“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/26/2016

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Above the Trend Line: machine learning industry rumor central, is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide our readers a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help keep you abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com.  Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

It’s been another busy week here at insideBIGDATA, as our rising reputation in the Big Data space is attracting a lot of rumors! Let’s start out with M&A and what we heard about Irvine, CA-based Internet-of-Things (IoT) software developer Greenwave Systems announcing that it has acquired Aliso Viejo-based Predixion Software. Through collaboration with a host of impressive partners, Greenwave’s technology is integrated into numerous advanced networks and connected devices in what comprises the largest cumulative IoT deployment in the world. Adding Predixion’s RIOT™ product, a fully self-contained edge analytics engine, to the AXON™ software suite, provides customers with an unprecedented opportunity to capture, analyze and act on real-time data insights. By embedding advanced analytics capabilities, AXON delivers a more intelligent IoT experience to customers and delivers deeper insights into network management and performance. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. Greenwave said the acquisition will help it enhance its platform with real-time, visual analytics, and also help it bolster its industry talent and team. Greenwave said that the acquisition will bring it to a headcount of over 280 employees worldwide. Predixion Software was venture backed by GE Software Ventures, Accenture, Frost Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier, EMC, Miramar Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures, and had raised somewhere north of $33M in funding. Predixion co-founder and CEO Simon Arkell will become GM of Software Platforms for Analytics at Greenwave Systems. Greenwave is led by founder and CEO Martin Manniche.

In new funding news, we found out that Anodot, the real time business incident detection and analytics company, announced $8 million in funding led by Aleph Venture Capital with participation by Disruptive Technologies L.P., bringing Anodot’s total funding to $12.5 million. The funds will be used to expand the company’s global sales and operations and meet demand for its service. In the nine months following Anodot’s launch, dozens of customers, including several Fortune 500 companies, have already implemented the product to prevent crises and drive revenues.

We learned of a number of compelling new products, services and solutions starting with 1010data, Inc., offering an integrated platform that combines self-service data management and analytics at scale with ready-to-use data, announcing the availability of Local Market Insights (LMI), a browser-based tool that enables merchants to measure business performance against competitors over time at the local metropolitan market level. Whether theirs are retail, restaurants, or other direct-to-consumer businesses, merchants can use LMI to identify drivers of performance and take action to improve their business or generate incremental growth. Using actual consumer spending behavior, demographic, and store location data, 1010data LMI enables users to view business KPIs such as market share, basket size and trip-related metrics by MSA (metropolitan statistical area) for their business as well as a custom competitive set of their choosing … Nimbix, a leading HPC cloud platform provider, announced a new capability, PushToComputeTM.  PushToComputeTM is a method for rapid cloud deployment and monetization of containerized compute intensive applications.  This capability is built into the JARVICE platform which powers the Nimbix Cloud. Through the added feature on the JARVICE platform, developers are able to import the latest version of their application into an existing workflow in the Nimbix Cloud and make it available for consumption at scale immediately.  The application, along with its dependencies, executes in JARVICE’s container runtime environment, which provides superior performance and scale.  This includes sub-second launch times, faster execution, seamless access to advanced computational accelerators (such as GPUs and FPGAs), automated heterogeneous data management, and rapid workflow deployment across multiple compute nodes either in a parallel or distributed paradigm … Vormetric, a Thales company, and a leader in enterprise data protection for physical, virtual, big data, and cloud environments, announced Thales Orchestrator. Thales Orchestrator reduces the costs of protecting data-at-rest across organizations, enabling enterprises and cloud service providers to easily scale their use of encryption within their data center, public, private and hybrid cloud environments with orchestration for the Vormetric Data Security Platform of products. The Vormetric Data Security Platform from Thales already integrates into the offerings of more than forty leading cloud services, and into the operations of more than 1500 enterprises, worldwide. With the release of Thales Orchestrator, Thales extends the reach of the platform to meet the emerging needs of enterprise customers for integrated, fast, DevSecOps ready data security deployment and management across their public, private and hybrid cloud environments.  For cloud service providers the solution not only accelerates operations, but enables decreased time from order to revenue … Kaminario, a leading all-flash storage company, announced Kaminario Clarity – a cloud-based analytics platform that extends the capability of its flagship all-flash storage array, Kaminario K2 – to enhance performance of on-demand apps and boost IT productivity. Kaminario Clarity includes a comprehensive set of management and monitoring functionalities, including a unique capability to leverage application-level intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics – all of which enable customers to get more productivity out of their storage environment and deliver higher performance for business-critical applications …

