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The next wave of computing is the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud

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Take a look around your house, office or even the next store you visit, and you’ll start to notice that internet-connected devices are bringing us closer than ever before to a world of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence. As these Internet of Things (IoT) devices become increasingly commonplace, people will start to expect computing to be more integrated into their lives, to anticipate, understand and seamlessly meet their needs. They will expect software to respond to spoken natural language, gestures, body language and emotion, and for it to understand the physical world and the rich context surrounding each user as they navigate their personal life, their work and the world around them.

This trend has more promise than just bringing additional convenience, productivity and connections to our everyday lives. Smart sensors and devices are breathing new life into industrial equipment from factories to farms, helping us navigate and plan for more sustainable urban cities and bringing the power of the cloud to some of the world’s most remote destinations. With the power of artificial intelligence (AI) enabling these devices to intelligently respond to the world they are sensing, we will see new breakthroughs in critical areas that benefit humanity like healthcare, conservation, sustainability, accessibility, disaster recovery and more.

We call this next wave of computing the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud. When we take the power of the cloud down to the device – the edge – we provide the ability to respond, reason and act in real time and in areas with limited or no connectivity. As Satya shared at our Build developer conference, it’s still early days, but we’re starting to see how these new capabilities can be applied towards solving critical world challenges:

  • Increasing the world’s food supply: The world will need 70 percent more food according to the U.N., to feed a global population of 9.6 billion in 2050. Farmers like Sean Stratman in Carnation, Washington, are using the intelligent edge to do precision agriculture with real-time intelligence on soil, even in remote areas with unreliable connectivity. Using Microsoft’s FarmBeatssolution, which combines intelligence trained in the cloud to run on a drone, Sean created a heatmap of his land that served as a guide for him to plant the crops that will best perform in specific locations.
  • Ecological research and conservation: The intelligent edge creates opportunities to collect more accurate data in our research of natural disasters and threatened habitats. Smart sensors can collect data and act on events as they happen, providing researchers greater fidelity in their models and enabling them to take specific actions and make predictions that could improve conservation efforts. Disney Animal Kingdom is leveraging the intelligent edge to study the purple martin bird. They worked with Microsoft to develop hundreds of tiny “smart houses” in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to learn more about the species and help inspire a new generation of conservationists in the parks. The scientists have unprecedented insight now into the nesting behavior of the purple martins.
  • Reducing waste and improving safety in energy: The world depends on natural resources to produce energy for the world.  Because these resources are limited, it is also critical that energy companies leverage technology to increase efficiency. Schneider Electric is using the intelligent edge in oil fields to monitor and configure pump settings and operations remotely, only sending personnel onsite when necessary for repair or maintenance when, for example, intelligent pump monitoring indicates that something will go wrong. This contributes to overall worker safety and improved resource management.

We need to give all organizations and developers the tools to build these kinds of increasingly ambitious solutions that span the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud.  Moreover, these tools must give developers strong security foundations and help them to place security at the very core of their solutions. Devices on the edge handle some of our most sensitive business and personal data in our homes, workplaces, and sometimes in physically remote places.

To protect data wherever it lives, security needs to be baked in from the silicon to the cloud. This has been one of the central design principles of Microsoft’s intelligent edge products and services. Azure Sphere is our intelligent edge solution to power and protect connected microcontroller unit (MCU)-powered devices. There are 9 billion of these MCU-powered devices shipping every year, which power everything from household stoves and refrigerators to industrial equipment. With more processing power than traditional MCUs and a holistic security approach, we believe Azure Sphere will make our increasingly connected world safer. In addition, Azure IoT Edge enables you to run cloud intelligence directly on IoT devices and includes security from device provisioning and management to hardware and cloud services that run on top of the devices. Azure Stack, just one of our many tools to power hybrid scenarios, offers customers the flexibility to securely deploy in the cloud, on-premises or at the intelligent edge.

In the past three months, we introduced Azure Sphere at RSA; announced a powerful application developer experience with Visual Studio for Azure Sphere to accelerate innovation at the outer edge, as well as new IoT edge capabilities and partnerships at Build; and shipped Azure IoT Edge general availability last month. This is all part of our commitment to intelligent edge innovation and our broader $5 billion investment in IoT to empower our customers and partners. We have more exciting updates around the corner and look forward to seeing what our customers and partners build.

 

The post The next wave of computing is the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Powering our customers: the innovation story behind Microsoft’s earnings

With Microsoft’s fourth quarter earnings, we delivered double-digit revenue growth across all segments anchored by the growing success in our commercial cloud as technology helps our customers power their innovation. Recently organizations like GE, PGA, NBA, Marks & Spencer, Starbucks, InMobi  Bayer and Telefonica shared how they are leveraging cloud and artificial intelligence to support growth and deliver great employee and customer experiences. Across industries and solution areas, here are some of the latest examples.

This week we unveiled a strategic partnership with Walmart as the company’s preferred cloud provider and strategic partner to accelerate its digital transformation in retail. Through a five-year agreement, Walmart has selected the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 for enterprise-wide use, to help standardize across the company’s family of brands. Using a broad base of cloud, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, the company plans to further its mission in creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empower associates to do their best work.

We announced Campbell Soup Company selected Microsoft Azure. The much-loved soup and snack company announced plans to drive IT transformation with the help a global hybrid cloud solution. Campbell chose Azure to increase the flexibility, agility and resiliency of its always-on IT, provide employees with real-time access to customized information and insights, and optimize its complex supply chain.

At Microsoft Inspire this week, I was also thrilled to feature on stage Carlsberg and its ongoing digital transformation. For 171 years, the Carlsberg Group has been brewing for a better today and tomorrow. Now, the iconic brewery group is leveraging AI and IoT on Azure to bring more science to the craft of beer, increase speed to market and improve quality control through the “Beer Fingerprinting Project.”

Also onstage at Inspire, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared how Walt Disney World Resort technology and conservation teams partnered with Microsoft to help develop the “tiniest smart homes” for the songbirds called purple martins. Purple martins are a unique species of bird that travel between South and North America each year to raise a family, but unfortunately their population is in decline. By outfitting birdhouses at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, using Azure IoT Edge with computer vision and building models to recognize important events, Disney scientists are able to learn more about the species and help inspire a new generation of conservationists in the parks. The scientists have unprecedented insight now into the nesting behavior of the purple martins. They are also creating new experiences for guests and have even built an augmented reality game on a tablet to help guests learn about what it takes to be a great purple martin parent.

We are seeing additional momentum in Azure IoT with one of our first customers for the new Azure Sphere. For more than 70 years, Sub-Zero and Wolf have built a legacy of innovation in food preservation and preparation. As the company looks toward the next wave of innovation, along with its new Cove dishwasher brand, Sub-Zero sees an opportunity to create more personalized experiences through connected products. Securing these products over the lifetime of the device is a top priority, and they are planning to use Azure Sphere as a comprehensive solution for future products to address security holistically at every layer.

When it comes to the modern workplace solution, we are seeing continued momentum across customers in the enterprise. The nearly 40,000 employees of Eli Lilly are on a mission to make medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives. That is why Lilly takes a collaborative approach to discovering and developing new medicines — between lab researchers and the rest of the company, as well as with a global network of physicians, medical researchers and healthcare organizations — and has selected Microsoft 365 to bring together scientists across hundreds of locations and organizations and truly empower the workforce.

