The Silicon Review
Michael Dell recently said that the industry should no longer relegate IT to the back office, but rather think of it as a truly strategic asset. The forward-looking CIOs that SparkCognition works with have a similar interpretation of their role. Now that there are all sorts of data being gathered about almost every interaction, threat, trend and transaction, that one can imagine, the ability to extract the highest-value outcomes from this data is what will differentiate the winners from everyone else.
Making sense of massive volumes of data means that traditional tools and techniques, which tax human users, simply won’t suffice. Take security for example. A traditional SIEM can ingest terabytes of OS and application logs and run simple analyses on them. It cannot, however, extract insights that require a deeper level of understanding. This is where SparkCognition shines with its security offerings by employing cognitive algorithms to identify patterns of abnormal behavior.
SparkCognition is at the forefront of a fundamental change in how software systems are built. It’s no longer about rules; it’s about intelligent software that has the ability to derive its own rules. Given the global data explosion, the gap between the number of people who can perform analysis and the amount of data to analyze is growing exponentially. As a leader in this growing field, SparkCognition doesn’t shy away from its responsibility to show customers and partners how they can derive maximum value from Cognitive Technology. In all of its engagements, SparkCognition has been focused on working with clients to understand their business to deliver solutions that drive meaningful outcomes and massive value.
Injecting the latest technological trends in the Enterprise Software arena
Founder and CEO Amir Husain on his journey, “I’ve been building AI software since I was in my teens. While I’ve launched other venture-backed companies, they haven’t been AI focused. Essentially, I’ve been waiting for years to do something in this area and I feel the timing is absolutely perfect now. There are a variety of catalysts and enablers that have all converged, including the big data explosion, IoT, low-cost, powerful computers, the cloud as a platform, and breakthroughs in areas such as Artificial neural networks. We’re a young company, as we only launched our product in April, 2014, but we’ve been gaining incredible traction with some of the largest global companies and now have an amazing roster of clients”.
Since its inception, SparkCognition has been providing enterprise software solutions to industrial customers. For instance, one of the company’s multi-billion dollar utility clients wanted SparkCognition to identify two failures in a client-owned dataset. The client wanted to test out the company’s claim that its cognitive algorithms were agnostic to the data and would detect anomalies and shifts from normal working conditions. Instead of finding just two failures, SparkCognition’s algorithms came back with four identified failures in the data set – it turned out that two failures were missed by the client’s data collection system. The client was more than impressed with SparkCognition’s capabilities. Take another example, the company had to deploy its solution with a multi-billion dollar manufacturer. Their current system was able to give them failure alerts a few hours in advance of an event. But with SparkCognition it was possible to build Cognitive Fingerprints and predict failures five days in advance of them occurring! This type of foresight can not only optimize maintenance across enterprises but also save millions and prevent disasters.
Because it’s Cloud-Born, SparkCognition’s platform aggregates its learning at a faster pace than any human or legacy software system. It not only gains more experience, it actually increases its intelligence and capability. Over time, it will answer questions that, today, only a handful of elite security experts could address. And beyond that, it will only get smarter.
Steering SparkCognition to success
Building a company from scratch is about the hardest thing one can voluntarily sign up for. It’s almost impossible to communicate the multi-dimensional nature of the challenge; it is a test of drive, courage, equanimity, optimism, realism, the ability to face rejection and much more. One is often moments away from success and moments away from failure. It’s a high-wire act, every day. No one can do it alone. One needs support and they get that from the high-quality people they collect around themselves at work and from their family.
For someone who grew up riding horses and competing in equestrian events, balancing work and social life doesn’t appear to be a really difficult task. Amir has been passionate about computers and software since as far back as he can remember and always knew that he would build software. So, computing is not a mere profession in his case, but truly a lifelong passion. “If I’m not working or spending time with my friends & family, I read”, he adds.
SparkCognition is not just another business venture; it’s the culmination of a life-long desire to build truly intelligent machines. In fact the clients who share in the richness of this vision have been the company’s true allies. They understand that they are not merely engaging another vendor, but are partnering to shape the future of their industry.
Products and Service offerings
SparkCognition’s products comprise of SparkPredict™, SparkSecure™ and MindFabric™. Both SparkSecure™ and SparkPredict™ leverage the company’s patent pending automated model building cognitive algorithms.
SparkPredict™ is used mainly in the Industrial Internet and IoT spaces to read sensor data and automatically predict system health. Unlike legacy pattern-matching, or threshold based systems, SparkCognition’s cognitive algorithms automatically develop, evolve and curate individual models for each asset. They can take into account things like age, seasonality, load, external conditions, etc.
On the other hand MindFabric™ is the ultimate workspace for professionals seeking to gain deep insight from their data. It provides a powerful environment that can visualize system-discovered or user specified patterns.
With its focus on cyber security, the company’s other innovation,SparkSecure™ is used to analyze structured and unstructured data in the form of server logs and natural language sources, such as social media to identify possible attacks or vulnerabilities in a cloud environment. It can automatically generate signatures for new threats and provide patches to protect against them.
When SparkSecure™ detects potentially malevolent deviations, it uses machine learning algorithms and heuristics to identify possible threats. Additionally, it is tied in to search engines so it can research anomalous log entries and determine with a high level of confidence whether something truly is a threat. With the ability to leverage massive quantities of data, which is interpreted by best-of-breed AI, SparkSecure is a valuable asset and ally for the CIO and CSO.
“Benefiting from our cognitive security repository, SparkSecure™ is able to learn about the latest threats found in the wild and can use that information to detect new threat which may share similar traits. Additionally we’ve partnered with IBM Watson to deliver an in-context advisor to provide assistance through the remediation process”, adds Amir.
Employing strategies to face market competition
SparkCognition is undoubtedly a class apart from its competitors. Its key differentiating factors are:
What is in store for SparkCognition?
For a young company to rapidly acquire double-digit numbers of customers in just a year of selling is not a very common occurrence. But SparkCognition has done exactly that. Today the company’s clientele comprises of large, Fortune 500 companies who have decided to move quickly. “There is clearly a need in the market that we are fulfilling, with the right product, at the right time.
“That said we’re very much at the “tip of the iceberg” stage. Applications of Cognitive Analytics in IoT are legion and the opportunity ahead of us is absolutely gigantic. I think, as for most trailblazers in new markets, our challenges are going to be in three key areas; education, innovation and execution. We have to continue innovating. We’re technology leaders at present, and our intent is to continue to enhance our lead. We will do this by enhancing our cutting edge Cognitive Analytics platform for IoT applications.
We recognize that this is no small undertaking and in order to achieve this goal, we need to continue to build the best Machine Learning and AI team in this space. We are challenging ourselves to engineer an organization that executes flawlessly to drive customer success. These are all multi-dimensional challenges, and have HR, business process, technology and other components. However, the most important component is weaving these priorities into the very fabric of our company culture. We’re doing well so far and we remain committed to getting even better with time”, Amir adds.
Texas headquartered SparkCognition is the world’s first Cognitive Security Analytics company, building cutting edge Cognitive Analytics systems based on its patent-pending advanced Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms. It applies these capabilities to improve Cloud Security and enhance Industrial Internet and IoT deployments and is the only IoT Company partnering with IBM Watson to build ground breaking applications.