EURIM – Digital policy alliance – new website


Our friends in EURIM have a new website Digital policy alliance.

They follow some interesting policy areas i.e.

  • Cyber-security and E Crime
  • Digital health services
  • Digital education
  • Broadband
  • UK at the centre of the Digital Single Market
I will be following it and posting more as I attend EURIM events

Digital Spark conference at Abertay University

There is an interesting conference at Abertay University called Digital Spark conference. I follow conferences that are Pro IP – this event appears to be related to IP and gaming. If you are interested, contact Elspeth Lawson info at who has some discount codes

Significance of Cloud based HTML5 gaming for Mobile Operators

I have been tracking itsmy for a few years now and there is an interesting announcement: 3 launches HTML5 cloud gaming based on itsmy cloud gaming platform(white label). The press release in German is  3 launches gaming experience in the cloud based in the itsmy platform

I explore the wider implications of this announcement here
Considering the emphasis Telefonica and others are putting on HTML5 and web based technologies, I think many Operators will see value in HTML5 gaming for the following reasons
  • HTML5 gives both a good experience and cross platform gaming – so Operators can support multiple devices
  • Support and updates through the Cloud – means that the Operator can save on support costs
  • The Operator provides the billing
  • The Operator can conduct trials through features like zero rating of data for initial uptake
  • Casual social games need low bandwidth (in comparison to traditional games even on mobile)
  • The Operator leverages their brand across devices
  • Games could include other Operator services(ex messaging)
  • Games could add social features – ex the ability to ‘follow’ other gamers
  • Casual games have a wide appeal and have a precedence through facebook gaming etc
So far, few Operators have ventured much into casual HTML5 gaming but for the reasons mentioned above, it could be an interesting trend for Operators

Open source Big Data Smart City algorithms …

Since my last blog about Big Data for Smart cities (Big data for Smart cities – How do we go from Open Data to Big Data for Smart cities, here are some more thoughts ..

Extending that, I propose in this blog the creation of Big Data Smart city algorithms which are Open sourced

I hope that this blog could be the start of something very interesting …

I proposed this idea to some folks from the Liverpool Smart city initiative. We plan to have a meeting soon about this soon either in London or in Liverpool – and if you are interested, please email me at ajit.jaokar at  but in any case, we will share more information here.

Open Source Smart City algorithms ..

 There is always the perennial question of: What makes a city smart?

 I have discussed these ideas before and the answer is broadly a mix of People, Grass roots innovation, Sensors, Open Data, Big Data (analytics) and technology.

To this mix, we could add ‘algorithms’. Extending the ideas of Big Data to Smart cities, algorithms could play a key role with Smart cities contributing to ‘what makes the city smart’.

 In a nutshell, I propose a plan to create Open source Big Data algorithms for smart cities. 

 The goal is to create and release Big Data algorithms for Smart cities as Open source(perhaps as an Apache project). By doing so, all cities could use these algorithms in their own way. If we use a license like the Apache License, we could also encourage various entities to create their own implementations.

The problem spans many domains .. So where to start?

The obvious starting point is to look at existing city level problems where algorithms could be applied. After this, we could look at Big Data algorithms and then apply these algorithms to City level problems.

By releasing them as open source, other cities could contribute to these algorithms.

 Smart cities and Big Data

From my previous blog, here are a list of services in a city that could be improved through data/algorithms

  •  Environmental services (ex: reduced pollution)
  • Recycling/waste disposal
  • Optimal use and location of infrastructure
  • Traffic management
  • Transportation
  • Consumer advice based on real time data
  • Healthcare
  • City Planning (zoning, construction, transport, airports)

Each of these, and many others, could benefit from algorithms based on Big Data.


Big Data algorithms

Now let us switch hats and look at Big Data algorithms

This space is still very new. But, here are some thoughts/resources

  • Many of the algorithms used for Big Data are Predictive analytics algorithms. Predictive analytics algorithms have been in use for a few years  and benefit for existing computing techniques. Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modelling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.(Wikipedia).  In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities. Credit scores are examples of predictive analytics. The difference is how to apply these techniques to very large data sets – Big Data. Specifically, in our case, how to apply these techniques to city level data.
  • In many instances, we may have to re-apply ideas from other domains to city level problems. Atbrox has a very good set of resources for mapreduce-hadoop algorithms. These include – Search, Behavioural targeting, Astronomy,  Social Networks, Bioinformatics/Medical Informatics, Machine Translation, Spatial Data Processing, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Data Mining, Clustering, mining large-scale rich-media data, Search Query Analysis Simulation, User-based collaborative filtering recommendation algorithms on Hadoop, Genetics, Approximation Algorithms, Game theory, Mining Algorithms of Data in non-traditional formats (unstructured, semi-structured). There is an excellent conference at Stanford university with papers in most cases – Workshop on Algorithms for Modern Massive Data Sets (MMDS)
  • Machine learning algorithms: Finally, there could be a role for machine learning algorithms such as NLP and Genome algorithms and libraries like Apache Mahout  . Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, is a scientific discipline concerned with the design and development of algorithms that take as input empirical data, such as that from sensor databases, and yield patterns or predictions thought to be features of the underlying mechanism that generated the data.


