Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘data visualization’ Category

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: A Q&A With Nate Silver On The Promise Of Prediction

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Day 3 at Information On Demand 2012.

The suggestion to “Think Big” continued, so Scott Laningham and I sat down very early this morning with Nate Silver, blogger and author of the now New York Times bestseller, “The Signal and the Noise” (You can read the review of the book in the Times here).

Nate, who is a youngish 34, has become our leading statistician through his innovative analyses of political polling, but made his original name by building a widely acclaimed baseball statistical analysis system called “PECOTA.”

Today, Nate runs the award-winning political website FiveThirtyEight.com, which is now published in The New York Times and which has made Nate the public face of statistical analysis and political forecasting.

In his book, the full title of which is “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” Silver explores how data-based predictions underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling to weather forecasting to the stock market to chess to the war on terror.

In the book, Nate poses some key questions, including what kind of predictions can we trust, and are the “predicters” using reliable methods? Also, what sorts of things can, and cannot, be predicted?

In our conversation in the greenroom just prior to his keynote at Information On Demand 2012 earlier today, Scott and I probed along a number of these vectors, asking Nate about the importance of prediction in Big Data, statistical influence on sports and player predictions (a la “Moneyball”), how large organizations can improve their predictive capabilities, and much more.

It was a refreshing and eye-opening interview, and I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Scott and I enjoyed conducting it!

Live @ Information On Demand 2012: Think Big…Really Big

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Though David Copperfield may be keeping an eye out over the Las Vegas Strip, this year’s mantra to “Think Big” at IBM Information On Demand 2012 is no illusion. There are big issues to tackle, we’ve got more data than ever, being acquired at a pace unmatched in recorded history, and amidst all that information are insights that we all can use to better run our businesses — if we could just find them. Our time in Vegas this week should prove to be a great start.

Greetings from Viva Las Vegas, Nevada.

It’s Sunday, and if it’s Sunday, it’s football…and, Information on Demand 2012.

It seems like I was only here a short year ago…and come to think of it, I was!

How time, and technology, flies…but, as the industry goes, so goes IOD.  This year, there are more issues to discuss, more folks to talk to, and more technologies to cover, even as all we IOD attendees are being asked to “Think Big.”

Which is a good thing, because there are some big issues on the information management table that need discussing.

We’ve got more data than ever, being acquired at a pace unmatched in recorded history, and amidst all that information are insights that we all can use to better run our businesses, our governments, even our lives, yet not necessarily with any clear boundaries about who can do what with who’s information and when and under what circumstances!

But boy, if only we could make sense out of it all.

It reminds me of the magic show I went to see yesterday afternoon at the MGM Grand here in Vegas, starring none other than the world-renowned illusionist, David Copperfield.

If you’ve never seen him perform, first of all, I highly recommend you taking in his show at the Hollywood Theatre there.

Copperfield is the genuine article, an illusionist whose humanity surpasses his skills as a magician.  An entertainner who made a Studebaker appear onstage from out of nowhere, the story behind which that explained the import of that car to Copperfield and his family nearly bringing tears to my eyes.

One minute I was laughing, one minute I was surprised and astonished, and the next minute I was crying…in my book, the mark of a superior entertainer who understands his audience.

And such is often the case in the realm of effective information management.  One minute, we have our handle on the situation, making sense of the information at our disposal…and the next, a new requirement, a new technology, a new methodology comes along and throws a wrench in our proverbial analytical fan.

But like Copperfield, we must always be thinking of our audience.  Who are they, what motivates them, what do they need from us, what do they NOT need.  Often it’s not what you say but what you don’t that most makes the point.

Which is why we’re here in Vegas, to Think Big. To put our big boy and girl thinking caps on to figure out how we can handle this additional onslaught of information effectively and efficiently, with grace under pressure.

As part and parcel of that, we’re here to attend the over 700 technical education sessions, the 110 hands on labs, and to hear the 300+ customer speakers who have been there, done that in Information On Demand 2012.

