Monthly Archives: November 2015

Inform’s Playlist Year-Ender Celebrates the Close of 2015

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We can hardly believe it but 2015 is coming to an end. To celebrate the close of this productive year and the beginning of a new one, each week we’ll be featuring for our partners a new video playlist as we count down to 2016.

What will we be featuring? Here’s the lowdown:

December 1 — Top Sports News

Look back at the biggest moments in sports and what stories made the headlines.

December 8 — Top Stories of 2015

An all-encompassing Inform Zeitgeist. We’re pulling together the trending stories of 2015.

December 15 — Top Fails

From a political “oops” to cringe-worthy wipeouts, watch 2015’s biggest blunders, fumbles, foibles, and gaffes.

December 22 — Top Entertainment News

Big weddings, big break-ups, and a lot of bikini bods. We’re rounding up all the moments that “broke the Internet.”

December 29 — Look ahead to 2016

Explore what the future holds with exciting innovations in tech and what to look forward to as we enter a new year.

Our partners can look out for these videos in their email every Tuesday afternoon. Not yet a partner but interested in learning more? Reach out to content@inform.com.

Data Tells a Story: holiday shopping, greenhouse gases, data fakery

Inside the Apple Store

We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we’ll be rounding up the most interesting ones right here. This week: helping your holiday shopping; reducing greenhouse gases; and finding data fakery.

IBM Watson Trend App: Big Data Meets Holiday Shopping

Overwhelmed with holiday shopping? An app built on big data might help.

Pulling in information from more than 10,000 sources, including “social media, major ecommerce sites, blogs, product reviews, and rankings,” the app provides the 100 most trendiest products in consumer electronics, toys, and health and fitness.

While some of the app’s findings are obvious some are less so. It’s no surprise that Star Wars LEGOS will be hot hot hot, but the app’s data says that LEGO may not be able to keep up with demand, and that those interested should buy early. The app also shows that smartphones haven’t killed digital cameras: Instagram has renewed interest in higher quality photography.

Jersey Utility to Use Methane Data Mapped by Google Street View Cars to Target Gas Line Repairs

New Jersey’s Public Service Electric & Gas (PSEG) has a three-year $905 million plan to replace over 500 miles of old, methane-leaking pipes, and is using big data to help determine the most efficient way to spend their money and time.

Through a partnership with Google Earth Outreach and Environmental Defense Fund, PSEG used a Google Street View car equipped with methane sensors to collect six months worth of data from thousands of miles of roadway, and from there will make decisions around scheduling and prioritization.

Methane is a greenhouse gas, and the hope is that such an effort will improve the environment as well as safety.

Stanford researchers uncover patterns in how scientists lie about their data

You can lie but you can’t hide.

Two Stanford researchers have discovered the writing patterns of scientists who lied about their data. To do so, they identified over 200 papers that had been retracted from science journals between 1973 and 2013, and compared the writing to unretracted papers in the same journals and time frame, and about the same topics.

Next they measured the “level of fraud” in the papers using an “obfuscation index,” which rated the amount of abstract language and jargon. The researchers believed that obfuscation of language is related to fakery in general, and that a scientist trying to hide fraud might want to “obscure parts of the paper.”

The researchers found that fraudulent retracted papers scored high on the obfuscation index, i.e., each had about 60 more jargonish words than non-retracted papers.

How sharing police data can improve relationships with communities

While some might think of using data to prevent and understand crime as a modern phenomenon, it actually goes back back to at least 1889.

African American journalist and activist Ida B. Wells examined 10 years’ worth Chicago Tribune reports on lynching, and found a pattern that was surprising for the time. While many believed young black men were being lynched for punishment of rape and murder, their “crimes” were actually not crimes at all, but were reasons such as “having a bad reputation”; “writing an insulting letter”; or nothing at all.

