Past, Present and Future of AI / Machine Learning (Google I/O ’17)

 

We are in the middle of a major shift in computing that’s transitioning us from a mobile-first world into one that’s AI-first. AI will touch every industry and transform the products and services we use daily. Breakthroughs in machine learning have enabled dramatic improvements in the quality of Google Translate, made your photos easier to organize with Google Photos, and enabled improvements in Search, Maps, YouTube, and more.

 

Shiny vs Useful: Which trends in the analytics market are business ready?

OnTheGo

Business analytics continues to be a hot segment in the enterprise software market and a core component of digital transformation for every organization. But there are many specific advances that are at differing points along the continuum of market readiness for actual use.

It is critical that technology leaders recognize the difference between mature trends that can be applied to real-world business scenarios today versus those that are still taking shape but make for awe-inspiring vendor demos. These trends fall into categories ranked from least to most mature in the market: artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and embedded analytics.

Artificial augments actual human intelligence

The hype and excitement surrounding AI, which encompasses machine learning (ML) and deep learning, has surpassed that of big data in today’s market. The notion of AI completely replacing and automating manual analytical tasks done by humans today is far from application to most real-world use cases. In fact, full automation of analytical workflows should not even be considered the final goal — now or in the future.

The term assistive intelligence is a more appropriate phrase for the AI acronym, and is far more palatable for analysts who view automation as a threat. This concept of assistive intelligence, where analyst or business user skills are augmented by embedded advanced analytic capabilities and machine learning algorithms, is being adopted by a growing number of organizations in the market today. The utility of these types of smart capabilities has proven useful in assisting with data preparation and integration, as well as analytical processes such as the detection of patterns, correlations, outliers and anomalies in data.

Natural interactions improve accessibility of analytics

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG) are often used interchangeably but serve completely different purposes. While both enable natural interactions with analytics platforms, NLP can be thought of as the question-asking part of the equation, whereas NLG is used to render findings and insights in natural language to the user.

Of the two, NLP is more recognizable in the mainstream market as natural language interfaces increasingly become more commonplace in our personal lives through Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Home, etc. Analytics vendors are adding NLP functionality into their product offerings to capitalize on this consumer trend and reach a broader range of business users who may find a natural language interface less intimidating than traditional means of analysis. It is inevitable that NLP will become a widely used core component of an analytics platform but it is not currently being utilized across a broad enough range of users or use cases to be considered mainstream in today’s market.

On the other hand, NLG has been in the market for several years but only recently has it been incorporated into mainstream analytics tools to augment the visual representation of data. Many text-based summaries of sporting events, player statistics, mutual fund performance, etc., are created automatically using NLG technology. Increasingly, NLG capabilities are also being used as the delivery mechanism to make AI-based output more consumable to mainstream users.

Recently, analytics vendors have been forging partnerships with NLG vendors to leverage their expertise in adding another dimension to data visualization, where key insights are automatically identified and expressed in a natural language narrative to accompany the visualization. While the combination of business analytics and NLG is relatively new, it is gaining awareness and traction in the market and has opened the door to new uses cases for organizations to explore.

Embedded analytics brings insights closer to action

The true value of analytics is realized when insights can inform decision-making to improve business outcomes. By embedding analytics into applications and systems, where decision-makers conduct normal business, a barrier to adoption is removed and insights are delivered directly to the person who can take immediate action.

Modern analytics platform vendors have made it incredibly easy for organizations to adopt an embedded strategy to proliferate analytic content to line-of-business users previously unreachable by traditional means. And organizations are now extending similar capabilities to customers, partners, suppliers, etc., in an effort to increase competitive differentiation and, in some cases, new revenue streams through monetization of data assets and analytic applications.

These innovations present technology leaders with a unique opportunity to lead their organizations into an era where data analysis is the foundation for all business decisions. Every organization will embark on this journey at its own pace. Some will be early adopters of new innovations and some will only adopt when the majority of the market has successfully implemented.

Ultimately, organizational readiness to adopt any new technology will be determined by end users and their ability and willingness to adopt new innovations and embrace process change.

Source: Tableau

Best Tablets For 2017: Android, iOS & Windows 10

onthego

One of the reasons Apple’s iPad was so successful was that, like many Apple products, it captured the public’s imagination – commercially, at least, there hadn’t been anything quite like it aimed at consumers, and it promised a bright sci-fi-like experience full of exciting possibilities.

The iPad introduced the idea of tablets to an unexpecting mass market. What wasn’t so predictable was the steady decline of tablets thereafter. Following the inevitable boom where everyone rushed to cash in on the sudden interest in tablets, sales have gradually dropped off year-on-year, and it’s not just competitor models this is happening to either, Apple itself is struggling to shift iPads in anywhere near the quantities it expected to or used to.