And finally, to also hopefully have a little fun along the way.  It is Vegas, after all.  And all that nonsense about what happens here, stays here??  You don’t really believe any of that bit, do you?

It IS 2012, after all.  What’s not picked up by a smartphone will be Tweeted by your colleagues and read by your boss back at the home office.  So behave yourself!

Because all of that, and much, much more is what constitutes the Information On Demand experience, and that’s what myself and our extended IOD 2012 social team will be here to cover for you.

So, check your IOD Smartsite or program guide in your badge, and get going, and please keep an eye on Twitter, hashtag #ibmiod, for all the latest.

Boxed In In Bangalore: Analyzing Sentiment On Indian Traffic Congestion

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Click to enlarge. With a population of more than 1.2 billion, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025. By 2050, it is estimated that India’s urban population will constitute nearly half of that country’s total population, straining an already stressed infrastructure. The good news: Urbanization is an indicator of positive economic development. With improved urban planning, India can tackle urbanization challenges and increasing population to create a country that is poised for sustainable growth.

We heard a number of discussions about the potential for social listening intelligence last week at the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando.

This is an area I’ve been involved in within the IBM team for several years now, starting with some early explorations for how social data could be informative for our marketing efforts stretching all the way back to 2008.

It’s been exciting to watch this space evolve and mature, and with the advent of the IBM Social Sentiment index, we’re starting to see very practical uses of social data for better understanding if not the wisdom, then certainly the perspectives, of the crowd.

Yesterday, IBM held a Smarter Cities Forum in New Delhi, India, where we unveiled a new social sentiment capability to assist our customers in their Smarter Cities engagements.

We also unveiled findings from the latest IBM Social Sentiment Index on traffic, which looked at public sentiment across India’s largest cities — Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

Boxed In In Bangalore

If you’ve never experienced traffic in India, you can get a taste of the Sunday traffic in this video I shot during my first visit in June 2010.

But the recent analysis of publically available social media showed that the worst congestion in India is primarily caused by accidents and bad weather (three out of four times) when looking at the three cities together.

It also indicated some interesting variations between the three. For example, social conversation in Mumbai about stress around traffic is about half as high as Bangalore and New Delhi; references to the impact of rush hour on congestion in New Delhi are between five and seven times more negative than in Bangalore and Mumbai.

With a wealth of online content and public commentary on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook, city officials need new ways to measure positive, neutral and negative opinions shared by citizens regarding important city issues.

IBM’s advanced analytics and natural language processing technologies used to analyze large volumes of public social media data in order to assess and understand citizen opinions are now available to city governments around the world via new capabilities delivered with the IBM Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities.

Making Cities Smarter: The IBM Intelligent Operations Center

The IOC — which combines IBM software and services to integrate city operations through a single dashboard view to help cities improve efficiency — is now augmented with social media analytics capabilities that will help city officials make more informed decisions by looking at unfiltered citizen attitudes and actions, distinguishing between sincerity and sarcasm and even predicting trends as they surface online.

Combining the knowledge that population will rapidly increase in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai in the coming years, with sentiment on commuters’ preferred mode of transportation, could help these cities more accurately plan for needed investments in transportation infrastructure and its potential impact.

City officials could also gauge where public awareness campaigns need to be administered to shift commuters to different modes of transport in order to alleviate growing traffic congestion.

