AI Social and Contextual UC #423 – 5 Levels of Meeting AI – AIQ Awards Announced

 (c) AI Forum & Unified Communications

 TeamsUserForum.com 
November 10 – 2017 – Issue #423

AI Forum – Exploring the Wild World of Artificial Intelligence and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.
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AI User Forum Seeking Nominations for AIQ Awards
 
While this concept is in the early development stages, we are seeking submissions and nominations for the AIQ Awards.  These awards will be issued periodically based on merit, scholarship, research, innovation, theory and practice.  The intent is to foster research but also viable AI applications.  While the term AI has been around since the 1930s and expanded into indepth discussion by Alan Turing and his colleagues and others, the Imitation Game or Turing Test was considered the benchmark for determining whether something was artificial or human.
Today, everyone uses the term AI in everything from toasters to clothes like it was a panacea.  Personally I have worked on AI since the mid-1980s and find there is a lot of hype but not a lot of real results.  Yes there is a lot of research and development with many so-called AI products but they aren’t really intelligent at all.  Much of AI is in the form of machine learning where machines gather vast amounts of data and use some mathematical formulas to determine results.  This is not AI just more hype.  In addition, I prefer the term machine intelligence rather than artificial as machines are powered by electricity and yes humans are as well, the source of that power comes from organic systems rather than batteries or external power sources.  From decades of research and analysis there are, in my humble opinion, three forms of machine systems that would be considered as critical to any AIQ test.  They are vertical, lateral (horizontal) and oblique.
Vertical Intelligence is in simple terms making not one kind of soup but all kinds of soup.  Creating different kinds of soup is actually much harder than you think.  That is, one soup manufacturer tried applying the AI skills they used in making tomato soup to vegetable soup and they just didn’t work.  Now reports on their findings are somewhat vague but humans have very complex tasting skills or rather smelling skills.  These human senses alter in ways that may not be important to the machine but are important to any chef.  The concept of vertical AIQ is to take one simple concept and apply that intelligence to other “things” in that area of study.  You can apply Vertical IQ to essentially all things in one area.  Making better tires, windows, food products and the like are really important and where AI skills and solutions are needed.
Lateral Intelligence
is where one set of skills can be applied to other thinks.  This is where AI gets complicated really fast.  As humans we can get off our bikes and drive a car without even thinking about it.  However, the skills for each are completely different from a machine perspective.  Driving is different, speed is different, road rules are different, safety and so on are all really different.  Yet they are both forms of transportation.  We don’t think that flying in airplanes or trains as very different but they require forms of AI that are completely different.  This is where the enormity of AI development would really struggle to achieve any viable results.  Yet we need to have transportation AI that addresses these issues and much more at the same time to be useful.  For example, there is a major effort in self-driving vehicles.  Yet, how much of that research is about the vehicle and how much is the interface with a smart highway, traffic lights, weather, traffic conditions 10 miles ahead and more.  Lateral intelligence like lateral search or thinking is complex I may like murder mystery movies but does that mean I am interested in doing one.  My view on Lateral IQ intelligence is demonstrating relationships between one system and another though related system to solve a different problem or others.
Oblique Intelligence
is different.  Each form whether vertical, lateral or oblique offers unique challenges to the developer and benefits to society.  Oblique is somewhat in between vertical and lateral.  It combines concepts used by both but brings new solutions.  Few would argue that voice recognition is here but often the system really doesn’t understand even the many different dialects of English that we find here.  However, it is getting better but really doubt that listening to millions of words spoken every day you really understand what people really mean because ost people don’t say what they really mean ever.  This makes this type of intelligence “oblique” in the way it will emerge.  Telling a joke, evoking emotion, inspiring leadership are forms that humans don’t really understand all that well but provide real humanity.  Creating a machine to do that would be even more complex yet as they are important to humans as the food they eat.  As humans we seek and do all kinds of things that make no sense but are useful to enriching our lives as humans.
Bottom-line
– the AIQ Awards like with many human issues is “a hope not a cure” with an effort to find common ground to issues, achieve useful results and improve humanity.  We look forward to any comments including good “thought leadership” not just product hype though you can submit your product for consideration.  We also realize that products will improve over time and therefore the AIQ can increase as well.
You can submit your product at anytime and it will be reviewed as time permits.  Evan Kirstel leading AI Influencer has been named Chairman of the AIQ Awards.  We are seeking other members to the review committee, however not just university researchers but real-world practitioners to evaluate and provide guidance.

