“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/7/2017

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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.

For many industries, the long, hot summer months mean that many participants take the foot off the pedal a bit, take a breath and relax. Not so in the big data industry! Here at insideBIGDATA, it’s business as usual with so much happening. Let’s start with some new people movement news … Rescale, a leading enterprise big compute platform provider for engineering simulation and scientific research on cloud high-performance computing (HPC), announced that Gabriel Broner has joined the company as Vice President and General Manager of High-Performance Computing. Broner brings 25 years of industry experience to Rescale. He has held roles as operating system architect at Cray, general manager at Microsoft, head of innovation at Ericsson, and most recently vice president and general manager of high-performance computing at SGI … StreamSets, Inc., provider of the industry’s first enterprise data operations platform, today announced that Sohaib Abbasi, former chairman and CEO of Informatica Corporation, will join its Board of Directors. He currently serves on the board of directors at Red Hat and New Relic. Abbasi served as the chairman and CEO of Informatica from 2004 to 2015. Prior to Informatica, Abbasi had a storied career at Oracle Corporation from 1982 to 2003, where he served as a member of the executive committee and led Oracle’s Tools Division and Education services. Abbasi graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degree in computer science.

We learned of a gaggle of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Natural Language Processing (NLP) text analytics provider Linguamatics, and RealHealthData, a narrative medical records database provider, announced their strategic partnership to combine Linguamatics’ advanced NLP technology with RealHealthData’s extensive database of detailed provider narratives, to improve the understanding of drug use, adverse events, and product switching in Real World settings. Understanding the real world (i.e., outside of clinical trials) impact of therapies on patients is critical for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Medical records are one of the key sources of real world data, and provide evidence that can inform all phases of drug development. RealHealthData provides access to patient narratives from all 50 US states and every medical specialty. The data can be used for all phases of drug development and post marketing research. Linguamatics I2E can be used to extract the key facts from these narratives using relevant ontologies and queries, transforming real world data into actionable intelligence for better decision making … MapR Technologies, Inc., provider of the Converged Data Platform that fully integrates analytics with operational processes in real time, and Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud and big data integration solutions, announced they are working closely on a solution to help customers address requirements for the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. The combined offering from MapR and Talend enables companies to create a governed data lake capable of meeting even the most stringent data storage, inventory, protection, retention, portability, and security requirements mandated by GDPR … Accenture (NYSE: ACN) is collaborating with Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) to improve how diabetes care is managed and delivered through the development of a data-driven core analytics platform for Roche’s digital diabetes ecosystem. The platform and ecosystem will seamlessly connect patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers with a suite of new digital health services. Under the terms of a five-year agreement, Roche’s new digital ecosystem and services will be built on the Accenture Intelligent Patient Platform, and offered to diabetes patients across North America, Europe and Asia. The open platform will provide Roche with the ability to gather and analyze data in a secure environment, generate new patient insights to provide more customized care, and easily collaborate and integrate with its ecosystem partners and devices used to manage diabetes care. The platform will integrate all existing and future products, solutions and services … CallMiner, a leading platform provider of award-winning speech and customer engagement analytics announces a partnership with Zenylitics, a leading provider of speech analytics program management and quality assurance services. Zenylitics will incorporate the CallMiner Eureka speech analytics platform with its extensive contact center and speech analytics expertise to provide full-service QA solutions while delivering significant value with analytics initiatives to drive client revenue and market share. It will also leverage the Eureka API to deliver customer reporting and solutions for its clients … Tutela, the crowdsourced mobile data company, has announced a partnership with MapD Technologies, a leader in GPU-powered data analytics. The deal creates a mobile data analytics solution, Tutela Explorer, that provides real-time, interactive and highly visual insight into the performance of mobile networks and device usage. Telecom providers, mobile device manufacturers and industry analysts can access Tutela’s massive crowdsourced dataset using MapD’s GPU-powered analytics platform to quickly gain insight into mobile network quality from the country level all the way down to the street level. These queries, which draw on data crowdsourced from over 200 million devices, are processed in milliseconds. This allows mobile companies to identify trends and patterns, as well as problems and opportunities from massive, live data sets in a highly accessible format. Previously, these types of visual analytics would take hours to process and render, meaning businesses could not respond to issues promptly.

We also heard of some M&A activity … LogMeIn, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOGM) announced that it has agreed to acquire Nanorep, an innovative digital self-service, chatbot and virtual assistant company. Headquartered in Herzliya, Israel, Nanorep harnesses artificial intelligence and patented natural language processing technologies to create solutions that make self-service more engaging and intuitive. Some of the world’s most trusted brands including Intuit, FedEx, Toys“R”Us and Vodafone use Nanorep for key customer service initiatives. Following LogMeIn’s recent release of its new intelligent customer engagement platform, Bold360, the Nanorep acquisition represents another step forward in LogMeIn’s mission to empower companies to deliver more human, personalized and intelligent customer engagement … Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has acquired Search Technologies, a Herndon, Virginia-based technology services firm specializing in the design, implementation and management of big data and search analytics. Search Technologies delivers enhanced content analytics capabilities that help clients better understand their business, customers and markets through the combination of transactional and contextual data. By applying artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like machine learning to this type of client data, Accenture can help generate new, more precise insights that drive improved business outcomes. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Search Technologies joins the existing community of data scientists and engineers within Accenture Analytics and will focus on developing and industrializing solutions that make unstructured content – from social media to video to voice and audio – easily searchable to support data discovery, analytics and large-scale reporting. Search Technologies employs nearly 200 big data engineers and search experts from locations across the United States, Costa Rica, Europe and the Philippines.

