Recent Blog Posts

Next-Gen Shopping on Innovation Boulevard

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I don’t know about you, but while I love being able to browse my favourite store’s latest range from the comfort of my sofa, the hands-on experience that I get from a visit to the store itself is also still very appealing. What’s great about today’s retail landscape is that we have the opportunity to do both. The way we try and buy items from our favourite brands is no longer dictated by the opening hours or stock levels in our local high street store.

 

While this is good news for the consumer, the battle is on for high street retailers. To entice as many shoppers as possible through their doors, retailers need to offer a totally unique shopping experience – something that will convince you and me to put down our tablets and head to the high street.

 

Personalized, anytime shopping on the streets of Antwerp

 

Digitopia, a digital retail solution provider in Belgium, is working with Intel to build devices and apps that retailers can use to create more compelling shopping experiences. By trailing different solutions in various retail environments on Antwerp’s most popular shopping street, Digitopia is helping retailers to define which technologies work best in each different store scenario.

 

On Innovation Boulevard, as Digitopia has dubbed it, shoppers can turn their phone into a remote control to browse holidays on a large screen in the travel agent’s window. They can use an interactive fitting room in a fashion boutique to check for alternative colors and sizes of the outfits they are trying on. It’s even possible to order and pay for their cafe refreshments with a smartphone app rather than queuing up in the store. A large number of the solutions are powered by Intel technologies.

 

For shoppers, the retail experience is smoother and more personalized. Importantly, the technologies are also helping retailers to increase sales, offer new services and continue to interact with their customers when the shops are closed.

 

You can read more about the exciting retail experience that Digitopia has created in our new case study. My personal favorite is the possibility to book a holiday while walking between shops – what’s yours?


To continue this conversation, find me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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5 Questions for Dr. Giselle Sholler, NMTRC

 

Giselle Sholler is the Chair of the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC) and the Director of the Hayworth Innovative Therapeutic Clinic at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The NMTRC is a group of 15 pediatric hospitals across the U.S, plus the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, and Hospital La Timone in Marseilles, France. We sat down recently with Dr. Sholler to talk about to role of precision medicine in her work and how it impacts patients.


Intel: What are the challenges of pediatric oncology and how do you tackle those challenges?

 

Sholler: As a pediatric oncologist, one of the most challenging times is when we’re faced with a child who is not responding to standard therapy and we want to figure out how we can treat this patient. How can we bring hope to that family? A project that we are working on in collaboration with TGen, Dell and Intel has brought that hope to these families.

 

Intel: What is the program?

 

Sholler: When a child has an incurable pediatric cancer, we a take a needle biopsy and send it to TGen where the DNA and RNA sequencing occurs. When ready, that information comes back to the Consortium. Through a significant amount of analysis of the genomic information, we’re able to look at what drugs might target specific mutations or pathways. On a virtual tumor board, we have 15 hospitals across the U.S. and now two international hospitals in Lebanon and France that come together and discuss the patient’s case with the bioinformatics team from TGen. Everyone is trying to understand that patient and with the help of pharmacists create individualized treatment plans for that patient so that patient can have a therapy available to them that might result in a response for their tumor.

 

Intel: Why is precision medicine important?

 

Sholler: Precision medicine is about using the genomic information data form a patient’s tumor to identify which drugs not only will work, but which ones may not work on that patient’s specific cancer. With precision medicine, we can identify the right treatment for a patient. We’re not saying chemotherapy is bad, but for many of our patients chemotherapy is attacking every rapidly dividing cell and leaves our children with a lot of long term side effects. My hope for the future is that as we can target patients more specifically with the correct medications, we can alleviate some of the side effects that we’re seeing in our patients. Half our children with neuroblastoma have hearing loss and need hearing aids for the rest of their lives. They have heart conditions, kidney conditions, liver conditions that we’d like to see if we can avoid in the future.

 

Intel: How does the collaboration work to speed the process?

 

Sholler: The collaboration with Dell and Intel has been critical to making this entire project possible. The grant from Dell to fund this entire program over the last four years has been unparalleled in pediatric cancer. The computer power has also been vital to the success. Three years ago we were doing only RNA expression profile and it took two months; now, we’re doing RNA sequencing and DNA exomes completely and it takes less than two weeks to get the answers for our patients. The data transfer and networking used to entail shipping hard drives a few years ago. Now, we can send a tumor sample from Lebanon to TGen, complete the sequence in a few days and have a report for the tumor board a few days after that. It’s just been amazing to see the speed and accuracy improve for profiling.

