Archive for Maio, 2019

Microsoft celebrates Pride, takes action for equity and visibility

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Fifty years ago, on June 28, LGBTQI+ patrons and allies at New York City’s Stonewall Inn stood up for justice demanding an equal life free of persecution. This year, as more than 4,000 Microsoft employees march in Pride parades in more than 60 cities and 30 countries around the world, we invite you to join us in pushing inclusion forward.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, we’re taking action for equity by donating to LGBTQI+ nonprofits. Plus, we’re releasing limited-edition products designed with and by the LGBTQI+ community.

 

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Microsoft has a history of LGBTQI+ inclusion

For us, Pride is an opportunity to reflect on our past and galvanize for action. We started our inclusion journey early in the company’s history, introducing sexual orientation in our non-discrimination policies in 1989. In 1993, we were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In 2004, we added gender identity to our Equal Employment Opportunity statement and started providing gender affirming healthcare services. Since 2005, Microsoft has attained a top  score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which indicates that Microsoft is establishing and applying policies to protect the LGBTQI+ community.

Our journey is just beginning

Today, Microsoft operates in over 120 countries, most of which still don’t provide legal protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. This year, Microsoft’s Pride campaign is all about the actions that our employees and customers are taking to advance inclusion. GLEAM (Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft), our LGBTQI+ resource group, worked with many of our teams to develop products to create visibility into the LGBTQI+ community.

In designing this year’s Pride campaign, LGBTQI+ designers and allies at Microsoft reflected on the LGBTQI+ rights movement of the 1970s. Dozens of LGBTQI+ community members and their allies submitted designs for campaign buttons displaying everything from personal statements to political slogans. These buttons reflect actions that people at Microsoft are taking and are encouraging others to take.

Microsoft is releasing all the button designs as a downloadable archive so everyone can use them, add to them and share their Pride with everyone, wherever they are.

Several Pride-related buttons

For the first time, we’ve also created limited-edition products and curated content to show our continued support for the LGBTQI+ community.

  • Surface – Inspired by the rich and varied tapestry of the LGBTQI+ community, make a more colorful impact with the limited-edition Surface Pro Pride Type Cover and Pride Skin available in the US, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. (only Type Cover).

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  • Windows PrideWindows – This Windows 10 special-edition theme was inspired by the many LGBTQI+ flags. Download the Windows Pride theme pack from the Microsoft Store.
  • Mixer – Discover Pride on Mixer with dedicated streams from select partners, unique stickers, and exclusive programs. Tune in on June 30th to live stream the Seattle Pride Parade!
  • Bing – Learn more about Stonewall on Bing with uniquely curated content featuring LGBTQI+ Bing Prideactivism dating back to 1969 with this quiz. And see Pride take over the Bing homepage in select countries around the world.
  • Office – Show your Pride colors with the exclusive Office theme and unique Pride templates for PowerPoint.
  • Skype – Celebrate Pride with Skype’s new LGBTQI+ flag emoticons, stickers, and more.
  • Xbox – Show your colors and celebrate your love of gaming with the Xbox Pride Sphere Pin available at xbox.com.Xbox Pride
  • Microsoft Rewards – Support LGBTQI+ youth in crisis by donating to The Trevor Project in June, and we’ll match it. Not a Microsoft Rewards member? Join today and we’ll give you $1 free to donate.
  • Microsoft Store – Visit your local Microsoft Store to take part in a Pride celebration, march with us, or learn more at educational workshops, events, and other activities.

Actions speak louder than words!

We’re donating $100,000 to the following nonprofits in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States to celebrate and support their work on LGBTQI+ equity:

  • Established in 1985, ACON is Australia’s largest health promotion organization specializing in HIV prevention, HIV support and LGBTQ health.
  • Egale works to improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people in Canada and to enhance the global response to LGBTQI2S issues. They do this by informing public policy, inspiring cultural change, and promoting human rights and inclusion.
  • Mermaids is the only U.K.-wide charity working to support transgender or gender non-conforming children, young people, and their families. Their goal is to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. Mermaids promotes education and awareness, and offers information, support, friendship and shared experiences to those in need.
  •  The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people under 25.

We’re also happy to announce that LGBTQI+ nonprofit, Destination Tomorrow, was awarded a grant from the Microsoft Store to support their inclusion efforts for people of color. See what happened when we took action to help them thrive.

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We invite everyone to join us in taking action for equality. Microsoft Pride 2019 products launch today! Follow along with our stories all month and learn more about actions you can take for equality by joining the social conversation using #MicrosoftPride.

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Microsoft unveils details of London flagship store

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This first physical retail store for Microsoft in the U.K. will open to the general public on July 11, joining other world-class Microsoft Store locations all over the world, including flagships in New York and Sydney and stores across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and online in more than 190 countries.

