CARY — It’s a busy week at the SAS Explore conference in Las Vegas. SAS executives are using this opportunity to announce major initiatives for the company, several involving the SAS AI and Analytics platform, Viya.

Earlier this year, SAS announced a pledge to commit $1 billion to AI-powered industry solutions. The announcement was made at the SAS Innovate event in May, and reflected the company’s focus on “analytics for everyone, everywhere.”

Generative AI

In line with their AI pledge, SAS is working on solving data challenges with the use of generative AI. One of these is the generation of data, in particular, data that is authentic and reflects real-world environments. This solution allows for user privacy protections, bias testing and mitigation, and the testing of rare and extreme events. Along similar lines, SAS is also offering “digital twins,” a duplication of a physical system to allow organizations to try new solutions and test strategies for improved efficiencies.

SAS and Microsoft have also announced plans for a generative AI integration utilizing the Microsoft Azure OpenAI with SAS orchestration and analytics tools to support critical business operations. This integration is expected to be available for a limited preview later this year.

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SAS Health

One of the biggest announcements is the availability of a new healthcare platform, SAS Health for providing data and analytics automation in the industry. According to the press release, the new enterprise solution will offer improvements in health data management and insights, and allow quick ingestion of electronic health records (EHR) in standardized formats.

“Having one consistent, common data model built on a powerful advanced analytics platform is pivotal for hospital systems and the future of health care delivery,” said Gail Stephens, SAS’s Vice President of Health Care and Life Sciences in today’s press release.

New Viya Capabilities

SAS also used the conference to announce new functionality for their AI and analytics platform, Viya®.

Updates include the Viya Workbench, a development environment for executing code in a secure, cloud-native solution. Also available will be three clients for popular development tools – Jupyter Notebook, Visual Studio Code, and SAS® Enterprise Guide®.

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SAS has also announced the SAS App Factory, an application for the rapid development of AI-driven applications. This solution is intended to provide an automated setup of a cloud-native tech stack that includes React, TypeScript, and Postgres.

“We are constantly evolving the SAS Viya ecosystem with products to meet the emerging needs of data scientists and developers – for increased productivity and faster innovation,” said Bryan Harris, SAS’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

The Workbench has limited previews available now. Both the Workbench and App Factory are expected to be generally available next year.

Energy Forecasting

SAS has also announced its new SAS Energy Forecasting Cloud targeting utility companies with the goal of improved planning and operations.

The new service had a trial run with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to aid with predictions of peak demand and improved transmission planning. The service is the first SAS solution to utilize the SAS App Factory.

Jason Mann, the SAS Vice President of Internet of Things (IoT) was quoted in the press release: “With renewables and other new energy sources added to their grids, utilities and smart cities need to make informed predictions about demand, whether it be for the next few hours or the next 20 years.”

Event Comments

SAS was careful to share priorities for AI and data management governance. Here SAS sees the ability to utilize their existing expertise in governance and compliance, which have long been a priority for the company in implementations across industries. They also stressed transparency in all their models, especially those for use with generative content.

The SAS team also acknowledged that AI is at a peak level of interest and attention right now. But they reiterated their commitment to delivering full-functional AI solutions, stressing the “last-mile value” they will achieve.

All the latest news from SAS and the Explore event are available from the SAS Newsroom.