“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 1/15/2020

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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.

Let’s start off this installment of the column with some new M&A news … LogicMonitor, a leading provider of infrastructure intelligence across both on-premises and cloud, announced that it has acquired Unomaly, an AIOps company headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. The acquisition accelerates LogicMonitor’s AIOps roadmap and will help ITOps teams quickly gain the intelligent insights needed to determine when and how to embrace automation in order to resolve IT infrastructure issues before they disrupt the business. Additionally, this will help DevOps teams access insights derived from unexpected events and changes in infrastructure or applications, in order to optimize and refine continuous delivery approaches … Nielsen (NYSE: NLSN) Global Connect announced that it has completed its acquisition of Precima®, an industry-leading, SaaS-based provider of powerful retail and customer data applications and analytics, from Alliance Data Systems Corp. (NYSE: ADS). Through this acquisition, Nielsen Global Connect will deepen its portfolio of personalized and addressable pricing, promotion and assortment capabilities by leveraging Precima’s consumer loyalty and retailer analytics solutions. This deal brings Precima’s loyalty data-backed collaboration programs and retail relationships to Nielsen Global Connect clients, globally. Precima’s employees will now integrate into the Nielsen Global Connect organization. Using AI and machine learning algorithms, Precima’s industry-leading Transaction Log (TLog) and Loyalty/Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data platform has been a foundational resource for global companies both big and small. The addition of Precima into Nielsen Global Connect’s portfolio will allow Nielsen to accelerate its new product capabilities while also strengthening existing products within its analytic suite. By bringing Precima into its measurement framework, Nielsen Global Connect will achieve a heightened advantage in the loyalty and personalization space, furthering its ability to help brands plan and measure the impact and success of personalized consumer offerings.

In new funding news we learned … Sisense, a leading analytics platform for builders, announced a funding round of over $100 million, continuing to power its market-leading growth and rapid customer adoption. This funding will accelerate innovation and scale across the globe, and values Sisense at over $1 billion. Insight Venture Partners led the round. Also participating is new investor Access Industries (via its Israeli vehicle Claltech), who was joined by existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, DFJ Growth, and others … Cardiologs, a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) cardiology diagnostics, announced that it has secured $15 million in Series A funding, bringing the total capital raised since Cardiologs’ inception to more than $25 million. The financing round was led by Alven, a leading venture capital firm in Paris known for its impressive track record of investing in and expanding into the U.S. successful technology startups founded by French entrepreneurs. Previous backers Bpifrance, ISAI, Kurma Diagnostics, Idinvest Partners and Paris Saclay Seed Fund also participated in the round.

In the customer wins category we heard … Snowflake, the cloud data platform, announced Environics Analytics, one of North America’s leading marketing and analytical services companies, uses Snowflake to support faster processing of data that underpin many of its products, including the just-launched Canadian travel and tourism industry product, VisitorView. Established in 2003, Environics Analytics specializes in providing organizations with proprietary data, purpose-built software and industry-focused analytics consulting. They help organizations of all sizes, and across every industry sector, to use data and analytics to better understand customers and markets via consumer insights (e.g., segmentation, profiles, personas) and location intelligence. Using Snowflake to help process very large amounts of mobile location data, Environics Analytics created VisitorView and brought it to market in a significantly shorter period of time than it would have otherwise been feasible using alternative data solutions. VisitorView is helping the travel and tourism industry identify American neighborhoods whose residents have a high propensity to visit Canada to maximize the efficiency of their marketing spend.

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations starting with … LevaData, the company that delivers applied AI to transform strategic sourcing and procurement, announced it is working with Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge. Zebra selected LevaData to manage its direct materials sourcing worldwide. Zebra’s end-to-end solutions are designed to help businesses across a wide range of industries ensure that every asset and worker on the edge of their operations is visible, connected and optimally utilized. Zebra’s thermal printers, barcode scanners, RFID and real-time location systems (RTLS), mobile computers, services, and software are heavily leveraged in supply chains across the world. The company has more than 10,000 partners across 45 countries and is expanding its product portfolio while anticipating and meeting the needs of customers in an increasingly complex supply chain ecosystem … Beiersdorf and Insilico Medicine, an artificial intelligence company developing end to end drug discovery pipelines, announced that they are entering a collaboration to jointly discover novel, safe bioactive ingredients for a specific skin indication at an unparalleled pace, that will serve as the basis for developing appropriate skincare products … WHISHWORKS, a global IT services and consulting company, announced a partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Confluent. With the new partnerships the company further enhances its enterprise grade capabilities within artificial intelligence and data analytics, to continue providing expert support to its customers’ big data initiatives. Following HPE’s acquisition of MapR Technologies (an established partner of WHISHWORKS) the company has now forged a new partnership with HPE to help deliver the foundation for a next-generation edge-to-cloud AI/ML and analytics data pipeline, with an extensive portfolio of products that are both on-premise and cloud-native. Drawing on a strong foundation of experience on the MapR Data Platform, WHISHWORKS will continue to provide expert, end-to-end support services to existing MapR users … Anaqua’s ideaPoint, a leading provider of innovation management solutions, has announced a partnership with SAS, the world leader in analytics. The partnership will provide to pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers the most robust clinical trial data sharing solution, with universal guest access to receive and combine data sets from a variety of platforms or individual companies. Benefiting from this partnership, pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, and statisticians can search thousands of available clinical studies and submit research proposals through ClinicalStudyDataRequest.com (CSDR), a consortium of 18 clinical study sponsors and funders. As the only platform with global access to a full suite of SAS® Analytics programs, it will significantly improve the end-to-end research experience by providing a complete data analysis platform with the most comprehensive set of analytics tools available. The one-stop-shop also offers ideaPoint software to evaluate and track all proposals, questions, and enquiries, and tools to report on metrics.

