Google and J.B. Hunt have agreed to form a "strategic alliance" to improve existing US supply chains and transport networks. Announced on Wednesday, the partnership gives J.B. Hunt the opportunity to harness Google's cloud technologies and further the company's goals in "creating the most efficient transportation network in North America." Lowell, Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt is an S&P 500 company that provides shipping, trucking, and logistics services in the US, Canada, and Mexico. The firm is an advocate of intelligent shipping technologies -- such as the cloud, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), and mobility -- and pitches smarter solutions as a means to combat fluctuating demand, supply chain challenges, and inventory management. The J.B. Hunt 360 platform is used by clients to track and manage shipments, loads, quotes and bookings, and is touted as a means to "centralize data from across different systems, helping reduce waste, friction, and inefficiencies."
The Lowell, Ark., company launched its 360 platform in 2017, as purely digital players have been entering the freight-matching market, among them Uber Technologies Inc. "It's an arms race," Evan Armstrong, president of supply-chain market research and consulting firm Armstrong & Associates, said of the freight-matching market. He said digital upstarts and technology innovation from traditional players have increased the pace of change. The market, he said, "has been disrupted," and companies that don't continue to invest in technology risk falling behind. Shelley Simpson, J.B. Hunt's chief commercial officer, agreed that the industry is being disrupted as consumers demand more real-time access to information. She said the alliance with Google allows J.B. Hunt to accelerate its digital transformation.
Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said Tuesday he would be stepping down as CEO of the legendary ecommerce company to become its executive chair. The news, announced in a note to employees, arrived alongside Amazon's earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020, during which the company generated over $125 billion in sales, propelled by holiday shopping and pandemic buying. Bezos' successor comes not from Amazon's worldwide consumer business but from its cloud business. Longtime Amazon Web Services boss Andy Jassy will become the company's chief executive when Bezos steps away from the day-to-day job sometime in the third quarter of this year. Jassy's name will be new to many consumers, but those who closely follow Amazon's inner workings say his appointment is no surprise.
Google's Google Cloud division today announced it has made generally available two search functions that rely on machine learning techniques to help retailers who use its cloud service. Called Vision API product search and Recommendations AI, the two services are part of what Google has unveiled as a suit of functions called Product Discovery Solutions for Retail. The vision search function will let a retailer's customers submit a picture and received ranked results of products that match the picture in either appearance or semantic similarity to the object. Recommendations, said Google, is "able to piece together the history of a customer's shopping journey and serve them with customized product recommendations." Both are generally available now to retailers.
Google is offering a free course for people who are on the hunt for skills to use containers, big data and machine-learning models in Google Cloud. The initial batch of courses consists of four tracks aimed at data analysts, cloud architects, data scientists and machine-learning engineers. The January 2021 course offers a fast track to understand key tools for engineers and architects to use in Google Cloud. It includes a series on getting started in Google Cloud, another focussing on its BigQuery data warehouse, one that delves into the Kubernetes engine for managing containers, another for the Anthos application management platform, and a final chapter on Google's standard interfaces for natural language processing and computer vision AI. Participants need to sign up to Google's "skills challenge" and will be given 30 days' free access to Google Cloud labs.
Among the messages that Oracle is putting out for its flagship database, adding new access paths for developers has become just as important as adding new data types. This month, Oracle is launching the next version of Oracle Database, version 21c. In a session hosted by Andrew Mendelsohn, executive vice president of database server technologies, the company is also announcing a new cloud-based APEX Service designed to carve a new access path for low-code developers who traditionally thought that writing apps for Oracle was complex and expensive. To induce new developers, Oracle is throwing in a free tier to this new cloud service. As Oracle now numbers its releases according to calendar year, 21c is the next release, which was announced as generally available last month.
New Relic has acquired Pixie Labs, a provider of machine learning (ML)-based observability solutions for Kubernetes. The financial terms of the deal, announced on Thursday, were not disclosed. It was only a few months ago that the startup announced $9.15 million in Series A funding, and now, Pixie Labs has been snapped up by a company that sees value in the firm's offerings. New Relic is the developer of a cloud-based observability platform, New Relic One, which operates across the full software stack. Telemetry data is backed with artificial intelligence (AI) and ML-based algorithms in the platform to improve visibility and troubleshoot any problems.
Inc. company, and ViacomCBS announced an agreement that makes AWS the preferred cloud provider for ViacomCBS's global broadcast media operations. As part of the strategic agreement, ViacomCBS will migrate operations for its entire broadcast footprint, which spans 425 linear television channels and 40 global data and media centers, to the world's leading cloud – one of the first such large-scale transformations in the media and entertainment industry. The migration will enable ViacomCBS to drive greater efficiencies and cost savings, simplify access to content for its licensing partners, and reliably deliver new viewing experiences to consumers by broadcasting and streaming content on any device. ViacomCBS will leverage AWS's industry-leading infrastructure and comprehensive cloud capabilities, including serverless, containers, databases, media services, analytics, and machine learning, to build a cloud-based broadcast and media supply chain operating model. This new cloud-based hub will help the broadcaster spin up new channels faster, dynamically assemble live content to optimize delivery over any distribution channel, add image and video analysis to applications, and automate workflows.
Editor's Note: Because our bloggers have lots of useful tips, every now and then we update and bring forward a popular post from the past. Today's post was originally published on August 15, 2019. In this post, I'll describe a few takeaways for deploying or submitting machine learning (ML) tasks on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). If you have less experience as a ML engineer, or if you're a solution architect, you might be in the right place to learn some tips. What exactly is an ML task?
At the end of a three-hour keynote address for Amazon's annual re:Invent conference, which is taking place virtually this year, Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy wrapped up with an extended discussion about edge computing and its role in hybrid computing. "Hybrid is not just about whether its on-premise or in the cloud," said Jassy. Instead, IT needs "the same APIs, the same control plane, the same tools, the same hardware they get in AWS regions," said Jassy. He was referring to Amazon's AWS Outposts, a rack of equipment deployed at a customer facility that is a fully-managed service from Amazon. Jassy said Amazon has made the Outposts offering easier to purchase now with new form factors, 1U and 2U rack units, versus an entire rack-size deployment.