Five Levels of Meeting AI by Rowan Trollope

One never wants to take credit for another person’s work. I hope Rowan won’t mind me praising his efforts in dealing with another nuance of meetings that needs a lot of work.  Here is what he said.  Click on the image for more.
Level 1: Command and Control
At first, we will get meeting bots that remind us of the command-and-control bots we’re using already, We’ll be able to tell a bot, “Join the meeting,” and it will do the setup for us, so we don’t have to push buttons.
These meeting bots will have with limited vocabulary, limited awareness of context, and will have to be explicitly activated. They will make meetings less painful to join, by simplifying the mechanical procedures we all hate, like dialing complex conferencing numbers.
Level 2: Natural-Language Understanding
Moving beyond basic voice recognition, we’ll start to see bots that understand context and are aware of the state of a meeting they’re in. We’ll be able to say, “Remind Sam to send this presentation to the team.”
On-demand Level 2 meeting bots will be able to make basic linguistic connections, keep track of what’s happening in a meeting (who’s in a meeting, which file is being displayed), and will be able to operate more of the minutiae of work interactions.
Level 3: Semantic Understanding with Domain Expertise
A this level, a meeting bot will be able to say to you, “I have analyzed your meeting and here is a summary of the key points.” This level of meeting bot will listen to meetings and will be able to discern the topics discussed. The chatbot might help you remember key points raised in a meeting.
These bots will extract word clouds and possibly sentiment analysis from meeting recordings to construct summaries of what transpired. For more accuracy, they’ll be able to incorporate company- and domain-specific knowledge bases, like FAQs and jargon dictionaries, in their analysis. A Level 3 bot will go beyond operational convenience; it will help people work towards their goals by doing some of the cognitive processing of meeting content.
While there are already semi-reliable post-meeting support tools that summarize topics and sentiment, I believe that we’re five years away from being able to build Level 3 bots reliable enough to start shipping in products. Analyzing human intent from human speech is vastly more complex than converting speech into text (which machines can do now), and it’s beyond today’s natural-language technologies. But we are moving in this direction.
Level 4: Intelligent and Proactive Team Member
At this level, bots are accurate enough in their understanding of human intent that they will be given permission to interject into a meeting in real-time: “Since you are wondering about projections for your market in three years, here is Gartner’s latest report on that.”
Also at this level, AI may also understand nonverbal interpersonal communication. If you look at someone in a meeting and say, “So you’ll follow up?” the bot will understand who you’re talking to, what you’re talking about, and whether or not the person agreed to follow up. It will be able to work with people after a meeting, helping them keep their promises.
Level 4 meeting bots will help teams succeed by keeping people on track after a meeting ends.  The full extension of a Level 4 meeting AI is one that can sense and understand the full range of human communication, the majority of which is non-verbal. How AI will use human communication that may be at odds with what people actually say, though, will be an interesting challenge for developers.
Level 5: Team and Strategic Intelligence
Level 4 bots will help individual teams succeed, but Level 5 bots will tie separate teams together. At this utopian (or dystopian, depending on your perspective) level, “The meeting intelligence is not just in one meeting, it’s in every meeting,” according to Andy Payne, Senior Director of Cisco Emerge, one of our research arms.
This level of bot is aware of overlapping meeting topics, workers’ individual skillsets, and the projects that people are working on across the company, based on data gleaned not just from content of meetings, but also from social network analysis that includes chat and email data mining. A Level 5 bot might be aware of over-arching company goals, and could suggest team members for projects, and make introductions between people based on goals, project needs, and personal compatibility.
Bottom-line – While I don’t agree with what he calls AI, I do like what he is trying to do with this approach.  Hopefully, actionable efforts will result from this very complex research.

In working with more than a dozen companies over the past two decades many struggled with designing and building a corporate university for both internal and external students.  Among the many factors limiting the implementation of such corporate educational programs is that many had people who knew public or even traditional university programs often lacked the skills for a corporate university.
First, they had very limited knowledge of what channel partners need much less the ability to design and deliver courses these partners would attend.
Second, they focused the learning on what the company knew not what the prospective and potential partners needed to manage complex projects.
Third, they delivered the programs via means that the did not meet partners learning situations.  In other words, they build traditional education delivery rather than smartphone and virtual training delivery.  Here is the culmination of all the work but importantly, this is just one approach, there are also many others.
Here is just some of the research completed:
  • Research into more than a 10 strategic plans for corporate universities and others
  • Reviewed corporate and mobile websites and systems such as smartphone apps
  • Reviewed industry standards associations and certifications
  • Interviewed potential channel partners
  • Completed more than 100 hours in research, development and preparation of this presentation
Here is the phased approach required to build a corporate university
  • Phase 1 – Assessment Research
  • Phase 2 – Design
  • Phase 3 – Development
  • Phase 4 – Delivery
  • Phase 5 – Global Implementation
  • Phase 6 – Future Directions
Here are the details for each phase:
Phase 1 – Assessment – Overview
In this phase, exploratory research needs to be completed to determine what is really needed including a “gap” analysis.
  • Based on management direction
  • Conduct 5-10 personal indepth interviews with current and prospective channel partners and determine, among other things:
    • What do they know now
    • What they like and why
    • What they don’t know and what areas they need help on or are confused by
    • What they would like to know on any topic (like internet, wireless, network services, technology and other topics)
    • Other topics business, technology and management
  • Corporate staff
  • Channel existing and potential partners/developers
  • Customers, industry experts and others
  • Research industry “best practices”
  • Research/gather competitive analysis
  • Review and integrate with Corporate values and strategic goals-values
  • Review existing knowledge sources
  • Develop budget
  • Write report
  • Present findings to leadership
Phase 2 – Design
There may or may not be enough to begin program design, however, with any agile process, beginning now get results faster.
  • Based on guidance from Phase 1
  • Design certification curriculum plan for:
    • Corporate staff & leadership
    • Channel partners including suppliers
    • Customers
  • Evaluate metrics, cost and ROI
  • Review options with:
  • LCMS-Learning Content Management System
  • TMS-Talent Management System
  • Evaluate industry standards and directions
  • Integrate and align with Corporate Corporate “Core Values” and strategic goals
  • Develop current year budget for development, delivery, etc.
  • Time and if desired, design five-year plan
  • Present “Best Practices” for current year and five-year plan to leadership
Phase 3 – Development
In building more than 100 courses including many on agile development, development always takes longer than you think.
  • Based on inputs/outputs from Design Phase 2
  • Evaluate
  • Insource
  • Outsource
  • Packaged off-the-shelf source
  • Build learning matrix of delivery options – video – live and via tele/presence, web, mobile, instructor-led, virtual, hands-on, simulation, expert system, other
  • Integrated with internal business processes and consider ISO9003
  • Determine external governance, regulatory and compliance requirements
  • Evaluate timelines and constraints
  • Formalize plan update budget for Delivery
  • Present to leadership and socialize
Phase 3A – Development of Online Courses/Certification
In a rapidly changing marketplace, few can attend onsite much even live virtual classes.  This really means start with online first and then build backwards.
  • Online Certification
  • Each Level with added incentives
  • Online Tutorials
  • Online Webinars
  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Solutions-Applications
  • Portals
  • “Best Practices”
  • Online Sales Solutions
  • Online Customer Case Studies
  • Weekly Newsletter – Blog-Twitter-FB-LinkedIn
  • Online white papers
  • Build mobile access to content
  • Connect with onsite training for group classes
  • Build glossary/FAQs
Here is an example of a completed curriculum:
Phase 4 – Delivery
The adage few ever want to go to training.  Pilot and pilot again until they can’t get enough.
  • After course content is developed, an initial pilot of each course is delivered and evaluated
  • Courses are monitored (in-class and by evaluation form) and reviewed on:
  • Evaluate user acceptance
  • Integration with business processes
  • ROI-Return On Investment
  • Metrics including budget
  • Other issues
  • Incorporate input, changes and recommendations
  • Schedule for further delivery
Phase 5 – Global Implementation
From the start look at where you are going and be ready for multi-national and multi-language deployments.
  • Plan national/global pilot
  • After pilot, evaluation of training on users is completed based on performance, integration, business process and other issues
  • If approved, then build delivery master schedule along with:
  • Monitoring and evaluation techniques
  • ROI, metrics, user acceptance
  • Review and present findings to leadership
Phase 6 – Future Directions
Always be looking five-years or further ahead as that is what the company product team should be working on.  Indeed, technology always changes faster than we predict though customer acceptance lacks almost as much.  That is not to say they are not ready for or wanting your solutions.  However, they are often working on other ideas they also want and corporate budget cycles generally are 2-3 behind any rollout.  In addition, global deployment is generally 1-2 years behind as well.
  • Prior to and part of course evaluation is the ongoing development of a long-range strategic plan which would include:
  • Integration with current and future business processes
  • Leadership and business strategy
  • Review of emerging learning techniques including modeling, e-learning and simulation to augment existing training methods and enhance the training experience
  • Optimize potential for personal learning development and long-term career path options
  • Continuous evaluation of ROI, metrics, user needs and direction from leadership
  • Maintenance of long-range strategic plan
  • Review and present to leadership

