Let’s Make Zense

Zense is not a word in any dictionary.  Yet, how could we make sense of something that is not even defined.  Why we care anyway?  If you Google the word, let’s say it is a word, surprisingly you would find the word is used, in one case, to associate the outcome of your feel after the tasting of selective food, or it is the name of a Cafe in Hong Kong, that Cafe Zense does produce a delicious menu of desserts and curated coffees.  Let’s hear our side of the story.

IoT is more noisier than ever.  We remember the upticks of RFID in early 2000, and we did jump in to enable that left jacket pane of a high-end suit to be an IoT in the garment supply chain.  The visibility of supply chain items, from the Italy fabrics, the final sewing of all pieces of a high-end suit jacket, to the final replenishment of that particular jacket to the designated retail shop that puts in the order to the warehouse just an hour ago. The passive RFID tag on each jacket pane brings item level identification, making it a unique IoT, or a visibility item, if detected (by an RFID reader).

In general, an IoT, either by itself or attached to a physical object, carries a sensor, that senses and digitalizes some ambient element of the environment, somehow transmits the data with its built-in communication capability.

We go about our daily routines, be it along the route we always take going to work, or that flight leaving daily from an airport to its destination, or the freshly picked cherries on route to a market that is 8,000 miles away.

The sensor has the ability to sense. For example, in a sensors network, a sensor called, e.g., a temperature module such as that offered for arduino1, can detect a heat index of the surrounding environment, and if the Fahrenheit metric is used, the sensor can be designed to signal a value in degrees of Fahrenheit. The known degree value could mean differently.  Just think about monitoring the storage temperature of covid-19 jab from Pfizer in the supply chain. For example, ice cream, according to one Web information resource, is best to store at  0 (zero) degrees Fahrenheit or lower, but at serving, it is ok to be around 5-10 degrees. So the temperature sensed should be converted to a some text, rather than just a numeric value, for the human to understand the implication, if the temperature is ideal at this point, etc.  Such conversion of a numeric value to a textual information will be processed off sensor site likely.  The off-site processing basically is trying to offer a peace of mind to the end-user who is receiving such sensor data.  The calmness, or such state we called ‘zense,’ can be gained with IoT technology adoption.

From IoT to zense is challenging in areas of communications technology, computing at edge or cloud or even fog as some may claim, and the proper installation of sensors and the networks. This IoT topic is likely be a few main focus in this blog.

Zenser vs Citizen Data Scientist vs You

Data in a computer meant something to me, well, at least as 1’s 0’s, of, say, in ASCII coding. Data is just a string of one’s and zero’s in the binary world. Data, in the digital world, is coded asset that somehow carries meanings to a privileged few, by design, such as that string is your driver’s license number for a DMV, or the arrival time of your flight to your next destination on the flight display board in the departure hall of an airport. There is Big Data. There is IoT Data. And we might agree, data carries information, if properly processed. Given that, what is a science of data? Or is “data science” the same? I am not really ready to discuss this but you will help right?

The word Science, by online Merriam-Webster, is, in one definition, ‘the state of knowing.’ Let me take a leap of faith to say Data Science is a practice, grounded whenever possible by laws and theories, to know about data. And if I randomly look up the definition of a data scientist (DS), and for no specific reason, include a definition here (from this site https://bigdata-madesimple.com/what-is-a-data-scientist-14-definitions-of-a-data-scientist/) as “a person who has the knowledge and skills to conduct sophisticated and systematic analyses of data.” Ok, let’s just go with that. Then, the DS is to perform some guided analyses on available data to bring a know in some context to try to meet the need of the acquirer. The gained knowledge might help the acquirer to make some adjustment or decision.

Let’s agree that a DS knows the tools to bring the know out from data, and the context of the know is for the zense of an acquirer, or consumer of the know from the data. Or, a DS knows how to make zense for a consumer. The DS, now in the world of Big Data, needs to keep a comprehensive knowledge of what data is available and how. This knowledge continues to grow, especially with the diverse amount of IoT data, that in some sense, provide a time-sensitive element into the analysis. Zense as defined in www.ubizense.com is the state of calmness. The calm could be the knowing that the never-ending trade war will bring a 20% reduction in business revenue, instead of the uncertainty of what the magnitude would be. The calm could simply be that your Uber is not likely to be delayed in arrival with the sudden tornado warning in your vicinity. Zense is not measured in negative or in positive energy, just a sense of knowing that brings down the level of emotion from a natural reaction of a consumer.

In sum, we prefer a Zenser label than a DS label, that DS carries out a purposeful analysis every time. Given the numerous data sources, different ‘computing’ is needed. The term ‘ambient computing’ has been used, and we will just leave it as that. Computing is computing just like data is the same as they are one’s and zero’s. Edge-, Cloud- and Fog-computing are the same, just one must consider if there is an advantage to do the computing far from where you stand, or at where you stand, or in-between?

