“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 4/30/2018

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideAI News. 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@insideAINews.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Welcome to another installment of our Rumor Central: Above the Trend Line, where all the latest scuttlebutt bubbles up to the surface for our readers to digest. In the big data industry, there’s never a dull moment. We’re all excited to be up to our necks in all that’s happening. This is exciting!

Let’s start with some new IPO news … Pivotal Software is now a public company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: PVTL). Founded in 2013, Pivotal Software, Inc. combines a leading cloud-native platform, tools, and methodology to empower the world’s largest organizations to adapt to change and build great software. The technology unleashes developer productivity, while fulfilling our mission to transform how the world builds software.

We received a comment about the IPO from Ramin Sayar, president and CEO, Sumo Logic:

The cloud and modern application era we’re living in demands category leaders to break patterns and deliver disruptive technology offerings that give customers the speed, flexibility and scalability they need to remain competitive. Pivotal’s IPO comes on the heels of two successful filings this year from Dropbox and Zscaler, and like Sumo Logic, they are each drivers of the new model of digital business and it is an indication that the technology wave we’re riding is breaking fast and strong with no sign of slowing down. Going public is a disciplined journey that requires companies to take a hard look at their market, business model, operations and culture. We congratulate Pivotal on this monumental event and look forward to our continued partnership with them as we jointly help customers navigate the massive changes underway.”

In new funding news, we heard … The Hive, a venture fund & co-creation studio that builds and fosters startups focused on AI-powered applications in the enterprise, announced the closing of its third fund (The Hive III), with $26.5M in capital commitments. This will enable The Hive to co-create more than seven startups in the next three years. Investors in The Hive III include Verizon Ventures, Software AG, GE, Rockwell Automation, March Capital Partners and a number of prominent individual investors. The Hive III fund is focused on early-stage companies creating value and driving disruption using AI in the enterprise and key industry segments. To date, The Hive III has co-created two startups, Decision Engines and Live Objects. The Hive’s unique equity value creation structure for creating and launching startups is highly differentiated from VCs and incubators and employs a high-touch model that applies its deep entrepreneurial and business expertise to start companies with entrepreneurs. The firm’s high-touch engagement model has already proven successful. Since late 2012, The Hive has co-created and invested in 24 companies, with six of those companies having been acquired: Nurego co-created with EMC & Paul Maritz by GE; Kosei by Pinterest; Perspica by Cisco; Jobr by Monster Worldwide; Deep Forest Media by Rakuten and E8 Security by VMware. The team provides initial seed capital of $1.5M to $2M, provides follow-on capital, and helps syndicate future rounds of financing with venture capitalists. In addition to funding, The Hive guides entrepreneurs to help early startups move through company building, business design, go-to-market strategy and introduction to early customers and partners. The Hive offers startups the expertise of a team of successful company-builders, serial entrepreneurs and venture capital investors who have created market-leading companies with several billion dollars in exits … ScyllaDB, the real-time big data database company, announced that it has closed a $10 million Series C funding round led by TLV Partners. Previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, and Western Digital also participated in the round. This latest round raises ScyllaDB’s total funding to $35 million. In conjunction with the new funding, ScyllaDB will add Shahar Tzafrir of TLV Partners to the company’s board of directors … Allegro.AI, the pioneering deep learning computer vision platform, announced that it has closed its Series A fundraising round, led by MizMaa Ventures, with participation from Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), Samsung Catalyst Fund and Dynamic Loop Capital, bringing the total investment to $11 million. Founded in 2016, Allegro.AI offers an end-to-end AI lifecycle management solution, with a focus on deep learning applied to computer vision. The company’s platform simplifies the process of developing and managing artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions – such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security, logistics and others. Leading global companies – among other customers – are already using Allegro.AI to bypass the manual and time-consuming exercise of building their own datasets and models to develop AI-powered solutions, while keeping complete and confidential control of their data and AI assets. By expediting the process of developing and managing a deep learning solution, organizations benefit from an underlying platform that automatically annotates images and videos, enables continuous learning of models, and quickly scales the entire AI product lifecycle. Allegro.AI will use the funding for continued development of its deep learning computer vision platform, customer rollout of its solution, and talent acquisition. The company was founded by three seasoned veterans, leading a team with extensive experience in computer vision, deep learning, embedded and high performance computing, DevOps and engineering … Computer science researcher Daniel Sheldon at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a five-year, $550,000 faculty early career development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design and test new mathematical approaches and algorithms to help ecologists and other scientists better use large data sets generated by citizen science projects, animal tracking devices and earth observation instruments, among other goals. As Sheldon explains, these new data sources hold “exceptional promise” for monitoring biodiversity, advancing scientific discovery and guiding decisions to conserve natural systems, but their full potential has not been realized in part because the information they provide is so diverse and varies over space and time, for example. “These qualities really challenge existing computational and statistical tools,” he says. One area he plans to address is related to what he calls “the explosion of data” coming from citizen science projects such as eBird. Sheldon has collaborated with eBird scientists, who collect observations from birdwatchers across the globe, since 2009. The researchers use big data methods to piece together observations to reveal complex patterns of bird occurrence and to guide international bird conservation efforts.

