Here is a quick skim of analytics industry updates from March 2018. This past month we have news from IBM Think, Domopalooza, NVIDIA AI Deep Learning Conference, and the usual barrage of other announcements. We also saw a myriad of global policy changes that are expediting progression into the digital surveillance and censorship era.
Think 2018 is the annual IBM conference – it replaced IBM World of Watson. For analytics and data science pros, here are several key announcements. I will be reviewing IBM Watson Studio “hands-on” soon to update my previous IBM Data Science Experience review.
- IBM Watson Studio: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/bluemix/2018/03/watson-studio-announcement/
- IBM Watson Studio Deep Dive: https://medium.com/ibm-watson/introducing-ibm-watson-studio-e93638f0bb47
- IBM Watson Deep Learning as a Service within Watson Studio:
- IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/bluemix/2018/03/ibm-watson-knowledge-catalog-find-prepare-data-analytic-assets-power-ai/
Tellius, an exciting newcomer in the augmented analytics space that I have reviewed with you in the past, had a big month. In March, they announced the launch of the Genius AI Engine to provide the intelligence layer for advanced business data analysis. This new engine provides business users, analysts, and citizen data scientists with an intuitive interface for business analytics and makes advanced analysis accessible to a greater number of users. By providing an intelligent experience that automates the analytic workflow, users will more quickly discover answers to their business questions from a greater variety of data sources. Tellius was also mentioned in Gartner’s sessions, augmented analytics webinar and analyst blogs. This awesome little startup has certainly taken off like a rocket since I first met them!
Amazon Web Services
The stand out news in all the AWS daily update noise is the free and low cost AWS Training Courses (notably missing analytics offerings) and Amazon DynamoDB Adds Support for Continuous Backups and Point-In-Time Recovery (PITR). Kinesis, SageMaker, and Glue also had minor addition announcements.
In March the always intriguing DOMO held Domopalooza 2018, an annual “edutainment” conference showcasing celebrities, music and dashboards. I shared an in-depth summary of the latest announcements in an earlier article. This year DOMO seems to be growing up from the external perspective. They are also being a bit more secretive again – a little like Tableau’s shift noted last fall. DOMO did not tell outlandish stories. They did not externally promote growth stats or even make much noise about all the awesome enhancements that were announced. DOMO’s press release merely mentioned who would be at the event.
Era of Surveillance and Censorship
Facebook dominated headlines in March with stories of careless and intrusive personal data management practices. Android users reported Facebook collecting phone text messages and voice that angered users and prompted government investigation into the dark patterns that were used to trick users. EFF’s Gennie Gebhart, “While Facebook is in the spotlight right now for very good reason, this is not just a Facebook problem. We have a surveillance based business model that powers much of the web that cannot continue to coexist with privacy rights.” Last March, the government voted to allow internet service providers to sell private user browser history data?!?
A shocking reveal of the types of personal data Google and Facebook collect was shared by Dylan Curran on Twitter. I knew it would be creepy… WOW and not a good wow. If you have not seen it yet, sit down and check out this thread.
This March we saw more aggressive content blocking and censorship programs worldwide to suppress “fake news”. In India, the new “fake news” censorship rule was withdrawn within one day after outrage. Previously Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social networks have been caught shadow banning. Shadow banning, also called stealth banning or ghost banning, is the act of censoring a targeted users content by hiding it from an online community. It is done in a manner that the targeted user does not easily realize that they have been banned.
This March we also saw public notices of personal account monitoring of your Microsoft software that will start next month cited as a response to SESTA/FOSTA. Other vendors are probably using similar surveillance and shutdown programs.
Who will be the “fake news” and “thought police”? Corruption has been exposed.
Who will be the “fake news” and “thought police”? Artificial intelligence is still evolving and error prone. While I welcome a means to stop criminals, abuse, trolls and cruel online bullying, I question the intent of political leaders and how the policing will be enforced. Historically, bad behavior has been protected by these same types of organizations. Widespread political, government, corporate and institutional corruption has already been exposed. Yikes.
Filtering through the other noise this month, here are a few other notable announcements that analytics pros might appreciate exploring further.
- Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Launched
- NVIDIA Boosts World’s Leading Deep Learning Computing Platform
- Data Prep vendor Lavastorm was acquired by Infogix. (Note: Infogix was acquired in 2016 by Thoma Bravo, LLC – the same company that also owns Qlik.)
- Information Builders Offers Free Trial of WebFOCUS in the Cloud
- ZEPL Launches Team Data Analytics and Modeling Solution
- WPS Analytics Version 4 Released
I’d love to delve into more of these updates with you but I am truly time starved again. Got to grab a Mountain Dew Kickstart (my new morning caffeine addiction), get back to my billable work…and the puppies!