Across our Windows 10 and Surface business, we see customers taking advantage of how the right device can light up the modern workplace for employees. Melbourne-based infrastructure, building and rail leader John Holland selected 1,200 Surface Pros with LTE to power its field workers across large geographical construction zones. Using cellular and Wi-Fi, the Surface devices seamlessly connect workers with key information like blueprints and documents at project sites. As a Microsoft 365 E5 customer, the company has also deployed Surface Hub and Surface Book 2 devices. By standardizing on Microsoft modern workplace, John Holland is helping deliver a better experience to employees and a higher standard to customers.

With growing investments in Dynamics 365 as our third cloud, we are continuing to drive value for customers across various industries. National Oilwell Varco (NOV), a leading provider of technology, equipment and services for the global oil and gas industry, is deploying Dynamics 365 across its sales and field service networks worldwide. This deployment enables NOV to optimize productivity and minimize downtime by streamlining business processes and delivering a mobile-first approach to field service operations. NOV is investing in state-of-the-art technology and cloud services to deliver premier, customized experiences to customers.

Across every industry, businesses are expanding their digital business. These are just some of the most recent examples of leading enterprises choosing Microsoft solutions to help them transform customer experiences, fuel employee creativity and collaboration, innovate operations and bring new products to market.

 

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Advancing the future of society with AI and the intelligent edge

The world is a computer, filled with an incredible amount of data. By 2020, the average person will generate 1.5GB of data a day, a smart home 50GB and a smart city, a whopping 250 petabytes of data per day. This data presents an enormous opportunity for developers — giving them a seat of power, while also giving them tremendous responsibility. That’s why this morning at Build, we don’t take our jobs lightly in helping to equip these developers with the tools and guidance to change the world. On stage in Seattle, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is describing this new world view, fueled by AI that can power better health care, relieve challenges around basic human needs and create a society that’s more inclusive and accessible.

Helping create a better, safer, more just world is a responsibility we take seriously at Microsoft. We’ve always been committed to the ethical creation and use of technology. As AI increasingly becomes part of our lives, Microsoft’s commitment to advancing human good has never been stronger. Today, we’re announcing AI for Accessibility, a new $25 million, five-year program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capability for the more than one billion people around the world with disabilities. AI for Accessibility is a call to action for developers, NGOs, academics, researchers and inventors to accelerate their work for people with disabilities, focusing on three areas: employment, human connection and modern life. It includes grants, technology and AI expertise to accelerate the development of accessible and intelligent AI solutions and builds on recent advancements in Azure Cognitive Services to help developers create intelligent apps that can empower people with hearing, vision and other disabilities. Real-time speech-to-text transcription, visual recognition services and predictive text functionality that suggests words as people type are just a few examples. We’ve seen this impact through the launch of Seeing AI and alt-text which empowers people who are blind or low vision; as well as Helpicto, which helps people with autism.

If AI is the heart of how we can advance society, the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge are the backbone. In the next 10 years, billions of everyday devices will be connected — smart devices that can see, listen, reason, predict and more, without a 24/7 dependence on the cloud. This is the intelligent edge, and it is the interface between the computer and the real world. The edge takes AI and cloud together to collect and make sense of new information, especially in scenarios that are too dangerous for humans or require new approaches to solve, whether they be on the factory floor or in the operating room.

Today we’re giving developers the tools and guidance to build these possibilities. For example, we’re making it easier to build apps at the edge by open sourcing the Azure IoT Edge Runtime, allowing customers to modify the runtime and customize applications at the edge. We’re giving developers Custom Vision — the first Azure Cognitive Service available for the edge — to build applications that use powerful AI algorithms that interpret, listen, speak and see for edge devices. And we are partnering across both DJI and Qualcomm. Microsoft and DJI, the world’s largest drone company, will collaborate to develop commercial drone solutions so that developers in key vertical segments such as agriculture, construction and public safety can build life-changing solutions, like applications that can help farmers produce more crops. With Qualcomm Technologies Inc., we announced a joint effort to create a vision AI dev kit running Azure IoT Edge, for camera-based IoT solutions. The camera can power advanced Azure services like machine learning and cognitive services that can be downloaded from Azure and run locally on the edge. Other advancements include a preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing, that is now available on Azure and on the edge. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run real-time AI today.

We are also releasing new Azure Cognitive Services updates such as a unified Speech service that makes it easier for developers to add speech recognition, text-to-speech, customized voice models and translation to their applications. In addition, we’re making Azure the best place to develop conversational AI experiences integrated with any agent. New updates to Bot Framework, combined with our new Cognitive Services updates, will power the next generation of conversational bots, enabling richer dialogs and full personality and voice customization to match a company’s brand identity.

It was eight years ago when we shipped Kinect, which was the first AI device with speech, gaze and vision. We then took that technology forward with Microsoft HoloLens. We’ve seen developers build transformative solutions across a multitude of industries, from security to manufacturing to health care and more. As sensor technology has evolved, we see incredible possibilities for combining these sensors with the power of Azure AI services such as machine learning, Cognitive Services and IoT Edge.

Today we are excited to announce a new initiative, Project Kinect for Azure — a package of sensors from Microsoft that contains our unmatched time-of-flight depth camera, with onboard compute, in a small, power-efficient form factor — designed for AI on the edge. Project Kinect for Azure brings together this leading hardware technology with Azure AI to empower developers with new scenarios for working with ambient intelligence.

Similarly, our Speech Devices software development kit announced today delivers superior audio processing from multi-channel sources for more accurate speech recognition, including noise cancellation, far-field voice and more. With this SDK, developers can build for a variety of voice-enabled scenarios like drive-thru ordering systems, in-car or in-home assistants, smart speakers and other digital assistants.

This new age of technology is also fueled by mixed reality, which is opening up new possibilities in the workplace. Today we announced two new apps that will help empower firstline workers, the first workers to interface with customers and triage problems: Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout. Microsoft Remote Assist enables remote collaboration via hands-free video calling, letting firstline workers share what they see with any expert on Microsoft Teams, while staying hands on to solve problems and complete tasks together. In a similar vein, Microsoft Layout lets workers design spaces in context with mixed reality, using 3D models for creating room layouts with holograms.

Whether creating a more inclusive and accessible world, solving problems that plague humanity or helping improve the way we work and live, developers are playing a leading role. As new ideas and solutions with AI and intelligent edge emerge, Microsoft will continue to advocate for developers and give them the tools and cloud services that make it possible to build these new solutions to solve real problems. From the top down, we are a developer-led company that continues to invest in coders and give them free rein to solve problems.

Learn more about how we’re empowering developers to build for this future today using Azure and M365, via blog posts from Executive Vice President of Cloud + AI Scott Guthrie and Corporate Vice President of Windows Joe Belfiore.

 

The post Advancing the future of society with AI and the intelligent edge appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

The story behind Microsoft earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation

Today, Microsoft announced its third-quarter earnings, including commercial cloud revenue of $6 billion, up 58 percent from last year. As always, this growth is fueled by the innovation and success of our customers and partners. Today, almost every company is a tech company, and below are a few examples of companies working closely with Microsoft to advance their digital business strategies.

Driving efficiencies with applications and infrastructure

Companies across all industries need a trusted cloud infrastructure, a powerful data estate and accessible AI technologies to grow and transform. Toyota Material Handling Europe is using Azure, AI and HoloLens to help drive its vision for the factory of the future. By distributing intelligent logic across the factory and its robotic systems, the company can train “pallet drones” to recognize patterns, automate processes and learn the flow of a manufacturing factory floor.

Bühler AG, a leader in food processing manufacturing, has developed a revolutionary optical sorting system called LumoVision to significantly improve food safety practices. Using the power of the Microsoft cloud, this new system creates a faster and more precise grain-sorting solution, eliminating 85 to 90 percent of contaminated and toxic grain, compared to 50 percent for conventional sorting machines.

