Tag Archives: Innovation

AI Personal Assistants are “Life Partners”

Artificial Intelligent (AI)  “Assistants”, or “Bots” are taken to the ‘next level’ when the assistant becomes a proactive entity based on the input from human intelligent experts that grows with machine learning.

Even the implication of an ‘Assistant’ v.  ‘Life Partner’ implies a greater degree of dynamic, and proactive interaction.   The cross over to becoming ‘Life Partner’ is when we go ‘above and beyond’ to help our partners succeed, or even survive the day to day.

Once we experience our current [digital, mobile] ‘assistants’ positively influencing our lives in a more intelligent, proactive manner, an emotional bond ‘grows’, and the investment in this technology will also expand.

Practical Applications Range:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous Coach , Mentor – enabling the human partner to overcome temporary weakness. Knowledge,  and “triggers” need to be incorporated into the AI ‘Partner’;  “Location / Proximity” reminder if person enters a shopping area that has a liquor store.  [AI] “Partner” help “talk down”
  • Understanding ‘data points’ from multiple sources, such as alarms,  and calendar events,  to derive ‘knowledge’, and create an actionable trigger.
    • e.g. “Did you remember to take your medicine?” unprompted; “There is a new article in N periodical, that pertains to your medicine.  Would you like to read it?”
    • e.g. 2 unprompted, “Weather calls for N inches of Snow.  Did you remember to service your Snow Blower this season?”
  • FinTech – while in department store XYZ looking to purchase Y over a certain amount, unprompted “Your credit score indicates you are ‘most likely’ eligible to ‘sign up’ for a store credit card, and get N percentage off your first purchase”  Multiple input sources used to achieve a potential sales opportunity.

IBM has a cognitive cloud of AI solutions leveraging IBM’s Watson.  Most/All of the 18 web applications they have hosted (with source) are driven by human interactive triggers, as with the “Natural Language Classifier”, which helps build a question-and-answer repository.

There are four bits that need to occur to accelerate adoption of the ‘AI Life Partner’:

  1. Knowledge Experts, or Subject Matter Experts (SME) need to be able to “pass on” their knowledge to build repositories.   IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier may be used.
  2. The integration of this knowledge into an AI medium, such as a ‘Digital Assistant’ needs to occur with corresponding ‘triggers’ 
  3. Our current AI ‘Assistants’ need to become [more] proactive as they integrate into our ‘digital’ lives, such as going beyond the setting of an alarm clock, hands free calling, or checking the sports score.   Our [AI] “Life Partner” needs to ‘act’ like buddy and fan of ‘our’ sports team.  Without prompting, proactively serve up knowledge [based on correlated, multiple sources], and/or take [acceptable] actions.
    1. E.g. FinTech – “Our schedule is open tonight, and there are great seats available, Section N, Seat A for ABC dollars on Stubhub.  Shall I make the purchase?”
      1. Partner with vendors to drive FinTech business rules.
  4. Take ‘advantage’ of more knowledge sources, such as the applications we use that collect our data.  Use multiple knowledge sources in concert, enabling the AI to correlate data and propose ‘complex’ rules of interaction.

Our AI ‘Life Partners’ may grow in knowledge, and mature the relationship between man and machine.   Incorporating derived rules leveraging machine learning, without input of a human expert, will come with risk and reward.

Financial Technology – Categories of FinTech Solutions

FinTech refers to new solutions which demonstrate an incremental or radical / disruptive innovation development of applications, processes, products or business models in the financial services industry. These solutions can be differentiated in at least five areas.

  1. First, the banking or insurance sector are distinguished as potential business sectors. Solutions for the insurance industry are often more specifically named “InsurTech”.
  2. Second, the solutions differ with regard to their supported business processes such as financial information, payments, investments, financing, advisory and cross-process support.[4] An example is mobile payment solutions.
  3. Third, the targeted customer segment distinguishes between retail, private and corporate banking as well as life and non-life insurance. An example are telematics-based insurances that calculate the fees based on customer behaviour in the area of non-life insurances.
  4. Fourth, the interaction form can either be business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or consumer-to-consumer (C2C). An example are social trading solutions for C2C.
  5. Fifth, the solutions vary with regard to their market position. Some for example provide complementary services such as personal finance management systems, others focus on competitive solutions such as e.g. peer-to-peer lending.

