If you have not heard of Dr. Sandy Pentland (http://web.media.mit.edu/~sandy/) and his team at MIT in Cambridge, Mass, lend an ear! After over a decade of research and development, Pentland, his team at MIT, and one of the many companies that he has founded, Sense Networks, has been developing and perfecting a science that has been considered one of the top 10 most innovative technologies by the likes of Dr. Stephen Hawking, who also showcased Pentland and team on his new series covered by The Science Channel called, “Brave New World with Stephen Hawking”. The science is called Human Dynamics and Reality Mining.
So why is this science, when applied to Unified Communications technology, going to provide organizations with the ability to enable their organizations with the highest level of productivity and in return, the largest ROI of any UC platform investment? Human Dynamics and Reality Mining science is being applied by Pentland and team today and is already resulting in unbelievable and instant ROI. Today, Pentland and team are applying this science in the form of mobile phone applications, necklace-based proximity markers, and conferencing room audio listening devices. For example, through mobile phones, which almost everyone on the planet has now, and definitely everyone coveting major cities across the world, Pentland and team can track where people are going, patterns in where and why certain individuals have similar social and purchasing habits, as well as which individuals and groups are more prone to health issues leveraging proximity markers and accelerometers. The benefit of this information, without divulging private information, will change how commercial organizations target their marketing, how the CDC may issue health bulletins in specific areas to those are walking the same path or joining together at certain locations based on how often they visit those location, and a wealth of other for-profit and non-profit opportunities. One issue that can be solved by this science is the ability to successfully/intelligently target communications, ads, business opportunities, bulletins, and social networking to mobile devices which is killing Facebook right now, and more importantly, Facebook’s investors, who are trying to figure out how to sell to mobile users of the Facebook platform. You can view a video overview of Reality Mining in action via the outtake from the show below:
Another prime example of how Pentland and team are showcasing Human Dynamics and Reality Mining is through proximity markers and audio listening devices. Applying this science and hardware at Bank of America in one of their incredibly busy Call Centers, Pentland and team were able to track, record, and analyze how Call Center employees were working, communicating, and interfacing with one another. Through this engagement, they noticed that the employees were more productive when they were interacting with one another, sharing experiences and helping one another through Call Center customer interface scenarios. Through the necklace-donned proximity markers, Pentland and team recorded when, where, and how the employees were interfacing with one another, not what they said, and through audio listening and recording devices, the team could identify which team members were most productive by looking at human audio conditions identifying which employees were speaking most in certain meetings, which employees were contributing to the conversations through audible utterances, and when these sessions were taking place, applying the results from Call Center reporting and analysis of performance data. Applying one solution to the Call Center’s productivity issues, Pentland and team recommended staggering the employees’ coffee breaks so that they interfaced more with one another. Applying this change with identifying key employees who proved to be most contributing and productive in and out of meetings, and positioning these individuals precisely in certain new organization structures, resulted in a $15M savings to Bank of America through productivity gains alone without any money spent or new resources hired. To view an in-depth presentation and finding of these results, watch the following video:
How Human Dynamics and Reality Mining will empower Unified Communications is even more profound as the science is a perfect fit for the technology, which is why I’m sharing this information and why my team and I are investing our time in applying this science to UC platforms that offer an API (Application Programming Interface). Through the Microsoft’s UC platform with Microsoft Lync, especially with its 2013 release, we will offer the most immediate release based on ease of implementation and coding leveraging the Microsoft Visual Studio Platform that we are used to working within as our primary IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Through Lync 2013, UCMA (Unified Communications Managed API) 4.0, and the new Lync Server and Client SDKs, we are set to develop two initial solutions leveraging this applied science:
- Human Dynamics Bots – Creating Human Dynamics bots that will be added as services/contacts into existing conversations or managed through the Lync environment through a global listening and reporting service combined with Microsoft Lync and SQL Server, will provide the bot and/or service to subscribe to conference calls (Enterprise Voice, VoIP, and Video) and output productivity data based on individual contribution to the conference. This same service will also aid us in producing other applications to help with speech recognition via video conferences so that we can present definitions to subject matter/acronyms used during conferences that any attendee may not know about or are familiar with so instead of breaking up the meeting by asking, for example, “What does SIP mean?”, a visual definition will be make an appearance in the meeting console.
- Reality Mining Bots – Leveraging Microsoft’s Lync Mobile Client, we will register a contact/service that will also gather positional data as well as how users are moving/activity levels leveraging accelerometers which are present in all iPhones and most new smartphone devices.
By leveraging positional marking data, human audio analysis during conference calls, as well as a plethora of additional data, these initial services will be able to provide any organization with real productivity reporting, human analysis related to productive teams and resources, as well as at-risk information for human resources as well. The issue surrounding Human Dynamics and Reality Mining science right now has to do with privacy of the individuals being recorded and/or mined, but in reality, this information is already being recorded, but to provide some calm and ease, it’s not the actual context of what is being said, heard, or shared, it’s how the information is being shared, who I productively collaborating, and how organizations can restructure/reorganize their organizations effectively to provide not only significant ROI in these exercises alone, but actual dollar value ROI for their investment in a UC platform, which at this time even still, has been hard to prove due to significant soft ROI value.
So why am I giving away our R&D plan and communicating this capability? Several reasons stated as follows:
- Through Human Dynamics and Reality Mining, we can finally provide true and significant value and ROI to organizations investing in a UC platform.
- Through this applied science, we can finally understand if a re-org is necessary, possible, or benefited in actual increased productivity. This alone is huge. Quoting Dr. Pentland, “How many of you have been involved in a re-org in your company? “…did this actually result in productivity gains? How did you prove that?
- To establish a little bit of imminent domain as several other ideas that our small team has been working on have been leaked and/or developed by other providers, failing in the delivery of the actual result of our original intent and coincidentally confusing the marketplace at the same time showing similar available solutions for sale with the exception of only one actually working.
- To build awareness on Human Dynamics and Reality Mining as a science. This science will impact us profoundly and regardless if it’s applied to Unified Communications or not, it’s being worked on globally and Pentland’s team is working with global leaders already in making this science a reality from a government and commercial perspective, as well as providing individual services that we will be able to consume and leverage as individuals to make our lives better and more impactful.
For more information, stay tuned via http://www.evangelyze.net and this blog. I will be posting our results and findings online via our EC website, my personal blog and on LinkedIn via video and articles when available. I’m personally very excited about this technology and we are looking for partners, resellers, and distributors today to sign up for re-distribution of these services and applications with great margin as well as interested parties who want to contribute any venture capital to our broader investment in this and other applications we have in store for the industry.