A Breezy Summer – Artificial Innovations

This weekend I had the opportunity to go shopping at the local mall. Since it was raining, and I needed to pick up quite a bit of stuff, I decided to valet park. The initial nice surprise was that valet parking was free! The next nicety, was that when I arrived the attendant merely asked me for my cell phone number. I immediately got a text message with links to my electronic valet ticket, and although parking was free the opportunity to use my credit card for a tip.

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Almost immediately, the gears in my head began to turn slowly as my internal “workflow engine” thought process neurons sprung to life. Working at Avaya has taught me many things, but one thing it has taught me, is to always be watching for innovative new ways that technology can be applied to improve a process that already exists. When I’m asked what I do for a living, or what Avaya does, I typically respond that, “Avaya connects people with the information and resources that they need, when they need it, and then empowers those resources by providing additional information needed to complete the task “.

That being said, here is the workflow behind my new AutoValet™ Breeze™ Snapp-In application, using common off-the-shelf technology openly available today.

A car enters the parking lot, and the license plate reader scans the plate.

If an account exists, AutoValet™ sends an SMS message to my phone with a link to my electronic valet ticket.

If validation is required, merchants can simply scan the QR code on my electronic valet ticket, or provide a validation code in a text message back to the AutoValet™ application.

On my way out of the M all, I click on the link in my electronic valet ticket, indicating my departure, and providing an opportunity to pay if appropriate.

A text message is sent to the valet attendant with all of my vehicle information, as well as payment confirmation if needed.

When I arrive to the pickup area, my vehicle is there waiting for me, and the financial transaction is eliminated, unless I want to give him a few extra dollars for this wonderful new customer engagement and digital transformation that I just experienced!

AutoValet™ can send me monthly statements, let me manage my account, add additional vehicles, and associate specific mobile numbers with one or more of those license plates.

As the account owner, I can be notified when any vehicle utilizes the service, letting me know who has used it, and where.

New accounts can be set up online in advance, or by simply responding to the initial license plate scan with a keyword such as “NEW ACCOUNT”. The application would  then deliver a webpage that would allow a new account to be established.

This is simple Artificial Intelligence. Not the scary kind of AI, but the assistive side of AI. This is a helper application designed to make human employees more efficient in the tasks that they already perform. In this case, this AI is nothing more than a tool. Too often I hear horror stories about what people believe that AI is all about. And like most other things, ignorance is bliss.

That being said, I think we all have opportunities to innovate and elevate our lives through technology. In the 1950’s, Charles J. Fletcher, my father was working on vertical takeoff aircraft as a Pilot and Commander in the United States Navy.  With vertical takeoff being a difficult engineering challenge, my father came up with an alternative solution for the problem. He eliminated the rough ground problem by floating on a cushion of air, and this basic concept has become the primary technology behind today’s hovercraft.

One of the many life lessons taught to me as a child growing up, was to look at the ways that a problem could not be solved, determine the roadblock, then eliminate it. What will remain, is an innovative path that no one has thought of before.

So I challenge you, one day during this next week, examine what you are doing, and how you were doing it. Identify those annoying repetitive tasks that you do over, and over, and over each day. Then think about how that process could be made “artificially intelligent”, by adding some common logic to eliminate those repetitive tasks. I honestly believe that what you’ll find is some incredibly new innovative ideas. Now, go invent something great!

fletch-sig

NG911 and Big Data – Is It TMI?

It’s no secret that, according to VcloudNews, humans and machines generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of information each day on the Internet. How big this is? It would fill 100 million Blu-ray discs, which if stacked, would measure the height of four Eiffel Towers on top of each other. With this much data being generated, we reached a point in our lives when humans can no longer be expected to process information at a usable rate by themselves. This is where the “Age of Artificial Intelligence” needs to come into existence if we are going to utilize this information in any useful way.

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Understandably, AI scares people. We are often afraid of what we don’t understand. However, when used properly, AI can be an assistive technology and not in control. Intelligence is already built into some of the most common events in our lives. For example, after washing, I put my clothes in the dryer. I use the automatic setting, and press start. I’ now free to walk away, go for dinner, or even take a nap if I choose. The dryer is “programmed” to run for a period of time, and on a newer machine, a sensor indicates the moisture content of my delicates. In either case, when criteria is met, the heat shuts off and my close continue to tumble for a period of time. This simple logic has made my dumb clothes dryer “artificially intelligent”.

This can be applied to any process, including many predefined procedures found in public safety 911 centers. Remember though, this is not about replacing the call taker or dispatcher; it is about providing them with relevant additional information, based on predetermined indicators, helping them arrive at a decision point quickly.

Let’s look at two outcomes of the same scenario, first using today’s technology, and then using artificial intelligence to augment and assist in the decision-making process.

David is speeding down the highway in his 2018 GM vehicle. His fiancée Susan is sitting next to him in the passenger seat. A deer runs out impacting him head-on. David violently swerves into the median, where the car overturns four times landing on its roof leaving both occupants unconscious and seriously injured. Sensors in the vehicle detect the high Delta-V (rate of deceleration), the deployment of both passenger and driver airbags, as well as the detection of specific crush zones on the vehicle.

Today:
The in vehicle system (IVS) generates a call to the OnStar call center, flagged as an emergency. The call is routed to an ACD queue staffed by emergency medical dispatchers. Vehicle data and location information appears on their screen. An attempt to communicate with the occupants verbally is initiated, and a three-way conference with the public safety agency responsible is started. Information is passed on verbally to the 911 call center, where local protocol for dispatch is followed.

Tomorrow:
The same situation initiates a different process or workflow. In addition to notifying OnStar and attempting to get a call taker in verbal contact with the vehicle, an IP enabled SIP session is set up into the local Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) where the 911 call taker is presented with the telematics data and bridged into a three way audio bridge between the vehicle, the OnStar call taker, and the PSAP. The system does an analysis of the data, indicating an 80% chance of entrapment and lower leg trauma on the driver.

The dispatcher is prompted to dispatch recommended resources which include heavy rescue, advanced life support, and a medical air evacuation unit. They also have the ability to edit resources desired and then dispatch with a single button.

Bed counts and staffing levels are examined at the local hospitals, the availability of an orthopedic surgeon and operating room is determined, and based on big data, a destination facility is recommended. A single touch to confirm or edit, and the data is on its way to the hospital where staff can prepare for the patient arrival.

This situation has brought to light the efficient use of AI to determine the best response and action, all while remaining under complete control of a human. Resources become more efficient and effective and are available sooner for other missions. While many may be afraid of AI replacing humans, thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies, I don’t see Skynet being right around the corner.

An added benefit is that AI is available from the cloud, making it affordable to agencies from New York City in a large-scale deployment, or as small as Sparta Police in New Jersey with their two positions, where I cut my teeth on dispatching 37 years ago.

It’s not about building a data center to process data in the building anymore. It’s about using the cloud through multiple resilient paths; sharing the workload with other agencies who will also be available to provide coverage and backup for when “the big one” hits, no matter where or when that might be. This radically changes the curriculum for a Public Safety career, however the skill sets required are also taught for positions in the commercial space, and best practices remain across verticals.

Screenshot 2018-05-06 17.20.35

As I’ve said before, AI is not just about HAL, and getting pod bay doors open.
Besides, in addition to being intelligent, HAL copped an attitude . . .

But in reality he was just programmed that way.

fletch-sig

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