 

Intel: Anything else?

 

Sholler: Another very critical piece that Dell has helped provide is the physician portal. Physicians are able to work together across the country, and across the world, and have access to patient records. The database now has grown and grown. When we do see patients, we can also pull up previous patients with similar sequencing or similar profiles, or treated with similar drugs, and see what was used in treatment. And how did they do? What was the outcome? We’re learning more and more with every patient and it doesn’t matter where we live anymore. Everything’s virtual online. It’s just been incredible.

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10 Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Business Processes

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When developing a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy, you can’t ignore the role that business processes may play. In many cases, the introduction of BI content into the portfolio of mobile BI assets provides opportunities to not only eliminate the gaps in your business operations, but to improve the existing processes.

 

Often, the impact is seen in two main ways. First, the current business processes may require you to change your mobile BI approach. Second, the mobile BI solution may highlight gaps that may require a redesign of your business processes to improve your mobile BI assets and your business operations.

Business Processes Will Influence Your Mobile BI Design

 

Existing business processes will have a direct impact on the design of your mobile BI solution. I’m often amazed to discover that the lack of consideration given to identifying business processes stems not from a lack of insight but from wrong assumptions that are made during the requirements and design phases.

 

It’s true that the business processes may not be impacted if the scope of your mobile BI engagement is limited to mobilizing an existing BI asset (like a report or dashboard) without making any changes to the original end-product, including all underlying logic. But in many cases, the opposite is true—the mobile BI end product may be the driver for change, including the update of the existing BI asset as a result of a mobile BI design.

 

Mobile solutions may require different assumptions in many aspects of their design, which range from source data updates to report layout and logic. Advanced capabilities, such as a write-back option, will further complicate things because the integration systems outside the BI platform will require closer scrutiny and a much closer alignment with business processes.

 

Moreover, constraints that surround source data will have a direct influence on the mobile BI design. For example, if you’re dependent on feeds from external data sources, you may need to consider an additional buffer to take into account possible delays or errors in the data feed. Or, perhaps you have a new application that was just built to collect manually-entered data from field operations. If this new application was introduced as part of your mobile BI solution, the process that governs this data collection system will have a direct impact on your design because of its immediate availability. This wouldn’t have been as important before as an operational tool with a limited audience without mobile BI.

 

Mobile BI Solution May Drive Improvements in Your Business Operations

 

As part of designing your strategy or developing your mobile BI solution, you may discover either gaps or areas for improvement. Don’t worry. This is a known side effect, and it’s often considered a welcome gift because it gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone: improve your business operations and increase the value of your mobile BI solution. However, it’s critical here to ensure that your team stays focused on the end goal of delivering on time and on schedule (unless the gaps turn out to be major showstoppers).

 

Typical examples are found in the areas of data quality and business rules. The design of a mobile BI asset—especially if it’s new—may highlight new or known data-quality issues. The visibility factor may be different with mobile. Adoption or visibility by executives often may force additional scrutiny. Moreover, adoption rates (ratio of actual users divided by total users of mobile solutions) may be higher because of the availability and convenience with mobile. As a result, mobile users may be less tolerant about the lack of quality assurance (QA) steps.

 

Business rules offer another example due to the same visibility factor. A proposed change in a business rule or process, which previously failed to get attention due to lack of support, may now have more backers when it’s associated with a mobile BI solution. Strong executive sponsorship may influence the outcome.

 

Bottom Line: Do Not Ignore Business Processes

 

It’s easy to make the wrong assumptions when it comes to business processes. It happens not just in mobile BI but in other technology projects. You cannot take existing processes for granted. What may have worked before may not work for mobile BI. Let your business processes complement your overall mobile BI strategy, and let your mobile BI engagement become a conduit for opportunities to improve your operational efficiencies.

 

Not only will these opportunities improve your business operations, but they will lead to increased adoption by increasing the trust your customers/users have in your mobile BI content.

 

What do you see as the biggest challenge when it comes to business processes in your mobile BI strategy?

 

Stay tuned for my next blog in the Mobile BI Strategy series

 

Connect with me on Twitter at @KaanTurnali and LinkedIn.

 

This story originally appeared on the SAP Analytics Blog.

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What is Our Differentiating Definition of Product?

Another Inflection Point


Of all the market transitions hitting the developed world retail industry these days, perhaps the one that will require the greatest industry change – and have the most defining competitive impact – will be the redefinition of product.

 

For a handful of industry leaders, it’s a key component of today’s competitive strategy.