It’s a lesson that could be heeded today. Experts say that the media often focuses on one incident that “looks good TV,” while data provides a fuller picture. On the other hand, data is rarely neutral, and should also be viewed in the context of larger conversations about race and community.

In Bangladesh, a Half-Century of Saving Lives With Data

Matlab, the name of both a region and research site in Bangladesh, has been collecting and analyzing census and health data from residents for 50 years, and as a result basic health has much improved. For instance, in the 1960s children in Matlab didn’t survive into adulthood, while now more than 90% do.

Using data collected from the residents, Matlab was also able to develop and test lifesaving treatments, such the low-cost oral rehydration solution for cholera victims, which ended up saving the lives of about 50 million people worldwide, as well as zinc for childhood diarrhea.

The data also allows for retrospective study. One group of researchers wanted to understand if malnutrition in pregnant women would affect their children’s health in adulthood, and indeed found that adult children of women who were pregnant during Bangladesh’s 1974-75 famine were three times more likely to develop pre-diabetes.

Matlab is now finding that it’s those non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer that are the leading cause of death among residents. It’s up to future Matlab generations to find the cure.

We’re Hiring! An Inform Recruitment Roundup

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Last month we made the big announcement: the company known for premium video content and monetization technology for the digital media marketplace, is now Inform.

Along with our new name, we’re rapidly expanding our technology offerings and services strategy, which means we’re also expanding our team.

What’s Inform?

We’re a leading provider of premium, brand-safe video content and monetization technology for publishers, advertisers and content producers. We’re ranked as the No. 1 Online News & Information Property by comScore, with 27 million unique monthly viewers and 230 million videos viewed each month. Inform analyzes over 600 million content consumption data points each month across 4,000+ partners, including some of the biggest publishers on the web.

Inform’s mission is to integrate World Class technology that fundamentally improves digital advertising effectiveness and publishing operations for every one of our partners. Inform keeps viewers engaged and spending time across content topics and devices

Why work for Inform?

There are many reasons! Here are just a few.

Meaningful work. The work you do will have real-world meaning and impact.

The latest technology. And we don’t just mean custom Apple products (although we have those too). Inform has a cutting-edge tech stack and a large-scale distribution network with 300 million events per day.

You’ll have the opportunity to develop a next generation technology that changes how our partners distribute and monetize content, and how audiences consume that content. No more outdated waterfall development methodology! You’ll work in an collaborative Agile environment.

An open and supportive work environment. Inform offers a tight-knit atmosphere. Teams are small, autonomous, and empowered to make decisions. Our environment is open, literally and figuratively. Our offices are cubicle-free open spaces, encouraging communication, collaboration, and team work.

Dress is casual, kitchens are snack-stocked, and fun is encouraged with regular team outings.

Benefits that are second to none. Inform’s benefits are truly unprecedented, including 100% paid medical, dental, and vision benefits for employees and dependents; paid family leave; and more.

Who are you?

You’re an enthusiastic self-starter. Smart-thinking and team collaboration are expected and valued. Snarkiness, pretension, and self-promotion are not.

Where are the jobs?

There are jobs available in all of our offices — Palo Alto, Pasadena, New York, and Atlanta — but you can take your pick in terms of which location is most convenient for you. Depending on the circumstances, Inform is also open to remote workers.

What are the jobs?

We have openings in a wide range of fields, including Account Management, Quality Assurance, Ad Operations, Product Management, Local Broadcasting, and Engineering. As we expand our technology portfolio and strategy, filling out engineering positions is especially important.

Here’s a top-level look at some of the positions currently available at Inform.

Engineering and Development

Backend .NET Software Engineer

The .NET Software Engineer will report to the VP of Engineering. He or she will primarily be responsible for developing and maintaining APIs and Services.

Database Engineer

The Database Engineer will report to the Senior Manager of Engineering Operations. He or she will primarily be responsible for developing and maintaining SQL/RDBMS along with all functions related to data.

