Microsoft helps customers digitally transform their businesses with cloud, AI and mixed reality
Microsoft Corp.recently welcomed over 25,000 business customers to its annual IT event, Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Fla., where the company showcased how it is infusing cloud, AI and mixed reality across it products to help customers visualize and create the future of business. Microsoft also shared how quantum computers could help solve some of our planet’s biggest challenges. News spanned Microsoft’s commercial businesses — Office 365, Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AI — with a focus on how the company is empowering people and organizations to succeed in a rapidly evolving workplace, and enabling customers to harness data, AI, hybrid and cloud technologies to evolve business process and innovate for the future.
“Digital technology is impacting all aspects of our society and economies, creating unprecedented opportunity for organizations of all sizes,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “I’m optimistic and inspired by the ingenuity of customers, partners and developers everywhere that are pushing the frontiers of what’s possible with mixed reality and artificial intelligence infused across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, to transform and have impact in the world.”
The next frontier of computing
Following 12 years of investment in its vision to create a scalable computer based on quantum physics, Microsoft announced the creation of a new programming language optimized for exploiting scalable quantum computers and deep integration of the programming language into Visual Studio, providing developers debugging and other support and state-of-the-art simulators that can run locally or on Microsoft Azure. The tools will be available for free by year’s end. Developers can join Microsoft’s quantum community by signing up at www.microsoft.com/quantum.
Empowering employees and fostering a new culture of work
Microsoft also announced the expansion of Microsoft 365 with two new solutions to empower firstline workers and education customers. The company also introduced new intelligent search capabilities, a vision for intelligent communications centering on Microsoft Teams, and security and IT management enhancements to help customers stay secure and compliant, including meeting the General Data Protection Regulation.
- Microsoft 365 F1 brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security to empower the more than 2 billion firstline workers worldwide who serve as the first point of contact between a company and its customers or who are directly involved in making products.
- Microsoft 365 Education includes Office 365 for Education, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Minecraft: Education Edition. It gives students, faculty and staff everything they need to create and collaborate, securely.
- Microsoft 365–powered devices, including new commercial Windows 10 S devices from HP Inc., Lenovo, Acer and Fujitsu starting at $275, offer self-service deployment and simplified management, staying always up-to-date, resulting in a low total cost of ownership for businesses. Designed for cloud-based identity and management, these devices are ideal for firstline workers, students and educators.
- Microsoft introduced a new vision for intelligent communications, including plans to bring Skype for Business Online capabilities into Microsoft Teams, along with cognitive and data services, making Teams the true hub for teamwork in Office 365, including persistent chat, voice and video.
- Intelligent search experiences use AI and machine learning to deliver more relevant search results everywhere you search across Microsoft 365. New experiences include Bing for business private preview, which provides a unified view of personalized, contextual search results from inside and outside your organization.
- New LinkedIn in Microsoft profile cards now provide the ability to see information from LinkedIn profiles in Microsoft apps and services. This new experience, rolling out now for first release customers in Outlook Web Access, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, enhances the way you collaborate and build relationships by providing insights about the people you’re working with, inside and outside your organization, right from within Office 365.
- HP Inc. and Lenovo will join Surface in supporting Windows AutoPilot by providing device IDs to companies on select orders beginning January 2018. This enables users to easily set up a new device complete with the company configuration and apps ready to go and removes the need for IT to touch the device or manage updates in person.
- Microsoft 365 is delivering improved Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) features like enhanced anti-phishing capabilities; expanded protection to SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams; and integration between cloud and on-premises identity threat detection capabilities.
More information on Microsoft’s Modern Workplace solutions is available here.
Modernizing business processes with cloud and AI
Microsoft expanded Dynamics 365 with new AI solutions that transform critical enterprise scenarios and apps and services to help business users reinvent the processes they use every day.
