Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Digital Twins

Off late, I have been sharing some views on digital technology and how that is disrupting old business models and transforming human lives around the world. The man-machine interactions and near real-time availability of large data sets are opening new vistas in the industrial world. And, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smart things promise an intelligent future.
The concept of ‘digital twins’ was introduced by Dr. Michael Grieves of University of Michigan while he was working in collaboration with John Vickers of NASA. Industry giant GE is taking this concept to new heights. Gartner predicts ‘digital twin’ among top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017. 
What’s Digital Twin? Digital twins refer to computerized companions of physical assets that can be used for various purposes. The concept of the digital twin requires three elements: the physical product in real space, its digital twin in virtual space and the information that links the two. Digital twins use data from Sensors installed on physical objects to represent their near real-time status, working condition or position.

One example of digital twins can be the use of 3D modeling to create a digital companion for the physical object. It can be used to view the status of the actual physical object, which provides a way to project physical objects into the digital world. For example, when sensors collect data from a connected device, the sensor data can be used to update a "digital twin" copy of the device's state in real time. The digital twin is meant to be an up-to-date and accurate copy of the physical object's properties and states, including shape, position, gesture, status and motion.
In another context, Digital twin can be also used for monitoring, diagnostics, and prognostics. In this field, sensory data is sufficient for building digital twins. These models help to improve the outcome of prognostics by using and archiving historical information of physical assets and perform a comparison between fleets of geographically distributed machines.
Therefore, complex prognostics and Intelligent Maintenance System platforms can leverage the use of digital twins in finding the root cause of issues and improve productivity. Digital twins of physical assets combined with digital representations of facilities and environments as well as people, businesses and processes will enable an increasingly detailed digital representation of the real world for simulation, analysis and control.
While the digital twin was initially introduced in manufacturing industries, the applications will quickly grow in all areas of human endeavor; healthcare, retail, banking and finance to name a few.
Government and business organizations who adapt non-linear strategies would get benefited immensely with the new approach.
Key question. What’s the readiness to adapt digital twin in your organization?
*Picture and video courtesy: Internet sources and GE.
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Saju Skaria

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What’s in common with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Pope Francis, Patriarch Aphrem II, Dalai Lama, and President Obama?

Five Universal Citizens - Their actions transcend the geographical boundaries.
Dr Kalam, a saintly scientist who rekindled the imagination of Indians, rose from humble origins to become the President of India. This ‘People’s President’, as he affectionately called, was beyond caste, creed and political boundaries. This ‘modern day Gandhi’ was widely respected by the common men and intellectuals alike. In his passing on Jul 27, 2015, the world has lost a true leader who inspired generations through his pioneer services in science, technology, writings, teachings and visionary leadership.
Pope Francis, first Jesuit priest to become a Pope, affectionately called the common man’s Pope is reshaping the Catholic Church and also giving new directions on how to make the planet a better place to live. Pope Francis is well known for his humility, concern for the poor and also his commitment to interfaith dialogue.
Patriarch Aphrem II, leader of the ancient Orthodox Syriac Christian Church, came to lead the Church at a very difficult time in the Church history. He took over from a saintly predecessor and in no time has shown his ability as a worthy successor by fearlessly staying with the oppressed and raising the awareness of persecution people in the Middle East where Christianity was originated. He is also working hard for church unity and universal brotherhood.
The 14th Dalai Lama, arguably the wisest man living in this planet today, is well known for his discourses on wide ranging topics. His focus is on the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of human happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the preservation of Tibet's Buddhist culture, a culture of peace and non-violence.
The most controversial and potentially the most powerful among the list is President Obama, leader of the most powerful nation in the planet. President Obama, first African American President of United States, had to overcome early childhood challenges and social and racial prejudices to reach the highest office. He brought stability to the crumbling US economy and there by avoided global recession. He is also working hard to avoid wars and bring peace among nations.
What make all these people tick? What’s their life mantra? If we look at their life history, all of them have come up in life through hard times. All are great visionaries and outstanding communicators and devoted their life for a common cause; to serve the humanity. These are universal citizens and their actions transcend geographical boundaries. Let’s pick some lessons out of their lives and follow them to make the earth a better place to live.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goals for 2015 – Yes, You Can!!

