“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 5/6/2019

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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, 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@insideAINews.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Let’s start off with some new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations … MIT and Liberty Mutual Insurance announced a $25 million, five-year collaboration to support artificial intelligence research in computer vision, computer language understanding, data privacy and security, and risk-aware decision making, among other topics. The new collaboration launched at a meeting between leadership from both institutions, including Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long and MIT President Rafael L. Reif. The collaboration will span MIT’s five schools and be led by MIT’s Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing through the Quest for Intelligence, MIT’s research initiative focusing on the science and engineering of intelligence … Striim®, provider of an enterprise-grade platform for streaming data integration, announced a strategic partnership with Snowflake, Inc., the data warehouse built for the cloud, to simplify and speed loading of real-time data to Snowflake, accelerating data-driven analytics in the cloud. Striim’s real-time data integration capabilities provide Snowflake customers running in Microsoft Azure or AWS the benefit of a phased migration to Snowflake from existing on-premises or cloud-based data warehouses, databases, and other data sources. One such customer, Attentia, is using Striim and Snowflake on Azure to deliver real-time data, advanced analytics, and streamlined operations. Joint customers such as Attentia benefit from the speed, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of Snowflake’s zero-management, cloud-built data warehouse. With Snowflake, analytics that used to take hours, or even days, can be delivered in minutes, and the data warehouse can scale up and down on-the-fly, without delay or disruption. Snowflake’s cloud-built architecture delivers a level of flexibility and efficiency that simply isn’t possible with a traditional data warehouse, or with a big data platform that has been shifted to the cloud … Anodot, the Autonomous Analytics company, announced a partnership with Snowflake, the data warehouse built for the cloud, enabling Snowflake customers to access Anodot’s real-time anomaly detection, providing alerts related to business incidents in real-time. Snowflake’s unique cloud-built architecture empowers organizations to make better, quicker business decisions with features like instant and near-infinite scalability across multiple clouds, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions … Attunity Ltd. (NASDAQ CM: ATTU), a leading provider of data integration and big data management software solutions, announced Attunity for Databricks Unified Analytics Platform, a new solution designed to automate streaming data pipelines to make data seamlessly available to accelerate machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and data science initiatives. The Attunity software is the first to provide continuous change data capture, delivery and automated refinement for creating analytic ready data sets in Databricks Unified Analytics Platform. Data engineering teams have struggled to keep up with the demand for real-time data sets for machine learning applications. Data integration and migration can be a manually intensive and complex endeavor; challenging to assemble and often resulting in outdated data when it is finally ready for data scientists. Attunity assists enterprises in overcoming these challenges with efficient changed data transfer at scale and automation of data transformations in Apache Spark™ that accelerate data pipelines – from the generation of source system data streams right through to the creation of analytics-ready data sets in Databricks’ Unified Analytics Platform … Snowflake Computing, announced a new partnership with the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One team to support the team’s winning ambitions and drive data-based decision making in the 2019 F1™ racing season. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will use Snowflake’s cloud-built data warehouse to gain a more holistic view of its business. Partnership will enable Snowflake to tap into exciting marketing opportunities with the Team. In Formula One racing, where every millisecond counts and data insight is essential for performance, the very best technology and innovation are vital to achieving success. Partnerships are key to helping Aston Martin Red Bull Racing reach new benchmarks in performance. By tapping into Snowflake’s built-for-the-cloud data warehouse, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will be able to obtain data in real time to enable more effective business strategies.

In new customer wins news we heard … MarkLogic Corporation, the next generation data platform provider for simplifying data integration, announced a multi-year license agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to renew MarkLogic’s industry leading technology running on public cloud infrastructure. This agreement paves the way for CMS to leverage MarkLogic in support of its Cloud First strategy, ingesting data as-is, adapting to regulation and modifications, reducing overall project costs and increasing security. The move in healthcare to next-generation database technologies underscores the business critical need to deploy the latest and best technologies in order to create a sustainable healthcare system. Outside of CMS, top healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance companies are using MarkLogic to achieve a 360 view of data and metadata faster than ever, leading to better decision making and trusted analytic insights … CUJO AI, a network intelligence company that provides AI-driven protection and device management solutions announced their partnership with cybersecurity company Avira. CUJO AI integrates Avira’s threat intelligence feeds into its AI-driven home cybersecurity services.

