Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for October 22nd, 2012

(Almost) Live @ Information On Demand 2012: A Q&A With IBM’s Jeff Jonas

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Jeff Jonas sat down last evening with Scott and I in the Information On Demand 2012 Solutions EXPO to chat about privacy in the Big Data age, and also gave a sneak look into the new “Context Accumulation” technology he’s been working on.

You really ought to get to know IBM’s Jeff Jonas.

As chief scientist of the IBM Entity Analytics group and an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Jeff has been instrumental in driving the development of some ground-breaking technologies, during and prior to IBM’s acquisition of his company, Systems Research & Development (SRD), which Jonas founded in 1984.

SRD’s technology included technology used by the surveillance intelligence arm of the gaming industry, and leveraged facial recognition to protect casinos from aggressive card counting teams (never mind the great irony that IBM’s Yuchun Lee was once upon a time one of those card counters — I think we need to have an onstage interview between those two someday, and I volunteer to conduct it!)

Today, possibly half the casinos in the world use technology created by Jonas and his SRD team, work frequently featured on the Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, and the Travel Channel.

Following an investment in 2001 by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, SRD also played a role in America’s national security and counterterrorism mission. One such contribution includes a unique analysis of the connections between the 9/11 terrorists.

This “link analysis” is so unique that it is taught in universities and has been the widely cited by think tanks and the media, including an extensive one-on-one interview with Peter Jennings for ABC PrimeTime.

Following IBM’s acquisition of SRD, these Jonas-inspired innovations continue to create big impacts on society, including the arrest of over 150 child pornographers and the prevention of a national security risk poised against a significant American sporting event.

This technology also assisted in the reunification of over 100 loved ones separated by Hurricane Katrina and at the same time was used to prevent known sexual offenders from being co-located with children in emergency relocation facilities.

Jonas is also somewhat unique as a technologist in that he frequently engages with those in the privacy and civil liberties community. The essential question: How can government protect its citizens while preventing the erosion of long-held freedoms like the Fourth Amendment? With privacy in mind, Jonas invented software which enables organizations to discover records of common interest (e.g., identities) without the transfer of any privacy-invading content.

That’s about where we start this interview with Jeff Jonas, so I’ll let Scott and myself take it from there…

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Smarter Marketing Analytics

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Big Data is the digital convergence of structured and unstructured data. Those organizations that can capture and analyze their data, regardless of what type, how much, or how fast it is moving, can make more informed decisions. At Information On Demand 2012 today in Las Vegas, IBM announced a new digital marketing system to help CMOs conduct smarter marketing analytics.

The news dam has begun to break at the IBM Information On Demand And Business Analytics Forum here in Vegas.

One of the highlights of today’s announcement was IBM’s unveiling of a new digital marketing system and big data software designed to help organizations gain actionable insights.

These tackle the most pressing big data challenges facing organizations today — accessing and gaining intelligence into an enormous stream of data generated from mobile, social and digital networks.

Big Data for Chief Marketing Officers 

The emergence of big data technologies is driving the transformation of marketing for every channel. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are now responsible for analyzing consumer demands from social media, mobile devices, and traditional channels and align these demands with product development and sales.

The new IBM Digital Analytics Accelerator helps CMOs tap into consumer sentiment to create targeted advertising and promotions, avoid customer churn, and perform advanced Web analytics that predict customer needs.

Now, CMOs can bring advanced analytics to all their social media, web traffic, and customer communication behind their own firewall.

The industry’s first big data solution in the digital marketing arena is powered by Netezza and Unica technologies. With this integrated offering that includes the recently announced PureData System for Analytics, clients can run complex analytics on petabytes of data in minutes, and arm marketing professionals with instant insights.

CMOs can use new insights to accelerate marketing campaigns and better meet consumer needs based on the broadest range of data.

Trident Marketing: Gaining Visibility Into Consumer Behaviors

For Trident Marketing, a direct response marketing and sales firm for leading brands such as DIRECTV, ADT and Travel Resorts of America, performing analytics on big data has helped the company gain unprecedented visibility into consumers — from predicting the precise moment in which to engage with customers to anticipating the likelihood a customer will cancel service.

