Weekend update: Salesforce buys Tableau, Slack set to go public and Google launches AI language library

Innovation Enterprise's Weekend update features news and analysis from across the world of tech from the past seven days including how robots are extending the scope of IoT applications, smart manufacturing and big data in government


This week we saw Amazon demonstrate that sometimes its expansion plans don't always follow the script as the retail behemoth called time on its food delivery service. We also discovered that IT outages in the UK had left seven million Brits unable to use their debit or credit cards last year, leading to more than one in five respondents to a Which? survey to admit they keep more cash on them as a result of the outages they have experienced.

There were plenty more exciting developments from the world of tech, as well as some fantastic contributions from our community of tech and business experts. Below we present some of our most popular stories and articles from our Channels from the past week.

Slack to value $17bn when it goes public next week

Slack looks set to list its shares publicly next week with its value expected to be between $16–$17bn based on the company's expected revenue and current growth rate.

On Monday, the workplace messaging firm said that it expected a revenue of between $590m–$600m, following very positive financial results for 1Q19 released last week.

Slack plans to go public on June 20, following the approach Spotify had by going public with a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, rather than trying to raise money through an IPO.

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How robots are extending the scope of IoT applications

Gary Eastwood, one of our most prolific contributors, wrote this week about the learning potential of robots and the exciting future proposed by the interconnectivity benefits of IoT applications.

In his article, How robots are extending the scope of IoT applications, Eastwood asked: "Is it true that intelligent machines can help us tap into the true potential of the IoT?"

In his analysis, Eastwood remarked: "It would be foolish to assert that robots and IoT applications cannot be combined just because they happen to be designed for different purposes. IoT applications which have little intelligence on their own, for instance, can be bolstered by the inclusion of intelligent robots which are more autonomous and capable of dealing with strange situations as they arise."

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Google launches AI language library TensorFlow.Text

Google unveiled TensorFlow.Text this week. The library has been designed for preprocessing language models using the company's open-source machine-learning (ML) framework TensorFlow.

"TensorFlow provides a wide breadth of ops that greatly aid in building models from images and video," remarked TensorFlow software engineer Robby Neale. "However, there are many models that begin with text and the language models built from these require some preprocessing before the text can be fed into the model.

"TF.Text is designed to ease this problem by providing ops to handle the preprocessing regularly found in text-based models and other features useful for language modeling not provided by core TensorFlow," Neale added.

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How smart manufacturing and industry 4.0 are shaping the supply chain

Nathan Sykes took a deep dive into the world of smart manufacturing which focused on some of the remarkable industrial IoT solutions from technology vendors. In his report, Sykes ponders the benefits for manufacturers bringing their physical equipment into the digital fold.

"Smart manufacturing begins with smart machinery," Sykes asserted. "Industry 4.0 provides lots of tools for manufacturers who want to reduce their maintenance burdens and costs, while prolonging the useful lifetime of the machines they depend on to manufacture and distribute their products."

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Salesforce buys Tableau for $15.7bn

Salesforce bought Tableau in a $15.7bn all-stock deal this week, as it continues its attempts to enhance its data visualization capabilities and add more tools to its repertoire.

The two companies agreed that Class A and Class B common stock shares of Tableau would be exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, making the $15.7bn valuation the enterprise value of the transaction based on Salesforce's average price as of June 7, 2019.

Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block said: "Data is the foundation of every digital transformation, and the addition of Tableau will accelerate our ability to deliver customer success by enabling a truly unified and powerful view across all of a customer's data."

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Five areas of government contracting that can benefit from big data

"Some people view big data as a threat, while others claim it as a savior," wrote regular Innovation Enterprise contributor Kayla Matthews on Thursday.

Exploring the opportunities big data presents to various areas of government including security, healthcare and education, Matthews looked at ways in which big data could help to increase transparency, enhance public security and combat poverty.

"By viewing big data for the good it offers, we can change the scope of government contracting from educational fronts to transportation hubs," said Matthews. "It is time to embrace big data and the important role it can play."

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Five areas of government contracting that can benefit from big data home

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Five areas of government contracting that can benefit from big data