Category: Update

Being Digital in the DX Age

I am reviewing the Manifesto on Human Factors Engineering and making updates. In the meantime, what follows below was a draft introduction letter, which was left unpublished when releasing the Manifesto last year. Blue text shows new updates. As far as this post’s title is concerned, DX refers to Digital Experiences. The same acronym is also used for Digital Transformation initiatives.


Claude E. Shannon, the father of information theory, is credited with being the first to use the word “bit” in a ground-breaking paper published in the Bell Labs’ Research Journal in 1948. He defined a mathematical framework that defines information and how to encode and transmit it over communication networks.

John E. Karlin, the father of Human Factors Engineering and a peer of Shannon’s at Bell Labs, is credited with assembling the first business organization addressing the human side of the equation just a year earlier. His interdisciplinary team focused on how to interface and, therefore, best design communication systems that account for cognitive and behavioral matters, as well as form factor considerations for devices to be user friendly.

In the Age of Digital Transformation, the notion of “being digital” has transcended the sophisticated handling of binary digits and what we can do with tangible hardware. Data driven automation and the notion of zero-touch lead to the development of end-to-end digital systems that are largely software defined and autonomic. These are engineered to be highly efficient and to operate without human intervention… or so we thought.

That feat can only be accomplished by undertaking a holistic design approach which, paradoxically, highlights the larger context and the new nature of Human-Machine-Systems. Otherwise, we would incur a technical myopia where presumably good technology ends up addressing the wrong problems or causing new ones that offset the intended benefits. In the digital age, technical prowess alone does no longer guarantee success: impressive inventions can fail to “cross the chasm,” fall in the “valley of death,” and never become true innovations to their creators and investors’ dismay. Passing the Turing Test just to plunge into the uncanny valley paradox also reinforces that point.

DX HMS Capability Model

Note: the above draft chart is not self-explanatory, requires some updating and I will better address it on another post… but I’d like to leave this version here for ongoing discussions and feedback.


Being digital entails a new breed of jobs enabled by workforce automation. Any of us may become a citizen developer who can leverage self-service and intuitive decision support systems to create, blend and program services, because automation does the heavy lifting under the hood. Interdisciplinary collaboration is now within reach as teams involving individuals from different domains can effectively share these tools and the underlying resources to overcome the pitfalls and diminishing returns of organizational fragmentation. Enterprises can better innovate and further business opportunities by engaging in rapid experimentation with nimbler teams working at greater scale and scope, and by doing so at unprecedented speed.

At the time of writing this, and in the foreseeable future, no enterprise system is left alone without a human being accountable for its performance (or lack of thereof) since our skills and judgement remain key to critical and ultimate decision making. The more sophisticated the environment, the more obvious, as smaller agile teams become responsible for systems operating at greater scale, scope and speed.  Dr. Alonso Vera, Chief at NASA’s HSI (Human Systems Integration) Division, states that “humans are the most critical element in system safety, reliability and performance […] across the gamut of applications even as increasingly intelligent software systems come on-line,” Human-Centered Design and Operations of Complex Aerospace Systems 2017.

It should also be noted that best practices in A.I. are promoting the kind of augmented and collaborative intelligence that only Human-On-The-Loop and Human-In-The-Loop Computing can deliver. A.I. is also powering up Affective Computing to make day-to-day digital services be contextual, empathic and adaptive, and allowing for mass-personalization at scale. We are also leveraging Natural Language Processing coupled with Dataviz helping better search, discover and visualize insight and foresight with interactive infographic quality, instead of just rendering data overloading screens and overwhelming navigation.

These are all good reasons to further our understanding of how to best leverage analytics, automation and programmability to design enterprise and consumer systems driven by a human-centered approach. The desired outcome is greater utility, frictionless consumability, dynamic adaptation and, last but not least, extreme ease of use at any level throughout a service’s lifecycle. That’s the fertile ground that enables new cross-pollination opportunities to enable a better future, which continuous improvement sets in constant motion and, hence, always is in the making.

Being digital is a human experience and, as such, it involves human affects. That relates to how we perceive our predominantly analog world and the diversity of our social and cultural fabrics. We interact with a great deal of objects and services of all sizes which can, and will be, digitized and automated in some fashion. We will continue to lead our lives in a variety of changing contexts and perform numerous tasks throughout the day, some routinely and some exercising more demanding skills with both low and high tech in that mix. So, it pays to think of Human Factors Engineering as not only having pioneered human-centered-design, but as an endless source of serial innovation for Creative Technologists to address our evolving lifestyles and quality of life in the DX Age.


Belated Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to you all. First, I’d like to share that I am grateful for your interest in my blog: this past year’s feedback turned out to be very encouraging, registered about 11,000 views and @innovarista shows in excess of 77,000 impressions in 2015.