First, New Year Greetings to all my friends and families around the world! May the New Year bring health, wealth and happiness to you and your loved ones!!

I thought of sharing some thoughts on how to make 2015 a fantastic year in your personal, professional and spiritual life. While this may seems to be a difficult task with so much in your plate, all you need is a bit of planning and focus to achieve those goals.

On the work front, work smart with plans and priorities which will yield better results than shear hard work. Surround yourself with smart, motivated and dynamic people who could compliment you in your efforts.  Stay away from emotional vampires and learned to say ‘no’ when required. Developing healthy habits and balancing is key; make sure you find sufficient time for sleep, exercise, eating well and taking care of yourself. Plan your leisure time and vacations in advance similar to business schedules which you plan well in advance. Don’t burn the candle on both ends, say ‘no’ to unplanned activities, if possible.

On the health front, have quantifiable and measurable goals. For example, commit to lose certain amount of weight within a specific period, keep your vitals within the specific margins, or participate in specific sporting events and achieve the desired performance levels within the specified timeframe.  As you know, the motivation does not last long unless you practice daily. Reward good behavior and punish bad choices. Compete with yourself, don’t compare with someone else, particularly when it comes to fitness goals.

On the spiritual front, try to connect with the higher being. Prayer and meditation would bring joy and happiness and will reduce stress significantly. We are here in this earth for a purpose. Know your calling.

Good luck!

Saju Skaria

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Marathon Story

I have joined an elite club of Marathoners on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the age of 50, covering official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles and 385 yards) in a road race at PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. Prior to this first full marathon attempt, my best running records were a successful completion of half marathon in 2013 and an unofficial run of 16 miles few weeks prior to the current marathon.

I am sharing this story with just one objective. If I can do it, anyone else can do it. I am not particularly athletic. In fact, I was impacted by arthritis several years ago and had even difficulty in walking. I was under medication for several years. One fine day I threw my medicine chest out and developed some discipline and mental toughness over a period of time to achieve this goal.

Life lessons of marathon: Unlike a sprint track which is often straight, a marathoner’s track may typically have twist and turns. As a consequence, the runner has to make constant adjustments for speed depending on the terrain, decide on when to take a break, when to sip that water, and when to catch his breath. If we draw parallels, life is like a long distance runner with constant course correction; it’s all about strategy and persistence.  Unlike a sprinter, in a marathon, you are not competing with someone; you are competing with yourself. Someone overtaking does not bother you. You run your race with patience, confidence in the game-plan, and steadiness of your pace, knowing and trusting your stamina, ability and timing, sure that you will catch up sooner or later with those who went on ahead.

Back to my story: Today, for me, running is a spiritual experience. When I run I transcend space and time. To me life is a marathon, not a sprint. For the many projects that I have undertaken in my workplace, spiritual organizations and in my family, I learned that what finally matters is the inner strength to finish the task at hand. Continued persistence that matters; to be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things that you learn out of your marathon experience.

Honestly, I was very ill prepared for the run; a week before I was down with flu and was bed ridden. I could barely move. My situation was not good even a day before my run. It was a battle between mind and body and my mind prevailed over my body.

My wife knew that I would do it, irrespective of whatever odds I may face. My daughter knew why I wanted to do it. And, outwardly the most courageous man, my son, was really scared of my health and well being and pleaded me not to go for it. I promised him that I won’t do any harm for myself. He is happy and relieved now.

Finally, I dedicate my first marathon run for my beloved daughter to fulfill her dreams!

Saju Skaria

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The first person you must lead is YOU

The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you—but it’s the most important one. If you do that well, then you will earn the right to lead even bigger crowds. Leading yourself well means that you hold yourself to a higher standard of accountability than others do. Leadership is a trust, not a right.For that reason, you must “fix” yourself earlier than others may be required to.

Dr. John C Maxwell, world famous speaker and bestselling author stated, “to lead others, first lead yourself”. Learning to lead yourself well is one of the most important things you’ll ever do as a leader. Most people use two totally different sets of criteria for judging themselves and judging others. We tend to judge others according to their actions. It’s very cut-and-dried. However, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Even if we do the wrong thing, we let ourselves off the hook if we believe our intentions are good. That’s part of the reason we allow ourselves to make the same mistakes over and over again before we are willing to make real changes.