Enabling better customer engagement with data and AI

Financial services is another space where companies are moving quickly to seize the digital dividend using data and AI. Today, more than 80 percent of the world’s largest banks are Azure customers.

Saxo Bank, a fintech leader, provides “banking as a service” and access to 35,000 financial instruments to banking and brokerage clients in 170 countries. To grow the power and scale of its services, Saxo Bank is moving nearly all its technology stack to Azure. We are also working with Eagle Investment Systems LLC, a BNY Mellon company and financial services tech leader with $21 trillion in managed assets. In partnership with Microsoft, the firm has created a new cloud-based data management platform on Azure to help investment managers capture data, ensure its validity, manage assets and “seek alpha.”

UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, is enhancing its customer service with AI, using Azure Bot Service and Cognitive Services for the UPS Bot, which converses in text and voice with customers about their shipments. UPS developers are also using .NET and Visual Studio to extend its mobile app to more platforms faster, with less code.

Empowering employees in the modern workplace

Helping companies provide a modern workplace to their employees is core to our mission and business. For example, Jaguar Land Rover, the U.K.’s largest automotive manufacturer, sells its iconic vehicles in 130 countries, employs more than 43,000 workers globally and supports around 240,000 more through dealerships, suppliers and local businesses. Jaguar Land Rover has selected Office 365 as part of its effort to foster a creative and modern workplace culture that lets employees communicate and collaborate from the U.K. to the U.S., China, Brazil, Slovakia and Ireland — all while equipping the company with the security features needed to protect its business.

In the consumer space, the Coca-Cola Co. has made digital leadership part of its growth strategy. The company is digitizing its enterprise — from the supply chain and employee collaboration to consumer engagement — and has placed trust and security at the heart of the entire experience. Specifically, Coca-Cola is using Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure to simplify its architecture, drive automation, deliver technology updates with less disruption, improve employee experiences and deliver proactive threat-protection.

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Goldcorp is focused on responsible mining practices throughout the Americas. The mining industry is very dynamic, and Goldcorp needed to manage and harness data from its highly technical mining operations to inform real-time decision making. In addition to Power BI and Microsoft 365, Goldcorp selected Surface Pro for miners to use in the mines because the devices are fan-less. The company also deployed Surface Studio, Surface Book and Surface Pro throughout headquarters. By standardizing on Microsoft hardware and our modern workplace solutions, Goldcorp is gaining performance insights, improving security and building a foundation for the future of technology-enabled mines.

Simplifying processes with business applications

Another focus area for Microsoft and where we see customer innovation is in business applications and the digital simplification of business processes.

24 Hour Fitness, one of the U.S.’s largest privately owned and operated fitness chains, is deploying Dynamics 365 and Adobe Experience Cloud across its network of more than 420 clubs. This deployment will enable 24 Hour Fitness to dramatically enhance its ability to offer more personalized and unified digital experiences for members throughout every touch point in their fitness journey. With native technology integrations across Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Adobe Experience Cloud, 24 Hour Fitness is investing in a combined cloud platform to engage its members and guests with highly personalized experiences, including health and fitness guidance they truly want and need.

Marc Jacobs International, the global fashion house with more than 200 retail stores across 80 countries, is another great retail example. The company uses Dynamics and a partner solution, MediusFlow, on Azure to streamline and automate a key part of its supply chain: Paying the enormous, continuously changing network of special vendors and suppliers it counts on to create and deliver its new collections each season.

As these customer examples highlight, virtually every company, irrespective of the industry in which it competes, is thinking big about data — how to harness it for growth, for efficiency, for greater employee collaboration and for differentiation. Taken together, these ambitions are the very definition of digital innovation and transformation, and here at Microsoft we are proud to serve as a trusted partner committed to helping organizations realize these ambitions.

The post The story behind Microsoft earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Industrial customers and partners bet on Microsoft, from cloud to edge devices

Innovations showcasing Industrial IoT, AI, cobotics, digital twins and mixed reality will be on display at Microsoft’s booth at the annual Hannover Messe industrial fair.

This week at the world’s largest industrial fair, I am honored to once again host nearly 30 customers and partners in Microsoft’s booth at the Digital Factory Hall at Hannover Messe. The progress manufacturers have made this past year is tremendous. Smart factories have already seen an average of 17 to 20 percent increased overall productivity. They have created higher-quality products at lower costs. They are building entirely new business models and service offerings.  But our customers’ aspirations are bigger and bolder. For example, by the year 2050, the demand for food is expected to outpace production by more than 70 percent. Agricultural stability is being threatened by receding levels of fresh water, decreasing availability of arable land and global warming, causing issues like toxins in our food supply. The workforce will continue to modernize and shift.

The next step is to use our Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled levels of intelligence to optimize the entire manufacturing process and solve for these challenges. There are three distinct themes that stand out at this year’s event:

Increased productivity and safety

What we have built with customers is driving tangible results. Today’s new data-driven manufacturing capabilities are not only lowering costs and reducing waste, but they are also keeping people safer and mitigating our impact on the planet. For example, Swiss technology firm Bühler AG, a leader in food processing systems, has worked closely with Microsoft to develop LumoVision, a revolutionary optical sorting system that not only significantly improves current food cleaning practices, but can eliminate nearly 90 percent of contaminated grain compared to 50 percent for conventional sorting machines. Empowered by the Microsoft cloud and IoT technology, this solution builds on Bühler’s advanced process expertise, and as a result, LumoVision is faster and more precise than other grain-sorting technologies.

Photo shows man demonstrating how a machine taller than he is works
Bühler’s LumoVision food processing machine

We will also demonstrate how Microsoft HoloLens has become an invaluable tool in taking digital twin technology to the next level. Thanks to the explosive expansion of Industrial IoT, digital twins have become cost-effective to implement and are helping companies head off problems before they even occur. Our customers are using digital twins to prevent downtime, improve equipment performance, develop new service opportunities and even plan for the future by generating simulations and visualizing their processes in mixed reality. For instance, Schneider Electric, whose industrial software business has recently combined with AVEVA, is leading the evolution of what the industry refers to as a “process digital twin.” Schneider and AVEVA are leveraging HoloLens to optimize ItalPresse’s entire manufacturing process by creating virtual prototypes even before a plant or manufacturing asset is built, which can provide significant cost and efficiency savings. Schneider will also showcase its recently announced traceability tool for the food and beverage industry, combining its knowledge of the food and beverage industry with Microsoft’s expertise in blockchain, given the growing complexities with tracing food products.

Additionally, one of our leading robotics automation partners, ICONICS, will demonstrate how a technician wearing a HoloLens can work alongside a factory robot while receiving instructions and key factory performance indicators displayed over his field of vision via HoloLens.

Increased monetization

Microsoft’s customers and partners are creating new value chains and services that simply did not exist five years ago. Tech innovations have allowed them to establish digital SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) teams, open new “one-size-fits-one” plants, and monetize things like predictive maintenance, 3D modeling and smart operations. For example, just last week thyssenkrupp announced it is expanding MAX, the company’s IoT-based predictive service solution for elevators, to Latin America. thyssenkrupp is confident that MAX can reduce elevator downtime by up to 50 percent, making its predictive models second to none in the global elevator industry.

ABB, a global leader in industrial technology, is leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud technologies for its ABB AbilityTM platform, one of the largest Industrial IoT platforms in the industry. ABB will showcase its ABB Ability Ellipse TM platform. Leveraging AI from Microsoft, it can empower organizations to optimize Enterprise Asset Management and automatically detect anomalies to minimize maintenance costs across its customers’ install base.