In people movement news we heard … Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud data integration and data integrity, announced it has appointed Christal Bemont, former chief revenue officer at SAP Concur, as its chief executive officer and director on the Talend Board of Directors. Mike Tuchen, who led Talend through a successful transformation over the last 6 years from a $50M startup to a $250M publicly-held company, is stepping down as CEO, effective immediately, and will remain on the Board of Directors. The company also announced today that it has appointed Ann-Christel Graham as chief revenue officer and Jamie Kiser as chief customer officer … SnapLogic announced that it has named Dayle Hall as its new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Hall, who brings two decades of success building and scaling marketing organizations for high-growth technology companies, will lead the company’s global marketing initiatives including: branding and digital marketing, corporate communications, product marketing, demand generation, field marketing, and more. He joins SnapLogic’s executive leadership team and will report to CEO Gaurav Dhillon … Syniti, formerly BackOffice Associates, announced that industry veteran and data thought leader Chris Knerr, CEO and co-founder of Mareana, has been named Syniti’s Chief Digital Officer. As Syniti scales in growth, Chris will lead the expansion of Syniti’s Data Strategy practice and Unstructured Data/Analytics offerings globally — both serve as key strategic elements of Syniti’s global strategy … Informatica®, an enterprise cloud data management leader, announced that its Board of Directors has named Amit Walia Chief Executive Officer. Amit succeeds Anil Chakravarthy, who is stepping down from his role as CEO after leading the Company during a period of meaningful transformation and growth to pursue other professional opportunities. Amit, who most recently served as Informatica’s President of Products and Marketing, has been an integral member of Informatica’s leadership team since joining the Company in 2013. During this time, Informatica has undergone a substantial transformation as it has entered new markets, launched Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services and new A.I. driven solutions, deepened its strategic partnerships with ecosystem providers like AWS, Microsoft and GCP, and made its entire portfolio available by subscription … Cloudera (NYSE: CLDR), the enterprise data cloud company, announced the appointment of Robert Bearden as President and Chief Executive Officer. Bearden is an experienced enterprise software executive. He was co-founder and CEO of Hortonworks, a publicly traded open-source company that merged with Cloudera in 2019. He also served as President and COO of SpringSource, a leading provider of open-source developer tools, until its acquisition by VMWare in 2009. Before joining SpringSource, Bearden served as Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital. He also served as COO of JBoss, a leading open-source middleware company, until its acquisition by Red Hat in 2006.

2020 Trends/2019 Year-in-Review

“Customer experience and fraud detection will go hand in hand in the finance industry, especially as Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers and 1.5 times more likely than Gen Xers to switch banks,” commented Labhesh Patel, CTO and Chief Scientist at Jumio. “Machine Learning and AI will serve a dual function in financial services and banking. Not only will AI help speed up and improve the verification and accuracy of new customer onboarding, it will also provide a reliable means of continued identity authentication for each subsequent customer login in order to thwart sophisticated attacks. AI can quickly scan, analyze and confirm an individual’s online identify in a matter of seconds by simply capturing a selfie of the customer, comparing it to the initial onboarding photo of a government-issued ID document (e.g., driver’s license or passport) and then running it through an algorithm to detect any suspicious activity or digital tampering (Photoshop fakes). Because this process is historically faster than relying on human detection, fiserves implementing an AI-based digital identity verification solution in 2020 will experience a dramatic improvement in fraud prevention while also maintaining high customer conversation rates through a more frictionless, repeatable customer experience.”

“In 2020, the spotlight on deep learning will be the nexus between knowing and doing,” commented Frank J. Bernhard, Chief Data Officer at Green Dot Corporation. “No longer just a buzzword, the pragmatic advent of deep learning to predict and understand human behavior is a tempest disruptor in how companies will perform with intelligence against their competitors.”

“Machine learning is one of the fastest-evolving technologies in recent years, and the demand for development in machine learning has increased exponentially,” commented Marcus Borba, Founder and Principal Consultant, Borba Consulting. “This rapid growth of machine learning solutions has created a demand for ready-to-use machine learning models that can be used easily and without expert knowledge.”

