CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 31 May 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week


Microsoft acquires conversational AI startup

Microsft has acquired Semantic Machines, a Berkeley, California-based startup that has developed a new approach to building conversational artificial intelligence (AI).

The company is led by technology entrepreneur, Dan Roth, and two prominent natural language AI researchers, UC Berkeley professor, Dan Klein, and Stanford University professor, Percy Liang, as well as former Apple chief speech scientist, Larry Gillick.

With the acquisition of Semantic Machines, Microsoft aims to establish a conversational AI centre of excellence in Berkeley to push forward the boundaries of what is possible in language interfaces, Microsoft AI and Research chief technology officer, David Ku, said in a blog post. Combining Semantic Machines’ technology with Microsoft’s own AI advances, it aims to deliver powerful, natural and more productive user experiences that will take conversational computing to a new level.

Financial details were not disclosed.

HubSpot launches Slack integration

HubSpot has launched a new Slack integration that turns Slack conversations into HubSpot CRM Tasks, sends notifications to Slack triggered by activities in HubSpot, and enables slash commands to search and post contact records from HubSpot.

HubSpot built the Slack integration for sales professionals who use both Slack and HubSpot to increase productivity, but who lose time switching between tools to log tasks or look up contact information in HubSpot. This integration aims to help a sales rep to create a task and associate it with a contact, company, or deal in HubSpot directly within Slack.

This integration is the first step in a relationship between HubSpot and Slack. From June, Slack will be involved with HubSpot’s launch of Conversations, a universal inbox designed to help teams connect with prospects and customers at scale.

HubSpot’s Slack integration is now available to all HubSpot users and can be found within the HubSpot Integrations Directory.

Tableau Software partners with University

Tableau Software announced it has partnered with Swinburne University of Technology to launch a hands-on course in business analytics and data visualisation. 

The course will be offered through the university’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) as part of the Master of Digital Business Management (MDBM) degree.

The partnership aims to raise awareness about the use of data analytics in everyday business scenarios and help to narrow the gap when it comes to data skills among Australian graduates and the ever-increasing requirement for data-driven decision making.

Rakuten Marketing launches new consent management platform

Rakuten Marketing launched a new consent management platform (CMP) for retailers, advertisers and publishers, compliant with the IAB Europe/Tech Lab Transparency and Consent Framework and developed to-date within a DigiTrust (now IAB Tech Lab) working group.

The CMP is a proactive measure to help retailers, advertisers and publishers gain consent under the GDPR.

Rakuten Marketing said its primary goal is to provide retailers, advertisers and publishers with a reliable solution that creates a standard for all language used to secure consumer ‘consent’ for use of their personal data on a global level. Additionally, to advocate broad adoption and use of a single source that promotes the 'consent' model, which increases transparency and ensures consumers understand what personal information is collected and how it is used in the context of online ads and marketing campaigns. 

“We firmly believe the consent legal basis gives consumers the greatest control over their personal marketing experiences, and will help brands build and grow truly positive and trusted consumer relationships that support bottom-line growth,” Rakuten Marketing CTO, Neal Richter, stated.

The CMP is a free, open-sourced platform that integrates into existing marketing and IT technologies.

Attunity introduces data governance solution

Attunity has also been focused on data governance this week and launched a new solution to assist companies with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance in SAP environments.

The new Attunity Gold Client for Data Protection solution aims to help identify and mask the personally identifiable information (PII) of customers, vendors, employees and partners across production SAP ECC applications to address the “right to be forgotten” mandate.

The GDPR, now in effect, are designed to strengthen personal data privacy laws in the European Union. Among these regulations are a provision whereby individuals must agree to having their information used or invoke the “right to be forgotten” option. GDPR also gives regulators the power to fine offending organisations.

Attunity’s Gold Client for Data Protection aims to enable enterprises to locate the PII data in their SAP production environments and enforce the ‘right to be forgotten’. Capabilities include the ability to obfuscate PII data, exposure reporting, custom masking levels, configurable policy rules, complete audit trails and tools to create user-defined 'undo' periods.

Escapex seeking series B funding

Escapex is seeking Australian investors as part of a $15 million series B funding round, which it says will position it to take on the US giants, according to a new report in the Australian Financial Review,.

Singapore-based Escapex has previously raised $15 million to fund its expansion efforts. The company has created a platform that gives influencers an individual app away from the established social media networks to communicate with followers.

Since starting in 2015, it has signed up 200 influencers including US actor Jeremy Renner, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, Japanese footballer, Keisuke Honda, Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja and Indonesian pop star Agnez Mo.

Kaltura acquires Rapt Media

US-based video software vendor, Kaltura, has acquired interactive personalised video startup, Rapt Media, for an undisclosed amount.

Rapt Media’s interactive branching video technology offers personalised marketing, customer education, recruitment, learning, and educational video experiences.

Rapt Media, which was founded in 2011 and raised US$12 million in funding, offers customers interactive video technology for a range of uses.

Spredfast launches Vault

Spredfast has taken the wrappers off Spredfast Vault, a social access and credential management product aiming to allow customers to govern native social account access. 

For end users, Vault is a centralised, secure point of entry for native access when needed. For administrators, Vault offers control, visibility, and reporting around native access.

The typical enterprise has employees posting on behalf of the brand to hundreds of social accounts worldwide. With no easy way to manage access to their social accounts, companies are left managing credentials through spreadsheets, emails, and Post-It notes. This gives them no way to prevent current or former employees from damaging the brand with an accidental mistake or a deliberately negative post.

Spredfast Vault is designed with this challenge in mind, empowering the world’s biggest brands to strengthen governance over their social accounts.

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