“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 4/4/2017

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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.

We can’t believe it’s already April! Spring is alive and oh so active for the big data ecosystem. We’ve got a lot on the docket so let’s start with new products, solutions, and services … Collokia, a collaboration platform meant to drastically reduce the time employees spend researching technical solutions, is announcing two new features to its roster, “Plea For Help, and “Collokia Tips” in order to encourage employee collaboration in a more efficient manner. The platform uses machine learning algorithms and statistical analysis in order to automatically find the appropriate answer to a question any employee is searching for. Collokia achieves this by analyzing the pages employees read and libraries they use, essentially creating a profile for each employee and automatically identifying the “experts” who are adept at particular skills. In order to ensure maximum privacy, none of this information is stored or kept in logs … IOVOX, a global call analytics company, announced the availability of a new solution that provides  marketers with enhanced data analytics, enabling them to make more informed decisions when evaluating the performance of inbound marketing  campaigns. IOVOX’s new Multichannel Marketing solution is specifically designed for companies using multiple marketing channels to drive inbound  calls to their business. Multichannel Marketing from IOVOX applies a unique phone number to each referring domain that generates call  traffic — whether its paid, organic, social, email, or even offline. Combined with analytics from IOVOX, marketers have insight into the performance  of each channel and can tune spending accordingly. In early customer implementations, the IOVOX solution has led to significant cost savings … Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) announced the launch of Everyday Analytics. This new suite of analytics will enable fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers to keep up with the constantly changing, daily conditions of today’s fragmented marketplace. By reducing the time, cost and resource demands of traditional analytics, coupled with simple and intuitive tools, the new offering will make sophisticated analytics more accessible for everyday decisions across all FMCG growth drivers, including price and promotion, advertising and innovation. Nielsen Everyday Analytics uses the same proven models as Nielsen’s custom analytics, but delivers them in a more consistent, continuously updated and self-service fashion. They are less resource intensive than custom analytics, making them highly accessible for smaller brands and markets that traditionally had limited access to analytics before … Coming out of their $54M Series C round last week, DataRobot, an automated machine learning platform, is all in on creating a new category of automated machine learning. Bank of America estimates that the global market for robots and artificial intelligence will reach $152.7 billion by 2020. Yet for many mainstream businesses so far, AI has been an undelivered promise and offers minimal value to their companies. For many, machine learning is expensive, specialized, and in the hands of a highly trained few. DataRobot automates machine learning to unleash the power of AI for mainstream businesses. DataRobot taught machines to build AI solutions – DataRobot is 90% of data science programmed into software by the world’s leading data scientists. Work that previously required the expertise of highly skilled and expensive data science teams can now be put directly in the hands of business executives and analysts who best know their business problems and applications.