In new funding news we learned … Ablacon, Inc., a Wheat Ridge, CO-based company developing an advanced mapping system to guide the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib), announced the closing of a $21.5 million Series A financing round led by Ajax Health.  Ablacon’s novel algorithm uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze and visualize the flow of action potentials, or Electrographic Flow, within the heart in order to identify sources and drivers of AFib, the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide.  The map of the Electrographic Flow can help to guide physicians in targeted catheter ablation therapy.  The company will use the Series A funding to advance its technology pipeline and finance clinical trials … Altizon Inc., a global industrial IIoT platform company addressing the manufacturing industries, announced the closure of its series A+ funding round of $7Mn. This important round was led by TVS Motor Company (Singapore) Pte. Limited, the Singapore based Subsidiary of TVS Motor Company Limited and participated by existing investors The Hive, Wipro Ventures, and Lumis Partners … Eightfold.ai, the creator of the first Talent Intelligence Platform, announced it has added IVP to its growing list of investors in raising $28 million in a Series C financing. The round, joined by Foundation Capital and Lightspeed Ventures who led previous funding rounds, brings Eightfold.ai’s total funding to $55 million, making it one of the most well-capitalized AI solutions for talent management. Built by co-founders Ashutosh Garg and Varun Kacholia, distinguished engineers out of Google and Facebook, Eightfold.ai’s Talent Intelligence Platform empowers enterprises to solve the number one challenge facing chief executives and chief human resource officers today – hiring and retaining top talent. This new funding follows significant interest in Eightfold.ai’s patented artificial intelligence–based platform which has secured numerous new customers in four continents around the world since emerging from stealth mode one year ago … Trovares, a property graph analytics company, announced completion of its Series-A funding round and the launch of Trovares xGT, a graph analytics tool for cybersecurity, fraud detection, science research, and other applications. Series-A funding will help Trovares enhance xGT features and functionality, grow the company, and meet customer demand.The graph analytics market is growing rapidly as enterprise datasets expand to multiple terabytes and companies find value in identifying cyber intrusions, fraud signals, social network influencers, scientific discoveries and other applications.

In people movements news we heard … Immuta, the automated data governance company, announced that analytics veteran Paul Evans has joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Effective immediately, Evans is responsible for global sales and marketing. Prior to joining Immuta, Evans spent 13 years at Alteryx where he held a number of senior leadership positions, most recently as CRO. During his tenure at Alteryx, he developed a world-class organization that led to a successful IPO in 2017. Evans was also Chief Operating Officer at market research company Generation5, and General Manager for Canada at Pitney Bowes. He holds an MBA from Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Rochester.

Also heard on the street … open source projects have long been initiatives used by developers for open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency and development. This has all paved the way for the next big collaborative opportunity: open data. This trend is already taking hold as Microsoft, SAP and Adobe recently announced the launch of the Open Data Initiative. The goal is to allow enterprises to easily move customer data around, while still giving consumers increased transparency and privacy controls. Open data is bound to impact a variety of different technologies, especially machine learning. Because data sets are available in bulk and that they are easily machine readable, this will open the door for advancements in ML and AI.

This open data announcement holds special significance to me personally. In 2000 I built the industry’s first database-as-a-service – HostedDatabase.com. This database in the cloud served the business community by allowing companies to avoid investing in server hardware, and enterprise database software by storing and accessing their data in the cloud. I shopped this concept and working MVP product to many, many VCs. Their consensus was: businesses would NEVER store their data on the Internet … not secure, no control, too slow, etc. etc. A few years later I built the first open data repository, OpenDatabase.info based on my cloud database technology. The sentiment did not change, the VCs “herd mind” prevailed. I got close with one VC for a series A round, but they opted to pour over $250 million into a health website that would eventually die – drkoop.com. I’ve never trusted VCs since.

Here is a prediction about open data by Brent Schroeder, Americas’ CTO for SUSE:

Open Data Paves the Way for Machine Learning: Machine Learning (ML) technology has made leaps and bounds in 2018. However, without access to sufficiently large and diverse amounts of data, ML can’t fully succeed. Enter open source for data: Open source code has long been freely shared to collaborate and fuel industry innovation, but the data hasn’t shared this same benefit. The community has recognized this as an area for improvement, and in 2019 we will see the concept of ‘open data’ emerge as a way to share and aggregate data. Projects such as the Community Data License Agreement (CDLA) – a development announced by The Linux Foundation – are currently underway and encourage organizations to share data openly and transparently. CDLA will be a key enabler of data sharing that can be used to accelerate the accuracy and use of machine learning. We’re already seeing this happen with some companies that are sharing data and using that shared data to build an ML model to manage a software defined storage deployment. These types of initiatives will only continue to grow in 2019.

And finally, recent rumors claim that IBM is halting sales of its Watson for Drug Discovery — a service that uses the company’s Watson AI to analyze connections between genes, drugs, and diseases. Below is a commentary on the benefits of AI in drug discovery from Sinequa, a software provider with a strong and growing list of customers in the pharma space who have been using the company’s approach to AI for more than 10 years

“It’s important to take a more pragmatic approach to AI,” says Laurent Fanichet, VP of Marketing at Sinequa. “Customers must be educated that leveraging AI is a journey without instant gratification, especially when tackling complex challenges to extract value from unstructured data such as scientific research, clinical trials, pharmacovigilance and more. Make no mistake – developing new drugs is not a trivial task and in most cases, it consumes billions of dollars and takes years before it even becomes available to the market. Fortunately, technology exists that is helping pharmaceutical researchers to expedite drug discovery, testing, and clinical trials in an data-driven way.”  

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