Tag Archives: BEB

Machines That Read Your Mind

In the 1980’s, the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) made the human brain visible in ways never seen before. Doctors were able to see brain structure and the soft brain tissue of a living object. This type of detail was only seen previously during autopsies.

During the 90’s, the fMRI (functional MRI) came into its own. The fMRI detects blood flow revealing brain activity which makes it possible to identify which parts of the brain react to scent, visual recognition or even sound.

The fMRI is in transition once again. Though still in development, the fMRI will soon allow scientists to track the condition of our mind with more precision. As researchers analyze the vast amount of data generated by brain scans coupled with the latest computational techniques including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, scientists are beginning to resolve how our physical brains form our mind.

The research may have a significant impact on marketing, police work and computer interfacing and may even allow the preservation of memories even after an individual has passed.

Some mental functions activate several parts of the brain at the same time. The fMRI can detect that activation and machine learning deciphers patterns into specific descriptions that include what a subject is thinking or doing. In an article published in the WSJ by Jerry Kapalan, Kaplan said’ “It’s like going from identifying individual letters to reading words and sentences.” That’s big!

Studies show that people’s brains organize and process the same information in similar ways. Collaborators in a 2011 study were able to correctly identify which of eight mental tasks a subject was performing 80% of the time, based solely on looking at their brain scans.

The evolution of brain reading continues with Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). This emerging functional neuroimaging technology offers a relatively non-invasive, safe, and low-cost method of monitoring brain activity. fNIRS is the measurement of near infrared (NIR) light that takes advantage of the optical window in which skin, tissue, and bone are mostly transparent while blood flow is a stronger absorber of light allowing for a more in depth reading of brain functionality.

The ability to decipher this type of technology raises questions about the privacy of our thoughts. It may lead to a world where our mind is subject to a search warrant or become a matter of public record leaving the ever pressing question of who should have access to those thoughts, and how they should be used.

Computer Education

Global spending on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to reach $35.8 billion this year. That’s up 44% from last year. It’s expected to double to over $79.2 billion by 2022.

Below are some terms that will help you to better understand this exploding and learned  technology.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) –A subfield of computer science, information engineering, and AI focused on interactions between computers and human language.  When text or speech is input and it can be read or extract meaning.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)- Sometimes called machine intelligence, AI is intelligence demonstrated by machines. These machines mimic “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.

Deep Learning -Sometimes referred to as deep structured learning or hierarchical learning, it is part of a broader family of machine learning methods based on artificial neural networks.

This powerful statistical technique is used for classifying patterns using large data sets and ANNs (Artificial Neural Networks). Deep learning neural networks have been applied to fields including natural language processing, social network filtering, drug design, medical image analysis, and game programs. They have produced results comparable to and in some cases superior to human experts.

Machine learning (ML) -The scientific study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to effectively perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. Machine learning algorithms build a mathematical model based on sample data, known as “training data”, in order to make predictions or decisions without being explicitly programmed to perform the task. Machine learning is closely related to computational statistics, which focuses on making predictions using computers. The study of mathematical optimization delivers methods, theory and application domains to the field of machine learning. Data mining is a field of study within machine learning, and focuses on exploratory data analysis through unsupervised learning. In its application across business problems, machine learning is also referred to as predictive analytics.

 

 

BEB Wins Hermes Creative Award

We are so excited to share the news that BEB has been awarded a 2019 Hermes Creative Award. The Hermes is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

This year there were over 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and
dozens of other countries. Entries came from corporporate marketing and communication departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, design shops, production companies and freelancers.

The Hermes competition is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and
Communication Professionals (www.amcpros.com). The international organization consists of
several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who
contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations. Hermes entrants are not charged entry fees to enter work they produced pro bona. In addition, the efforts of generous marketing and communication professionals are acknowledged through grants and special recognition.

Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent
exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.
Winners were selected from categories grouped under advertising, publications,
marketing/branding, integrated marketing, public relations/communications, electronic media
and pro bona.

This marks our third award for the work done on a project so near and dear to all of the BEB family; The Run for Rama.

Informed Address Where There’s No Address At All!

The Postal Service has put an emphasis on enhancing the customer experience by evolving the marketing in the digital world. The USPS is now piloting a new technology platform called Informed Address (IA).

The concept will enable mail to be sent and delivered without a physical address. Instead, Informed Address allows recipients to use identifiers that include email, social media handles, or a custom name for mail processing and delivery functions.

Informed Address will replace the delivery point with a unique code where the usual IMB (Intelligent Mail Barcode) is substituted with an “Informed Address IMB”, which contains the physical address information. This allows customers the enhanced privacy and identity protection, as marketers will no longer need to obtain or hold a physical address for their mail communications.

During the testing period, the USPS will assess consumer engagement, gauge mailer interest, and determine technical feasibility. This new technology provides the opportunity for marketers to provide additional services, including vanity address development and enhanced targeting for B2B and B2C marketing.

The Urban FF Center

What is larger than 14 football fields, has twice as many robots as human workers, and handles 50% more inventory than traditional warehouses? – Amazon’s first New York City distribution center.

Located in Staten Island, this urban fulfillment center can package more than one million items a day during its busiest period even though the site is 20% smaller than a typical Amazon fulfillment center.

In urban settings, space must be used with military precision combined with automation that allows for building up rather than spreading out. Computerized pickers that are approximately the size of a robotic vacuum, pick up inventory that is stored on shelves and then deliver the items to a human associate at a workstation. This limits the number of steps an individual has to take and allows storage of more goods in a robot-only section of the fulfillment center.

