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Archive for the ‘User Interface’ Category

The last couple of weeks I have been aroused with many ideas and reflections on Personal Digital Assets and on Digital Assets in general.

The journey started some weeks ago with my prezi talk at TEDxNewWallStreet and included my participation to the WEF “tiger team” on Personal Data, where a group of 30 experts are looking at what is needed to make realize the vision of Personal data as a new economic “asset class”. Personal data created by and about people, touching all aspects of society. That group is stitching the pieces together for a framework of business, technical and legal elements that are needed to underpin this vision.

However, the following video from Kynetx was the big aha-moment during my 4-weeks tour on the subject.

I never thought of a Personal Data Store as a “Personal Event Network”.

This changes everything ™

indeed as Phil Windley (@windley), CTO of Kynetx says.

One years ago, there was this beautiful video animation by David Siegel (@pullnews), a great vision of distributed nodes of personal data content talking to each other through API’s.

In the meantime, there is a rich ecosystem of start-ups that are building something very similar as we speak.

Maybe not yet to its fullest grand vision, but definitely going way beyond the traditional concept of a “personal data store”.

Check out leading start-ups such as Personal.com. Btw I dream of one day seeing an integration of Personal.com with an on-line bank. Anybody needing a brokering service here ? ;-)

What Kynetx is adding to the mix are three important things:

  • the “event” based thinking
  • the prototol for the data-web
  • Cloud Operating System

Event based thinking:

He really nailed it down for me last time I met him:

  • In the past we had RPC (Remote Procedure Calls), in essence fire and forget
  • Then came request/response: you ask for something, and you get it
  • Now there is the “event-signal”. It does not ask for something, it just says “something’s happened”, and any entity in the network can subscribe to the event and decide itself to do something with it.

Protocol for the data-web:

The other aha-moment was when Phil was doing his talk at the New Digital Economies conference on 27 March 2012.

For those who remember, in the past we had silo-d email systems. AOL, Compuserve, etc. They did not interoperate. We got rid of those silos when there was a standard protocol, allowing competing commercial and open source servers to talk to each other in SMTP.

We now see the same with data, personal data, social graphs. We have data-silos (Facebook, Google, Bank systems, Health systems, Government systems, etc). What we need is a “Data-Server” and a “Protocol” that allows these data servers to be interoperable.

Cloud Operating Systems:

Phil has explained all this beautifully in a series of blogs on www.windley.com and I get very inspired when he makes a call for thinking about personal clouds as “cloud operating systems”

All this, Phil calls “The Live Web” (Amazon Associates link). He is so excited about this that he has written a book about it.

In other words, start thinking about your “Personal Data Locker” become a “Personal Event Cloud”: your personal data-server in the cloud that can talk and do things on your behalf, can make decisions, interpret rules, etc…

And it can talk to any entity, any node in the web (or at least nodes in any discoverable namespace). In real-time. In multiplexing mode (meaning the node can be both a server and a client).

It suddenly dawned to me that over the last years we have been hyping “The Programmable WEB”, and that if we are serious about customer centric identity or “customer centric” or “personal” whatever, we may wish to start with the “me”.

Suddenly it was flashing in my brain: “The  Programmable Me”

“Me” is becoming a node in the grid. We are all nodes in the grid, sending and receiving signals. Like neurons passing an electrical or chemical signal to another cell. And start thinking “synapses” when you talk about the API’s of your Programmable Me.

From Wikipedia:

Synapses are essential to neuronal function: neurons are cells that are specialized to pass signals to individual target cells, and synapses are the means by which they do so”

The APIs of your “Programmable Me”, of your Personal Event Cloud are indeed the means to make all these nodes interoperable.

Add to this the graph-thinking of Drummond Reed (@drummondreed), Co-Chair of the XDI/XRI Technical Committee of OASIS. Check-out http://wiki.oasis-open.org/xdi/XdiGraphModel and more specifically some of the Powerpoints out there:

Each circle in this drawing represents a node in the grid. I really encourage you to look at this as a graph – this ensemble of inter-connected nodes – as something 3-dimensional, possibly multi-dimensional.

