“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 5/6/2020

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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.

In order to provide the broadest coverage of our big data industry, we recently started a new regular feature specifically designed to bring you COVID-19 news — Big Data/COVID-19 News. Since the global pandemic started, we’ve received an increasing amount of technology news items aligned with the coronavirus. We hope this new coverage will help you strategize your technology response. For now though, let’s take a look at some new funding news … GigaSpaces, the provider of InsightEdge, the fast in-memory real-time analytics and data processing platform, announced that it closed a round of funding of $12 million. Fortissimo Capital led the round, joined by existing investors Claridge Israel and BRM Group. Following record breaking results in 2019 including doubling annual recurring revenues (ARR), tripling the InsightEdge customer base, and achieving record profitability, GigaSpaces continues to demonstrate growth, completing Q1 2020 with record ARR. Increased demand for GigaSpaces solutions is expected during the current COVID-19 crisis, when digital service usage is skyrocketing, market trading volume continues to be volatile and real-time analytics capabilities are required. GigaSpaces is perfectly positioned to address these speed, scale, resilience and TCO challenges … Otonomo, a leading automotive data services platform, announced $46 million in series C funding. The round includes investments from SK Holdings, Avis Budget Group, and Alliance Ventures as well as participation from existing investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners. This round brings the company’s total funding raised to $82 million. SBD Automotive forecasts that connected cars will account for more than 70% of cars sold in North American and European markets in 2020. Otonomo is currently onboarding seven new OEMs and ingesting over 2.6 billion data points a day. To accommodate this increased demand, Otonomo will use the funds from its Series C to further scale its business, with R&D and the full-service customer support resources needed to facilitate OEM onboarding and data access by partners. The company also plans to expand into additional geographies … Kluster announced $1m investment from VCs Newable and SuperSeed, alongside Cognism CEO James Isilay. The announcement comes in the same week GoCardless signed up as their latest enterprise client. Two years since their AI platform went live, Kluster raised funds to capitalize on surging demand for revenue analytics on both sides of the Atlantic, with current customers already spanning Europe, US and Canada. The round will enable Kluster to further develop their forecasting technology, and enhance the deep insights engine which was launched last year. The funding comes shortly after Kluster announced that Pete Crosby, having driven Ometria and Triptease to Series B, and Viadeo to IPO as CRO, joined the board as non-executive director … Cockroach Labs, the company behind CockroachDB, a leading enterprise-grade distributed SQL database, announced $86.6 million in series D funding co-led by Altimeter Capital and BOND with participation from Benchmark, GV, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Capital. This round brings Cockroach Labs’ total funding to $195 million. Worldwide stay-at-home orders have dramatically increased demand for many businesses, putting increasing stress on the modern tech stack. Economic uncertainty is encouraging greater efficiency, setting the stage for further migration away from legacy, closed-source data platforms to modern, distributed, cloud-native tools. This round of funding will facilitate Cockroach Labs’ growing investments in R&D to better support customers as they change to meet these new requirements. Enterprises in areas including communications, gaming and entertainment, e-commerce and financial services are scrambling to support increased consumer demand and remote workforces, and are finding that the resiliency and flexibility necessary to do so just isn’t available without an elastically scalable, multi-cloud, modern data platform like CockroachDB.

In new M&A news, we learned … NVIDIA announced the completion of its acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., for a transaction value of $7 billion. The acquisition, initially announced on March 11, 2019, unites two of the world’s leading companies in high performance and data center computing. Combining NVIDIA’s leading computing expertise with Mellanox’s high-performance networking technology, the move will enable customers to achieve higher performance, greater utilization of computing resources and lower operating costs … Arcadia, a widely-recognized leader in population health management, announced that it has acquired selected assets of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), including technology and significant customer accounts. MAeHC is a non-profit services firm that delivers strategic guidance, project management, data warehousing and analytics services, and hands-on implementation support to help providers improve clinical and business performance. MAeHC also plays a significant leadership role in advising and leading various signature interoperability and standards activities, including HL7 and FHIR.