Bayer’s Environmental Science Business Unit is digitally transforming a decades-old pest control practice for trapping rodents with a smarter digital mousetrap that provides remote monitoring built on top of the Azure IoT platform. The solution collects information from sensors installed within each trap and immediately alerts pest management professionals when rodents are present, so they can head off infestations and increase the effectiveness of pest control programs.

Photo shows someone holding a silver box marked "interior rodent sensor" in one hand and a smart phone in the other
Bayer’s connected pest-management system

Increased collaboration

By 2020, IDC predicts that 60 percent of plant floor workers will work alongside assistance technologies that enable automation, such as robotics, 3D printing, AI and mixed reality. Several leading manufacturing and robotics companies have already created new and evolved “lean” processes that leverage these capabilities to help service technicians optimize tasks and lower waste and inefficiencies, while providing better customer service. For example, Toyota Material Handling Europe is planning its 10-year vision for the factory of the future by evolving its traditional lean processes. Its goal is to find more efficient ways to distribute intelligent logic across the factory and its robotic systems. Using AI capabilities like Microsoft AirSim and mixed reality, the company can train autonomous pallet drones to recognize patterns, automate processes and learn the flow on the plant floor safely alongside humans. This innovative solution would drastically reduce disruptions to warehouse operations, one of the key roadblocks to deploying autonomous systems. Toyota Material Handling Europe has also worked with Microsoft to develop T-Stream, a brand new, all-in-one solution. Built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud, it runs on Windows and utilizes Bing Maps and GPS systems to provide technicians with improved, proactive services that can carry out maintenance for customers before breakdowns occur.

Photo of a sleek blue drone with arms similar to that of a fork lift, and two people working at a conveyor belt in the background
Toyota Material Handling Europe’s smart pallet drone

Investing in Industrial IoT

As we partner with our manufacturing customers to empower their digital transformations, we continue to invest specifically in security and Industrial IoT innovations that meet their needs, where they need them most. This year we have a new set of robust Azure IoT features we will demonstrate at our booth, including:

  • Automatic Discovery Service for Connected Factory: We’ve simplified how manufacturers can onboard and secure industrial assets, which significantly reduces administration costs. It also includes an OPC (Open Platform Communications) UA (Unified Architecture) Global Discovery Server (GDS) interface for compatibility with existing clients and servers.
  • Azure IoT Hub and Device Management on Azure Stack: We are bringing Azure IoT Hub to Azure Stack, empowering customers and partners to build Industrial IoT solutions which run entirely on-premises or off, as well as collect and analyze near real-time data within their facility.
  • Azure Sphere: We’ve made an even stronger commitment to securing ‘edge’ devices by announcing a preview of Azure Sphere, the first holistic platform to provide industrial-grade security for connected microcontroller units (MCU) devices, 9 billion of which are expected to ship this year in machines ranging from home appliances to industrial equipment in factories.
  • Azure Time Series Insights: In response to manufacturers’ requests, Microsoft is planning a new update to Times Series Insights (TSI), a service that that adds massively scalable storage and data archiving capabilities and reduces storage costs.

Why customers and partners bet on Microsoft

Our cloud platform is now available in more than 42 regions across the globe and meets a broad set of international standards and compliance, including European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and intellectual property (IP) requirements, which are critical as the May 25 GDPR deadline looms. Additionally, we have one of the largest, if not the largest, partner ecosystems co-selling solutions with us at Hannover Messe. Partners are not only an important part of a complex Industrial IoT ecosystem, they are critical to how we do business. Today, Siemens announced its IoT ecosystem Mindsphere is now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, giving our joint customers the ability to make their IoT applications available on our cloud. The preview of MindSphere for Microsoft Azure is available for select customers and partners, and will follow a continuous development and deployment model. MindSphere for Microsoft Azure is planned to be generally available in the calendar 4th quarter of 2018. More than 90 percent of our revenues come through our 8,500 trusted partners across the globe. Every major Industrial IoT provider, including ABB, Accenture/Avanade, COPA-DATA, EY, GE, ICONICS, Kapsch, OSIsoft, PTC, Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electric, have joined forces with Microsoft to integrate and offer their manufacturing services and solutions on top of our global Azure cloud.

There are many more reasons the industry is choosing to partner with Microsoft, but I invite you to come see the innovations first-hand in our booth in the Digital Factory: Hall 7, Stand C40 this week in Hannover.

Visit the the Digital Difference site for more information about Microsoft and its customers’ and partners’ presence at Hannover Messe 2018.

 

 

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Microsoft expands cloud services in Europe and into Middle East to meet growing customer demand

I’m thrilled to share that we plan to deliver the Microsoft Cloud from our first datacenter locations in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, and we’ll expand the cloud options for customers in Germany. I’m also excited to reveal that the Microsoft Cloud in France is officially open with the general availability of Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 today, and Dynamics 365 will follow in early 2019.

By delivering the comprehensive, intelligent Microsoft Cloud – comprising Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 – from datacenters in a given geography, we offer scalable, available and resilient cloud services for companies and organizations while meeting data residency, security and compliance needs. Microsoft has deep expertise protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements, including offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.

We’re deepening our investment in the Middle East with these first cloud regions, which will be in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. We have long-standing expertise and deep local relationships in the Middle East. We strive to combine that knowledge with our cloud services to help public and private institutions scale to meet the tremendous economic growth and technological innovation in the country and across the region.

In Europe, we’re continuing to expand our substantial cloud footprint in response to customer demand and to address the needs of some of the world’s leading industries and organizations. Our engagement with financial institutions and regulators in Switzerland over the past several years has led to a deeper understanding of the market and the opportunity for locally delivered, trusted enterprise cloud services to meet their unique requirements. We intend to be the first global cloud operator to introduce cloud regions in Switzerland, which will be in the cantons of Geneva and Zurich. We are also expanding the cloud service options available with the addition of new cloud regions in Germany. This new cloud offering will complement the options currently available for customers today. The two new regions will provide enterprise-grade reliability, performance and business continuity combined with data residency within Germany and connectivity to Microsoft’s global public cloud network.

In France, the Microsoft Cloud is now open to thousands of customers, partners and ISVs with today’s general availability of both Azure and Office 365. With this milestone, Microsoft is empowering organizations like Naval Energies — a global player in renewable marine energies; Astrimmo — a leading provider of housing services in France; and Ercom — a French company specializing in cybersecurity, with greater scalability, agility and the opportunity to develop new cloud-based solutions. Also starting March 14, existing Office 365 customers from France and French territories will be able to opt-in to be moved to the local cloud regions in France.

Microsoft has a long history of collaborating with customers to navigate evolving business needs and has developed strategies to help customers prepare for the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We’re invested to make the Microsoft Cloud GDPR compliant when the regulation becomes effective on May 25, 2018, delivering innovation that accelerates GDPR compliance, and building a community of experts to help customers along their full GDPR journey.

Over the last three years, we’ve more than doubled the number of Azure regions available. As of today, Azure has more regions than any other cloud provider. We’ve announced a goal to be in 50 regions across the globe, including plans for 12 new regions.

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 also continue to expand the data residency options for customers with 17 geographies announced. The two products are the only productivity and business application platforms that can offer in-geo data residency across such a broad set of locations. Each datacenter geography, or geo, delivers a consistent experience, backed by robust policies, controls and systems to help keep data safe and help comply with local and regional regulations.

You can learn more about our transformative cloud solutions at Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, or follow these links to learn more about today’s announcements in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

 

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Grow, build and connect with Microsoft for Startups

We’re excited to announce Microsoft for Startups, a new program that delivers access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base.  We are committing $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to our technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.

