“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 11/26/2018

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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 M&A activity, people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, 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@insideAINews.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Year End Special! The next several “Above the Trend Line” columns will include a number of 2019 prediction commentaries from our friends in the big data ecosystem. Don’t miss these insights by industry luminaries from well known companies.

Let’s start off with an unusually large number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Databricks, a leader in unified analytics and founded by the original creators of Apache Spark™, and Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud data integration solutions, announced a strategic partnership that includes the integration of their products to enable data engineers to more easily perform data integration at large scale. Integration between Talend Cloud and Databricks’ Unified Analytics Platform enables data engineers to perform data processing at large-scale using the powerful Apache Spark platform. Through this integration, users can access the scale and cloud benefits through a drag and drop interface, instead of manually coding data engineering jobs. Talend Cloud is integrated with both Azure Databricks and Databricks for AWS … TITUS, a leading provider of data protection solutions, and Dataguise, a leader in data privacy protection and compliance, announced they have entered into a strategic partnership aimed at enabling customers to easily identify where their most ‘at risk’ data is, no matter where it resides in their organization. This would include insight into unstructured data (files, documents or emails), structured data (databases, cloud storage) and semi-structured data (.xls files, emails). Together, TITUS and Dataguise offer the most comprehensive approach to intelligently detecting and securing data, which will enable organizations to adopt the data protection strategy that’s right for their business … Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning are cutting-edge technologies that are showing an astonishing pace of growth in both capabilities and real-world applications. Having realized the powerful synergy between the data generated by Software Robots and the insights that Machine Learning algorithms can provide for any business, Jidoka and BigML, leading RPA and Machine Learning companies respectively, are joining forces to provide highly  integrated solutions to their collective partners and clients. There are plenty of areas where businesses and developers can benefit from this strategic alliance between RPA and Machine Learning. For  instance, a company’s customer care department and their email processing requirements. On one  hand, BigML creates a Machine Learning model that predicts the receiver (department or employee) of a given email. On the other hand, Jidoka’s robots will automatically carry out all the rule-based tasks that humans historically completed such as checking if there are new e-mails to be processed,  forwarding them to the correct recipients according to BigML’s predictions, and registering the task to address the request … Immuta, a leading provider of enterprise data management solutions for artificial intelligence (AI), and­ Collibra, a leader in enterprise data governance and catalog software, today announced the details of their new strategic partnership. The Immuta and Collibra platforms now directly integrate to enable data governance and data science teams to rapidly author complex data access policies. The Immuta platform enables enterprises to quickly operationalize data for their machine learning and advanced analytics programs while easily meeting policy and compliance requirements. The Collibra platform acts as a single source of intelligence for data experts and other data users who need comprehensive understanding of their data assets … FogHorn, a leading developer of edge intelligence software for industrial and commercial IoT applications, announced a collaboration with Dell EMC OEM Solutions to deliver end-to-end Industrial IoT (IIoT) edge computing solutions. This collaboration allows industrial and commercial customers to leverage the power of the edge quickly with a powerful, out-of-the-box solution for their Industrial IoT (IIoT) deployments – providing real-time insights to streamline operations and improve business outcomes. By integrating FogHorn’s revolutionary Lightning™ edge computing technology to proven solutions from Dell EMC, industrial and commercial customers now have access to preconfigured gateways and other devices that simplify IoT deployments. These “edgified” solutions allow clients to deploy edge computing at various end-point locations quickly, wherever the power of edge computing is needed … Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM), provider of Digital Workforce and Loop AI Labs, a Silicon Valley-based company and a top-tier provider in the Cognitive Computing industry, announced a partnership to jointly develop intelligent automation solutions. This integration will bring the joint power of human-capacity Cognitive Computing and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to customers across the globe. Combining these capabilities enables clients to evolve