 

For most others – consumed, as they are, by omni-channel integration and digital strategies and mountains of data – it seems to be a bridge too far.

 

At the heart of this issue is an all-too-familiar reality: physical products – at nearly all price points and in nearly all segments – have been commoditized.

 

It’s happened for several reasons. Private label goods offer equal performance at lesser price. Global sourcing enables the immediate copying and delivery (at volume) of hot trends. The internet brings a searing transparency of price and specifications. The quality gaps between good, better and best have been slimmed, even erased.

 

And whether or not multiple retailers have the same brand and SKU, many have the same category . . . and dozens have the same look.

 

The results of this commoditization are seen in average selling prices. In regular-price sell-through percentages. In the depth of markdowns it takes to clear.

 

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A retailer can no longer merchandise his or her way through today’s competitive battles.

 

That is, with increasingly commoditized physical SKUs.

 

But there is an alternative: the rise of services in retail and the services-led redefinition of product.

 

As we look ahead, the operative definition of product will be a curated assortment of goods and services.

 

Using data-driven unique insights into customer behavior, merchants will create value through:

 

  • SKU delivery and subscription services – of everything that’s needed regularly, from milk to diapers to the moss control and bark chips I order every March;
  • SKU usage education – seminars, lessons, even tours on topics ranging from fashion advice to consumer electronics to food;
  • Health and family wellness services – and not only for pharmacies, but for grocery and mass merchandising;
  • So-called “federated” services with other brands – not only your winter-in-Florida outfit, but your flight, resort hotel and starred-restaurant reservations;
  • Home management services – ranging from care to repair.

 

Some services will be a means of locking in user loyalty. Others will create new revenue streams.

 

And it will be through this value-added approach to retailing that brands will survive and ultimately thrive.

 

It’s no surprise that Amazon has already figured this out. Case in point: Amazon Prime. This is a stunning success.

 

In 2013, Prime’s renewal rate was a remarkable 82%.1 In the fourth quarter of 2014, Prime had 40 million US members. A report released in January by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that Prime members spend, on average, $1,500 on Amazon, compared to $625 per year for non-members. Prime members also shop 50% more frequently than non-members.2

 

How does Amazon Prime bind shoppers to its brand so effectively? At the heart are the services that bind shoppers to the brand. The best example I know is their automatic deliveries of diapers in the right size as a baby grows. Think of it. No more late-night runs to the store.

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And read that again: no late-night runs to the store.


Brilliant.

 

OK, so what does this mean to the technology community? Why should the digerati care?

 

First of all, this service creation thing is not going to be easy. Shaping the offer is not going to be easy. Monetizing is not going to be easy.

 

It’s going to require deep, unique, tested insight into shopper behavior. Into your brand’s cohorts and personas. Into finding the leading indicators of need and demand.

 

At the foundation of this is Big Data. And moving well beyond Big Data. Into the data analysis worlds inhabited by the leaders.

 

Second of all, the delivery of the content that will enable the delivery of services will not be easy. This is going to be about enterprise architecture and data architecture and APIs that open data to the outside world and APIs that are accessed to bring the outside world inside.

 

And third of all, the staffing and training and delivering services will not be easy. Those who deliver services – and this will be a people business – will be on the go. Not tethered to an aisle or a department or a check stand.

 

The business processes of delivery will no doubt need a highly advanced level of mobile access to information and ease of use.

 

The redefinition of product? Quite honestly, it’s a redefinition of retail.

 

Get ready. It’s coming.

 

 

 

 

1 Forbes, 2014, Kantar Research 2014.


2 Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, January 2015.


*Other Names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

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Innovation Think!

I have been hosting a program, started in March of 2015, called “Innovation Think” with the intent to get people exposed to technology that stimulates innovation either directly or through the… Read more >

Tech in the Real World: My Dentist’s Portable All-in-One

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Back in 1995, when I first started going to Wood Family Dentistry for dental care, they tracked patients with paper charts, took film x-rays, and documented exams and treatments manually. But one thing I’ve noticed in the 20 years that I’ve been Dr. Wood’s patient is his intense curiosity and desire to use technology to continually improve the level of care he provides at his Folsom, California-based practice.


Fast-forward to today, and their patient workflows are completely digital, they can instantly view high-definition digital x-rays, and there’s not a paper record in sight. Keith Wood, DDS and his staff haven’t stopped with those innovations, however. With the help of a portable All-in-One PC, they’ve streamlined and advanced patient care even further.

