“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/26/2017

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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.

It’s been another action packed week in the big data industry, complete with more travel, conferences, Meetups, interviews, not to mention all the new information fueled by a very active PR support system! So let the rumors begin, starting with new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Global supercomputer leader, Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY) and Markley, a premier provider of data center space and cloud computing services, announced a partnership to provide supercomputing as a service solutions that combine the power of Cray supercomputers with the premier hosting capabilities of Markley. Through the partnership, Markley will offer Cray supercomputing technologies, as a hosted offering, and both companies will collaborate to build and develop industry-specific solutions … Qubit and Looker have established a partnership to bring data-driven decision making to personalization for e-commerce businesses. Qubit, the leader in delivering highly persuasive personalization at scale, provides the platform for marketers to create highly segmented personalized experiences for the highest performing customers. Looker, the modern data platform, allows businesses to consistently define metrics across the organization to make data more accessible, sharable, and secure. The combination of Qubit’s and Looker’s technologies enables joint customers to analyze visitor data efficiently and effectively. Customers will have the ability to look at all their data from multiple siloed locations within one interface. This data will no longer require IT resources to segment and understand … Alteryx, Inc., NYSE: AYX a leader in self-service data analytics, announced it will offer its Alteryx Server in a cloud computing environment on Microsoft Azure. Organizations can now quickly deploy Alteryx Server, a powerful platform to share analytical workflows across the enterprise, via the Azure Marketplace to empower analysts and business users to more easily consume data and make more informed business decisions … The Weather Company, an IBM Business (NYSE: IBM), announced the launch of the first cognitive ads for the auto industry. Toyota and The Weather Company have teamed up on a new Watson Ads experience to introduce the Prius Prime. Watson Ads for the Prius Prime are available in The Weather Channel App and weather.com. Watson Ads are an industry-first cognitive ad format that enables consumers to organically connect with brands, and allows marketers to have a personalized, one-to-one conversation with their audiences at scale. The cognitive ad format combines machine learning, natural language understanding, and integrated dialogue tools designed to deliver a personalized user experience. Through Watson Ads, Toyota is harnessing the power of AI to engage and educate consumers about Prius Prime – addressing consumer questions, sharing new car information, and guiding decision making during the purchase consideration stage.

In new customer wins new, we’ll start with Natural Language Processing (NLP) text analytics provider Linguamatics announcing the implementation of the Linguamatics Health enterprise NLP platform, powered by I2E, at the University of Pennsylvania Health System for the extraction of actionable insights from unstructured patient data. The University of Pennsylvania Health System will leverage the Linguamatics Health platform to build queries and automatically mine clinical data from patient encounter records, specialist reports and unstructured EHR notes. Specific use cases will include the identification of cohorts of patients with certain medical conditions and locating additional clinical annotations for the PennOmics system for translational research … Kaminario, a leading all-flash storage company, announced Management Science Associates, Inc. (MSA) has selected Kaminario K2 all-flash storage array to power its internal marketing analytics applications and support its hosted infrastructure services. A leader in analytics, information technology infrastructure and information management solutions, MSA provides analytical-based solutions across a spectrum of industries — from consumer packaged goods, media and IT to medical, life sciences, pharmaceutical and the arts. Kaminario K2 all-flash storage array provides MSA with unmatched database performance, helping reduce the run time of their most critical analytic workloads by 15 to 40 percent. Extending the benefits beyond just application performance improvements, the new infrastructure also enables MSA to optimize its power and data center space utilization, reducing operational spend by nearly 70 percent … MariaDB® Corporation, the company behind the fast growing open source database, announced that MariaDB Server replaces MySQL as the default in Debian 9, a popular Linux distribution. MariaDB Server has quickly succeeded MySQL as the open source database standard in a growing number of Linux distributions used by tens of millions of developers around the world. More than 3.1 million websites globally run on the Debian operating system. Released on June 17, 2017, Debian 9 now includes MariaDB as the default MySQL variant within the distribution and introduces a new mechanism for switching the database to MariaDB from MySQL. Users can have immediate access to advanced MariaDB Server features, including additional storage engines via MariaDB’s extensible architecture, speed improvements and a truly open source model … MarkLogic Corporation, a leading operational and transactional Enterprise NoSQL database provider, announced that the OECD, a 35 member country non-government organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world based in Paris, France, chose MarkLogic to implement its digital transformation by developing the first application of the OECD Digital Strategy: the new OECD Network Environment (O.N.E.). Built out of the need to improve the OECD’s information sharing capabilities by offering rapid knowledge access, collaborative authoring and advanced analytical functions, MarkLogic’s database platform created O.N.E., seamlessly integrating large amounts of information from multiple data silos … Match2Lists has chosen EXASOL as the in-memory analytic database engine to run its innovative data matching and cleansing cloud. Match2Lists allows customers to rapidly and accurately clean and unify data from disparate systems and sources, and is used in multiple sectors including travel, pharmaceutical, FMCG and financial services. Creating a single unified view of customers and prospects, from all the data available is key to turning it into actionable information. Matching numerous internal data (sales, marketing and account management) with external sources (third party and partner data) is complex and time consuming given the endless variations of spellings of company names, addresses as well as considering all the ways that a person’s name can be spelled or shortened. To be able to do this needs a matching algorithm with intelligence. The more data that is successfully matched and deduplicated, the more information you can piece together from the disparate sources. Match2Lists.com combines the most advanced data matching algorithms with a visual interface to allow companies to accurately match millions of records in minutes.