JavaScript Software Engineer

The JavaScript Software Engineer will report to the VP of Engineering. He or she will be responsible for software development and participate in system architecture. The Software Engineer will be responsible for developing software applications as well as web services platforms.

Senior Data Engineer/Data Engineering Lead

The Senior Data Engineer/Data Engineering Lead will define and build the vision of Inform’s data analysis and insights solutions. Overall, he or she will drive Inform’s big data initiatives and play a key role in implementing our mission to help our partners keep their audiences informed.

Senior Data Engineer

This Senior Data Engineer will be responsible for designing and building tests, as well as supporting distributed computing applications with a focus on data analysis. He or she will lead engineering projects, support leads of other projects, and work closely with data scientists and the product engineering team to identify opportunities and define data products.

Senior Project Manager

The Senior Project Manager will be responsible for the execution and final delivery of the product., and ensuring that the team conforms to set standards and processes throughout the project lifecycle. He or she will identify major project management risks and action plans, and will drive the release management and change management processes. He or she actively manage priorities, and will work closely with products managers, engineering managers and leads, QA leads, and executive management.

Senior Python Software Engineer

The Senior Python Software Engineer will report to the VP of Engineering. He or she will primarily be responsible for developing and maintaining APIs and Services.

Server Engineer

The mid-to-senior level Server Engineer will help build our content, recommendation and analytics platform. He or she will be dealing with a huge volume of data that has real-time, semi-real time and offline needs, and working with a team who has a great passion for building world class products and extensive experience in coding in JVM-based languages.

Software Architect

The Software Architect will be integral to our engineering team as we rapidly grow in our product footprint and revenue. He or she will work with our tech leads and developers to ensure we remain focused on building scalable and high-performing architecture while still enabling for faster growth. In this role, the Software Architect will influence our technology vision and work closely with teams in implementing that vision.

Product

Director, Product Management

The Director of Product Management will work closely with the technology teams to deliver on product goals. He or she will own the strategic roadmap for the entire product organization, with responsibilities including formulating product strategy, translating the product vision, defining future product needs with accountability for revenue, adoption, and utilization of Inform’s product family.

Quality Assurance Manager

Reporting to the Director of Program Management, the QA Manager is responsible for building and managing a growing team of QA analysts and automation engineers. He or she will guide the vision and roadmap for UI testing across mobile, web applications and automation testing for scalable backend systems.

Account Management

Account Managers

We are looking for two Account Managers – for our New York and Atlanta offices — who will manage a diverse book of publisher-based business and serve as the primary point of contact for partners. He or she will identify, develop and maintain meaningful relationships with key contacts across multiple departments within each partnership, and achieve trusted adviser status by providing consultative relationship management.

Local Broadcast

Manager, Local Broadcast

The Manager of Local Broadcast will work directly with the VP of Local Broadcast to evaluate the success of our broadcast partners and develop best practices and product ideas to help grow their business. He or she will foster and grow relationships with those partners and actively learn and understand their business as it relates to digital content and video, including opportunities to help increase video views.

Interested in any of these? Please visit our Career page for more details and to apply. Questions? Contact us at info@inform.com.

Data Tells a Story: Formula 1, fighting obesity, helping schools

racecar

We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we’ll be rounding up the most interesting ones right here. This week: big data for speedier racers; fighting obesity; and helping schools help troubled students.

How Formula 1 Teams Use Big Data to Win

Formula 1 race cars are more than just pricey, speed machines. Nowadays, they’re giant data sensors, collecting factors such as the effect of stress and downward force on a car, brake temperature, tire pressure, and of course speed, and feeding that data back to analysts and engineers to measure how well the vehicles are performing.

The data is also modeled upon to obtain predictive intelligence on how the cars will perform in the future. In addition, vehicles are built for each track “based on historical data and simulations generated by the current season’s sensor data.”

However, data analytics aren’t the answer to everything. For example, it’s still impossible to  capture “an accurate sense of where the cars are laterally on the track,” as well as “how well a tire is gripping the roadway.” In those cases, the best sensor is still the human driver.

