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This is an age of wonder.

The changes driven by the mix of SmartPhone (universal access), Cloud computing (affordable, on-demand, computing), are well underway, and affecting every industry. Even with the changes seen so far, and the amazing number of companies that have emerged to drive this change, is it still only the beginning. More and more of our assets are able to benefit from ongoing exponential improvements in speed, capability and more. (For more, check out the Singularity Institute.)

So how do we use all this new computing capability?

In part, by finding practical applications for technologies pioneered in the field of ‘artificial intelligence’, solving more ‘creative’ problems. As I’ve noted previously, in general, it’s important to think of these technologies as providing Augmented Intelligence, making us better, rather than get caught up in the epistemological trap of fear of the AI. In any case, we are seeing a massive rise in interest by investors in companies that make ‘smarter’ computing  around Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Vision.

In most cases, these technologies will be used extremely pragmatically. In ways that just make sense, that simplify our days, or indeed, that simplify error prone processes. That brings me to Coseer.

Coseer is a company that joined the Citrix Startup AcceleratorInnovators Program last year.

They take exactly this pragmatic approach to using new technology to solve real problems. Here’s the Coseer CEO:

At Coseer we believe humans should focus on creativity and innovation, while technology handles everything else. Our technology automates and scales tedious language-related tasks in enterprise workflows. These include extracting summaries, automatically filling up databases, answering natural language questions, or others that currently require human processing. Our modular approach lets us help Fortune 500 enterprises as well as startups for a variety of problems.

Coseer’s technology consists of multiple modules that emulate simple human tasks, like extracting all key-value pairs from a text e.g. “Coseer’s age is 2 years.”, extracting relationship statements e.g. “Coseer – is based in – San Francisco.”, etc. Once emulated, these tasks can be automated e.g. automatic checking a website for new information; scaled up, e.g. reading through millions of documents, and fed into advanced AI analytics. Examples of these analytics include deduplication, anaphora resolution, clustering, correlation with other datasets, and training some machine learning algorithm. These modules and analytics can now be configured into a very wide range of solutions.

For example, our Coseer Express product for Investment Management starts with extracting all the key messages from millions of articles. These messages are normalized using anaphora resolution, e.g. “The company sells this product in the country.” will be resolved to “Coseer sells Coseer Express in the US.” to make it objective. The objective messages then run through a deduplicator and correlated with various known sets specific to Investment Management to bubble up the most important sentences. These messages are then placed in a taxonomy and reported to the user.

Using similar constructs, Coseer is being useful in many other industries and functions. For instance in eCommerce, Coseer summarizes all the reviews so that key phrases can be reported on a mobile screen or via tweets. For Marketing, Coseer predicts the odds of success of any promotion. For Insurance, Coseer automates the routine Q&A via emails, tweets and SMSs, and escalates to humans only when necessary. For Sales, Coseer tracks all developments for every customer and executive, bringing equal focus to all accounts, big or small.

Technologies like Coseer are a very pragmatic start to what’s expected to be a flood of interesting new capabilities that will continue the transformation of our industries wrought by cloud and mobile. At least, that’s what I see. What do you think?

 

Cheers,

 

 

Dr Michael Harries, Chief Technologist, Senior Director, Citrix Startup Accelerator

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Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.45.50 PM

Case Study in China:

U+ is a very successful Chinese mobile social network, with a popular photo and video sharing function, that enables you to find friends in your area.  The service was temporarily suspended by the Chinese government, due to the objectionable content within some fraction of over 50 Million photos shared by some of its 30+ Million users every month.

U+ then conveyed to the Chinese Government it’s objective of being the “cleanest” social network of its genre in China, by policing of objectionable images at massive scale, while continuing to maintain or enrich the fabulous user-experience that their service provides. U+ has now integrated Graymatics’ ImageAssurance and VideoAssurance products at the front-end of its workflow to process the 100’s of millions of images passing through their application for safety in real time.

“We are pleased to partner with Graymatics, whose products are helping boost our platform and application in many ways. The platinum performance of the Graymatics’ G3C engine is helping us close in on our objective to have the cleanest and most compelling mobile social media service to our users. Our Government and our users do not deserve anything less than this” said ZhuTao Hu, CEO of U+.

Graymatics multi-media processing engine is currently being used by clients across the globe in additional applications as diverse as e-commerce, photo experience applications, visual search, content preference creation, social media analysis and various advertising applications.

 

Read the rest of the press release here.

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toastWhen I arrived in Raleigh last April to scout it out, I was confident that we could pull together the right partners to host the Innovators Program in the Triangle.  We had just launched the first Innovators Program the month before in Silicon Valley, and had designed it to be scalable and to go global.  I was confident enough to share my enthusiasm with the press “Citrix to consider bringing venture arm to Raleigh,” and when I got back to California I told my team to put our plan into action.  But first we needed to get the partners on board.

We built a great coalition between the Citrix ShareFile group (Jesse Lipson, VP of Document Cloud), HQ Raleigh (Jason Widen, Executive Director) and Red Hat (DeLisa Alexander, CPO and Jesse Wu, Head of Strategic Investment), which became the foundation of the program.  Not only did these organizations get the program off the ground, but their support of the teams along the way was fantastic. You hear a lot about mentoring in accelerator programs, but our having C-level people from major technology organizations open up their contacts to our startup teams really differentiates our programs from most others.

At the end of the day it is all about the startups.  We had five external teams and two internal Citrix teams (one featured on a WNCN special segment) in the cohort; diversity of team types is another key differentiator of our program.  See the two minute program overview here.

Please check out all the teams final presentations here:

External teams:

Joosy

EmployUs

Akili Software

MindSet Systems

UserLite

 

Internal teams:

CastR

ReBar

 

There are many people that made this program work for the startups I’d like to call some of them out here:  Liz Tracy from HQ Raleigh ran the program from week to week along with Whitney RoweNick O’Connor  has run all the Innovators Programs as our primary lean expert and instructor based in Silicon Valley.  We have received great support from the Citrix Customer Experience team (Olya Trusova and Diana Joseph) for the instructional design and running the two day bootcamp kickoff. Also thanks to the entire Citrix Startup Accelerator Team:  Michael Harries, Devon Crews, Casey Shultz and Julian Fishman.

We plan to run the Innovators program in Raleigh again in 2015 so if you are interested in being a partner or joining as a startup team. Please stay tuned.