layer on top of ANY¬†mobile OS (iOS, Android), and is the funnel by which all actions / requests are triggered.

Microsoft Corona has an iOS app and widget, which is wrapped around the OS. ¬†Tighter integration may be possible but not allowed by the iOS, the iPhone, and the Apple Co. Note:¬†Google’s Allo does not provide an iOS widget at the time of this writing.

Antitrust violation by¬†mobile smartphone maker Apple: ¬†iOS must allow for the ‘substitution’ of a competitive¬†AI Personal Assistant to be triggered in¬†the same manner as the native Siri, ¬†“press and hold home button” capability that launches the default packaged iOS assistant Siri.
Reminiscent of the Microsoft IE Browser / OS antitrust violations in the past.

Holding the iPhone Home button brings up Siri. There should be an OS setting to swap out which Assistant is to be used with the mobile OS as the default. ¬†Today, the iPhone / iPad iOS only supports “Siri” under the Settings menu.

ANY AI Personal assistant should be allowed to replace the default OS Personal assistant from Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana to any startup company with expertise and resources¬†needed to¬†build, and deploy a Personal Assistant solution. ¬†Has¬†Apple has taken steps to¬†tightly couple Siri with it’s iOS?

AI Personal Assistant ‘Wish” list:

  • Interactive, Voice Menu Driven Dialog; The AI Personal Assistant should know what installed [mobile] apps exist, as well as their actionable, hierarchical taxonomy of feature / functions. ¬† The Assistant should, for example, ask which application the user¬†wants to use, and if not known by the user, the assistant should verbally / visually list the apps. ¬†After the user selects the app, the Assistant should then provide a list of function choices for that application; e.g. “Press 1 for “Play Song”
    • The interactive voice menu should also provide a level of abstraction when available, e.g. User need not select the app, and just say “Create Reminder”. ¬†There may be several applications on the Smartphone that do the same thing, such as Note Taking and Reminders. ¬†In the OS Settings, under the soon to be NEW menu ‘ AI Personal Assistant’, a list of installed system applications compatible with this “AI Personal Assistant” service layer should be listed, and should be grouped by sets of categories defined by the Mobile OS.
  • Capability to interact with IoT using user defined¬†workflows. ¬†Hardware and software may exist in the Cloud.
  • Ever tighter integration with native as well as 3rd party apps, e.g. Google Allo and Google Keep.

Apple could already be making the changes as a natural course of their product evolution. ¬†Even if the ‘big boys’ don’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest, all you need is VC and a few good programmers to pick a fight with Apple.

AI Personal Assistant Needs Remedial Guidance for their Users

Providing Intelligent ‘Code’ Completion

At this stage in the application platform growth and maturity of the AI Personal Assistant, there are many commands and options that common users cannot formulate due to a lack of knowledge and experience.  Using Natural Language to formulate questions has gotten better over the years, but assistance / guidance formulating the requests would maximize intent / goal accuracy.

A key usability feature for¬†many integrated development environments (IDE) are their capability to use “Intelligent Code Completion” to guide their programmers to produce correct, functional syntax. This feature also enables the programmer to be unburdened by the need to look up syntax for each command reference, saving significant time. ¬†As the usage of the AI Personal Assistant grows, and their capabilities along with it, the¬†amount of commands and their parameters required to use the AI Personal Assistant will¬†also increase.

AI Leveraging Intelligent Command Completion

For each command parameter [level\tree], a drop down list may appear giving users a set of options to select for the next parameter. A delimiter such as a period(.) indicates to the AI Parser another set of command options must be presented to the person entering the command. These options are typically in the form of drop down lists concatenated to the right of the formulated commands.  Vocally, parent / child commands and parameters may be supplied in a similar fashion.