Coming Home: This West Point grad is using AI and Big Data for national security

Computer scientist and former army intelligence officer Paulo Shakarian is working on ways to use machine learning and big data to improve military intelligence.

While stationed in Iraq, Shakarian noticed that while intelligence workers like himself were tasked with analyzing all available data and hypothesizing possible courses of action, few actually had time for this in the midst of war.

This is where machine learning and big data come in. Shakarian’s research over the years has resulted in software used to detect IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, in Afghanistan; social media programs that help Chicago police fight gang activity; and a mathematical model of the behavior of ISIS.

Bringing big data to bear on organ failure

The big data approach to medicine is quite different from health care’s traditional method of posing a hypothesis, devising an experiment, and testing. With big data, it’s about discovery — in other words, collecting huge amounts of data and seeing what patterns it returns.

The latter is the approach physicist Plamen Ivanov is taking at Massachusetts General Hospital in regards to the way organ systems interact. He and his team are collecting “hours and hours of data on vital signs,” such as that from EKGs, EEG, and ventilators, and seeing if they can “tease out how organ systems communicate with each other and coordinate behaviors.”

If his project is successful, Ivanov imagines a new kind of patient monitor that instead of just measuring blood pressure, heart rate, and brain activity, would “track the relationships between key organ systems — alerting doctors to cataclysmic phase changes in human health before they occur.”

Fight Obesity with Data

A team at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science is implementing a program that aims to capture data on environmental and behavioral factors that could contribute to childhood obesity.

Rather than relying self-reported or anecdotal data, the team is using an in-home monitoring system made up of sensors that monitor factors such as tone of voice, mealtime distractions, frequency of meals, and stress levels. The team aims to identify and model “preventable behavior patterns,” and if successful, plans to expand to other medical fields.

How the city is using Google Drive to revamp its struggling schools

Sometimes just the existence of a massive amount of data isn’t enough. Tools are needed to streamline the collection and analysis process.

Some New York City school systems are facing this challenge and a nonprofit is helping by providing a way for the schools to feed the “vast supply of data” from multiple databases and sources into a single spreadsheet, and then training school officials on how to track student performance and devise plans to address issues and make improvements.

Before the implementation of this new system, some school workers had the arduous task of printing out reports and scouring them for patterns; using antiquated systems that resembled MS-DOS and required the typing of four-letter codes; and comparing paper documents and highlighting pertinent information by hand.

With the new tool, schools not only save time but are able to make decisions more efficiently and based on data rather than guesswork.

The Inform Floating Video Player: Delivering Premium Video the Right Way

As our Vice President of Business Development Stephen Bach discussed in a recent post, many major news organizations are migrating towards stories leading with auto-start videos. While auto-start has come under scrutiny for issues with viewability, a simple change to player behavior has addressed these issues and improved other marketer KPIs.

The Inform Floating Video Player is the outcome of such a change. Since the player’s launch, participating partners have seen a 500% growth in video revenue, month over month. In addition, partners who use the player have seen ad viewability increase to over 65%.

How does the player work? To remind you, the floating video embeds directly onto the article page, and as users scroll down, a 400X version of the player snaps to the side of the browser and “floats” within view for best user experience. Viewers have control of the player, and can move the floating unit or close it completely.

InformFloatingVideoPlayer_imageThe Inform Floating Video Player is part of a cutting-edge trend used by industry leaders such as Facebook, Twitter, CBS News, ABC News, CNN and now Inform.

Please reach out to your Account Manager or email us at InformVideo@inform.com to start the implementation process today.

 

Data Tells a Story: health care by the numbers; diversity in language; some real cash cows

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We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we’ll be rounding up the most interesting ones right here. This week: health care by the numbers; diversity in language; and some real cash cows.