A number of important partnerships, collaborations and alignments were revealed starting with … Market leading NLP text analytics provider Linguamatics announcing a partnership with premium news content provider Dow Jones. The agreement allows pharmaceutical companies to extract key insights from Dow Jones Factiva utilizing Linguamatics I2E text mining technology. The Linguamatics I2E platform is currently used by 18 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies. The Linguamatics-Dow Jones partnership helps users to derive key insights from Factiva content by leveraging advanced NLP to identify and extract critical concepts in a structured format for review and quick analysis. I2E eliminates the need for users to manually read through large quantities of documents to search for critical information. Instead, I2E rapidly connects relevant facts and relationships in a way that synthesizes knowledge and creates actionable insights … Kinetica, provider of the fast, in-memory analytics database accelerated by GPUs, announced it has partnered with Safe Software and created FME connectors that read and write data from Kinetica into and out of FME workspaces. Kinetica and Safe Software joint customers are now able to ingest, analyze, visualize and publish data between hundreds of business applications, web services, databases and file formats, including geospatial data for real-time location-based analytics. FME customers will now be able to move their data into Kinetica’s cutting-edge, GPU-accelerated database to perform real-time analytics of large and streaming datasets. FME 2017 can now read and write to Kinetica, including geometry data, allowing data to be transformed and manipulated in FME workflows. This gives Kinetica customers integrated access to more than 350 data formats such as KML, GeoJSON, and OGC WKT (well-known text) as well as the data transformation power of FME. With the Kinetica Writer for FME, customers can use the rendering power of Kinetica to display point and polygon data. Depending on the data, points can even be displayed as heatmaps, symbologies, or tracks. Data can also be integrated into Kinetica for machine learning, deep learning, OLAP and advanced location-based analytics … The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE:IBM), and Samsung announce that The Weather Company will become the native weather data provider on select Samsung devices, beginning this year with Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone device. This includes powering Samsung’s weather widget and weather executions across select Samsung Android and Tizen products. As part of the agreement, The Weather Channel App for Android will also be promoted globally in the Galaxy App Store. Samsung is the largest smartphone provider in the world, and this partnership provides The Weather Company the potential to reach hundreds of millions of additional smartphone users over the next several years … MedyMatch Technology, Ltd. and Samsung NeuroLogica Corporation, the healthcare subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., announced a collaboration to integrate artificial intelligence (A.I.) clinical decision support applications with Samsung NeuroLogica’s medical imaging hardware in the acute care marketplace. This collaboration will create support tools which provide a second read capability to help caregivers quickly and accurately assess patients in prehospital environments. The first focus area will be in the enhancement of stroke assessment, specifically, with integration of MedyMatch’s A.I. technologies into the mobile stroke unit (MSU), a specialized ambulance or other emergency vehicle that is equipped with a Samsung NeuroLogica CereTom® CT (computed tomography) scanner. The mobile unit with diagnostic CT imaging capabilities is designed to allow the team onboard to quickly assess whether a patient is having a stroke caused by a blood clot or hemorrhage. The very first step in patient assessment is to rule out the presence of a brain bleed, and this is where MedyMatch’s technology will be utilized pending regulatory approval to provide decision support. Since “Time Lost is Brain Lost,” rapid patient assessment will allow caregivers to move quickly down the most appropriate treatment path, potentially even while in transit to the hospital … Datorama, a leading marketing intelligence company, announced it is working together with Capacity Interactive, the premier digital arts marketing consulting firm serving performing and visual arts organizations — of all sizes — to address the modern marketing challenges faced by today’s non-profit organizations. A key initiative underway at many of today’s leading companies is a focus on better understanding their customers in a more personal way. In its pursuit to help non-profit arts organizations market smarter and build audiences, Capacity Interactive is working with Datorama to leverage the breadth of its Marketing Integration Engine. Datorama’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based platform has played a critical role in Capacity Interactive’s ability to capture a more comprehensive view of its clients’ customers that existed previously, but had gone untapped due to technological constraints. Now equipped with Datorama, Capacity Interactive is able to track conversions using demographic and location data from various digital advertising platforms. Previously, the opportunity to capitalize and optimize marketing efforts based on these segments was not realized due to time-consuming, manual processes carried out via Excel spreadsheets. By leveraging a solution that automates complex data preparation and harmonization work necessary for highly accurate analysis, Capacity is able to reallocate the amount of time spent doing manual work to better understand campaign performance across behaviorally-targeted audience segments, and ultimately, deliver even more value for its clients.

In the people movement category, we learned of a number of new appointments … Ayasdi, a leader in machine intelligence software and pioneer in enterprise-class intelligent applications, announced the appointment of Robert Griffin to the position of chief executive officer. Formerly the general manager of IBM’s Safer Planet and Smarter Cities division, he succeeds co-founder and former-CEO Gurjeet Singh who will serve as executive chairman of the board of directors. Griffin joins Ayasdi after 35 years of being a founder and holding CEO positions at technology and software companies. Most recently, he served as the GM of IBM’s Safer Planet and Smarter Cities division, which develops solutions to help government and commercial business leaders detect, disrupt and prevent physical and cyber threats and create new cognitive approaches to long-standing urban challenges. Griffin joined IBM through the acquisition of i2, a developer of visual intelligence and investigative analysis of military intelligence, law enforcement and commercial agencies, where he was the president and CEO. Prior to i2, he was a co-founder, president and CEO of Knowledge Computing Corporation (KCC), a premier provider of crime-fighting solutions that merged with i2 … VoltDB, the enterprise-class in-memory database that powers business-critical applications, announced the appointment of David Flower to the role of President and Chief Executive Officer. He had most recently served as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer. Flower brings nearly three decades of IT leadership experience to VoltDB. He has repeatedly built shareholder value for global software companies, and will focus primarily on expanding VoltDB’s worldwide footprint in specific markets.

