Data Sheet—Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014, 1:45 PM UTC

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Will Cisco’s new plan to sell big data services revive revenue growth? Which of today’s two analytics software IPOs will make investors happier? Does the Sony Pictures network break-in herald an era of super-sophisticated cyberattacks? Some questions to ponder before the weekend. Enjoy!

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Big IPO day for analytics software. Both Yahoo big data spinout Hortonworks and application performance software company New Relic plan to make public trading debuts Friday. Hortonworks ($16 per share) hopes to raise $100 million, while New Relic's price ($23 per share) gives it another $115 million. Wired, Silicon Valley Business Journal

Rotten tomatoes for tech investor Peter Thiel! Not really, but the disruptive PayPal co-founder and early Facebook backer last night was disrupted himself when angry protestors stormed his talk at Berkeley. Initially intrigued, Thiel was later escorted by the stage for safety reasons. Fortune

EU antitrust regulators seek fresh feedback for Google investigation. The new commissioner is requesting updates from competitors to make sure complaints are still "true to the time we live in." New York Times

Better broadband for the back forty. If Internet service providers want federal subsidies for building rural data networks, they'll need to make them faster than the Federal Communications Commission's official definition actually requires. Ars Technica

Preview of coming attractions. Microsoft is planning a mid-January launch event for the next version of Windows. Wall Street Journal


More than meets the eye. Right now, most smart wearable gadgets are pretty conspicuous—smart eyeglasses, watches, bracelets, and other thingamajigs. By 2017, at least 30% of the devices will be far less obtrusive. Gartner

An antisocial backlash? Research by a British telecommunications agency shows a slight decline in weekly social network visits by U.S. and U.K. visitors for the 12 months ended October 2014. One possible reason: a surge in instant messaging services. TechCrunch


Cisco, GE bet big(ger) on big data

Cisco is embarking on a new mission to sell analytics services using information gleaned from devices connected to its networking equipment—everything from smartphones to cameras.

Two of the first customer segments targeted with the portfolio, called Cisco Connected Analytics, are retailers and event organizers.

For example, a store manager could correlate information collected from video cameras tracking shoppers with inventory data to ensure that shelves are stocked adequately. An event manager could monitor wireless network traffic to help make decisions such as which concession stands in a stadium might need more staffing or extra hotdogs.

"With Cisco Connected Analytics for Events, we will be able to better understand our supporters' behaviors and actions immediately and deliver them an enhanced match experience. For example, we will be able to offer specials to fans at the newest concession stand based on previous purchases or deliver video highlights and statistics of their favorite player as the action unfolds on the pitch," said John Ola Bergaplass, chief technical strategist (Connected League) for Norsk Toppfotball (a Norwegian football league).

Cisco is also selling services that could help with businesses and service provides with networking planning and maintenance, a strategy similar to the "Industrial Internet" plan embraced by General Electric four years ago.

GE now generates $1 billion in incremental revenue annually from the predictive maintenance and equipment optimization services made possible by its Big Data analytics technology.

So far, GE's focus has been on sectors where it has strong customer connections—aviation, power generation, health care, railroads, and oil and gas exploration.

But this week, GE revealed it is assembling a network of business partners that can bring the same capabilities to other sectors. Its first ally: Japanese telecommunications SoftBank, which will bring analytics to manufacturing and shipping.

GE executive William Ruh told The New York Times: "We have a generic capability for insight and optimization here. [The potential market is] any business with a piece of equipment you are trying to optimize."


Ex-spies turn corporate security experts. The brains behind Area 1 Security have extensive insight into cybercriminals through their past lives with the National Security Agency. Their firm this week raised $8 million in financing led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Fortune

Meanwhile, Threat Stack—which protects servers running cloud services—added another $5 million to its Series A backing. Plus, Cisco is adding to its own arsenal of security experts with the buyout of advisory firm Neophasis. (Terms not disclosed.) TechCrunch, eWeek

By the way, an FBI official told Congress this week that the sophistication level of the malware used for the Sony Pictures break-in suggests most defenses would have been useless. The bill to clean up the breach could reach $100 million. Ars Technica, Re/code

What does the data Infer? Yes, there is a predictive analytics company in Palo Alto, Calif., of that name. It is specifically focused on sorting and scoring sales leads based on information in customer relationship management and marketing systems. Infer just raised $25 million led by Redpoint Ventures, bringing total backing to $35 million. Its top executives have pedigrees from Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. ZDNet

BlueData's who's-who list of partners. The ecosystem of big data management software is vast and complex. BlueData's pitch is helping big companies prepare existing server and storage hardware for analytics projects quickly. So far, this startup founded by a former VMware technologist has managed to ally itself with 13 of the biggest (or at least the most well-known). Here's the latest recap: Big Switch, Cisco, Cloudera, Databricks, Hortonworks, Informatica, Intel, MapR, MetaScale, Platfora, Red Hat, Trifacta, and Zaloni.


Nike just lost its CIO because of Portland By Daniel Roberts

One woman's unlikely path to a $100 million company By Jennifer Reingold

In victory for unions, NLRB grants workers right to organize via company email By Claire Zillman

Behind Uber's soaring value By Al Ramadan, Christopher Lochhead, Dave Peterson

Google gives a big 'nyet' to Russian engineering operations By Tom Huddleston, Jr.

Congrats, world, you're getting a raise next year By Benjamin Snyder


Jawbone offers corporate price break. Companies hoping to establish employee wellness and programs are eligible for volume discounts on its fitness trackers through the new UP for Groups initiative. Gigaom



Smartphone and vehicle registration, please. By the middle of 2015, drivers licensed in the state of Iowa will be use a mobile application as official proof during traffic stops or at airports. I wonder if this will thwart underage ID card counterfeiters? The Des Moines Register


IBM Interconnect 2015: Cloud and mobile strategy. (Feb. 22 – 26, 2015; Las Vegas)

Microsoft Convergence 2015: Dynamics solutions. (March 16 – 19, 2015; Atlanta)

Knowledge15: Automate enterprise IT services. (April 19-24, 2015; Las Vegas)

MicrosoftIgnite: Enterprise tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8, 2015; Chicago)

NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7, 2015; San Jose, Calif.)

SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7, 2015; Orlando, Fla.)