Here is a small sample of my projects, industry firsts and other achievements.
The projects described here are mostly large-scale projects involving the development of core technology. These projects required sustained effort and investment. However, I have conducted numerous short-term vision or feasibility exercises for clients, such as Acision, Navteq (acquired by Nokia), Microsoft, Vodafone, Naspers, GSMA, Ericsson etc.
I am also a partner at Interpret Design (ID), a design-thinking business focussed on the design-led application of AI. If you need to figure out the strategic application of AI using design thinking, contact me.
Cryptographic store and trade of digital receipts for luxury goods as a retailer ecosystem play
Client: Veryfine Inc. (Bay Area, US / London, UK)
Combining my expertise in blockchain and my experience in e-commerce, I was asked by a luxury brand to look at technological solutions to tackle brand fraud. This led to a proof-of-concept in blockchain protocols for retailers.
There are two types of fraud - blatant knock-offs and deceitful trading of goods claiming them to be originals. The latter has led to specialized websites like Fight Club who act as an intermediary in a secondary market sale and do work to authenticate the goods as a middle-man.
I looked at using blockchain to produce point-of-sale digital receipts that are transferable. Of course, physical goods are still subject to fraud, but this mechanism helps to reduce the fraud whilst creating an expectation that real goods come with real (i.e. authentic and provable) receipts.
Automated verification of loan applications to enhance CX and capture more business
Client: Prosper Inc. (Bay Area, US)
Having completed a Horizon 3 engagement (see next story) in blockchain-based lending, I was asked by Prosper to look at a nearer term problem of automatic document verification for online lending. Speed of closing the loan is a major competitive lever.
Using a novel ensemble of computer vision techniques, I single-handedly built an advanced image-processing pipeline that, unlike conventional "check deposit" systems, could analyze check images at any angle and with any degree of background noise, such as a user might casually snap with their mobile camera. Under such noisy conditions, it far out-performed leading vendor solutions including Google Cloud Vision.
The end result is an easier and quicker application process as part of a category-defining experience. Speed = money.
Decentralized lending on blockchain to create "Blue Ocean" technology Leadership
Client: Prosper Inc. (Bay Area, US)
No industry is exempt from digitization, including the oldest industry on Earth: lending. Prosper Inc. pioneered marketplace lending, connecting lenders with borrowers via the Web. Consequently, loans are closed quicker than banks using optimized digital orchestration and advanced machine learning to quantify risk parameters.
But what's next? I developed a set of blockchain protocols that would allow frictionless instant lending, and even pre-emptive lending and "smart money" (read my article on Medium). This is more than just publishing loans on chain. That would be like storing photos of dollar bills and calling it "Bitcoin". Hardly!
This work was part of an engagement to explore technological futures and IP generation as a future-proof vehicle for growth via category-defining user experiences (instant "smart" loans)
Listen to a podcast interview with me about blockchain.
Interactive kiosk platform as customer engagement enabler.
Client: Twilio via AlphaPunk Ltd (EMEA)
Via my brother's design consulting firm in the UK, I was hired to build an interactive marketing platform for Twilio as a means to both collect customer data and demonstrate the use of their messaging platform for customer engagement purposes.
This used entirely cloud-based services (per Twilio's ethos) to handle real-time customer interaction, responses and marketing analytics, including insight generation.
Cognitive color harmonization technology as enhanced product experience enabler.
Client: Art.com (Bay Area, US)
Color sits at the center of any decor project. However, the computational, biological and perceptional reality of color are very different. For example, it is insufficient to merely count the number of pixels in an image and use the most frequent color to characterize the art, as is done by naive algorithms. Color perception is highly influenced by saliency, or what we find interesting in a picture. That said, what we find interesting has a perceptional and biological reality. It is possible to hang a picture in our lounge, glance at it a hundreds of times and yet fail to notice its true (veridical) colors.
I helped develop some of the world's best color technology that used perceptional techniques to match colors. Additionally, I built an algorithm that could describe the colors of any piece of art using the vernacular of an interior designer (as modeled using the language on interior design blogs).
Klio digital art platform as new business venture
Cllient: Klio.com (Bay Area, US)
After completing extensive analysis of how to solve the Discovery problem in art (or wall decor), I helped create a skunkworks project to build a novel digital art display.
Following initial demonstrations, I was told by the CEO that he would fund an initial trial if I proved the business case and did not suck resources from the current roadmap.