These numbers are fairly modest and won’t “break the Internet” : ) but they do exceed initial expectations and fully justify the effort. Besides, I really enjoy all the conversations and emails that follow some of my posts, all incredibly insightful. That alone makes any time I spend on blogging worthwhile. Thanks again.

By the way, I picked up my new NOKIA badge just yesterday. I am proud to continue to work with some of most talented individuals and innovative teams in high tech. NFV, Network Functions Virtualization, and all the work with the Cloud Innovation Center remain my job’s main focus. Stay tuned.

One can only feel humbled about all of that as well as other very rewarding opportunities such as joining MIT’s and IIT’s Boards serving IDSS, a new Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and the Entrepreneurship Center respectively. I would also like to show my appreciation to those involved in IIT’s Real Time Communication conference and IEEE’s CQR, Communication Networks Quality & Reliability.


LEFT: MIT Engineering Systems Division. RIGHT: IIT Entrepreneurship Center.

I took the above winter wonderland picture in my neighborhood. See you in Barcelona’s wormer climate at Mobile World Congress in just a few weeks. 

Wishing you the best for 2016 and beyond!

Celebrating a new patent : )

“Bell Laboratories (also known as Bell Labs and formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) is the research and development subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. The historic laboratory originated in the late 19th century as the Volta Laboratory and Bureau created by Alexander Graham Bell […] Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the UNIX operating system, the C programming language, S programming language and the C++ programming language. Eight Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.”Wikipedia

“More than 32,000 active patents, more than 3,000 obtained in 2013, 14,900 pending applications […] recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Top 100 Global Innovator.”– Alcatel-Lucent.


I recently received a letter from Craig A. Thompson, Senior Vice President with Alcatel-Lucent’s Intellectual Property Group letting me know about my third patent, which called for a celebration. See below “Method and Apparatus To Enhance Security…” as well as the other inventions that I am involved in.

I would just like to share that I am very proud to team up with some of the best professionals in the high tech industry and, moreover, to get to work in an environment that inspires innovation.

As I am writing this, I cannot help thinking that I am fortunate enough to benefit from a culture where we are:

  • embracing diverse workstyles to get the job done
  • promoting independent thinking while fostering teamwork
  • crediting everyone’s efforts and celebrating individual and collective achievements.

My experience is that this also leads to plenty of opportunities to discover, explore and create new things, most of which happen to be about solving and improving everyday things, the kind of stuff that is not necessarily subject to formal patents ; ) 

Active patents:

Method and Apparatus To Enhance Security And/Or Surveillance Information in A Communications Network. “Existing video surveillance security approaches enhanced with suitable functionality of the telecommunications wireless network are provided. Security personnel are equipped with hand-held devices capable of recording video, photos, audio, and text. This data is geo-tagged and time-stamped by the application and uploaded to the telecommunications network and stored in the network. As such, the geo-tagged, time-stamped information is immediately available to other investigators who are in the same geographic vicinity through access controls administered by a secure social network. The information may also be accessible from remote locations via the internet. All wireless and Internet communications may be protected using end-to-end secure transport layer communications protocols.” – United States US8775816.

Multicasting High-Definition Video Content To Consumer Storage. “Example embodiments provide methods of delivering content from a content provider to a plurality of users connected to a network. In one embodiment, an indication of available content items is received at a content management server from a content provider. An indication of the available content items is provided from the content management server to the plurality of users. The content items include at least one of programming content items and advertisement content items. A content item is selected from among the available content items for delivery. A group of users from among the plurality of users is determined to receive the selected content item. The selected content item is caused to be transmitted to the group of users via multicast streams.” – Japan  JP5525619 and Korea KR101353103.


A Method And Apparatus For Secure Payment Using A Network Connectable Device. “An apparatus and method for completing a payment transaction using a network-connectable device is disclosed. When a payer initiates a payment transaction to a vendor using the network connectable device, a unique identifier and current geolocation of the network-connectable device are sent to a payment server together with a server payment transaction message containing information about the payment transaction. The payment server compares the geolocation with the vendor location and one or more predetermined locations associated with the payer, for example, a home or workplace. Upon a successful comparison, the payment retrieves a third party payment record from a mapping database and uses it to complete the payment transaction with a third party payment processing system.”

Cross-Domain Privacy Management Service For Social Networking Sites. “A cross-domain privacy management service for social networking sites is implemented in a communication system including a user platform operably connected to an application platform. The application platform accesses one or more social networking sites on behalf of a user to obtain indicia of privacy settings of the user and displays the privacy settings via a graphical user interface accessible to the user independent of the social networking sites. The user may interact with graphical icons via the graphical user interface to change privacy settings of one or more impacted sites, and the user changes are communicated to the social networking sites via the application platform on behalf of the user.”