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

Medical records lie unprotected online, Australia’s postal service turns to Google Cloud, and more business intelligence news

Barack Obama shares his big data skepticism

In an interview with Splunk CEO Doug Merritt, Former U.S. President Obama cited the amount of data—and the speed at which it’s consumed—as a key concern. Citing his own 2008 presidential campaign, Obama told Merritt that a range of diverse viewpoints is essential to help people make decisions based on data. The interview occurred one week after the House Judiciary Committee asked CEOs at Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook to cooperate with the committee’s investigation into their data management. [Read more]

Millions of Americans’ healthcare data is available online

An investigation by ProPublica and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found 187 U.S.-based servers that were unprotected by passwords and other security measures. These servers—used in doctors’ offices, medical imaging centers, and X-ray services— hold medical data belonging to 5 million U.S.-based patients, and millions more globally. [Read more]

Australia’s postal service uses Google Cloud to grow

Australia Post, the continent’s mail delivery service, is 210 years old, with a mandate to always turn a profit. With 60% of revenue lost due to decline in paper mail, Australia Post knew it needed other options. They implemented Google Cloud last January for its automation, analytics, and machine learning features. CIO John Cox said they can process details 10 times faster than on their old IT systems. [Read more]

After a year of acquisitions, what’s next for big data?

Data and analytics acquisitions surpassed $18 billion this year—and that’s before the start of Q4. But with Hadoop’s decline and Cloudera’s stock price dropping, 2019 wasn’t pain-free for the sector. Ahead of this week’s Strata Data Conference in NYC, David Richards shares the topics he thinks attendees will care the most about. [Read more]

Facebook’s next foray into online data⁠—I mean, dating

Amidst a sea of lawsuits, Facebook launched a new dating app this month. The opt-in app, entitled Facebook Dating, connects users based on factors such as shared interests, events, and groups. But the Facebook Dating app links to users’ Instagram accounts, giving Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) access to even more user data. [Read more]

HMS acquires VitreosHealth for predictive analytics

In an all-cash deal totaling $36 million, HMS Holdings Corp announced in a press release that it acquired VitreosHealth, a prediction analytics tool for population health. VitreosHealth worked closely with HMS pre-acquisition: It provided the predictive analytics search engine for Elli, which is HMS’ risk intelligence tool for population health. HMS’ goals for the acquisition include disease-specific predictive models, faster patient interventions, and avoiding preventable, high-cost events. [Read more]

Crisp raises $14.5 million to cut food waste with big data

Co-founded in 2016, Crisp collects data from a range of sources (such as past consumer purchases and POS systems) to prevent food waste. After an alpha test with 25 retailers and wholesalers, Crisp emerged from stealth mode this month with $14.5 million in funding. Its entrance into the waste prevention space will cause Crisp to compete with Zest Fresh and Walmart, which both have monitoring systems that help suppliers time their shipping statuses with their customers’ consumption habits. [Read more]

Week of September 16th, 2019

An antitrust case on Google begins, the Pentagon’s hiring an AI ethicist, and more top BI news

Nearly all 50 states go after Google

Attorneys general from 48 states (along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) are investigating Google for possible monopolistic behavior. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the amount of states involved is unprecedented for an antitrust case. The investigation asks if Google—which owns many aspects of internet websites and architecture—earned its market dominance fairly, or if it used “aggressive, illegal” business practices to do so. [Read more]

Three tech firms fight to store health data in the cloud

Google announced a 10-year partnership with Mayo Clinic to store its genetic, medical, and financial data in Google Cloud. This comes months after Google Cloud Platform CEO Thomas Kurian took office, bringing a sales-focused approach to industry verticals like finance and healthcare. But Google’s not the only tech firm that wants to capture healthcare, and questions about patient privacy abound. [Read more]

When cancer therapies fail, big data might explain why

Researchers from IBM and the Broad Institute used data mining algorithms to explain genetic mutations in blood samples from patients with several types of gastrointestinal cancer. They found that in almost 80% of cases, genetic alterations were linked to drug abstinence. In their article (published by Nature Medicine), the researchers shared their theory that drug resistance often explains why cancer therapies fail—and propose changes to cancer treatment. [Read more]

LinkedIn loses its appeal to stop a data scraping startup

San Francisco-based HR algorithm hiQ Labs uses data mining from public websites like LinkedIn to train its algorithm to find workforce trends. In 2017, a judge ordered LinkedIn to stop banning hiQ from harvesting publicly available details about its users. LinkedIn appealed … and lost again. [Read more]

The Pentagon is hiring an AI ethicist

Can you crunch data, prove a strong moral compass, and say, “No” to presidents? The Pentagon is looking for an ethicist to oversee its use of military AI. Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), told reporters that the person in this role will work with lawyers and technical teams to assess the U.S. military’s use of weaponized AI. [Read more]

Who has access to donated healthcare data?