We learned of some new VC activity starting with … GPU analytics company MapD Technologies announcing it has closed a $25 million Series B funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation from existing investors NVIDIA, Vanedge Capital and Verizon Ventures. The financing comes amid a rapid increase in the adoption of ultra-fast graphics processing units (GPUs) to power enterprise applications including machine learning, numerical computation and now data analytics. Combining a powerful GPU-based SQL query engine with immersive visual analytics, the MapD software platform allows analysts and data scientists to interactively explore multi-billion row data sets. With data volumes constantly increasing, extracting the full value of that data has become a significant challenge for many enterprises. MapD solves this problem by harnessing the massively parallel processing power of GPUs, providing insights orders-of-magnitude faster than CPU-based solutions … Looker announced it has closed an $81.5 million Series D funding round led byCapitalG, Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund. The round includes additional participation from new investors Geodesic Capital and Goldman Sachs, as well as from Looker’s previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Meritech Capital Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Sapphire Ventures. Looker has raised a total of $177.5 million since 2013. Looker is a modern data platform that leverages today’s best data technology to let everyone in an organization make better business decisions using data. Today’s announcement will help Looker continue to innovate with even more intuitive ways for users to access data, expand product functionality, and make deeper investments in its integrations with the most powerful database technologies. Looker will also accelerate its investments in sales and marketing and continue international expansion, including Asia Pacific ..

In observance of World Backup Day (March 31), we have a number of strategic commentaries:

While many will might see World Backup Day as a reminder of how vulnerable we are if we don’t protect our data, at Commvault, we think enterprises should be motivated by the opportunity to find value in the data that comes with a strong backup strategy. World Backup Day is a reminder of the importance of implementing a truly holistic data management strategy, one that ensures all data is backed up wherever it exists (including the cloud, virtual machines, mobile devices, and on any infrastructure). Such a strategy can not only mitigate business risk and improve IT outcomes, it can assure companies can activate their data to derive value and strategic insights that increase business agility and provide a competitive advantage.” – Bill Wohl, Chief Communications Officer, Commvault

Data loss and disruption happens far too often in the enterprise. Research by Ponemon in 2016 estimates the average cost of an unplanned outage has spiralled to nearly $9,000 a minute, causing crippling downtime as well as financial and reputational damage. Legacy backups simply aren’t equipped to provide seamless operations, with zero Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) should a disaster strike. In order to guarantee the availability of applications, synchronous replication with real-time analytics needs to be simple to setup, monitor and manage for application owners and economical to the organization. That way, making zero data loss attainable suddenly becomes a reality.” – Chuck Dubuque, VP Product Marketing, Tintri

With today’s “always-on” business environment, data loss can destroy a company’s brand and customer trust. A multiple software-based strategy with software-defined and hyperconverged storage infrastructure is the most effective route for a flexible backup plan. With this tactic, snapshots, replication and stretched clusters can help protect data, whether in a local data center cluster, across data centers or across the cloud. IT teams rely on these software-based policies as the backbone of their disaster recovery implementations as the human element is removed. This is possible as the software-based strategy dictates that all virtual machines are accurately, automatically and consistently replicated to the DR sites. Through this automatic and transparent approach, no administrator action is required, saving employees time, money and providing peace of mind that business can carry on despite any outage.” – Patrick Brennan, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Atlantis Computing