Retired Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead, the first female West Point graduate to be promoted to general of US Army says, "The first person you lead is yourself. If you have to remind people that you are the leader, you're not." According to Gen Halstead, leaders need to train their brains to do difficult things, such as getting up to go running when they would rather sleep. They need to be physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally fit to think forward.

Thomas J. Watson, the former chairman of IBM, said, “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” Leaders receive very little fanfare for quietly leading themselves well day in and day out. Most people are unaware of the disciplines their leaders practice or the sacrifices they make outside of the spotlight.  However, they don’t do it for recognition; they do it for results.  What leaders do day-to-day always pays off in the long run.  Success or failure isn’t an event, but a process.
Kind regards, 
Saju Skaria

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Global Marketing Challenges!

At the current modern stage of development the problem of strengthening the compatibility of an enterprise and its production is getting more and more urgent. Today the competitive fight is a sound step towards to the civilized market, with such notions as costumers’ demands and the products themselves to be met. One of the key elements that guarantee market success is the development of the competitive product of high quality. The development of an innovation product, as I think, is one of the most risky processes, as unsound product decisions lead to huge losses. Product decisions affect greatly on the compliance of a producer interests with those of a consumer. In general, innovation goods development covers the following problems:
– the development and introduction of new product on to the market;
– product modification;
– diversification of goods and their discontinued line;
– products elimination.
Thus, for decision-making on development of the new goods carrying out of marketing researches which has specificity for the industrial enterprises is necessary. The aim of the article is mechanics of marketing researches of new product and developed algorithm of their conduction. Theoretical and methodological basis of this article is formed by the research of
Ukrainian and foreign scientists in the sphere of new goods, analysis of the effectiveness of new product testing under market conditions; as well as state laws and regulations that regulate business activities in Ukraine.
There are rational approaches to the determination and analysis of marketing research to new product. The theory of innovation development was formed in the middle of the 20th century. The conceptual approach to the innovation theory was carried out by J.Schumpeter. He considered the innovation to be the change of the production technology and to have the essential meaning and importance. The modern theory of new products development is based on the results of foreign researchers of business. They underlined the importance of thorough testing of new goods concept at the early stages of the development of a new product. They considered that it is essential to make the diagnosis of goods market portfolio and only then you have to analyze new goods development strategy. According to him the introduction of these rules are quite natural and they are dictated by our life, as any idea never comes out from nothing: the search for the idea must be based on the accurate assessment of market demands. Thus, offered the following list of stages of a product innovation process:
1. goods market portfolio diagnosis;
2. the strategy of new products development, generating ideas, selection and choice;
3. economic analysis;
4. development;
5. testing.
But other scientists (Karakai, Starostina) prefer another consequence:
1. to elaborate of ideas;
2. selection of ideas;
3. idea development and its testing;
4. business-analyse;
5. the analysis of possibilities of production and sale;
6. the development of a product;
7. testing under the market conditions.
All mentioned above shows that there is no unique approach as to the development of innovating products, with the marketing approach involved. I mean the focusing on the research at the stage of generating ideas and their selection and with piloting marketing as well. In the article methods of logical results generalizing, economic and statistics methods of analysis, structural and functional analysis, as well as graphic analysis were used.
            Carrying out of marketing researches has the specificity for development and deducing of the new products on the market. The concept of marketing of innovations is one of the main things of marketing activity of the enterprises policy. Paramount problem of services of marketing at the enterprises becomes carrying out of marketing researches with the purpose of revealing of a short-term level of demand and consumer motivations, presence of competing products and services and opportunities of an output of a novelty on the market. Thus there should be a communication between developers and experts in marketing for decision-making on innovative development of a product. In the given communication it is meant an innovation not only introduction of a new product on the market, but also other innovations, such as:
1.      the new or improved kinds of production (product innovations);
2.      the new or improved services (innovation of services);
3.      the new or improved productions and technologies (process and technological  innovations);
4.      the new or improved industrial systems.
Importance of marketing researches consists in the following: First, speed of occurrence of innovations has increased ability of experts in marketing to expect consumer behavior. The classical approach at which under each new idea marketing research was carried out Secondly, change in behavior of consumers. The aspiration to correspond to desires of consumers, led to occurrence of various novelties with the improved properties. Thirdly, the technology of carrying out of marketing researches leads the commercialization of production. Results of researches really give an opportunity to develop new and to modify the existing goods. Fourthly, today in market space firm’s in potential of networks dominate; with existing resources of a network allow providing automatically acquaintance with the new products among a wide audience of consumers.
New products development is at the cross-roads of marketing, scientific-technical and production decisions. And the main attention is focused on costumer’s needs, determination of market segments and niches in connection with technical possibilities of using achievements of science and technology to develop and promote more affective new products. The task of a new product planning consists of the search and development of alternative variants of product policy, analyzing their possible chances and risks. Within the view of improving the results of planning actions it is important to pay attention to basic problems of product innovation, which are the follows: generating ideas stage, ideas selection stage and ideas realization stage (piloting marketing).