This week also saw a number of people movements starting with Infogain, a leading provider of technology solutions and services announcing the appointment of Vinay Rawat as Chief Revenue Officer, reporting to CEO Sunil Bhatia. Bringing more than two and a half decades of industry experience to the role, Vinay will focus on achieving and exceeding Infogain’s short- and long-term revenue and profitability goals. Vinay brings extensive experience in sales and business development, including demand creation, creative deal making, outsourcing, process design and roll out, marketing and operations management. He has a strong track record of developing new markets, driving account-based growth, and managing strategic and large accounts. Vinay joins Infogain after a long and successful career at Wipro Technologies. He most recently served as Senior Vice President & Global Head – Network Equipment & Consumer Electronics, where he managed a large team of professionals and was responsible forrevenue growth, investments, and service delivery at the multi hundred million dollar business unit. Vinay previously led new business development for Wipro’s Global Telecom & Media BU as well as its North American Product Engineering Services unit. Vinay is an engineering graduate from Malaviya National Institute of Technology … Looker, a leading data platform company, today announced that Ryan Gurney has joined the company as Chief Security Officer, leading Looker’s security and compliance initiatives. Ryan will be developing and executing a broad-based security and compliance roadmap for current and future products, as well as implementing company-wide governance policies and procedures. Prior to Looker, Ryan managed security and compliance functions as vice president of Security at Zendesk, and Director of IT for Engine Yard. Previously, he managed a security engineering team at eBay who dissected malware, performed vulnerability research, and executed security audits against web and mobile applications. Ryan started his career in consulting, leading a number of large security and IT engagements for his clients … Couchbase, creator of the Engagement Database, announced the further strengthening of its executive bench with the appointments of three strategic new hires. Denis Maynard joins as Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Scott Anderson as Senior Vice President of Product Management and Business Operations, and Matt McDonough as Vice President of Business Development.

In the special recognitions department, we learned that Maana, a pioneer of digital knowledge technology was selected among hundreds of candidates as one of the World Economic Forum’s “technology pioneers”, a selection of the world’s most innovative companies. Maana’s innovation helps the largest industrial companies in the world to improve operational efficiencies three to ten times faster than any technologies used in the past. The Maana Knowledge Platform turns industrial domain expertise and data into digital knowledge for millions of experts to make better decisions faster. These experts manage the industrial assets that the global economy depends on. Maana was founded by Babur Ozden and Donald Thompson. The World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers are early-stage companies from around the world that that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies and innovations, and are poised to have a significant impact on business and society. The 30 technology pioneers that made it to the final selection are active in artificial intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, blockchain, cybersecurity, the (industrial) internet of things, and other pioneering technologies … Alation Inc., the collaborative data company,  announced it has been named the top-ranked data cataloging solution in Dresner Advisory Services’ inaugural 2017 Wisdom of Crowds® Data Catalog Market Study. In the independent, survey-based study, Alation ranked higher than all competitive offerings in both categories evaluated: collaborate analytics features and governance features. The study is the first to rank vendors in data catalogs specifically for business intelligence (BI), an area where Alation has shown rapid innovation. Alation offers collaborative analytics and information governance solutions that catalog data assets used in BI and analytics projects, improving the productivity of self-service analytics.