to Cognitive RPA and quickly create robots that learn from the human team instead of from a human created rule set. This is the first time that self-learning Cognitive RPA software robots will support any language and any enterprise-specific lingo … BlueData®, provider of a leading container-based software platform for AI and Big Data workloads, and H2O.ai, an open source leader in AI, announced a partnership to accelerate AI and machine learning (ML) deployments. The collaboration includes integration of H2O.ai’s full suite of products – including open source H2O, H2O Sparkling Water for machine learning with Spark, and the automated H2O Driverless AI – with the container-based BlueData EPIC™ software platform. The result is a powerful combination to help customers rapidly deploy and scale their AI / ML environments, while ensuring enterprise-grade security and performance. BlueData and H2O.ai share many joint customers across multiple industries – including industry-leading organizations like Barclays, Citi, GM Financial, Optum, Macy’s, Seattle Children’s, and SCL Health. They use AI / ML for a variety of applications ranging from fraud detection and credit risk analysis, to genomics research and precision medicine, to improved customer experience, and more. The BlueData-H2O.ai partnership will enable these and other enterprise customers to realize the full potential of AI / ML, helping them to make mission-critical business decisions and deliver data-driven innovation … Supercomputer company Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) announced a limited-time opportunity for qualified customers to experience the benefits of using a Cray supercomputer in Microsoft Azure at no charge. Cray, Intel and Microsoft have come together to offer Sentinel, a Cray® XC50™ system in Azure. This integrated offering allows customers to test their supercomputing workloads on a Cray system alongside Azure’s rich portfolio of cloud services and solutions, including those for AI, machine learning, IoT, long-term storage, archiving and remote visualization. Sentinel addresses a growing demand to run large-scale simulation and modeling workloads in the cloud with on-demand access to uncompromising performance at scale. As part of the early access program, Cray experts will work closely with each customer to set up and run their production workloads on Sentinel with direct access to Azure services. Sentinel is a Cray XC50 system with roughly 2,000 cores and attached Cray® ClusterStor™ parallel file-system storage, the Cray Linux®Environment, the Cray-developed Aries™ network interconnect, and the Cray Programming Environment, which provides optimized compilers, libraries and tools. The supercomputer is powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. Sentinel is in an Azure data center and connected to the Azure global network backbone, enabling integration with its broad portfolio of compute instances, storage services, batch services and AI, analytics, machine learning and other solutions … VoltDB, the enterprise-class database that powers real-time intelligent decisions on streaming data, announced a collaboration with MapR Technologies, Inc., provider of the industry’s next generation data platform for AI and Analytics, to enable organizations to automate more intelligent decision-making with machine learning. By continuously exporting processed streaming data from VoltDB to the MapR-FS file system and importing trained machine learning models back, enterprises can immediately apply news insights to drive business outcomes. In this joint solution, VoltDB serves as a real-time application database used in conjunction with the MapR-FS file system to derive analytics results from data streams based on machine learning algorithms embedded directly within the database infrastructure. As large volumes of data constantly stream in from multiple sources at a high velocity, the machine learning model needs to continually ingest and operationalize information in real-time with low latency … VIA Technologies, Inc announced that it is partnering with AI vision startup Lucid, to deliver AI-based depth sensing capabilities to more dual- and multi-camera devices in the security, retail, robotics and autonomous vehicle space. With Lucid’s proprietary 3D Fusion Technology embedded into the VIA Edge AI 3D Developer Kit, security and retail cameras, robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles will now be able to easily capture accurate depth and 3D with dual- or multi-camera setups while reducing the costs, power, and space consumption of previous hardware depth solutions. As VIA builds out its long-term Edge AI solutions roadmap, Lucid is adding camera- and machine-learning based depth capabilities on top of every platform. The AI-enhanced 3D/depth solution developed by Lucid, known as 3D Fusion Technology, is currently deployed in many devices such as 3D cameras, security cameras, robots, and mobile phones, including the RED Hydrogen One which is launching in November without any additional emission or laser-based hardware components. In the VIA Edge AI 3D Developer Kit, the AI depth solution runs on the Qualcomm® APQ8096SG embedded processor, which features the Qualcomm® AI Engine along with support for multiple cameras to help Lucid provide superior performance compared to other hardware depth solutions and deliver an industry-leading and unique pure machine learning-based software solution.

