Oracle is building a 'transformational' startup inside the company

Larry EllisonOracleOracle executive chairman and CTO Larry Ellison

Oracle doesn’t want to be accused of missing the boat when it comes to the next wave of tech.

It is launching two new Solution Engineering Centres where it plans to build out all kinds of cutting new technology, such as “artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and many other exciting technology trends that interest us all,” according to an employment ad first spotted by Bloomberg’s Brian Womack.

The company calls this plan a “startup inside Oracle.”

The centres will be in located in Reston, Virginia and Denver, Colorado, the ad says and will involve, “a unique and rare opportunity to join the ground floor of building a truly transformational organisation inside Oracle North America.”

And it’s looking for people now, including directors of each center.

The unit will apparently build custom cloud apps and work on other new-age tech for Oracle customers, the ads imply. For instance, engineers might build virtual reality apps for the resort industry, artificial intelligence apps for the retail industry and so on.

Oracle is best known for its popular database and enterprise software that helps companies do everything from run their finances, to manage suppliers to market their wares. But companies are increasingly not buying software the old-fashioned way and installing it in their own data centres. They are renting it all from cloud computing vendors.

Oracle has its own cloud but it came later to the game and is now trying to play catch up, even as Amazon is deliberately trying to pick off Oracle’s customers for itself.

In the meantime, Facebook is working on a post-smartphone world; artificial intelligence is the next big thing in software; and Amazon Alexa, Google Now and Microsoft Cortana are already crushing it with voice commands.

Oracle has been exploring how to bring some of this new tech to the business world. For instance, last September chairman and CTO Larry Ellison demonstrated how to use Oracle’s chat bot to order business cards.

The company is now trying to step up its game, and nab talent.

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