Conclusion

Educational pedagogy is a complex and ever-changing process.  I use a quote from Winston Churchill to reflect what most students agree with.  He said, “I am always ready to learn, though don’t always like being taught.”
Click on any image for complete presentation.

Google Fake News – AI Video Conferencing

There is so much fake #AI news it begs the question – what is real or not #AI ?Engadget wrote, “Google’s new Hangouts Meet kit essentially packages the ASUS Chromebox hub, a 4K-sensor camera (with added AI wizardry), a mic and a touchscreen display.”  Yet there was no explanation of what this “AI wizardry” was.  Seriously when will all this stop.

Bottom-line – What they should be doing is merge their room tech with what they are doing with Google Maps which is frankly very exciting.  In all the smashup of technology there is a lot of AI that can be used in a room or huddle video conferencing system.

The Importance of SS7 to SIP Interoperability

The really sad part of the Bell System was its insistence on a closed architecture.  Now that approach would certainly be appreciated in today’s totally cyberhacked world where there is nothing that won’t be hacked for any kind of reason.  SS7 is an elegant and sophisticated protocol which allows you to go anywhere in the world and still have an incredible array of cloud services available to you.  However, our world suffers because we think we need an open interconnection of networks (internet) would solve all our problems.  Alas, it hasn’t and may eventually implode due to the weight of security issues. Building a bridge between these two worlds is also a challenge in that there are other systems such as WhatsApp and many others including my own chat systems that provide many new features not found in traditional UC message.  Toward that end of building a bridge, Jim Machi of Dialogic wrote a really great paper on SS7/SIP integration.  The paper is good because it is not just sales literature but a good discussion of SS7 and SIP technologies.
According to Dialogic, “SS7 is well defined and SIP has solidified around a core set of requirements. In fact, the original definition of SS7-to-SIP interworking from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), RFC 3398, still applies today. RFC 3398 identifies how SS7-to-SIP interworking should be implemented, by mapping ISUP messages to SIP messages.
When mapping an SS7-based call to a SIP endpoint, much of the original ISUP signaling information is lost in the process, but this is more a reflection of the limitation of SIP headers than a limitation in RFC 3398 itself. In the case of SIP-originated calls to an SS7-based endpoint, RFC 3398 also addresses how SIP Invites should be mapped to an ISUP set-up message, known as an Initial Address Message (IAM).”  If you really know about how SIP and SS7 work together you will find this a great analysis.
Bottom-line – Making SIP more viable requires SS7 integration which actually leads to great UC app solutions.

HoloLens New HeadsUp Displays

Really exciting improvements in HoloLens devices though many still too large for practical use.  They say, “Set-up and get started in 10 minutes. Inside-out tracking is built right into each headset – no external set-up required. Experience new worlds at home or anywhere you want. Wherever your devices go, Windows Mixed Reality follows.” I would have built a “glasses” size version along with these industrial size versions.
Bottom-line – Visualizing anything makes management better especially seeing and sharing with others.  That is, collaboration is the key to Hololens success not just gaming.

Tech Team Board – Skype for Business Integration

I saw this board approach while doing research into MS Teams.  According to KanBo (click on image for website), “it provides deep and powerful functionality but with a user experience that is beautiful in its simplicity. You and your team enjoy a host of features and each member can learn to use the KanBo way of working quickly. The KanBo Board consist of Lists where you create cards that will be moved from list to list when tasks are processed. Lists are used to create and monitor (task) workflows but can also be used as containers to store ideas and information within a context.”
Content, context and conversations in one place. Whether you’re completing a project or closing a sales lead – getting everything related to the job on one page, instantly makes collaboration easier. Attach files, view the status and add comments – everything’s updated in real time. Use activity streams to work out loud, follow only these contexts you are interested in, use file-sharing and tasks to collaborate across your business. Ultimately watch this real-time in-context-communication make email a thing of the past.  Whenever a user is displayed in KanBo you can see his/her presence information (Available, In a meeting, Away, etc. ) based on his Skype for Business status. Of course you are able to start a private chat or a video-call right from the KanBo card. You can even see when this person is available based on his Outlook calendar.
Bottom-line – Visualizing anything makes management better especially project management which has suffered for so long with MS Project – nice idea bad execution.  Adoption is another matter.

