data

AROS – Like “Nest” but for Air Conditioning

Smart Objects are taking over.  And why not?  They represent what data is supposed to do, make us more aware of our actions leading to better performance.  Traditionally its just been in the B2B space, but we are seeing more in the B2C space.

Looks like the internet of things has finally caught on and started to be more then just a buzzword. 

http://www.quirky.com/shop/752

AROS represents a partnership between GE & Quirky ( crowdsource design innovation agency ) to create a smart AC unit.  As a bonus, if you are in NYC, Uber will deliver it to you.

Other Smart Appliances to check out:

Nest

August 

 

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Cars as a platform for technology

Phones got a lot smarter in the last 10 years – now its time for cars.  Dumb Feature Cars, will become smartcars in the next 2 years.   I say Cars will become a Platform for Technology, because there are so many options.  From self driving, to touch wheels, to sensors that have yet to become developed.

mini cooper UI display

 

Lets consider cars the most beautiful and fast computer that happen to sit in – what would you want it to do.  Let’s go beyond satellite radio and an iphone dock.   Mini is making some great strides, apple too with CarPlay, and lets not forget Tesla who has the largest display of any manufacturer and their system is a full operating system, not just an entertainment kiosk.

The larger trend here is that the internet of things will continue to innovate on top of analog machines, and technology ecosystems will continue to overlap – leading to some exciting user experiences and great uses of contextual data. 

The Collective Intelligence of Waze

How can groups use collective intelligence to allow for individuals to make better decisions?

I’ve been using Waze for a few weeks now.  I have been using it ( to my own fault ) to try and figure out a better way out of San Francisco during a Giants game. Spoiler Alert – there is no fast route. However, in theory I wonder why more apps are not allowing us to make better decisions?

Rating sites like Yelp or even the way we view trending content online are one thing, but real time data being solved by multiple people passively is quite amazing – and another animal all together.

waze, distributed intelligence

 

Waze is amazing because the network of users only exists to save everyone time and make their lives better.  Many sharing services ( look up Sharing Economy ) are meant to redistribute assets or unwanted goods – not time or ideas.  Crowdsourcing of labor is a great new frontier.

Two other projects also come to mind – not new, but worth discussing.

1. BOINC – using distributed grids for computing – Think SETI@home but bigger.

2. Tomnod –  Using distributed volunteers for mapping

 

So the one outstanding question remains – Is collective intelligence accurate?  If the data set is biased and/or wrong, knowledge based on bad data is not really helpful.

There is an obvious benefit from utilizing natural experiments to improve the human condition. Any app that helps me spend less time on the car and more time with my family is a winner.  I am pondering how crowds can band together to solve other issues and help each other in this manner with minor effort.  In the age of social networks, we have the largest networked grid of intelligence and assets – what do we want to do with them and who gives guidance / moderation to these networks to prevent them from being a mob?

 

 

 

The Internet Finds Flight 370

As many of us watch the news unfold, I am impressed when I come across engaged citizens that come together to figure out a solution to something that sometimes seem unsolvable by any one person.

A company called Tomnod uses crowdsourcing and mapping data to help find things – in this case possible pieces of what could be Malaysian Flight 370.  They have posted a few calls to action to ask people to help search parts of a grid that may contain parts of the plane.

In an age where many people call us apathetic and ethnocentric, there is always a side of global altruism that emerges during certain disasters.  I wonder what other uses of distributed computing and crowdsourcing may play a part in future relief efforts or other non emergency types of situations.  It’s a new form of volunteerism that I feel will be mainstream sooner then later.

tomnod-flight370-crowdsource-datacall-to-action-search-help

flight-370-tomnod-map-data

 

http://www.tomnod.com/nod/

Why Data can Often be Answering the Wrong Questions

 

Data is always historical.  However our goals are always future focused.

There is a science and art to data and strategy.   One part is very rational, and another is emotional.  Knowing how to merge the two, and depart from the obvious is where true innovation starts to occur.  

People turn to analytics to measure performance, determine data driven insights, and establish strategy based off the summation of all of this.  This type of thinking is great for identifying outliers, becoming aware of existing behavior, and a several other types of insights.  For the most part I personally think this can be incremental.  This has a place. I am not saying its good or bad. It just shows you exactly what you went looking for. 