Smaller warehouse and fulfillment sites is a good example of how online sales are reshaping logistics in the US.

USPS Driverless Test Run

The US Postal Service has entered into a contract with self-driving truck startup TuSimple to haul mail between Dallas and Phoenix. Founder, Xiaodi Hou says that this USPS pilot gives them fuel to help validate their system and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.

TuSimple will complete five round trips between May 28 and June 10 while a safety engineer and licensed driver ride along in the cab. Its Level 4 self-driving system (see below for self-driving categories defined), uses 8 cameras to detect cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles over one-half a mile away, even in inclement weather.

TuSimple’s camera-based system allows it to achieve three centimeter (1.18 inch) precision for truck positioning even in inclement weather and tunnels with real-time decision making. By keeping aware of traffic flow ahead, trucks are able to maintain a given speed more consistently than human drivers which can cut fuel consumption by as much as 15%.

The USPS has been interested in self-driving technology for a long time. In 2017, a report published by the Inspector General detailed plans to add semi-autonomous mail trucks to its fleet as early as 2025. Placed into service on 28,000 rural routes, they would free up about 310,000 postal workers to sort and deliver packages.

TuSimple has R&D labs in San Diego and test facilities in Tuscon. It expects to close out 2019 with a 200-truck fleet in the US and a 300-truck fleet in China, making it the largest self-driving truck solutions company in the world.

Later this year, TuSimple will operate several self-driving trucks for 22 hours each along the I-10, I-20, and I-30 corridors through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It says freight along the I-10 corridor accounts for 60% of the US’s total economic activity. It expects its semi-autonomous trucks to be a frequent sight along that route in the months ahead.

Self-Driving Systems are categorized by five-levels:

Level 1- Driver Assistance-Under specific conditions, the car controls either the steering or the vehicle speed, but not both simultaneously. The driver performs all other aspects of driving and has full responsibility for monitoring the road and taking over if the assistance system fails to act appropriately. Cruise control is Level 1

Level 2- Partial Automation- The car can steer, accelerate, and brake only in certain circumstances. Maneuvers such as responding to traffic signals or changing lanes largely fall to the driver, as well as scanning for hazards.

Level 3- Conditional Automation-The car is able to manage most aspects of driving, including monitoring the environment. The system prompts the driver to intervene when it encounters a scenario it can’t navigate. The driver must be available to take over at any time.

Level 4 -High Automation-The vehicle can operate without human input or oversight but only under select conditions defined by factors such as road type or geographic area. In a shared car restricted to a defined area, there may not be any. But in a privately owned Level 4 car, the driver might manage all driving duties on surface streets then become a passenger as the car enters a highway.

Level 5- Full Automation-The vehicle can operate on any road and in any conditions a human driver could negotiate.

BEB Wins Communitas Award

We are so excited to announce that Business Extension Bureau has earned our first Communitas Award.  The award represents Excellence in Community Service and Corporate Social Responsibility for our Run for Rama 5K.

Communitas, a Latin word meaning the spirit of Community is an international effort to recognize corporate programs involving volunteerism, philanthropy or ethical, sustainable business practices which benefit communities. Presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), this several thousand member organization hosts international competitions for marketing professionals involved with the concept, writing, or design of marketing programs using print, visual or audio.

Communitas nominees are evaluated based on the extent and effectiveness of their program. This is an international competition and previous winners include recognizable companies such as MasterCard, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, Toyota, and Vonage.

The statuette symbolizes peace and harmony and was created by the same firm that crafted the CLIOS, Golden Globes, MTV’s VMA, and Academy of Country Music Awards!

The Run for Rama 5K means a great deal to Business Extension Bureau and our “BEB Family”. We are honored and humbled to be recognized for this event which is so close to our hearts.  (click here to learn more)

Mail Professional Certification

This year, in an effort to better serve you, our operations managers, client services
representatives and executive staff are becoming Certified Mail Professionals from the
program provided by global think tank and industry giant, Idealliance.

The Certification requires 11 hours of classes covering 28 modules that focus on postal
compliance and regulations. This comprehensive training has been challenging and spawned a lot of lively discussions.

 

PIGC Women in Print

We had a fantastic time today at the PIGC – Printing Industries of the Gulf Coast #WomenInPrint luncheon at Harold’s in the Heights. Our very own Joy Zehrbach was the feature speaker!  The topic? Social Media Blitz.

Women representing the printing and graphics arts community of Houston gathered today for networking, education, and comradery.  Our Angel Vierna & Veronica Comisso were there too.  Participating in industry education and networking events is a priority to for us.  Our Joy Z also serves on the Board of the PIGC, and Angel & Veronica serve on the Graphic Excellence Awards planning committees.

Postal Rate Hike Approved

It’s official.  The Postage Rate Hike has been approved and will take effect on January 27, 2019.

Prices were approved raising rates approximately 2.5% across the board. Shipping Service price increases vary by product. For example, Priority Mail Express will increase 3.9 percent and Priority Mail will increase 5.9 percent. Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Shipping Service prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions.

The new prices include a 5-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 50 cents to 55 cents.  Click below to review Price Comparisons by Type of Service.

FIRST CLASS COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison First Class 2018-2019

MARKETING MAIL COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison Marketing Mail 2018-2019

NON PROFIT MAIL COMPARISON – BEB Postal Rate Comparison NP 2018-2019

2019 POSTAL RATE GUIDE – 2019 BEB Postal Rate Guide