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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 4/24/2017

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:  Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

We’re getting prepared for the up-coming conference event season when the big data vendor ecosystem goes into high gear. We’ll be sure to keep you all informed! In the meantime, let’s talk customer wins starting with … VoltDB, the in-memory transactional database for applications that require an unprecedented combination of data scale, volume, and accuracy, announcing it has been selected by Huawei as enabling technology in the tech giant’s FusionInsight platform. The company has also been approved as a corporate-wide supplier to Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. VoltDB was chosen for its real-time decisions, low latency, high availability, elastic scalability and strong consistency. The Huawei FusionInsight platform is a Big Data Solution used by China’s enterprises and retail financial services institutions to implement real-time history queries, credit investigations and build new event marketing services focused on customer-oriented precision marketing. With VoltDB, Huawei FusionInsight brings credit card fraud detection latencies down dramatically, from current batch processing windows to real-time responses … Boundless, a leader in open GIS, announced that it has been awarded a $36 million contract by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the primary source of GEOINT for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community. The new contract supports NGA GEOINT Services and purchases services required to package, deliver, maintain and patch accredited open source geospatial software packages.

In the special recognition category we’ll start with MongoDB, the database for giant ideas, announcing it was named a Strong Performer by Forrester Research in its report, The Forrester Wave™: Database-as-a-Service, Q2 2017, by Noel Yuhanna. The Forrester Wave recognized that MongoDB’s new database as a service platform, MongoDB Atlas, is gaining quick momentum … Unravel Data, the application performance management (APM) platform for simplifying big data operations (DataOps), announced that it has been included in Gartner’s March 2017 Market Guide for Hadoop Operations Providers. The report states, “Scaling Hadoop from small, pilot projects to large-scale production clusters involves a steep learning curve in terms of operational know-how that many enterprises are unprepared for.” Unravel was built to simplify Big Data operations. More specifically, to enable moving apps from pilot to production at any scale with a small operations team; to deploy apps in a hybrid cloud while minimizing costs; and to run apps reliably across a diverse set of engines and platforms with guaranteed SLAs … ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, announced that Alexei A. Efros of the University of California, Berkeley is the recipient of the 2016 ACM Prize in Computing. Efros was cited for groundbreaking data-driven approaches to computer graphics and computer vision. A focus of his work has been to understand, model and recreate the visual world around us. Efros is a pioneer in combining the power of huge image datasets drawn from the Internet with machine learning algorithms to foster powerful image transformations and valuable research findings. He has also made fundamental contributions in texture synthesis, a technique that ushered in new horizons in computer graphics and is widely used in the film industry. The ACM Prize in Computing recognizes early-to-mid-career contributions that have fundamental impact and broad implications. Infosys Ltd. provides financial support for the $250,000 annual award.

We also saw more of the big data funding spigot activity with Reltio, the enterprise data-driven applications and modern data management Platform as a Service (PaaS) company, announcing that it has secured Series C funding in the amount of $40 million—a clear sign of investors’ confidence in the company’s momentum and strong business prospects. Reltio Cloud is the only multitenant PaaS that enables organizations to build data-driven applications with reliable master data management (MDM), relevant big data insights, and intelligent recommended actions. The funding was led by global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), which has a strong track record of investing in enterprise technologies at the forefront of innovation, and visionary leaders building transformational organizations. New investor, Sapphire Ventures, which aims to help today’s most innovative entrepreneurs and technology companies build global category-defining businesses, also joins this round. Existing investors Crosslink Capital and .406 Ventures also participated. The new funds will further boost Reltio’s market momentum, and fuel engineering, sales, and marketing initiatives while enhancing the company’s global footprint and leadership in modern data management … Komprise, a leader in intelligent data management across clouds, has raised $12M in Series B funding, led by Walden International, with participation from existing investor Canaan Partners and notable luminaries including Bill Moore (co-founder ZFS, ex-EMC Fellow), and Sanjay Mehrotra (ex-CEO SanDisk). Additionally, the Komprise Data Management Grid, which scales linearly with no central bottlenecks, is now generally available, enabling businesses to manage the massive scale of today’s data while cutting 70% of costs. Komprise will use the funds to scale operations globally and accelerate the company’s rapid momentum with customers and partners. Since announcing general availability of Komprise Data Management 1.0 last summer, Komprise has quickly gained strong traction both with partners and customers. Komprise has forged partnerships with major storage and cloud players including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Storage, Microsoft Azure, HPE, NetApp, EMC, Quantum, SpectraLogic and Scality. Komprise is now being used by leading enterprises across verticals including financial services, genomics, healthcare, manufacturing, engineering, media and entertainment, and government.

In people movement news, we learned that MapR Technologies, Inc., the provider of the Converged Data Platform enabling organizations to create intelligent applications that fully integrate analytics with operational processes in real time, announced that Roger Siboni has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Siboni’s extensive management experience includes serving as the Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, a member firm of KPMG International, and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of E.piphany. At KPMG Peat Marwick LLP, he was also the Managing Partner of the Information, Communication, and Entertainment Practice. Mr. Siboni joined the MapR Board of Directors in March 2017 and serves as the Chair of the Audit Committee and is also a member of the Compensation Committee. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of Dolby Laboratories, Inc., Coupa Software Incorporated, and Cadence Design Systems, Inc … Telit, a global enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT), announced that Shawn Reynolds has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer.  Mr. Reynolds comes to Telit from SAP, the world’s leader in application and analytics software and leading enterprise Cloud company, where he was global vice-president and head of IoT marketing. As a core member of the Telit executive team, Mr. Reynolds will be responsible for directing global marketing strategy, managing brand awareness and reputation and developing global programs that drive the success of the company’s products and services in the fast-growing IoT market. Prior to joining Telit, Reynolds led SAP IoT marketing and was instrumental in the development of the SAP IoT go-to-market strategy and the creation of the SAP Leonardo brand.  He held multiple leadership positions over the last ten years responsible for marketing new and emerging technologies. He also led cloud and services marketing teams, playing an important role in defining new messaging and positioning for SAP solutions.

