SilverHook Powerboat Racing powered by jStart

Back in September we posted a blog entry on how IBM jStart Emerging Technologies  made an IBM Bluemix Platform as a Service believer out of DataSkill CEO Nigel Hook. He talked about how speed of developing solutions and customer prototypes were critical to his Analytics Solutions business. Speed is not only important for Nigel’s analytics solutions delivery but also for his life’s passion, Powerboat Racing.

2. NigelNigel Hook is the co-founder and President of SilverHook Powerboats. His company produces one of the world’s fastest mono hull watercrafts and he is the throttle man on the SilverHook Powerboats racing team. The Lucas Oil 77 competes against opponents at 140+ miles per hour on the open sea with 6+ ft. swells. Some might think Nigel has speed in his DNA.

Along with the speed come many challenges.  This blog will discuss how Bluemix was instrumental in the enhancement of the Race Fan experience of Powerboat Racing along with providing Nigel with greater comfort in protecting his boat investment and more importantly the safety of the individuals in the cockpit.

The High Tech 44 ft. Lucas Oil 77 is equipped with two 1075 HP engines features an all carbon fiber design to produce the speed machine that has won the 2014 National Championship and is shooting for the world title in Key West in early November.

3. jump boatRacing on the world’s largest racetrack has many challenges. The brutal nature of speed and ocean conditions along with salt water wreaks havoc on electronic and mechanical equipment as well as humans inside the cockpit. This combination can result in damage to the boat and its engines, and safety of the occupants if not monitored closely. To enable this monitoring, the powerboat is equipped with telemetry equipment that gathers over 70+ boat/engine related measurements at 100 times per second. The data is transmitted to onboard computers at 5 times per second for monitoring by the onshore team. This is a lot of data for the team to process and sometimes important anomalies are missed.

4. boat aud 5. shore audAnother major challenge is the race fan experience of this sport.  As mentioned, this is a race on the world’s largest racetrack.  Fans are only able to see the boats as they fly by while standing onshore or on a boat in the spectator area.  The race has multiple classes racing simultaneously so trying to figure out who is the leader is nearly impossible from the shore.   The racing experience needs to be enhanced to allow more visibility of the boats on the course right from shore or in a spectator boat.

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A third challenge facing this sport is the lag time to award the final winning placement of a race.  The race organization establishes specific requirements around max RPM and Speed for each racing class.  Each boat is equipped with a monitoring device that records RPM and Speed during the race and is stored on a flash card to be reviewed by the officials at the end of the race.  It can take a significant amount of time to pull all the data from each boat to validate if any of the specifications were violated.  This can be anti-climactic and effects both the organization and race fans with delays.

The Solution with Speed

jStart and DataSkill engineers architected a design that would get the data to the cloud, so that it could be developed into instant visualization for the support teams who need it most. Developing a design was one thing but implementing a functional prototype in a couple of months and debuting it at the IBM Insight Conference and Key West World Powerboat Championship in front of thousands of people appeared a little daunting.

IBM Bluemix provided the instant platform-as-a-service with a: 1) messaging service (IBM Internet of Things Foundation) to get the telemetry data to the cloud, 2) SPSS Lab version of the Bluemix Scoring Service to address the analytics needs 3) and leveraged the Bluemix Analytics Warehouse for data storage.  All this was provisioned/deployed within minutes as the foundation to the prototype.

7. solution

The Telemetry Analysis Application fetches the data from IBM IoT and invokes the scoring service and stores the data.  This code also raises an alert and publishes it to IBM IoT Foundation.  The developer of the application selected among a plethora of programming language choices within Bluemix to provision quickly and optimize development time.

A full scale simulation application was developed in python on Bluemix. This simulator utilizes actual Lucas Oil 77 telemetry data from previous races, pushing and visualizing the data at a rate which matches the event as it happened in real time.

Virtual Eye America CupThe two-time Emmy Award winning 3D High Definition Visualization technology used in the television broadcasting of The America’s Cup was used to create the spectacular visuals based on the gathered data.   The Virtual Eye engineers coding the visualization layouts were located in New Zealand working with jStart engineers in Raleigh, Orlando USA, and Belarus.