This store is the latest step in our almost 40-year investment in the U.K., including recently doubling the size of Microsoft’s Azure regions to help more organizations digitally transform. We’re also committed to supporting the growth of digital skills in the U.K. in partnership with computing education and youth communities.

The flagship Microsoft Store in London will be located on Oxford Circus and covers 21,932 square feet over three floors. It will feature an Answer Desk, offering a dedicated area for customers to get tech support, trainings, repairs and advice from trusted advisors on Microsoft products and services, no matter where the device was purchased, the brand or operating system. A community theater, a space for tech, coding and STEM learning, will run free, year-round workshops and programs for customers. So if you are a business owner looking for the latest tech to grow your business, a gamer who wants to join a community or show your skills in a tournament, a student wanting to brush up on coding or a teacher looking to bring Minecraft alive in the classroom, customers of all ages and abilities will be able to learn and develop their digital skills.

Those who work, live, shop in or visit the U.K. will also be able to test and experience the latest technology, products and services from Microsoft and its partners. Interactive zones, surrounded by immersive video walls running throughout the store will make this the best place to get hands-on with Surface, Windows, Office, Xbox and PC gaming, HoloLens mixed-reality and more.

The site also adds to the growing list of innovative facilities Microsoft runs in the region, including three gaming studios, the start-up hub Reactor London and the global center of excellence for the development of artificial intelligence and other computing disciplines in the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge.

Designed to build connections with the local community, customers and businesses, this store represents a unique way to deliver on our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. A flagship store in London has long been part of our vision for our physical and digital store presence, and this opening represents another step in our journey to meet our customers – from consumers to businesses – wherever they are and deepen our connection with them. London is one of the world’s most exciting shopping destinations, and we look forward to empowering customers to explore all that is possible with Microsoft.

For more information and to keep up to date with the latest information on the U.K. store opening, please follow us @MicrosoftStoreUK on Instagram and Facebook and visit us online at www.microsoft.com.

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Enabling innovation and opportunity on the Intelligent Edge 

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Today, at Computex in Taipei, Microsoft executives Roanne Sones, CVP OS Platforms and Rodney Clark, VP IoT Sales, shared the keynote stage with me to showcase Microsoft 365, Windows platform and Azure IoT technologies and services that device partners can use to deliver innovative modern PC experiences and build a new generation of connected devices and IoT solutions. In addition, they provided perspective as to how intelligent edge ecosystem partners can fuel business transformation by working together to build edge to cloud IoT solutions.

Microsoft 365 and Windows

The PC ecosystem continues to innovate and build modern Windows PCs that deliver breakthrough performance, enable new scenarios and offer the ultimate in secure, intelligent edge devices that customers love. Partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI have recently announced new modern PCs that will delight both creators and gamers.

Acer concept DAcer’s ConceptD 9 creator notebook features a 4K UHD IPS PANTONE Validated display. Colors are as accurate as possible as the display covers 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut. This creator notebook stays quiet with Acer’s 4th generation AeroBlade 3D Fan with a noise reduction mechanism that emits less than 40 db of noise — equivalent to the sound level of a library — while maintaining high computing and graphics performance. 

 

The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo (UX581), an ultraportable laptop that includes a 4KOLED UHD ASUS ScreenPad Plus (3840 x 2160), a full-width secondary touchscreen (3840 x 1100) that expands and enhances the interactive capabilities of the original ASUS ScreenPad. The display is a frameless four-sided ASUS NanoEdge design, with ultra slim bezels for immersive visuals, in an ultra-compact form factor.ZenBook Pro 15The new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 packs more performance in a thinner design and larger display. Dell’s first laptop with Intel’s Ice Lake-U 10nm 10th gen processors and features adaptive performance based on the latest Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology, which proactively changes the power of the CPU according to the performance of the workload. It comes with a redesigned thermal system to cool the higher performing processor, while creating an overall 8% thinner 2-in-1 than the previous generation.XPS 13 2-in-1HP recently announced the OMEN X 2S. On top of a variety of awesome use cases for messaging, music apps, watching videos, stream chats and OMEN Command Center, it features a real-time screen mirroring feature further bolsters the OMEN X 2S, by cutting and magnifying parts of the main screen – such as copying the map portion of a racing game – to the second screen, ensuring centered vision and more vertical head movement.HP Omen_Dual_gaming

The new Lenovo ThinkPad T495 offers feature upgrades without compromise, and provides a high level of hardware security and LenovoThinkPadT495manageability. It has longer battery life, and increased performance by up to 18 percent (compared to benchmarks of prior generations). And since security is top of mind for everyone, Lenovo is delivering greater peace of mind with just a slide of the ThinkShutter, the all-in-one integrated camera security cover that physically protects ThinkPad users from malicious webcam snoopers.