Microsoft for Startups logo

Grow with unparalleled access to customers. Microsoft for Startups takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners. Microsoft has over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. The program provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem.

Build on a trusted cloud that scales with you. The program provides startups with up to $120,000 in free Azure credits, enterprise grade technical support and development tools – supporting the languages of their choice, such as Node.js, Java and .NET.  In addition, qualified startups also get access to productivity and business applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Connect to the right resources at the right time.  Microsoft for Startups helps startups at every stage in ecosystems around the world:

  • Microsoft Reactors are physical spaces where entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the business community can come together to interact, learn and share. Over the next month, we will open the doors on new Microsoft Reactor spaces in London, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Shanghai and Beijing. These spaces join our existing locations in Redmond, Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
  • Microsoft ScaleUp (formerly Microsoft Accelerators) is an immersive global program that offers late-stage and series A startups who have the greatest propensity to take advantage of Microsoft’s growth programs, such as co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.
  • Microsoft Ventures is Microsoft’s strategic venture capital investment team whose mission is to be an active partner at key stages of a startup’s growth, typically investing between Series A and D.

Startups inspire us by pushing the envelope of the possible and building products that improve our personal and professional lives. Microsoft is excited to partner with startups to empower every person and organization on the planet.

To learn more, please visit Microsoft Startups.

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The story behind Microsoft’s earnings: The intelligent cloud powers customer innovation across industries

Microsoft illustration
Illustration by Eli Neugeboren

In today’s Microsoft second quarter earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella showcased how customers are using our technology to create digital business solutions. The 56 percent year-over-year growth in commercial cloud revenue — with broad-based growth across geographic markets and industry segments — is fueled by customer and partner success.

Just this week, we announced news with Publicis Groupe, Columbia Sportswear and PTC. Communications and advertising giant Publicis Groupe is building its new AI-powered platform, Marcel, on Microsoft Azure and Office 365 to empower its 80,000 employees worldwide. Columbia Sportswear, innovator in active outdoor apparel, announced its choice of Dynamics 365 and Azure to its enhance worldwide consumer experience. Plus, PTC, a leader in product lifecycle management solutions that include Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and 3D computer-aided design for the industrial sector, has selected Azure as its preferred cloud platform.

Below are more customer highlights from this quarter.

In the industrial sector, United Technologies Corp. (UTC) builds and services millions of products, from elevators in some of the world’s tallest buildings to aerospace equipment. UTC is using Dynamics 365 and Azure to help its massive field organization better predict and respond to customer needs. Chevron announced Azure as its primary cloud for intelligent, digitized oil fields in order to increase revenues, reduce costs and improve the safety and reliability of operations.

Consumer product companies are innovating with the Microsoft cloud, too. Kohler has built a legacy of blending home comfort and style through innovation. This year marks Kohler’s entrance into the connected home market with a new line of kitchen and bathroom products, Kohler Konnect. For example, with Azure IoT, Kohler Konnect products respond to voice and in-app commands to manage bath temperature or start a shower.

In real estate, CBRE entered the smart building market with a customizable, connected workplace solution to give property investors and occupants a single, seamless access point to building amenities and services. Powered by Azure IoT, the CBRE 360 mobile apps will allow users to locate colleagues and navigate the workplace, reserve workspaces, and access food and beverage services, as well as basic building and high-end concierge services.

In retail, national grocery chain Kroger is leveraging Azure to power its EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment) solution — a grocery-store shelf with digital screen displays showing prices, nutritional information and more. The system manages high volumes of data, better connects store management and customers and ensures stock does not run low. Home-improvement company Lowe’s worked with Fellow Robots to deploy autonomous LoweBots to assist with inventory data and shelf intelligence. As the LoweBot scans inventory on the shelves, Azure helps Lowe’s keep constant tabs on inventory and frees store employees to assist customers. Merkal Calzados, Spain’s leading retailer of affordable footwear, has chosen Dynamics 365 for retail, finance, operations, and customer service to transform how it selects and sources product, improve marketing and accelerate omnichannel growth.

One of the world’s largest casual dining companies, Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., chose Azure to help its digital transformation across approximately 97,000 team members and almost 1,500 restaurants. The parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s and Fleming’s Steakhouse, Bloomin’ Brands is using Azure advanced analytics, machine learning and Power BI to enable guest engagement and convenience through mobile apps, websites and e-commerce, including the customer loyalty program.

In the healthcare sector, UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Bank, continues to improve its health savings account (HSA) solution, powered on Azure, by creating a seamless customer experience for 1.2 million HSA accounts. For example, ReceiptVault allows HSA owners to safely manage their health care receipts in one place, which is an important tax requirement.

Aurora Health Care operates 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics and 70 pharmacies throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Premera Blue Cross is the largest health plan in the Pacific Northwest, and UPMC is one of the largest integrated health care delivery networks in the U.S. These partners are working with us on a new AI-powered health bot project, currently in private preview. Powered by Cognitive Services and enriched with medical content, the bots give customers self-service access to their health-related questions and information.

In the government space, Kansas City’s Azure-powered solution from Opti improves water quality and saves local citizens and companies money. The solution uses a wide range of data to control rainwater entry into the sewer system and could reduce the overall cost of the program by almost a billion dollars over 25 years.

In the world of payment technology, Mastercard selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace that empowers its employees’ teamwork and innovation. One of the largest companies in the payments space, Mastercard connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories to achieve their vision of a world beyond cash. The company is also leveraging Azure for apps, including Masterpass, a digital mobile wallet and rewards program application.

In the auto industry, Volkswagen Group Digital is piloting new forms of workplaces. The company recently deployed Surface Books, Surface Pros, Surface Studios and Surface Hubs in its 10X service design lab and Future Centers, and to run its collaboration application, DEON. DB Schenker, a division of Deutsche Bahn AG, focuses on logistics across air, land, sea freight as well as contracts logistics. The company turned to Windows 10 to help safeguard its business with intelligent, built-in security and to empower the productivity of its global, mobile workforce.

Across the globe, industry leaders are choosing Microsoft to power their business strategies and new products, or support culture change. I am constantly inspired by our customers’ and partners’ digital ambitions and innovation, and I am eager to continue partnering with them on their digital journey.

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Microsoft acquires PlayFab, accelerating game development innovation in the cloud

Today, I am pleased to welcome PlayFab to the Microsoft family. PlayFab is a complete backend platform provider of services to build, launch and grow cloud-connected games. PlayFab’s tools are designed to be used by game developers across all platforms (mobile, PC and console). This acquisition extends the investments and work we’ve done on Microsoft Azure to provide a world-class cloud platform for the gaming industry.

As Satya Nadella noted in our annual shareholders meeting, “We’re mobilizing to pursue our extensive opportunity in a 100-plus-billion gaming market. This means broadening our approach to how we think about gaming end to end, about starting with games and how they’re creating and distributed, and how they’re played and viewed.”

PlayFab logo

Over 1 billion people play games, fueling a thriving industry whose ecosystem is evolving and growing quickly. Many industries are moving to the intelligent cloud, and this trend is true in gaming as well.  This means an increasing number of developers are looking to create connected games for mobile, PC and console devices that have a significant emphasis on post-launch operations. However, the cost and complexity of achieving this through custom-built, server-side tools and technologies is high, and PlayFab offers developers a compelling model that scales naturally with their games’ players.