Adapting algorithms from other domains to cities

I have been fascinated by algorithms and algorithms how algorithms can take learning from one domain and apply it to another. So, I see many areas from which we could apply learning to Smart cities (as algorithms). Here is a fascinating example that says that the English language originated in Turkey!  So, this is very interesting. An algorithm from one area is applied to another with interesting results. The algorithm in this case is originally used to understand the propagation of viruses – phylogenetic analysis .These ideas for virus propagation were used to understand the origin of languages.

What other areas could we draw upon and apply algorithms to cities?

Why open source?

I am not a big fan of ‘one system to rule them all’ for Smart cities i.e. by definition, we will have a heterogeneous set of systems and technologies in a typical smart city. But trust is the most important element .. The PEW internet says that Some predict that algorithms will most negatively impact the lives of …

Here are some comments from the report .. (emphasis mine)

  •  Steve Sawyer, professor and associate dean of research at Syracuse University; an expert of more than 20 years of research on the Internet, computing, and work, wrote, “Our vision of the data is based on our vision of the world, and this vision is not very broad-minded when it comes to Big Data. We tend to emphasize the parietal insights of a particular form of economic thinking, and we tend to frame social analyses through a form of soft colonialism. Such bias, combined with the arrogance of technical competence, will create huge disparities between ‘what the data say’ and the lives of billions of people.”

  • Brian Harvey, a lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley, noted, “The collection of information is going to benefit the rich, at the expense of the poor. I suppose that for a few people that counts as a positive outcome, but your two choices should have been ‘will mostly benefit the rich’ or ‘will mostly benefit the poor,’ rather than ‘good for society’ and ‘bad for society.’  There’s no such thing as ‘society.’ There’s only wealth and poverty, and class struggle. And yes, I know about farmers in Africa using their cell phones to track prices for produce in the big cities. That’s great, but it’s not enough.”

  • Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles, owner and managing editor of, wrote, “With Big Data comes Great Power, and neither shall be used wisely for the common good. The objective is not to reveal opportunity for the elimination of scarcity among the many, but to identify fertile ground for exploitation and control.

  • Paul McFate, an online communications specialist based in Provo, Utah, said, “New media channels will continue to splinter consumers and enhance the social divide. Intelligent people will use the information well, but the average person will continue to look for bright shiny objects that will entertain. Abusive people will continue to abuse. Providing access to data does not change moral behaviour.”

  • Daren C. Brabham, an assistant professor of communications at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said, “Our reliance on algorithms is already proven to be problematic, evidenced by the fickle nature of the stock markets and other things. As we keep funneling the best and brightest mathematicians into algorithm-focused professions (like finance), we’ll continue to abstract real labor and real human concerns further away from real consequences and circumstances. This is a massive ethical problem, too.”

  • David A.H. Brown, executive director of Brown Governance Inc., a consulting business based in Toronto, Canada, noted, “Democratization is the issue; this has tremendous implications for social structure and social order (increasing pressure by ‘have-nots’ on ‘elites’) as well as privacy, family, and culture. A big unanswered question is who will control Big Data?  Whomever controls the information will have greater power and influence, and they may use this for positive or negative results.”

Thus, Big Data does not exactly engender trust with the public.

More so, when applied to Smart cities, there is an obligation for trust and transparency.

So, to conclude by making Big data algorithms for Smart cities as Open Source, I hope we can get contribution, transparency and trust . Any comments welcome. Please contact me at ajit.jaokar at if you want to contribute or stay in touch.


Image source: Apache Mahout project   

Comment on – Big data for Smart cities – Use of real time Big Data algorithms in smart cities

Pankaj Berde  sent an excellent comment below on - Big data for Smart cities – How do we go from Open Data to Big Data for Smart cities specifically on the use of real time Big Data algorithms in smart cities

Very well written white paper. One comment, HOP has fallen behind from its initial promise. The code is dormant for almost 2 years with very little interest. Two other initiatives are very prime for realtime/online/stream processing of big

 data. Twitter open-sourced Storm ( which is nicknamed as realtime Hadoop by many. Also Berkeley Spark ( is gaining popularity for being a fast in-memory alternative to Hadoop. and its streaming version ( might be another interesting technology for realtime analytics.