Global investment in financial technology increased more than twelvefold from $930 million in 2008 to more than $12 billion in 2014

Source: Financial technology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Futuristic MYO Armband Lets You Control Your Computer With Gestures

Futuristic MYO Armband Lets You Control Your Computer With Gestures.

Personal Opinion: Based on the article, there is great potential in this technology, and probably worth the investment to explore and commoditize the paradigm.  Based on the photo, the technology looks like it is based on muscle movements, such as a Seismometer instrument measure motions of the ground, the devise looks like it is sensitive to specific motions of the muscles in the arm.  Although this is a great step toward progress, the measurement of neural impulses is the ultimate progression, and accuracy of detecting synapses firing from the brain to indicate movement in muscles.

Consumer Electronics Show Highlight: Plantronics Plus Innovation, Really? Yes!

As I was walking by the Platronics booth, I noticed a friendly gentleman, and he turned out to me the product manager for the firm, and introduced me to two products.  I have used Platronics headsets over the years at many firms had have been extremely satisfied with the quality of the head sets, from my college days of telemarketing to help pay for college, to the never ending conference calls for meetings.  So I was quite familiar with the VoIP, as well as other explored avenues in this space, and quite honestly, I found very little, that might excite me in this space until I met, Platronics new Voyager Legend UC.  Actually, it was recently released, in October it became Generally Available; however, this CES show was the first time they were showcasing their device. It is an absolute necessity for anyone in the market for a Bluetooth headset.  The features are literally off the charts exciting, that I will have to bullet point them out.

  • The Voyager Legend UC is the first time the company is spreading it’s wings this year in the iOS,and Android application arenas.  They have two fantastic applications, which in my humble opinion, they are not touting enough: one is a Find MyHeadset app, not as exciting, but the other is an InstantMeeting app.  This application will be your assistant, who arranges your phone calls, she is fabulous.  The application reads your calendar for one or multiple numbers, and is capable of conferencing the numbers at the stated time in your Android or iPhone smartphones.
  • In addition to the Android and iPhone applications, this is the amazing part. Platronics has now created an SDK to allow Android and iOS developers to create their own applications, which can be quite numerous.  The internal team is apparently constrained in resources to develop a host of applications they visualize, so they are hoping the development community will take up the challenge, and if you will think about the potential applications, as I go through the power of this headset, you will jump onto your IDEs (Independent Development Environments), and start your venture into these applications.
  • This headset has voice recognition, so it will announce callers, and read off the caller identification, as well as provide battery life notifications.  In addition, I believe the unit is receptive to voice recognition commands.  Now with an API, one application I would LOVE to see in the market place as a project manager, is an application that will take meeting minutes for me, I proof read them, and send them out after the meeting.  Fabulous.  Everyone on a conference call wants a list of action items, you are furiously jotting down notes at the same time facilitating the call, and the two are sometimes challenging to perform.  If a keen app developer takes advantage of the Platronics API for the Voyager Legend UC, they can create variations of this application.
  • The headset fits into a case that actually charges the headset while not in use, and not plugged into any exterior source.  I am done talking and on the road, no need for a car charger for my phone and my headset, I just put the headset back in it’s compact case, and it’s ready to go for our next meeting, plus the headset and case have a magnetic lock, so it holds the headset in place.  Brilliant.
  • This rechargeable battery is amazing, the talk and standby time meets the top criteria in the industry.
  • Finally, it’s  Bluetooth, and may connect to either your phone or through a computer. The computer connectivity will get slightly higher quality, wide band verses narrow, however, Skype and Microsoft’s own solution have custom drivers to enhance the quality of the call with Voice over IP with this headset.