Smart Soldiers – Smart Sales Things

In my never-ending battle for less BS about AI and more real understanding of the sales process.  I smashed these two articles together to show how little we know about smart soldiers and smart sales.  First, Benioff the lord of SalesForce says this in an article (click on image for article but do not waste time reading it – it’s far too long and too full of annoying popup ads), From Fortune magazine, “Similarly, Benioff explains the company’s move into artificial intelligence as his realization that “a lot was happening in A.I. But I also realized it wasn’t clear what Salesforce’s role in A.I. was. That’s when we started acquiring quite a few artificial intelligence companies, maybe a dozen.” That’s also when, according to Benioff, the owner of the website Einstein.com contacted him out of the blue and offered to sell it. To Benioff, it was a sign. “Right then I’ll always say to myself, ‘Why is somebody doing that?’ And then I’ll have an intuitive response, This could be our AI brand.” Today, Einstein is the Salesforce-branded product that’s integrating machine learning and other A.I.-related technologies into the rest of the company’s offerings.”  Clearly, he as they say is “grasping for straws” in any attempt to show investors that SalesForce is more than a simple CRM.
If Benioff was less on promoting SalesForce and more on AI he would be looking at what DARPA is going.  Before being vocalized, speech exists as word-specific neural signals in the mind. Darpa wants to develop technology that would detect these signals of “pre-speech,” analyze them, and then transmit the statement to an intended interlocutor. Darpa plans to use EEG to read the brain waves. It’s a technique they’re also testing in a project to devise mind-reading binoculars that alert soldiers to threats faster the conscious mind can process them.  The project has three major goals, according to Darpa. Click on image of the soldier for complete article.  First, try to map a person’s EEG patterns to his or her individual words. Second, see if those patterns are generalizable – if everyone has similar patterns. Third, “construct a fieldable pre-prototype that would decode the signal and transmit over a limited range.”  Sadly, the soldiers killed recently in Niger were told that there was “no hostiles expected.”
The same applies in sales — you will never know who is the real-decision-maker and the real enemy.
Bottom-line – What we really need is not more machine learning but an entirely new approach to ergonomics (human-machine interface) in designing and using knowledge. A flexible approach to understanding the needs and desires of the changing user is demanded. Software must be able to learn and adapt to the user, rather than the user learn and adapt to vague, uncertain, and complex command key sequences.  In sales and soldiering knowing that the person facing you is not the real decision-maker or the real enemy as many others are likely involved in your “death of a salesman” or soldier.

TECHtionary Named Finalist IQ Awards HashNewGrams

HashNewsGram

By TECHtionary.com

Click on IQ image for details.

This free app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.
Approved today is version 2.8 of HashNewsGrams which further expands features with a Twitter post Library and Log. You can post and save all Twitter posts to the Library each time you post. You can either Tweet or Tweet and Save each posts. Then you can easily repost each Twitter post or edit and then post them.
 The real key to HashNewsgrams is the multi-media features which allow you to post an essentially unlimited amount of text far beyond the 140 or 280 characters now available. You can add up to 4 images as you can with Twitter but also add a video, a custom free hand drawing, audio recording or Acticon(tm) which are “action-icons” to add emphasis to your Twitter posts. Background – Never get stuck at 140 or 280 or … characters again! HashNewsGram 2.5 breaks the Twitter 140 or 280 character limitation barrier. You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings including pre-recorded music and audio from the HashNewsGram library, created freehand paintings or drawings using the drawing features and library, multimedia images called Acticons-Action Icons. #HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed. HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, BaseballFansClub, RewardsVIPClub, and others from TECHtionary.

Microsoft Teams Gluon Neural Net with Amazon 

Another deep learning attempt between two major “competitors” was revealed.  Notwithstanding yet another developers “honey pot” for pseudo AI, you wonder who is really going to provide the “deep learning” between Amazon and Microsoft.

 From GeekWire, comes this “Deep learning involves training a computer to recognize patterns or unlock insights based on a set of rules for parsing a massive pool of data. As you might expect, this is an extremely complicated and time-consuming process that requires a fair amount of skill. Cloud companies offer ways to speed up the process, but a fair amount of skill is required to get meaningful results.”  Click on the image for complete article.

It is hard to say that they are using the same platform Gluon to work together or what they are telling each other the goal will be.  I would have been more excited if there was a more specific goal focused on an vertical issue or use case or global issue.  Here are a few thoughts on what they should be done such as focus on reasoning.

Reasoning, in essence, discourages openness, surprise, or ambiguity. It is a process, mental or mechanical, that works through a series of pieces of evidence to new data until the problem is solved. In certain circumstances, reasoning is a process set against time: All answers are known; it is just that time eludes them. Reasoning is also a natural language issue because language is often the means on which the evidence is built. In the field of learning languages, the building process is often a history of ideas gathered together into stories. These stories are told in order to pass on information or reasoning processes. In stories, as in reasoning processes, clues are included or omitted to frustrate the process.

