Tag Archives: beta

Adobe Experience Platform adds features for data scientists

After almost a year in beta, Adobe has introduced Query Service and Data Science Workspace to the Adobe Experience Platform to enable brands to deliver tailored digital experiences to their customers, with real-time data analytics and understanding of customer behavior.

Powered by Adobe Sensei, the vendor’s AI and machine learning technology, Query Service and Data Science Workspace intend to automate tedious, manual processes and enable real-time data personalization for large organizations.

The Adobe Experience Platform — previously the Adobe Cloud Platform — is an open platform for customer experience management that synthesizes and breaks down silos for customer data in one unified customer profile.

According to Adobe, the volume of data organizations must manage has exploded. IDC predicted the Global DataSphere will grow from 33 zettabytes in 2018 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. And while more data is better, it makes it difficult for businesses and analysts to sort, digest and analyze all of it to find answers. Query Service intends to simplify this process, according to the vendor.

Query Service enables analysts and data scientists to perform queries across all data sets in the platform instead of manually combing through siloed data sets to find answers for data-related questions. Query Service supports cross-channel and cross-platform queries, including behavioral, point-of-sale and customer relationship management data. Query Service enables users to do the following:

  • run queries manually with interactive jobs or automatically with batch jobs;
  • subgroup records based on time and generate session numbers and page numbers;
  • use tools that support complex joins, nested queries, window functions and time-partitioned queries;
  • break down data to evaluate key customer events; and
  • view and understand how customers flow across all channels.

While Query Service simplifies the data identification process, Data Science Workspace helps to digest data and enables data scientists to draw insights and take action. Using Adobe Sensei’s AI technology, Data Science Workspace automates repetitive tasks and understands and predicts customer data to provide real-time intelligence.

Also within Data Science Workspace, users can take advantage of tools to develop, train and tune machine learning models to solve business challenges, such as calculating customer predisposition to buy certain products. Data scientists can also develop custom models to pull particular insights and predictions to personalize customer experiences across all touchpoints.

Additional capabilities of Data Science Workstation enable users to perform the following tasks:

  • explore all data stored in Adobe Experience Platform, as well as deep learning libraries like Spark ML and TensorFlow;
  • use prebuilt or custom machine learning recipes for common business needs;
  • experiment with recipes to create and train tracked unlimited instances;
  • publish intelligent services recipes without IT to Adobe I/O; and
  • continuously evaluate intelligent service accuracy and retrain recipes as needed.

Adobe data analytics features Query Service and Data Science Workspace were first introduced as part of the Adobe Experience Platform in beta in September 2018. Adobe intends these tools to improve how data scientists handle data on the Adobe Experience Platform and create meaningful models off of which developers can work. 

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BigQuery ML moves machine learning into Google BigQuery

Google has released a beta version of BigQuery ML, new software that lets users build some machine learning models inside the Google BigQuery cloud data warehouse with standard SQL commands.

BigQuery ML eliminates the need to move data sets from Google BigQuery to a separate tool to develop and train analytical models. Its SQL support also opens the machine learning process to SQL-savvy data analysts who might not be versed in more-advanced languages like R, Python and Scala that data scientists typically use to build machine learning models.

However, the new technology is limited in what it can do. Google said BigQuery ML initially supports only two types of models: linear regression ones that predict numerical values, such as sales forecasts, and binary logistic regression models that can be used to do two-group customer segmentation, identify email as spam and do other relatively simple classifications in data sets.

In addition, BigQuery ML is based on the standard batch variant of the gradiant descent methodology that drives machine learning algorithms instead of the so-called stochastic version.

The stochastic approach “is far more common in today’s large-scale machine learning systems,” Google acknowledged in a blog post about BigQuery ML. The company added, though, that the batch variant “has numerous practical advantages” on the performance, stability and tuning of machine learning models.

Broadening the machine learning user base

BigQuery ML likely won’t convince many data scientists who analyze data stored in BigQuery to change how they build models, said Daniel Mintz, chief data evangelist at software vendor Looker Data Sciences Inc., which has teamed up with Google to enable its data modeling and analytics platform to function as a front-end tool for BigQuery ML users.