We have all been trained to think hierarchical. Flat files with a root, that sort of thing.

We have to learn to think in graph-models.

You can start anywhere in the galaxy. Every point can be the center of the universe. There is no root. At least, not in absolute terms. Yes, in relative terms with respect to the other nodes in the universe…

A grand vision starts to develop when you realize that the nodes can be any type of entities:

  • Humans (or their agents)
  • Circles (like Google Circles) of humans (entities without legal form)
  • Corporations, non-profits, governmental or educational institution (aka organizational constructs of humans with specific legal form)
  • We should also include less traditional forms of organizational constructs such as co-operatives, P2P communities, Commons,…
  • Programs (yes, software code), that perform tasks on behalf of the entities above or that operates as fully independent entities.

Each of these nodes/entities can participate in transactions – or better, “value dances”. “Dance” because the protocol is multiplexing, not one-way request-response.

Of course all these entities will require identity, in the broadest sense, not only URI or ID number, but in the sense of a spectrum, a graph that can be shared in context with other nodes/entities.

Sharing the spectrum becomes the essence of trade

What we are witnessing is a 180° turn in the power balance between client and server, slave and master, buyer and supplier, consumer and merchant.

All entities are equal.

We are all equal

Doc Searls (@dsearls) has written a book about it. The Intention Economy. (Amazon Associates Link)

But look at the subtitle: “When Customers Take Charge”.

I like Doc a lot, but his subtitle may suggest that somebody else is in charge: the empowered customer. I am afraid that we may end-up with another un-balance, where the pendulum has swung the other side: where the customer has an unfair data-advantage versus the merchant. But let their be no doubt that today the merchant has the unfair data-advantage, and I read Doc’s book more like a plea for getting the balance right rather than a socialist rant against establishment represented by the “big boys”, the vendors, the merchants, the silos like Facebook and Google.

In all the discussions about the Empowered Customers, we see classic commerce use cases like buying a book, buying flowers for grandma, etc

But I would like to make the jump to truly balanced financial transactions and what “dances between equals” would mean in that space. I invite you to think about your bank as the merchant, the merchant of financial services, and the consumer as the retail or wholesale customer of the bank.

In such scenario, the fundamental shift in thinking already happens at the Point of Sale (POS). We even have the question the term “Point of Sale”. It stems from an old thinking where the merchant “owns” the customer.

YOU are the point of sale

YOU are the point of data integration!

In the past the POS was the master,

now it will be YOU who is in charge,

or your agent,

the “Programmable Me”.

What if we start thinking about banking where YOU are the point of data-integration? What if your bank would offer you a service that enables you to manage your Personal Event Cloud?

I don’t know how it would look like, but it probably would be something triggered from your mobile phone. It probably would look like one of the Next-Gen banks (Simple, Movenbank, Fidor) with a Personal Event Network out-of-the-box.

Some of these Next-Gen banks are already accepting the CRED of your Social Graph as a much richer (in all senses of the word) basis for “Know you Customer”. Although we probably also have to inverse that: from the captive notion of “know your customer” to the user-centric meaning of “know your bank”. Then we may come back to the “primitive” of the meaning of “bank”: a bench where two people meet to build a relationship of value.

So, the discussion is NOT about the next coolest thing for doing a copy-cat of existing money-transactions through the latest greatest gadget like NFC or Bump, or whatever.

Some of all this already permeates in a recent Techcrunch article suggesting the “NFC is already out-moded”

“The thing to keep in mind here” says Crone, “is that NFC was developed more than 20 years ago. It was first deployed 10 years ago. 10 years ago, we didn’t have ubiquitous access to data plans. We didn’t have more smartphones in circulation than feature phones and we had to depend on an ‘offline’ connection for processing payments. But now, there are 124 million households that have more than one device connected to the internet. Typically, that’s a smartphone, but very quickly it’s becoming a tablet.”