“Big Data is well and truly dead, but the data lake looms large,” commented Brian Bulkowski, CTO at Yellowbrick Data. “Large scale, feature rich data warehouses, in cloud and on premises, have improved radically, to provide multi-petabyte scale using MPP architectures. That scale is made effectively possible by pushing compute and data closer together, and allowing SQL to express JOIN semantics and aggregations, which can be optimized by the database. These factors have killed “big data” as we knew it, but one element of big data lives on — the data lake.”

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning’s potential to improve IT infrastructure continues to grow, as does enterprise investment in intelligent infrastructure management,” commented Farhan Abrol, Head of Machine Learning, Pure 1 at Pure Storage. “In 2020, manual management tasks as a result of recommendations will diminish in favor of ML and AI engines that provide automated service level management. With this comes greater focus on better datasets to train these engines. To accomplish this, new models will be applied to efficiently finding where the predictive model performs poorly and augmenting data for that feature space. Global spending on cognitive systems will also rise, with a greater focus on applications and software platforms. These platforms are increasingly gaining traction with IT services firms to solve problems in the context of their business model and drive differentiation in their core markets.”

“Over the past year we’ve seen continued growth in the adoption of both microservices and containerization,” commented Karthik Ranganathan, founder and CTO at Yugabyte. “With the combination of massive adoption and the support of a large and thriving open-source community, it is clear that the dynamic nature of containerization and microservices deployments will have huge implications on fundamental application architecture. To put it simply, this is the future of how applications will be built. This is also why the adoption of Kubernetes has continued to grow – it is predicted that more than 50% of companies will use container technology by 2020, up from less than 20% in 2017. Therefore, expect to see Kubernetes solidify itself as the industry standard in 2020.”

“Emotion recognition and computer vision, which are relatively new in the artificial intelligence domain, will scale in implementations throughout various industries in 2020,” commented Anis Uzzaman, CEO of Pegasus Tech Ventures. “In particular, AI will continue to have its breakout moment in the manufacturing space as companies race to implement automation technologies given the rapidly aging population space in many developed countries. For example, US Silicon Valley startups like Vicarious, Osaro, and Kindred.ai have been at the top pioneering industrial motion planning AI technology for factory automation and distribution solutions.”

“Everyone wants a hand in AI, and many emerging businesses have been guilty of ‘AI-washing’ rather than delivering true self-learning and operating smart technology,” commented Sally Bament, VP of Service Provider Marketing, Juniper Networks. “In 2020, the true AI providers will distinguish themselves from the imposters through capital investments and purchases. As more large telecom companies and enterprises look to utilize advanced AI capabilities for streamlined network operations and connectivity, we will see a spike in M&A deals targeting smaller AI startups in 2020. After all, AI and automation are critical to managing ever increasing network complexity and ensuring fast delivery of services in the 5G era.”

“In 2020, the adoption of in-memory technologies will continue to soar as digital transformation drives companies toward real-time data analysis and decision-making at massive scale,” commented Abe Kleinfeld, CEO, GridGain. “For example, many companies move older data in their operational database to a data lake. There, data scientists can analyze the data on this separate analytics infrastructure. However, this architecture doesn’t work for use cases that require real-time analytics across a subset of operational and historical data. Let’s say you’re collecting real-time data from sensors on a fleet of airplanes to monitor performance and you want to develop a predictive maintenance capability for individual engines. Now you must compare anomalous readings in the real-time data stream with the historical data for a particular engine stored in the data lake. Currently, the only cost-effective way to do this is with an in-memory “data integration hub,” based on an in-memory computing platform like Apache Ignite that integrates Apache Spark, Apache Kafka and data lake stores like Hadoop. This combination of solutions streams the live data into a transactional database and in-memory computing platform, ingests the relevant subset of historical data from the data lake, and maintains the combined data in memory, where the analytics solution can perform federated, real-time queries across the merged dataset. In addition to predictive maintenance, this platform enables a variety of automated business decision making that instantly reacts to real-time changes in the environment, whether in financial services, healthcare, supply chain and more. 2020 promises to be a pivotal year in the adoption of in-memory computing as data integration hubs continue to expand in enterprises.”

“With the IT industry booming over the past few years, it’s hard to imagine that there will be any huge surprises in enterprise IT next year,” commented Bill Fenick, VP Enterprise, Interxion. “However, I do expect that the new decade will bring new levels of maturity to leveraging technologies including the cloud, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. These technologies have transitioned from emerging trends that organizations were trying to figure out, to established staples of businesses’ IT strategies. With the advancements of these technologies, most organizations are realizing that their existing enterprise data centres can no longer support these technologies. As a result, we can expect to see a follow-on shift toward IT infrastructures that can provide high performant, secure and cost effective interconnections to the cloud and connectivity providers that will help them meet their unique needs.”

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