Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How about facial recognition from more than two miles away!

I was researching the convergence of various industries (robotics, security, etc) with geospatial trends...and a real wow popped out...from an article back in April 2004. Since then silence:

The U.S. Air Force's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Battlelab (UAVB) has tested software that can pick desired features out of UAV video long before they become visible to the naked eye, according to Lt. Col. Timothy Cook, chief of the UAVB's Combat Applications Division. Based at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the UAVB's mandate is to take existing hardware and weapons and integrate them with UAVs. The recognition software originally was developed for the Nevada gaming industry, to automatically spot problem gamblers when they enter casinos, Cook said. "It's based on the dimensions of your face," he said. "If I trained the camera on your face, it would plot the distance between the pupils of your eyes ... the length of your nose, the width of your mouth."

Intrigued by the possible applications to UAV surveillance video, the UAVB conducted a test last year at Eglin using streaming video from a Pointer UAV. A captain's face was entered into the computer as a search item, and the UAV was launched. "It starts beeping on this clump of trees," Cook said. "And they had to drive the UAV about another two miles before they could get close enough [to see] there was a vehicle underneath the trees." The captain whose face had been loaded into the computer was sitting in his truck eating lunch. "It found his face through the trees, through the windscreen, in the shadows of the trees, and we went, 'Wow, we need to explore this,'" Cook said. While the UAV Battlelab continues to pursue the Digital Imagery and Video Object Tracking software's application to operations, the technology also has found its way into the classified world, Cook said

THOUGHTS: Can you imagine how much more sophisticated the application is now after 3 years. Facial recognition via satellite? It's ironic that such technology might drive male combatants in the Middle East to wearing burqa's.

KEYWORDS: Facial recognition, UAV, intelligence, software

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Carbon emissions trading - on the cusp of a boom?

Check out the just published Hill & Knowlton survey of 420 senior execs with USD 100 million plus companies in the United States, UK, Canada and China. It reports that:

  • While 82% of the respondents closely monitor the issue of global warming, 65% said that they don’t yet have a defined energy strategy to deal with it.

  • 65% said that no one within their organizations is tasked with defining the company’s energy strategy.

  • 52% identified improved corporate reputation as the most important return on investment for environmental programs.

  • 38% rated actual carbon emission reduction as the most important metric for return on investment for environmental programs.

Further to the above, I also ran across the “Preliminary results for the year ending 31st December 2006” of the Climate Exchange Plc. The Climate Exchange plc operates the world’s largest markets for trading carbon credits; the European Climate Exchange and the Chicago Climate Exchange. The report details a dramatic growth (be it from a low base) in global the carbon trading market…for example CLE chairman Richard Sandor reports:

"The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) saw its average daily volume increase by 610% over 2005. Total volume in the Carbon Financial Instrument (CFI) for 2005 was l.4 million tonnes, which grew to 10.3 million tonnes in 2006. For the first quarter 2007, average daily volume increased by 167% over the figure for the full year 2006. Our list of members also grew dramatically. We closed 2005 with 131 members which increased to 238 in 2006."

THOUGHTS: Both these reports signal that despite a sea change jump in global corporate interest in climate change, most businesses have yet to develop coherent strategies to engage the challenge. Those businesses that are acting have focused their reduction strategies around carbon emissions trading (Cap & Trade).

And that the growth in carbon credit trading in the US and Europe is explosive. And clearly the stock markets get it too. Just look at the financial share price rise of Climate Exchange Plc (CLE).

The is great news for the planet!

KEYWORDS: Climate Change, Sustainability, Carbon, Footprint reduction

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Accelovation’s web crawler agent identifies and matches needs with solutions

An exciting new service offering has just hit the research market. Mountain View, California based company Accelovation has just launched their market-discovery software which crawls the Internet to identify emerging market needs/trends, and potential solutions to meet those needs. In a recent PC World article Jens Tellefsen, vice president of Accelovation products described the service “We will identify any statement that talks about a need for something, or a claim or solution for something. That can be an individual talking about how annoying it is to cook, or to use a particular product, to people that are dying or suffering from some disease . . . to companies that are looking for new ways to do something.”
The initial Accelovation service offering available is not cheap. Customers currently pay between US$50,000 for a few sets of searches to over US$100,000 for annual subscriptions. Accelovation say they already have two dozen customers in the Fortune 500, including 3M, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Clorox. Speaking of future plans Tellefsen said “We're rapidly moving forward with new offerings that will be more suited to small- and medium-sized companies, and be more automated and packaged in a way that makes sense to them.”

THOUGHTS: An automated needs and solutions search and matching software agent sounds compelling. There could also be an explosive demand for additional matching applications if only Accelovation could make them affordable, to not just SMEs, but individuals. Imagine the convenience and value proposition for consumers of an Accelovation dating or travel planning engine. A sort of yellow pages on steroids? I’m guessing that unfettered success will require Accelovation to move to a “free” model funded by context relevant advertisements like Google’s Adsense service

KEYS WORDS: Search, Research Internet, Trends, Matching, Needs, Solutions, Software, Service, SME, Consumer, AdSense