Also Christopher Carfi (@ccarfi) starts thinking in this direction in his recent post “Musings in Small Data”.  In there, he refers to a video of Jerry Michalski (@jerrymichalski) of the REXpedition doing a demo his “Personal Brain”. (Disclosure: I am member of the REXpedition). The video is titled “Gardening My Brain” and the talk was given at Personal Digital Archiving on February 22, 2012 in San Francisco.

It’s a pity that this talk is in the context of a personal digital archiving conference. Because, in my opinion, we have dramatically evolved from archiving to sharing.

Sharing of information and digital assets is becoming the new normal in this world of Abundance of information.

Christopher Carfi nails it when he says:

As these issues become more widely understood, more individuals will be tracking their own information. Perhaps it won’t be to the level that Jerry has done it in the video above, but it will be happening. This means that we, while wearing our business hats, will need to be developing real relationships with our customers. We need to listen to what they are saying, what they are asking for, and working collaboratively with them in order to help them fulfill their needs. In the best cases, we’ll have built up levels of trust with our customers and will have been given the explicit permission to access our customers’ personal data stores. In doing so, we’ll be able to actually take the guesswork out of the equation that was noted so clearly above in the Facebook example and will, instead, be able to connect directly with our customers’ intentions and deliver value on their terms.

Creating an economy based on the principles of relations is of course at the heart of the REXpedition. It is probably the next territory for competitive advantage beyond the mundane money transaction.

All this is about creating “Relationship Channels”, channels the vendor can tune into of the user has opened the channel.

All the above are of course very much related to our Innotribe incubation project “Digital Asset Grid” (DAG), which is about the sharing of any digital asset with any party.

All of the above is also very relevant to Mark Pesce’s (@mpesce) thinking about “hypereconomics”, described in one of my previous posts “The future rarely arrives when planned”.

The real question is then: “Where will value be created when all the connections between nodes have become frictionless?” Mark has some ideas on this, and he describes them as “irreducibles

No matter how ‘smooth’ and frictionless hyperconnected commerce becomes, certain frictions in the business world will persist.  These represent both speed humps and opportunities.  The businesses of the 21st century will find leverage and differentiation by identifying and exploiting them.”

What those “irreducibles” are, you will be able to discover at our upcoming Innotribe event in Bangkok on 26-27 April 2012, where together with Mark Pesce we will have some great interactive learning experiences. Be there, or read the report that we will make on this post-conference.

If you really want to take a meta-view on all this, I believe all the examples above illustrate our species being in search for a deeper meaning, a thicker value in everything we experience:

  • We are in search for a higher level of consciousness, a further evolution in Spiral Dynamics, in search for a richer value system, much richer than the pure transaction world that is the narrow lens of today
  • We start looking at companies being nodes in the grid, in fair-trade constellations of equals, trying to maximize the commons and contribution and giving back to society
  • We want to go beyond the “advertising” thinking of “let’s hit the target with an ad”. We are in search for a better world with more Thick value and less Thin value
  • We are starting to see the emergence of “The universe as a Computer” as wonderfully described by Nova Spivack (@novaspivack) in one of his milestone posts last month.

All the above is about defining, articulating, and living lives of greater meaning. With the “M” of meaning. Umair Hague (@umairh) already in 2009 called this “Generation-M”, which in essence is anchored in “constructive capitalism”

Generation M is more about what you do and who you are than when you were born. So the question is this: do you still belong to the 20th century – or the 21st?

I would like to close with a reference to The Wellbeing Revolution (Amazon Associates Link) by James McWhinney (@JamesMcWhinney).

What I liked about this book is that it encourages you to look at where you are in your life, and to look at it through the “M” lens. The lens of meaning.