Healthcare research projects contain donated data from more than one million Americans. But how do researchers use this data, and who can find it? NPR explores three healthcare projects with different approaches to data management. [Read more]

Neurala, an Israeli data mining firm, raises $16 million

The startup’s latest fundraising round is its second to date. Neurala says it can use a software add-on installed on customers’ phones that gathers raw data, then turns it into behavioral insights for brands. Neurala claims that users remain anonymous, and the platform complies with global privacy protection laws. [Read more]

Week of September 9th, 2019

Google gets fined for selling ads to kids, big data reveals identities in court, and more top BI news

Google gets fined $170 million for selling ads to kids

The Internet search giant agreed to pay the fine as a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and New York’s Attorney General. The settlement accused YouTube—a Google-owned website—of illegally mining data that tracked children’s online actions without their parents’ consent. Despite telling ad firms that they didn’t have to comply with children’s privacy laws, Google made millions using the data they collected on minors. [Read more]

European mental health websites shared data for ads

Privacy International, a privacy advocacy group, analyzed 136 mental health webpages in France, Germany, and the UK. Their research showed that 3 in 4 webpages contained third-party trackers for marketing reasons. Despite GDPR’s strict laws against such data sharing, several websites that let users discuss depression placed tracking cookies before users could confirm or deny consent. [Read more]

Mozilla’s Firefox browser won’t track your cookies

Firefox’s latest update has a default setting on desktop and Android to prevent cookie tracking. Mozilla launched the Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) feature in June as a default for new users, but Firefox v69.0 is the first version to impede third party cookie tracking by default. Firefox users with ETP enabled can confirm if it’s on and check which tracking cookies the browser blocks. But that doesn’t mean it prevents all types of tracking… [Read more]

Woodbury University will offer a data analytics major

The Burbank, California-based school will debut its new major as an offset of computer science in the fall of 2020. Marty Tippens, Chair of Woodbury’s Math department, said the major will address job market demand for data scientists. Tippens added that the problem solving and design thinking skills required in data analytics are helpful in a range of fields. [Read more]

Big data threatens confidentiality in court

Researchers at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Law mined large swarths of data to make a database of all Supreme Court decisions available online between 2000 and 2018. In under an hour, they used an algorithm and manual searches to find identities of people mentioned in 84% of those Supreme Court decisions. The study’s authors cited privacy protection concerns, saying that such tech advancements jeopardize privacy. [Read more]

The University of Akron will host a big data summit

The school will host its second Business Analytics Innovation Summit on September 27th. The University’s College of Business Administration will sponsor the event, which raised $17,000 for UA scholarships last year. William McHenry, an associate professor in UA’s Department of Management, said the school requires undergraduate and MBA students to complete coursework in business analytics. Students will hear from local leaders on a range of topics, from data privacy to analytics support. [Read more]

Big data finds inequality in creative industries

Dr. Cath Sleeman, a quantitative research fellow at Nesta, used data mining to track how a popular news outlet reports on women in creative industries. After analyzing more than half a million articles from The Guardian newspaper published between 2000 and 2018, Dr. Sleeman found a large increase in references to women starting in 2014. Her analysis showed that the percentage of pronouns referencing women reached 40% in 2018. [Read more]

Week of September 2nd, 2019

Facebook tries to shield election ads, the Army’s using big data to recruit Gen Z, and more BI news

Ahead of 2020, Facebook clamps down on election ads

Facebook announced new requirements for political advertisers to run ads on its platform starting in mid-September. Businesses and nonprofits will have to give a tax-registered organization identification number, while government advertisers will need to share a web domain or email address ending in .gov or .mil. Prior investigations found that Facebook’s current requirements have too many loopholes; one journalist was able to buy ads promoting ISIS. [Read more]

Purdue University uses predictive modeling in cancer research

Timothy L. Ratliff, distinguished professor of comparative pathobiology, and Purdue’s Robert Wallace Miller, Director of the Center for Cancer Research, said their partnership will advance computational biology and predictive modeling in cancer research. The fellowship will also allow for appointment and exchange of scientific staff, sabbatical options, postdoctoral training, and student training. [Read more]

Can BI manage commercial truck fleets?