Another line of thought for realtime big data analytics is shift towards machine learning models . The NLP and Genome algorithms fit well for smart city big data insights. Mahout is another tool in this area. Still lot more needs to be done in moving forward from traditional data warehouse analogy of collect, mine, analyze, detect, predict insights.
A use case comes to mind is detecting crime/terrorist activities before it strikes using realtime machine learning techniques. The DW analogy to get insights will be too late in generating any meaningful insight.


Deepak Ravindran – Innoz

Deepak Ravindran – founder of Innoz is a great young entrepreneur whose work I follow.

There are many achievements of Innoz but its all the creditable because of his true entrepreneurial spirit ..

See this trending presentation on slideshare ..

Deepak sent me this profile which I have now updated on the blog

I am a 25 year old entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of Innoz, a leading mobile technology company based in India. “Some years ago – never mind how long precisely…nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” This (modified) opening quote from Melville’s Moby Dick perfectly captures my state of mind when I ventured out as an entrepreneur to avoid the job-seeking rat race and pursue something new.

I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur. My fascination with computers and internet began on a Pentium III & 56 kbps modem. The internet opened me a whole new world, i was hooked. I’ve always enjoyed wide-open pursuits where I can create and be unconstrained.

While in highschool, As a 16 year old boy, I sourced and sold tech magazines & cd’s  to fund my pocket money, while other kids were busy saving Super Mario’s girlfriend.

I founded Swades Solutions, in 2005 an offshore Web design/SEO firm. However, I did not take it forward to pursue a bigger dream. From the confidence of my first venture i moved to bigger and bigger ideas, realized that chasing bigger dreams give you more bigger space to think. I Never felt bad in failing , and never stopped experimenting stuff either. I also launched an ecommerce / deal website in the summer vacation of highschool and sold it to a friend of mine by the time I got admission for college.

At the age of 21, after joining Kannur University to study Computer science, I dropped out of college and co-founded Innoz along with my 3 other friends – Hisam, Ashwin and Abhinav.

We started a service SmsGYAN as our final year project. It instantly became a raving success inside our college campus which soon spread to other parts of the state and country.

Internet penetration is still low in India, and the number of mobile phones have overtaken laptops and PCs. This fact had motivated us to build a cost effective platform on mobile for instant information. Everybody—irrespective of age, location or vocation—has questions to ask. These could be simple or complex. And not everyone with a doubt has access to the Internet to get the answers.

Imagine being able to get all the information you ever needed by just sending an SMS! Well, SmsGYAN does just that. SmsGYAN delivers information from the Internet on to your handset without you needing to go online. “GYAN means knowledge in Hindi & the service is known as SMSGYAN – Spreading Knowledge through innovation.

SMSGYAN which currently has around 10 million users is nominated for Limca Book of Records 2012 for the largest offline search in the world. We have been able to answer more than 500 million questions from all parts of the country.

Never thought that I would become the person I am right now, but I never stopped in doing what I love. And I keep on doing it. My Greatest achievement is building a company that has integrity and a culture I’m proud of. I just turned 25 this year and was happy to find myself fortunate to be leading a team of more than 25 full-time employees having a wide range of experience and skill sets- some of them who joined from companies like Google & Facebook.
When we had dropped out of college to pursue our dreams, it was very difficult for us to convince our families, peers and faculty about our goal of being an entrepreneur, because every guy next door would prefer to opt for a well-paid job and soon get married.
Now here is a generation mind-set shift where we became job creators instead of job seekers and went ahead to recruit 70% of the staff from the same college. In fact, no one at our company ever misses college life because we consider ourselves to be a group of friends doing business.

Before dropping out of college, along with the other co-founders of Innoz, I have represented India in the finals of the DFJ-CISCO Global Business Plan Competition 2009 alongside the Georgia and Stanford teams.

In fact, my reason to drop out of college in 2009, while in the final semester was to join the iAccelerator’09 program in which we received the first external source of funding and were invited to join the incubator at Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship at IIM Ahmedabad.

Nowadays, I am frequently invited to student events at college campuses to motivate other young student turned entrepreneurs.

Innoz was selected as the Red Herring Global 100 and Asia 100 winner for 2010 as well as Nasscom Top 8 Emerging Companies in India for 2010.

