“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 5/8/2017

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category 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 you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep 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.

The mid-year conference season is now officially in full swing and we’re headed over to Silicon Valley for the GPU Technology Conference 2017 hosted by NVIDIA. This industry is so HOT right now and we’re glad to clue you all in to what’s happening. Let’s start this week with some compelling customer wins news … VoltDB, the enterprise-class database that powers business-critical applications, announced that it has been selected by TripleLift, the leader in native programmatic advertising, to deliver real-time native ads. With VoltDB, TripleLift is delivering precisely targeted native programmatic advertisements at a large scale, while ensuring accurate campaign pacing. By ingesting, analyzing and acting on incoming data streams in real time, VoltDB enables TripleLift to deliver a true RTB (real-time bidding) auctions, striking the delicate balance between ad placements and buyer demand. With many consumers opting for ad-blockers while browsing online, native advertisements — which have a similar look and feel to editorial content — are driving the next wave of innovation in the digital advertising market. By 2021, BI Intelligence anticipates native ad revenue will make up 74 percent of the total U.S. display ad revenue, in part due to the availability of programmatic technology that helps to scale native campaigns. TripleLift is leading this advertising evolution with respectful, consumer-centric, native ads … RAVN Systems, leading experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Search and Knowledge Management solutions, announced that Djøf has selected RAVN’s complete ACE platform. RAVN ACE brings together technologies from the fields of Information Processing and AI in a coherent, corporate-ready solution stack. RAVN ACE provides end-to-end management, discovery, analysis and governance of unstructured corporate data, including the ability to classify, search and extract information from documents and other unstructured data. Djøf is a professional union body for lawyers, law students as well as business economics, social science graduates and students. Djøf has a database of tens of thousands of employment contracts and needed an innovative way of locating them in addition to specific data within these contracts. RAVN ACE will help Djøf to automatically search, compare and contrast as well as extract specific information from their contracts, providing an instant understanding of key terms, further improving and streamlining their service to their members … Sinequa, a leader in cognitive search and analytics, announced that Alstom (EPA:ALO) has selected Sinequa’s Cognitive & Analytics platform to empower Alstom employees to search data and access information from the AMS – Alstom Management System – which is the backbone of the company’s policies and documents. This global repository includes both engineering and standard documentation. The new solution will offer to Alstom’s 31,000 employees a single point of access associated with a tailored user interface depending on the group they belong to and therefore provide everyone with the most relevant way to interact with AMS. As a result, Alstom users will gain contextual insight from data across the entire organization, achieve better collaboration and ensure efficient operations. This will ultimately translate into better responses to customers’ needs and quicker creation of value through innovation … Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY) announced it has been awarded a contract to deliver a Cray® CS400™ cluster supercomputer to the Laboratory Computing Resource Center (LCRC) at Argonne National Laboratory. The new Cray system will serve as the Center’s flagship cluster, and in continuing with LCRC’s theme of jazz-music inspired computer names, the Cray CS400 system is named “Bebop.” Argonne National Laboratory established the LCRC in 2002 to enable and promote the use of high-performance computing (HPC) across the Laboratory in support of its varied research missions. The LCRC is available to the entire Argonne user community, and its integrated computing and data resources will include the new 1.5 petaflop Cray CS400 system. These systems are stepping stones in the development of petascale codes that will run on systems such as Theta, a Cray XC40™ supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF).

There was also some activity on the M&A fronts with Guavus, Inc., a pioneer in developing Machine Intelligent, big data analytics platforms, announcing that it has signed a definitive merger agreement under which Thales (Euronext Paris: HO), a global technology leader for the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets, will acquire Guavus in a cash transaction valued at up to $215 Million. The completion of the acquisition is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.


We also heard some new funding news starting with … Bonsai, provider of an AI platform that empowers enterprises to build and deploy intelligent systems, today announced that it has raised $7.6 million as an extension to its recent A round of funding, bringing the total amount raised to date to $13.6 million. Microsoft Ventures and existing investor NEA co-led the investment with participation from strategic investors ABB Technology Ventures, Samsung, and Siemens. This additional investment will be used for continued product innovation and accelerated customer engagement. Highlighting this focus, Bonsai today introduced the Bonsai Early Access Program. This new customer program works with enterprises in industries such as robotics, manufacturing, retail, logistics, and energy to jointly design, build and deploy AI models using the Bonsai Platform … Fastdata.io, the true real-time stream processing company, today announced it has raised a total of $1.5 million from NVIDIA and other investors. The company is introducing the world’s fastest and most efficient stream processing software engine to meet the critical and growing need for efficient, real-time big data processing. Fastdata.io will use the financing to invest in developing its product, marketing and talent acquisition. Fastdata.io is led by CEO and founder Alen Capalik, an industry veteran who has significant expertise with low-level kernel development for high-frequency trading financial systems and advanced cybersecurity technology. Fastdata.io has developed high-performance computing (HPC) software, its FDIO Engine™, which exploits the massively parallel processing capability of NVIDIA GPUs to provide economical true real-time processing of big data in motion … Bitfusion announced a $5M Series A funding round led by Vanedge Capital, with participation from new investor Sierra Ventures and existing investors Data Collective, Resonant VC, Emergent Ventures, INSEAD Angels and Geekdom. Bitfusion Flex significantly reduces the time and expense associated with AI projects by accelerating development times and cutting infrastructure costs. The infrastructure management software allows AI developers to streamline the development and deployment of deep learning applications by dynamically scaling and sharing on-demand compute power.