In short, for the business man, or anyone who spends a great deal of time on the phone, this headset is a must have, and for 199 USD, it is a steal.

Platronics Voyager Legend UC
Platronics Voyager Legend UC

Predicted Trends for the Coming Year 2013

Here are some possible new trends to take hold in the marketplace in the new year. Best wishes on a good year.

Business

1. The companies that enable advertising users to send text messages, and the option to cover the receivers charges, e.g. the following is a free text message from [your co.].  Recent NY Times article covering some aspect, Is Paying to Message Strangers a New Texting Business?

Consumer

2. The year of the new visual paradigm for smart devices, such as new shaped input devices like Google Project Glass, Glasses, or Microsoft’s competitive approach.

3. New shaped mobile phones, phones that bend, like the announced Nokia phone, or apparel phones, maybe even a Star Trek like comm link phone worn on the wrist or lapel. The bendable phones may fall flat, but I can see arm band phones, if they can be miniaturized, and flat enough to be non obtrusive to the clothing, may become quite popular, from a fashion trend, and eventually spanning to law and military use. If they are fitted with a ‘pull out’ bendable screen, pulling out the screen for video communications, and once pulled out and locked, they become rigid, and then snap right back in like a tape measure, might be very hot.  Of course, this may be an alternate to the Google type Glasses.

Business

4. Recall in the late 80s and 90s when biofeedback glasses with LEDs and music were the in thing to calm one’s self, as well as mood audio books are also a current theme for a specific market segment.  We’ve all also bear witness to these Planetarium, Pink Floyd shows of laser lights and music.  These concepts may transform themselves into the trend mainstream with 3D screens, music channels that coincide with 3D fractal images, and other cosmic displays of lights for parties or easy listening.  We may also see this approach the Google Glass mediums, as well as partial transformations of knock off Google Glasses, with this effect for the traveler and their commutes to their destinations.

Clubs, Codes, and Kids

5. A fashion trend I see coming about with teens and older, are do it yourself tattoos that use a paper that you can print and stick seamlessly on your skin, a combination of transparent paper, and an adhesive.  A program runs on any computer, and there will be all different types of programs that use their own PR type codes, or other coded Engrams, that would allow teens to encode messages on their tattoos, and the encrypted message can be read using a smartphone app and a camera. Post with your friends the decryption codes on a blog that you need to log in, and there is a new fashionable way to share secrets with your friends, or a club.  We’ve all seen kids with lick and stick tattoos.  The inhibitor to getting a real tattoo is parent permission, but these new stick on tattoos are just as cool, and you can change the codes of the tattoos.  If you have gifted programmers, they can programs that encode messages in a wide variety of images.  This may become main stream to main street.  Also, if you want to pledge a fraternity or sorority, you might get their encoded tattoos. I can see this easily morphing as an amusement park ticket entrance annual pass, where people don’t want to carry wallets, as an example, and can make them water resistant (days) for water park passes.

A note of caution: any idea can morph into something with a dark purpose,  but technology can be used for societies’ betterment or decrement. As we have wittnessed, ideas eventually surface and are implemented regardless of inhibitors. It’s not that ideas that are damaging, it’s what we choose to do with the idea.

Input Alternatives for the Gaming

6. Remember in Stargate, the T.V. show, where the Ancients would sit in a chair and touch this funky, jell like pad, on the chair console?  It was like the chair was reading the neural impulses from the hand to bring up maps, and your hand had the ability to be the Near Field Communications (NFC) device.  Anyway, look it up.  I don’t think that technology will be available with a large set of functions. Basic applications and devices are already in the field as a novelty gifts with minimal set of applications, e.g. move a ball with your mind.  However, it is possible the gaming industry can take this minimal set of inputs and transform them into a gaming console pad with little additional research, so the person which is playing has a more rapid input response, and therefore, it’s almost as if the game is one step ahead of your visual acuity processing the commands already sent to your hand. The gamer would see an obstruction on the screen and want to jump over it. A neurological impulse would be sent from the brain to react, that response today can be read by these type of novelty items we see in catalogs. What I am promoting is pushing these out and allow the public access to this more integrated experience, in a controlled, regulated way to the mainstream.