Truck fleets often lack the tools and talent to analyze large amounts of unstructured data. A recent survey found that 33 percent of fleet executives say they lack the right software to manage their fleet’s total cost of ownership (TCO) in one place. In an op-ed for Trucks.com, Brian Holland, President and CFO of Fleet Advantage, shares some solutions. [Read more]

These startups use data mining to tell brands what people want

As consumer power grew due to internet usage, the power of brand-controlled market research shrank. Now, some global startups claim they can use AI to tell B2C businesses what consumers want in real time. One startup, called Black Swan, collects product data from social media and product review websites to tell brands like Pepsi and McDonald’s which trends will yield mass adoption (apparently, it’s pea milk?). [Read more]

The U.S. Army uses big data to find its next recruits

The military branch’s marketing team recently moved from the Pentagon for closer proximity to DDB Chicago. The ad firm won a $4 billion contract to serve as the Army’s full-service agency until 2028. They’re tasked with finding new recruits born in the mid 1990s – early 2000s—and they use big data to show prospects the careers they could have based on unique interests. [Read more]

Palantir employees protest the tool’s ties to ICE

Amidst employee protests at Google and Amazon over using AI for federal purposes, Palantir signed a deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This agreement gave ICE digital profiling tools to use while enforcing policies to find and deport undocumented immigrants. More than 200 employees signed and gave a letter to CEO Alex Karp sharing their concerns. But abandoning the contract would risk backlash in DC, where Palantir is the U.S. government’s go-to vendor for data mining. [Read more]

For AI startups, data is worth more than money

In an industry that’s prone to exaggeration, it’s tough to overstate how valuable big data is for tech firms. That idea was discussed at a forum hosted by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Speaker Series. Ben Wilson, director of the Center for Intelligent Devices at Intellectual Ventures, said that having strong data trumps all else—including an idea. “Now, if you’re doing AI, you need capital and you also need data,” Wilson said. “And you’re going to burn through your data before you burn through your capital.” [Read more]

Week of August 26th, 2019

Utah mines big data to track school spending, the U.S. Army moves to the cloud, and more business intelligence news

DeepMind’s co-founder goes on leave

Mustafa Suleyman, who cofounded Google’s London-based AI Lab, will step away for several months. Bloomberg broke the news, implying that controversy over several projects is the reason for Suleyman’s departure. It’s unclear whether Suleyman left of his own accord or was forced out. In 2017, DeepMind violated UK law when it used 1.6 million patient records from England’s National Health Service to train a kidney monitoring app. [Read more]

Europe’s top data protection regulator dies at 62

Giovanni Buttarelli oversaw implementation of EU privacy laws for a five-year term that started in December 2014. His career hallmark came when Europe’s GDPR legislation went into effect last year. Buttarelli also advocated for increased data ethics, telling TechCrunch last year that he worried about online discrimination. [Read more]

The U.S. Army moves to the cloud

What would happen if a hack jam or missile cut off the Army’s access? In a roundtable with reporters this month, Brig. Gen. Robert Collins—Program Executive Officer for the Army’s Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors unit—said his troops already see big benefits from using the cloud. In an article for Breaking Defense, Sydney Freedberg Jr. shares the Army’s plan to upgrade its intelligence system. [Read more]

60% of payers and providers to spend more on predictive analytics

The 2019 Predictive Analytics in Health Care Trend Forecast survey found that three in five respondents plan to put 15% or more of their spending toward predictive analytics this year. Of those respondents, 23% plan to prioritize data visualization, while 16% are most bullish on machine learning. When asked what prevents them from achieving their goals, 16% of the surveyed payers and providers cited “too much data” as their biggest barrier. [Read more]

Can AI save big data projects from failure?

Back in 2017, Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker guessed that 85% of big data projects failed. This lack of success often traces back to teams not knowing how to interpret structured data—which is something that AI excels at. In an article for Information Week, author John Edwards asks several industry experts how AI can help business leaders make more data-based decisions. [Read more]

Big data answers questions about school spending in Utah

Utah’s Office of the State Auditor will partner with Brigham Young University’s McKay School’s Educational Leadership and Foundations Department to help schools track the ROI on their spending allocation. The data system, called Project KIDS (Key Integrated Data Systems), aims to collect data from each school district in Utah and help them confirm if their spending results align with their goals. [Read more]

Week of Aug. 19, 2019

Investor Carl Icahn takes a big stake in Cloudera, Sydney hospitals use data analytics to solve opioid addiction, and more BI news

Investor Carl Icahn takes a big stake in Cloudera

Cloudera—a big data processing software company that went public back in 2017—popularized the Hadoop open source big data software. But with a market cap of less than $2 billion, Cloudera has trailed competitors for years. Now, Carl Icahn—an activist investor known as a corporate raider—owns more than 18% of Cloudera and added two colleagues to its board. [Read more]