In the new products, services and solutions department, we heard that Bonsai, provider of an AI platform empowering enterprises to build and deploy intelligent systems, today introduced the Bonsai Early Access Program. Through this program, Bonsai will engage enterprises across industries such as robotics, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, and energy to jointly design, build and deploy AI models using the Bonsai Platform. Programming AI models to improve control and enhance real-time decision support for these multidimensional, industrial systems quickly outstrips the capabilities of generic AI solutions. Most enterprises lack talent or tools that can combine an organization’s subject matter expertise with complex machine learning technologies to build application specific AI models. The Bonsai Early Access Program is specifically designed to address this by providing enterprises with the technology and resources to more effectively program and manage intelligence models that will increase the automation and operational efficiency of these industrial systems.

DigitalGenius Inc. (DigitalGenius) announced its integration with Zendesk, Inc. This cloud-based application brings advanced AI capabilities to organizations using Zendesk in their customer service operation. The seamless combination of human and machine intelligence will enable a new standard for positive and efficient customer service experiences … Sisense, disrupting the BI market by simplifying business analytics for complex data, announced that it will be launching ‘Sisense Startup.’ The program will offer qualifying early-stage startups complimentary licensing of Sisense’s market-leading analytics technology to embed in their application or solution. Participation in Sisense Startup is exclusively limited to innovative startups that have a direct affiliation with Sisense program partners such as Web Summit, Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ and Battery Ventures. The program is expected to expand to include additional incubator programs and VCs in the upcoming months.

In the people movement category we learned that Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger announced that Jeannette Wing, currently corporate vice president of Microsoft Research, will become the Avanessians Director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science.

Jeannette Wing is a pioneering figure in the world of computer science research and education, and her addition to the University’s academic leadership team reflects the continuing expansion of our work in this field,” said Bollinger. “Our Data Science Institute is indispensable to virtually every scholarly initiative at the University dedicated to addressing a societal problem.  The benefits to be derived from Jeannette’s leadership and her presence here will be immense.”

Wing spent the last four years leading a global network of research labs extending from Boston to Bangalore as a corporate vice president of Microsoft Research.  A longtime advocate of interdisciplinary and collaborative research, Wing will continue to expand the Data Science Institute’s impact on research and education in a variety of ways, from precision medicine and public policy, to the humanities and the professions.  She will take the reins of this Columbia-wide initiative, reporting directly to President Bollinger, in early July … Intermedia, a leading cloud business applications provider, announced today that Jim Kruger is joining the company as its new Chief Marketing Officer, effective May 15, 2017. Kruger comes to Intermedia from Polycom Inc., a leader in Unified Communications and Collaboration, where he most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, overseeing all facets of global marketing. We also learned about some new partnerships, alignments and collaborations …  Ideal, an artificial intelligence for recruiting company, announced that it has partnered with SmartRecruiters, the Hiring Success Company, as an innovative analytics partner to transform recruiting and optimize customers’ entire talent acquisition process. Ideal’s AI-powered recruiting software is now available to all SmartRecruiters clients via the SmartRecruiters Marketplace. SmartRecruiters’ Talent Acquisition Suite is used by high-performance organizations for making the best hires. It has full functionality for recruitment marketing and collaborative hiring built on a modern cloud platform, with an open marketplace for third-party recruitment services. Unlike the first-generation applicant tracking systems it replaces, SmartRecruiters provides an amazing candidate experience; hiring managers actually want to use the product, and recruiters love it because it makes their jobs easier. Using AI, Ideal’s recruiting software automates time-consuming, repetitive tasks to quickly move top candidates through the recruiting funnel. Ideal’s technology instantly screens and shortlists new candidates, uncovers strong past candidates who are a great fit for a new role, and automates candidate contact to gauge their interest.

And finally, we receive some commentary concerning the recent Cloudera IPO news:

As a pioneer in next generation analytics platforms, Cloudera has been key to extracting value from data for many organizations,” said Adam Wilson, CEO of data wrangling pioneer Trifacta. “This next phase of growth for the company also signals a maturation in the data space. Enterprises are graduating from experimentation to actually implementing analytics done on large data lakes, and they’re noticing impressive ROIs. As companies modernize their analytics platforms to scale with the pace of today’s business, Hadoop continues to be a center piece of analytics strategies. With Hadoop evolving alongside the open source community, which is increasingly consumed by machine learning, self-service analytics and cloud, we’ll continue to see adoption of solutions that facilitate the data supply chain, such as data preparation.”

Cloudera’s IPO not only furthers the conversation on how companies can successfully build and monetize the open source model, but also highlights the important role Big Data and database platforms play in digitally transforming today’s biggest industries,” said Greg Henry, CFO at Couchbase. “Additionally, this event is very positive for Couchbase since it provides additional market validation for Open Source technologies: Couchbase solves the operational challenge to deliver positive customer experiences while Cloudera solves the analytical challenge to provide insights into complex and exploding data. We wish Cloudera the best.”


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