 

Convenience and comfort in the dental chair

 

In the exam room, the portable All-in-One’s large, mobile touch screen eliminates the need for patients to crane their necks to see images on the wall-mounted monitor. Now, Dr. Wood shows patients highly detailed digital x-rays and other images in the comfort of the exam chair.

 

“With the portable All-in-One, I put it right in their lap and touch, zoom, and really bring things to life,” he explained.

 

Dr. Wood also told me how having a single device that they can use anywhere in the office provides them with a tremendous convenience boost. Not only does it make it easy to access charts and information anywhere in the building, but instead of needing to make room for parents when their kids are in the exam room, the dental team can now bring the portable All-in-One to the waiting room and more conveniently discuss treatment plans.

 

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Performance that proves itself

 

Dr. Wood was initially skeptical that a portable device could handle the large images and demanding applications that they use, but the performance and responsiveness of their Dell XPS 18 with Intel Core i7 processor has really impressed him and his staff. It gives them rapid access to patient files, the ability to run multiple dental applications at full speed, and the flexibility to input information with touch or keyboard and mouse.

 

“It’s super-easy to use,” Registered Dental Assistant Carry Ann Countryman reported. “You can get from chart, to x-rays, to documents super-fast.”

 

Foundation for the future

 

In addition, their portable All-in-One gives them a solid technology foundation for enabling other new technologies in their practice. They currently are exploring imaging wands that connect to the device to provide fast, 3-D dental images for dental molds. And they’re excited about possibility of adding hands-free gesture controls powered by Intel RealSense Technology sometime in the near future.


Curious how portable All-in-Ones or other Intel-based devices could change how you work? Visit: www.intel.com/businessdesktops

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Cloud For All – Reaching New Heights with Mirantis

Last month, Diane Bryant announced the creation of the Cloud for All Initiative, an effort to drive the creation of 10’s of thousands of new clouds across enterprise and provider data centers and deliver the efficiency and agility of hyperscale to the masses. This initiative took another major step forward today with the announcement of an investment and technology collaboration with Mirantis.  This collaboration extends Intel’s existing engagement with Mirantis with a single goal in mind: delivery of OpenStack fully optimized for the enterprise to spur broad adoption.

 

We hear a lot about OpenStack being ready for the enterprise, and in many cases OpenStack has provided incredible value to clouds running in enterprise data centers today. However, when talking to the IT managers who have led these deployment efforts, a few key topics arise: it’s too complex, its features don’t easily support traditional enterprise applications, and it took some time to optimize for deployment.  While IT organizations have benefitted from the added effort of deployment, the industry can do better.  This is why Intel is working with Mirantis to tune OpenStack for feature optimization, and while this work extends from network infrastructure optimization to storage tuning and beyond, there are a few common themes of the work.

 

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The first focus is on increasing stack resiliency for traditional enterprise application orchestration.  Why is this important?  While enterprises have begun to deploy cloud native applications within their environments, business is still very much run on what we call “traditional” applications, those that were written without the notion that some day they would exist in a cloud.  These traditional applications require increased level of reliability, uptime during rolling software upgrades and maintenance, and control of underlying infrastructure across compute, storage and network.

 

The second focus is on increasing stack performance through full optimization of Intel Architecture. Working closely with Mirantis will ensure that OpenStack will be fully tuned to take advantage of platform telemetry and platform technologies such as Intel VT and Cloud Integrity Technology to deliver improved performance and security capabilities.

 

The final focus is on improving full data center resource pool optimization with improvements targeted specifically at software defined storage and network resource pool integration. We’ll work to ensure that applications have full control of all the resources required while ensuring efficient resource utilization.

 

The fruits of the collaboration will be integrated into Mirantis’ distribution as well as offered as upstream contributions for the benefit of the entire community.  We also expect to utilize the OpenStack Innovation Center recently announced by Intel and Rackspace to test these features at scale to ensure that data centers of any size can benefit from this work.  Our ultimate goal is delivery of a choice of optimized solutions to the marketplace for use by enterprise and providers, and you can expect frequent updates on the progress from the Intel team as we move forward with this collaboration.

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Aspen Institute Communication Conference furthers the discussion on FCC and FTC privacy roles for the internet and ISPs

By John Kincaide, Privacy and Security Policy Attorney at Intel On August 12, 2015 the Aspen Institute held its 30th Annual Conference on Communications Policy. The topic for the conference was the Future of Broadband Competition and the discussions included … Read more >

The post Aspen Institute Communication Conference furthers the discussion on FCC and FTC privacy roles for the internet and ISPs appeared first on Policy@Intel.

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