Get Funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

SBIR and STTR Programs

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

Central to the STTR program is the partnership between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Leveraging America’s Seed Fund – excellent presentation for the neophytes first looking to work with the US Government.

As of today, there are 343 new/open projects for 2021. For the full list of open projects, go to the SPIR.gov site.

SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are generally $50,000 – $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).

SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for 2 years.

List of SBIR/STTR Open Opportunities

If interested, I’m happy to partner up on one of these endeavors. Please note all of these opportunities close out on 2/18/2021

N211-002: Just-In-Time Medical Logistics Resupply System for Forward Medical ; Due Date: 02-18-2021

OBJECTIVE: Reduce the workload on medical personnel through the development of a system that can provide automated real-time supply ordering, tracking, and monitoring capabilities to integrate into existing USMC medical logistics systems

Supply Chain Management 101 on the surface. The integration into existing medical logistics systems may be a challenging task.

N211-023: Collaborative Workspace for Next-Generation Navy Mission Planning System; Due Date: 02-18-2021

OBJECTIVE: Develop a collaborative workspace to integrate the disparate locations where mission planning occurs, and to facilitate the mission planning process within the ready room while maintaining operational security.

Sounds like a customized Microsoft SharePoint site can do the trick.

N211-037: Electronic Warfare Operator Workload Organization and Sharing; Due Date: 02-18-2021

OBJECTIVE: Develop a methodology for effective and efficient electronic warfare workload organization and sharing that increases the performance of the Electronic Warfare Operator and Supervisor.

Yet another customized Microsoft SharePoint site to be created.

Please make sure you read the “Eligibility” on their About page. The same page also outlines the “Three Phases of SBIR/STTR”, and “Award Funding Amounts”

Agile Advisor Plugin for Microsoft Teams

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Advisory Role in Microsoft Team Communications

Agile Advisor Plugin for #Microsoft Teams is able to observe team interactions, such as conference calls within Microsoft Teams. The Advisor can derive “dialog intents” and provide recommendations for improvement. A retrospective on communications, such as Scrum ceremonies

Voice Recognition During Teams Meetings

Technology that leverages voice recognition, such as Interactive voice response (IVR) solutions are fraught with failed recognition. IVRs are used to answer calls in just about every company, which prompts for either a phrase from the user on what they want and the ability to enter a numeric value correlating to the desired intent. Challenge #1.

Dialog and Intent Identification

Beyond trying to identify the user’s intent from a phrase or sentence, a dialog, a series of interactions between two or more team members is even more complex. Current AI models that identify intent from a sentence or phrase have a mixed variable of accuracy, which is why these models must be tuned over time. A collective of interactions, a dialog between two or more team members, has a much higher level of complexity to identify intents. Challenge #2. Once a dialog intent(s) has an “N”% level of accuracy, rules may be fired with any number of outcomes, such as unintrusive logging of Agile suggestions for best practices, and next steps: e.g. a retrospective of the scrum ceremony.

Dynamically Identify Roles in Teams Meetings

Who participates in Microsoft Teams meetings and team chats can be associated with Microsoft Teams’ member profiles, such as Scrum Master, and Product Owners.

Enhance the Adherence to Agile Principles

12 Principles Behind the Agile Manifesto, and opportunities for rules to be trigger based on conversations, the interactive dialogs.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Dialog Intent Rules for Agile Guidance

From the above agile principles, we can derive the following dialog intents and precise recommendations for improvement.

Barriers to Implementation

At the current level of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Digital Assistants, i.e. chatbots, even the “best in breed”, has “difficulty”, i.e. lower probability with intent recognition, with a single sentence or phrase. Multiply that by interpreting an interactive dialog with multiple sentences, multiple participants, and exchange of responses, feasibility is highly speculative.

And Still More Opportunity: Recognition of Facial Emotional Expressions 

Expressions of people may be able to be determined, and opportunities for suggestive posture can be advised. Even body posture folded arms as an example, can imply a guarded opinion, and not open to compromise.

Reference article – Emotion recognition using facial expressions

Caution and Opportunities

This plugin output could be used for annual employee evaluations.

Microsoft Raising the Bar on Image Recognition

Microsoft Bing has a feature that allows you to focus on one part of the image, and perform a more granular image search within a cropped portion of the image. The #Bing “Visual Search” feature will indicate within an image if the AI has identified one or more object matches within the selected image.