NGA takes big step to enable AI, big data and more

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has ambitions to move from legacy systems to new architecture that supports big data, cloud computing, automation, and more. Last month, the NGA gave its five-year Enterprise Engineering contract to Perspecta Engineering. The Virginia-based company offers analytical engineering work for military clientele and started working on its contract at the end of July. [Read more]

Sydney hospitals use data analytics to solve opioid addiction

Each year, about 50,000 patients enter hospital ERs in New South Wales, Australia, for help with lower back pain. Seventy percent of those patients receive prescription opioids to manage their pain. To offer a less addictive treatment, the Sydney Local Health District built an app to give ER clinicians details about back pain management. [Read more]

Infragistics shares its new embedded BI platform

Development tools provider Infragistics announced a new embedded BI platform to help users gain more insights from its data. The analytics platform, called Reveal, aims to decrease the time and money developers spend embedding analytics into applications. In a blog post announcing the new tool, Infragistics said that Reveal can cut costs by up to $350,000. [Read more]

UNO plans a master’s degree in big data

At Creighton University in Nebraska, a new major called FinTech teaches students how to use big data. This month, the nearby University of Nebraska at Omaha will propose a new master’s program in big data to its board of regents. In its program documentation, the UNO cited nearby schools including Creighton as examples of current programs that teach students how to use big data across industries. [Read more]

Data scientist vs. data analyst: What’s the difference?

Seven years after the Harvard Business Review named data scientist this century’s “sexiest job,” the role’s value shows no signs of slowing down. But it’s often confused with data analyst—a different yet equally important job. In an article for Tech Republic, Alison DeNisco Rayome shares how the two roles complement each other. [Read more]

Week of Aug. 12, 2019

The Pentagon collects data from Midwesterners, colleges use predictive analytics to match students with majors, and more BI news

Algorithm can predict vocal cord disorders

Researchers at MIT built a machine learning (ML) algorithm that can learn which features predict vocal cord disorders. This could automate the process of annotating training sets used for predictive analytics. Jose Javier Gonzalez Ortiz, a PhD student in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said his study’s features came from a dataset featuring 100 subjects, which each had a week’s worth of monitoring data and several billion samples. [Read more]

Gartner says AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021

Along with projected cost savings, Gartner predicts that AI augmentation will save 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity. Augmentation involves people working together with technology (like AI) to perform tasks that they each excel at. Svetlana Sicular, research vice president at Gartner, said that “As AI technology evolves, the combined human and AI capabilities that augmented intelligence allows will deliver the greatest benefits to enterprises.” [Read more]

GeoSpock and Baltic Exchange use big data to track air emissions

The partnership uses a global maritime spatial database built on AWS Cloud with the goal to help shipping companies reduce air emissions. GeoSpock CEO Richard Baker said this partnership will help in light of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introducing a sulphur cap starting January 1st, 2020. The project will start at ports in the UK and Singapore, with plans to expand globally. [Read more]

To predict who will graduate from college, more schools are turning to big data

When Keenan Robinson started school at Georgia State University, he wanted to major in Nursing. The problem was that he had a B average, and Georgia State had 10 years’ worth of data to show that Keenan wasn’t likely to succeed in the school’s nursing program. Georgia State is one of several schools using predictive analytics to steer students towards majors where they’re more likely to succeed. But critics say that monitoring students so closely invades their privacy and could increase inequality. [Read more]

Data analytics on the high seas: An interview with Royal Caribbean CIO Martha Poulter

1 in every 5 cruise ship passengers rides on a Royal Caribbean cruise. The world’s largest cruise line by revenue uses analytics at every possible turn, from crowd control in dining rooms to food popularity per year. In an interview with Forbes, CIO Martha Poulter shared Royal Caribbean’s strategy for using real-time analytics. [Read more]

The Pentagon tests mass-surveillance balloons, collects data on citizens above six U.S. states

After obtaining Federal Communications Commission documents,The Guardian reported that the Pentagon is testing mass surveillance balloons with cameras above six states in the Midwest. The FCC authorized the Sierra Nevada Corporation to test the balloons from mid-July through September 1st, citing their role to deter drug trafficking and homeland security threats. But the test’s end goals are unclear, and privacy advocates say the balloons collect data on unsuspecting citizens. [Read more]

Week of Aug. 5, 2019

A peek into Palantir’s predictive policing, using analytics to win Formula E races, and more top BI news.

