LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL: COMMVAULT PREDICTS 2020 TECH TRENDS

Esther Surden

NJ TechWeekly

Commvault HQ
Commvault headquarters in Tinton Falls | Courtesy Commvault

LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL: COMMVAULT PREDICTS 2020 TECH TRENDS

 December 5, 2019  Esther Surden0Around New JerseyEmerging technologiesNewsNJ Tech CompaniesTech for BusinessUncategorized,

The folks at Commvault (Tinton Falls) put together this list of tech predictions for 2020, and we thought we’d share them with you. Are we going to be able to eradicate bias in AI algorithms in 2020? Will there be a price war for cloud data? Will we be seeing ‘self-driving’ IT operations? Check out these predictions.

2020 predictions from Nigel Tozer, solutions marketing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region

Nigel Tozer, Commvault | Courtesy Commvault

The California Consumer Privacy Act will prompt lawsuits in the U.S.: Unlike with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, which saw regulators taking action on consumer protection, the legal system in the U.S. will precipitate some high-profile cases involving the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2020. Even though class actions aren’t allowed under the CCPA, a successful case will have a knock-on effect, opening the door to high numbers of plaintiffs. 

Expect the CCPA to fuel a data collection and processing backlash: The CCPA will highlight data collection and monetization in the U.S., just as the GDPR did in Europe. This will fuel a backlash on data collection and processing in the U.S., especially around political ad targeting during the 2020 election year. Companies such as Facebook and Google will come under greater pressure to distance themselves from this area, and data analysis companies that are now largely unheard of will be in the news for the wrong reasons. 

There will be an increased focus on eliminating artificial intelligence (AI) bias: With AI creeping into more areas of our lives than ever, companies in this space will have to double-down on eradicating, or at least minimizing, any bias embedded in their AI products. This will mean the preprocessing and profiling of data prior to using in AI systems. So, once again, data quality will take center stage, but for different reasons from those in previous years. 

AI technology and privacy concerns will drive healthcare data anonymization: We know that AI works better with more data, and we all want its benefits when it comes to healthcare. IT companies moving into health data (such as Google buying Fitbit), combined with a heightened awareness of privacy issues, will force governments around the world to enact anonymization laws that encourage the collection and use of health data for the greater good, without compromising patients’ privacy. 

Cloud companies may be hit by a major zero-day malware exploit: We may see the first zero-day exploit using malicious code that has a significant impact. Public cloud companies will be affected, with a major ripple effect on those who rely on them. 

There will be a public cloud price war: There will be a backlash against the cost of public cloud services, resulting in a slight, but impactful slowdown in public cloud growth. It will result in cloud companies cutting their prices and bringing more services to market, and in the big cloud players getting more acquisitions, as they attempt to be more competitive. This price war is happening already, but it will intensify over the coming year and make more headlines. 

2020 predictions from Matt Tyrer, technology evangelist 

Matt Ryrer, technology evangelist, Commvault | Courtesy Commvault

IT is leaving on a data plane: We will see an increased level of abstraction within IT, with businesses focusing more on data and less on this data’s underlying infrastructure. Hypervisors, clouds, containers and platforms in general will form a data plane that will enable a more fluid movement of data between each tier, as businesses focus on moving data to where they need it to be. Data security, privacy and protection will be layered on top of this plane to provide businesses with the data management functionality they’ll need to keep their data safe and available. 

Data analytics will move to the top of the companies’ priority lists: Data volumes continue to grow, but we’re knowing less and less about that data — which poses a huge risk. In 2020, the focus on analytics will be driven by increased regulatory and compliance pressures, risks from data breaches and ransomware, and the need to properly classify data for AI and machine learning (ML) projects.  Without “clean” data of value, these AI and ML projects will stumble. Data analytics will support intelligent decision-making, feed AI and ML initiatives and strengthen compliance stances within organizations. Expect more businesses to be hitting this point in their data maturity, where analytics projects take priority. 

AI and ML enable more “self-driving” IT operations: With more complexity in IT, it is becoming more of a challenge to maintain the various interdependent systems in this age of hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Data and infrastructure management solutions will likely continue to expand their use of AI and ML technologies to deliver companies more self-driving IT operations. These self-driving IT systems will not only manage more day-to-day tasks, but will proactively augment policies and send alerts that anticipate and respond to potential security threats and other changes to companies’ IT environments. 

2020 predictions from Penny Gralewski, solutions marketing lead 

Penny Gralewski, Commvault | Courtesy Commvault

Multi-cloud adoption will increase demand for more diverse data protection capabilities: As organizations adopt more clouds for different organizational requirements, the need for fast, flexible data protection — able to protect a diverse set of data workloads — will increase. Organizations are choosing different clouds for different use cases, so today’s data protection platforms need to accommodate a wide variety of cloud use cases, including Platform as a Service (PaaS); containers; and massive databases like Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Splunk, SAP HANA and Oracle. 

The IT hiring gap will drive a greater adoption of automation, AI and other emerging technologies: Highly skilled, qualified IT leaders are difficult to find in the current job market. That means that IT professionals looking for a new career will take a hard look at an organization’s technology before accepting a job. Today’s job seekers do not want to do remedial work, like touching thousands of servers with each upgrade. They want modern data protection, analytics, security and other solutions with cutting-edge technologies such as automation and AI. New hires will likely bring in new technologies like these to speed the work of data protection, security and other operations across their organizations.  

The cloud data-center race will drive greater data migration to, from and across clouds: Cloud vendors are quickly expanding their regional data-center availability. There are currently 54 Microsoft Azure regions, 22 Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions and 20 Google Cloud Platform regions. Oracle Cloud just announced its goal of making 36 regions available by the end of 2020. For Oracle customers, that means a new availability region every 23 days. This will provide organizations with more choices, as they determine how to support worldwide offices, call centers and manufacturing organizations with cloud regions located close to these facilities. However, this will also require them to find data protection solutions that give their global IT teams visibility into where all their data is located and how it’s managed, especially as country- and region-specific data governance requirements change. 