The catch, it seems, is that while users will happily replace their contract-tethered smartphone every year or two, buying a new tablet this regularly is a big no-no, and consumers seem to treat these larger devices similarly to laptops and PCs as a rare, carefully considered, and long-lasting purchase.

But that doesn’t mean tablets are useless. Indeed, they can be great content consumption–and even creation–devices. And the tablets on the market today are better than they have been during any time in the past.

Global market research firm TrendForce estimates that 2016 tablet sales numbered around 154.5 million units–or a  decline of 8.3% from the year earlier. They also estimate that global tablet shipments for 2017 are likely to fall by  5.3% annually this year to about 146.4 million units. In other words, tablet sales are still decreasing, but not by as much.

“Most tablet brands will be more conservative in committing their resources during 2017,” TrendForce notebook analyst Anita Wang pointed out. “Amazon and Huawei on the contrary have ambitions to increase their tablet shipments by many folds. The two brands are expected to expand their offerings in the near future. Additionally, Microsoft will be releasing Surface Pro 5 in the first quarter of 2017. Generally speaking, tablet shipments will drop next year but the decline will be fairly limited.”

The number of Android tablets in circulation has dropped off at a rather alarming rate during the past 18 months.

Not so long ago you couldn’t go a week without an Android tablet launching and now there fast becoming as rare as hen’s teeth.

A lot of this is to do with Apple’s iPad; it dominates the space almost entirely, just as the iPod did in the MP3 player space.

However, all is not lost – things are starting to change. And we have Microsoft to thank for that. Windows 10 and the hybrid machines it gave birth to and growing in popularity through their ability to bridge the gap between traditional laptop and tablet.

What the Android space REALLY needs is a decent ChromeOS dual-boot slate; a tablet that runs Android, but features all the cool attributes of ChromeOS.

Google is doing more cross-over stuff with Android and ChromeOS, but progress is painfully slow.

I would 1000% buy a Android tablet that could dual-boot ChromeOS. Hell, I’m tempted to start a KickStarter campaign to make it happen!

Budget tablets and hybrids like the current Surface Pro 4 and upcoming Surface Pro 5, and also the iPad Pro, are expected to be the driving forces behind 2017’s tablet space.

Here are our favorite tablets for 2017 so far.

iPad Pro 12.9in

The iPad Pro was the newest tablet of 2016–and it’s a monster. It’s got a massive 12.9-inch 2732 x 2048 resolution at 264 ppi. But beneath that gorgeous display is a powerhouse of productivity. Inside you’ll find and INSANELY fast A9X chip–it’s actually faster than the Intel chips found in some MacBooks. Add to that the 4GB of RAM and four speaker audio and it’s no wonder this thing was labeled “Pro”.

You can actually edit 4K video on it without any lag. That’s not even to mention the optional Apple Pencil, dubbed by many as the best stylus ever made. The Pencil and the Pro work so well together, some artists are even saying it’s the first tablet that’s as good as a real pencil and paper.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

Samsung’s hybrid Windows 10 machine has an amazing screen, decent specs and it looks really smart. Also, the battery life is pretty decent as well. Combine this with all the benefits you get from running Windows 10 and you have one hell of a productivity machine that is great for working on the move and consuming media while on riding plans and trains (or your sofa).

The Galaxy TabPro S comes with a keyboard, but if you want to take advantage of Windows Ink, you will need to pony up for a stylus. Why Samsung didn’t include one from the get go remains to be seen. Ink is an awesome feature that lets you add notes to applications and web pages. You can then get Cortana to store these notes for a later date.

Who’s this for? Anyone that wants a portable, powerful Windows 10 machine with tablet properties and a truly STUNNING display.

Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Specs

  •     Windows 10.
  •     12in Super AMOLED (2160×1440)
  •     6th Gen. Intel Core M processor (Dual Core 2.2GHz)
  •     4GB(RAM)
  •     128GB SSD.
  •     Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO.
  •     Wi-Fi Direct.
  •     NFC.

iPad Air 2

While the iPad Pro is probably too much for most people, the iPad Air 2 is designed for everyone. Surprisingly, the Air 2 didn’t receive an update last year–it’s the exact same model as the year before. Given that it’s still one of the best tablets on the market it goes to show how ahead of its time it was for its 2014 release.

