Microsoft Build 2018 – AI, IoT and Edge are changing the world

May 9th, 2018 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build, is happening in Seattle.

Expect the products and services that emerge from the conference to have a major impact on all businesses not just those that use Microsoft products.. Azure and Microsoft 365, the announcements made at Build 2018 seem to point to key themes that will impact the enterprise.

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 — 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. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described this new world view, and AI that can power better health care, relieve challenges around basic human needs and create a society that’s more inclusive and accessible.

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”, the interface between the computer and the real world. The Edge combines AI and cloud together to collect and make sense of new information, whether they be on the factory floor or in the operating room or areas to dangerous for humans.

What to expect:

1. AI – all pervasive
Google and facebook are not the only tech firms leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Microsoft’s declared its mission to “help every developer be an AI developer.” CEO Satya Nadella called it the “era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.” Microsoft announced a new architecture for neural networks, new AI SDKs, new cognitive services, and even AI-powered software development.

The firm also unveiled Windows Machine Learning, which it described in a press release as “a new platform that enables developers to easily develop machine learning models in the intelligent cloud and then deploy them offline and in high performance to the PC platform.”

2.Over the Edge
Microsoft has expanded outside of the office. Building on its efforts in AI, Microsoft launched a host of new edge computing capabilities and Internet of Things (IoT) products for developers to build solutions to support new, automated business processes.

At Build, Microsoft:
- open sourced the Azure IoT Edge Runtime for easier debugging,
- enabled its Custom Vision cognitive service to run on the Azure IoT platform,
- worked with DJI to build a drone SDK for Windows 10 PCs,
- highlighted mixed reality, with two new apps for irst 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.
- With Qualcomm Technologies Inc., announced a joint effort to create a vision AI dev kit running Azure IoT Edge, for camera-based IoT solutions.
Other advancements include a preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing, available on Azure and on the edge. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run real-time AI today.
. Microsoft is integrating Visual Studio App Center with GitHub for iOS and Android developers to support DevOps process automation,
- Microsoft is also embracing blockchain with the Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench, to streamline the process for building blockchain applications.
- Project Kinect for Azure — a package of sensors from Microsoft that contains 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

3. Microsoft 365 is here to stay

Microsoft 365, the company’s enterprise bundle offering of Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, was also a focus of Build,
“Microsoft 365 is where the world gets its best work done,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft,. “With 135 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 and nearly 700 million Windows 10 connected devices, Microsoft 365 helps developers reach people how and where they work.”

The Microsoft 365 offering, is boosted by:
- new support for Power BI Visualizations in Excel,
- Microsoft Teams APIs in the Microsoft Graph,
- Fluent Design System updates, .
- NET Core 3.0, and Azure Machine Learning and JavaScript custom functions for Excel.

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