AI Personal Assistant Language Syntax

Adding another AI parser on top of the existing syntax parser may allow commands like these to be executed:

  • Abstraction¬†(e.g. no application specified)
    • Order.Food.Focacceria.List123
    • Order.Food.FavoriteItalianRestaurant.FavoriteLunchSpecial
  • Application¬†Parser
    • Seamless.Order.Food.Focacceria.Large Pizza

These¬†AI command examples uses a hierarchy of commands and parameters to perform the function. One of the above¬†commands leverages one of my contacts, and a ‘List123’ object. ¬†The ‘List123’ parameter may be a ‘note’ on my Smartphone that contains a list of food we would like to order. The command¬†may place the order either through my contact’s email address, fax number, or calling the business main number and using AI Text to Speech functionality.

All personal data, such as Favorite Italian Restaurant, ¬†and Favorite Lunch Special could¬†be placed in the¬†AI Personal Assistant ‘Settings’. ¬†A group of settings may be listed as¬†Key-Value pairs, ¬†that may be considered¬†short hand for conversations involving the AI Assistant.

A majority of users are most likely unsure of many of the options available within the AI Personal assistant command structure. Intelligent command [code] completion empowers users with visibility into the available commands, and parameters.

For those without a¬†programming background, Intelligent “Command” Completion is slightly¬†similar to the autocomplete in Google’s Search text box, predicting possible choices¬†as the user types. In the case of the guidance provided by an AI Personal Assistant the user is guided to their desired command; however, the Google autocomplete requires some level or sense of the end result command. Intelligent code completion typically displays all possible commands in a drop down list next to the constructor period (.). In this case the user may have no knowledge of the next parameter without the drop down choice list. ¬†An addition feature enables the AI Personal Assistant to hover over one of the commands\parameters to¬†show a brief ‘help text’ popup.

Note, Microsoft’s Cortana AI assistant provides a text box in addition to speech input. ¬†Adding another syntax parser could be allowed and enabled through the existing User Interface. ¬†However, Siri seems to only have voice recognition input, and no text input.

Is¬†Siri handling the iOS ‘Global Search’¬†requests ‘behind the scenes’? ¬†If so, the¬†textual parsing, i.e. the period(.) separator would work.¬†Siri does provide some cursory guidance on what information the AI may be able to provide, ¬†“Some things you can ask me:”

With only voice recognition input, use the Voice Driven Menu Navigation & Selection approach as described below.

Voice Driven, Menu Navigation and Selection

The current AI personal assistant, abstraction layer may be too abstract for some users.  The difference between these two commands:

  • Play The Rolling Stones song¬†Sympathy for the Devil.
    • Has the benefit of natural language, and can handle simple tasks, like “Call Mom”
    • However, there may be many¬†commands that can be performed by a multitude of¬†installed platform applications.

Verse

  • Spotify.Song.Sympathy for the Devil
    • Enables the user to select the specific application they would like a¬†task to be performed by.
  • Spotify Help
    • A voice driven menu will enable users to understand the capabilities of the AI Assistant. ¬† ¬†Through the use of a voice interactive menu, users may¬†‘drill down’ to the action they desire to be performed. e.g. “Press # or say XYZ”
    • Optionally, the voice menu, depending upon the application, may have a customer service feature, and forward the interaction to the proper [calling¬†or¬†chat] queue.

Update – 9/11/16

  • I just installed Microsoft¬†Cortana for iOS, and at a glance, the application has¬†a leg up on the competition
    • The Help menu gives a fair number of examples by category. ¬†Much better¬†guidance¬†that iOS / Siri¬†
    • The ability to enter\type or speak commands provides the needed¬†flexibility for user input.
      • Some people are uncomfortable ‘talking’ to their Smartphones. ¬†Awkward talking to a machine.
      • The ability to type in commands may alleviate voice command entry errors, speech to text translation.
      • Opportunity to expand the AI Syntax Parser to include ‘programmatic’ type commands allows the user a more granular command¬†set, ¬†e.g. “Intelligent Command¬†Completion”. ¬†As the capabilities of the platform grow, it will be a challenge to interface and maximize AI Personal Assistant capabilities.