In new M&A activity, we learned … NICE (NASDAQ: NICE) announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Mattersight (NASDAQ: MATR). Mattersight is a leading provider of cloud-based analytics for customer service organizations. This acquisition further enhances NICE’s offering and customer base. Using interaction analytics, Mattersight gains a deep understanding of both customers and agents, and acts on these insights in real time to connect consumers with the organization in a personalized manner. The integration of NICE analytics powered by Nexidia and Mattersight’s behavioral analytics technology and domain expertise allows organizations to enjoy the market’s most advanced analytics in the cloud, driving personalization and smart connections in real time. This allows them to stay ahead of the curve of changing customer preferences and create a superior customer experience.

We also learning of a number of newly announced partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Long-time Trifacta partner Tableau introduced Tableau Prep, which brings data preparation capabilities directly into Tableau software, further validating the market for data preparation solutions … Cloudian, a leader in enterprise object storage systems, announced a technical partnership with ABEJA, Inc., a producer of platform as a service (PaaS) technology that utilizes deep learning technology to support business change as a partner of ABEJA Platform Partner Ecosystem. Cloudian enables customers to store large quantities of data generated by the ABEJA artificial intelligence (AI) platform economically, efficiently and reliably on-premises in a limitlessly scalable storage environment. The solution, enabled by Cloudian’s HyperStore, may be used in hybrid cloud deployments to isolate sensitive data and confidential information, such as manufacturing data and research and development materials within on-premises storage. The ABEJA platform is a PaaS technology that acquires, accumulates, learns, analyzes, outputs and feeds back various data … Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, has entered into a global agreement with Google Cloud to address the digital transformation needs of enterprise customers. This agreement will see the creation of secure solutions in areas including hybrid Cloud, data analytics & machine learning and the digital workplace.

In the new customer wins category, we have … FogHorn Systems, a leading developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT applications, announced that DAIHEN Corporation, a leading Japanese industrial electronics company, has deployed FogHorn edge computing software in collaboration with Energia Communications, Inc to automate manufacturing of their industrial transformers. FogHorn’s solution delivers real-time analytics and machine learning at the edge that helped DAIHEN identify production errors immediately and improve collaboration and data accuracy, eliminating 5,000 hours of manual data entry per year. Operations leaders at DAIHEN’s Osaka factory sought faster ways to analyze sensor data from dozens of devices measuring material condition and reduce the need for manual monitoring. To do this, DAIHEN deployed radio frequency identification (RFID) infrastructure to track manufacturing and team efficiency and installed sensors to monitor the condition of the factory. Within six months of deployment, the RFID-based tracking system achieved 70 percent coverage for the DAIHEN Osaka factory, which is on track to increase to nearly 100 percent later this year … Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) today announced a new supercomputer installation at KU Leuven, a Flemish research university consistently ranked as one of the five most innovative universities in the world. HPE collaborated with KU Leuven to develop and deploy Genius, a new supercomputer built to run artificial intelligence (AI) workloads. The system will be available to both academia and the industry to build applications that drive scientific breakthroughs, economic growth and innovation in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium.

