“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/11/2017

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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 a crazy, action-packed summer here in the big data universe. Lately, I’ve been busy brushing up my talks on Data Science and Machine Learning for the Data Modeling Zone conference next month in Hartford, CT (use promo code AMULET for a 20% discount). I’ve also been enjoying a new learning resource from the startup deeplearning.ai led by Dr. Andrew Ng. I’ve been auditing their inaugural course for the new Deep Learning Specialization series of 5 compelling courses. I plan to write up my experience with the “Neural Networks and Deep Learning” course in a future Field Report … stay tuned.

Let’s start off this rumor mill installment with some M&A news … Cloudera has acquired Fast Forward Labs, a top-tier applied research and advisory services company. Fast Forward Labs specializes in machine learning and applied AI. This Brooklyn-based company was founded by Hilary Mason – a world renowned data scientist. Now known as Cloudera Fast Forward Labs, the team will concentrate on practical research into new approaches to data science and applying research to business problems that are broadly applicable to a variety of industries and applications … Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L, NYSE: MFGP) announced the completion of its merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) software business to create the seventh largest pure-play enterprise software company in the world (as measured by annual publicly reported revenue). This merger brings together two leaders in the software industry to form a new, combined company uniquely positioned to help customers maximize existing software investments and embrace innovation in a world of Hybrid IT. Upon close, Chris Hsu, formerly COO of HPE and Executive Vice President and General Manager of HPE Software, was appointed CEO of Micro Focus … Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVOL), a leader in real-time analytics, customer acquisition and customer value management solutions and services, announced it has completed the acquisition of the business operating units of Lumata Holdings Ltd. (Lumata). Lumata is a leading global provider of real-time, next generation loyalty and customer lifecycle management software and services that helps businesses gain value from their customer data for relevant and contextual insights and actions of value to both customers and enterprises. Its customers include mobile operators like Orange, Telefonica and other Tier-1 and emerging operators in Europe and around the world. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Evolving Systems’ operations once the integration of the business is completed by year-end 2017.

In new funding news we learned that … Airobotics, a global leader in fully automated industrial drones, has raised US$32.5 million in funding led by new investors including BlueRun Ventures China, as well as Microsoft Ventures, and OurCrowd.com. Existing investors increasing their shareholding include CRV, BRV, Noam Bardin (CEO and Co-Founder of Waze), Richard Wooldridge (former COO/GTM of building 8 at Facebook and former COO of Google ATAP) and David Roux (Co-Founder and former Chairman of Silver Lake Partners) … Dataiku Inc., the maker of Dataiku Data Science Studio (DSS) – one of industry’s leading enterprise, end-to-end advanced analytics and collaborative data science tools – has announced a $28M series B funding round led by Battery Ventures and supported by FirstMark, Serena Capital and Alven. Coming off of strong global growth so far in 2017, the company plans to double its team and accelerate marketing efforts globally while further strengthening their platform with new integrations and technologies. Dataiku comes at a time when there is an incredible growing demand to maximize in-house data production and analysis. As reflected by their growth and profitability since their founding, Dataiku has anticipated this demand with their unique enterprise platform designed for the increased productivity and collaboration of data scientists, programmers, and analysts within and across organizations … EnterWorks confirmed  investment by its primary funding entity, Black Dragon Capital, which will advance the company’s progression as a leader in Master Data Management (MDM) and Product Information Management (PIM). Its B2B2C model for enabling vertical sectors to increase industry collaboration in an age of digital disruption has been cited by analysts and is a key source for its increasing growth rate that attracted the funding. EnterWorks is unique in the software space for its support of content and master data in a configurable, virtual data base architecture, one that houses content across multiple brands, business units, and trading partners in a single instance for global and local collaboration. The platform is cloud ready, uses its dynamic virtual data model to enable the most unique business models and digital differentiations … Israeli startup Axonius announced $4 million in seed funding for its mission to secure and manage the growing billions of connected devices in use by businesses. Backing for the technology platform, which lets IT and security operations teams enable the agile and secure adoption and usage of the widest variety of current and future devices on the network, comes from YL Ventures, with participation from Vertex Ventures and Emerge. This proliferation of device types and numbers introduces significant risk into corporate environments, as organizations have thousands or more of unmanaged, uncontrolled devices on their networks, all of which can be exploited to breach networks, disrupt business and steal information. Axonius was founded to solve this problem.