Neural Networks
From the press release, click on image, “With the Gluon interface, developers can build machine learning models using a simple Python API and a range of pre-built, optimized neural networkcomponents. This makes it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks using simple, concise code, without sacrificing performance. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon’s reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface.”   This is a lot of techno-babble saying they have no idea what they are doing or predict any results, if any.
What a Neural Network
The term neural networks, as proliferated by AI researchers, explains how the networks of the brain work together to allow thinking to take place. Examinations of people with low intelligence versus those with high intelligence do not biologically demonstrate any clear neurological distinction. Perhaps at some point, intelligence in humans might effectively be understood, and the development of machine intelligence might be a requirement for this understanding. The development of machine-based neural networks might also give rise to a greater understanding of human thinking processes.
To simplify the process look at the Figure which shows the following a library of books with hyperlinks or crosspoint between ideas, text, images and other content.
First, a cross/point (intersection point) is composed of different types of information, including text, graphics, or data.
Second, each grid of different types of information can be changed as necessary. Additions, deletions, and modifications can be easily incorporated into the cross/point grid.
Third, each grid of information can be expanded “to the nth degree.” The structure of the cross/point is n-dimensional. Its boundaries can be expanded.
Fourth, a cross/point idea network allows for n-dimensional linking by connecting any number of nodes together at any point, top-bottom and/or side-to-side.
Fifth, a cross/point can be represented in a simple expression.
Structurally, administration can be viewed as a configuration of thought patterns that relate individuals and collectives of varying sizes, shapes, and degrees of understanding, cohesion, and stability. Dynamically, administration appears as a patterned swirl and flow of ideas. Many of them channel through transactional circuits between persons and persons, persons and groups, and groups and other groups. For our purposes, communication patterns and flows are particularly important. Patterns relate communication to organization, and flow relates communication to decision-making. Thus, the concepts networking, thought processing, and decision making are inexorably interwoven.
In other words, this it is the same image from three different angles just like the way three different people would look at the same problem each from their own perspective.
Bottom-line – Really don’t expect anything because in reality, Amazon and Microsoft both want world domination.  However, neural networks do offer the means to bridge the man-machine interface, however, more “code” won’t help you solve what you want for lunch.

Not a Headset but an AI Personal Assistant 

In case you think Apple is asleep at the enterprise wheel, here is an exciting solution for any desktop phone, contact center agent, mobile/car route sales person or even factory floor.  Check out these specs to impress anyone –

Beats Solo3 Wireless delivers up to 40 hours of battery life driven by the efficiency of the Apple W1 chip. Or, with Fast Fuel, a quick 5-minute charge provides 3 hours of playback to quickly get you back on track. Integrated on-ear controls, coupled with dual beam-forming mics, allow you to take calls, play music, adjust volume and activate Siri while on the go.  Click on image for more.
In other words, you can integrate voice recognition into your voice conversation and then even add an app for that to listen and guide agents or sales or even the CEO in their conversation. Also, reports from users also said it has good noise cancellation. And, at $299 quite a bargain.
Bottom-line – Deskphones only have one ear speaker, Beats has two speakers, people have two ears, you can decide which one is better.

Google Carpet Bombs AI – American Fear AI

Google, Amazon, Apple and others are all “carpet bombing” their funny little boxes in order to capture customer mind share.  This is a long video but the first few minutes will give you a good idea of what is really going on.

If you need more ammo on what Americans really think there is a new Pew Research report that says “Americans are rather worried that computer (AI) algorithms will replace humans in choosing job candidates-even though researchers have shown clearly that algorithms do a better job than humans at choosing job candidates.  Americans fear losing control if they’re forced to ride in autonomous vehicles. These same Americans fly in airplanes every day that largely are flown by computers, and impressively efficient ones at that.

Fretful respondents are unsurprisingly willing to engage in cognitive dissonance about coming automation. While 77% of Americans think robots will take over many jobs in coming decades, just 30% think robots will replace their jobs. That reminds me off all the old surveys about Americans thinking Congress was filled with a bunch of bums-but not their representatives.”
Bottom-line – Yes AI will replace many things, even more things you can’t understand or don’t need but AI is just another machine and machines break, get hacked, solve old problems not new ones and can’t really think about solving complex problems.

Top of Mind Keeps You First in Line 

This is a webinar presentation available for sales teams at a nominal fee.
Key points are:
1 – Know Thy Customer
2 – Be the Thought Leader
3 – Create Calls-To-Action often
4 – Decide Marketing Methods
5 – Build a Calendar & Commit
Are you really in the line at all or just think you are?
Click on image for the complete presentation and contact Tom Cross at cross@gocross.com for details and scheduling.

From UC to IC – Intelligent Communications

This is from MS Office 365 blog “customers can take advantage of the capabilities in Microsoft Teams starting today. We are committed to providing visibility into the Teams product roadmap, so our customers can assess when Teams is right for them. We intend to make an updated roadmap for Teams available in October.  Click on the image for the complete article.
We plan to continue to offer and support Skype for Business in Office 365 and Skype for Business Server on-premises. For customers who are not yet ready to move their PBX and advanced calling capabilities to the cloud, we will release a new version of Skype for Business Server targeted for the second half of calendar year 2018.”
 
Nice doubletalk – buy what we want you to buy today or wait until late 2018 or never.

Via The Street Microsoft Just Made a Slew of Announcements — Here Are the 5 Most Important

If you don’t know about The Street, well it’s time you did because this may be the most important news service for the financial industry and CEO/CFO. So read what they read and here’s what they said about Microsoft’s announcements at Ignite.  Click on the image for the rest and signup for their newsletters.

As I don’t want to steal The Street’s thunder but wanted to focus on UC.  At least Skype made the Top-5 as #4. “Microsoft Teams might be replacing Skype for Business. Microsoft’s workplace chat app and Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, is being integrated into Office 365. Teams will replace the Skype for Business plugin in Office 365, which marks a major transition for Microsoft, since Skype has been its flagship messaging app for a long time.

The company did say that it intends to release an updated Skype infrastructure next year that will be targeted to companies that aren’t using the cloud and have on-premises data centers.”
But if you read other stories and watch presentations which I did a lot of them, there is a huge gap in what is being said and what will likely happen.  Why because MS really doesn’t understand the UC business and buying Skype did not help.  If you remember Response Point their very cool but ill-fated answer to the SMB, they jump around like a hot potato without a single strategy much less one that fits with customers and the marketplace.  Hence the growth in Broadsoft, 8×8, RingCentral and many others such as Comcast.  Last count there were more than 500 (no typo) VoIP providers and an amazing list of international players who given high speed internet you can have your server in Antarctica and provide service to remote Kansas.  Clearly MS is looking through their telescopes at Slack worried more about that that the hundreds of VoIP players.
Bottom-line – For a decade, Microsoft throws darts at the UC dartboard hoping something will stick. Now this, they keep tossing the salad frankly making a mess of it causing no end of hair-pulling by partners. Sadly, few other players are left to pick up the slack (no pun intended).  But wait the Cisco UC system works, works well and from the customers I have spoken with they love it.