Featuring the latest RTX graphics and 9th Generation Intel Core i9 processor and Wi-Fi 6, the new MSI GE65 Raider can easily handle demanding AAA game titles. Its ultra-fast 240Hz IPS-level thin bezel display ensures sharp and clear images in a compact form factor, and the new two-toned mesh design at the underside of the unit, inspired by a dragon theme, provides better ventilation and prevents hot air from recirculating.MSI_NB_GE65 RaiderThese new modern PCs and innovative devices the ecosystem will continue to build and bring to market in the future require a modern operating system. An OS  that provides a set of enablers that deliver the foundational experiences customers expect from their devices, and includes a set of delighters that deliver innovative human centric experiences. Enablers include seamless updates – with a modern OS updates are invisibly done in the background; the update experience is deterministic, reliable, and instant with no interruptions! A modern OS, is also secure by default, the state is separated from the operating system; compute is separated from applications; this protects the user from malicious attacks throughout the device lifecycle. Always connected -with a modern OS Wifi, LTE 5G will just work – and users never have to worry about a deadspot. All of a users devices are aware and connected to each other. A modern OS provides sustained performance, from the moment a user picks up their device – everything is ready to go – without having to worry about the next time the PC needs to be charged. These enablers will satisfy customer’s basic needs, but to truly differentiate we must also delight them. A modern OS does this by enabling cloud-connected experiences that use the compute power of the cloud to enhance users experiences on their devices.  These experiences are powered by AI, so a modern OS is aware of what a user is doing tomorrow and helps them get it done, and it enhances applications making them more intelligent. A modern OS is also multi-sense. People can use pen, voice, touch, even gaze – what ever input method a user wants to use works just as well as the keyboard and mouse. Finally, a modern OS provides the ultimate in form factor agility. A modern OS has the right sensor support and posture awareness to enable the breadth of innovative form factors and applications that our partner ecosystem will deliver

These enablers and delighters underpin our vision for a Modern OS, they will provide the foundational elements for an evolution of the PC ecosystem and enable partners  to deliver the more human-centric experiences of tomorrow. Microsoft is investing to enable these modern OS experiences, and to deliver new ones that take advantage of silicon advancements, powerful PCs, the cloud and power of AI. Experiences like an Asian Inking platform, cognitive recognition services that help with photo tagging and new Your Phone capabilities that let users mirror their Android phone screen on their PC and use the PC mouse and keyboard to interact with phone apps and content using either Wi-Fi or LTE.

Intelligent Edge and the Internet of Things

IoT is another area of tremendous growth and unparalleled innovation, and our broad ecosystem of IoT partners including chip makers, hardware manufacturers, solution providers and aggregators are building a diverse assortment of IoT devices and solutions for businesses across industries. At Microsoft our goal is to simplify IoT – from the cloud down to the smallest MCU based devices, and we do this by meeting our partners and customers where they are, with the right intelligent cloud services, software and development tools they need to get devices connected, and manage solutions at scale.

Device partners are utilizing Azure IoT Central, Azure IoT Edge and Windows IoT to build intelligent edge devices that can be connected to the cloud and used in solutions that deliver business results. Today at Computex, we announced that Microsoft and NXP are continuing their efforts to bring the full range of NXP systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) to Windows IoT. The board support package (BSP) for the i.MX6 SoloX applications processors will be generally available in June 2019. Additional BSPs for members of the i.MX6 series are expected to become available later this summer, with BSPs for the i.MX7 and i.MX8 series released later this year.

We’ve recently announced additional services and programs that hardware manufacturers can use to get their devices connected to the cloud and included in IoT solutions.

IoT Plug and Play, a new open modeling language to connect IoT devices to the cloud seamlessly, helps device partners navigate one of the biggest challenges they face — deploying IoT solutions at scale. Previously, software had to be written specifically for the connected device it supported, limiting the scale of IoT deployments. IoT Plug and Play provides partners with a straightforward way to model the capabilities and data coming from their IoT devices and will provide customers with a large portfolio of partner-certified devices that can easily be made to work with any IoT solution, often without writing any new code.

Azure IoT Central is a fully managed global IoT SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage IoT assets at scale. Bring connected products to market faster while staying focused on customers.  New custom dashboard features allow partners to bring their own brand and user experience to their IoT solution, and benefit from the built-in security, reliability, device connectivity and role-based user account management provided by IoT Central.

Microsoft Azure IoT Device Agent V2 for Windows 10 IoT, lets operators configure, monitor and manage their devices remotely from their Azure dashboard. It provides an open-source, ready to build package that: creates and manages the Azure IoT Hub identities on the device, manages the cloud connection and its renewal, provides a plug-in model for platform components, which allows easy onboarding to various Azure services, including discovery, initialization, error reporting and state aggregation, comes with a set of ready-to-ship plug-ins for commonly used platform components and leverages Azure IoT Module Twin so a separate UWP app is not required to connect to Azure IoT Hub.