“Professional data scientists, the people who do this all the time, are going to continue to use the tools they’re most comfortable with,” Mintz said.

But, Mintz added, BigQuery ML makes it feasible for the hordes of data analysts “who know SQL but haven’t done much with machine learning yet” to start developing models without having to learn new languages or deploy additional analytics tools.

We have a lean team of data scientists, and it can get a bit challenging to support all of the [marketing] campaigns in all possible cases.
Miguel Angel Campo-Rembadosenior vice president of data science and analytics, 20th Century Fox

And, in some cases, busy data scientists may be able to speed up the model-building process to better support business needs for information by using BigQuery ML.

For example, film studio 20th Century Fox is an early user of the technology. In a keynote session at the Google Cloud Next ’18 conference in San Francisco that was streamed online, Miguel Angel Campo-Rembado, the studio’s senior vice president of data science and analytics, said its marketing team needs analytics input on a continual basis to assess advertising and promotional campaigns for movies.

“But we have a lean team of data scientists, and it can get a bit challenging to support all of the campaigns in all possible cases,” Campo-Rembado said.

Less of a machine learning maze to run

With BigQuery ML, Campo-Rembado added, his team was able to build a linear regression model in just 30 seconds to analyze movie trailers to help pinpoint audiences that should be targeted in promoting the latest Maze Runner movie released in January. All it took was adding a CREATE MODEL statement in BigQuery ML to an existing SQL query for audience analysis, he said.

That, and the ability to keep the entire process inside Google BigQuery, enabled the analytics team to quickly run the model and deliver the results to the Los Angeles-based studio’s marketers “within minutes,” according to Campo-Rembado.

At its core, BigQuery ML is a set of SQL extensions designed to support machine learning and predictive analytics. Google, which announced the technology at Google Cloud Next, said users can build machine learning models in BigQuery ML with simple SQL statements like this:

CREATE MODEL dataset.model_name
  OPTIONS(model_type=’linear_reg’, input_label_cols=[‘input_label’])
AS SELECT * FROM input_table;

More work to do on BigQuery ML

Google didn’t say how long the beta-testing cycle will last or when it expects to make BigQuery ML generally available.

In its blog post, the company said that it plans to do more to boost the technology’s performance and that it will explore adding support for other types of machine learning algorithms to broaden BigQuery ML’s potential uses.

Looker, based in Santa Cruz, Calif., said its integration with BigQuery ML lets analytics teams use its namesake platform to prepare data for analysis, build and run their analytical models in a Google BigQuery data warehouse, and then disseminate the resulting information to business executives and workers.

“From a user’s perspective, it’s all a Looker front end,” Mintz said. “BigQuery ML is running under the hood, but it looks like one tool to users.” He added that BigQuery ML is the first tool Looker has seen that directly integrates machine learning capabilities into a data warehouse’s SQL interface.

Apple iOS 12 USB Restricted Mode to foil thieves, law enforcement

A security feature that had popped up in beta versions of Apple’s iOS software appears to be coming in earnest as part of iOS 12, and it will protect devices against anyone trying to unlock them via USB.

USB Restricted Mode is described in the iOS 12 settings as the option to enable or deny the ability to “unlock [an] iPhone to allow USB accessories to connect when it has been more than an hour since your iPhone was locked.” In practice, this means a device will require a passcode unlock in order to connect any Lightning-to-USB accessory after the one-hour time limit has passed.

Apple didn’t mention USB Restricted Mode during the keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, but developers saw it in the iOS 12 preview, which was released that same day. The setting is on by default and covers any type of security on an iOS device — Touch ID, Face ID and passcode.

Experts noted USB Restricted Mode will protect users’ data if a device is stolen, but it will also deny law enforcement from using unlocking services from companies like GrayKey and Cellebrite — the latter of which was rumored to have helped the FBI unlock the San Bernardino, Calif., shooter’s iPhone.