Hedvig unveiled the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform Version 2.0, a new release of its comprehensive software-defined storage platform that includes features delivering multi-workload, multi-cloud and multi-tier capabilities. This modern, hyperscale storage architecture is the realization of Hedvig’s vision for the Universal Data Plane. The Universal Data Plane is a programmable data management tier that overcomes the rigidity of traditional storage and removes bottlenecks to widespread digital IT transformation … ArrayFire announced the release of ArrayFire v3.4, an open source library of parallel computing functions supporting CUDA, OpenCL, and CPU devices. This new version of ArrayFire improves features and performance for applications in machine learning, computer vision, signal processing, statistics, finance, and more. This release focuses on 5 major components of the library that are common to many areas of mathematical, scientific, and financial computing: sparse matrix operations, random number generation, image processing, just-in-time (JIT) compilation, and visualizations … Almax Analytics, a software platform delivering actionable insights, announced they have emerged from stealth (development) with a customer ready product for the Financial Markets. Almax debuted in January 2016 as an Innovative Company to Watch by KPMG Luxembourg and quickly built demand and investor interest, thereby closing the seed round April 2016 to develop this first to market technology. Almax Analytics solves the problem of information overload with actionable insights by putting the content of news into context and by running deep analysis across the entire network of affected companies. The software applies and combines cutting edge technologies of natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, network analysis and data visualization in a novel way for an existing problem. The technology is easily accessed and deployed through a web-based platform and is subscription based …
Salesforce shared a virtual demo of its new AI product, Einstein, late Monday. There has been a lot of hype around this product and AI in general over the past several months, leaving many wondering what advancements in AI mean for the future of CRM/the customer experience. Scott Horn, CMO at [24]7, an AI-powered customer engagement solutions provider, shares some thoughts on the AI development race among tech companies and how AI will impact the customer experience –

With Salesforce’s launch of Einstein, AI is no longer a novelty, but poised to become a key part of mainstream business work flows. AI has gained widespread awareness thanks to the popularity of personal assistants and the investments of Silicon Valley heavyweights in technologies like Alexa and Siri. From better purchase recommendations, to smarter customer service that predicts what a consumer is actually trying to do, AI promises to fundamentally transform entire businesses and industries. Investments in AI are paving the way for a personalized world where every interaction matters, and every company can benefit. Einstein is a sign of the true potential of AI – as a supplement to human intuition. By turning cold-calling into warm-calling, this is an opportunity for artificial intelligence to prove itself as a truly productive counterpart to the human mind. And the applications for this technology go well beyond sales. AI is bringing automation to customer service, which will bring major benefits to consumers. For the first time, businesses can now understand and act on consumer intent, meaning that consumers will no longer have to repeat information or be bombarded with irrelevant information. This technology will be commonplace in the next five years.”

In addition, Sisense CEO Amir Orad offered some insights on what the Einstein platform means for the industry and how/why technology companies are implementing AI, IoT and machine-learning in their technology stacks and offerings –

SalesForce’s launch of Einstein supports the ongoing evolution of the business intelligence and analytics landscape. AI and machine learning technologies are emerging as disruptive forces that allow for greater simplicity when it comes to extracting data insights. As companies across industries face the complex data conundrum, the need for innovation that can marry together disparate data sources quickly and easily is more critical than ever before. We have seen a number of tech behemoths including Google and Microsoft further expand their AI arsenal in recent weeks with the acquisitions of Moodstocks and Genee respectively, as the power of these technologies becomes increasingly apparent. I expect we will continue to see a push towards AI and machine learning from companies both large and small as the pressure for businesses to be agile and data-driven becomes paramount.”