First Multi-Media Calendar Planner App for iPhone & iPad Approved

SleepTracsPro 3.4 is approved for iPhone and iPad.  Among the many benefits is an exciting new multi-media planner.  While planner and calendar apps abound, we added features that are not found in others.  We also will be adding even more features that in addition to support for iOS 11, here are the key features in SleepTracsPro 3.4 NOTE: due to Apple removing AppStore from iTunes you are now forced to get your apps from the AppStore app on your iPhone or App – it wasn’t our idea.
– Sleep Scheduling,
– Snooze Nap features,
– Snap Alert
– Actical – action calendar
– ZoomLite
– Dream Diary journal/log,

NEW – Multi-media Planner with multi-colored text, pics, videos, drawings, audio messages and acticons for iPhone and iPad.

Please visit http://sleeptracs.com/ for tips, applications and ideas.

Key features of SleepTracsPro are:

– Actical – Action calendar with Acticons-action icons and first calendar with drawings. Add drawings and images to your calendar to improve tracking and performance.

– Snooze – The Snooze feature is designed to let you get your “power nap” or “cat nap” anytime; you can select your snooze time and a wakeup vibration or tone/tune or your own voice or that of a friend or child.

– Snap – feature is a new feature not found in any sleep app we have found so far. Snap is really a “snap out of it” feature that you put in your shirt pocket and when no motion or limited motions are detected, it gives you a vibration or tune/tone. Designed to help you overcome falling asleep in class or on the job, it should not be used while driving.

Sleep – feature offers you a scheduling tool You can select your sleep time and a wakeup vibration or tone/tune or your own voice or that of a friend or child.

Weather – current weather is displayed when user awakes.

ZoomLite is an exciting weather center, camera, large format clock and 3-level magnifying flashlight app. You are able to see weather, large font clock, take a picture and easily read labels, meds bottles, check meds, cuts/sores, household issues and other fine print articles and other hard to read documents or any other reason to see something closeup with 3-step magnifying flashlight.

Dream Diary journal has unlimited notepads with multi-color drawing features, text notes, audio recording, backgrounds with pictures from camera or gallery and sharing features for email, social sites, gallery and other ways.

Planner – everyone needs to get organized and nothing is better than having it all in the same place. The new version 3.4 in the first to include all forms of multi-media including multi-colored text (you can choose what color text you like to indicate priorities or other personal notations), you can include pictures and videos from either camera or gallery, you can add freehand drawings, audio recordings like “Get organized” and our own proprietary Acticons™ which are “action icons and emojis” to emphasize an event or activity.

Independent Reviews

“Sleep apnea is a serious health issue and solutions are scarce often making sleep worse than better. SleepTracsPro journal/diary is a significant help where I can take pics, even videos and including detailed notes where I can track diet, temp, weather and other factors which I know impact sleep. I strongly recommend SleepTracsPro for any one with sleep apnea or just wants to better understand their sleep habits and patterns.” R.S. – Atlanta

“SleepTracsPro gives me great insights on my sleep habits as I am able to use the Dream Diary to write notes, even make drawings of my dreams as well as share them with others. SleepTracsPro is a must-have for any one struggling with all the challenges of getting better sleep.” S.C. – Seattle

SleepTracsPro is one of the many apps such as SleepTracs, ZoomLite, Baseball Fans Club, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, HashNewsGram and many others from TECHtionary.com.

Wireless Charging Vase – No Flowers !
 
“Wireless charging as a concept has been around since Nikola Tesla, a Croatian inventor, first suggested in the 19th century that you could transfer power between two objects via an electromagnetic field.”  Soon wireless charging will be available in almost any concept — who knows what happens to your brain with all that electronic magnetism in the air.

 

Personal Speakerphone
 
One of the many things I really don’t like is webinar speakers using a speakerphone.  They really don’t care how much room echo there is and sounds like they are speaking in a warehouse.  Polycom may have a solution for this with a personal speakerphone.  While no speakerphone can eliminate room echo, road noise, HVAC noise and other noises, this may help.
  • Polycom HD Voice and industry-leading full duplex, echo cancellation
  • Polycom NoiseBlock technology automatically eliminates non-speech background noise
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • 4 microphones and 10-foot (3-meters) microphone range – 2 to 3 times more coverage than most personal speakerphones
  • Rugged and stylish cast aluminum case – won’t break like plastic speakerphones if dropped
  • Spill resistant – IP64 dust and water-resistance rated
  • Security cable included for fixed meeting room and huddle room deployments

It is waterproof too, rather coffee proof.

I asked for pricing and they said it will be released in 4Q.

 

Turing Test 
Summer is often a good time to catch up on great reading  and while we are really too busy to read, reading on your iPhone is really great even at the DMV which I did yesterday.  Both books on Turing are great but the Copeland book is even better.  You really realize that many of you who are reading this would not be here at all except for what Alan and his colleagues.  Why you ask.  If they hadn’t broken then Enigma and other codes, WWII would have taken much longer costing millions of lives including my dad and his brothers who were all in Europe.  Anyway, great insights on computing, AI and the future even though he died 73 years ago.  Click on image for either book and see if you could pass your own Turing Test.

