With the launch in France, AWS will have four regions and 10 cloud availability zones in Europe. AWS's current EU regions include Ireland and Frankfurt, and it expects to launch a third region in the UK in coming months. "After the launch of the French region there will be 10 availability zones in Europe," AWS chief technology officer Werner Vogels said. AWS's new French front follows the launch of Microsoft's new UK region, marking its fourth European Azure region and 28th region globally.
IBM said Thursday it plans to acquire compliance consulting firm Promontory Financial Group to bring more financial regulatory expertise to Watson's cognitive computing platform. Promontory is a global consulting operation with an aim of helping banks manage the ever-increasing regulation and risk management requirements in the financial sector. IBM is also using the deal to create a new subsidiary called Watson Financial Services, which will build cognitive tools for things things like tracking regulatory obligations, financial risk modeling, surveillance, anti-money laundering detection systems. Founded in 2001 by former US Currency Comptroller Eugene Ludwig, Promontory came out as one of top financial consulting firms banks turned to after the global financial crisis of 2008.
Diane Greene, Google's senior vice president of cloud, announced Thursday that Google's enterprise business is officially rebranding as Google Cloud. Initially, "we were sort of Google for Work, Google Cloud Platform, Google Apps, Enterprise," she said. Along with the rebranding, Google on Thursday announced new cloud technologies and machine learning tools for enterprise. Accenture has integrated the Google Cloud Platform into the Accenture Cloud Platform and will support the use of Google tools in industries like health care, retail, energy, and finance.
Google on Thursday announced a series of enterprise tools powered by machine learning. It's integrated with data analytics and storage cloud services including Google BigQuery and Cloud Dataflow. Moving onto productivity tools, Prabhakar Raghavan, vice president of Google Apps, announced G Suite, "a suite of applications designed to enable workers to collaborate in the cloud with the power of Google's machine intelligence". Raghavan also introduced Explore in Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Microsoft Executive Vice President Qi Lu is leaving the company, and Microsoft is reorganizing his team, splitting it into new, separate business units. In an email to employees on September 29, CEO Satya Nadella announced Lu was leaving so as to recover from "health conditions caused by a prior injury." The Bing and Cortana pieces of the business formerly run by Lu will now be run by Executive Vice President Harry Shum. First, my friend and colleague Qi Lu has made a difficult and very personal decision to leave Microsoft to focus all his time on recovering from health conditions caused by a prior injury.
Microsoft is combining its Cortana, Bing, and Ambient Computing and Robotics engineering teams with part of its Microsoft Research team to create a new Microsoft AI and Research Group. The newly formed group, unveiled on September 29, will have more than 5,000 people focused on Microsoft's AI product work all-up, and will be headed by Executive Vice President Harry Shum. The new group will handle AI product engineering, basic and applied research and Microssoft's New Experiences and Technologies (NExT) team. Microsoft has been honing its AI focus as of late, emphasizing the company's multi-faceted work in agent technologies (Cortana); increased built-in intelligence in its apps and bots; machine-learning and cognitive services; and infrastructure, specifically around some of its work around field-programmable gate-array technologies and other related Azure cloud work.
Nvidia has unveiled Xavier, a new "supercomputer" system-on-a-chip (SoC) which will act as the control center for future autonomous vehicles. On Wednesday at the GPU Technology Conference Europe in Amsterdam, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the SoC, branding the chip the "greatest SoC endeavor I have ever known." Dubbed Xavier, the SoC integrates a new GPU architecture called Volta, a new 8-core CPU architecture and a new computer vision accelerator. Nvidia also used the conference to announce a partnership with two European artificial intelligence research centers, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Switzerland's Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA) to accelerate the development of technology in the AI field.
The collective, which includes Google's AI subsidiary DeepMind, also plans to develop best practices on the challenges and opportunities within the field of AI. The organisation, called Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI), will address legal and ethical challenges that AI presents, encourage public discourse, and identify opportunities to use AI to bring improvements to society. The IBM Foundation also announced earlier this month it had teamed up with the American Federation of Teachers union to create an AI-based lesson plan tool called Teacher Advisor. The tool uses Watson to answer questions from educators and help them build personalized lesson plans, understand concepts, and learn strategies to improve student comprehension.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to push further into the hardware territory at an October 4 media event (Image: Google). Android Police reports Google Home will cost 129, undercutting the Amazon Echo that retails for 179. Android Police reports Google Wifi will retail for 129 and is described as designed like a small, white Amazon Echo Dot, and you can reportedly expand it with multiple access points for better connection across the home. Earlier this month, Android Police reported Google will launch a "Pixel 3" laptop running Andromeda sometime in Q3 2017.