Business Ethics!

            Ethics, fairness, trust, and freedom from corruption are all part of the social capital of country, and social capital matters in financial markets because investors consider not only the available information when assessing the trade-off between risk and return but also how much they trust the accuracy of the information and the fairness of markets. The experience of WorldCom, Health-South Corporation, and Enron Corporation teaches investors that even information issued by U.S. companies cannot always be trusted, and their experience with the colluding behavior of NASDAQ's market makers and many reports of insider trading teaches them that they are not always assured of fair markets. Deficiencies in ethics and fairness mark all markets, but such deficiencies are more pronounced in some markets than in others.
Ethics and fairness in the financial markets of a company are reflected, in part, in people's assessments of the fairness of trading practices, such as insider trading. Why is insider trading considered more unfair in some countries than in others? And what can be done to improve levels of ethics and fairness around the globe? These are the questions I address in this article. I present assessments of fairness in financial trading by people in eight countries.
            Culture, religion, and politics explain some differences in levels of corruption among countries. Egalitarian or individualistic religions, such as Protestantism, encourage challenges to power, whereas hierarchical religions, such as Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Islam, discourages them. They found that Protestantism is associated with lower levels of corruption. The effect of political structure on corruption is nonlinear. Partial democratization may increase corruption, but established democracies inhibit corruption. Researchers have reported that 40 years of democracy are required for countries to become less corrupt.
Differences between ultimatum game offers in societies of vastly different standing in the global economy, such as those of the United States, the Polynesian Lamalera, and the Amazonian Machiguenga, are large. For example, although the mean offer in the ultimatum game played in Pittsburgh was 46 percent, in line with offers in other developed markets, the mean offer in the game played among the Lamalera was 56 percent; among the Machiguenga, it was only 25 percent. Some of the differences in offers to differences in market integration and differences in payoffs to cooperation. The Machiguenga, Peruvian hunter-gatherers, ranked low on ultimatum offers and also ranked low on payoffs to cooperation. The Machiguenga are almost entirely economically independent at the family level, so their well-being does not depend on cooperation with non-relatives. In contrast, the economy of the whale-hunting Lamalera depends on the cooperation of large groups of non-relatives.
In addition, there is little market integration among the Machiguenga, whose members engage in market exchange only infrequently and whose way of life would change little if markets were to disappear. In contrast, market integration among the Lamalera is substantial. Ensminger (2004) noted that the idea that people in developed market economies are more fair minded than people in societies where markets play a less prominent role seems counterintuitive because markets are often accused of undermining the moral foundations of society. But she found support for the idea in the work of earlier scholars, such as Montesquieu, who wrote in 1749 "wherever there is commerce, manners are gentle. . . .commerce polishes and softens barbaric ways" (vol. 2, no. 8). Current levels of trust reflect past economic structures; current culture affects future economic structures. He related the prevalence of family business in Italy's Tarza region, where levels of trust are low, to its economic history of sharecropping based on long-term contracts between landowners and heads of the families who contracted on behalf of the other family members.
Leaders are change agents. Leaders should be responsible for building ethical organizations where individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.