Weather-related natural disasters will drive greater demand for recovery readiness: Increasingly warm weather around the globe is leading to more intense natural disasters, such as wildfires in California, historic flooding in Venice, and drought in Africa. If we can learn one thing from these headlines, it’s that weather is becoming more unpredictable and damaging — for communities and enterprises alike. This means that enterprises need to be ready: ready to recover from a flood, ready to transfer backups of mission-critical applications over to another cloud region, ready for unexpected power outages that require them to put their disaster-recovery plans in motion. 

Esther Surden

Esther Surden is the Founder and Editor in Chief of NJ Tech Weekly. This article first appeared on her site, and js republished here with her permission.

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Health Union, growing rapidly, explores sale

Tom Paine (@Phillytechnews)

The Wall Street Journal’s Pro Private Equity report (special subscription required) reported earlier this month that Philly-based Health Union LLC was exploring a possible sale, and had hired the investment bank Lazard Ltd. to assist in the process.

Health Union is a strong competitor in the emerging market for online healthcare communities, in which users join forums geared to their specific healthcare conditions. Founded in 2010 by two former GlaxoSmithKline marketers, CEO Olivier Chateau and President Tim Armand, Health Union today has 25 different communities ranging from Migraine.com to MultipleSclerosis.net.

It was ranked #906 on this year’s Inc. 5000, with 2018 revenue of $29.6 million versus 2017 revenue of 17.9 million. Employment was 126 at the beginning of this year. A Health Union spokesperson tells me that the company is fully private and not funded by any VC or PE. Its owned by the two co-founders.

Pharma companies can use the site to target messages to specific communities for product advertising, getting feedback, surveys, and recruiting for clinical trials.

Health Union has been sending around information to potential buyers since October, the Journal reports.

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Dell Boomi acquires Unifi

Tom Paine

Boomi had only 30 employees when Dell bought it in 2010, writes @PhillyJoeD in the Inquirer. It was just a tiny outfit. I used to read about it in some blog which seemed like the only source to cover it at the time.

Dell Boomi now has over 1000 employees, almost half at its Chesterbrook HQ and its small Philly satellite office. That likely translates into revenue of more than $200 million.

Michael Dell demonstrated great insight and persistence from the start in grasping the potential of Rick Nucci’s creation and giving it plenty of runway to grow within Dell. Most huge companies crush small acquisitions, quite frankly. But Boomi has continued to prosper under Chris McNabb’s leadership. The Cloud has been key to its growth, be it linking one cloud app to another or (importantly for Boomi) cloud to legacy app.

Boomi made its second and largest acquisition, Unifi Software, last week. The Bay Area company has 78 employees. Terms weren’t disclosed. Or as Peter Key, formerly of the Business Journal, once noted, “they never are.”

Unifi specializes in discovering, cataloging and prepping a company’s data, typically the kind that is unstructured and previously not interpreted by its systems. Unify says this is often two thirds of a company’s data resources. The transformation of this data usually depends on AI.

The IPaaS (Platform as a Service) market, which is led by Dell Boomi and MuleSoft (acquired in 2018 by Salesforce for $6.5 billion) is still in a hypergrowth stage. The market is incorporating a broader range of related skills and tools into its space. At least 10 other companies are coming at Boomi and Mulesoft from different angles. Boomi is trying to lead the industry in defining the future shape of the market.

The next question may be is there a larger acquisition that Boomi should consider to further strengthen its market position?

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DuPont merges its nutrition business with IFF

IFF Hazlet NJ

DuPont announced this morning it would merge its nutrition & biosciences . unit with International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), creating a $45 billion (market value) giant.

IFF has many roots in South & Central New Jersey. Its based in New York.

IFF Chief Executive Officer Andreas Fibig will run the combined company and will also continue as chairman of the board. DuPont Executive Chairman, Ed Breen, will join the board of the combined company as a DuPont appointee and will serve as Lead Independent Director starting June 1, 2021.

DuPont shareholders will own 55% of the merged company, IFF holders the remaining 45%.

In September, IFF opened its new design headquarters at BellWorks in Holmdel. But its existing building in Hazlet, which looks like its out of the Woody Allen flick Sleeper, will continue to serve as a production facility.

Recyclebank, started in Philly, sells out

Tom Paine

https://www.wastedive.com/news/recycle-track-systems-acquires-recyclebank/565572/

Recyclebank, which started life in Philly before moving its headquarters to New York, was sold to New York-based Recycle Track Systems (RTS) in late October. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006 by Philadelphians Patrick FitzGerald and Ron Gonen, Recyclebank rewarded loyal recyclers with points that could be redeemed for things of value. Through RFID or GPS  installed on recycling bins and in the recycling truck,  Recyclebank was able to track which households were recycling. It raised $85.2 million in venture funding, mostly early on. However, the price recyclable materials could fetch dropped sharply over the course of the company’s existence, cutting out most of the financial value of redeeming recyclable waste..

Recyclebank’s municipal contracts have dropped from 400 to 67. Most customers I’ve tracked were using some type of grant to pay initial expenses, but once that source ran out many didn’t want to fund it out of the general budget and did not renew.

The city of Philadelphia, a key customer since the beginning, dropped Recyclebank this past June.

FitzGerald, after leaving Recyclebank and following a stint with DreamiT Ventures, now heads up TCF Ventures and lectures at the Wharton School.

A small group of employees (around 13) remains in Philly..

The CEO of RTS believes his company can make use of Recyclebank’s technology.

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