In new people movement news we learned … Lumin, a technology company focused on data-driven insights and control through its smart energy platform, announced Brian Sullivan will join the firm as head of data engineering. Sullivan spent six years at Netflix, the world’s leading video streaming service, where he was director of the Internet giant’s Streaming Data Engineering and Analytics team … Ephesoft, Inc., an industry leader in enterprise content capture and data discovery solutions, announced that it has appointed enterprise software leader, Ajay Patel, to its Board of Directors. Patel joins the five-member Board, which guides Ephesoft toward its goal of expanding reach in the enterprise capture market by offering its cutting-edge, patented supervised machine learning solutions to customers and partners seeking to incorporate cloud-based solutions into their business processes … Sumo Logic, a leading cloud-native, machine data analytics platform that delivers continuous intelligence, announced the expansion of its executive bench with strategic hires and appointments across finance, marketing, communications, legal and engineering to help lead the company through its next growth phase. Sydney Carey, most recently chief financial officer (CFO) of Duo Security, and Kiki Haar, former general counsel and chief privacy officer (CPO) at Informatica, have joined Sumo Logic as CFO and general counsel, respectively.

In the new funding department we heard … Cognigo, the AI-driven enterprise platform for data protection and compliance, announced the completion of a $8.5 million Series A round. The round was led by OurCrowd, with Prosegur (BME: PSG), and State of Mind Ventures. The new funding will be used to support Cognigo’s global sales and marketing expansion and product development, as well as further fuel investment in its Cognitive Computing technology, which helps organizations achieve data protection and privacy regulatory compliance (such as GDPR, PIPEDA, California Consumer Privacy Act and others).

2019 Predictions

The appeals of migrating to the public cloud used to be that companies could pay less and control data more, but both have turned into disincentives for technology decision-makers,” said said Justin Yunag, Chief Digital Officer of Financial Services for Atos North America. “2019 will be the year of taking back what is owned by the company. In the public cloud, there are many additional costs. For example, ingress of data may be free, but cloud providers charge for every megabyte that leaves the network (the slow drip of egress adds up quickly). In terms of private clouds, cloud providers offer a flat rate every month which benefit cost budgets. In addition, long-term retention of data has exposed public cloud to frequent SEC auditing and losing control of data. Overall, design, functionality, and cost can be at a higher degree of difficulty in the public cloud, higher than originally thought in previous years.”

Just as self-service applications are becoming all the rage, the industry is preparing for its next incarnation: “self-driving” technology where machines take the lead and humans validate and teach the machines what the exceptions are,” said a Paxata representative. “Today, users get facilitation from machine learning (ML) but still do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to manipulating the data. But now that organizations are gaining value from ML, it’s time for a role reversal. Instead of humans doing 80 percent of the work, and machines handling 20 percent, companies like DataRobot and other self-driving paradigms are setting a new standard where machines assume 80 percent of the heavy lifting while humans have more time for thoughtful analysis. Bottom line: self-driving technology improves productivity and expands and broadens the types of users that can interact with data by themselves.”

2019 will usher in an expanded role for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, by helping to identify high-risk patients and drive immediate intervention in life-threatening situations,” said Waqaas Al-Siddiq, Founder and CEO of Biotricity (BTCY). “Today, AI is leveraged to parse through copious amounts of data to detect patterns and surface signals that well-meaning physicians may otherwise miss. By processing vast amounts of historical data using statistical models that identify patterns in data, AI can then process new data against the historical model to find similarities. In the new year, hospitals may start experimenting with AI by allowing it to scan medical images and evaluate possible diagnoses based on a large selection of similar images in order to identify urgent cases, alert on-call specialists, and send scans directly to professionals.”

More organizations will opt for deploying open-source software and as a result, legacy software vendors will suffer,” said Mike Freedman, CTO of Timescale and Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University. “In 2018, there were several noteworthy IPOs and mergers which arguably made it the biggest year for open source so far. In 2019, we will see continued momentum with a major public cloud provider making a big open-source acquisition.”

Companies are looking at variations of data lake concepts that combine Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) infrastructure, event stream processing, relational and non-relational data stores, and other technologies,” said Ron Agresta, Director, Product Management, SAS. “Making all of these work in a performant and auditable fashion can be challenging. It has been said that all data is big data now. It’s not necessarily data volumes per se that pose the biggest challenges—inexpensive technology to process billions of transactions is not uncommon—but what’s hidden in the data (good or bad) that can be difficult to deal with. Advanced analytics paired with good data management technology can help detect threats and uncover untapped opportunities. We will continue to see more use of even more advanced analytic capabilities to solve complex problems that in years past might have taken large teams and years of research.”

Frustration among business leaders will continue to grow,” said Sivan Metzger, CEO of ParallelM. “For many companies, ownership of machine learning initiatives lies with data science teams. Despite being well versed in choosing, building and validating training algorithms and turning them into models to solve a business problem, data scientists are not familiar with what it takes to deploy and manage those models in production – an aspect that is typically owned by the operations teams. As a result, it often takes much longer than anticipated for companies to see the benefits of machine learning. This leaves business leaders unsure of when they’ll accomplish their machine learning goals, leading to mounting frustration.”


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