Hybrid Netbook and Laptop, Chromebook or other?

7. I was hoping the Cromebooks were a hybrid between a Netbook and a Laptop.  I have had very little experience with Cromebooks, and they may be like the following:  The user has a small local footprint of the latest operating system, as of the last time they logged onto the Virtual Machine OS Farm, that covers basic off-line operations, such as word processing, and a relatively small storage capacity, which may be a small to mid sized solid state drive, so when they are offline they have the capacity to work, e.g. a person goes out of range, or starts up where there is no WiFi. Once they are back in range of WiFi, the files and OS syncs up seamlessly to the user’s machine and the VM OS farm.

Advertisements, Entertainment, Hardware Partners, Netbooks, and 3D

8. Coming into the mainstream, 3D personal streaming entertainment to video distribution networks, using 3D Web Cameras like Minoru, which claim to be the World’s first 3D webcam. Aggressively using 3D as a medium by potentially partnering with hardware vendors on a few basic netbooks and enable integrateion of this 3D technology.  This Minoru 3D web camera is only 89 USD, and if someone initially commits to an advertising budget of 200 USD for an initial spend, for example, why not send them a totally integrated Netbook with this or a similar type of camera.  Netbooks base price are very inexpensive.

Advertising, Partnering, Video Editors, and Streaming

9. I did a post about this one, but I cannot believe no one grabbed at it and ran with it.  A business paradigm could be to take a program such as VLC from Video LAN Organization, create a plug in to a video editor, and a robust player, and modify or create a new video streaming platform with an interactive video. This technology will allow users to use this to apply new educational methods, or be used to advertise products.

Create a video editing plugin allowing a video editor to ‘rope around, and identify an object’ in one frame, and the plug in will recognize the movement of the object and mark and follow the object for 30 seconds x 60 FPS (Frames Per Second), and the user inserts a popup bubble containing a clickable link, and some Ad text. In playback mode, when a viewer hovers over the object in the video at a particular time index code, the popup ad will appear, is clickable and will launch an application and pass information, such as a browser and a URL.

This should be extremely easy to rollout and implement.  At this point, it would take a small team, and financial backing, based on all the cloud computing and storage available, they should be able to establish a video streaming platform and integrate a streaming player that uses their modified streaming plugin that accepts the new encoding that is slightly modified from industry standards. This new platform would allow this team to compete with local, national, and global advertisers, and get local, national, and international brands to advertise with them using this new attractive medium.

If the platform is created, the amateur videographer can make their video as per usual, partner with some of the branded companies’ objects in the video, e.g. clothing, highlight a few advertising partner objects during editing, insert the ad popup bubble with Ad text and the link, and then upload the video to the new or modified platform that is able to playback these new videos with the slightly different encoding.  The Video Player I used as an example is from a non-profit organization, composed of volunteers, developing and promoting free, open-source multimedia solutions.

This post may be added to over the next few days.

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Freelance Streaming Video, Affiliate Advertising Innovation

