FarmBot: Open­source precision farming

FarmBot is an open­source and scalable automated precision farming machine and software package designed from the ground up with today’s technologies. The world’s population is growing and is projected to surpass 9 billion inhabitants by 2050. As a result farms must increase production by about 60 percent to meet demand which is stunning since many believe we have reached the limits of traditional farming.
FarmBot

In comparison to desktop digital 3D printers and CNC machines FarmBot extends the idea of X, Y, and Z directions and applies it to plows, seed injectors, water and sensors in order to accurately and efficiently grow plants and soil. I think that I would like to try this out in my own backyard.
Continue reading “FarmBot: Open­source precision farming”

Maker Faire Saturday

littleBitsOur Saturday in Milwaukee included trips across town to maker faire events in both Brookfield and Mayfair. My son enjoyed making littleBits at Brookfield. However no Milwaukee area store held a Raspberry Pi meetup.

I was pleased to see much more products were in place at Brookfield across four spaces on both their first and second floor. Mayfair’s workspaces were on their second floor. Greenfield is a ground floor facility.

Barnes and Noble Maker Faire

This weekend Barnes and Noble is sponsoring nationwide an in-store Maker Faire. The greater Milwaukee area will see Mayfair, Greenfield, and Bayshore stores participating. The Maker Faire event actually starts on Friday. If your children are in school then prep them for all the events on Saturday and Sunday. There is a Raspberry Pi event on Saturday at 2:00pm.
barnes and noble maker faire Invite your children to meet their local leaders of the Maker movement. These are local people like your neighbors changing the way we learn, design, create and build the future. “Makers” are DIYers with a tech twist.

Get ready for a tech-educational expo, your children will see products like 3D printers, drones, robots and programming. YMMV. Barnes and Noble will provide the materials. Let your children dream up and create their own product. The only limit is their imagination.

Introducing the AWS IoT cloud

The emerging IoT developer community received a much anticipated jolt of news when Amazon finally announced new enterprise services dedicated to the AWS IoT cloud launch at their 2015 re:Invent conference.
AWS IoT Cloud PlatformThis new AWS IoT cloud service will permit web based interfaces to manage IoT events from various devices: sensors, wearables, drones, and of course mobile tools and apps around an established AWS ecosystem.

The AWS IoT cloud emerges as Amazon’s long term platform following the SalesForce Thunder platform announced last month. Both vendors look to establish key IoT cloud solutions in the corporate enterprise space. They join Cisco’s IoT, Microsoft’s Azure IoT, Oracle’s Movintracks along side GE’s energy launch of Current IoT. The race is now on to process millions of data events from light bulbs to dishwashers and cars over the MQTT protocol and process those messages in their respective clouds.

Amazon is leveraging 11 services around their IoT Cloud strategy to include existing AWS services: Kinesis, Redshift, S3, SNS, SQS, ML, DynamoDB and Lambda. A key investment to this strategy was the recent acquisition of 2lemetry, a IoT enterprise company tuned for transforming raw data from IoT devices onto their ThingFabric platform.
Continue reading “Introducing the AWS IoT cloud”

Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tim Wu’s second book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires is wonderful examination how American information empires were established and stifled innovation at the same time. This is my second book by Wu following his brilliant Who Controls the Internet.
The Master SwitchWu identifies long business cycles surrounding the birth of information systems. While they begin open over time they were consolidated and driven by the market to become closed.

We displays how they become open again following amazing innovations force a business change in order to survive in the new marketplace.

The Master Switch opens with the birth of the Bell AT&T telephone monopoly. This is a facinating story when held against the garage startups of Apple and Google.

There is an amazing look at how countries and cultures also view information empires differently. The case for Wu is the capitalist, independent market approach to radio vs the UK’s BBC dominated by the royal family.

The Master Switch reveals how four key markets actually hold government infrastructure: telecommunications, banking, energy and transportation. These four and their capitalist owners for generations established control over any citizen’s attempt at challenging their monopolies. The lesson Wu establishes is corporate control by closed technologies. Yet one cannot help but understand they magically protected the country from the devastating affects of revolution leading up to and more importantly the horrific aftermath of World War I that forever removed Paris as the hub for film entertainment.
Continue reading “Latest read: The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires”

Latest read: Too Big to Ignore The Business Case for Big Data

Phil Simon’s book Too BIG to IGNORE: The Business Case for Big Data is another well written primer for Big Data in business. The focus is NOT the programmer’s dilemma of Hadoop vs. NoSQL vs NewSQL. Simon richly documents how Big Data has forever changed business and society.
Too Big to Ignore The Business Case for Big DataThe core message of Too BIG to IGNORE: for the first time we have a very inexpensive ability to data mine a wealth of information. Organizations that tap into this new capability can execute their business more accurately than ever before. However Simon also acknowledges the obvious fact that companies must understand the format of their data while the leadership understands the benefits of pushing big data solutions throughout the organization.