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI solutions are designed to tackle high-value, complex enterprise scenarios and tailored to existing processes, systems and data. The first solution includes an intelligent virtual agent for customer care, an intelligent assistant for customer service staff and conversation management tools, all powered by Microsoft AI. Australian Government Department of Human Services, HP Inc., Macy’s and Microsoft are already using this technology to improve overall customer satisfaction and handle more requests, in a shorter amount of time.
- Modular apps for Dynamics 365 to help customers quickly transform high-impact processes by integrating with existing systems and augmenting them with workflow and insights from Dynamics 365, LinkedIn and Office 365. The first two modular apps, Attract and Onboard, will help companies recruit the most qualified candidates and ensure their success with personalized onboarding. Both will be available as part of Dynamics 365 for Talent later this year.
- Deeper integration between PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Office 365 and Dynamics 365. Now, any business user familiar with InfoPath forms, Access databases or SharePoint can build apps that extend and automate their business processes with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.
More information on how companies can use these new technologies to improve business applications and processes is available here.
Advancing the enterprise cloud
Microsoft Azure is driving new levels of organizational productivity, intelligent data-driven experiences and deepened business trust—all via a consistent, unique hybrid cloud approach across data, apps and infrastructure, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
- Azure Stack shipping through OEM partners including Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo. An extension of Azure, Azure Stack is truly unique in the marketplace, enabling consistency that allows organizations to build and deploy apps using the exact same APIs, tools and experiences they would have in the Azure cloud.
- SQL Server on Linux, Windows and Docker availability with SQL Server 2017 GA. SQL Server is the first born-in-the-cloud database that is also available on-premises. SQL Server 2017 brings the power of SQL Server to Windows, Linux and Docker containers for the first time, enabling developers to build intelligent applications using their preferred language and environments to drive even more productivity, along with high levels of performance and data security.
- The fully automated Database Migration Service and SQL DB Managed Instance is now available for customers to easily lift and shift their on-premises SQL Server databases to an Azure SQL database.
- SQL Data Warehouse delivers a new optimized-for-compute performance tier, significantly improving performance of analytics in the cloud. This new compute-optimized performance tier also scales further than before, up to 30,000 compute Data Warehouse Units. The preview will be available in the fall.
- Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server will let customers maximize existing license investments with discounted rates, further extending the promise of hybrid across our customers’ data investments.
- Azure Cost Management services by Cloudyn will help manage and optimize cloud spend via a single, unified view across multicloud environments. Customers and partners will be able to use the service to manage their Azure spend for free.
- Azure Security Center will include new integrated security capabilities focused on reducing vulnerability and increasing threat protection, as well as extending to secure hybrid workloads.
- The preview of new updates to Azure Machine Learning will provide AI developers and data scientists with a new set of tools to develop and manage machine learning and AI models anywhere—in the cloud, on-premises or on the edge. These new updates will also make AI developers and data scientists more productive by leveraging the most popular open source frameworks, tools and runtimes.
- Azure CosmosDB and Azure Functions integration. By bringing the power of Azure CosmosDB, our globally distributed, first-of-its-kind modern database service, to our serverless offering, Azure Functions, developers can achieve new levels of productivity, writing apps with just a few lines of code so they can innovate faster to react to “events” like IoT sensors, database changes and more.
- Updates to Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of intelligent APIs that allows developers to easily add AI capabilities to their applications. The updates include the general availability of text analytics, a cloud-based service for language processing, such as sentiment analysis, key phrase extraction and language detection of text. Next month, we will also make generally available Bing Custom Search, a customized search experience for a section of the Web, and Bing Search v7, which will provide more relevant results using Bing Web, news, video, image search, as well as a new version of autosuggest and spellcheck.
More information on Microsoft’s enterprise cloud solutions is available here.
About Microsoft Ignite
More information and news from Microsoft Ignite can be found at the Microsoft News Center. Readers can also follow and engage with the Microsoft Twitter community at @MSFTnews and @MS_Ignite using #MSIgnite.
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.