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Igneous, the SaaS data management company for file intensive environments, and Qumulo, the leading provider of enterprise-proven hybrid cloud file storage and data services, announced that their expanded partnership provides data protection in the cloud as well as advanced on-premises backup and archive. Qumulo is the recognized hybrid cloud file storage leader by Gartner. Its users create, analyze and retain massive data sets that span across multiple data centers and the cloud. With this partnership, Qumulo now recommends Igneous for efficient data protection to any tier of any cloud. In addition, Igneous now recommends Qumulo’s hybrid cloud file storage as a backup and archive target for any heterogeneous NAS environment, protecting data from other vendors’ primary NAS directly to Qumulo. The partnership provides on-premises data protection, featuring fast recovery, compliance with regulatory requirements, and high performance for organizations without cloud direct-connects … Bedrock Analytics, an intelligent analytics and insights automation platform for the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry, announced a new partnership with Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, that provides CPG manufacturers with a 45-day free trial of the most comprehensive CPG analytics platform available. The free trial includes access to one-year-old Nielsen data from 50 key product categories for 50,000 brands across all major retail channels, XAOC regions and markets throughout the United States, marking the first time CPG companies have access to such valuable data and analytics for free … Immuta, the automated data governance company, announced a technology and business partnership with Snowflake, the cloud data platform, enabling joint customers to securely share sensitive data with automated privacy protection, while adhering to data privacy regulations and business rules. Featuring a new, native integration with Snowflake, the Immuta platform now empowers Snowflake customers to safely share even the most sensitive data sets securely by utilizing advanced, automated anonymization techniques. This new joint innovation accelerates cloud-based data sharing and monetization strategies while helping customers to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other regulations or business rules … GoodData®, a leader in end-to-end analytics solutions, announced that it has partnered with GMV Syncromatics to deliver insight into the performance of bus routes in cities across America to make transit agencies more efficient and improve customer service. GMV Syncromatics is a leader in building dispatch and reporting solutions for transit agencies, gathering 20 million data points generated daily by 2,500 buses across 75 American cities … Iguazio, the data science platform for real-time machine learning applications, announced a strategic partnership with NetApp that provides enterprises with a simple, end-to-end solution for developing, deploying and managing AI applications at scale and in real-time on top of the ONTAP AI framework … Insilico Medicine has announced that it has entered into a research collaboration agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. to utilize Insilico Medicine’s novel generative artificial intelligence technology aimed at accelerating development of candidates against a conventionally challenging target family. This collaboration builds on AI platform developed by Insilico Medicine and will apply Astellas’ expertise in drug discovery … Arria NLG, a leader in Natural Language Generation technology, reported the success and growth of its partnership with French artificial intelligence solutions provider, demain.ai. demain.ai uses Arria’s Natural Language Generation (NLG) platform to automate the production of news coverage for a number of media outlets across France. Over the past 12 months, demain.ai’s DataEcriture unit has published more than 150,000 articles with NLG automation. Arria’s powerful NLG technology automatically extracts facts from vast datasets to produce actionable and insightful narratives, on-demand. The speed and accuracy with which Arria automates the production of news stories lets editors working in hectic, deadline-driven environments scale their journalistic production and deliver exponentially more coverage, faster, while significantly lowering costs … Rockset, the company that lets developers create fast, powerful data APIs, announced a partnership with MongoDB and released deep product integration with its global cloud database, MongoDB Atlas, that makes it faster and easier for developers to combine data across MongoDB and other data sources using SQL. Built by the team behind RocksDB and the Facebook online data platform, Rockset is ideal for powering services like recommendation engines, personalization, gaming leaderboards, IoT apps, GPS-enabled tracking and vision-AI based automation. MongoDB is used by millions of developers worldwide to power mobile, web, gaming, IoT and other applications. By integrating Rockset with MongoDB, developers can build real-time services that combine data across MongoDB and other data sets by creating data APIs for low latency search, aggregations and joins.

In the new customer wins category we heard … Atos North America was recently awarded a multi-year contract with the State of Texas’ Department of Information Resources (DIR) to deliver next generation private cloud transformation and artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. This modernization will automate processes, create efficiencies, free-up resources and improve service delivery quality for the state’s agencies and residents. The Texas Private Cloud will provide server computing, data center facilities and data center network management services for DIR’s government customers. Atos’ delivery of infrastructure services for servers, networks and data center operations will create an ecosystem that is adaptive, resilient, affordable and secure … GoodData®, a leader in end-to-end analytics solutions, announced that TownNews is using its technology to make media customers more successful with data insights about content, audience and engagement. TownNews is a leading provider of content management systems and platforms for local media organizations in the U.S., serving more than 2,000 newspaper, TV, radio, and web-native news organizations. TownNews recently deployed GoodData technology to launch “Data Insights” to give TownNews’ media customers robust new tools for gathering, understanding, and acting upon the multitude of data that impacts their businesses. TownNews produces about a billion page views a month and 24 million rows of data.

