Top 4 Takeaways from Oracle OpenWorld 2019
by Samra Anees
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Oracle OpenWorld 2019 in San Francisco. There were a lot of announcements made, but the key takeaways were Oracle’s shift to Conversational AI, its database wars with Amazon AWS, the new Oracle Analytics Cloud, and a great keynote about Human/Robot Interaction to finish it off.
1. Oracle’s Shift to Conversational AI
The first part of OpenWorld that really stood out was Oracle’s shift to Conversational AI. Oracle is making moves to incorporate Conversational AI technology across its interfaces. The first demo we saw illustrating this was with expense reports. Users of Oracle’s expense applications can simply text the Conversational AI interface saying “I had coffee with a client and it cost $7.26” and the interface can automatically create an expense report that correctly lists the cost, number of people, etc. This assistant can also give users automatic advice; for example, if an employee lands at an airport, the assistant can send a text informing them of the best form of transportation to take to the hotel, how much to tip given the employee’s context, and more.
Another demo we saw on Monday was Oracle’s voice assistant answering a complex string of questions that Siri, Alexa, and Google could not answer. You can ask Oracle’s voice assistant a question like “What are the coffee shops within a mile of me that are not Starbucks” and it would be able to provide a list of those coffee shops. When Siri, Alexa, and Google are asked this, they either returned nearby Starbucks or couldn’t answer the question at all. Oracle’s voice assistant can also answer questions keeping in context the question asked before, which the other voice assistants cannot do.
2. The Database Wars
A huge focus at OpenWorld 2019 was reinforcing the capabilities of Oracle Autonomous Database against Amazon’s AWS. Oracle’s message with its cloud is a lower cost, one-size-fits-all database. Oracle made the claims that Oracle cloud is elastic, while only one of Amazon’s databases is elastic. Oracle also emphasized the cost difference between itself and Amazon.
We published a blog last week that covered the Database Wars and highlighted the differences between the Oracle cloud and AWS.
3. The New Oracle Analytics
Another key focus area of OpenWorld was Oracle Analytics. The SVP of Oracle Analytics T.K. Anand gave a keynote on the new vision for Oracle Analytics, which he summed up as augmented, integrated, and collaborative. Anand talked about the importance of analytics being integrated into users’ day to day tools and experiences, integrating with systems of records, breaking down Silos to bring data together, and being collaborative across businesses.
The new Oracle Analytics features the Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle Analytics Server, and Oracle Analytics for Applications. These applications are infused with AI-powered analytics, including machine learning and natural language. They also have integrations with Oracle digital assistant, Slack, and other work tools. The Oracle digital assistant is leveraged to automate alerts such as automatically notifying users when there is a predicted revenue decrease, and there is also a mobile app that is also voice assistant-enabled. The Oracle Servers will automatically upgrade to Oracle Analytics Server when it comes out later this year.
4. The Future of Human/Robot Interaction Keynote
Another top moment from OpenWorld was Dr. Kate Darling’s keynote on the future of human and robot interaction. Her keynote discussed the impact and implications of robots in society, a matter of growing importance as robots become more common. She talked about the misconception that robots are being created to replace humans in the workforce when the reality is that robots are meant to augment humans in the workforce. She also raised another interesting point about how common it is for people to gain an emotional attachment to robots, regardless of the fact that people know that robots are not living things.
Dr. Darling cautioned that because of this emotional pull that people have demonstrated towards robots, this also meant that robots can be manipulating. For example, an advertisement on a billboard in the street doesn’t have the same pull as a small robot that can interact with people and sway them to do something that they otherwise may not have considered doing. Overall, Dr. Darling had some great insight into how humans interact with robots and implications this can have in the future as they become even more common.
Oracle OpenWorld 2019 was a great event with lots of insights into Oracle’s vision and roadmap. With keynotes covering everything from Conversational AI, Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Analytics, and even the future of Human/Robot Interaction, OpenWorld 2019 was one of their better events in the last few years.
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