As described in a previous post, see Streaming Video Freelance: Video Affiliate Network channels like Google Plus / YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Viveo (everything from bar impromptu jams to concert events), I did not mention all the little bits to avoid issues such as all faces of the audience either need to have realtime face bluring technology similar to Facial recognition, or the people in the event must sign the waver, which might not be likely, so the solution will need a delayed streaming to allow blurring facial recognition software to work, and for some televised events, allow compliance to FCC regulations, edit introducing artificial intelligence (AI) word bleep insertion, and object recognition to blur the recognition of exposed body parts. 🙂 The ridiculously amazing advertising introduction: if a person signs up to allow to be seen, they could be picked if they are wearing a hat, sneakers, or certain brand of shirt, then if the AI object recognition picks up the object, a hue can accentuate the item, the viewer can pause the stream, click on the advertiser’s object on a video streaming tablet touch screen, and get a list of local and web distributors, prioritized by advertising, popularity, and rating.  Same goes for the red carpet events, and although not advertising dresses, suits, and accessories because of cost, it could enhance the event by again, pause, and get a blurb about the designer, the object and a link to the catalog or portfolio of the designer’s work. Introduces advertising revenue for on sight products. Even the videographers smartphone can have an addressable link to the product used to stream, as well as a small logo overlay which if clicked provides a profile of the videographer, and a brief portfolio of their work, all from a tablet application allowing the licensed distributor(s) a main channel in the center of the screen and small square boxes on the outer edge of the main window like PnP, and a person just taps on of the border boxed streams, and then that box becomes the stream that takes up the majority of the screen. The main window can have the absolute maximum fps for the device and the border windows may have half or a quarter of the allowed frames per second (fps), this way you still get to preview the alternate perspective streams, while watching the main stream. You can also auto hide the boarder preview streams to focus the user on the main stream and give them flexibility of alternate vantage points. The system may allow the videographer to bid for boarder alternate allowing placement of their streams in a particular corner, and frequency AS well as the user can have a ‘favorite’ freelancer videographer stream, and the system would allow for quicklinks to videographer streams the user knows will be at the event.

There is more in the predicted trends article for 2013.

Higher Education Falters: College and University Structure Radically Altered

I was reading an article from the New York Times this morning, thinking about a news piece I heard on the radio regarding Education innovation, in combination with dropping my little brother off at his college campus dorm the other night, and instantly a quote from Moneyball appeared in my mind regarding the way Universities are implemented:

“This is threatening, not just a way of doing business, but its … in their minds it’s threatening the game … really what it’s threatening is their livelihood. It’s threatening their jobs. It’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s a government or a way of doing business or whatever it is … the people who are holding the reins … who have their hands on the switch, they go bat-shit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not tearing their team down right now, using your model, they’re dinosaurs…

I am not privy to the exact implementation of the Cornell-Google model, but that last line from the quote is so true, and it applies to all business colleges and universities across the globe.

The article in the New York Times, When Job-Creation Engines Stop at Just One, had me take pause, and painted a gloomy picture in my mind about the job markets if your looking for a job.  A decade ago, a Bachelors or Masters degree were prerequisites to filtering out candidates for jobs, and now the role specifications are referencing specific skills with experience, a lot of contract work, as the New York Times article describes, and has a solid rationale.  For the innovation, I found an article regarding the Cornell-Google implementation and at first thinking a) this implementation is years away and b) I think it’s genius.  I must admit, I am not privy to the exact administration of their education implementation model, but wow, anyone not tearing down their colleges and universities to follow a similar model will be an artifact of higher education, and their national economies will suffer as a result.  Another article I read, again, The New York Times, Japan’s New Tech Generation, shows how people are taking it upon themselves, in it’s infancy, yes, however, they are meeting up to collaborate.  There is a huge chasm in education which has not adapted to our economies.  It is probably because our economies are evolving so fast, the education system has not had a chance to catch up.