Anyone, that is You, cannot be a data scientist, and any data scientist must develop that purposefulness to be a zenser. We need Zensers in our digital world.

Bookshelf – Then & Now

An article on data management appeared in IEEE Computer recently (Data Management, IEEE Computers, 2017). The author, Lomet, D.B, talks about the cost of storage, and correspondingly the capacity now available at our fingertips, and posts the question of what the ‘world of data will look like in 50 years?”

Maybe 30 years ago, the boxes of IEEE Transactions on Computers hard copy sat in a storage shed. If I had my choice, I would probably display my collection in bookshelves at home or in an office. Yes, you have to go to the University library to get to read one of the issues, and yes, there was not the website IEEE Xplore at that time. The ease of data ‘acquisition’ coupled with data push – those notifications that so many of us are tickled to get, with our mobile devices gives reason that we want terabyte of storage. How often would we go back and look at that Whatsapp message 3 years ago? (Is there a way to do that – to give a date and Whatsapp will provide you the messages of that date? in app? at some website?). Since we do not have books and magazines (how many printed magazines still survive in the digital world?) to adorn our bookcases in our study, could we have some data management tool that is designed like a book that we can shelf, but controlled by our mobile device (best yet, selectable by voice and activated by voice via Siri or Alexa), that my Whatsapp messages of that date will be played out for my guests to enjoy, laughing at what a silly conversational topic then, and how one of the messengers was on target with a silly response. Would that be nice? This could extend to each vacation trip that you took, and a playback is auto by that ‘data book’ on your shelf.

Let’s hope.

IoT – Where Are We?

“Hype Cycle?” Yes, somehow there was a “hype cycle for the Internet of Things.” . At this time, we are looking into definitions of ‘M2M’ and ‘IoT’ – likely to be a variant of that offered by ETSI. We also want to develop a common working framework for IoT, and the infrastructure to spread the IoT-based services to all participants – obviously, it is an environment where IoT data is shared and managed. The following diagram depicts the initial thinking:

The right depicts the four components of an IoT Business Framework, and the left is the infrastructure with the service concept that is cloud provisioned. The center is an example of an IoT artifact – a smart city.

Olympic Moments: InsP

Closing ceremony of Olympic 2016 is now in progress. I don’t have a TV, so I do not have a live feed to get the feel and join the celebration. Olympic moments are presented at NPR.org (visited August 22, 2016). Moments like the handshake that never happened, the race-in-progress included taking care of your competitor, and the women’s wrestling metal was not only about sports. The moments can be snapped by a photographer onsite with strict concentration. A moment can be easily missed. With technology, the camera can transmitted that instance phenomenon (InsP) picture via wireless communication that finally reaches the Internet and on its way to a storage unit – how do you stream ‘the moment’ I wonder.

With super predictive power of Snoopy, the InsP app I installed on my Android phone happily pops up that moment picture in that storage as a notification. Of course, what is missing is the logical link from the app to the storage monitoring software (nothing new here), and an active Internet connection. That connection can be simply a cellular network connection (e.g., a LTE network that you paid monthly to use), or you rely on the (free) WiFi hotspot at where you are now. Hello, smart city. One moniker under IoT is the technology can bring smartness to a city. Depending how you look up ‘smart city,’ you will find plenty of opinions of what takes to be a smart city, from smart living to smart environment. One approach is to bring Internet connectivity coverage across the city, allowing a multi-modal networking state of citizens and visitors alike.

Take a peek at this HKG Government document, one initiative for a ‘Smarter Hong Kong’ (I like ‘smarter’ than simply ‘smart’) is to add more WiFi hotspots. Not sure the doubling of hotspots would bring to what percentage coverage in Hong Kong – maybe it was politically incorrect to state that. Anyhow, I am looking forward to any smart city to ‘connect’ me freely but with the need to involve in a logon process once. That would be tough if the hotspots are a public-private venture, and there is no concept yet of a global SSO. Who can push for that? The U.N.? Anyone?

Tiptoeing off the World Stage

To continue with the conversation on Instance Phenomenon, or InsP hereafter (Oh, I started this January once only!!), I add here with a definition: “The awareness of an event at the instance that it happens.” For example, when this was said: “In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.” by the Republican nominee, you instantly are informed of this statement (let’s say because you live in Washington, D.C.). Furthermore, InsP could also mean that when that was said, a ‘fact check’ was performed, and you are instantly informed if the two percentages are correct or not. The first InsP is simple service that applies a filter to TV live broadcast, or a streaming feed of speech text from Twitter-like service – the word phrase you specified earlier will be used to create a notification to your cell once it appears (Yes, both services do not exist to the best of my knowledge).