First, perform an image search in Microsoft Bing, and select one of the images. The below screen appears. Under the image, there is a button that says “Visual Search” as per highlighted by the red arrow. In some cases, there will be a numeric indicator next to the “Visual Search” text indicating possible, object matches within the “parent” image.

Bing Visual Search
Bing Visual Search

Next, select the “Visual Search” hyperlink WITH a numeric indicator next to the text as per above. Now the user may see a list of additional images that MAY appear similar to the “selected/cropped” object in the “Parent” image. The user may also change the cropped/selected section within the “Parent” image. It’s a brilliant idea. It may be of interest to roll back the curtains to see how in a sea of possible images, the feature selects the subset of images/objects.

Visual Search - After Selected
Visual Search – After Selected

2020 posts that never were

Occasionally, when a thought gets bubbled up in my brain, I pop open Twitter, and tweet the thought. In some cases, the fleeting idea seems larger than a tweet, so I open up WordPress, and start a post. I may save it and come back to add content to the post. I’ll come back to the post, and say to myself, what was I thinking, and don’t pursue publishing post. Here’s the list of blog posts that I drafted this year, but decided for one reason or another, I wouldn’t post it.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT MICROSOFT BING

THE ANATOMY OF A TWILIO STUDIO PROGRAMMABLE VOICE WORKFLOW

LOW COST, PLATFORM AGNOSTIC, BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE, PROLIFIC REPORTING TOOL

RADICAL TRANSFORMATION OF K-12 EDUCATION SYLLABUS

AFTER THE PANDEMIC: GETTING PAST THE FEAR FROM SOCIAL DISTANCING

STOP WORDS: MODEL TRAINING

AI – BEST IN SHOW

BUY AND BUILD – DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS

iPhone Notifications Need an Upgrade

Color Coded Notification Cards

I have a swarm of notifications from many sources, and yes, the header source name and icon does help differentiate between notification sources, but it’s relatively tiny, and I have the 8+. Developers and/or User Settings should allow for the color-coding of the header, and the body of the notification cards by App Name, or App Category (“Gaming”)

Notification Transitions – Active and Passive

When the iPhone screen is in passive (sleep) mode or the screen is active, the ability to transition the notification in and out could be fun, such as when using PowerPoint slide transitions.

Notifications List by Source – Filter + Sort Order

I’m constantly scrolling through my notifications for specific Notification sources’ updates. It would be great if the user can sort Notifications not just by the latest updates. Maybe allow alphabetical sort order. Or, allow the user to Filter by only the notifications they need at the moment, instead of being lost in a sea of notifications. For example, allow the user to Filter the notification list by specific app notifications.

Google’s apps crash in a worldwide outage – Saas Education Outages are the new “Snow Day”.

The tech giant’s popular services like Gmail, Hangouts, Meet and YouTube went offline, halting work across the globe.

Source: Google’s apps crash in a worldwide outage. – The New York Times

This morning my kids woke up to the new “snow day”, an internet outage of SaaS Education products, i.e. Google Meet.  Since we are primarily virtual with education these days, the term “Snow Day” at least for this Winter 2020-2021 season will not be an issue.  No dangerous roads for busses to navigate. They have been replaced by tech outages.  Although few in number, and limited duration, thus far, kids may be happy that they can miss their first period in school.

My Internal IRQ is Broken

Interrupt ReQuest (IRQ) is an hardware interrupt on a PC. There are 16 IRQ lines used to signal the CPU that a peripheral event has started or terminated. Except for PCI devices, two devices cannot use the same line. If a new expansion card is preset to the IRQ used by an existing board, one of them must be changed. This was an enormous headache in earlier machines.

Starting with the Intel 286 CPU in 1982, two 8259A controller chips were cascaded together and bumped the IRQs from 8 to 16. However, IRQ 2 is lost because it is used to connect to the second chip. IRQ 9 may be available for general use as most VGA cards do not require an IRQ.

PCI to the Rescue
The PCI bus solved the limited IRQ problem, as it allowed IRQs to be shared. For example, if there were only one IRQ left after ISA devices were assigned their required IRQs, all PCI devices could share it.

Who’s Managing & Securing Your Information Assets?