The National Institutes of Health asks for big data to enhance eye disease research

A new report from a working group within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asks for several datasets to leverage big data as a tool to enhance research for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The lack of preventative treatment for AMD led group members to ask for synthesized big data from departments such as genomic, preclinical, medical, and more. The report says this data will enhance predictive modeling, which they’ll use to build unique patient care treatment plans. AMD is the leading cause of blindness among people aged 65 or older, and impacts more than 11 million people in the U.S. [Read more]

A deep dive into Palantir’s big data

Palantir is a data analytics supplier at its core, with a client roster that includes some of the world’s largest law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Department uses Gotham— a Palantir product—to find and deter people whom the system deems most likely to commit crimes. Thanks to a public record request by Motherboard, a user manual offers more insights into the data that Gotham collects. [Read more]

An Indiana health system uses BI to boost patient referrals

Community Health Network in Indianapolis needed access to data that would include physician liaisons in their growth strategies. In a feature article for Health IT News, author Bill Siwicki shares how their choice to use a BI vendor put them on the path to achieve this goal. [Read more]

Predictive analytics helped a Formula E racing team finish in the top 3 all season

Last year, the Formula 3 Envision Racing team approached Armen Kherlopian, Chief Science Officer at Genpact, at an AI Summit in London. They wanted Kherlopian to help them use AI and predictive analytics to boost their electric car racing team’s performance. In an interview for the Tearsheet podcast, Kherlopian explains how he did it. [Read more]

Aussie government builds the world’s first office to monitor tech algorithms

A new, special branch of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will launch the world’s first office devoted to scrutinizing algorithms from “big tech” companies like Google and Facebook. The recommendation for this branch came from a new ACCC report, which also called for stronger privacy laws and a code of conduct to restrict the ways that firms can profit from user content. [Read more]

Business leaders waste money on analytics programs that confirm what they already know

Shailendra Kumar, VP and Chief Analytics Evangelist at SAP, told Which-50 that too many teams use advanced analytics to confirm what they already know, rather than to find new insights that can scale their businesses. Kumar says this partially stems from businesses not using prescriptive and predictive analytics in tandem. [Read more]

Week of July 29, 2019

The FTC Slaps Facebook With a Fine, Microsoft Wants Feedback on New Data Sharing Rules, and More BI News

Can big data prevent drug abuse?

Hai Phan, assistant professor of informatics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, used big data and machine learning to build DrugTracker. The tool analyzes social media posts and geospatial data in near-real time. Phan is working with Prevention Links, a New Jersey-based nonprofit, to pilot DrugTracker and use it to prevent drug overdoses. [Read more]

FTC sues Facebook for $5 billion

The Federal Trade Commission slapped Facebook with a $5 billion fine, along with a separate lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica. The FTC accused Cambridge Analytics of harvesting Facebook users’ data through a personality test app. The FTC’s complaint accused the app of taking data from at least 250,000 Facebook users and 50 million of their friends despite telling users they would not download users’ names or other identifiable details. [Read more]

Microsoft drafts new data sharing agreements

The world’s most valuable company announced three drafts of agreements regarding data usage and storage. Microsoft also released calls for feedback on each draft, which they’ll accept through Oct. 1, 2019. Microsoft plans to release final versions of each draft later this autumn. [Read more]

Google settles $13 million lawsuit over data privacy breaches

The case started in 2010 when several people sued after Google admitted that its “Street View” vehicles collected data from WiFi networks that lacked password protection, including emails. Google called this privacy breach a “mistake” at the time. [Read more]

Forecasting is AI’s biggest opportunity in healthcare

In an interview at the recent AWS Summit in New York City, Shez Partovi, M.D., who leads AWS’s healthcare and life sciences division, predicted that AI will have the most value in healthcare via clinical and operational forecasting. Dr. Partovi also said that hospitals can use AI to predict patient events, like needing to re-schedule a surgery. [Read more]

The U.S. Air Force uses analytics to predict aircraft failures

The Air Force has already tested the CBM+ predictive analytics technique on its B-1B Lancer, KC-135R tanker, and C-5M aircraft at 10 Air Force bases worldwide. The technique uses data analytics to find which aircraft components need repairs before malfunctions occur. [Read more]

Near, an AI platform, raises $100 million in Series D round

The seven-year-old startup uses its own machine learning models to crunch mobility data from 1.6 billion global devices. Near uses analytics to help companies find relevant behavioral attributes, like which stores women ages 18 – 25 shop in at each time of day. Headquartered in Singapore, Near counts Mastercard, WeWork, and MetLife among its clientele. [Read more]

Week of July 22, 2019

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]

For an archive of news items, click here.

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