Let’s paint a picture of the new university, where we have “transformation centers”, where we take a person like Mike Farmer from KANSAS CITY, Kan. in his single apartment room, a shared dorm room, or in his case, shared office space, in his third start-up, he is one employee, himself, and utilizes seven contractors who are also juggling multiple projects.  Now envision, college with a board of skill sets, which are required for real-time business projects, and you have professors guiding the resources to complete their assignments, then you have the visionaries which are driving and collaborating on projects leveraging national industry professionals discussing today’s challenges, and these juniors and seniors form teams from the pools of skill set resources, the freshman, and sophomores.  Skills ranging from technology to usability and design, marketing, arts and sciences, with the applications all practical and implementing them in real-time.  Perhaps alumni are the industry professionals, which speak at these sessions, and collaborate on projects in between their own projects, forming mentor relationships with the juniors and seniors.  Finally, transitioning from the colleges and universities, venture capitalists, and other financiers may choose to fund, or even acquire these small teams, which already have sustainable business models, proven ROI, or the business models show potential, sustainable models.  Those who already have had classes have participated in business implementations, have a portfolio of work for employers, and potentially networked with professionals within various fields, and have recommendations on their work.  Those graduates may even stay on their projects full time, which transition to full time opportunities.  Another possibility are the colleges and universities stay as incubators, the graduates remain on campus after graduation, just like we see in outsourcing / off-shore models, teach classes, and become members of new teams, as needed.  What were once ‘internships’ coveted by the few, are a necessity to become part of the college way of life.  Those without projects, curriculum is completely transformed based on statistical data derived from job wanted advertisements, e.g. skills in high demand. Alumni, in between projects, and lacking innovation, sign up for ADHOC think tanks, and attempt to transform them into working resources.

Companies’ Fiber Infra Perform Quantum Computing Prior to Cloud, Elastic Computing Hub

A Qubit, a base unit in Quantum computing, representing several states simultaneously, as opposed to a bit, on or off, two states, got me thinking based on the New York Times article on the Australians developing a new class of Quantum Computer, plus the article on Google’s Fiber Project, and my conversation with a Verizon FiOS engineer regarding their experimentation with alternate [color] light and their fiber applications got me thinking:
– The delivery system itself would process data, in addition to the EC hub, similar to the human nervous system.
– The alternating colors / frequencies represent multiple ‘applications’ overlapped within the fiber, and could provide the ability to throttle frequencies?

Note: However, Optical cables transfer data at the speed of light in glass (slower than vacuum). This is typically around 180,000 to 200,000 km/s, resulting in 5.0 to 5.5 microseconds of latency per km.

Cable Companies’ Fiber Gives an Expanded Scope to Cloud, Elastic Computing.  Leased lines may form a whole new battleground of opportunity, or at least reignite the battle for those familiar with the break up of the “Baby Bells”.

 

Elastic Computing for Mobile Devices: Mobile OS Hosting Maximizing Computing Capacity

Why not port each mobile OS over to a cloud, a server farm of virtual machines where users are able to scale their CPU, RAM and storage needs to streach as far as their imagination, and keep the local processing power focused on local needs, e.g. antenna, input.  I worked on a project where we used a server farm of mobile devices, DeviceAnywhere, to test our mobile applications.  The product was in its relative infancy, they racked the devices.  I’m thinking you image the mobile OS, and allow for scalability. The primary limitation, bandwidth and refresh rate for the device user interface (UI), AND local mode for truly ‘remote’ or ‘unplugged’ access.  The first issue will gradually go away with the expanded speed of the global networks.  We also had accelerometer and GPS issues with the rack / Cloud configuration, but that can be easily fixed with an alternate VM architecture where the device passes this information to the VM.  This way local computing power would focus on GPU and other local access requirements.  Their could be a lightweight Mobile OS for a truly ‘unplugged’ experience.  Why? Simple.  Mobile companies are almost on a ‘space race’ similar to the 1960s.  This time there is no moon as the limit.  This way innovation can go back to focusig on all local breakthroughs, the integrated devices just like what got us here, an accelerometer, GPS, music enhancenents, usability design, and so on.

Google Glasses, Goggles app, and Twitter/Google Plus: Instant [Fashion] Trending?

Although it may have seemed obvious to anyone who has seen the Goggles app, heard about the Google Glass project would have probably used their imagination, but if you have tens of thousands of Google Glasses in the marketplace, the Google Goggles app should be able to identify clothes, and accessories, and determine from a fashion standpoint, what is really ‘trending’.  If it wasn’t obvious before, in the article, With Glass, Google Gives a Fashion Icon a New Toy, it says Von Furstenburg (or DVF, for short) used them to document her days in the lead up to New York Fashion Week.  Is Twitter opening up an office in NYC part of the beginning moves to be acquired by Google?