Happy Monday! Here’s the BI news your peers are reading, curated by GetApp Analyst Lauren Maffeo.

The FBI investigates FaceApp, senators slam Facebook’s cryptocurrency, and more big BI news

The FBI investigates Faceapp’s terms of service

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to launch a national security and privacy investigation into FaceApp, a viral app developed in Russia. FaceApp uses filters to alter uploaded images and make users’ headshots appear much older. It also demands “full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data,” which Schumer says threatens national security and consumer privacy. [Read more]

Zappos shares its pain points using semantic analysis

Zappos—one of the world’s most popular e-retailers—used machine learning to overhaul its search algorithms. Over the last two years, the data scientist team built semantic search options that try to learn the context and intent behind certain terms that users search for. At VentureBeat’s Transform 2019 conference, lead data scientist Ameen Kazerouni shared the pros and cons of implementing this technique. [Read more]

Mining the world’s research papers

An American technologist named Carl Malamud spent the past year working with Indian researchers to extract text and images from 73 million journal articles dating back to 1847. Malamud believes that the content serves a public good and sees himself as freeing it all from the paywall curtain. But he hasn’t asked publishers for permission to take this data, which leaves many wondering if this is legal. [Read more]

Can big data predict if the Fed will raise interest rates?

Another day, another guess at whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will lower interest rates. BlackRock Systematic Active Equity took it one step further by processing more than 5,000 daily broker research reports to measure sell-side analyst perceptions about monetary policy. Then, the team used sentiment analysis to aggregate analysts’ data and report overall expectations for future monetary policy. What did they find? [Read more]

The U.S. Senate slams Facebook’s crytocurrency

Members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee kicked off hearings on Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency by putting the tech giant on blast. Senators Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio and Martha McSally (R) of Arizona demanded to know why the government and public should trust the cryptocurrency—currently called Libra—given Facebook’s recent history of major data breaches. The hearing started one week after the Federal Trade Commission slapped a $5 billion fine on Facebook for sharing users’ data with Cambridge Analytics. [Read more]

Big data helps farmers manage climate change

Erratic weather has caused farmers around the world to lose $6.5 billion in revenue. Speaking to the audience at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford said the brand is working to build predictive models that will help farmers know what, when, and how to plant based on climate change. [Read more]

Disney’s MagicBand tracks families through its parks

Within the last decade, Disney theme parks shifted from paper tickets and turnstiles to build a $1 billion digital transformation via its MagicBand—a wearable device that lets users buy food, hold their spots in line, and unlock their hotel rooms. The MagicBand tracks users’ every move, giving Disney a treasure trove of data on unsuspecting users, including kids. [Read more]

Week of July 15, 2019


Alexa gives medical advice, Iowa State students win a data-mining prize, and more BI news

“Alexa, what’s my blood pressure?”

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) announced a partnership with Amazon to give NHS-vetted answers to basic health questions via Amazon’s Alexa device. The device currently pulls answers to such questions from a range of sources, including WebMD and the Mayo Clinic. Amazon hasn’t yet confirmed if these answers will be available to Alexa users outside the United Kingdom. [Read more]

Pico to acquire Irish data-analytics company Corvil

The move will complete Pico’s portfolio of tech services aimed at tech services for global financial markets. Corvil offers analytics and machine intelligence products for financial markets. Under this acquisition, their combined client base includes more than 400 banks, exchanges, asset managers, financial technology companies and trading firms across five continents. [Read more]

Ataira builds an add-in for Microsoft AppSource

The BI lifecycle provider released its Microsoft Power BI Collaboration add-in for Microsoft SharePoint to AppSource. The move allows users to view all of their Microsoft Power BI reports and dashboards in SharePoint, among other actions. Ataira’s add-in helps teams see all their BI efforts in one location. [Read more]

Iowa State students win a global data-mining competition

The team of grad students beat peers from 114 schools in 28 countries to win the 20th annual Data Mining Cup on July 3, in Berlin. The challenge asked students to build mathematical models that could find fraud at self-checkout stations in grocery stores without disrupting customers. Ph.D Candidate Qihao Zhang said he was confident in his team’s model “because it captured the relationship between input and outcome.” [Read more]

LifeSciences partners with Tissue Analytics on wound care clinical trials

The partnership aims to solve the issue of not having enough quality data to assess burns, pressure ulcers, and other wounds. Integra LifeSciences will use Tissue Analytics’ software—which uses AI to extract images from clinical data—to advance its experience with wound repair products in a clinical trial setting. [Read more]

How data analytics impact private equity

At a recent Wharton customer analytics conference, Sajjad Jaffer and Ian Picache, cofounders of the firm Two Six Capital, said they use large-scale, cloud-based engineering to predict portfolio companies’ revenues. Picache said their tech handles “billions of rows of data” to make predictions based on every customer and transaction. Jaffer added that Two Six shortens commercial diligence by quickly predicting a company’s ability to yield returns. [Read more]

Syncfusion launches cloud-based BI platform

The tool, called Bold BI, gives users a data integration platform to prepare data and build dashboards. Daniel Jebaraj, vice president of Syncfusion, said that Bold BI’s market entrance “…allows the average mid-sized company access to data insights that can transform their business.” Bold BI integrates with more than 80 of the most common data sources, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. [Read more]

Week of July 8, 2019


Penn State scores data science funding, ad executives are drowning in data, and more BI news.