Interview with Evan Kirstel #1 UCaas Influencer
Here is an interview with Onalytica click on images for complete interview.
As a long-time expert and thought leader in the Cloud, Security, IoT, Big Data, AI and other technologies, I’ve been following their emergence in the health landscape with great interest. I believe we are on the cusp of an unprecedented convergence of technologies, one that could bring about sustained disruption and allow us to solve the most pressing issues in healthcare.
I was also drawn to the incredible energy of the health tech community here in Boston. Home to several premier teaching hospitals and prestigious universities, there is a vibrant community of health tech innovators here, as well as a natural test-bed to pilot these innovations in real healthcare settings.  Be it physician entrepreneurs, hospital leaders rethinking the entire patient care system, digital health startups and accelerators, public-private partnerships, or empowered patients and their vocal advocates, Boston is home to a world-class health tech innovation ecosystem and a growing digital healthcare industry.
I wanted to bring my technical expertise, industry experience, and social business know-how to help accelerate the growth of the digital health economy. To achieve this, I recently partnered with health tech innovation catalyst, patient experience expert, and former Google technology manager Irma Rastegayeva to form eViRa #HealthTech Strategies. Boston-based and globally-connected B2B experts, we are a trusted social media partner to clients across the health tech landscape. Whether it’s enabling startups to get discovered and introduced to potential partners and investors, guiding companies to expand their thought leadership, or helping clients to grow massive online audience and deepen user engagement, we are here to serve the health tech community.
WHAT AREAS OF HEALTH TECH ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
  • AI, Cognitive Computing, Big Data, IoT and predictive analytics – combination of these technologies will open up a new era of early diagnostics and disease prevention.
  • Telemedicine/Telehealth – this will become a mainstay of patient care delivery, vastly reducing costs.
  • 5G connectivity – this 5th generation of mobile technology will be a truly “disruptive innovation” and will offer much to fields of medicine and healthcare. One application of 5G I am excited about is rural hospitals collaborating with urban teaching hospitals to offer world-class training and care delivery. It’s important to note that 5G is an enabling technology, it will make the advancements of all the other technologies I mentioned possible.
  • Wearables 2.0 and Mobile Health – these improved medical wearables devices and drug delivery systems will be widely used, allowing remote patient monitoring of chronic conditions, also reducing costs and improving patient comfort and clinical outcomes.
  • AR and VR – Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies will have a wide range of applications, including medical training, life sciences, real-time surgery assist, mental health treatment, and many more.
IF A BRAND WANTED TO WORK WITH YOU, WHAT OFFLINE / ONLINE ACTIVITIES WOULD YOU BE MOST INTERESTED IN?
  • Social Media engagement, thought leadership, brand message amplification
  • Podcast/video interviews
  • Content development (e.g. short-form/long-form blog posts, feature articles, whitepapers)
  • Events (promoting, covering/attending)
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST WAY FOR A BRAND TO CONTACT YOU?
Mobile: 978-761-1524 or Email: kirstel@gmail.com
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Hololens Partner Program
Hololens is a cool idea tech but not the only one going after VR/AR and what Microsoft calls Mixed Reality.  Here are some examples of what they are targeting as key market opportunities and if you are involved with any of them you might begin contacting customers to explore how they can take advantage of the technology regardless of tech as there are other viable solutions.

If you are not in a hurry and want 90 days for Microsoft tell you that your idea is something they would rather build themselves like what they did to Slack, click on the image below.
They say, “Please provide yourself 30 minutes to complete the application form

to help us better understand your business and current HoloLens activities. Upon submission, you will receive an update regarding your application within 90 days.”
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Omnichannel Customer Engagement Integrated in Kirstel Social Selling Strategy
Kirstel Social Selling Strategy (KSS) is now available.  Evan Kirstel noted, “this is just the latest efforts in building “thought leadership” in sales and social selling.  “Engagement via social selling is more than just social media requiring enhanced sales training, communications skills and new technology.  Omnichannel customer engagement is integrated deeply within KSS.  With KSS the next-gen sales staff can “meet” new B2B prospects, gain revenue, lower costs and importantly shorten the sales cycle. With KSS business partners can also benefit by adding new, relevant social business customer engagements per month. The combination of current selling technologies such as CRM and other tech tools, social media influence, social business know-how, and passion for sales is key to social selling.   The KSS strategy drives visibility & engagement with customers, influencers, key opinion leaders, analysts, journalists, CXOs and others while cutting through the noise to generate leads and set up an ongoing social selling strategy.”
Here are highlights of Kirstel Social Selling Strategy:
– Social selling is not just selling via technology.  As we have integrated CRM and other custom/public tools into our selling processes, social selling is expanding use of technology to enhance the communications process, reduce sales cycle, reduce order confusion, accelerate customer acceptance throughout the lifecycle, enhance long-term “gain” ratio thereby reduce customer churn, enhance customer experience, increasing product/solution margin, integration of selling technology into products and services and other factors.
– The Kirstel Social Selling Strategy KSS is a professional services engagement to begin the process of engaging with corporate and channel sales (if any) to enhance their ability to use social selling as part of their sales process. In addition, KSS can optionally be involved in improving sales processes, compensation plan, marketing communications and other aspects of the business.
– KSS is a multi-phase project with Go/No-go points to limit risk while expediting the process to maximize corporate performance and efficiency.
Here are the 7 Phases of KSS with Go/No-go points at each stage:
  • Phase 1 – Determine – End-to-end customer assessment of sales process and cycle
  • Phase 2 – Develop – Integration of social media strategy and technology into business culture
  • Phase 3 – Deliver – Pilot social selling strategy and deployment of new KSS into pilot environment
  • Phase 4 – Deploy – Expand social selling into key markets and segments (channel, international, etc.)
  • Phase 5 – Detect – Detect, monitor and track performance and present KPIs to management
  • Phase 6 – Discuss – Discuss and explore performance at the Center for Social Selling Excellence
  • Phase 7 – Discover – Explore social selling integration into future selling and products.
Click on image for complete details on each KSS Phases:
About  
Evan Kirstel and other teammates represent more than 300,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 on Linkedin and other social media platforms.  We have proven social selling and professional development skills to assist your organization now and in the future.
To get started in social selling today, contact:
m: 978-761-1524 | e: mailto:kirstel@gmail.com
Twitter @EvanKirstel
Schedule a call via https://calendly.com/kirstel
Subscribe to newsletter – http://bit.ly/2hYsAis

Compare Outlook Free/Busy Times Across Companies – Free Trial Now Available from Microsoft AppSource

Approved Contact allows you to compare your open times in Microsoft Outlook with contacts outside your company to easily find open times for everyone.