Working with IBM and partner Fuzzy Logix, the company has realized massive growth including a tenfold increase in revenue in just four years, a ten percent increase in sales in the first 60 days, and decreased customer churn by 50 percent.

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Analyze This

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Jason Silva explains to the gathered IBM Information On Demand 2012 his utopic vision of a technology-rich future, one where everything is connected to everything else.

Techno DJ futurist Jason Silva (formerly of Al Gore’s Current TV) kicked off the Information On Demand 2012 event here at the Mandalay Bay Arena by telling us all to “Think Big.”

Though I’d known this was the conference theme, I didn’t realize how big big was until the small, but limber, Silva gave his big presentation.

As he kickstarted the event with a blend of hyper animations and visualizations reeling behind him on a huge video screen in post-MTV fashion, I wanted to stop him and explain that to talk about big things so rapidly would allow a lot of his big ideas to disappear into the ether and to just slow downnnnn.

Jason’s look at the big picture was an interesting one, wherein he described a world that was “hyperconnected,” where we extended sensors into everything…on planes, bridges…even our conference IDs for IOD!

But Silva’s utopian vision could easily merge into a dystopia, if proffered without regard to some of the more realistic and mundane issues presented in a Big Data universe.

Small, and petty human concerns like agendas, and greed, and lack of privacy, and bias, and the other nasty little buggers which make us human.

So, though I wanted to go along with Silva’s optimistic joy ride snowblind to those considerations, someone has to be the buzz kill at this emerging Big Data party and explain there are some very real and concerning issues that will need to be dealt with, none of which Silva seemed even to allude to.

Steve Mills explains to the Information On Demand 2012 press conference Monday morning how economics has made big data not only possible, but inevitable.

But, as techno joy rides go, his was fun even as it went by in the blink of an eye.

Once he blinked, it was IBM Software vice president Robert LeBlanc who really set the stage for the week’s tidings, explaining to the gathered audience of 12,000+ in the Mandalay Bay arena how smarter analytics would be required in the new era of computing.

As always, Leblanc started with some facts: Like how Big Analytics is what’s driving innovation and market growth in IBM’s recent CTO study.

How “technology factors” has risen to the top of the CEO agenda as the number one issue during the study’s last six years.

And how it’s no matter what part of the world you inhabit or what industry you’re in…all and everywhere will be impacted by the need for smarter analytics.  This kind of transformational change is a movie we’ve seen before, first with transaction processing in the 1960s, with Internet-enabled e-business in the mid-1990s, and now, the move towards analytics becoming foundational to computing.

Two IBM customers provided two very different, yet compelling, views into this future, one they’re each already living.

ConocoPhillips principal scientist Dr. Phil Anno explained how his organization is utilizing big data analysis to maximize the economic performance of petroleum extraction in the Arctic (and prevent damage to their drilling rigs by shifting ice flows!)

Keith Figlioli, senior VP with Premier, a U.S.-based healthcare IT provider, explained how they’re using IBM technologies to drive substantial costs out of the U.S. healthcare system (he explained that 30 cents on every dollar is wasted on unneeded care and fraud in the U.S.)

Also in the opening general session, we heard from Inhi Cho Suh, VP of Information Management at IBM, who gave an excellent, if quick, summary of the three PureData systems options.

Deepak Advani, who gave an excellent flyover of how big data analytics is bringing about the rapid integration of structured and unstructured data, also highlighted www.analyticszone.com, where you can download some free tools for conducting your own personal analytics.

As the general session concluded, I scooted on over to the day one press conference, where I heard some opening comments from IBM senior vice president Steve Mills.

Mills explained how IT economics laid the red carpet for big data, that it wouldn’t have been possible had the economics of hardware, in particular, been driven down to such an affordable level so as to enable these higher performing systems required for big data analytics.

Mills also highlighted the fact that smarter analytics is a delivery of the real promise of information technology, that now customers are “buying outcomes, and time to value,” as opposed to systems and processes, and that it made sense for them to invest in such projects.

More on the actual announcements as details emerge…

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