And big data industry funding continues to flow … WalkMe, a leading digital adoption platform and one of the fastest growing software companies globally, announced that it has raised $75 million in funding, led by Insight Venture Partners. The latest round of financing brings the total to $167.5 million. The latest funding – its largest round to date – will enable the company to evaluate strategic acquisition opportunities, strengthen its global reach, invest in key talent and continue to support organizations as they embrace new solutions – from customer relationship management software, HR systems and many others. WalkMe transforms the user experience by using machine learning and deep analytics to understand individual habits and behaviors when using any software or website. Based on these insights, WalkMe can contextually guide, engage and anticipate a user’s needs. This ensures technology adoption, reduces helpdesk tickets, streamlines workflows and boosts productivity … Bridge Growth Partners, LLC, a leading growth-oriented private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to make a majority equity investment in BackOffice Associates, a leader in information governance, data stewardship, and data migration solutions. Following the investment from Bridge Growth Partners, David Booth will continue to lead the company as CEO and also serve on its board of directors … Botmetric, a leading AI-powered cloud management platform helping digital businesses simplify and optimize their cloud services, announced that it has raised series A of $3 million led by Blume Ventures, a Draper Venture Network fund. Botmetric will use the funds to enhance its offerings with intelligent automation, as well as expand operations across North America and the Asia-Pacific regions.

In the new products, services and solutions department, we learned … Datorama, a global marketing intelligence company, announced the launch of Datorama SmartLenses. Leveraging Datorama’s AI-powered Marketing Intelligence platform and extensive marketing domain expertise from working with thousands of brands, agencies and publishers, SmartLenses provide marketers with one-click dashboards for their popular marketing data sources to optimize performance, impact and customer loyalty. The release of SmartLenses extends Datorama’s value to customers by guiding marketers to the right, in-depth KPIs, performance metrics, trends and campaign breakdowns to measure and improve upon — all while automating and streamlining the process of data integration, data modeling and visualization in a single step. With SmartLenses, marketers can now go from data to smarter decision making in seconds … The University of Texas at Dallas is launching a unique data analytics master’s program this fall for students who want to work in government and nonprofit organizations and the private sector. The Social Data Analytics and Research degree prepares graduates for jobs that require a variety of in-demand skills, including quantitative and qualitative data analysis, social data mining, research compilation and assessment, evidence-based project design, program evaluation, survey planning and administration, and information management. The career outlook for students with social data analytics skills is strong. The McKinsey Global Institute has projected a 50- to 60 percent gap between supply and demand of people with deep training. Despite a proliferation of data analytics programs at universities, few focus on applying these skills to the social sciences and associated professions.

In the customer wins category, we heard … Bright Computing, the leading provider of hardware-agnostic cluster and cloud management software, announced it has supplied its Bright Cluster Manager™ solution to Fayetteville State University for use in ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. Bright Cluster Manager enables the University to deploy complete clusters over bare metal and manage them effectively. Managing the hardware, operating system, HPC software, and its users is done with an elegant easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI). With Bright Cluster Manager, IT/system administrators can quickly get clusters up and running and keep them running reliably throughout their life-cycle.

In financial results news, we heard … Hortonworks reported second quarter 2017 results. Here are the key financial highlights from the quarter:

  • GAAP revenue was $61.8M (up 42% year-over-year) and was not only better than forecast, but was the highest revenue of any quarter to date.
  • GAAP operating margin was -88%, also better than forecast. In comparison, it was -147% for the same period last year, which means operating efficiency continues to improve.
  • 10 deals over $1M (compared to 6 such deals in Q2 2016), illustrating enterprise customers are going all in with our open source platforms.
  • Still on track to be operating cash flow breakeven by Q4. Again, revenue was up 42% year-over-year while expenses increased by only 3% year-over-year, reflecting the spending discipline we have put in place as we drive toward OCF breakeven.

And here is analyst Patrick Moorhead’s quick take on the recent Intel earnings report:

Intel had a very good Q2. What struck me was the diversity of their revenue and their ability to grow in areas where many doubted they could see a lot of growth or success. IoT grew 26%, flash memory grew 58%, and cloud and comms service providers grew 35% and 17% respectively. Even notebooks grew 20%, a big surprise to me. The things to factor in the future equation is when Nervana, Optane and MobileEye all get fully on-line, counterbalanced by some of the competitive impact in AI and general-purpose x86 processors. All in all, this was a very solid quarter and gives indications of some many positive things for the future for Intel.”

And finally, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are in the middle of the continued debate about “killer AI. While both have started and run two of the most successful technology companies in the world, how much do they actually know about AI? Neurala CEO, Max Versace, has spent his career making robots smarter. Neurala is the deep learning neural networks platform that is making smart products like toys, cameras and self-driving cars more autonomous, interactive and useful:

Unlike grilling burgers, AI is a complicated technology, and it would be best if an expert in AI were the one giving opinions about AI. I have been in the field for 25 years, and not even once have these ‘grim future’ concerns been discussed with my colleagues. The likelihood of an AI scientist building Skynet is the same as someone accidentally building the space station from Legos. Have Musk and Zuckerberg spend at least a week programming AI, and then do an interview. We might find them 25 years later still programming and trying to build HAL. Perhaps it’s better to stick to burgers.”


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