What is meant by Information Architecture (IA)?

Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks.

There must be a common consensus, an understanding of each data point collected, and the appropriate labeling and cataloging of the Information Asset. Information assets may have a score attributed to the asset and leveraged in a multitude of ways, such as guidelines for the purging of archives, sensitivity of the information, and the levels of trust.

For each data point collected, correlations/relationships can be added either manually, or through an Induction Engine (AI) leveraging a history of relationships. The definition of hierarchical relationships between data points, and link types (e.g. processor, successor, child, or generally related) further to bolster a larger lexicon.

What are Information Assets?

For example, your phone number is an information asset. Your phone number is provided to everyone you know and is a primary point of reference to contact you. Traditionally, the “phone companies” manage that resource for you. However, in this “new” day and age, we see companies like Google providing a phone number, and as a result providing features not generally available, such as Google Voice, with Call Forwarding, and obfuscation.

Common, Consumer, Information Assets Include:

  • Documents of ALL Types, e.g. text, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
  • Domain Names and Email Addresses are Information Assets.
  • Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Other Social Media Platforms Assets, such as User Names, Post Text, Images, Video, and Profile details.
  • Skype, WhatsApp, and other VoIP Info Assets such as Phone Number, User Profile information
  • Windows Teams, Slack, and other Team Collaboration, Information Assets, such as the historical, ongoing posted information in the Team Chat, including the integration of 3rd party apps, such as Whiteboard collaborative drawings.
  • Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

Common, Corporate, Information Assets Include:

  • All of the Consumer, Information Assets PLUS
  • Documents of ALL Types, e.g. Solution Architecture docs, Database Models, HR Policies, Org Charts, Corp. Network Topography, etc.

Disaster Recovery for Information Assets

What happens when the technology managing information assets become “unavailable”? What is your impact assessment? Is there a centralized data/information catalog or repository that contains a partial or complete set of Information Assets?

Information Assets are also passwords, and we have a plethora of “secure” password managers, such as Norton Antivirus provides a mechanism to hold passwords in a virtual “safe”.

Insurance Policies for [digital] Information Assets

What is the cost of securing these Information Assets, verse the payment of recuperating the information assets, if even possible?

What about Hackers that “hold your data/information” hostage?

How to price out “Insurance” for your information, just like safeguarding any other personal articles insurance policies today? Are there “Personal Articles, Insurance Policies” that can currently add a rider to your existing policies? Need to price out “Information Assets”, and the recuperation values?

Norton Life Lock [Personal / Business]

Norton LifeLock reimburses funds stolen due to identity theft up to the limit of the plan total not exceeding $1 Million USD.

Notes Repositories

Notepads like Notepad++, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep are tools that allow their authors to quickly take notes and organize them. A wide array of Information Assets are contained within these applications, such as text, and photos with some data describing the information captured (i.e. metadata). Gathering and exporting this information to reference Information Assets could be a lengthy and laborious process without automation, rules for sorting, and tagging info.

AI Induction and Rules Engines

Dynamically labeling Information Assets as they are “discovered”, an auto curation process. For example, the Microsoft Outlook rules engine has a robust library of canned AI rules for sorting, forwarding, formatting as emails arrive in your inbox, as well as a host of other rules “triggers”. An Induction engine is a predictive instrument that “observes” behavior over time, and then creates/suggests new rules on the basis of the history of user behavior. For example, if MS Outlook had an AI Induction engine, and observed a user ‘almost’ always moving an email with the same subject to folder N, the AI Induction engine could create the rule to anticipate the user’s behavior.

Data Lakes or Sea of Information Assets

  • Structured, Semi-Structured, and Unstructured data.
  • Labeling/tagging Information Assets in a consistent fashion.
  • Retrieval of data, and cross-referenced data types

19 Best Data Catalog Tools and Software for 2020

Extract –

Tool: Alation Data Catalog

Description: Alation is a complete repository for enterprise data, providing a single point of reference for business glossaries, data dictionaries, and Wiki articles. The product profiles data and monitors usage to ensure that users have accurate insight into data accuracy. Alation also provides insight into how users are creating and sharing information from raw data. Customers tout the product for its expansive partner ecosystem, and Alation has focused on increasing data literacy when metadata is distributed across business and IT.

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