Your Future; Now available in real-time

cobblestones (road)Imagine you have an automatically and real-time updated agenda – it continuously adapts your schedule to meetings taking longer, predicts and updates in real-time your travel-time to the next meetings and will adapt your schedule because it ‘knows’ that typically any meeting with your best client always takes 30 minutes longer than you originally plan it for.

A proof of concept conducted by the Atos Scientific Community looked at this aspect of predictability and took the data of the traffic in the city of Berlin to see if it was possible to do real time traffic forecasting (RTTF). The result is in a recently published white paper.

  “RTTF enables a prediction (within 1 minute) of sensor data streams for the immediate future (up to four hours) and provides traffic condition classification for the upcoming time period based on the forecasted data.”

“The forecast provides a suitable time span for proactively managing upcoming incidents even before they appear.”

The team took a radical different approach to the challenges of today’s traffic management. Instead of proposing another reactive traffic management IT system with some smart analytics, the team targeted successfully a proactive traffic management approach which provides analytics solutions to predict critical events in advance before they appear.  Using historic data and artificial neuron network technology, predictions are created for the intermediate future and utilized to determine the traffic status of the upcoming next four hours. Based on that information, actions can be taken proactively to mitigate or avoid future upcoming events. Utilizing the software and bringing in data scientists with an understanding of the context was the next step. This helped in defining the right parameters and a pattern based strategy (PBS) in place.

“Being able to identify patterns out of the existing data, model them into patterns and come up with a system that can provide reliable predictions is a remarkable achievement in itself, but the true value of PBS is being able to apply such capabilities to strategy definition and decision making.”

Working with the subject matter experts the team identified multiple models that were then consequently implemented in the software. The models are important, they avoid that you are trapped into simplification; when a car is driving slowly, it can be because of a traffic jam, but it can also be an older person driving more carefully.

By introducing the concept of ‘flow’ – the number of vehicles passing a sensor each hour – the team could identify 4 different states, which were in themselves also parameterized by looking at road capacity, speed limits, etc. This information is then fed into a look-up table based complex event processing engine in order to predict, within 1 minute, the traffic situation at given locations.

Because in real-life the historic data is continuously refreshed with the actual events of the past time, the system will be able to predict in real-time the situation on the road.

The proof of concept clearly showed that a self-learning system, combined with a complex event processing unit and the help of some subject matter expert data scientist can accurately predict the future – the white paper shows this in some great details.

  “Real Time Traffic Forecasting is an excellent example of how data sources and identified patterns can be exploited to gain insights and to develop proactive strategies to deal with upcoming events and incidents. It enables a short term view into the future which is long enough to act on predicted incidents rather than react on occurring ones”

For me this proof of concept shows the benefits of data analytics in everyday life, and I am looking forward to this future.

This blog post was previously published at 

Ascent Journey 2016 – the future trends in IT and business explained

Atos just announced the publication of Ascent Journey 2016 – Enterprise Without Boundaries

"Ascent Journey 2016 is a unique and comprehensive document where Atos’ Scientific Community presents its predictions and vision for the technology that will shape business through to 2016.

It builds on Journey 2014 – Simplicity with Control and is enriched by the new challenges which have now
emerged in reshaping both society and business alike.

Our research suggests that the convergence of key issues affecting Demographics, Globalization and Economic Sustainability, underpinned by Trust, will see a new way of working emerge in which traditional barriers no longer exist, but where security and privacy are more important than ever."

Exiting stuff and I am honoured to say I was part of the editorial board who produced this document.

More information and download here.

Press release here.



How are my friends helping you make the change?

[This blog post is a repost of ]

Are you a good manager?

That may be a difficult question to answer these days. Different managers manage different things and therefore need different skills.

Their skill set can be seen like a Swiss Army Knife, on which every item on the Army Knife represents a different skill.

Now, let us talk about your skills to manage change. You will easily find out you need not only knives but also scissors, pinchers and most likely other items on the Army knives as change is a complex thing to manage.