PlayFab’s backend services reduce the barriers to launch for game developers, offering both large and small studios cost-effective development solutions that scale with their games and help them engage, retain and monetize players. PlayFab enables developers to use the intelligent cloud to build and operate games, analyze gaming data and improve overall gaming experiences.

The PlayFab platform is a natural complement to Azure for gaming (Visit azure.com/gaming for more info). Azure, with locations in 42 regions worldwide, provides world-class server infrastructure, allowing creators to focus on building great games with best-available global reach. For gamers, this leads to a higher, faster degree of innovation and better experiences.  

Incorporating PlayFab’s experience, growing network of game developers and powerful gaming-as-a-service platform into our product offering is an important step forward for gaming at Microsoft. PlayFab has served more than 700 million gamers and is currently powering more than 1,200 games with companies like Disney, Rovio and Atari. Its gaming platform powers some of the most prominent titles in the industry, such as “Idle Miner Tycoon,” “Angry Birds: Seasons” and “Roller Coaster Tycoon Touch.”

Together, Azure and PlayFab will further unlock the power of the intelligent cloud for the gaming industry, enabling game developers and delighting gamers around the world.

For more information on PlayFab, you can find a blog post from James Gwertzman, CEO and co-founder, here.

Thanx,
Kareem

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Microsoft to acquire Avere Systems, accelerating high-performance computing innovation for media and entertainment industry and beyond

The cloud is providing the foundation for the digital economy, changing how organizations produce, market and monetize their products and services. Whether it’s building animations and special effects for the next blockbuster movie or discovering new treatments for life-threatening diseases, the need for high-performance storage and the flexibility to store and process data where it makes the most sense for the business is critically important.

Over the years, Microsoft has made a number of investments to provide our customers with the most flexible, secure and scalable storage solutions in the marketplace. Today, I am pleased to share that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Avere Systems, a leading provider of high-performance NFS and SMB file-based storage for Linux and Windows clients running in cloud, hybrid and on-premises environments.

Avere logoAvere uses an innovative combination of file system and caching technologies to support the performance requirements for customers who run large-scale compute workloads. In the media and entertainment industry, Avere has worked with global brands including Sony Pictures Imageworks, animation studio Illumination Mac Guff and Moving Picture Company (MPC) to decrease production time and lower costs in a world where innovation and time to market is more critical than ever.

High performance computing needs however do not stop there. Customers in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services, manufacturing and more are increasingly looking for these types of solutions to help transform their businesses. The Library of Congress, Johns Hopkins University and Teradyne, a developer and supplier of automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry, are great examples where Avere has helped scale datacenter performance and capacity, and optimize infrastructure placement.

By bringing together Avere’s storage expertise with the power of Microsoft’s cloud, customers will benefit from industry-leading innovations that enable the largest, most complex high-performance workloads to run in Microsoft Azure. We are excited to welcome Avere to Microsoft, and look forward to the impact their technology and the team will have on Azure and the customer experience.

You can also read a blog post from Ronald Bianchini Jr., president and CEO of Avere Systems, here.

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Microsoft builds and integrates Azure Location Based Services directly into the cloud

Microsoft believes that advances in technology will solve many of the problems created in the industrial era and help make society safer, more sustainable, efficient and inclusive.

For example, as enterprises harness the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect their physical assets to the cloud, they are dramatically reducing energy usage and consuming fewer natural resources. While the breakthrough insights IoT solutions can provide are significant, they can be even more powerful when combined with locationbased insights.

Today at AutoMobility LA, Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure Location Based Services, a new Azure cloud offering to power the “Location of Things.”  This includes geographical data that can better connect smart cities, infrastructure and IoT solutions, and empower industrial transformation, from manufacturing to retail to automotive – and everything in between.

Available in early December, Azure Location Based Services provides an enterprise-ready location service for customers to build mobility, asset tracking and other geospatial applications that provide useful insights through one dashboard, one subscription and one bill. Azure Location Based Services also provides enterprises with the privacy, data sovereignty, compliance, scale and simplicity they have come to expect from Azure services.

As IoT continues to transform businesses by providing breakthrough insights and optimizations for connected assets, location becomes even more important. For instance, a department of transportation can now use Azure Location Based Services to analyze and improve traffic in congested cities, freight companies can provide improved fleet management and logistics, and businesses can track the location of assets and be notified when their location changes.

Customers and partners harness the cloud to create mobility solutions

Joining us as our first official partner on the platform is TomTom. Mapmaking is in TomTom’s DNA. The company created one of the first digital maps in the world by harnessing the power of community. We believe that TomTom’s API, which builds on top of Microsoft’s cloud, is the glue between smart cities, smart infrastructure and smart vehicles, rather than Automotive on its own. Esri, an enterprise mapping and geographic information system (GIS) technology leader, also intends to join Azure Location Based Services to provide business customers with a complete set of location data management, digital mapping and geographic analytics, provided through Esri’s ArcGIS suite and developer APIs.

Several service providers in the mobility space have been testing Azure Location Based Services in private preview. Cubic Telecom, an Ireland-based global telecommunications service provider in the IoT and automotive sectors, has built a proof of concept that uses the services to rank the effectiveness of their charging station placements and suggest new charging locations based on network hotspots using their aggregated (and anonymous) connectivity data. Fathym, a U.S.-based IoT solutions company, is using the services to help cities and government agencies and commercial trucking companies visualize road weather conditions on maps and data visualizations and optimize for other routes if weather conditions are unsafe.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud is also the preferred cloud of a number of automotive makers. ICONIQ, a Chinese electric-vehicle maker, has selected the Microsoft Azure cloud to provide predictive maintenance, vehicle diagnostics and analytics, and a voice assistant in its cars. This is a key partnership for Microsoft in the vast and growing Chinese vehicle market.

Microsoft is building digital infrastructure on its cloud with hundreds of thousands of partners from the automotive, smart city and location industries. In addition to TomTom, Cubic Telecom, Fathym and ICONIQ, here’s a rundown of the other Microsoft partner companies that are joining us in our booth at Automobility this week:

BrightBox: provides a connected car platform called Remoto that links drivers to their cars, and the vehicles to car manufacturers, dealerships and third-party service providers.

Cubic Transportation: NextCityTM is Cubic’s coordinated framework for building a smarter tomorrow in the world’s urban centers, where increasing populations are resulting in greater traffic congestion, frustrated travelers and less productivity. NextCity integrates all travel information, payment and other customer experience, as well as operations and analytics in a given region for all modes of transportation.

Delphi: building autonomous driving solutions by integrating safer, greener and more connected solutions for the automotive and transportation sectors.

Otonomo: building the world’s first connected vehicle data marketplace platform for the safe and simple access, acquisition and integration of vehicle data. Otonomo facilitates a win-win situation for auto OEMs, mobility service providers and drivers.

The Future of Urban Mobility and Beyond

Microsoft’s commitment to improving urban mobility through technology goes beyond product announcements and partnerships. Earlier this month, we announced an expansion to an open-source research project called AirSim that tests the safety of artificial intelligence systems. AirSim provides realistic environments, vehicle dynamics and sensing for how autonomous vehicles that use AI can operate safely in the open world. And through the Vision Zero project Microsoft is working with companies such as Open Data Nation (ODN) to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. Microsoft has also invested in technologies that can help create inclusiveness between governments and citizens, and in collaboration with G3ict and World Enabled, we recently launched the Smart Cities for All Toolkit.

With the number of people living in cities expected to triple by 2050, it’s hard to overstate how important IoT-based solutions, including location-based services, and greater digital connectivity will be in achieving our vision for safer, more sustainable and equitable societies.

Please join us at booth #138 at Automobility to see how together with customers and partners we’ll make connected societies even more possible.