Three week before the IBM Insight Conference, The Simulator was completed and the Telemetry Analysis Application was complete but the visualization had not started.  Virtual Eye had no problem delivering due to their expertise and the ease of integrating to the IBM IoT Foundation through Bluemix. Even though final touches were happening the day the event started, the team made it happen and it was a success.  Paring up the Award Winning visualization of Virtual Eye with IBM Bluemix and Lucas Oil 77 data with IBM jStart Emerging Technologies was a complete success.

All this work for a demonstration at the IBM Insight Conference?   Not hardly.  As I mentioned earlier in the blog, we are debuting this at the World Powerboat Championship in early Nov.  This was the real focus of our work!  The purpose for this was to get the organization, teams, and team sponsors to think of new ways of protecting their investments in equipment and the lives in the cockpit.

The way we are doing this is to show how practical it is for them to do the same as the SilverHook Powerboat Racing team with telemetry data. At this event we will also plan to wire up the driver and throttle man with new physiological capturing devices to further demonstrate safety capabilities.

If this blog post has sparked interest in working with jStart Emerging Technologies please contact us and we will be glad to talk with you about how IBM Technologies can address your business challenges.

Oh by the way you too can watch Nigel live on 11/5, 11/7, and 11/9.  Go to the SuperBoat International Key West Schedule and you too can watch with live streaming.   Wish us luck!!!!


IBM jStart Reduces Time-to-Market for DataSkill Inc. ACUMI™ Healthcare Solution with IBM Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

A small jStart engagement has made a Bluemix PaaS believer out of Nigel Hook, CEO and Founder of Dataskill Inc. “With Bluemix, we provision all sort of infrastructure assets very quickly for our developers” stated Mr. Hook. Dataskill increased productivity by 30 percent and cut sales-development POC time by 75 percent. Mr. Hook states, “In addition to the time savings in software development, [Bluemix] enables us to achieve faster turnarounds for our customers”.

Nigel Blog PicIBM Customer Voices – Nigel Hook

Dataskill’s primary goals for the engagement:

  • Reduce the Sales Cycle of Dataskill solutions which require individually coded, unique Proofs of Concept, beginning with their flagship app: ACUMI™
  • Position ACUMI™ with the ability to embrace new game-changing capabilities and services quickly

Founded in 1981, Dataskill helps organizations make better use of their data. Specializing in big data integration and architecture, custom enterprise and mobile software, the company has designed solutions for 500-plus companies worldwide. Recently Dataskill unveiled their ACUMI™ solution, which brings free-form text of clinician dictation and documents into usable form to populate an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system to optimize outcomes. The solution incorporates Natural Language Processing (NLP) using IBM Watson Content Analytics on physician notes, radiology notes, pathology notes, research protocols and other documents to analyze conditions, procedures, problems, medications, allergies, and quality parameters. This would enable high-level analytics for personalized medicine.

Reduce the Sales Cycles of the ACUMI™ solution, as well as, future solutions

ACUMI™ is a solution that leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) Technologies to ultimately extract patient information from free form text. As you know, patient information is highly regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Like most technologies, a customer wants to see what value can be gleaned from their data.   With protected health information (PHI), this requires you to jump through hoops like putting a Business Associate Agreement in place and typically install various components of infrastructure for an on-site POC. To reduce the amount of effort and time of a POC, less on-premise component installs are needed while leveraging existing shared services when possible.  

