Media Companies Leverage Data-Driven AI to Evolve, Prosper

The media industry’s interest in artificial intelligence goes much deeper than simply portraying its implications in movies such as “Her” or “Ex Machina.” Recommendations and push notifications are just two examples of how media uses AI. YouTube has evolved its use of machine learning algorithms to improve its content recommendations. In the early days, the site used “collaborative filtering” to feed videos to viewers. Now the company uses much more complex models based on deep learning powered by neural networks. Continue reading Media Companies Leverage Data-Driven AI to Evolve, Prosper

Group Chat, Chatbots Gain Traction as Business Applications

Chat is the latest significant tool in enterprise, as evidenced by Facebook’s introduction of Workplace by Facebook, a version of its social network for organizations, and Microsoft’s new Office 365 productivity tool Microsoft Teams. More such chat tools come from HipChat and Slack Technologies, the latter of which counts four million daily active users and is valued at $3.8 billion. Facebook also opened Messenger for businesses to build virtual assistants, and developers have already built more than 33,000 so-called chatbots. Continue reading Group Chat, Chatbots Gain Traction as Business Applications

CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

CenturyLink has agreed to acquire Colorado-based, fiber-optic network provider Level 3 Communications “for about $34 billion in cash and stock,” reports Bloomberg, “creating a more formidable competitor to AT&T in the market to handle heavy Internet traffic for businesses.” The deal gives Louisiana-based CenturyLink $10 billion in tax credits. CenturyLink chief exec Glen Post will stay CEO of the merged company, and Level 3’s Sunit Patel will serve as CFO. Both companies have been struggling against bigger names in business services. “We see this as addressing the opportunities in the enterprise business,” said Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey. Continue reading CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

Facebook Adds Its Ethernet Switch to Open Compute Project

Facebook is sharing more technology, announcing that the Open Compute Project (OCP) — formed by the Silicon Valley company — has accepted its contribution of the Wedge 100 top-of-rack Ethernet switch that transmits data at 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). The company has already utilized many such switches in production inside its data centers, and the announcement signals that Facebook is committed to sharing the infrastructure that lets it handle large-scale data-heavy applications at an economic price point. Continue reading Facebook Adds Its Ethernet Switch to Open Compute Project

Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

At his MIPCOM TV keynote, Sony president/chief executive Kazuo Hirai talked about the importance of virtual reality to the company, singling out its PlayStation VR headset; director Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which was shot in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second; and VR experiences tied to its movies, including “Ghostbusters,” “The Walk” and “Goosebumps.” Kando, the Japanese concept of stimulating emotional response in people, says Hirai, is at the center of what Sony wants to create in all its work. Continue reading Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

Amazon, VMware Ink Landmark Deal to Take VMs to the Cloud

After years of starkly different strategies in computing, Amazon and VMware have inked an agreement marking a new stage in the development of cloud computing. The partnership, which takes effect in 2017, will allow VMware customers to use their familiar toolset to manage virtual machines in Amazon’s cloud. VMware virtual machines can already run on Amazon’s cloud, but the service, which VMware will sell, is a new version of Amazon’s cloud and also integrates nicely with Amazon cloud services for databases and storage. Continue reading Amazon, VMware Ink Landmark Deal to Take VMs to the Cloud

Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

After two years of development and testing in London, Facebook rolled out Workplace by Facebook, modeled after the company’s internal network and aimed at the corporate environment. Workplace by Facebook (formerly Facebook at Work) allows workers, even in different companies, to communicate and collaborate, for a monthly fee of $1 to $3 per user. By entering the enterprise communication space, Facebook will compete with Slack, Microsoft’s Yammer (accessible via Office 365), and Jive Software’s Jive among other solutions. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook at Work will be unveiled in London on October 10, marking the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of the U.S. The work “conversation” platform was developed in Facebook’s London office, and some major European companies — including Telenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland — took part in the closed beta. Facebook vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn will lead the event, with other Facebook leaders and “special guests” in attendance, although it’s not clear if Mark Zuckerberg will be there. Continue reading Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

With Amazon Web Services Direct Connect now available in Equinix’s Los Angeles data centers, the company has bumped up its number of metros offering the AWS cloud service to 12 (five of which are located in North America). Direct Connect enables companies to safely integrate their infrastructure with public cloud services to benefit performance, network consistency and overall costs. The Equinix LA campus features four IBX data centers connected via Metro Connect, providing a scalable and secure system for digital content and entertainment companies. Continue reading Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Video technology provider Kaltura has announced its partnership with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to offer a new scalable, end-to-end OTT platform. Kaltura has integrated with Azure to encode, store and deliver OTT TV content via the cloud. According to the company release: “Microsoft Azure enables operators and media companies to leverage Kaltura OTT TV to launch OTT services while quickly scaling, with pay-as-you-go services. Microsoft is committed to protecting subscriber data, enhancing control of premium content and privacy.” Continue reading Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Microsoft acquired Genee, a smart scheduling app that can help improve the company’s virtual assistant Cortana. Currently, Cortana can track packages and set reminders based on location among other tasks but, with Genee, it could also automatically set business meetings simply by recognizing key phrases in emails. That’s just one of the many tasks that an AI-enhanced Cortana would be able to do, all based on Genee’s ability to interpret language. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Continue reading With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Cloud Services Spending to Reach $195 Billion in Four Years

International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that global revenue from public cloud services will surpass $195 billion by 2020, more than doubling this year’s forecast of $96.5 billion. The new figures, part of IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide, represent a compound annual growth rate of 20.4 percent over 2015-2020. Also, IDC expects that revenue from Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service will increase at a faster rate than revenue from Software as a Service. Media, telecom and retail will experience the fastest revenue growth. Continue reading Cloud Services Spending to Reach $195 Billion in Four Years

Intel Invests in Machine Learning with Nervana Systems Deal

Betting big that future data centers will rely upon artificial intelligence, Intel is acquiring deep learning startup Nervana Systems. Details have yet to be revealed, but an inside source values the San Diego-based startup at $408 million. According to Intel VP Jason Waxman, the shift to artificial intelligence could surpass cloud computing, since machine learning would be necessary for a future in which billions of devices communicate with each other. Nervana “has been working to bring machine learning all the way into the silicon,” reports Recode, “rather than simply making software that can run on top of anyone’s cluster of graphics chips.” Continue reading Intel Invests in Machine Learning with Nervana Systems Deal

Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Samsung will roll out the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note7, a new version of its larger sized Galaxy Note, on August 19. The new phone features an iris scanner that identifies users based on their eye patterns, a “secret folder” that hides owner data from people who might use the device, and a stylus with a finer point that feels more like pen on paper. Samsung also added water resistance, expandable memory, a curved screen in a metallic housing, a next-gen USB Type-C port, and a camera flush with the rest of the housing. The AMOLED display is capable of playing HDR video. Continue reading Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution

As soon as September, IBM will unveil a real-world use of blockchain, the online ledger that records peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions. Since IBM will be one of the largest organizations ever to apply bitcoin to actual business transactions, the move also goes far in validating the nascent cryptocurrency. Currently, IBM Global Financing has $100 million in capital tied up, and the move to blockchain is expected to free up some of it. Blockchain, by removing the middleman, is intended to make financial dealings more efficient. Continue reading IBM to Debut Blockchain for Financial Unit Dispute Resolution