From a 216-word pitch to a $2.6 billion acquisition

Looker made headlines earlier this year when Google Cloud bought the data analytics startup for $2.6 billion. This long read from First Round Review—Looker’s first investor—shares key lessons learned that helped this startup scale to success. One pearl of wisdom:

“With Looker, I may not have been sure how I was going to achieve it, but I was clear on what the mission was from the jump: to build a product that lets everyone in the organization see everything that’s happening, through data.”

[Read more]

Cegedim launches a British health data business

The health tech firm announced its new data business to support pharmaceutical, clinical research, and academic organizations. Customers will gain access to more than 56 million anonymized, real-world patient records via The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database. Cegedim also announced plans to launch Health Data Lab, a cloud BI and analytics tool that provides bespoke analysis for use cases like treatment pathways. [Read more]

Ad execs are overwhelmed by analytics

A survey of ad executives found that nearly three quarters have relationships with at least two data platforms/providers. Respondents said this is in large part because of a lack of integrations between the tools they use. Some 69% cited the amount of data they must work with as the main reason for using more data platforms/providers. [Read more]

Two healthcare analytics firms join forces

The partnership will merge technology by Prognos Health and Datavant to help healthcare organizations analyze clinical lab results. Prognos uses AI analytics to track patient data and predict disease, while Datavant helps healthcare firms privately analyze secure data. [Read more]

Penn State earns $4 million from the National Science Foundation

The multi-institution grant will help Penn State find and fund solutions for scientific and societal problems using data science. Penn State is part of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub, which provides funding for Penn State projects like the Virtual Data Collaboratory and the Institute for CyberScience. [Read more]

source{d} debuts an enterprise edition of its analytics platform

Its enterprise edition product offers advanced tools for executives to manage their software portfolios and the processes used to create them. source{d} offers analytics for developers and IT teams’ software development lifecycles. [Read more]

Traveldoo launches interactive dashboards with Tableau

The travel and expense firm within Expedia Group will provide data visualization tailored to user roles. The new feature, called Traveldoo Insights, is powered by Tableau, a data visualization tool that Salesforce recently purchased for more than $15 billion. [Read more]

Week of July 1, 2019


Big data used to save bees, NHS in trouble over data breach, and more BI news

Machine learning can assess cognitive brain health

In a new study published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers used supervised machine learning and predictive modeling to assess early-stage cognitive impairment. The research aims to validate use of a clinical decision support screening tool for Alzheimer’s disease. [Read more]

Big data’s being used to save the bees

A four-year project is underway to save sustainable beekeeping in the European Union. The project, entitled Horizon 2020 project B-GOOD, aims to build a health and management data platform to boost knowledge sharing between beekeepers and scientists across the EU. The project will use machine learning to link bee health with environmental context and collect real-time data on bee colony health. [Read more]

Only big data can prevent forest fires

The Los Angeles Fire Department is testing a program called FireMap that makes quick predictions about where active fires will spread. Ilkay Altintas, the chief data science officer at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, told The New York Times that FireMap uses AI and big data to make predictions within minutes that would take hours to run manually. [Read more]

An HIV patient will sue the NHS over data breach

The Highland branch of the UK’s National Health Service exposed 37 HIV patients’ names and email addresses via an email invitation to join a support group. Health Secretary Jeane Freeman told The Press and Journal that NHS Highland informed those affected and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). But one patient told the same news outlet that NHS Highland offered no counseling, hotline details, or any other support to those who saw their identities exposed. [Read more]

UNCG to launch a Master’s program in big data

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro announced plans to debut a new Master’s degree program in Analytics and Informatics this fall. UNCG Provost Dana Dunn said the program fulfills its obligation as a public school to meet demand for graduates in this field. [Read more]

Palantir’s CEO slams Silicon Valley

Alex Karp—CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful, secretive unicorns—told CNBC that Big Tech doesn’t have Americans’ interests at heart. “Now Silicon Valley is creating micro communities that break the consensus of larger society while simultaneously telling the average American, ‘I will not support your defense needs,’ and then selling their products that are adversarial to America,” he said. Palantir counts the U.S. Defense Department, CIA, and FBI amongst its clients. [Read more]

The National Science Foundation invests $4 million in Southern big data

The grant will finance continued support for the South Big Data Innovation Hub, which helps 16 Southern states use data science to address social needs. It is one of four NSF-supported regional hubs across the U.S. and—among other goals—aims to address the shortage of data science talent. Key goals include ethical data sharing, enhanced response to natural disasters, and use of data science in precision medicine. [Read more]

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