It’s only a matter of time before your datacenter experiences a significant outage, if it hasn’t already, due to a wide range of causes, from something as simple as human error or power failure to criminal activity like ransomware and cyberattacks, or even more catastrophic events like hurricanes. Shifting thinking to ‘when’ as opposed to ‘if’ something like this happens is crucial; crucial to building a more flexible and resilient IT infrastructure that can withstand any kind of disruption resulting in negative impact on business performance. World Backup Day reminds us of the importance of both having a backup plan in place and as well as conducting regular reviews of current and new technology to do everything possible to keep business running without interruption. Organizations today are highly aware that they are heavily dependent on data and critical applications, and that losing even just an hour of data can greatly harm revenues and brand reputation, sometimes beyond repair. Savvy businesses are taking an all-inclusive approach to this problem that incorporates cloud-based technologies into their disaster recovery plans. And with consistent testing and automation, they are ensuring that those plans are extremely simple to execute against in even the most challenging of situations, a key element of successfully avoiding damaging downtime.” Rob Strechay, VP Product, Zerto

Data is one of the most valuable business assets and when it comes to data protection chief among its IT challenges is the ever-growing rate of data and the associated vulnerability. Backup needs to be reliable, fast and cost efficient. Organizations are on the defensive after a disaster and being able to recover critical data within minutes is crucial. Breakthroughs in disk technologies and pricing have led to very dense arrays that are power, cost and performance efficient. Backup has been revolutionized and organizations need to ensure they are safeguarding their most valuable commodity – not just now but for the long term. Secure archive platforms are complementary and create a complete recovery strategy.” – Geoff Barrall, COO, Nexsan

On World Backup Day, it’s a good time to recognize how far the market has come in protecting mission-critical business data. The scalability, flexibility and on-demand nature of the cloud means that backup and DR strategies that were previously only available to large enterprise customers are now also within the reach of small and medium sized businesses. Indeed, many of our customers have evolved from onsite backup to cloud backup to a full cloud-based disaster recovery strategy. While risks ranging from the dramatic; hurricanes, storms and ransomware attacks to the mundane; power outages, unauthorized changes and human error are only increasing, companies of all sizes can be confident that the technology and expert assistance is available to help them achieve IT resiliency and business continuity. –Brian Ussher, President and Co-Founder, iland

When looking at the growth of unstructured data, the industry is bursting at its seams. IDC Research predicts that we will have a massive 44 zettabytes (or 44 trillion GB) of data on our hands by 2020. We have more than 200 million surveillance cameras around the world generating 18.4 billion gigabytes of storage every two weeks. Organizations around the world are pondering where to keep it, how to keep it and how to quickly access it when they needed it. This is why the object storage industry is about to explode.” – Jon Toor, Cloudian CMO

Data backup and disaster recovery used to be treated as separate processes, which added complexity. But with object storage as a backup target you now have multiple options to bring backup and DR together in a single flow. You can configure a hybrid cloud and tier a portion of your data to the public cloud, or you can locate object storage nodes at different locations and use replication to provide geographic separation. So, this World Backup Day, consider how object storage has increased your options for meeting this critical need.” – Jon Toor, Cloudian CMO

An finally in M&A activity, we learned that Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS), a leading provider of application development and deployment technologies, announced it has completed the acquisition of DataRPM, a privately-held company and leader in cognitive predictive maintenance for the industrial IoT (IIoT) market. This acquisition is a key part of the Progress strategy to provide the best platform to build and deliver cognitive-first applications. As data continues to explode, driven by machine-generated and human-generated data, and devices and digital touchpoints proliferate rapidly, organizations must leverage cognitive-first applications for business benefit to compete and win. DataRPM offers an award-winning cognitive predictive maintenance solution for industrial IoT. The patented platform automates predictive modeling, leveraging proprietary Meta Learning capabilities to increase quality, accuracy and timeliness of equipment failure predictions, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings. The technology enables customers such as Jaguar, Samsung and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to predict and prevent asset failures, and increase yield and efficiencies to generate outcomes for industrial IoT.


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