Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Democratization of Business Intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) is associated with methods and tools capable of extracting useful information for business insight and analysis. The methods applied are often complex as the technology needs to process large amounts of heterogeneous and unstructured data, all with optimal goals in common — revealing unexpected opportunities and providing a competitive advantage.

Who Benefits the Most from Business Intelligence? Any business can be the beneficiary of this practice. Business insight exists within all employees in the form of tacit knowledge, yet only a few employees have access to BI tools and methods needed for capitalization. Humans are the best in performing BI, yet the tools and methods are complex for the majority of the work force. This complexity is reaching a tipping point with the awakening of computers being able to perform more Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes that are powered by Big Data and cognitive technology. Alas we can start to put the complexity in the back-end of our systems, and reveal the benefits to more users.

Business people are not waiting for BI tools, in fact it is an intimate part of everyday work. The problem is that it takes time if we have to deliberately think about it. Many will search the Web, collect RSS feeds, probe social media, do or have assistants doing the work of curation, and repeat to be up-to-date. Others will just detect a risk or opportunity as it reaches them serendipitously. That basic set of tasks is exactly what can be automated by the latest technology. The Darwin Awareness Optimizer (DAO) is such a solution.
I believe that revealing and detecting patterns in a comprehensive manner to anyone is the first step in changing the enterprise’s corporate culture into an efficient cognitive business culture. This evolution is also acknowledged by IBM’s Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, when she said that “a new technological era is upon us, one that marries digital business with digital intelligence. It's what's known as cognitive business.”

As BI and AI become more integrated into 21st century business methods, today’s businesses can’t allow the chasm between data science and business workers to grow. This why not every BI solution needs to be complex, and limited to a few experts, to keep a business alert and resilient.

To limit this capability of BI to a few experts as is the current model of operation in the business culture, not only puts a huge burden of accountability that slows down insightful BI, but also omits the outliers’ detection and expertise of the workforce in everyday activities. The democratization of business intelligence offers a wider and more comprehensive, and more insightful, awareness at every level of the organization.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Youfie is now the Apple App Store - And its purpose for anyone to figure out.

When we think of social media and the internet nowadays, we also think of our known footprint and accept that our identity, and its persistence in systems, is what is used to better target us.  This is the reality that, in some countries, is being scrutinized to protect privacy as much as figuring out the economy of releasing such information.  Of course capturing our identity and proclivity has been built by design to support the industry that give us these wonderful tools that "make the world a better place" (dixit every start-up and silicone valley companies).  And not too long ago came a simple sharing tool called SnapChat.  They decided to make pictures and messages private and ephemeral.  That simple decision is not based on any system limitations, but instead it is an intentional feature that gives an element of privacy that has been lost in the era of FaceBook and Tweeter.  This simple element of privacy and disappearance of content is reminiscent  of a simpler time.  But perhaps more importantly of the freedom that comes with it.

It that same spirit, we created Youfie, which is now available in the Apple App Store for your IOS device.  Instead of dealing with an ephemeral limitation, I chose the anonymity as the shield to freedom and privacy.  In fact with Youfie no registration is required and every picture taken is simply dropped at its location with no trace to the author.  Furthermore, the author relinquishes rights to the picture as does Youfie.  Basically the picture has been taken and abandon in its location for anyone to view with no knowledge of its author, and no one knowing who has viewed it.  I felt that this would encourage many different use cases.  Imagine taking a picture of a political situation and knowing that you won't be traced for bringing awareness.  Or walking in Yellowstone park and seeing what was taken by others on the spot you are standing.  Perhaps just knowing what has been captured in your neighborhood.  No application capturing identities could reveal this unfiltered reality.

As simple as taking a polaroid and dropping where you took it for others to see.  Now do with it as you please and no one will know who took that crazy picture of ...  Try Youfie capture, abandon and explore.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This TED matters for Darwin Ecosystem's research.

I always encourage our team to see every TED talk available to ensure that our outlook on technology is challenged and inspired by thought leaders.  But when David Eagleman, a well known neuroscientist and writer, showed up, I was exited to see what he would say to enlighten the general public with his fascinating work.  I consider him to be the most influential person dedicated to our field of research, and soon to be a promising industry.  This is possibly the most relevant TED Talk related to the work of Darwin Ecosystem.  The umwelt expansion, pair with the generic pattern processing capability of the brain, makes total sense.  Set aside the use case, this why it resonated with the TED audience (standing ovation).
Darwin Ecosystem has been working on awareness and discovery enhancement, as well as pattern detection, using organic paradigms where the inference of meaning is left to the user's innate ability to detect relevance - not the machine.  As a matter of fact, for Darwin Ecosystem, the machine is a catalyst and accelerator of senses and reach.  But to go further, we are now working on a Collective Memory Project in our Montreal R&D office to expand the umwelt from a single individual to a collective.  We are working with IBM's Big Data and Cognitive Technologies (Watson Bluemix) to deliver solutions today, and support our research in building a Virtual Cortex.  Well done David Eagleman for bringing this science to a larger audience.  It is sure to boost our own research initiative and interest.
Thierry Hubert, CEO

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What drives the our tendency toward visual expression?

"As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe. It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes." –Denis Diderot, "Encyclopédie" (1755)

What drives the our tendency toward visual expression is our natural knack for it. Human pattern detection makes us good at inferring meaning from what we see, and we’re good at sharing information this way. When things get too complex to express with alphanumeric symbols alone, we recruit methods that use our inborn talent with the visual.
It’s a traditional way of dealing with information overload.

Late in the Enlightenment, Diderot and d’Alembert published their Encyclopédie to preserve and share the sum total of scientific knowledge of the time. This was very ambitious. The printing press had driven an accelerating cycle of information creation. It had a contagious power to make ideas and facts multiply and travel and mutate and multiply again. So much had been written down already, and there would soon be much, much more. Diderot and d’Alembert recognized that we were going to have to learn how to learn faster to keep up with data creation.

The Encyclopédie kept pace with the speed of information by using a an 18th century data visualization system that processed tons of information from books, letters, and conversations, of the appearance, nature and function of phenomena in the real world and their relationships to each other. Multiple perspectives and dimensions were used simultaneously, in arrangements that engaged our visual pattern detection. At a glance you could understand how daylight moved across the earth’s surface. You could learn how your heart worked. These visualizations were diagrams. They contained great densities of data. They helped you learn faster than by reading text alone.

It’s been a long time since we’ve given up the ambition of having one encyclopedia of any number of volumes holding all that is known, but we’re not done trying to keep pace with the acceleration of information.

Because it knows how human communication organizes itself, Darwin’s technology handles information overload by revealing the flow and evolution of information over time. This offers the ability to analyze and visualize the patterns of information form and evolve around topics. The information we share contains our insights, preserves our experiences, and communicates what we are aware of. All of it is discoverable now.  

What diagrams did for people reading the Encyclopédie, analytics and data visualization do for all of us now. And just like then, the point isn’t the tools themselves, but how they are used and what happens afterward. The innovations that these tools will make possible will open up a whole new world. We’re at a very special moment in the story of technology. What a time to be alive.