I then discover that what I am writing today, what job I am doing, who I am married to, was probably all meant to be this way. Not “meant” in a deterministic way. No, “meant” as everything I have done, the decisions I have made, my architecture studies, my infection by the identity virus, my journey in Leading By Being, etc… all these things have made me who I am.

What if I could capture all this richness about me, and have a tool and an infrastructure to share that on my terms and conditions, in context, and with the parties or nodes in the grid that I choose to? What if I could share my meaning in a programmable way?

I would end up with something called “the programmable me”

By @petervan from the SWIFT Innotribe team.

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Yesterday, i had the pleasure to be interviewed by Dan Marovitz, the founder of Buzzumi, a knowledge monetization platform, and a board member of rbidr, and the Professional Diversity Network. He is currently on sabbatical from Deutsche Bank where he was, until June of this year, Head of Product Management for Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking business.

The subject was digital identity, and the chat covered several subjects from privacy, KYC, user centric identity, and of course our latest incubation project the Digital Asset Grid.

The chat is available online here.

We could have gone on for hours, as the subject is so rich. Buzzumi is a new kid in town for doing online webinars, a bit like WebEx or Skype, with the big difference you don’t have to install any client. The session yesterday was more or less flowless, with some small audio hick-ups (minor). But they are still in beta. I like the idea of “one click and on”.

It also learned me that i am in beta myself for this sort of on-line interviews. I have done some media interviews in the past, and we got here at SWIFT a proper media training, but this is different. You have to watch several inputs at the same time, the chat box is also a source of streaming info. The most important thing is that i need to be better prepared. Really walk through in advance the questions with the interviewer, prepare my key messages i want to convey, prepare content blobs (just keyword is enough) around certain themes that i can tap into at will as the conversation flows.

“Messaging” is fundamentally changing in nature. Video will be an integral component of it, and i can’t wait to see the first blending of this with Twitter and semantic video searching. On good track, Dan !

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This blog post is Part-2 of a series that started as the ongoing thinking after our Digital Identity Tour in June 2010. In Part-1, I developed the idea of the Unpolished Diamond.

Today, I will entertain you on the concept of a Digital Identity Tuner, which in its own is also a further evolution of the Identity Rights System 3.0 post of March 2010.

It all started coming together when – during the tour – we visited PayPal.

This visit was at the end of the tour. We were welcomed by Eve Maler, Distinguished Engineer, Identity Services at PayPal, and Andrew Nash, Senior Director Identity Services at PayPal

Eve MalerAndrew Nash

These folks of PayPal basically told us to forget what we had seen earlier in the week. These are probably some of the smartest identity folks around, so you pay attention.

Indeed, I was amazed how much further ahead they were, not only in their conceptual thinking, but also in the pace at which they define and rapidly test new protocol standards.

The eye-opener for me was that there is no business in identity, but there is some significant potential when flipping the discussion to sharing and managing of user data.

 

It is not that much about identity,

but more about digital footprint.

 

Happens that a couple of weeks later I read Tony Fish’s book My Digital Footprint, where the author explains razor sharp that there is a difference between digital identity and digital footprint.

At about the same time, I saw appearing on the internet all sorts of semantically tagged enabled viewers, like this one from Recorded Future.

 

Recorded Future lets you search and find for events, based on the WHAT, the WHO/WHERE and the WHEN.

 

What if we could do this

for a person’s digital footprint ?

 

Here is where my Digital Identity Tuner comes into the picture:

phil0501

Remember those old radios ? You could “tune” into a radio channel, and there was a big button, and if you turned that button an arrow would move over a “map” of pre-defined radio stations.

What if we could do the same on your digital footprint ?

Petervan Digital Persona AUG 2010

The spectrum above is my “Digital Persona” as generated recently by MIT’s Digital Personas project. Personas shows you how the internet sees you.

Every color in the spectrum is about a certain dimension of your digital footprint: books you read, education, political preferences, musical preferences, professional attributes, etc, etc…

What if you could make that spectrum “clickable” ? Not only via a browser, but also via API’s. What if you could zoom in/out that spectrum or certain aspects of it ?