Another level of InsP if the word ‘awareness’ is replaced with ‘visibility.’ That is, InsP can be visual. For example, the “Chewbacca Mom” will automatically stream to your smart device once the ‘like’ reaches a 50,000 counts (an indicator you manage). Technology has made such InsP possible. And examples are plenty but not universal (I will discuss some in later posts). The goal here is to develop a framework that allows the creation of InsP a known process, and hopefully, with the framework, solutions are available. I will bring in two other topics under the InsP discussion: IoT and Service in next posts.

I would love to have an InsP defined for myself when USexit of the World (a bigger version of Brexit) is a fact – that is, the next USA president is a Republican.

Instance Phenomenon

Happy Year 2016!!

Another hour or so, CA (or other States in that time zone) will be bidding goodbye to 2015. That instance of counting down to 2016 will be recorded and shared among many.

Yes, I am still chasing that illusive concept of ‘visibility.’ Along the way, a few brews were made, not getting any better in understanding the elements that affect the taste outcome of the brew. Was it the weather? Was it the water amount I used in the wort? Or the typical yeast that was recommended by the shop? No clue.

We are moving towards the instance phenomenon unknowingly to most of us. Instance visibility is one of the phenomena; so is that instance when the first firework shot up the Australia skyline. We are not looking for instant phenomenon, but only that instance. In supply chains, that instance is being defined by the person who is looking for that phenomenon. We argue ( in a paper presentation in ICEB 2015) that a duality in visibility demands a more investigative study in a supply chain environment. A consequential presentation with respect to that paper was a ‘visibility cloud’ view that I allured to earlier in the posts.

I hope to detail a bit more our thinking on supply chain visibility, with big data!! here in a more regular fashion. My excuse is that to keep up with the term ‘big data’ and what have been discussed out there takes up much time to filter the lint off the topic fabrics.

Try another brew

Have to pick up the reading on brewing beer. I picked up an ‘old’ recipe for Rajah India Pale Ale (from Wine & Hop Shop). Ingredients are not that easy to come by here in Hong Kong. Anyway, I went to Chris’ shop and grabbed some hops (Willamette & Kent Golding), along with a pound of Caramel 10L crashed grains. I skipped the Oak Chips and put in orange peels instead!! I am taking this brew as if I was cooking a common dish when not all ingredients are not available at the spur of the moment. I believe why my sweet-and-sour pork is different than those that I used to get at some American-Chinese restaurants (you know what I am talking about) because I don’t use pineapple juice. Are we saying about the same for beer brewing, giving rise to the different taste and body? I like to find out the ‘science’ behind of it all. For now, let me catch up my reading before I run my mouth more on brewing as if I had done that many times over. I am still at kindergarten level.

I’m Back – Who Said That?

It has been an interesting hiatus for me in the past year or so. Not that I was disconnected from cyberspace, like the landing of Lollipop and Yoshimite. I was dragged, half willingly, into the mist of big data, while I was wondering how much bourbon was in that bourbon barrel IPA. Can’t say the qualifier ‘big’ was not on target. It was big alright. But it was not what was ‘in’ the data that was big (how many ‘was’ in this sentence?). There was a trail to that ‘big’ noted all the way back to processing in Silicon Graphics equipment.
    It is big alright – from the perspective of google.com/trends to the number of publications found in academic journals on ‘big data.’ Nonetheless, data is data, and if in electronic form, it would be just ‘text’ or ‘numbers’ (or ASCII characters and numerical digits). Numbers have no meanings. If it is a quantity then we need to know the context. Text is another matter. Just WSD (word sense disambiguation) will give you headaches when you try to mine the user-generated content (UGC) in social media postings.
    I need more IPA’s to help me think clearly!! I narrow down my Big Data plate to ‘visibility,’ ‘analytics,’ and ‘supply chains.’ Basically, I am hopping back to ‘supply chain visibility’ to begin the new year 2015. Happy New Year to you all.

Craft Beers in and of Hong Kong?

(original post: July 17, 2013) I have a few opportunities to try out some craft beers in the United States, especially IPA types. Here is just one example. One flavor of Lagunitas Beer I am now having a can of Harbin beer, with a 3.6% ABV and an ingredient of rice (大米). There are other choices such as the Pearl River Beer and the Heineken. I wonder if craft beer can have a place in the beer drinking community in Hong Kong or in Southern China? Wonder if any brewmasters out there is thinking of testing out such markets? I am quite interested in such endeavor, now trying my hands first time in home brewing. Not sure how it comes out yet – I will know in another week.

If you share similar interests, drop me a line with ‘craft beer’ as the subject line.