Earlier tests of USB Restricted Mode had allowed for a one-week time limit, spurring GrayKey to reportedly alert customers of this feature when it surfaced in the iOS 11.3 beta, according to internal email messages obtained by Motherboard. A one-hour time limit could effectively make it impossible for customers to get the device to a company like GrayKey in time to gain brute-force access.

Rusty Carter, vice president of product management at Arxan, based in San Francisco, said USB Restricted Mode “is really about increasing the security of the device.”

If the device is vulnerable to brute-force attacks via wired connection, other security features, like being able to wipe the device after 10 unsuccessful authentication attempts, are rendered useless.
Rusty Cartervice president of product management at Arxan

“If the device is vulnerable to brute-force attacks via wired connection, other security features, like being able to wipe the device after 10 unsuccessful authentication attempts, are rendered useless … they are effectively a false sense of security,” Carter wrote via email. “Effectively, any data is vulnerable, unless the individual app developer has done the right thing both to secure and encrypt user data and require more than stored credentials or identity to access the data with their app, which is rarely the case today.”

John Callahan, CTO of Veridium, based in Quincy, Mass., said, as a developer, his initial reaction to USB Restricted Mode was, “Great, now I’ll have to unlock the phone every time I go to debug a mobile app with Xcode.” But he later realized it could have protected a lot of stolen devices if it had been implemented in an earlier version of iOS.

“USB Restricted Mode in iOS 12 a big win for users, because we are keeping more personally identifiable information on our mobile devices, including healthcare, identification and biometric data. Our phones have become our digital wallets, and we expect a maximum level of privacy and convenience,” Callahan wrote via email. “Android devices, ironically seen as less secure, have long required unlocking when connected in USB Debug mode. In many ways, Apple is playing catch-up with respect to physical device security.”

How Apple Business Chat could change contact-center market

When Apple Business Chat launches in beta this spring, it could elevate the mobile reach of contact centers — if, as expected, enterprises direct customer service reps to connect to the hundreds of millions of iPhone users.

Industry experts expect Apple Business Chat to draw more enterprise attention than competitors in the business messaging market for two reasons: Apple Pay and download-free access to the service.

Most business messaging platforms require users to install an app and create a profile. In contrast, Apple Business Chat will be instantly accessible to every iPhone user following a software update, and it will allow those users to message companies without having to divulge any personal information.

Through Apple’s platform, iPhone users can converse with businesses through iMessage to ask a question, schedule an appointment or place an order. For participating businesses, their search results in Safari, Maps, Spotlight and Siri will feature an iMessage icon, allowing customers to start a chat with one tap.

“If you’re trying to be customer-centric and you’ve got a lot of customers who are Apple users, if this mode [Business Chat] takes for them, then you’ve got to support it,” said Jon Arnold, principal of Toronto-based research and analysis firm J Arnold & Associates.

Apple has released a developer preview of Business Chat and is accepting online registrations from businesses that want to use it in the future. The company has partnered with four customer service vendors — LivePerson, Genesys, Salesforce and Nuance — to support the platform’s beta release with the iOS 11.3 upgrade this spring. Discover, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo will be among the first businesses to deploy it.

Companies using Apple Business Chat will find that unlike competing platforms Facebook Business Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line and Kakao Talk, the Apple service is “baked into the surrounding operating system,” said Keith Dawson, principal analyst for customer experience and commerce with 451 Research.

“It means that for anyone who’s not an Android user, it’s ever present on their device as a contact mode,” Dawson said. Rivals, on the other hand, will have the additional hurdle of convincing consumers to download their apps.

Apple Business Chat release could accelerate a restructuring of contact centers

In a 2017 survey by Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill., 27% of 225 participating companies said they planned to support social messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Business Messenger and Apple Business Chat as customer engagement channels.

“So, I see the Apple announcement as a positive development, as companies look for new ways to engage with customers, especially among a younger demographic that is more reliant on their cellphone than a traditional web browser for shopping,” said Nemertes analyst Irwin Lazar.