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Developing for the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge at Microsoft Connect(); 2017

Today we’re kicking off Connect(); 2017, one of my favorite annual Microsoft developer events, where over three days we get to host approximately 150 livestreamed and interactive sessions for developers everywhere — no matter the tools they use or the platforms they prefer. Today at Connect(); 2017 I’m excited to share news that will help developers build for the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. It’s never been a better time to be a developer, as developers are at the forefront of building the apps driving monumental change across organizations and entire industries. At Microsoft, we’re laser-focused on delivering tools and services that make developers more productive, helping developers create in the open, and putting AI into the hands of every developer so they unleash the power of data and reimagine possibilities that will improve our world.

Any developer, any application, any platform

In previous years at Connect(); we announced the open-sourcing of .NET Core. Last year we announced Microsoft joining the Linux foundation and shared SQL Server on Linux. This year we’re continuing to deliver on our commitment to the open source community and making sure we can support customers no matter their platform of choice.

Azure Databricks — preview: Built in collaboration with the founders of Apache® Spark, Azure Databricks is a fast, easy and collaborative Apache® Spark-based analytics platform optimized for Azure. Azure Databricks combines the best of Databricks and Azure to help customers accelerate innovation with one-click set up, streamlined workflows and an interactive workspace. Native integration with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Storage, Azure Cosmos DB and Power BI simplifies the creation of modern data warehouses that enable organizations to provide self-service analytics and machine learning over both relational and non-relational data with enterprise-grade performance and governance. Customers inherently benefit from enterprise-grade Azure security, compliance and SLAs, as well as simplified security and identity control with Azure Active Directory integration. With these innovations, Azure is the one-stop destination to unlock powerful scenarios that make AI easy.

Microsoft joins MariaDB Foundation: Today we’re excited to be joining the MariaDB community as a platinum member of the MariaDB Foundation. As part of this membership, we’re committed to working closely with the foundation, actively contributing to MariaDB and the MariaDB community. We’re also announcing we’ll be delivering a preview of Azure Database for MariaDB, which will bring the fully managed service capabilities to MariaDB. Developers can sign up for the upcoming preview for Azure Database for MariaDB.

Azure Cosmos DB with Apache® Cassandra API — preview: With this preview, developers now get a Cassandra-as-a-service using the Cassandra SDKs and tools they are familiar with using the power of Azure Cosmos DB. Developers re-use existing code they’ve already written and build new applications using the Cassandra API against Azure Cosmos DB’s globally distributed, multi-model database service. Azure Cosmos DB has been designed to scale throughput and storage across any number of geographical regions with comprehensive SLAs and with greater consistency levels for more precise data latency management.

GitHub Partnership on GVFS: With GitHub, today we’re announcing Microsoft and GitHub are partnering to bring GVFS to GitHub’s 25 million users. GVFS is an open-source extension to the Git version control system developed by Microsoft to support the world’s largest repositories.

Helping developers be more productive

At Microsoft our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and developers are no exception to this. We have a strong set of new announcements to help developers, as well as whole development teams, be more productive as they move into a world of continual innovation and continual development of their apps. At Connect(); we’re announcing:

 Visual Studio App Center — general availability: The most comprehensive app development lifecycle solution for Objective-C, Swift, Java, Xamarin and React Native, Visual Studio App Center helps developers automate and manage the lifecycle of their iOS, Android, Windows and macOS apps. Developers can connect their repos and within minutes automate their builds, test on real devices in the cloud, distribute apps to beta testers and monitor real-world usage with crash and analytics data, all in one place.

 Visual Studio Live Share — first look: Visual Studio is delivering the next major advancement in developer productivity with Visual Studio Live Share, which enables true real-time collaboration within both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. It lets developers seamlessly and securely share their project with other developers so that they can collaboratively edit and debug in real time together without having to sit in front of the same screen or in the same room. Rather than just screen sharing, Visual Studio Live Share lets developers share their full project context with a bi-directional, instant and familiar way to jump into opportunistic, collaborative programming.

Visual Studio Connected Environment for Azure Container Service (AKS) — upcoming preview: Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code will now use the Connected Environment for AKS features, making Kubernetes development a natural for Visual Studio developers. Developers will be able to easily edit and debug cloud native applications running on Kubernetes in the cloud with the speed, ease and full functionality and productivity they’ve come to expect from Visual Studio.

Azure DevOps Projects — preview: Available in the Azure management portal, Azure DevOps Projects will deliver a guided experience, helping developers easily explore the many Azure platform services available to help build their apps and in the process, configure a full DevOps pipeline powered by Visual Studio Team Services.  In less than five minutes, this feature will ensure that DevOps is not an afterthought, but instead the foundation for new projects and one that works with many application frameworks, languages and Azure hosted deployment endpoints.

Take a look at how Columbia Sportswear is leveraging Microsoft’s developer tools and DevOps platform to drive their own digital transformation.

Putting AI in the hands of every developer

As AI becomes more pervasive and developers are able to harness the vast amounts of data being created every day, coupling with the power and scale of the cloud, we want to make it easy for developers to create the next generation of intelligent applications. We want to put AI in the hands of every developer with the tools and platforms they are most familiar with. With the announcements below, we’re delivering new AI tools and bringing machine leaning and intelligence to the edge.

Visual Studio Tools for AI — preview: This is an extension of our popular Visual Studio IDE, which will allow developers and data scientists to create AI models with maximum productivity. Visual Studio Tools for AI delivers debugging and rich editing, with the support of most deep learning frameworks such as Cognitive Toolkit, TensorFlow or Caffe. With this addition, developers and data scientists have a full development experience at their fingertips to create, train, manage and deploy models locally, and scale to Azure.

Azure IoT Edge — preview: Today we’re making available the preview of Azure IoT Edge, a service that deploys cloud intelligence to IoT devices via containers, and we’re introducing a new set of breakthrough cloud capabilities to run on IoT Edge, with Azure Machine Learning, Azure Functions and Azure Stream Analytics. Azure IoT Edge enables developers to build and test container-based workloads using C, Java, .NET, Node.js and Python, and simplifies the deployment and management of workloads at the edge. Azure IoT Edge can run on IoT devices with as little as 128MB of memory. As part of this announcement, we’re also releasing Azure Machine Learning updates, which enables AI models to be deployed and run on edge devices through the Azure IoT Edge service. Additional updates include easier AI model deployment on iOS devices with Core ML, as well as updates to the Azure Machine Learning Workbench tool.

Every year at Connect(); we get to share new tools and services that we hope will empower and inspire developers to build great apps. I encourage you to tune into Connect(); 2017 to learn more about all of the new innovations we’re announcing today, and to see what you can reimagine.

 

 

 

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The story behind Microsoft’s earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation in the cloud

Today, Microsoft announced its first quarter earnings. One big takeaway is that we exceeded our goal to meet a $20 billion in commercial cloud annualized revenue run rate. This exciting milestone represents our continued delivery of new cloud technologies and our customers’ digital innovation. Across major industries — from finance and energy sector to retail and professional sports — organizations are betting on Microsoft to help them transform their customers’ experiences, employee productivity, operations and products. In fact, 96 percent of Fortune 500 companies have at least one of our cloud offerings, and 90 percent have at least two. I will share some of the product news and customer stories.

Last quarter, we shipped a range of cloud infrastructure and applications to give customers the foundation for new digital services. Our hybrid cloud solution, Azure Stack, is now available through hardware partners to help companies realize the benefits of an “intelligent cloud, intelligent edge.” We also introduced Azure Confidential Computing, an industry-first advancement in cloud security. Our differentiated hybrid cloud approach addresses the real-world needs of customers and is a key reason they are choosing to partner with Microsoft.