Approved Contact announced the availability of Approved Contact in Microsoft AppSource. Approved Contact allows you to see available times on any online calendar from Microsoft Outlook with Approved Contact’s patent-pending Calendar Comparison technology.

Approved Contact deployed its solution on Microsoft Azure and stores calendar data in Azure SQL Database so that calendar integrations with other technologies such as email, bots, text, and voice recognition systems are simple and more secure.

“Supporting Microsoft AppSource also meant integrating Microsoft Azure Active Directory for single sign-on. When new users sign in with their Microsoft account, we automatically create their account and sync their calendar after Microsoft authenticates the new user,” said Dana Sale, president, Approved Contact. “So, it is easy to start a trial of Approved Contact directly from Microsoft AppSource. We support every major calendar system, but our ‘Sign in with Microsoft’ integration has streamlined how new users come into Approved Contact.”

Rob Howard, director of Office 365 Ecosystem, Microsoft Corp. said, “Calendar management is a central pillar of business communication, so initiatives that make daily scheduling more effective are important business tools. We’re pleased to see Approved Contact’s commitment to Microsoft Services and offer its solution in Microsoft AppSource.”

(Without Approved Contact, you cannot see open times outside your company)

(With Approved Contact, you can see open times outside your company.)

New Calendar-Syncing Option: “Sign in with Microsoft”

Our newly available “Sign in with Microsoft” support allows you to use your Office 365 account for easy new user sign-in and calendar syncing. You can use your Office account to create your profile and grant access to your free/busy times. We keep your changes in sync automatically, so as you add/delete meetings, your online calendar is always kept up to date.

“Sign in with Microsoft” grants access to your free/busy times securely because it does not require your password to be stored on a third-party site. For enterprise sites, an Office administrator can establish your employees’ profiles and connect their calendars automatically from Azure Active Directory. Alternatively, you can easily create your own profile from your Office 365 account by navigating to www.approvedcontact.com.

Cloud Services Integrations: Open API Streamlines Scheduling

Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar intelligently to almost anything used in digital communication: websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, CRM, and telephone systems. Although the Approved Contact API is available only to customers and partners, it is free to use to further automate the scheduling process into your business processes.

Every day millions of business users rely on their calendar to make them more productive. This new integration between Outlook and Approved Contact will reduce the untimely interruptions required to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, visit Microsoft AppSource to start your trial and then enable our add-in from the Microsoft Store.
Follow Approved Contact on Twitter at @approvedcontact.

About Approved Contact

Approved Contact is an innovative company that is improving productivity for companies large and small. Approved Contact allows you to easily share calendars with anyone. Changes you make to your calendar update automatically to Approved Contact. Using Approved Contact enables you to connect your calendar to websites, text, email, mobile, voice recognition, and telephone systems. For more information, visit www.ApprovedContact.com.

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HashNewsGrams 2.3 Adds FreeHand Drawings, Audio Recordings, Video & Pics 
 

Breakthrough the 140 Character Text Barrier

You can post essentially unlimited text, videos, pics, audio recordings, freehand paintings and drawings, multimedia images and Acticons-Action Icons.
#HashNewsGram is a FREE Twitter #hashtag news gathering app for iPhone and iPad. You can select your favorite #hashtag topics and put them in folders and subfolders and organize your Twitter news gathering and personal newsfeed. Then tap on the selected folder subfolder and see the posts in the categories selected. This is a great way to simplify your Twitter news feed.
HashNewsGram is one of the many apps such as ZoomLite, Basketball Fans, ReallyReal, Sports Fans Club, Football Fans Club, iSeekSugar, BiEyes, iFlipTips, SleepTracs, iSleepTrack, iSeekSugar, MedsMinders, RewardsVIPClub, and many others from TECHtionary.

__________________________________________________________
Linkedin Selling Unified Communications Group – Buyers Welcome
Please join our Linkedin Group if you are selling and even buying UC gear/gizmos/gadgets/gagals and more.  Beyond networking opportunities, news, and educational resources, this group is about helping its members increase sales. Vendors, VARs, Agents and anyone selling and marketing unified communications solutions are welcome. If you are a buyer, you join and see what’s available.
__________________________________________________________
Certified Training – Affordable, Available, Actionable & Tax Deductible
WebRTC-SIP Certification, Social Media Contact Centers, Sales Professionals and Business
Custom and Complete SIP Professional Certification Program
Follow us on Twitter

TECHtionary Knowledge Source

z

Click here for TECHtionary — World’s First and Largest Animated Library on Technology with more than 3,015 animated tutorials.

Lync is a Trademark of Microsoft.  Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum is an independent forum.

Advertising, Exhibiting, Training and other Marcom Programs, call 303-594-1694 or click here.

The User Forum provides classroom and webseminar training as well as a non-production environment for those IT departments without additional equipment, budget or time.  This allows planners and users to test ideas, dial in and dial back out, IM file transfers, remote desktop sharing, video conferencing, run scenarios, review logs, break linkages and learning about new telephony features and network access.  The User Forum is also designed for both the system integrator/consultant who wants to learn about tech without having to build their own system as well as the enterprise customer who doesn’t have the time, resources or knowledge to develop one.  Coming soon, User Forum Labs are designed to be “hands-on” or “over-the-shoulder” with experts available for Q&A and classes for feature-specific review.

About User Forum

The User Forum is a vendor-independent laboratory environment designed for learning, technical guides, knowledge resources and online “live” services.  The User Forum provides planning, project management, consulting, training, case studies, white papers, speaking engagements, market/customer research, network planning and other services.
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