“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 11/25/2019

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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 M&A activity, people movements, funding news, industry partnerships, customer wins, 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.

Lot’s of big data news so let’s get after it … starting with new funding news … Samasource, a leader in providing secure, high-quality training data for AI technologies, announces that it has closed a $14.8M million Series A funding round led by Ridge Ventures. Social Impact Ventures, Bestseller Foundation, and Bluecrest Limited Capital also joined the round. The Series A funding will be used to scale Samasource’s engineering, sales and marketing efforts. The funding propels the breadth of Samasource’s technology with more advanced features in the current platform, including building upon current annotation automation capabilities that increase efficiency and quality, and more advanced integration with customer’s machine learning models via API. It enables the company to further establish itself as a pioneer in the field of AI and training data and continue to deliver secure, high-quality training data to 25% of Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, Walmart, Continental … BigPanda Inc., provider of an Autonomous Operations platform, announced that it has raised a $50 million Series C round of funding to help enterprises successfully adopt AIOps in their IT Operations, Network Operations Center (NOC), and DevOps teams. The round was led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors Sequoia, Battery Ventures, and Mayfield. This investment brings BigPanda’s total funding to more than $120 million.

In new M&A activity we learned … DDN®, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multicloud data management, announced that it has completed its acquisition of the IntelliFlashTM business from Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC). The acquisition of IntelliFlash expands DDN’s portfolio of intelligent infrastructure offerings for the enterprise with best-in-class NVMe flash solutions and highly versatile hybrid storage arrays, backed by an industry leading AI-enabled, predictive analytics platform. With IntelliFlash, DDN extends its market leadership in end-to-end data management solutions and enables enterprises to solve their most demanding data center requirements across AI, analytics, IoT, multicloud, and virtualized environments.

We also learned of some new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations … DataRobot, a leader in enterprise AI, has partnered with Kx to offer financial institutions and IoT-driven industries a comprehensive, scalable high-performance solution for applying AI to time series data. By integrating DataRobot’s Enterprise AI Platform with the Kx database platform kdb+—the world’s fastest in-memory time series database—the partnership, which was unveiled during the Kx Innovation Day at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing headquarters, allows consumers of market data to quickly generate actionable insights for agile, strategic business decisions … – Novant Health announced a partnership with KenSci to implement the company’s AI-based predictive system of insights platform. KenSci will help Novant Health streamline operational efficiencies within the medical centers and improve patients’ overall experiences by effectively informing care teams of patient status when and where it’s most needed. The platform will help Novant Health reduce variations in length of stay and readmissions, as well as dramatically improve patient flow in the emergency department, which will positively impact both inpatient census and patient satisfaction … DDN®, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multicloud data management, announced that it has worked with NVIDIA to combine the power of NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD systems with DDN’s A3ITM data management system so customers can deploy HPC infrastructure with minimal complexity and reduced timelines. Additionally, by leveraging the new NVIDIA Magnum IO software stack to optimize IO and DDN’s parallel file system, customers can speed up data science workflows by up to 20 times. The NVIDIA Magnum IO software suite increases performance and reduces latency to move massive amounts of data from storage to GPUs in minutes, rather than hours. DDN testing has confirmed that, using the software’s NVIDIA GPUDirect Storage feature, the most intensive workflows will see significant improvements and benefit AI and HPC application output directly. DDN expects to support the full NVIDIA Magnum IO suite, including GPUDirect Storage, in an EXAScaler® EXA5 release in the middle of 2020 … Immuta, the automated data governance company, announced a partnership with Databricks, a leader in Unified Data Analytics. The joint solution empowers data teams to perform analytics on sensitive data in the cloud in a compliant, policy-driven, and automated way. Through a new, native integration, the two companies help customers make data secure, anonymized and compliant for cloud analytics and machine learning. With Databricks and Immuta, customers can enforce fine-grained access controls and dynamically apply anonymization techniques from directly within Databricks and Delta Lake, the open source storage layer that brings reliability to data lakes. As a result, Databricks users see only what they’re allowed to see, based on who they are, and their approved purpose. This enables organizations to securely access data and build machine learning models.

