Tag Archives: Amazon

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.

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future

Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft are using high salaries and games pitting humans against computers to try to claim the standard on which all companies will build their A.I. technology.

In this fight — no doubt in its early stages — the big tech companies are engaged in tit-for-tat publicity stunts, circling the same start-ups that could provide the technology pieces they are missing and, perhaps most important, trying to hire the same brains.

For years, tech companies have used man-versus-machine competitions to show they are making progress on A.I. In 1997, an IBM computer beat the chess champion Garry Kasparov. Five years ago, IBM went even further when its Watson system won a three-day match on the television trivia show “Jeopardy!” Today, Watson is the centerpiece of IBM’s A.I. efforts.

Today, only about 1 percent of all software apps have A.I. features, IDC estimates. By 2018, IDC predicts, at least 50 percent of developers will include A.I. features in what they create.

Source: The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future – The New York Times

The next “tit-for-tat” publicity stunt should most definitely be a battle with robots, exactly like BattleBots, except…

  1. Use A.I. to consume vast amounts of video footage from previous bot battles, while identifying key elements of bot design that gave a bot the ‘upper hand’.  From a human cognition perspective, this exercise may be subjective. The BattleBot scoring process can play a factor in 1) conceiving designs, and 2) defining ‘rules’ of engagement.
  2. Use A.I. to produce BattleBot designs for humans to assemble.
  3. Autonomous battles, bot on bot, based on Artificial Intelligence battle ‘rules’ acquired from the input and analysis of video footage.

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

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

Movies I’ve seen that premiered in 2014 on the Silver Screen or through digital media platforms

Here’s a list of movies I’ve seen in 2014, in no particular order.

  1. The LEGO Movie (2014)
  2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Awesome
  3. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Awesome
  5. Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – Awesome
  6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – Mostly Awesome
  7. I Frankenstein – just saw last night, thanks Netflix
  8. Monuments Men
  9. 300: Rise of an Empire – entertaining
  10. The Amazing Spiderman 2 – strayed from the mother ship
  11. Maleficent – well done
  12. Lucy – entertaining
  13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  14. The Maze Runner – entertaining, and slightly thought provoking
  15. Interstellar
  16. Mockingjay Part 1 – entertaining
  17. Exodus Gods And Kings- very entertaining
  18. The Hobbit 3 – well done
  19. Night At The Museum 3
  20. The Imitation Game  –  entertaining
  21. Into the Woods – good cast
  22. Nightcrawler

There are tons of movies from this year I haven’t seen, and don’t even know exist.  Maybe, Amazon Instant, Netflix, etc. will help make me aware of the movies I missed.  Maybe even post these movies for viewing soon.

Source list provided by Rotten Tomatoes and Wild about Movies.

Any others you can recommend?

Media Companies (and Execs) in the Driver’s Seat for a Prosperous New Year

Media Companies (and Executives) on the Hot Seat in 2015 – NYTimes.com.

I respectfully disagree with the NYT article.   Media content providers, especially those who are trying to adapt to this brave new world, have significant opportunities moving into this new year.

Media needs a large cash infusion to their R&D to experiment with:

  1. Delivery paradigms.  Significant diversification in delivery mediums are still in their infancy.  Motion picture brands are, by and large, using media distribution brokers who bundle a large diversification of brand assets collectively to provide great depth of media choices.   Media brands/networks are distributed through a grouping of ‘channels’  delivered through the intermediary, e.g.  cable company.  Media content creators are competing with a crowded group of similar and dissimilar brands all within the same portal used by media bundled providers.   There are quite a few opportunities for delivery in lieu of the older paradigm, such as a distribution of brands around a genre would make it easier for the consumer to find and enjoy their media content.  For example, comedy.com, a portal for all media brands comedy, could be a great partnership across media companies.   This collective portal, an alignment of brands within the same genre,  living across media companies, may not only provide an easier, entertaining, and more enjoyable experience, it helps to innovate all those within this media partnership.   In addition to motion pictures, other formats such as text, photos and graphics, may be delivered through the same medium.  Several companies are already broaching this space such as Amazon, Google,  Microsoft Video, Netflix,Yahoo!, and AOL.  If media content creators don’t experiment with creative distribution initiatives, they may find themselves bargaining with 3rd party distribution for the cost of IP digital distribution.
  2. Creative reuse of existing assets.  This is one of my favorite opportunities media content creators can do.  Many brands are already capitalizing on the reuse of assets, which then spawn to be assets on their own.  Everything from one off episodes, or Webisodes, cast interviews, outtakes, interaction with live audiences through tweets (cast, director narration, and Q&A), mobile text contests,  mobile app for streaming, apps for audience real-time interaction, e.g. games, and actors retweeting fan favorite clip links .  Another one of my favorites are user created ‘favorite’ clips.  The media creator may limit the enthusiast / fan of the content to create e.g. 60 second clips to share on social networks.  The distributor needs to allow in and out points, and then the consumer can share through an email or social media.   These extra assets have great potential, but brands attempting  to socialize these   assets may have difficulty exposing them to viewership.  An integrated video  and dynamic , interactive media content may surface through clickable images, either through object recognition, or a simple image overlay, like a network ‘bug’.  Users may click through to the content, and instantly get a media teaser that will keep hold of the consumer, and manage the media experience.   The click through interactive experience is a whole world unto itself, which requires leaps and bounds of consumer experience usability studies, backed by wireframe prototypes.  The reuse of assets suffers from delivery paradigms, which fail due to a consumer content delivery void.
  3. New content driven by the consumer appetite for your brand will grow your revenue and audience affinity. This is an area which some organizations go ‘all in’, or have smaller budgets.  It seems that these new productions are hit or miss.  A single pilot should be exposed to several test markets, and if there is positive feedback, the brand or distributor could order more episodes.  On a tangent, there is opportunity for media production companies to go to colleges, and universities, provide budgets to, e.g. film classes to produce a trailer, or short . The best clips may turn into pilots for a show, which may be a one off distributed by web only, broadcasted, or both.

The lack of exposure to the brand, or network, is a huge issue which is deepened by leveraging the bundled content distributor as your primary source of distribution.   How to draw consumers to a brand in a saturated world of content is a daunting task.

Are media content creators looking to make large investments to innovate, or are they looking to stabilize their reduction of profit from falling ad sales, with methods such as stagnant or reduction in headcount, and slowing the breaks on CapEx.  It seems like even a temporary retreat to see who is the new trailblazer, and follow that model can be a costly mistake for the brand running into obscurity.  Companies are already following some of the leaders in the marketplace today, but their success is not guarantee for tomorrow’s performance.

Bundled content providers may also take a page from the proposed model where we have STB customized portals, e.g. based on user’s previously viewed content,  a jump page for your viewing experience.  A new STB may incorporate a Wii type sensor, and a new remote,  interacting with the sensor to provide a more fluid experience.  A lot of opportunities,  for talented people, as well as the investors who believe in them.

Amazon Cloud Services uses their Shipping Logistics to Build and Ship

Amazon leverages its existing shipping and logistics knowledge and applies it to a new cloud resource, a 3D Printer.

Using Amazon’s platform, a user can connect through Amazon’s cloud services, lock a shared cloud resource, a 3D printer, feed the printer one of several formats: 3D blueprint, 3D digital scan, or industry spec file format.  The object is then printed out, and shipped using Amazon’s shipping logistics engine.

Make the object you want and Amazon will ship it to you.  How much does it cost? Cost of materials used to produce the object is quantified and charged, in addition to a cloud [resource] usage fee, and potentially discounted shipping based on Amazon’s current scale.

As the service is matured, design tools, basic and advanced, will be provided to produce your designed object.  Only your imagination, and capability to express it limits your ability along with Amazon to deliver your products.

At some point, a seller can have a storefront, where objects can not only be shipped, but build on demand as well.  For example, circuit boards can be sold now, with the above engine and service, from a seller with the proper schematics.

 

WORM Storage in the Cloud?

WORM Storage, or Write Once Read Many, is ideal for archiving data, such as electronic communications.  I was just wondering out of the big, commodity cloud storage vendors, such as Amazon (S3), Windows, or Google, for example, what their offerings would be included but not limited to physical media retrieval upon request, such legal requests, or the client requests a backup of the storage.