The IBM Social Sentiment Index on transportation in India’s three largest cities surfaced several insights including:

  • The top three factors impacting traffic congestion that citizens in each city talked about most online were diverse. Delhites chattered about public transportation, weather and the stress of commuting, while Bangaloreans show more concern for their overall driving experience, construction and parking issues, and Mumbaikars are talking about private transportation, accidents and pollution more often.
  • Conversation in Bangalore around parking is viewed three times more negatively than in the other cities. Despite recent infrastructure improvements, less pollution and a solid public transit system, Delhites are experiencing a far higher amount of stress (50 percent) than those in Mumbai (29 percent) or Bangalore (34 percent). Most likely, this can be explained by an uptick in rallies and weather events this year, as well as the recent power outage.
  • Surprisingly, sentiment on the topic of construction was relatively positive in Bangalore and New Delhi, and positive and negative sentiment on infrastructure in each was relatively even. Together, these may suggest that the transportation infrastructure improvements being made over the last two years in each city are beginning to positively impact citizens.
  • Analysis shows that the relative negative sentiment for rush hour (35 percent) is one of the key drivers impacting traffic in New Delhi, which may explain why citizens talk about stress significantly more than commuters in Mumbai or Bangalore.

By applying analytics capabilities to the area of social media sentiment, organizations are able to better understand public opinions, and city officials can gain additional insights in order to draw logical conclusions about where they should focus their attentions and resources.

For example:

  • Take Bangalore, the technology hub of India. Understanding that most commuters prefer private transportation despite negative sentiment around parking and construction may indicate that city officials should consider if it makes sense to advocate for more commuters to use mass transit and invest in infrastructure that will keep up with demand as more companies locate there.
  • Since Dehlite’s indicate that public transportation is the preferred mode of transportation, city officials could use this insight to study which areas have high ridership and less road traffic and then implement similar actions in highly congested areas.
  • In Mumbai, negative sentiment around traffic and weather at the peak of monsoon season (August) generated 5.5 times more chatter than in November. If the city could measure the fluctuation of public sentiment on these potential causes over time combined with specific weather data like rainfall or temperature, it might be able to better prepare to divert traffic during monsoon season or determine areas where a public safety campaign is needed.

“Like all rapidly growing cities across the world, there are infrastructure growing pains in many Indian cities,” said Guru Banavar, vice president and chief technology officer, Smarter Cities, IBM. “However, when city officials can factor public sentiment — positive, negative or otherwise — around city services like transportation, they can more quickly pinpoint and prioritize areas that are top of mind for their citizens. This could mean more targeted investment, improving a particular city service, more effective communication about a service that is offered, and even surfacing best practices and successful efforts that could be applied to other zones of a city.”

Methodology: IBM Cognos Consumer Insights And 168,000+ Discussions

Public social media content was analyzed by IBM Cognos Consumer Insight, which assessed 168,330 online discussions from September 2011 to September 2012 across social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums and News Sources and derived 54,234 High Value Snippets through a series of advanced filtration techniques for insight analysis.

The IBM Social Sentiment Index helps companies tap into consumer desires and make more informed decisions by looking at unfiltered consumer attitudes and actions, distinguishing between sincerity and sarcasm, and even predicting trends.

About the IBM Social Sentiment Index

The IBM Social Sentiment Index uses advanced analytics and natural language processing technologies to analyze large volumes of social media data in order to assess public opinions. The Index can identify and measure positive, negative and neutral sentiments shared in public forums such as Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media, and provide quick insights into consumer conversations about issues, products and services.

Representing a new form of market research, social sentiment analyses offer organizations new insights that can help them better understand and respond to consumer trends. For more information about IBM Business Analytics go here.

You can also follow the conversation at #IBMIndex on Twitter.

For more information about IBM Smarter Cities go here, and follow the conversation at #smartercities on Twitter.

CNBC: Texas’ Is the 2012 “Top State For Business”

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I turned on CNBC this afternoon to catch up on business news just in time to see Texas governor Rick Perry doing a standup interview over at the University of Texas to celebrate Texas’ being chosen for the third time in the past several years as the “America’s Top State for Business.”

According to CNBC’s Scott Cohn, Texas “racked up an impressive 1,604 points out of a possible 2,500,” and had top-10 finishes in “six of our 10 categories of competitiveness.”

Texas has never finished below second place since CNBC started the study in 2007.