The iPad Air 2 features a 9.7-inch display with a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution at 264 ppi. Though its A8X chip can’t compete with the A9X found in the iPad Pro, it’s no slouch either. The iPad Air 2 is not only great for browsing the web and sending email, but for getting major productivity tasks–such as video and photo editing–done.

iPad mini 4

Though the iPad mini 4 hasn’t seen an update recently, it’s still probably the best small-sized tablet on the market. It’s 7.9in 1536 x 2048 display isn’t too big or too small. It features a Dual-core 1.5 GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and comes in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8

The Galaxy Tab S2 8 doesn’t have the best design. It’s got a rubber body, which makes it look rather clunky. But what it lacks in sex appeal it makes up in specs. It features an 8-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution AMOLED display at 320 ppi. Inside you’ll find a powerful Exynos 7 Octa Core processor and 3GB of RAM. Combine all that with Samsung’s excellent craftsmanship and a built-in fingerprint scanner and the Galaxy Tab S2 8 is one of the best all-around Android tablets on the market.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

It’s almost hard thinking about the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as a true tablet. That’s because it does an amazing job doubling as a laptop (that’s good, considering Microsoft bills the Surface as a hybrid). The Surface Pro 4 packs a 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 pixel display at 267 pixels per inch and comes in 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage options–far more than any other tablet on this list.

It also features Intel Skylake Core M3, Core i5, or Core i7 processors and 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of RAM. Oh, and it runs the full version of Windows 10 so it can run any desktop app you own. And as with the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro, the Surface Pro 4 has gotten high marks for its stylus, which is included (unlike with the iPad Pro).

Asus ZenPad 3S 10

The Asus ZenPad 3S 10 is perfectly proportioned for those looking for on-the-go usage. It has a 9.7in display and built-in support for high-resolution, meaning your tunes sound truly epic when fired through its built-in speakers or streamed or sent to your headphones.

It is also one of the cheaper tablets on this list as well, making it an ideal choice for those after value for money. This is a more of a traditional tablet compared to the likes of the iPad Pro or Surface Pro 4. But for those that want a large screen media and browsing experience, it simply cannot be beaten.

Even more so when Google REFUSES to update its Nexus 7 slate.

iPad Pro 9.7

Overall, however, the best tablet on the market has to be the 9.7in iPad Pro. It’s the perfect size for lots of people (let’s face it: the larger iPad Pro is just too big for most). It’s beautiful 1536 x 2048 display is accompanied by a A9X processor with 2GB of RAM and it comes in 32GB, 128GB, or a massive 256GB option. Oh, and add in that Apple Pencil and keyboard support and this is once of the best tablets ever made.

Source: knowyourmobile.com

 

Why Mobile Won’t Kill Desktop Ecommerce?

When it comes to ecommerce, mobile is picking up steam. A recent survey, conducted by the National Retail Federation, found that nearly 57 percent of online shopping traffic during this year’s Black Friday season came from mobile phones. Meanwhile Walmart reported sales from mobile phones nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015.

While the debate over whether online shopping will kill brick-and-mortar stores has been around for a long time, do these latest statistics indicate that desktop ecommerce is itself in danger of becoming obsolete?

Not necessarily, according to Andy Wong, a partner at Kurt Salmon Digital. He says that while traffic from mobile phones to ecommerce sites is growing rapidly, it doesn’t necessarily translate into actual sales. Many of his clients see nearly 70 percent of their email opens happening over mobile. But in terms of actual conversions, mobile is growing pretty slowly.

On mobile, one of the biggest obstacles online retailers face is the checkout process, says Andrew Mavraganis, the co-owner of StoreYourBoard.com, an ecommerce site in the action sports space.

“It often takes too long and is too cumbersome for consumers to fill out their payment information and shipping address on a mobile phone,” he says. “For sites like ours, where customers aren’t necessarily repeat customers with accounts and saved information, this can be a big deterrent to mobile ecommerce.”

This presents an opportunity for horizontal retailers like Amazon that have a large percentage of repeat customers. Because they are able to access saved billing information, these retailers can make the checkout process more seamless on mobile and thus benefit from the surge in mobile ecommerce traffic. Andrew believes one of the larger players in the technology space such as Apple or Amazon will launch a service like Apple Pay for mobile commerce to streamline the checkout process on mobile, which can lead to higher conversions.

But when all is said and done, while mobile phones will play an increasingly crucial role in the purchasing process, they need not replace the desktop and laptop. Even if most customers never start making purchases on mobile, they will still use their smartphones to read promotional emails, visit websites, engaging on social media and read reviews.

As a savvy marketer, it important to focus on an omni-channel retail strategy instead of picking one platform over another. The buyer is technology agnostic, and so retailers should focus on creating a seamless purchasing experience over multiple platforms.

 Entrepreneur