Now lets consider another part of this equation.  Where do you want to be in x months? Could it be that we need to incorporate an entirely new way of thinking that is not currently being measured. Something that no one is looking for.  If we need to make leaps, instead of incremental milestones in progress, sometimes we need to step aside from the data and set our own goals using new tools and create new data sets.

The issue with ONLY relying on historical data is that innovation does not always show up in a data set.  Even if you crowdsource popular opinions of what people want, they can only think so far ahead.  And sometimes the true disruptions and innovative outliers are overlooked to make a prettier graph.  This is an common issue in social media.

These outliers could be the next ipad, tesla, or facebook.  Reference here to the famous Henry Ford quote ” If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  Sometimes the data was right, but to grow and move ahead, one needs to assume the data could be wrong if you could see what the future data would look like.  Things change.

There is a science and art to data and strategy.   One part is very rational, and another is emotional. Knowing how to merge the two, and depart from the obvious is where true innovation starts to occur.  

Data can always show you where you have been. But it cannot always show you the best path forward.

pd –   18 minutes.

Remember SETI ? Samsung brings back Mobile Processing

SETI mobile

Samsung introduces a new app to allow for users to donate mobile processing power to research Universities.  As people continue to realize that phones are mobile computers, I imagine that more and more developers will realize the potential of the processing power of phones and the full extent of how sensors and geo location data can empower research and larger solutions.

The mobile phone has always been a consumer level intimate object. What happens when people start viewing mobile as a distributed grid / network.  The possibilities could be really great.

-pd

Analog Digital – Social wants to be Physical

Image

 

This new Facebook Like counter from http://www.smiirl.com  , has long been in the making. Several DIY versions of this have surfaced, and we even proposed a version of this while I was working at R/GA.

As technology moves things into the digital realm, there is a natural counter culture that wants to express these digital forces as physical analog experiences.  What other instances can you think of where experiences born in digital become novel by moving to analog?

-pd 

 

Mobile Data as Compensation – Teens

Yesterday on the Caltrain, I heard a bunch of teens discussing their “Mobile Data” Allowance.  They ranged from having 3GB of cellular data, to being on a family plan of 4CB, etc.  One child remarked that he had already used up 90% of his plan, and that he would have to pay his parents if he or his sister used up the rest before next week.

What I found surprising is that how access to data in this age is often talked about as an asset.  I bet that almost all of those kids would not be able to live without 3G so they could watch their youtube clips on the train.  If given the choice between money for a data plan, or a data plan, they would pick the 2nd.  

The insight here is that users are open to many forms of compensation. Often data, access to scare content, or other perks can be just as good as money.

 

 

Applying Analytics to the Restaurant Industry

As many of you know, I have just joined the team at Revel Systems (www.revelsystems.com) .  I am super excited to join a top notch startup who is changing the way the service industry is run.  I am fortunate enough to work with three of my favorite things every day – tech, data, & food ( grocery/ retail service ).

One thing that really drew me to this new job was the opportunity for data to influence the restaurant industry. From my time at WCG ( now W2O ), I learned so much about how analytics could drive a strategy for marcom or engagement. The real epiphany though of the “data” buzz words we have been hearing about over the last year though are really about tracking assets and being self aware of your decisions to simply forecast your own decisions and refining your plan for better quality.

I am now a converted “foodie.” I dream of Michelin Star restaurant dinners once a year, and have begun to appreciate a good wine   or the different notes of a seasoned dish.  That’s the artist in me. However, the business side of me understands that their is a value of that dish – both perceived/ earned value and actual costs per plate.  The balance of the art and business of a restaurant is what I find so intriguing.  People pay for the value, but dont mind the cost.

The dream of the chef ( artist ) is to be able to produce tastes on a plate that can inspire the critic, but also make the account manager happy with the books. Understanding your menu / ingredient data can help justify how you shape your dishes, but also understand how you are using ingredients, and where you can be efficient with your assets.  Same applies to mixologists in the bar industry.  I feel that people are afraid to embrace data in that people may not want to know the cost of a slice of tomato, but really, once you understand the data, you have the power to make better decisions.  It’s empowerment.  People will always pay for art and an experience. Its just nice to be able to understand and justify the math behind art.

I love what I am working on with the Revel team. Its amazing to see what you can passively track from a POS system.  Let me know if you have any contacts in the service industry who are open to hearing about how data analytics and a sleek POS system can change how you do business.

-Patrick