Too BIG to IGNORE begins by telling about the success of MoneyBall by noted author Michael Lewis. Too Big to Ignore reveals how sports franchises exploit data to win on the field and for the worse how Las Vegas casinos have been using A/B testing to pinch every penny out of their best customers. Probably the best but sad example. Similar to the approach by other authors addressing Big Data the focus is on the explosion of data from Google, Facebook, Apple and Netflix as the smartphone and wireless technologies began to change society in ways that drive unstructured data well beyond traditional structured environments.

Simon walks through the history of big data from Web2.0 to Predictive Analytics and touches The Internet of Things. Simon address the tool Hadoop lightly enough as to not scare off any non-database programmer to understand how this free tool is used by Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Apple just to name a few successful highly profiled companies. The growth of Hadoop and the emerging role of Cloudera is addressed in greater detail for the non-technical audience.

Latest Read: Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!

Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast! falls into the must read category for leaders of any organization. Actionable Intelligence is in the Lean model well beyond the vanity metrics that so many leaders have embraced. Lessons on implementing a secure framework comes from lessons including Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Lifetime Brands and the CIA. Yes the CIA.
Actionable Intelligence: A Guide to Delivering Business Results with Big Data Fast!Reading this book I have found tested lessons by Keith B. Carter regarding the lack of Actionable Intelligence in many organizations. The start always seems to be the lack of organized data and determining which is the most pressing to actually use in order to be successful in a fast changing world.

Maybe his most powerful work revolves around how executives at any company (or university) even question the value of actionable intelligence regardless of the tools already in place. Too many silo examples reinventing the wheel while overlooking the need to understand their own data reporting methods.

Sustaining delivery of actionable intelligence by the evolution from Dashboards to Cockpits. IMHO to many university leaders are just beginning to understand the Dashboard and their tools miss the Cockpit opportunities.

Business lessons alone describe how to mine actionable intelligence prove the validity of this book. Lessons from Estee Lauder include how the company was able to leverage secure data reporting in order to adjust following the powerful Japanese earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. And in some ways Carter points to a crisis in order for executives to embrace actionable intelligence:

People do not trust data, they trust other people and their opinion of the data. So when the data owners, the people who input the data and/or use it, raise their hands and say, “This data is good; I trust it,” that will make it more likely for other people in the organization to believe it. It also means that it’s clear. It’s not just that they trust it from the point that 1 + 1 = 2. It is also clear how the data has to be used, and the definition of the data is clear.

Carter helps breakdown the old data principle “People don’t trust data – they trust other people.” Its true. Estee Lauder’s use of actionable intelligence is such that every organization should be striving towards in order to stay competitive.

Latest read: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems

Every company and school needs to add Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems to their mandatory reading list.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsVajay Vaitheeswaran really understands the need for innovation, change and embracing new ideas in order for America to survive and thrive into the future.

This is especially true for those in aging markets like the auto industry and higher education.

Need, Speed, and Greed is divided into three sections: Why Innovation Matters, Where Innovation is Going, and How to win in the Age of Disruptive Innovation.

This is cover-to-cover reading for everyone. I really looked deeper at the closing chapter Can Dinosaurs Dance. While applied to the American auto industry, think about the strides made by Elon Musk and Google, the application of dramatic change fits quite nicely into many universities around the country.
Continue reading “Latest read: Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems”

Need, Speed, and Greed Preview

Just started reading Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems.
Need, Speed, and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness, and Tame the World's Most Wicked ProblemsMust say its another refreshing look at how we must innovate in today’s global world. Written by Vajay Vaitheeswaran of The Economist, it is providing so far excellent lessons for any company, non-profit, innovation center or educational organization.

Addressing global health and education is just the beginning. Need, Speed, and Greed is laying out how companies must adjust (via lessons from IBM, Google and P&G) or watch the world run you over and out of business.

The one thing Need, Speed, and Greed is making very clear: we are now able to collaborate in a global view with advanced technologies and new open business thinking to solve complex problems around the globe.

This is shaping up to be the kind of book every school kid in America should be reading.