This meant using our existing labs team to take on the whole shebang of creating an art platform, a hardware device, the embedded software and a mobile app. Oh yeah, and we also created a novel file player format (called .art) so that artists could make long-playing artworks that evolved over time (up to 1 year). And we created a network of early adopter artists.
The pilot was a success with over-demand for devices and a number of key patent grants.
AI-Generated Art Discovery/Curation to Fuel Growth
Cllient: Art.com (Bay Area, US)
Discovery of art and decor (or any aesthetic product) is complicated by the tendency of users to say "I know what I like when I see it". As consulting Chief Scientist I led research using AI, biology, psychology and design to find software methods that could predict what a user might like upon seeing it.
The work was done in a "innovation lab" that I directed. Some of the concepts are documented in this slide share.
Among other things, I invented a method to discover the theoretical limits of how quickly a user could "like it when they see it". This was an extension of X's work at MIT.
The work generated significant IP for the client that positively impacted valuation multiples. It was part of a wider brief to deliver a technology vision to accompany the marketing vision of Ivy Ross, now VP of Design at Google.
Real-time stream processor as new revenue stream building IoT "performance" platform
Client: McLaren Applied Technologies (UK/US)
McLaren is a tour de force in the world of high-precision F1 racing and luxury sports cars. McLaren's brand sits atop a reputation in "performance engineering".
I was hired by McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT) to extend the reach of "performance engineering" to new clients by architect a sensing platform that could ingest data from any number of IoT devices and process the data in real-time.
The work built upon the heritage McLaren had established with real-time sensing of F1 racing cars. The goal was to establish a platform and revenue stream for the fledgling new technology division and attract clients in the "performance sports" industry (e.g. Nike, Specialized etc.)
The platform and vision became central to the initial growth and reputation of MAT.
Telco "Platformization" for Internal/External Product Acceleration for Market Differentiation
Client: O2 UK
I was a technical co-founder of an "intrapreneurial" unit inside of O2 UK and Telefonica R&D (Spain) where I formulated the idea of "Operator 2.0". Projects I created include:
#Blue - a text-messaging API built using "lean" methods and modern software techniques at 1/10th the cost of historical product costs: one of the earliest applications of "Lean" inside of a large org.
O2 Incubator - the first start-up incubator created by a telco in Europe, sponsored by Sir Simon Devonshire who went on to run Telefonica's Wayra London.
During this engagement, I evangelized the concept of Connected Services and wrote a book to explain. It has been widely read by carrier executives globally.
Chief Architect and Head of Labs, Motorola EMEA to create new business unit
Motorola hired me as a technical "co-intrapreneur" to help build a brand new business unit that offered scalable apps services to carriers.
My job was to create and evangelize compelling use cases throughout the EMEA region, including mobile and IPTV.
Additionally, as hands-on technologist, I architected solutions, including content management systems, mobile TV platforms, voice services, push-to-talk and music streaming using SIP signaling extensions.
I also created a "Mashing Lab" in Chicago for building service mash-ups. We built the world's first location-based taxi-hailing system that also included single-click voice connections between driver and passenger.
CEO of Magic E Company, Europe's first mobile apps start-up.
Client: IBM, Compaq, Credit Suisse, Glenayre, Lucent Technologies, O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile etc.
I quit my only ever job (Motorola, chip designer) to start Europe's first mobile apps company, some 10 years before iPhone.
I am a recognized pioneer in mobile apps and earned many patents, accolades and eventually a US "Einstein" visa solely based upon my contribution to the mobile industry. I was repeatedly approached by Google and Yahoo with job offers. I built a team that created many world's firsts:
Design of world's first GSM carrier base-station chipset
As a chip designer for Motorola, I led the vision and execution for the world's first chipset radio. This revolutionized the concept of cellular by enabling base-stations to be mounted cheaply and at much higher densities than previously imagined.
Aside from architecting the entire chipset, I designed (and patented) an on-chip co-processor optimized to accelerate a number of computationally intensive algorithms for GSM. This work led to the Enhanced Filter Co-Processor (EFCOP) on the world-leading 24-bit 56xxx DSP family.
The chipset radio was worth hundreds of millions of net radio orders for Motorola whilst significantly improving profit margin.
This work received multiple patents and awards, including nomination for patent of the year award amongst ten thousand engineers. It also formed part of the case that led to the award of an unsponsored "Einstein" visa from the US government.