During the same period, Bank of America selected Azure for its tech infrastructure modernization and business transformation, including a goal to deliver 80 percent of its workloads in the cloud in the next few years. Also in financial services, TD Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation are using Azure and its data services to improve customer experiences. And the largest security technology company, Symantec, runs Norton security on Azure to help protect 50 million people, a key part of its hybrid cloud strategy.

From oil and gas to healthcare, industry leaders are choosing Azure. BP chose Azure to power its proprietary data lake to make better business decisions. Schlumberger’s new DrillPlan digital well construction solution relies on Azure and the Azure Stack, as well as Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. And, Halliburton’s DecisionSpace 365 digitizes the oil field with IoT on Azure. This week, we announced an alliance with PAREXEL, a leading biopharmaceutical services organization, to drive transformation in the life sciences industry powered by Azure technology. Together we’re aiming to accelerate the drug development process, reducing the time it takes to bring therapies to market and into the hands of patients.

Microsoft continues to invest in data and AI solutions that help customers convert raw information into insights and intelligent services. The new generation of Azure Machine Learning makes it easy to develop, experiment and deploy AI models on any data, at any scale. The new SQL Server 2017 is a hybrid cloud database for a company’s most important apps, with built-in AI and world-class security.

Steelcase is using Azure IoT to develop Steelcase Workplace Advisor and the Steelcase Personal Assistant app, which help organizations create workplaces that respond to the needs of people while also optimizing real estate investments. Online fashion retailer ASOS is using our global database service, Azure CosmosDB, to better serve 15 million active customers with relevant product recommendations as it introduces 5,000 new products every week. Progressive, one of the largest auto and homeowner insurance carriers, is using Microsoft AI to build its Flo Chatbot and transform the insurance quoting process. And Huawei is delivering real-time translation on the new Mate 10 series device using Microsoft Translator running on our Cognitive Services.

We are infusing AI into all our products, and this last quarter we announced Dynamics 365 AI solutions —part of our focus on business applications that modernize work processes. The first solution, already in use at HP Inc., includes an intelligent virtual agent for customer care and service. And across the board, customers of all stripes are adopting Dynamics 365 to reinvent how they do business, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to the Seattle Seahawks. Our hometown football team is all in with Microsoft’s Cloud, Dynamics 365 and devices throughout its organization.

Fostering the modern workplace is a top priority as well. We want to empower everyone to be more creative and collaborative with Office 365, Windows 10 and security technology. In the first quarter, we advanced this effort with the introduction of Microsoft 365 F1 for the world’s 2 billion first-line workers, as well as Microsoft 365 Education, including Minecraft, for students and teachers.

From retail to automotive, we’re seeing companies leverage the power of our cloud to help their workforce collaborate. Lowe’s, a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company, is creating a modern workplace for 260,000 employees and more personalized service in 2,200 stores, providing anytime access to productivity tools from any device, including Surface Hubs. Devon Energy, a Fortune 500 oil and natural gas exploration and production company, uses Microsoft 365 to connect field employees with engineers and petrochemical professionals a thousand miles away.

The Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest beverage company, has selected and will deploy Windows 10 to be the foundation to safeguard its business with intelligent security built-in to modernize end user IT management processes to reduce cost, and to empower and unlock the creativity of its global workforce. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is deploying Windows 10 as the foundation of its modern IT workplace. The move will help empower their employees, improve efficiency and modernize end-user technology management tools and processes. Ford designers are using mixed reality to blend 3D holograms digitally with both clay models and physical production vehicles, allowing them to experiment and iterate on design much more quickly.

I am inspired every day by how our customers are embracing digital transformation to create lasting value. At Microsoft, nothing is more important than the success of their transformation, which is why we are committed to partnering at every step of their digital journey.

Judson

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Now taking orders for Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack

Now taking orders for Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack We are now taking orders for Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack, offering customers a powerful cloud-ready solution that gives them full control over how they manage data, governance, security and performance. We combined Microsoft’s robust Azure cloud platform with Cisco’s UCS server […]

Celebrating the completion of the most advanced subsea cable across the Atlantic

When it comes to computing, speed matters. So does resiliency. Today, we’re proud to announce the completion of the Marea subsea cable, which is unmatched in its capabilities. Spanish for tide, Marea is a joint project between Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, that helps to upgrade the global internet infrastructure to better meet the rapidly growing demand for internet and cloud services in our increasingly connected world.

Lying more than 17,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, Marea is the most technologically advanced subsea cable to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the first cable to connect Virginia and Spain, landing in Virginia Beach and Bilbao.

The value of partnering for success

Recognizing a need for greater resiliency for networks across the Atlantic, Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius pursued the creation of Marea along a route south of existing transatlantic cable systems. Being physically separate from the other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for customers in the United States, Europe and beyond.

The Marea cable’s new “open” design allows it to evolve with technology, ensuring the highest performance for users now and well into the future, even as the global population of internet users grows. And make no mistake, the demand is growing. Just think of the many high-bandwidth applications and content you use today such as Skype and Facebook Live, and the volume of streaming videos, movies and music consumed daily. This ability to interoperate with many different kinds of networking equipment brings significant benefits including lower costs and easier equipment upgrades, leading to faster growth in bandwidth rates.

Completed in less than two years — nearly three times faster than is typical — Marea is a powerful example of the important role the private sector has to play in connecting the world. It also set a new standard for subsea cables because it is designed to meet today’s demand and evolve with the progress of tomorrow, allowing companies offering digital services to be better equipped to handle cross-border internet traffic, which is expected to increase eightfold by 2025.

Rapid growth demands strong investment

At more than 4,000 miles (6,600 kilometers) long and almost 10.25 million pounds (4.65 million kilograms) — or about the weight of 34 blue whales — the Marea cable is a feat of engineering, collaboration and innovation. The cable can transmit up to 160 terabits of data per second. That’s more than 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection, making it capable of streaming 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously.

In a time when global economies are deepening their reliance on cloud technologies, and both private and public sectors are embracing the opportunities for growth and improvement through digital transformation, we’re energized by the impact the Marea subsea cable will have on the advancement of cloud computing and digital services. And we look forward to furthering our respective investments in building high-tech infrastructure to better connect our world, foster economic growth and advance technological capabilities.

Learn more about the Marea project

We’re excited to share this technological feat and take some time upon the completion to explore what the cable means for connecting businesses in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the next billion internet users in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

We will livestream the celebration from Williamsburg, Virginia, at 9:30 a.m. ET Friday (recorded playback will be available). Microsoft and our partners will be joined onstage by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. We hope you’ll join us online as well to explore our photos, videos and interactive multimedia features about the construction of the Marea subsea cable.

Enabling the Azure cloud platform

Marea will enhance the Microsoft Cloud, which is supported by one of the largest multi-terabit networks on the planet, through additional capacity and resiliency. As part of Microsoft’s mission to enable every person and organization to achieve more, we continue to grow Microsoft Cloud offerings and build out the unprecedented level of global infrastructure required to enable ever-faster and even more resilient connections.

That’s why today we’re also announcing Azure Availability Zones, our latest infrastructure service, which increases Azure’s resiliency capabilities, broadens customer options for business continuity and enables customers to deliver highly available applications and cloud services around the world. Learn more on the Microsoft Azure Blog and the Azure site.

Through our global infrastructure, our Azure cloud platform offers the scale needed to bring applications closer to users and customers around the world.

 

The post Celebrating the completion of the most advanced subsea cable across the Atlantic appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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