2016 Olympics Rating are Down? Don’t Blame Streaming!

The 2016 Olympic opening ceremonies had just started, and I thought briefly about events I wanted to see. ¬†I’m not a huge fan¬†of the Olympics mostly because of the time commitment. ¬†However, if I happen to be in front of the TV when the events are on, depending upon the event, I’m happy to watch, and can get drawn in easily.

As the Olympics unfolded, I caught a few minutes of an event here and there, just by happening to be in front¬†of a TV. ¬†Searching for¬†any particular event never crossed my mind, even with the ease and power behind several powerful search engines like Bing and Google. The widgets built into search engine’s results showing Olympic standings in line with other search results was a great time saver.

However, why oh why didn’t the broadcasting¬†network NBC create a calendar of Olympic 2016 ¬†events that¬†can easily be imported into either Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook? ¬†Even Star Trek fans are able to add a calendar to their Google Calendar for Star Dates.

Olympic ratings are hurting?  Any one of these organizations could have created a shared calendar for all or a subset of Olympic  events. Maybe you just want a calendar that shows all the aquatic events?

Olympic Team Sponsors from soda to fast food, why oh why did you paint your consumer goods with pictures of Javelin throwers and Swimmers, but didn’t put a¬†QR code¬†on the side of your containers that directs consumers to your sponsored team’s calendar schedule “importable” into Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook?

If sponsors, or the broadcasting network, NBC, would¬†have created these shareable calendars, you now would had entered the personal calendars¬†of the consumer. ¬†A calendar entry pop-up may not only display what¬†current competition is being fought, the body of the event may also contain [URL] links to stream the event live. ¬†The body of the event may also contain links to each team player’s stats, and other interesting facts relating to the event.

Also, if a Team Sponsor is the one creating the custom calendar for the Olympic Events, like USA Swimming’s sponsor Marriott¬†, the streaming live video events may now be controlled by the Sponsor, yes, all advertising during the streaming session would¬†be controlled by the the Sponsor. ¬†All Marriott! ¬†The links in the team sponsor calendar entries may not only have their own streaming links to the live events, but include any feature rich, relevant related content.

There is the small matter of broadcast licensing Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS)  and broadcaster exclusivity, but hey, everything is negotiable.  Not sure traditional broadcasting rules should apply in a world of video streaming.

All the millions sponsors spend, for an IT Project that¬†could cost¬†a fraction of their advertising budget, and add significant ROI, it boggles the mind why every sponsor isn’t out there doing this or something similar right now. ¬†The tech is relatively inexpensive, and readily available, so why not now? ¬†If you know of any implementations, please drop me a note.

One noted exception, the “Google app” [for the iPhone] leverages alerts for all types of things such as a warning on¬†traffic conditions¬†for your¬†ride home to … the start of the Women’s beam Gymnastics Olympic event. ¬† Select the alert, and opens up a ‘micro’¬†portal with people competing in the event, a detailed list of athlete profiles, including picture, country of origin, and metals won. ¬†There is also a tab showing the event future schedule.

Microsoft Flow – Platform Review

It looks like Microsoft created a generic workflow platform, product independent.

Microsoft has software solutions, like MS Outlook with¬†an¬†[email] rules engine built into Outlook. ¬†SharePoint has a workflow solution within the Sharepoint Platform, typically governing the content flowing through it’s system.

Microsoft Flow is a different animal. ¬†It seems like¬†Microsoft has built a ‘generic’ rules engine for processing almost any event. ¬†The Flow product:

  1. Start using the product from one of two areas: ¬†a) “My Flows” where I may view existing and create new [work]flows. b) “Activity”, that shows “Notifications” and “Failures”
  2. Select “My Flows”, and the user may¬†“Create [a workflow] from Blank”, ¬†or “Browse Templates”. ¬†MSFT¬†existing set of templates were¬†created by Microsoft, and also by a 3rd party implying a marketplace.
  3. Select “Create from Blank” and the user has a single drop down list of events, a culmination¬†events across Internet products. There is an¬†implication¬†there could be any product, and event “made compatible” with MSFT Flows.
    1. The drop down list of events has a format of “Product – Event”. ¬†As the list of products and events grow, we should see at least two separate drop down lists, one for products, and a sub list for the product specific events.
    2. Several Example Events Include:
      1. “Dropbox – When a file is created”
      2. “Facebook – When there is a new post to my timeline”
      3. “Project Online – When a new task is created”
      4. “RSS – When a feed item is published”
      5. “Salesforce – When an object is created”
    3. The list of products as well as there events may need a business analyst to rationalize the use cases.
  4. Once an Event is selected, event specific details may be required, e.g. Twitter account details, or OneDrive “watch” folder
  5. Next, a Condition may be added to this [work]flow, ¬†and may be specific to the Event type, e.g. OneDrive File Type properties [contains] XYZ value. ¬†There is also an “advanced mode” using a conditional scripting language.
  6. There is “IF YES” and “IF NO” logic, which then allows the user to select one [or more] actions to perform
    1. Several Action Examples Include:
      1. “Excel – Insert Rows”
      2. “FTP – Create File”
      3. “Google Drive – List files in folder”
      4. “Mail – Send email”
      5. “Push Notification – Send a push notification”
    2. Again, it seems like an eclectic bunch of Products, Actions, and Events strung together to have a system to POC.
  7. The Templates list, predefined set of workflows that may be of interest to anyone who does not want to start from scratch.   The UI provides several ways to filter, list, and search through templates.

Applicable to everyday life, from an individual home user, small business, to the enterprise.  At this stage the product seems in Beta at best, or more accurately, just after clickable prototype.  I ran into several errors trying to go through basic use cases, i.e. adding rules.

Despite the “Preview” launch, Microsoft has showed us the power in [work]flow processing¬†regardless of the service platform provider, e.g. ¬†Box, DropBox, Facebook, GitHub, Instagram, Salesforce, Twitter, Google, MailChimp, …

Microsoft may be the glue to combine service providers who may / expose their services to MSFT Flow functionality.

Create from Blank - Select Condition
Create from Blank – Select Condition

 

Create Rule from Template
Create Rule from Template
Create from Blank Rule Building UI
Create from Blank Rule Building UI

 

Update June 28th, 2016:

Opportunities for Event, Condition, Action Rules

  • Transcoding [cloud] Services
  • [IBM Watson] Cognitive APIs
    • e.g.¬†Language:Translation; E.g.2. Visual Recognition;
  • WordPress – Create a Post
    • New text file dropped in specific folder on¬†Box, DropBox, etc. being ‘monitored’ by MSFT flow [?] Additional¬†code required by user for ‘polling’ capabilities
    • OR new text file attached, and emailed to specific email account folder ‘watched’ by MSFT Flow.
    • Event triggers – Automatic read of new text file
      • stylizing may occur if HTML coding used
    • Action – Post to a Blog
  • ‘ANY’ Event occurs, a custom message is sent using¬†Skype for a single or group of Skype accounts;
    • On several ‘eligible’¬†events, such as “File Creation” into Box, ¬†the file (or file shared URL) may be sent to the Skype account.
  • ‘ANY’ Event occurs,¬†a custom mobile text message is sent to a single or group of¬†phone numbers.
  • Event occurs for “File Creation” e.g. into Box; after passing a¬†“Condition”, actions occur:
    • IBM Watson Cognitive API,¬†Text to Speech, occurs, and the product of the action is placed in the same Box folder.
  • Action: Using Microsoft Edge (powered by MSN), in the “My news feed” tab, enable action to publish “Cards”, such as app notifications

Challenges \ Opportunities \ Unknowns

  • 3rd party¬†companies existing, published [cloud; web service] APIs may not even need any modification to integrate with Microsoft Flow; however, business approval may be required to use the API in this manner,
  • It is unclear re: Flow Templates need to be created by the product owner, e.g. Telestream, or knowledgeable third party, following the Android, iOS, and/or MSFT Mobile Apps model.
  • It is unclear if the MSFT Flow app may be licensed individually in the cloud, within the 365 cloud suite, or offered for Home and\or Business?