Microsoft welcomed over 25,000 business customers to its annual IT event, Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Florida., where the company showcased how it is infusing cloud, AI and mixed reality across it products to help customers visualise 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 organisations 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, today 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 today by signing up at www.microsoft.com/quantum.
Microsoft announced the expansion of Microsoft 365 with two new solutions to empower firstline workers and education customers. The company also introduced Microsoft 365 F1 and Microsoft 365 Education giving users what they need to create and collaborate security. 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.
Also introduced was New LinkedIn in Microsoft profile cards that now provides the ability to see information from LinkedIn profiles in Microsoft apps and services. This new experience, rolling out now for first release customers enhances the way you collaborate and build relationships by providing insights about the people you’re working with, inside and outside your organisation, right from within Office 365.
Modernising 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.
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.
Advancing the enterprise cloud
The announcement includes shipping of Azure Stack through OEM partners including DELL EMC, HPE and LENOVO. Also made available was SQL Server on Linux, Windows and Docker availability with SQL Server 2017 GA.
SQL Data Warehouse delivers a new optimised-for-compute performance tier, significantly improving performance of analytics in the cloud. This new compute-optimised 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 maximise 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.
Microsot also made Updates to Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of intelligent APIs that allows developers to easily add AI capabilities to their applications. Today’s 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 customised 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.