Also, with the recent announcement from Larry Ellison, Oracle shared its plans to compete directly with Amazon AWS in public and hybrid cloud infrastructure, Jon Toor, vice president of marketing for Cloudian, a top provider of S3-compatible storage to enterprise customers, has issued a comment –

Oracle’s announcement of a public and hybrid cloud offering is an interesting approach – the challenge users of this particular cloud will face is that it is a closed environment which will lock them in and cut out any flexibility. Organizations looking for the best balance of private and public cloud services need the flexibility of an open platform, such as AWS, where 3rd party developers and service providers can integrate new and innovative technologies that are S3 compatible. This has already created a healthy, competitive environment where customers can make technology choices based on their precise need, not on what the primary provider is willing to offer.”

In the honors and designations department, this week we heard that smart mapping leader Esri revealed that it has been recognized in a new report by PwC as one of the 25 fastest growing cloud companies. The report assesses some of the ways cloud computing continues to change and shape the software industry. The cloud enables organizations to manage a growing volume of data from mobile devices, sensors, and other connected assets quickly and seamlessly; it accelerates technology deployment and delivers faster time to value. Esri’s ArcGIS Online delivers a cloud-powered universe of mapping and analysis resources that bring insight to complex data at speed and scale … Arcadia Data, provider of the unified visual analytics and business intelligence (BI) platform for big data, has been identified as a Strong Performer in “The Forrester WaveTM: Native Hadoop BI Platforms, Q3 2016 – The Six Providers That Matter Most and How They Stack Up.” Among the five other vendors invited to participate in this report, Arcadia Data received the highest possible scores of 5.0 out of 5.0 for Hadoop/Spark architecture and installed base in both Strong UI and Strong Data Preparation.

More partnerships and alignments in the big data ecosystem were consummated this past week including Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI), a global technology company that provides innovative products and solutions to power commerce, announcing a new alliance with Lighthouse Computer Services, a leading Northeast Systems Integrator with an expanding Big Data and Analytics practice. The two companies will go to market with customized data solutions designed to help businesses attract and retain valuable customers, improve the efficiency of marketing campaigns, and combat the risks of fraud. For the past 25 years, Lighthouse Computer Services has been servicing customers on their data management needs. Customers across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, higher education, manufacturing and financial services are challenged with gleaning actionable insights from their data, especially as the amount of data multiplies exponentially each year. Lighthouse has an advanced analytics practice that specializes in the creation of solutions that allow customers to integrate existing data sets into intuitive and visually compelling dashboards and analytics to drive meaningful insights. Similarly, for the past 30 years, Pitney Bowes has delivered powerful technologies for data management to help companies streamline their customer information management strategies. The company has a full suite of offerings designed to address common data management challenges such as: establishing a trusted single view of a customer across multiple touchpoints, powering accurate and precise location intelligence, and the validation of global address locations … Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information services, announced a new advanced marketing analytics partnership with Facebook. This people-based measurement partnership will help marketers better understand the effectiveness of their digital campaigns and drive greater returns from their marketing investments. Neustar’s integration with Facebook signals that marketers are now able to better understand Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network digital campaign attribution and can combine these results with their marketing mix modeling to understand the holistic influence across offline and online.

More people movement this week lends credence to the notion that the big data industry continues on a fluid path, including Couchbase, a leader in database solutions for the digital economy, announcing the appointment of Narayan Sundareswaran as Vice President of Business Development. Sundareswaran has more than 30 years of experience leading global growth and business development strategies within the technology industry, including time at SAP and recently, DataStax.

And finally, our Vendor of the Week is Accenture Strategy that has created a symphonic experience enabled by human insight and artificial intelligence technology. Symphonologie was performed tonight by a 50-piece orchestra for a private audience inside The Louvre Pyramid, accompanied by a galaxy-inspired data visualization created in real time and synchronized to the music of the orchestra. Collaborating with a creative coder, an orchestral composer and a data visualist, Accenture Strategy created Symphonologie leveraging its knowledge of the issues disrupting business today and applying artificial intelligence techniques that draw upon natural language processing and machine learning.  First, algorithms were used to analyze the sentiment surrounding current business topics – such as cybersecurity and Internet of Things–and translate it into melodic patterns. The patterns then served as inspiration for a three-movement symphony scored by an orchestral composer and a digital art piece that expresses the sentiment through a data visualization that will be generated in real time.


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