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Stephen Wise Blog

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Those Incredible AI Flying Machines

About 120 years ago in Manhattan, Nikola Tesla demonstrated a boat he piloted from the edge of a pond. Apparently, the audience took it as more of a magic show then a technology demonstration.

Today start-ups are promoting flying vehicles that do not require a human pilot. These innovative companies are applying their products to improve productivity and profitability. The business case is easier to understand then the technologies involved – an AI enabled flying vehicle could work longer, faster, and more reliably on certain repeatable tasks then a drone with a human pilot.

A drone without AI is a device with sensors collecting data - a human pilot is still needed. A drone with hard-coded responses to given conditions (such as maintaining height given changing terrain) is fun but not equipped for demanding tasks.

AI enabled capabilities allow human-like performance in reasoning, problem-solving, and planning for specific tasks without ongoing human intervention. No one wants to look at thousands of images 24 X 7 in order to pick up anomalies. The ability to give the drone a general mission and specific tasks to be completed in a safe and reliable way opens the door for commercial applications.

Farmers could continually scout their fields to test for issues related to disease, irrigation, or infestation. For example, follow the crop furrows and identify sectors that require additional spraying. Energy companies could monitor their transmission lines and pipelines for early signs of damage. For example, do a high-speed pass monitoring for signs of encroachment or corrosion and a repeat detailed pass when certain warning signs are found. These are not new practises – but in the future, decisions can be made based on acquiring more complete data faster, and less expensively.

Tesla received a patent[1] for controlling his boat but did not achieve commercial success on that one. New high value enterprise applications for AI enabled flying machines are imminent. What is your company doing in order to participate?

Stephen D Wise

Integration Professionals

Dramatically Improve Traction


[1] Method of And Apparatus For Controlling Mechanism Of Moving Vessels Or Vehicles. Nikola Tesla of New York, N.Y Patent No. 613,809 (1898)

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Delivering Business Transformation Strategy

Michael Porter’s books on Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage led me to embrace Project Management. That is, I have frequently said, a company that invests in Project Management is making an investment in their competitive advantage. Less frustration delivering value, less disruption to teams, improved engagement, etc.

Porter’s Five Forces and the SWOT analysis are now inadequate as concrete underpinnings for strategy design. Strategy is still important, but the amount of change driven by disruption, innovation, and transformation means that the interpretation and implementation of Strategy – which occurs during the delivery – requires a high-touch feedback loop.

An increased importance in the strategy delivery does not mean that strategy design is less important – it means that executives must give equal personal priority and attention to designing the right strategy as to delivering.

Here are three key tips for executives to stay engaged in the delivery phase of business transformation strategy. Governance – Decision Making – Planning & Re-planning.

Governance – Build a governance structure that reinforces the accountability and responsibilities for the vision. Ensure the team is adequality resourced in terms of experience and availability. Review and address risks and interdependencies at the beginning and periodically and through the realization of accumulated benefits. Insist on a complete set of regularly reported metrics and milestones.

Decision Making - Move quickly to re-prioritize and remove roadblocks that are uncovered despite a lack of complete information or analysis. Accept changes to time and budget milestones based on new information from the working team.

Planning & Re-planning – The less time you have available – the more important it is to have a robust plan. Don’t forgo detailed planning, but in today’s business environment planning and re-planning must be rapid and agile. Documenting tasks, task owner, and interdependencies are as important as schedule and budget. Issues impeding success should be discussed regularly and recommendations to tweak the plan fed up to the executive team in order to ensure alignment and ongoing support.

Delivering strategy is like going on an expedition through a deep jungle. Every so often you will get to a hilltop and be able to asses how things went so far and what new landscape is coming in to view. An executive that spends time and money crafting the strategy needs to protect her investment by staying available and engaged for those hilltop moments.

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

Dramatically Improve Traction

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