The Atos Scientific Community also studied the aspect of organizational change and came up with an additional toolset for you; Social Network Analysis.

The reason for looking into this was the overall feeling that social networks show the informal organizational structure of a company.

This is addressed in a whitepaper on the subject:

“Informal networks have always played a huge role in how works get done in organizations, as many strategically important networks don’t reside on the formal organization chart. Good managers have understood the role of these networks and people who know how to leverage them. “

I already knew that and you probably did so too. However, making sure you understand this informal network before you implement a change was always a very difficult thing to do.

You must recognize that, after the change, your employees, team members and others will be able to tell you why moving a particular person to another part of the organization was a bad idea; you yourself may even notice that some parts of your organization are not running smoothly anymore. So you change something again, and again, and again.

There is another way:

“(…) what is different today is that there are now tools & methods available to get insight in these informal networks. That is what Social Network Analysis (SNA) does. It helps you to find out the underlying, informal structure in organizations. It involves the mapping and measuring of these normally invisible relationships between people and provides the company with an organizational X-ray. Key in understanding and managing networks is to find the critical connectors or the unofficial organizational roles.”


“Would it not be great if you could reveal the real experts in your enterprise and who is accessing them. Target opportunities where increased knowledge flow will have the most impact and also detect information bottlenecks. Or detect opportunities for increased innovation, productivity and responsiveness. “

These insights in the way we can utilize social networks to implement successful changes in your organization is addressed by the authors.

There is even a bigger benefit. By using Social Network Analysis in a structured way, you may find a method to continuously change your organization to meet the changing business goals and still be as effective as possible.

Understanding your blind spots in your social connections may even be as important as understanding your portfolio and your competition:

“There are no “right” or “wrong” network structures; there are just networks that may be less effective in achieving their goals. If (…) organizations undertake social network analysis, it can help them to find the blind spots and manage the gaps which can lead to smarter organizations. “

Do you agree? Are you already using Social Network Analysis for organizational change? Do you see pitfalls, problems and obstacles? Let me know.

My interview in “Finance On Windows”

I was fortunate to be invited for an interview in the global magazine "Finance On Windows" (the digital edition can be found here). The interview, titled "The Forefront of Innovation", focused on the role of the Atos Scientific Community and my role as a track leader, focussing on Cloud Computing.

(Paul…) has a personal interest in alternative delivery models and cloud computing in particular. When asked if he considers cloud computing to be transformational, he explains that it depends on one’s definition of the term. "If you consider cloud computing to be a means of standardising IT, it isn’t particularly transformational," he says. "But if it is seen as a means of allowing IT to behave as a service, then that is very significant indeed.

The full interview can be found here (it is on page 26). Other topics can be found on the website


Forget about getting a new phone – get your BrainCap today

a human brain in a jar


During my summer holidays, I re-read Arthur C. Clarke’s books; 2001, 2010, 2061 and 3001. The last one in the series, 3001:The Final Odyssey is arguably the weakest book in the series when you compare to its predecessors. But as always Clark gives us, also in this book, new technology wonders and marvels, he envisions to enrich our lives.

Most notably for my blog post today, in his book Clarke introduces the concept of a “BrainCap”, ‘a technology which interfaces computers directly with the human brain’ (Wikipedia).

Today, I encountered a similar device on TED.COM. In the video, Mrs. Tan Le, shows how far we have come in new computer interfaces. With a device costing no more than a couple of hundred dollars, she shows in minutes, what can be expected when we all would be wearing these devices.

Arthur C. Clark of course suggested that the devices would be implanted, but hey, he is a science fiction writer. Btw, he wrote the book ‘3001’ in 1997 and that is 13 years ago.

Anyhow, enjoy the video – it is about 10 minutes long and next to the awesome demo, the presenter also clarifies very well how everybody’s brain is different (sigh of relief).


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