This year’s categories, developed in concert with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness, included the following: “Cost of Doing Business,” “Workforce,” “Quality of Life,” “Infrastructure and Transportation,” “Economy,” “Education,” “Technology and Innovation,” “Business Friendliness,” “Access to Capital,” and “Cost of Living.”

Diving deeper into the results, Texas has the nation’s best “Infrastructure” and improved to second place for “Technology and Innovation,” and boasts the third lowest “Cost of Living.”

On the downside, Texas came in 26th in “Education” and 35th of “Quality of Life,” apparently getting dinged for less available health care and higher property and sales taxes.

Obviously, this is very exciting news here in Austin and across the state of Texas, especially considering the vast diversification we’ve seen of the Texas economy over the past decade.  When I was growing up in Texas, energy and oil dominated the economy, but we’ve seen massive investments and innovations in more diverse fields these past 20 years, including high tech, telecommunications, biotechnology and life sciences, health care, and many more, all in a business-friendly (read: less regulation and taxes) climate.

But we’ve still got some work to do, I would submit.

If you’re a person of little means, whatever else you do, don’t get sick here.  Texas is not expected to expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, according to another recent announcement by Governor Perry, and only 31 percent of physicians in Texas accepted Medicaid patients in 2011, according to the Texas Medical Association and as reported in the Texas Tribune.

So, congrats to the great state of Texas…I’m really glad to hear we’re doing a great job of taking care of business…but clearly there’s some work yet to be done in taking better care of our people!

Using Mobile Phones and Social Networks to Fight Non-Communicable Diseases

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Here’s some shocking statistics: According to the World Health Organization, nearly two-thirds of all deaths occur due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which contribute to more than 60 percent of deaths worldwide.

Over the coming decade, some 388 million worldwide will die of one or more chronic illnesses and the cumulative losses in global economic output due to NCDs will total $47 trillion by 2030.

But before you go jump off a tall building, some new solutions developed by university teams could soon be harnessed to help manage the glowing global problem of such NCDs like asthma, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

As part of the NCD Challenge, sponsored by IBM and pharmaceutical maker Novartis, a global competition was held to bring together industry and academia to create innovative, easy-to-use solutions that help fight the human and social burden of NCDs.

Like a social-media enabled support system for pregnant women with gestational diabetes and an advanced smart-phone service, both of which could have tremendous impact in managing diabetes and other diseases.

Developing World Solution: 2Vidas

Winners of the competition were the Hass School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and ESADE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull in Barcelona, Spain.

The developing world solution, from Berkeley, involved “2Vidas,” a pharmacy-based membership program for low- to middle-income pregnant women to address the growing problem of diabetes in Mexico.

The project’s aim is to make a lasting health impact on two lives during a finite period in which women have increased motivation to take better case of themselves for the health of their babies.

The program works by providing pregnant women access to monitoring tools at local pharmacies, support through peer-led sessions, and encouragement via positive SMS messaging that rewards self-management and offers health tips.

The potential economic impact is the ability to save women 58-98% of out-of-pocket monitoring costs, depending on frequency of use, and the health system an average of $110 per enrolled women per year through improved diabetes control — lowering the risk profile of the mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s propensity for NCDs.

2Vidas membership program will deliver an estimated $10.4 million in systemic cost savings and $475,00 in added value creation over five years.

Developed World Solution: Dr. Diabetes

Developed by the ESACE Business School-Universidad Ramon Llull, the Barcelona-based team’s effort, “Dr. Diabetes,” utilizes a handheld device with an application and two cloud servers.

It is a total solution designed to provide diabetes awareness, monitoring, and management to patients with chronic illness, initially for China.

It also provides early awareness to the public and streamlines diabetes management for patients. The solution provides medical data via cloud computing to physicians for accurate diagnosis, and to pharmaceutical companies and hospitals for efficient research and development.

The solution is designed to be scalable to support other NCDs. It is designed to lower the risk of complications, decrease treatment costs to patients by up to 73%, and decrease their hospital visits by 65%.