So far, we have “tuned” in two dimensions:

  • On the horizontal axis, hovering over the different color dimensions
  • On the “depth” axis, zooming in/out to get more or less detail

Let me add the third dimension of Time.

m01_16895561

I could tune into the past, but I could also tune into the future, as my digital footprint does not only contain past behavior, but also contains real-time data (such as devices that I may wear to beam my heartbeat-data to the Microsoft or Google or Wallgreens or whoevers Healthvault when running a couple of miles on my cloud enabled Nike shoes.

PolarS625Ximage

It also contains data about my future, as I keep my calendar in Google Calendar, for example. Or the event for which I bought tickets. Or even on-line streaming events for which I subscribed.

 

image

 

UPDATE-2: or check out this TED Video, on the Quantified Self, with Gary Wolf’s intriguing new pastime: using mobile apps and always-on gadgets to track and analyze your body, mood, diet, spending — just about everything in daily life you can measure — in gloriously geeky detail.

image

So, the third dimension is time.

 

What if I would have a sort of

“Remote Control”

 

that could let me navigate through my digital footprint on those three dimensions. It’s like steering a helicopter via remote control.

 

 

Or maybe more dimensions. You would end-up with something that navigates you through a fractal or so…

Of course, we don’t live alone on this planet.

 

We are part of tribes

of swarms

with leaders and followers

 

I love the metaphor of “SWARM”

 

Imagine that we have a similar digital tuner for navigating the swarm. For seeing links between the WHO’s in the swarm.

UPDATE: just a couple of hours after my initial posting of this blog entry, I came across this great post by Greg on Digital Tonto about “The Story of Networks”. At the end he refers to a great TED talk by Nicholas Christakis “How social networks predict epidemics” 

 

In essence, it shows the “swarm” of communities, leaders and followers and their relationships. And how germs, ideas, memes, etc spread in a community based on the same S-curves as innovations happen. Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is an internist and social scientist at Harvard University who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity.

So far, we looked at “navigating”. But the system would also allow me to define and manage who gets access to what parts of my digital footprint in what specific contexts or constraints. Not only “access”, but also “usage”.

For all that to happen, we need to fundamentally rethink how we deal with digital footprint.

 

We have to navigate away from identity systems that mimic our brick-and-mortar world, that are still based on the metaphor of identity cards, or passports, or electronic equivalents based on PKI systems and certificates.

 

No, we almost need a new semantic tagging language. Not to “tag” pages or servers, but to tag my digital footprint.

And not only “tag” it but allocate and manage “usage” rights to it. And I should be the owner of those data, whether they sit on my computer, in Facebook, or distributed open source models like Diaspora.

 

image

 

So that I end up with a collection of different “where’s” where data about me is kept. It may lead to some new form of DNS, but then a DNS of people. Not pages or servers.

Maybe all this is a bit of futuristic/iconoclastic thinking. Maybe. But when reading the book “Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently” by Dr. George Berns, I came across the following two sentences and took them a little bit out of … context.

But they are so relevant to our identity context:

There are two paths in spectrum: one for identity/categorization and the other for digital footprint / Trail / history/future (time dimension, recording, in the future,…)

The high road is concerned with extracting where objects are located and throws away the elements related to their identity. The low road, on the other hand, is concerned with identification and categorization, and less so with objects’ spatial locations

As Tony Fish so well articulated in his book: we have to separate identity an footprint.

The discussion

about internet identity

has moved from identity to footprint

how we are going to manage that

with a privacy ethic

that is adapted

to our hyper-connected world

 

Privacy is not dead. It needs to be redefined.

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Check out this interesting company Recorded Future.

This is very relevant to my upcoming post on Digital Identity Tuner 7.0

Start thinking of this metaphor when looking at your digital footprint.

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Found this TED 2010 video via Kurt Vega’s tweets.

From the TED site: “Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.”

