Intelligent Assistants Conference

Twitter hashtags are #iacsf and #iac2014. Live blogging begins.

Dan Miller, Opus Research opens the event.

Intelligent assistants are natural language processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, knowledge management, also user interface: automated speech, text input and output, more

Drivers include chat, proactive service, cost savings. Uses include faqs, complex care, brand support, sales and engagement.

Intelligent assistance is really tailored to digital natives, rapid recognition of intent, social and conversational, supports c2b, minimizes customer Involvement. More than a PVC: “cognition as a service”.

David Lloyd, CEO of IntelliResponse
Documenting the need for customer-driven digital self-service

They’ve been around for years, lots of customers, including banks.

Primary research on 1000 consumers about attitudes of self service, do they care. Most (67%) go first to company website, 10% go to social media first. Customer service engagement also started on company website at 58%, phone only 25%. What kind of relationship do you want? Most 59% want efficient transactional service. Personalized service at 24%. 11% want ato buy and say goodbye.

Customers want consistency across channels. 74%.

60% age 18-34 want mobile access. Story off David’s dad, in his 80s is engaged too, so be careful about stereotypes. Customers experience frustration in trying to get answers or accomplish things by companies moving customers to different channels.

Goals from 100 organizations: primary goals include deflect calls, lower cost, make agents more effective, reduce website abandonment. Companies not “eating own dogfood,” should go to own site and try to accomplish FAQ problems.

Retail: best online experience 68%. Other industries vary, some at far end of good. Customer portals tend to be FAQ-driven, site search, customer portal, contact form; status quo not working. Story about lousy customer experience with uber, who responded 24 hours later.

Foundation of any solution is customer intent. Not same as search or unlimited sea of answers. Examples of different questions that require same answer

Optus in Australia: 4million questions asked, 94% accurately answered. Went from 84% phone and email to 65% online, phone and email at 24%. Ask Ana for ANA airlines – grew to 50% by June 2013 using online in first six months.


USIgnite2014: Day 3: Advanced Wireless: Untethering Your Gig


Jonathan Wagner, Big Bang. Back in 2009, number of connected devices exceeded # of people using them. Today: 8.5B, in 2020 there will be 212B devices. How are we going to find developers for these? Big Bang is a platform to connect devices: custom software and robotics firmware, cloud service to tie all together. Allows devices to discover each other and interact. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 bricks, Wi-Fi connected, no host required (good for students). Software is open source, is non-destructive to robots. Dashboard telemetry and control, can program in javascript. Going to Raspberry Pi, Arduino, adding low latency video streaming, and code sharing.

Augmented Reality Tools for Improved Training of First Responders

Jeremy Cooperstock, McGill University. Last year in Chicago, this group showed video streaming tools for rapid assessment and response. There are apps for emergency assistance, but won’t work for firefighters who need their hands to work. Hands free, heads up display of current position, temp warnings, text warnings, visual assist, with real-time communications relay to main coordination points, and recording sessions. Responder can switch between two views: heads-up display with temp, text alerts, beacons for other responders. Other view: overhead schematic of building with breadcrumb path and other alerts. Coordinator sees multiple views with overhead. Demo with firefighter. Continuing work.


Bob: What’s a gigabit good for? Makes things much easier. If we had a trainer at your door every day, you’d work out. Connecting fitness trainers with clients. Demo with Fitnet – everybody in audience did a little Fitnet demo exercise. Woo, move those bodies. Trainers need high uplink capacity, consumer needs high download speeds–every 5 minutes is 10 gigabytes. Latency: distributed clock synchronization–multiple iPads sync’d within milliseconds. Remote participant moved in a coordinated manner. Currently they’re looking for neighborhood communities. Now available on iPhones.

Interactive Interface for Remote Physical Therapy

Marge Skubic and Prasad Calyam, University of Missouri. Physical therapy as a service for remote patients. They use Connect for included facilities, including depth camera and video conferencing, sensing. Early detection of health changes (before people know) produce better health outcomes at lower costs. Patient view and therapist view (with voice commands) both have split screen. Demo from two locations. Network performance: instrumentation of overlapping signals, network analytics with active and passive measurements.

SeaCat: SDN End-to-End Application Containment

Kobus Van der Merwe and team. Everything is networked and increasingly mobile, including healthcare. People want to use devices for many purposes, but shared devices; families use and download malware, a problem. Current approaches are inadequate. Requirements and regulations vary across relevant areas. Their approach: combine SDN and applications as inter-domain SDN interaction tie-in as semi-trusted, with sensitive data in special containers. Different threat model: concerns include unauthorized access or data leakage, resource guarantees, denial of service. Architecture: linux containers, move retular apps into default containers, minimize trusted computing base to only SeaCat trusted daemon to create new containers and management of endpoints. Similar for enterprise network containments. Status and plans: working prototype, focus on access to electronic health records (but broader applications), exploring taking it beyond prototype.