Winning teams were recognized this week during the NCD Awards Ceremony at IBM headquarters in Armonk, NY, and Novartis headquarters in East Hanover, New Jersey.

People interested in learning more and in joining the conversation on the topic of fighting non-communicable diseases can do so in the People for a Smarter Planet on Facebook, and via Twitter at #NCD.

They can also join in the “Smarter Healthcare” group on LinkedIn.

TurboTech: A Humorous Look At 2011 Technology Trends In Review

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It’s not many people who have the opportunity to be able to say that they’ve worked with a true broadcasting professional like Scott Laningham.

Blogger's Note: No dolphins were harmed during the making of this video. Green pigs who stole bird's eggs, well, that's a whole other story!

It’s even less people who would take the opportunity to actually come clean and admit to having done so, especially on more than one occasion.

Because I’m neither a true professional nor someone who likes to allow the skeletons in his closet to begin to accumulate, instead of facing as many of them as I can take head on like some egregious out-of-control episode of “Walking Dead,” or, worse, a full-on “Angry Birds” like assault come to life (but only if it’s the ad-supported version, as we’re too cheap to actually buy a copy), it is with great pleasure that I feature for you my readers the latest episode of “TurboTech,” another fine example supporting the postulation by Gartner and others that broadband video is here to stay…even if Scott and I are not destined to be ourselves.

The following is video documentary evidence of what happens when nature cannot simply abhor a vacuum, but instead must attempt to fill it with technology forecasting tripe at the end of another grand year of massive technological disruption.  In our case, the year 2011, which was filled with much technological wonder and wonderment, not the least of which included fabric-based computing.

It shall also not go unnoticed by somewhat regular (assuming there are any of you) viewers that Scott continues to look and sound much, much better than me in these episodes, indicating once again that Scott continues to have better technology than me.

This, too, must change.

Navigating The Tech Cosmos @ IBM Software Universe India

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I’m well into my third day of a very busy but most enjoyable business trip to Bangalore, my second in as many years.

You’ve read as I’ve written about the crazy traffic, the superb food, the wonderful people, and even an IBM India win vis a vis Escorts Group.

India’s most awaited annual software conclave arrives on October 20th, in Mumbai, in the form of the IBM Software Universe India conference.

Now, it’s time to get down to software business. And what better way than to encourage technology peeps in the sub-continent to consider attending IBM Software Universe India.

The event is scheduled for October 20, 2011, at the Renaissance Convention Centre Hotel in Mumbai. I’m told this is India’s most awaited annual software conference, and a learning ground for IT professionals and developers who want to stay ahead of the technology curve and industry trends.

At the event, attendees can expect to hear about the next big wave in software, and centering around seven unique and diverse tracks: Social Software, Business & Collaboration Solutions, Business Analytics, Application Integration & Optimization, Business Infrastructure, and Security & Risk.

From the optimisation of traffic systems and electric grids, to the delivery of better education, transport and healthcare, to reducing costs with cloud, smarter software is inspiring new thinking and ideas that might be applied to business goals.

Some of the featured speakers and tidings you can expect:

  • Keynote from John Dunderdale, VP Growth Markets, IBM, on “Harnessing the Nexg Big Wave”
  • A motivating keynote by tennis legend Martina Navratilova
  • Sessions by eminent industry leaders and subject matter experts
  • A Bollywood Night performance by celebrated singer, Sunidhi Chauhan
  • Networking with peers
  • Exclusive, on the spot industry certifications

There will also be sneak previews on futuristic technology topics, including Watson, the Spoken Web, Big Data, Social Business, Track & Trace, and others.

For those who might be interested in attending the event, you can find more information and registration information at this website.

You can also find ongoing updates at the IBM Software Universe India blog.

For those of you who are socially inclined, in India and beyond, you can follow the following Twitter ID : @ibmsoftware_in and the conference hashtag: #ibmswuin.

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