Out-of-the-box support for facial expressions and emotional experiences, with some sensitivity adjustments available for personalization.

The demo is focusing  on the “cognitive suite”: the ability to move virtual objects with your mind.

And it just costs only a few hundred dollars. Like an iPAD, but it’s a hPAH “head-PAD”

Start mixing this with the ongoing discussions on personal digital identity. As you will notice, the demo starts with making a personal profile for this headset owner. And tuning to a neutral signal, a signal where you’re doing nothing particular, your are relaxed, hanging-out: a but like my holidays at home where I basically don’t do anything particular other than hanging around.

It’s interesting to see that the test is about “pulling” an object forward instead of “pushing”. I may be too influenced by John Hagel’s latest book “The Power of Pull” ;-)

The cool stuff starts when the helmet man starts visualizing something that does not exist in real life: making something disappear.

Applications are obvious in virtual reality games, domotica systems, all sort of gesture and thought based interactions, control an electric wheel-chair. In banking it would be nice is I could raise the balance on my account just by thinking about it.

What I do NOT like about it is that the “system” has some built-in leveling system. It makes me think of Jaron Renier’s fantastic rant / manifesto that I mentioned in my previous blog “you have to be somebody before you can share yourself”

Start mixing this up with some of the cool ideas like Mark Pesce’s Plexus which is a quite novel way of looking and using your social graph in a sort of

event driven pub-sub system

where you decide as a user

what you listen to and

who and what you want to share

with

Sometimes, I think of myself as a disc-jockey (which I was as a matter of fact for more than 15 years starting in the late 70’ies), and I very much like Ethan Zuckerberg’s description of a DJ in this also great TED 2010 video on our distorted world-views.

His talk is basically about

getting you out of your normal orbit, of stepping out of your usual “flock” of people you normally interact with (both on- and off-line).

Around min 15:30, he describes a DJ as a guide:

A skilled human curator, who knows what material is available to her, who is able to listen to the audience, and who is able to make a selection and push people forward in one fashion or another

Of course, I could now make jokes on Faithless “God is a DJ”, and/or refer to one of my previous posts called “We are as gods and might as well get good at it”, but I won’t do that.

Instead, I’d like to share with you the feeling of giving pleasure to my audience.

It’s something I feel while writing these blogs, and it’s a very similar feeling as being a DJ in front of an audience and pushing people forward.

Its has a same sort of stage-fright

when starting a gig,

and the same sort of excitement

when you see your crowd getting

excited

As a DJ, I was doing some quite big gigs for 3,000 people or so, and my following community is not that big yet. But the feeling is the same, and everyday there are some more folks following my tweets. Some more reacting to my blog. Some more getting inspired by what’s on these pages.

So, I just continue doing that, and hope to inspire you to dream and execute your dreams.

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image

 

 

Have a look at this stunning gesture based interface with character Milo. First of all, it is more than gesture based. Milo also reacts to voice intonation, movements, etc

It is difficult to assess how much of this is a word-by-word script, or how much real interaction is going on here.

The most stunning effects are:

  • The women trying to capture goggles that thrown by Milo
  • The women moving the water with her hands
  • The women handing over a piece of paper, that gets scanned and taken over by Milo

It gives a sense where we are heading. Imagine this on your iPAD. My conservative guess is this will be real within the next 5 years.

This is very similar to what Oblong is doing with gesture based interfaces. See my previous blog on Oblong here. John Underkoffler indeed also said 5 years before this hits any PC.

Oh yes, in case I forget, Oblong will be at Innotribe at Sibos 2010 in the Smart Data track.

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Stumbled upon this very well made video (make sure you look at the annotated version of it).

image

Found via Brainpickings. Great example on how many emerging technologies and concepts — including ubiquitous displays, crowdsourcing, pervasive sensor networks and adaptive user interfaces come together.

When you look at this, think iPAD 2.0, think Identity 3.0, think your office of tomorrow.

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