Medical Students Crunch Big Data To Spot Health Trends

Big data is changing the way medicine is being practiced and the way medical students are learning.

As the result of the rise of evidence-based medicine, future doctors must learn how to manipulate and analyze sometimes huge amounts of data. At the NYU School of Medicine, first and second year med students are required to do a “health care by the numbers” project based on a database with over five million anonymous patient records. Included are the patients’ race and ethnicity, zip codes, diagnosis, procedures, and payments.

The students’ findings have been interesting. One student, in comparing the prices of a hip replacement surgeries through New York state with the cost of Big Whoppers, found that the cost of the surgery was even more inconsistent than that of the fast food. Another student came to similar findings regarding the cost of cesarean sections.

Neuropolitics, Where Campaigns Try to Read Your Mind

Some political candidates have taken a page from neuromarketing and are using technologies such as facial coding, biofeedback, and brain imaging to gather data on potential voters, and are using that data to hone their campaigns.

For instance, the current president of Mexico used tools “to measure voters’ brain waves, skin arousal, heart rates and facial expressions,” while in Turkey, the prime minister hired a neuromarketing company that found via tracking brain waves, facial expressions, and heart rates that the PM’s speeches lacked emotional engagement.

How ING Direct is boosting customer loyalty using data analytics

ING Direct is boosting retention by rewarding customers for their loyalty. However, the rewards aren’t generic. Using a combination of data analytics, insights, and communication, the company has devised contextually relevant offers targeted at specific customer segments, creating even more meaningful customer experiences.

Americans Speak Over 350 Languages At Home, Census Data Shows

The findings from the American Community Survey from 2009 to 2013 show the vast variety of languages in the U.S.: over 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home.

Spanish is the most common with 37 million people, with more than half of those having learned English. On the other hand, only 40 percent of Vietnamese and Chinese speakers said they spoke English “very well.”

The survey’s data also showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that the biggest U.S. cities are also “the most linguistically diverse,” with 192 languages spoken in New York and more than half of L.A. residents speaking a second language. Also well-represented are speakers of Native American dialects with 150, including Navajo, Apache, and Cherokee.

How RFID Delivers Big Data On Cows And Milk Production

You might have heard of precision agriculture. Now there’s precision dairy farming.

Farmers in India are using data collected by RFID tags to track various aspects of their cows, including nutritional levels, how much they’re eating, and signs of disease, all with the bigger goal of increasing milk production and reducing the number of cows, which in turns improves the environment by cutting down on the amount of methane produced.

A challenge these farmers face is taking the time to analyze the scores of data. So if you’re a data engineer who has always wanted to live on farm in India, there’s probably a job for you.

The State of Digital: HTML5 versus Flash

Adobe Flash has historically been the go-to technology for video streaming and monetization products. However, their lack of support in recent years has steered the industry away.

What’s the situation?

Flash is considered a security risk since Adobe is slow to release security patches. Apple has responded with a long-time ban of Flash from its iPhones and, more recently, with OS X Mavericks. Safari shipped by default with a power saving mode that restricted how Flash could function.

Other browsers have begun to follow suit. This past July, Mozilla blocked all versions of Flash that were not completely patched. The browser only allowed Flash again when Adobe responded with the patched versions.

In September, Chrome implemented changes similar to Safari’s, pausing flash products unless they’re central to content and reducing the number of resource or battery draining widgets.

What’s next?

As a result, the industry is moving towards a more native playback experience. HTML5 and Javascript are native to the browser, which allows for increased security and better system resource management. Video and monetization products have easily adopted HTML5/Javascript compatibility with the support of mobile devices.

While much of the buying arm of the advertising ecosystem has been slow to adopt HTML5/Javascript ad creatives, Inform is at the forefront of leading the charge for HTML5 conversion with advertisers and buyers. We offer a full suite of HTML5 native video streaming and monetization products, which are seamless and will automatically convert to native HTML5.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to your Inform contact or send an email to info@inform.com.