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations department we heard … Avitas Systems, a GE Venture, is partnering with NVIDIA to use some of the latest advances in artificial intelligence computing to optimize the use of robotics for inspection and better detect defects on industrial assets with advanced data analytics. Avitas Systems can target specific points of inspection and develop paths to collect data in the form of images and video for a variety of robotics, including drones, robotic crawlers, and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). These paths, driven by 3D models, can be repeated from the same angles and locations. The paths’ repeatability means a wide variety of images captured over time can be inputted into the Avitas Systems cloud-based platform, so advanced image analytics can detect changes and measure exact defects on an industrial asset, such as cracks and corrosion. The platform can also rate the severity of defects, oftentimes not visible to the human eye, allowing customers to determine when equipment needs to be replaced and enabling earlier resolution of potential issues. The company is using NVIDIA DGX-1 and DGX Station systems for AI training involved in automated defect recognition. Avitas Systems data scientists build convolutional neural networks for image classification and generative adversarial neural networks to minimize the amount of work involved in labeling captured images. NVIDIA allows Avitas Systems to train software to process many different images and determine when it is ready to identify defects, following a variety of models … DriveScale, a leader in Software Composable Infrastructure (SCI) for modern workloads, announced that Dell EMC will resell DriveScale’s solution to help customers dramatically improve the efficiency and agility of their data center infrastructure for cloud native applications. By offering DriveScale’s SCI technology, Dell EMC can help meet the growing demand amongst its customer base for a more flexible architecture to run distributed workloads such as Hadoop, Cassandra and other scale-out systems … IBM announced a 10-year, $240 million AI partnership with MIT to pursue fundamental AI research and breakthroughs. It is one of the largest, long-term university-industry AI collaborations and investments to date. IBM and MIT plan to hire and bring together more than 100 AI scientists, professors and students at the new lab to conduct joint research to further AI hardware and software.

We also learned of some new customers wins … VoltDB, the enterprise-class database that powers business-critical applications, announced that it has been selected by Ballr, a mobile fan engagement technology company, to connect soccer fans across the globe through its mobile fantasy gaming platform. By capturing and processing individual player data on tens of thousands of micro-moments during a competition, VoltDB empowers Ballr to deliver real-time scoring to users while promoting user engagement through global interactive leaderboards … MapR Technologies, Inc. announced that the MapR Converged Data Platform—which converges the essential data management, storage, and processing technologies on a single, horizontally scalable platform—has been selected for use in Mizuho Bank’s Asset Liability Management (ALM(*1)) system. Financial institutions are driven to measure and understand risk with greater accuracy and speed, which is fueling the need to invest in conventional hardware to boost processing speeds as well as increasing the need for a distributed processing system to serve as a new data management architecture. In this context, Mizuho Information & Research Institute, Inc., Mizuho Financial Group’s IT strategy company, has adopted the MapR Converged Data Platform for its cost performance and data and processing scalability. Selected from among the available Hadoop distributions, MapR has no single point of failure(*2) and is the most suitable platform for enterprise use. To further boost efficiency, the Asakusa Framework(*3) is being used for batch processing development and deployment on MapR. By virtue of this new parallel distributed processing technology, the MapR-based system achieves processing times 15X those of conventional systems. Increases in the amount and data and processing performed can also be achieved by simply adding server nodes, which promises to reduce TCO and enhance ROI over the medium/long term … Supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY) announced that the company has signed a solutions provider agreement with Vanguard Infrastructures in order for Vanguard to develop, market, and sell on premise and cloud-as-a-service cybersecurity solutions that fuse supercomputing technologies with an open, enterprise-ready software framework for big data analytics. Vanguard has also purchased a Cray® Urika®-GX system. Headquartered in Frisco, Texas, Vanguard Infrastructures offers hosting services and custom-built cybersecurity solutions that utilize the unique capabilities of graph analytics. With its new Cray Urika-GX agile analytics platform and the integrated Cray Graph Engine, Vanguard can offer advanced cybersecurity solutions that can analyze billions of data points and behavioral mannerisms of both human and machine to help customers combat cybersecurity and insider threats.

