Too many business decisions are unrepeatable: they’re based on hunches and back-of-envelope analysis. The future of services is all about applying scientific and mathematical rigor to how businesses are run. There is a need for models, tools and algorithms to drive informed, highly effective, repeatable, and consistent decision-making processes.

At HP Labs, we’re developing these decision-making tools. One of our major research goals is supporting strategic decisions that are, by their very nature, idiosyncratic, unpredictable, and relatively infrequent. These decisions rely on a mix of information—structured, unstructured, and judgmental. At the other end of the spectrum are decisions made in areas where terabytes of data exist, but analytical solutions don’t yield consistent insight and value.

Through projects in operations and personalization, we’re bringing new data types and sources into play. We’re transforming the effectiveness of complex business processes to create and sell better, more relevant offerings. And we’re inventing and developing the next generation of analytical technologies and solutions that take advantage of the information explosion---bringing personalized experiences to individuals and unprecedented operational efficiencies to the enterprise.

Services and Solutions Projects

CrowdCloud: Human Augmented Cloud Computing

Optimization of business processes through data collection and sophisticated analytics has become a strategic imperative for enterprises worldwide. CrowdCloud supports this imperative by cost-effectively augmenting automated processing with on-demand, crowdsourced human intelligence. CrowdCloud research will focus on creating an intelligent distributed platform for human augmented cloud computing that orchestrates the use of human intelligence with best-of-breed cloud-deployed technologies. By leveraging large populations of young, mobile-equipped and often underemployed people in countries such as India as an elastic workforce, CrowdCloud will enable a new breed of business optimization solutions that offer affordable, intelligent analysis at the enterprise scale. In doing this, project researchers will address hard technical and social challenges in incentive mechanisms, intelligent result aggregation, optimal task scheduling, human-augmented machine analysis and mobile microtasking.

Future School: Online learning for the 21st century

Education and learning are poised for a huge transformation due to the development of portable computing devices, digital text books, pervasive networks, user generated content, and cloud computing. There is an opportunity to create personalized, collaborative online learning systems in the cloud that can enable better learning experiences and minimize economic, geographical and time constraints. Future School is an online learning platform, deployed initially in India, which will offer text-and-video-augmented learning. It will enable anyone with a computing device and internet connection in any part of the world to access quality education at an affordable cost.

Situational Awareness in Healthcare

This research project focuses on solving the technical challenges required to simultaneously improve healthcare in three dimensions (operational efficiency, safety and clinical outcomes, and patient and healthcare staff experiences) to create a radically improved experience for providers, patients and payers. Our fundamental insight is that healthcare is data-rich but information-poor and therefore suffers a general lack of situational awareness at all levels. To overcome this we need to be able to rapidly turn raw data (from sensors and other sources) into clinically and operationally useful information; to get the right information to the right person at the right time in high-stakes environments from an incredibly complex set of information models and sources; and to make these solutions robust, cost-effective, and easy to deploy. In building the devices, services, software, and algorithms that do this for the healthcare sector, we hope to establish a foundation for customized-yet-integrated solutions that address the challenge of situational awareness more broadly.

Fusion - Accountable Healthcare IT at Cloud Scale

The Fusion project explores how small business services can be offered cheaply at a cloud scale, and be made easy to adopt by subscribers. Our use case is clinical applications offered to small health clinics. We will prototype these applications at a large enough scale to identify and address technical, service delivery, security, and economic challenges that surface when such services are deployed. We expect to gain valuable insights into how business-critical applications can be transformed to large-scale cloud delivery; how this transformation can leverage IaaS and PaaS offerings from current cloud vendors; and how specialized niche services can be supported within a partner ecosystem that expands service capability, eases transition, and enables adoption with low price.

Service Futures

Our work in Service Futures will focus on three interrelated components: People work via processes to conceive, design, market, sell, transition, and deliver services to customers. Our research will offer people efficiency and improved performance – via significant improvements in the processes and the tools they use. From a technology and analytics perspective, actual service consumption occurs at the “edge” of the IT ecosystem. As technologies improve, more data and work enablement will be distributed to computing devices on the edge, and there is a great opportunity to focus on the policy management, the analytics, and new services that capitalize on the expanding capabilities of the cloud. Finally, services depend on centralized service cores to safely manage data, transactions, and access from the edge. Advancements in infrastructure and data management can therefore be brought together to enable rich application delivery as a platform.