We also received a commentary in response to the news of Amazon’s new AppFlow integration service from Rich Waldron, CEO and co-founder of automation company Tray.io

“The news of Amazon’s AppFlow service highlights the importance of integration services today – so much so that even Amazon itself is getting into the business. API integrations are vital in connecting a company’s tech stack to ensure applications can flow data seamlessly. While AppFlow is likely to evolve in the coming months, it looks as though Amazon plans to focus exclusively on integrations and data transfer for AWS services. While this move makes sense for Amazon, it highlights the broader need for software integrations across all lines of business. The average enterprise uses in excess of 100+ cloud services, and companies are continuing to feel the pain because every software application is a data silo – an unconnected island that can’t share mission-critical data with others. Teams across the organization see software and process breakdowns as they struggle to get their marketing data from their marketing stack to sales, and their sales data from their sales stack to finance, and so on. Especially in today’s markets, where productivity and efficiency are paramount to an organization’s success, the winners will be those that can nimbly and rapidly create their own software integrations and automated processes to bridge the divide between cloud software suites and point solutions that don’t always play nicely with businesses’ primary systems of record.”

And finally, we received a number of commentaries on the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on business in the big data ecosystem:

“The fundamental problem with data in this situation is that it is incomplete: there is much uncertainty still as we simply don’t know enough yet about the disease and its solution,” commented Stan Christiaens, CTO and co-founder of Collibra. “This is not a problem unique to our current economic condition: all decision makers face this problem on a daily basis, which is why it is all the more important to be able to trust (where is the data coming from, what is the business context, how is it measured, what cases are counted, how and by whom …) the data you DO have and knowing what data you don’t have yet and maybe never will. Based on that trust you can make the best possible decision and adjust as new data comes alive. Not all data is created equally so you must make sure to treat the important data as a strategic asset: What does it mean? Where does it come from? Who knows something about it? Who is an owner? Who is a user and why? What sources are certified for which purposes? By taking this approach, leaders can ensure the data they are using can be trusted.”

“The discrepancies in data related to COVID-19 are not only notable, but also very significant,” commented Buno Pati, CEO of Infoworks. “As an example, the CDC is reporting 802,583 total US cases and 44,575 deaths, Johns Hopkins is reporting 843, 981 US cases and 46,859 deaths, and Google is reporting 867,771 US cases and 48,900 deaths. The difference in the number of cases reported in these three examples is over 65,000 cases – more than the total cases being reported out of countries like Russia and Brazil. If we as a nation are to make important decisions based on data, that data needs to be accurate, timely, and consistent. The only way to achieve that status is to create a National COVID-19 Analytics Platform that serves a single-source of truth with well-defined and transparent rules regarding how that data is collected and reported, and managed. The ability for analysts to access and quickly develop and explore predictive models and analytics is also crucial. To make good data-driven decisions, we need to be able to trust the data and without a trusted source of truth our decisions can easily be misguided.”

“Our current contract-tracing system is showing its age. Advanced analytics can reinvigorate it to protect more people. And health officials can make better, faster decisions about hot spots, testing needs and social distancing measures,” said Shaun Barry, Global Lead in the SAS Global Security Intelligence Practice.

“The disruption triggered by the coronavirus has induced unplanned growth across the healthcare industry. Despite these challenges, healthcare leaders see tremendous potential for AI and data analytics to deliver on the promise of higher quality care at a lower cost by empowering their executives, business leaders, clinicians and nurses by harnessing the power of predictive and prescriptive analytics,” commented Andy Dé, Senior Director Healthcare Solutions Strategy at Alteryx, “Though there are significant barriers to adoption — including working with unstructured data and data from diverse, disparate sources — the benefits and outcomes far outweigh the challenges. Already,  AI and analytics are improving safety while lowering the costs of healthcare delivery and improving pandemic readiness. In the future, there are game-changing opportunities to use this technology to identify vulnerable patients, project hospital and ICU capacity ahead of further outbreaks and manage the critical supply and demand of medical professionals, drugs devices, and equipment.”

“What kind of analytics will save your company during COVID-19? This is an uncertain time for businesses, regardless of their size, shape, or industry. We’re learning how to collaborate remotely, navigate varied supply chain demands, and connect to our customers in new and meaningful ways,” commented Peter Bailis, CEO and Founder of Sisu. “What does this mean for how we measure our businesses and the way we scale, compete, and learn? As businesses adapt to the pressures of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of re-opening the global economy, proactive diagnostic analytics will overtake predictive modeling and data science as the path forward for successful companies. In the midst of drastic change, businesses need to be proactive in their use of data, and they need tools that can proactively recommend the data that’s having an impact. This proactive approach is far more valuable than predictive technologies and automation. These are peacetime investments for businesses, places to look for incremental gains when the entire market is rising. Today, companies need to make critical decisions about immediate sustainability, and those that can leverage the data they have in the moment will separate themselves from those who can’t. The most successful leaders will seize on any opportunity to use detailed facts about the current performance of their business to ensure they have a path forward to their future.”

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