We also heard of a compelling big data use case … My Choices Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in India, is using big data analytics to help alleviate one of the world’s worst social problems: human trafficking. While many organizations work to rescue girls and prosecute the traffickers, Operation Red Alert, a program of My Choices Foundation, is a prevention program designed to help parents, teachers, village leaders and children to understand how the traffickers work so they can block their efforts. Poor village girls are typically targeted by traffickers with promises that the girls are being offered wonderful opportunities for an education, jobs or marriage. But with over 600,000 villages in India, Operation Red Alert needed help to determine which areas were most at risk to prioritize their education efforts. As a pro bono project, the Australian analytics firm Quantium developed a big data solution which runs on Cisco UCS infrastructure and uses the MapR Converged Data Platform. The solution analyzes India’s census data, government education data and other sources for factors such as drought, poverty level, proximity to transportation stations, educational opportunities, population, and distance to police stations to identify the villages and towns that are most at risk of human trafficking.

The new funding spigot continues to flow over the tech industry starting with Cosmo Tech, a leading provider of decision management solutions that augment intelligence by combining human expertise with complex systems modeling, announced it has raised $3 million in a follow-on round. The round was led by returning investor Sofimac Partners, and includes additional participation from new investor BNP Paribas and existing investor Aster Capital. With the new round, Cosmo Tech has raised $8.2 million in total funding since 2014. Cosmo Tech is at the forefront of the new field of Augmented Intelligence, a collection of technologies purposefully built to combine human and machine intelligence, and in doing so, exceed the bounds of both. Cosmo Tech provides decision management solutions that bring this higher order intelligence to decision makers by combining human expertise with complex modeling, then simulating all the various scenarios that arise. Cosmo Tech’s decision management solution provides insights into both emergent phenomena – new behaviors or scenarios that arise from the interactions of different systems – as well as cascading effects – the ripple effects of a single decision throughout a connected, complex system. Cosmo Tech’s offering provides clarity beyond any data solution, including big data, because it relies on the combination of human expertise and complex systems modeling, as opposed to historic data, to derive insights. Unlike Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Intelligence doesn’t replicate the human brain at greater scale or with more data, but rather, combines the expertise of multiple humans to uncover insights no human brain could identify on its own.

We also received a commentary on the New York Times announcing its move to expand its online comment forums while adding AI to assist human moderators slogging through the comments to oust the trolls. Facebook also announced it will be using AI to identify potential terrorist posts and accounts on its platform. Bobby Johnson, co-founder and CTO at behavioral analytics company Interana and former infrastructure lead at Facebook, observed:

These moves are state-of-the-art for how large web properties deal with abuse and this should improve quality significantly. Key to this move is the “alongside the humans” aspect. It’s important to recognize that humans and computers are good at really different things, and a lot of the places where people are having the most success with AI systems today involves humans being augmented by computers rather than pure AI. In the case of moderating comments or identifying terrorist posts, it’s a deeply human question:  what is appropriate behavior and what is trolling. This isn’t something you can just hand off to a computer, but you can make the human’s judgement dramatically more leveraged by augmenting it with the computer.”

And finally, ODPi, a nonprofit organization accelerating the open ecosystem of big data solutions, announced Apache™ Bigtop “Test Drive” Grant Program, a new grant funding program designed to increase developer involvement in the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) project. Through the program, ODPi is investing $50,000 to fund developer work with the world’s top Apache and big data developers and architects to expand Bigtop’s functionality and usability. To apply to participate in the Bigtop “Test Drive” Grant Program, submit proposals by Friday, July 14 at 11:59pm PST. The ODPi Technical Steering Committee (TSC) is looking for Apache Hadoop ecosystem developers and/or big data practitioners building solutions for in-house or external clients to help further the features in Bigtop. This might be software development, developing new teaching materials, documenting best practices, standardising APIs or doing research. The program will allow developers to hone their skills, build relationships with leading big data companies and earn monetary compensation. Beyond financial support, the TSC can also provide administrative support, promotion and some collaboration tools. The program will run for six months, beginning August 1 and ending February 2, 2018. All participants will be given a dedicated mentor from the TSC and will be required to report their progress to the TSC on a monthly basis (first Thursday of each month). The TSC reserves the right to remove participants from the program.


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