Always trying to keep track of the C-suite, we learned of some recent people movements … Versium, a leading predictive analytics company, announced today two new appointments to its board of directors: Admiral Bill Owens, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Clinton and CEO of Nortel Networks; and Martha Béjar, current CenturyLink and Mitel board director and former Microsoft and Wipro executive … Information Builders, a leader in business intelligence (BI) and analytics, announced that veteran industry analyst Lyndsay Wise has joined the company as the solution director leading the Solution Assessment program of its Professional Services Division. In the newly created role, Wise will collaborate with C-Suite executives from Information Builders’ customer and prospect base to advise them in developing business and data strategies designed to maximize the organizational impact and ROI of their information management investments.

New financial results were reported including … Paxata, a pioneer and leader in empowering all business consumers to intelligently transform raw data into ready information instantaneously, today announced that it closed the first half of 2017 with record momentum. The company achieved 160 percent growth in annual recurring revenue (ARR) year-over-year with significant increases in the number of enterprise customers. Growth was fueled by new customer adoption and existing customer expansion of Paxata’s innovative Adaptive Information Platform, which empowers all business consumers to get smart about their information with an enterprise-ready, scalable, self-service, intelligent information platform … MapR Technologies, Inc. reported 100 percent quarterly billings growth that highlights an outstanding second quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended on July 31, 2017, one of the largest increases for the company. The second quarter was fueled by advanced product innovation, significant partner growth across regions, and solid customer acquisition. MapR continued to deliver strong revenue performance in the second quarter with over 100 percent year over year growth in new subscription billings which is a catalyst to the company’s 70 percent annual billings growth, year over year.

And finally, we heard from our friends over at 451 Research that recently unveiled the latest trends in IoT use and finds that the massive amounts of data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) is already having a significant impact on enterprise IT. Here is a summary of the survey results:

In the latest Voice of the Enterprise: IoT – Workloads and Key Projects, analysts find that organizations deploying IoT are planning increases in storage capacity (32.4%), network edge equipment (30.2%), server infrastructure (29.4%) and off-premises cloud infrastructure (27.2%) in the next 12 months, to help manage the IoT data storm.

Analysts find that spending on IoT projects remains solid, with 65.6% of respondents planning to increase their spending in the next 12 months and only 2.7% planning a reduction.

Today, IT-centric projects are the dominant IoT use cases, particularly datacenter management and surveillance and security monitoring. Two years out, however, facilities automation will likely be the most popular use case, and line-of-business-centric supply chain management is expected to jump from number 6 to number three.

Finding IoT-skilled workers remains a challenge since the last IoT survey in 2016, with almost half of respondents saying they face a skills shortage for IoT-related tasks. Data analytics, security and virtual­ization capabilities are the skills most in demand.

451 Research finds that the collection, storage, transport and analysis of IoT data is impacting all aspects of IT infrastructure. Most companies say they initially store (53.1%) and analyze (59.1%) IoT data at a company-owned datacenter. IoT data remains stored there for two-thirds of organizations, while nearly one-third of the respondents move the data to a public cloud.

Researchers find that, once IoT data moves beyond operational and real-time uses and the focus is on historical use cases such as regulatory reporting and trend analysis, cloud storage gives organizations greater flexibility and often significant cost savings for the long term.

Despite this centralization of IoT data, the survey also finds action at the edge. Just under half of respondents say they do IoT data processing – including data analysis, data aggregation or data filtering – at the edge, either on the IoT device (22.2%) or in nearby IT infrastructure (23.3%).

Companies are processing IoT workloads at the edge today to improve security, process real-time operational action triggers, and reduce IoT data storage and transport requirements,” said Rich Karpinski, Research Director for Voice of the Enterprise: Internet of Things. “While some enterprises say that in the future they will do more analytics – including heavy data processing and analysis driven by big data or AI – at the network edge, for now that deeper analysis is happening in company-owned datacenters or in the public cloud.”




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