USIgnite2014: Day 3: Interview with Gigi Sohn, FCC

Announcement by Bithika Khargharia, Extreme Networks and US Ignite partnership: SDN Innovation Challenge. Remote medical is only one compelling use case, need low latency programmable networks that orchestrates and manages networks at various levels between Platform APIs and Network Infrastructure. Ideas welcome by Sept. 10, Pitch Oct. 20, Finalists announced Oct. 31, Implement starting Dec. 3, Demo and Award Ceremony next June 23.

Announcement by Gabriel Sidhom, Orange Silicon Valley: Orange GigaStudio: create a gigabit testbed in San Francisco for the startup and tech community to explore high bandwidth apps and foster innovation in immersive technology. July 31: Gigabit Spotlight, Fall 2014 Hackathons and other activities.


Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch interviewer.

Alex: Your experience at the FCC? Gigi: exceeding my expectations. I’m a lawyer, having worked at Public Knowledge (advocacy). This is my first turn, is intense. Mergers, open Internet, broadcaster’s spectrum. I’m enjoying it.

Alex: Net Neutrality? Gigi: last time FCC tried to adopt new rules was 2010, recent work struck down by a court. National attention is because Internet has become central to their lives, they want fast, robust, and affordable Internet. Mergers create anxiety. I’ve talked to the protesters. Lots of anxiety over consolidation. It’s exciting that people care so deeply about what we do.

Alex: John Oliver’s video, calling him a dingo. Mismatch about public perception about Chairman Wheeler. Gigi: superficial look at Wheeler’s resume to say “he was a lobbiest.” He has a wider variety of experience on both sides. He’s a history buff, and knows about disruptive technologies. He’s really independent-minded, didn’t need this job. We share same values. He believes in being open. Want this to be a responsive office.

Alex: tension around the term “net neutrality?” Gigi: what should the scope of this term be? Should only apply to last mile. Comments from the public: we ask if it should include different things. What John Oliver video got wrong: intimated that there were rules in place that Chairman was taking away. We’re proposing rules. Lots of misinformation about process and substance of procedures. Open Internet rules apply to last mile, but should it extend to interconnection points? Traffic exchange points? Peering specifically. People don’t want prioritization of last mile. Title II of Telecom Act, vs Section 706 — this is where the debate is.

Alex: Is it possible for paid prioritization to coexist? Gigi: we don’t know yet. May be some that we like. Heart monitors, sign language data. My feeling is that those are not the kind of things people worry about; they worry about their services. Everything is up for grabs.

Differences of opinion about what our legal authority should be. There are lots of variations of gray. Big questions, comments for no paid prioritization in the commercial sense, lack of competition in last mile.

Alex: Google Fiber, community broadband? Gigi: Chairman believes that communities should decide for themselves. We can’t preempt states, but we have localities that want to build out, including to areas that are unserved by incumbents, who come to us. Community brodadband has been mischaracterized. Lafayette and Chattanooga already had untility companies so it wasn’t a big stretch. But to bring another provider in to build for a community is also often prohibited.

Alex: Challenges on the horizon? Gigi: more visits from localities interested in this. Universal Service Fund, access to services generally, digital divide.

Alex: Chairman proposed $1B to help get kids on the net. Wi-Fi, why now? Gigi: e–rate program started in 1996 to fund schools and libraries. 18 years, no changes. Same should be for e-rate: he wants it to go to broadband, not pagers and email. We visited a classroom where each student had a chromebook. It’s abundantly clear that Wi-Fi is needed. He wants to reform the system to make sure that e-rate funds go further: group funds for better buying, more effective spending. Also make system less burdensome to applicants–make applying online. With these ideas, we can save $1B in next few years. Pushback to raise cap on e-rate funds from $2.4B yearly, but we want to reform the system before putting more funds in. Chairman knows how to read a spreadsheet.

Alex: less comments on spectrum auction? Gigi: tell stories about dropped 911 calls that couldn’t go through because of lack of spectrum. Hasn’t been done in incentive auction process. We need to make sure broadcasters give their spectrum back–bigger carriers have figured out that scarcity is more valuable. Can’t make calls from many buildings.

Alex: Five years, still at FCC? Gigi: no idea.


USIgnite2014: Day 2: Virtual Framework

Office of Secretary of Defense, Lockheed Martin

Collaborative virtual earth, demo of two computers with same interactive screen. Lot of training apps, including how to open doors (WebGL), flightline of the future gaming, collaborative patent search (cloud) tool. Wearable version of framework for use on all devices, wearables for body status. Collaborative landscapes (kind of like Second Life).

Virtual presentation with remote speakers showing a teaching tool for a valve. Write the app once and can be run with multiple users. Presenter now sharing desktop, responsive and clear.

Video on teaching 6th graders how to program robots in virtual framework. Overview of environment, multiple views, with puzzle piece interface. Allows kids to solve problems, learn about path-based algorithms. More info at and on github.