If you use Siri, Netflix or even Google AdWords, you've already sampled machine learning, whether you realize it or not. Such technology can help companies figure out what you want, what you like, and what you might like in the future.
While it's gradually becoming more common in the consumer world, the technology is not easy to implement. Deep-pocketed organizations like Google can put it to work without too much trouble, but for others, the expertise required can be prohibitive.
Skytree in San Jose, California, however, has big plans for machine learning in the realm of enterprise analytics.
"Machine learning is at the core of the next wave of analytics," said Martin Hack, chief product officer at Skytree, which on Thursday announced a new Big Data solution making heavy use of the technology.
"In the past, we used business intelligence," Hack said. Now, "organizations want to be more predictive and in discovery mode about data rather than looking at yesterday's data. We've built a whole system around the predictive power unleashed by machine-learning algorithms."
The arrival of Big Data has changed the face of analytics with the sheer volume of information it involves, Hack contends.
Data science, a field comprising data preparation, analytics and more, has meanwhile grown beyond its seemingly "black magic" roots.
Today, it can all be automated and democratized, he said, and Skytree's new release — the company calls it a "unified" solution that puts all the pieces together — aims to do just that in a sort of one-stop-shop approach.
Skytree Infinity 15.1 is designed not only to automate the creation of data models but also to make model management and data preparation easier through a new intuitive visual interface.
Here's an example of how Skytree might be used: For businesses whose revenue relies on subscriptions, churn prediction and prevention are much-sought-after capabilities.
"What if we can predict when and why people are leaving, and have a countermeasure ready?" Hack said.
Tapping a body of knowledge that's largely already in place within the organization, machine learning can bring that insight to the forefront, he said. "It's using knowledge that was already there, but it's helping us use it faster and better."
Skytree Infinity 15.1 is the next major release following version 14 in the line. Most significant among the new features introduced are the product's AutoModel capability for data-science automation, which offers the potential to save months' worth of work for data scientists, along with enhanced model management and an updated user interface.
The associated productivity improvements can amount to significant savings, Hack said. The new interface, meanwhile, means that "you don't have to be a PhD anymore to do this."
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