Conference Wrap-Up: AI and Enterprise – The Future of Smart Software

Silicon Valley is known for its innovative approach to problem-solving, and at our February 28th conference “AI and Enterprise: The Future of Smart Software” we got to see that innovation in direct action. Imagine (if you will) a world in which the intelligent, lightning-quick capabilities of artificial intelligence—data sorting and analyzing, predictions and problem-solving—were applied en masse to Enterprise software. You’d have a world that’s smarter and more automated than ever before, where massive amounts of data are solved and analyzed in record time—faster diagnoses, safer cars, better online shopping, and more.

This past Wednesday, our panelists speakers explored AI’s influence on enterprise software—everything from retail and ecommerce to healthcare and connected cars. We also enjoyed pitches from six up-and-coming AI startups, each with their own unique take on the ways in which machine learning is shaping modern life. The discussions led to one overarching question: is data the new oil? Our conference roster explores more below.


Our opening keynote, Zementis CEO Michael Zeller, took us through AI’s potential influence on Enterprise software. “AI unlocks the value in enterprise data. If data is the new oil, then machine learning is the refinery.” Big data, he explained, needs more intelligent decisions at the micro level—with the speed and accuracy AI delivers.

Michael Zeller @Zementis gets right to the heart of concerns: “The future in AI is already here,” but it’s far from being SkyNet. 

Machine learning panelists: Anant Kale, Founder and CEO of AppZen, Derek Meyer, CEO of Wave Computing, Michael Ludden, Senior Product Manager at IBM Watson, Shriram Natarajan, CTO of Persistent Systems, Moderator: Kartik Gada, Executive Director of Woodside Capital

The Machine Learning panel took the stage next to talk about AI’s role in analyzing data. The panelists agreed that AI gives an unprecedented competitive advantage to smaller companies, as coders and engineers have access to better data. “I don’t think it’s a question of winners and losers,” said panelist Shiram Natarajan of Persistent Systems. “It’s how the playing field is going to change.”


Sentient Technologies’ Andy Narayan gave a short presentation on retail technology, and how AI is poised to help retailers retain customers and increase revenue, stating that “the future of AI in retail is systems that understand context and intent.” In an online context, AI has the potential to be a perfect personal shopper that can understand what a consumer wants in real time.

Healthcare panelists: Ash Damle, CEO of Lumiata; Noor Siddiqui, Researcher at Stanford’s AI Lab; Alexander Levy, Co-founder and COO of Atomwise; Daniel Golden, Senior Machine Learning Scientist at Arterys; Moderator: Frank C. Meerkamp, Managing Director AI at Accenture

Our Healthcare panel took the audience on a journey through the hospitals and clinics of the near future—in a world where automation is increasingly rendering many jobs obsolete, healthcare and healthtech seems to be an industry that is only enhanced by intelligent computers. “Clinicians do amazing work – and AI can help them scale. You can only spend so much time with a particular patient,” explained panelist Ash Damle of Lumiata. While AI use-cases are still relatively small-scale, the platform from which to build is remarkable.




Our startup pitch session featured six amazing AI startups, with two winners: info-processing startup Kyndi won “Most Transformative,” while loan-finding FinTech company AcuteIQ won “Most Innovative.” Pitch judges included Ram Jambunathan, managing director of, Elaine Pan, Investor with SK Telecom Ventures, and Manju Bansal, VP and global program head of SAP’s Startup Focus.

The audience was treated to a fast Fireside Chat with Dr. Chung-Sheng Li, global research managing director of AI at Accenture, and Surendra Reddy, CEO and founder of Quantiply. Their discussion on AI and FinTech focused on compliance issues and company building. “We’re looking at a beautiful future where all the right things are automated or done right in your palm.”

David Sonnenschein, VP of SAP’s IoT Development Accelerator, gave a quick talk on the intersection between industrial IoT and artificial intelligence. As machine learning technology moves forward, the conversation has started to shift from thing-connecting to data-collecting—and, more importantly, gaining valuable insights from all that data. “As long as you define machine learning broadly, there are a lot of great use cases,” Sonnenschein said.


Panelists: Francoise Gilbert, global privacy and security, Greenberg Taurig; Justyna Zander, senior product manager of automotive, Nvidia; Mark Thomas, VP of marketing at Ridecell; Chris Carson, founder and CEO of Caruma Technologies; Moderated by Marc Holzer, Partner at Deloitte

Our final panel of the day focused on Connected Cars and the changing auto industry. The panelists agreed that the era of driverless, intelligent vehicles is already upon us, though wide-scale implementation remains on an uncertain timeline. Panelist Francoise Gilbert of Greenberg Traurig pointed out, “Humans are afraid of progress. People were afraid of trains and bicycles once.” The act of driving is a very personal thing that varies from consumer to consumer—finding a one-size-fits solution for everyone will be a challenge for the automotive side of the AI and enterprise industry.


A huge thank-you to our partners SAP and SAP Startup Focus, as well as our Silver Sponsor Greenberg Traurig. We’d also like to thank our amazing panelists and presenters for bringing their expertise and experience to the stage.

Want more? View SAP Startups’ Key Takeaways article here! And check out all tweets from the day via #SVFAI.

Coming up next: we’ll see you at the Women in Tech Festival on March 24th – 25th, and our AgTech week April 3rd – 6th!


Author: Micaela Youmans
Head of Ops. and Communications

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