Social media and chat apps are contributing to a “fundamental rethinking of how businesses engage with customers,” Dawson said. Contact centers are beginning to work more closely with marketing and sales teams to make sure the company is taking advantage of the customer connections these platforms offer.

The standout connection Apple has with its customers is Apple Pay

“If Apple didn’t have Apple Pay, [Business Chat] wouldn’t be as interesting, because that’s one of the things that the contact-center experience can’t deliver as seamlessly,” Arnold said.

An interaction initiated by a customer asking a question could end with a product sale, facilitated by an Apple Pay thumbprint within the iMessage chat. This should motivate companies to invest more in their contact centers, which have the potential to become revenue-generators.

Nevertheless, Apple and other chat platform providers will have to show a solid return on investment before contact centers deploy the technology broadly.

“The last thing contact centers want to do is have to jump for the next shiny ball and just try the next thing that comes along,” Arnold said. “They can only handle so many platforms in the business, and they can only adapt to so many new things at a time.”

Private Slack shared channels look to boost security, admin controls

Slack is expanding support for external collaboration with a beta release of private shared channels, which should allow separate organizations to communicate more securely across Slack workspaces. Slack announced a beta of public shared channels in September, and earlier this month introduced private Slack shared channels for conversations that could include sensitive or classified information.

The shared channels feature will become more important as large enterprises look to improve the adoption of social tools, Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky wrote in a blog post. Lepofsky said private shared channels will be a more common use case than public shared channels because most cross-organizational communications are better suited to a limited audience.

To access private Slack shared channels, users need to be invited to view or join the channel, and any content shared in the channel won’t appear in search results to non-members.

Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar said his firm’s upcoming unified communications and collaboration study found that nearly 20% of organizations plan to use or are already using team collaboration apps for external communication with partners, suppliers and customers — an increase from last year’s study.

“There are still issues to overcome, like whether or not the external participant needs to archive the conversations,” Lazar said.

Slack private shared channels support more secure external collaboration
Slack’s private shared channels allow organizations to collaborate with external users.

Management options for secure Slack shared channels

Private Slack shared channels offer IT management options to protect information. Admins can choose whether a specific shared channel is private or public in their respective workspace. Channels can also be designated private or public on both ends or private on one end and public on the other.

Admins can view the external workspaces their organization is connected to, create new shared channels, view pending shared channel invites and stop sharing any or all shared channels. However, admins cannot view names or content of any private shared channel of which they are not a member.

The private shared channel beta is currently available to teams on the standard and plus plans. Support for Enterprise Grid is expected soon, Slack said.

External collaboration still in a silo

While the beta boosts external collaboration for Slack users, it doesn’t address the need for interoperability among team collaboration apps.

“Until social networking supports cross-product communication, communication with people that use different products will remain a challenge,” Lepofsky said.

Lazar said IT leaders have expressed concern over app overload. Because of the lack of interoperability, users often juggle multiple team collaboration apps to meet their external collaboration needs.

“This is common in the consumer space, where people routinely use multiple text and social apps for communication, but it creates governance and compliance headaches within enterprises,” Lazar said.

Mixer comes to Minecraft

UPDATE: This feature is now out of beta and launches properly today with the 1.2.5 release! Weeee!

The 1.2.5 beta is BURSTING AT THE SEAMS with great new Minecraft features (though it really shouldn’t be bursting at all – that’s probably a bug). One of these new features is incorporating Mixer. Mixer is a livestreaming platform for sharing and broadcasting live video directly from in your games! It’s a great way to interact with other players – take a look at the video above for a better idea of how it works with Minecraft.

In the Beta, you’ll now be able to launch a Mixer broadcast from within Minecraft. Better yet, you can make certain parts of your game interactive via buttons on Mixer! So, for example, if you were doing a parkour run, you could use the /mixer command to let your viewers vote on what obstacles spawn in your path! Please don’t spawn a brick wall for me to run face-first into. Yes, I know it’ll be funny. Please don’t do it anyway.