I was among the MIT Technology Review outstanding innovators under 35, for the year 2011 and also an INK Fellow for 2011 in association with TED. I am also a fellow of a.) the Startup Leadership Program (SLP) which is a world-class training initiative of TiE Boston for outstanding founders, leaders and innovators who are or want to be startup CEOs and wish to be connected to a global network and b.) YCE, an organisation that creates opportunities worldwide and brings together digital entrepreneurs who use new technologies to deliver creative activities.

Ranked among the top C Level Tweeters around the world alongside Richard Branson, Evan Williams, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Hsieh and others I have a strong social media presence on Linkedin, Facebook & Quora.

My work has appeared in Forbes, MIT, The Sydney morning Herald, Economic Times, Times of India, Bloomberg UTV, Business Standard and more than a hundred other magazines, newspapers and blogs.

I believe Persistence is the key to success – There was initial trouble in cracking business deals with the telecom companies in India and having multiple doors slammed at my face. My being so young and carrying a CEO card seemed to amuse the MNC telcos.

One fine day at the Airtel campus in Gurgaon, I was lucky to meet and convince the head of new products inside a coffee shop. Through him, we cracked our first deal with Airtel, one of India’s biggest telecom operator. Very soon, all the other major operators in India – Vodafone, Aircel, Idea, Loop Mobile, Tata Docomo etc. were keen to avail our service. Currently, Innoz is working with the leading technology partners across the globe such as Wikipedia, Zomato, Rotten Tomatoes, Wolfram Alpha, Snapdeal, Vuclip, Wordnik,, Worldweatheronline, Bing etc. At the moment, around 50 Innozites work dedicatedly towards helping Innoz realize its vision – to become the best place for people to find information on mobile.


Internet freedom event in London

via Tony Fish – Internet freedom event in London



Not sure if you have already signed up to

but it is “I Stand for a free and open Internet”


Register for the event HERE

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

Expression: Don’t censor the Internet.

Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.

Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.

Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users’ actions.

Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.


anyway there is a Summer of Internet Freedom - = and there is a London event @ IW  Sign up here interview on CBS

lettrs is a new startup created by Drew Bartkiewicz who is a very clued-on guy who you should follow. Drew and I first met at the World Economic Forum where are both part of the Future of the Internet council.

See the video to get an idea of lettrs

Forumoxford 2012 conference – Oct 19 – a new vision and looking for speakers and sponsors


Every year, we have a vibrant event for forumoxford at Oxford University which I co-chair along with Tomi Ahonen

This year, we plan to introduce new features and potentially introduce a special session about crowdfunding. With the success of initiatives like kickstarter, crowdfunding could be disruptive for startups. This session about crowd funding will provide practical insights about the opportunities and  the pitfalls (hype). I expect this will be a big draw for the event!

We are also introducing a new vision. To explain our vision for forumoxford, I will use the analogy of the London Olympics

When we saw Beijing’s opening ceremony, the question was: How can the UK do better than the excellent show in Beijing?

The answer appears to be by going back to values that are uniquely local (in this case British) i.e. not trying to be bigger but trying to be different


By drawing on history but also looking to the future.

So, what can we learn from that success?

Forumoxford is a unique place

Not only do we draw from the history of Oxford University, we also have our own unique ethos over the past few years based on in-depth thinking and a vibrant community.

There are many places on the web where conversations take place like Linkedin Quora, Twitter, Blogs etc

So, in this context we, as forumoxford, can serve you better by going back to our unique history. We can never be ‘bigger’ but we can differentiate using three principles:

1) Using events to showcase ecosystem leaders: ecosystems are invaluable if you are starting new services or have new ideas. At any time, certain companies and players become leaders in an ecosystem. Our events will try to bring them as speakers.

2)  Thought leadership through papers: We introduce a new format where we seek five minute pitches for papers and if these are selected, the papers will be published as conference proceedings

3)   We use our network to provide value by providing through invited experts online or offline

The three themes this year will be : Tablets, M2M and Augmented reality

Ideas welcome and also speakers/sponsors

Please contact me at ajit.jaokar at if you want to speak / sponsor

We will post more details at forumoxford 2012 conference

Imsy – why the days of SMS are numbered ..

I saw this series of advertisements from Imsy. Its a company from India I had not heard of before.

However, the question ‘Still spending on SMS?’ should be a cause of concern for Operators.

This is not whatsapp (which I use and many here in Europe use as well) – but my point is this – anyone can create such a service in an era of Smartphones! The Operators cannot really stop it. This type of service will be the norm soon – and Operators cannot ban them any more.

They will of-course eat into SMS!