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.
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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.
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.
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:
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.
The post Grow, build and connect with Microsoft for Startups appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.
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.
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.”
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.
The post Microsoft acquires PlayFab, accelerating game development innovation in the cloud appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.
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 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.
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.
The post The story behind Microsoft’s earnings: Our customers’ digital innovation in the cloud appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.