UPDATE: The Mixer team have put together a map specifically for this purpose! You can get it here! Some streamers have already been testing these interactivity tools out during the beta, so check out TangoTek, Impulse5V, YourMCAdmin and Direwolf to see what’s possible or join in the fun!

Mixer is part of the 1.2.5 beta on Android, Windows 10 and Xbox One (later this week). When the update launches fully, later this year, we’ll be bringing these Mixer features to more Minecraft platforms. A separate mod for Java players will be coming later this year as well.

To see how you can use Mixer in Minecraft, and how to make your own interactive broadcast, head over to this page on the official Mixer site!

New Mixer app beta for Android and iOS

When we brought FTL beta to our Mixer mobile app last month, we said it was the first of many exciting things in store for Mixer mobile fans this year. Now, we’re thrilled to share the next step for Mixer on mobile – a completely new app for Android and iOS!

As we listened to the community feedback, it was clear that we needed a new foundation to deliver more timely improvements to our fans. The new app helps us accomplish this with an entirely different codebase, built with agility and rapid development in mind. Our beta update today features significant enhancements around the core user experience, content discoverability, app performance, and personalization — but it’s just the beginning. Look for a faster cadence of updated builds, and we hope to hear from the community directly on what’s important.

Let’s dive in deeper below:
  • Easier to find broadcasts that interest you: We’ve completely redesigned the trending section to focus on finding cool broadcasts. Now you’ll see a familiar carousel at the top of the app that cycles through the featured broadcasts on Mixer. Right below, you’ll see top games and trending streams on Mixer. When you tap into a specific game, like Minecraft, you’ll see a beautiful game hub with all the current broadcasts of that game. We’ve also significantly improved the filtering tool, allowing you to specify game broadcasts with Interactive, Co-Streams, or Faster Than Light (FTL) Technology.

  • Improved performance: Everything in the app is now faster and more reliable than ever before. From FTL playback to simply navigating throughout the app, we’ve sweated every detail to make sure your experience is smoother. Reconstructed from the ground up, the app’s new code base provides better stability and has been optimized for mobile functionality. With these improvements, we’re one step closer to a more consistent Mixer experience across all platforms.
  • Personalization: The new Mixer app has a completely refreshed user interface. With it, we’ve added a Following section so you can see what’s happening with the broadcasters you care about, as well as recommended streamers to check out. In the Profile section, you can manage your Mixer settings and see your channel’s information (followers, VODs, broadcasts).
  • A fresh coat of paint for the features you love: We took our time to ensure that we didn’t lose a feature you love while we rebuilt your Mixer app. Almost all of the top features that are available in the previous Mixer app are now ready for you to test with a refreshed experience in this beta. We couldn’t fit every feature into this initial beta, but we hope to finish the features rapidly with your bug submissions and feedback in the coming weeks. Here is a list of everything you’ll find in the release today and some features that will be coming soon:

    • Top level home carousel shared with Mixer.com with always playing previews
    • Games now on your home page instead of in a filter tab
    • Search with search history
    • Following with LIVE streams ordered first
    • Recommended streams bubbled up to the top
    • Iconography to visually indicate streams with Interactive, Co-streaming and FTL
    • An improved Profile page with links to your channel, your level and your sparks
    • Improved filtering for Trending broadcasts
    • Chat with Viewer list, whispers, and basic mod features
  • And coming soon:
    • Reliable push notifications for Android and iOS
    • Further chat parity features with Mixer.com
    • Co-streaming playback experience improvements
How to get the new Mixer beta app.

We’re committed to building an awesome mobile experience for our fans. Have any feedback or suggestions you think we need to hear? Share through the Feedback Site or via @WatchMixer on Twitter – and most of all – keep the comments coming!

Wanted – GTX 970 Graphics card or similar

Looking to get a GTX 970 graphics card or similar in the next few days just to try out the destiny 2 beta. Ideally a loan :D but will probably buy and sell on afterwards

This card was listed as the recommended spec so thats what im aiming for. Looking for as cheap as poss until I can save for a decent card


Location: haverfordwest

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