In people movement news, we heard … Algolia, a leading Search and Discovery solution, announced two new strategic additions to its executive bench, with Kristie Rodenbush joining as Chief People Officer and Iain Hassall signing on as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

In the new customer wins department, we heard … Luminoso, the company that turns unstructured text data into business critical insights, announced Swiss Post Solutions (SPS) as a customer. A leading provider of business process outsourcing and innovative document management services in both physical and digital worlds, SPS is using Luminoso’s AI-powered text analytics to help enterprises intelligently automate the process of classifying their unstructured text data … Esri, a leader in mapping and location intelligence, announced that Salesforce has selected Esri as the key geospatial partner for Salesforce Maps. Salesforce is integrating Esri’s ArcGIS Living Atlas, the foremost collection of global geographic data and basemaps. Salesforce Maps users will be able to access Esri’s ArcGIS Online, the leading geospatial cloud, giving businesses the ability to analyze and visualize massive amounts of geographic and demographic data.

2020 Trends/2019 Year-in-Review

“Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms will focus on AI and ML enabled collaboration,” commented Thomas Phelps, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and CIO at Laserfiche. “In 2020, we will start to see traditional ECMs begin to focus on collaboration services to enable content accessibility to both internal and external business partners. While traditionally ECM providers have focused on providing a repository of data and automation for a designated audience (business executives, customers, etc.), in the coming year we will see a major shift towards investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve workflow visualization. For example, visual dashboards will give ECMs another way to help customers see things like an entire invoice process from start to finish, while simultaneously allowing the enterprise to reduce the number of people necessary for approvals based on risk and control analyses.”

“Data + AI + AR = Personalized Marketing Experiences,” commented Tom Treanor, Global Head of Marketing, Arm Treasure Data. “With more understanding of their customers, companies will use personalization to preselect customers for special promotions and events—like targeting adventurous technophiles for AR/VR-enhanced experiences (such as L’Oréal’s “Only the Brave” VR events) or targeting best shoe customers for games that win the player the right to attend the initial release of a new shoe. These AI-targeted experiences will draw the most profitable customers to online and in-store experiences, for greater revenues for those who can figure out how to use these technologies.”

“Because the supply chain industry has historically been slow to adopt when it comes to digitization, there simply hasn’t been enough collected data for AI/ML algorithms to make reliable suggestions,” commented Jorge Rodriguez, SVP of Product Development at Cleo. “As we start to see a more modern supply chain emerge in 2020, AI and ML algorithms will enable a 30,000 foot view of the supply chain and provide valuable insights to ease previously tedious processes like product redirects, new partner and supplier onboarding, order cancellations, oversupply and more.”

Self-driving cars. They are no longer just a concept; they are already in development,” commented Ravi Shankar, SVP & CMO at Denodo. “But are they a reality? Not quite yet. In many cities, Waymo and Google self-driving cars with a huge rotating sensor mounted on top of the vehicle can be found, albeit with a driver inside it, actively holding the steering wheel. So, the true autonomous cars are not quite there yet; it’ll take a decade, if not more, for true driverless cars to emerge. Why? Because safety is the number one priority; for both the passengers as well as other motorists and pedestrians on the road. More effort is needed to make the autonomous vehicles safer, all permutations and combinations of traffic patterns need to be ingested, analyzed, and then implemented. But to do so, will require gathering massive amounts of data, analyzing each one of them, and then using that information to improve the safety of the vehicles. Many technologies like AI, deep learning, and edge computing will begin to come together in 2020 to make this fabulous concept a true reality, in a decade!

“Cloud data warehouses turn out to be a Big Data detour,” commented Tomer Shiran, co-founder and CEO at Dremio. “Given the tremendous cost and complexity associated with traditional on-premise data warehouses, it wasn’t surprising that a new generation of cloud-native enterprise data warehouse emerged. But savvy enterprises have figured out that cloud data warehouses are just a better implementation of a legacy architecture, and so they’re avoiding the detour and moving directly to a next-generation architecture built around cloud data lakes. In this new architecture data doesn’t get moved or copied, there is no data warehouse, and no associated ETL, cubes, or other workarounds. We predict 75% of the global 2000 will be in production or in pilot with a cloud data lake in 2020, using multiple best-of breed engines for different use cases across data science, data pipelines, BI, and interactive/ad-hoc analysis.”

“The focus of AI will shift from cold intelligence to empathy: We’re moving beyond the point where cold analytic intelligence suffices for consumer-facing AI,” commented Rob Walker, VP Decision Management and Analytics at Pega. “Customers want to know that they are being viewed as individuals and not just as customer data records. In 2020, vendors will focus more on increasingly humanizing AI with emotional intelligence and empathy. This means better understanding context and longitudinal conversations, picking up on clues on customer motivation and intent, tone of voice, how they feel in the moment, where they are in their life stage, how they act in certain situations, and even what is happening around them. It also means effectively fusing AI systems with human agents, so the wisdom of AI and human crowds are used to deliver intelligent and empathetic customer experiences.”

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