This week there was a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaboration starting with DriveScale, the pioneer of disaggregated infrastructure for Hadoop, and AE Business Solutions (AE), a leading IT integration and consulting company, announcing a new partnership to deliver flexible Hadoop infrastructure for enterprise clients in the Midwest. The partnership will further empower customers to maximize their Hadoop investments by reducing infrastructure costs and complexity while gaining actionable insight into their data assets. AE Business Solutions is committed to strategically expanding its portfolio with the right partners to provide customers with powerful scale-out solutions, and has added DriveScale to a select list of chosen IT partners with proven records of accomplishment in driving cost savings and meeting business goals. Through this strategic partnership, AE will include DriveScale’s proven disaggregated architecture solutions in its infrastructure portfolio … MicroStrategy® Incorporated (MSTR), a leading worldwide provider of enterprise analytics and mobility software, announced that MicroStrategy 10 is now integrated with Alation Data Explorer, the search and discovery interface of collaborative data company Alation. With this integration, customers have access to a data catalog directly within the MicroStrategy interface and can seamlessly conduct self-service enterprise data discovery and analytics in the MicroStrategy platform, enabling them to make faster, data-driven business decisions. When Alation connects to an organization’s data sources, it crawls and indexes data assets stored across different physical repositories, including databases, Hadoop® files and data visualization tools, to produce a rich catalog. As enterprises shift to self-service analytics environments, executives, analysts, data scientists and data stewards are increasingly becoming the primary consumers of data. MicroStrategy 10’s integration with Alation Data Explorer supports this changing paradigm by providing a collaborative data catalog for data discovery and governance to a broader set of users, thereby increasing the impact and value of data. This integration leverages Alation’s new software development kit (SDK) to embed its enterprise data search and discovery capabilities into MicroStrategy 10 … HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung focused on connected technologies for the automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, is pleased to announce it has expanded its relationship with Baidu, the leading Chinese Internet and web services company, to jointly develop new cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) solutions aimed at Chinese automakers. The two companies will collaborate to integrate Baidu’s DuerOS-based personal digital assistant and voice recognition engine technologies with HARMAN’s connected car and cloud platforms. DuerOS is an open operating system that already supports access to a voice-activated digital assistant for mobile phones, TVs, speakers, and other devices, while supporting the ability of third-party developer access. Together, the companies will now collaborate to create smart automotive features including automatic speech recognition (ASR) in English and Mandarin, natural language processing and speech synthesis. The agreement builds on HARMAN’s existing relationship with Baidu. In January 2015, HARMAN and Baidu entered into a strategic collaboration to launch CarLife, a vehicle networking solution that offers advanced Internet capabilities, entertainment features and location-based services on HARMAN’s in-vehicle infotainment head units designed for the Chinese market … The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM) announced an innovative collaboration with LiveRamp, an Acxiom® company, that will enable marketers to seamlessly integrate Weather’s unique real-time data to help drive decision-making in omnichannel campaigns across the digital ecosystem. The capabilities of this collaboration offer marketers unique tools to engage people with relevant and timely experiences. This first-of-its-kind data integration allows an ‘event-based’ data set (e.g. The Weather Company’s WEATHERfx data) to be matched with an ‘audience-based’ data set in real-time. This is designed to help marketers create better campaign outcomes and an expanded usage of different data sets across the media ecosystem. Through LiveRamp IdentityLink Data Store, advertisers will have the autonomy to apply Weather’s influential data set as a decisioning layer in their campaigns, utilizing data like environmental conditions, severe weather, and relative weather conditions to improve their personalized marketing so they can reach consumers at the right moment with the right message throughout their customer journeys.

And finally, our friends over at OpenText, an information management company, provided some compelling research examining consumer reactions to AI and its impact on different aspects of our lives. In a survey of 3,000 US consumers, ages 18-65+, OpenText found that respondents across the board are skeptical of robot/intelligent automation technology entering the workplace, making medical diagnoses and even driving our cars. Below is a snapshot of the findings:

Fear of AI in the Workplace:

  • 54% of respondents would not feel comfortable working alongside a robot
  • 76% of respondents would discourage their employer to hire a robot if it meant reducing their day-to-day admin tasks

Distrust with Driverless Cars:

  • 70% of respondents would not feel comfortable being a passenger in a driverless/autonomous car
  • 63% of respondents would get frustrated driving in (or following) a driverless/autonomous car that obeyed every traffic law without question
  • 57% of respondents didn’t think driverless/autonomous cars would make the roads safer – and would frustrate human road users

Healthcare AI – Mixed Reviews:

  • Healthcare was more optimistic with AI adoption, with respondents saying AI could be useful in making a more accurate diagnosis (37%) and a quicker diagnosis (32%)
  • However, only 4% of respondents would trust AI’s diagnosis more than a doctor’s


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