In the special recognition department, we heard … NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ:NXPI), has been named one of the world’s top three Artificial Intelligence (AI) chipset companies based on recently released research by Compass Intelligence (CompassIntel.com). The A-List includes best-in-class, best-in-breed and the “who’s who” in mobile, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and emerging technologies. NXP is joined by NVIDIA and Intel on the A-List in the AI Chipset Index of companies that are leading AI innovation. NXP achieved the top AI Chipset ranking based on the company’s AI innovation, feature strength, and breadth and scale of its portfolio; market leadership, reach and growth potential; and numerous other metrics (economic impact, market resiliency and others).

In people movement news, we learned … Looker, a leading data platform company, announced that Tricia Timm has joined the company as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, reporting to CEO Frank Bien and serving on Looker’s executive management team. Tricia brings over 20 years of experience to Looker and will oversee the company’s global legal affairs, corporate compliance program and provide support to the Looker Board of Directors. As a champion for gender and ethnic diversity in the workplace and building cultures of inclusion, she will also help drive the company’s diversity initiatives … BlueData, provider of the leading Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) software platform, announced it has appointed Shane Margraves as vice president of worldwide sales. Margraves comes to BlueData from Dell EMC, where he served most recently as vice president of global OEM storage sales and chief operating officer for global storage, converged, and data protection sales. With over 20 years of enterprise technology sales experience, he will drive BlueData’s go-to-market strategy and lead its worldwide sales team to accelerate the company’s record-breaking growth.

And finally, in light of rapid AI growth and adoption, the U.S. Government has launched a series of Subcommittee Meetings designed to understand the implications of AI in the public and private sectors. IT Subcommittee Chairman Will Hurd (R-TX) conducted the third and final hearing last week, which examined several potential challenges for industries affected by the widespread adoption of AI technology, focusing on one central question: what is the appropriate role of the government related to these challenges and opportunities?

We received a commentary below from Sid Mair, SVP of Federal Systems at Penguin Computing:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has amazing potential to create efficiencies in how the government is run, from balancing the federal budget and bolstering GDP, to managing the complexities of the healthcare system and spotting potential national security threats.

For many, the idea of AI conjures the notion of replicating the human brain, but we’re far from that. AI technology has been under development for decades. It’s currently used to examine massive amounts of historical data and identify trends or patterns to solve complex computational problems. The explosion of data, improved algorithms and exponentially more powerful computing systems underpin the growing buzz surrounding AI, but this is not because we are inching closer to a fully automated reality where the machines will replace humans. Simply put, AI technology and advanced algorithms have the ability to spot trends at a scale and rate that humans cannot. As a new computing paradigm, AI can assist U.S. entities in the public and private sector to better understand how to harness the power of this data to create value and to improve and streamline its operations.

At Penguin Computing, we support the positive position that companies like NVIDIA and INTEL presented in the first AI Subcommittee hearing and think advancements and applications of AI have the potential to help the U.S. Government grow and remain in a leading position on a global stage.

When you examine AI from a machine learning perspective, extreme regulation is not needed for machine learning applications as they are narrowly focused and designed to solve specific problems. When AI advances beyond machine learning applications to be self-educating or autonomous, the government will need to institute more stringent regulations in the areas that can be threatening to its citizens. Regulatory policy should mirror many of the regulations we have in place today. For example, the SEC governs financial standards and we should consider similar standards for algorithmic trading. Similarly, just as we have driving laws to keep drivers and citizens safe, the same thinking should be applied to regulating autonomous vehicles.


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