ACUMI Blog PicIBM jStart and DataSkill architects developed a hybrid-cloud approach that involves leveraging a small appliance that resides on-premise whose function is to anonymize the medical information, as well as, store the content back into an on-premise data warehouse. This appliance is orchestrated by a Dataskill developed Bluemix application/UI.   All the NLP was Bluemix services and by using the Cloud Integration services of Bluemix, all the extracted information was kept on-premise along with the PHI data Dataskill need only provide a single appliance to the customer anonymizing the content. From there, all data analysis is done with shared services of Bluemix. Reduction in the time of component installs of end-customer POCs allows for significant reduction in the sales cycle  

“It is a huge deal for us to be able to do these proofs of concept very quickly for our customers so we can show the value of [DataSkill’s] new technology. It is very exciting, and Bluemix is a key piece of it.” – Nigel Hook

Position ACUMI™ with the ability to embrace new game-changing capabilities and technology quickly

IBM jStart was able to demonstrate the ease with which Dataskill can quickly spin up additional new services when they become available in Bluemix. While the Bluemix Rules service was in beta at the time of the testing, sample code enabled a business rule engine (by binding to the Bluemix Rules Service) to accompany the NLP processing.   Dataskill is keenly interested in impending predictive analytics and Watson Cognitive Bluemix services. Dataskill will be able to fully leverage all future Bluemix services quickly and easily.

“The advent of cognitive technology and the support of mobile and cloud technology are all coming together at an incredible time. Speed to market and rapid response to customer demand are essential to its continued success.” – Nigel Hook

IBM jStart can show you how to embrace Emerging Technologies. Start Small, Grow Fast.

IBM jStart enables MD Anderson Cancer Center with Enhanced Cohort Selection Capabilities by Harnessing Unstructured Clinical Information.

mdanderson building
What started as an IBM jStart Proof of Concept (PoC) for MD Anderson’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Frenzel, blossomed into a complete revelation in the way reseachers and clinicians utilize historical patient experiences. Mining the data from hundreds and even thousands of patient records to cull treatment patterns and success rates would be a nearly impossible human feat. Leveraging IBM Watson Content Analytics (WCA) to automate the extraction of breast cancer information from clinical documentation seemed daunting, at best. Previously, clinicians logged 1020 hours to complete the chart conversion for a mere 3000 patients. jStart was able to exploit the Watson Technologies within 240 hours thus creating an app that would converted the same 3000 patient files in minutes. The information extracted, leveraging Natural Language Processing (NLP), contained straightforward medical concepts but also abstracted concepts like Satisfaction Indicators of Cosmetic Surgery results. The POC was a smashing success.

DrFrenzelThis led to a follow-on project for the IBM Watson team, who then designed and integrated WCA capabilities into the MD Anderson Oncology Expert Advisor (OEA) solution powered by IBM Watson. Researchers were in need of synthesized Leukemia patient clinical information to create actionable decision-trees for newly diagnosed patients.

With the success of the MD Anderson OEA work, Dr. Frenzel wanted to bring the proven NLP capabilities of WCA for use across all of MD Anderson departments and for all clinicians. He wanted to establish the infrastructure and enable MD Anderson skills to allow for the population of unstructured clinical information into their clinical data warehouse.

The first application to exploit newly added clinical information was targeted to improve their cohort selection capabilities. Dr. Frenzel once again engaged jStart to work with MD Anderson technical staff in order to architect and implement an integrated WCA infrastructure with their data warehouse and the cohort selection application. He also requested that we deploy the jStart NLP modeling methodology for skill mastery so that MD Anderson would be in a position to development specialized NLP extraction model going forward.

Today, MD Anderson has an NLP infrastructure that is feeding NLP derived data into the data warehouse and that data is leveraged by their cohort selection application. MD Anderson is at the end of the user acceptance validation for their first use-case where NLP models were solely implemented by MD Anderson NLP expertise.

In a short two years, MD Anderson has gained strong technical skills and expertise as a result of partnering with IBM jStart. Due to the unwavering commitment and support of Dr. Frenzel, MD Anderson has moved ever-closer to their vision:
“Allow our Clinicians, Scientist, Researchers to stand on the shoulders of everyone else in the practice and begin to see across patients, beyond the patients seen in their own experience… to allow them to look beyond the current patient and look at large cohorts of patients and begin to tease out those things that people have not put together before” – Dr John Frenzel, M.D.

IBM jStart develops unique solutions using Emerging Technologies.   See how jStart can help you.