Businesses who are implementing IoT solutions want to achieve time to value as quickly as possible. And, when partners take advantage of Microsoft’s comprehensive, trusted and easy to use edge to cloud platforms, embrace business model transformation and work together they can reduce the complexity of IoT, and accelerate time to value for customers. Leveraging a common architecture and repeatable solutions based on accelerators can eliminate up to 80 percent of the development work on a new solution, and collaborating with compatible partners offers greater speed, scalability, and depth of expertise. All of which means customers get their IoT solutions up and running faster — hastening ROI and increasing profitability.

Techsun is a great example of an ecosystem partner who is embracing IoT transformation.  They successfully collaborated with Compal to design an AI camera, IoT sensor and IOT management platform that leverages Microsoft services including Edge AI, Azure IoT and cognitive services to develop cloud to edge AI algorithms, a data management platform and a business management platform for retail. A variety of retailers have implemented Techsun’s Retail Next solution and are using consumer flow and store operation data along with information on consumer behavior that the solution makes available to improve customer service, increase efficiency and enhance store layouts. By developing this new solution, Techsun has transformed itself from being a traditional Dynamics partner into a leading retail digital service provider in China.

Advantech developed an end-to-end industry safety solution that includes the BTI MIOTY LPWAN wireless solution running on an industry-standard Windows IoT gateway and a wearable device that monitors heart rates. Industrial customers can use this solution to gather health data for their people working in high-risk industrial environments, send the data to the Microsoft Cloud where Hitachi Solutions’ IoT Service Hub is used to provide actionable insights on workers’ health and to send alerts when people are in danger. Employers, such as mining site operators, can deploy this end-to-end solution to protect their workforce with unprecedented responsiveness at a fraction of the cost of previously available technologies.

The breadth of innovative intelligent edge devices and solutions our partners, across the PC and IoT ecosystems, have delivered in the last year is incredible, and we’re just getting started! The opportunities we all have to empower people, drive growth and enable business transformation, when we use the power of the cloud and AI to build intelligent edge solutions, are limitless. I look forward to the innovation we will deliver together.

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The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing

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Today, Microsoft is releasing The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing. This new book provides an in-depth look at how artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the manufacturing sector by optimizing digital operations and driving efficiencies, enabling new products and services, and allowing for safer work environments. The book also offers a timely look at how society can respond to some of the challenges AI creates, and the need to develop new laws and regulations to address workforce disruption and develop AI in an ethical and responsible manner.

Written by Greg Shaw – co-author of Hit Refresh with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and The Ability Hacks about technology for people with disabilities – this book is the second in a series that began with the release last year of The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society.

In an era when digital technology is changing almost every aspect about how people live, work, play, and learn, we believe it is important to think carefully about the complex questions that AI raises. Through our Future Computed series, we hope to encourage a broad set of conversations about how AI can empower people in a trusted and respectful environment that benefits everyone.

We decided to focus the second Future Computed book on manufacturing because the industry plays such a central role in the global economy, and because, as in previous industrial revolutions, it is once again at the forefront of adopting new transformational technologies.

This means manufacturing is one of the industries that is leading the way in exploring the full potential of AI. It also means manufacturers already find themselves responding to some of the challenges of AI — challenges like how to optimize processes to keep up with the new speed of business, how to ensure their existing and incoming workforce has the right skills to build and leverage AI, and how to create the right organizational culture to realize the benefits of data-driven decision making.

In the book, you’ll hear from a range of customers including ABB, Colfax, Jabil, Tetra Pak, Toyota Materials Handling and ZF about the progress they are making on their AI journey. You’ll meet Patrick Bass, CEO of thyssenkrupp North America, who led the effort to implement a real-time cloud-based predictive maintenance solution that is maximizing uptime for 12 million elevators that move 1 billion people every day. And hear from Manuel Torres, a self-taught engineer who has used AI to transform his paper company into a leading supplier of composite material for airplane manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus.

The Future Computed and Manufacturing book

The book also looks at how manufacturers will need to engage with governments and civil society to help craft new regulatory frameworks, guiding the use of this new technology as the industry transforms. These frameworks should address key societal challenges, including the need to retrain workers to take on new roles and be part of a talent supply chain capable of realizing the potential of AI in manufacturing. They should also address how to store the data generated from connected supply chains and digital factories safely, securely, and in ways that respect privacy and ensure that AI is used ethically. Drawing on insights from customers and policymakers from around the world The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing offers Microsoft’s perspective on how we might move forward on these important issues.

The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing does not pretend to have all the answers. But we hope it will play a role in furthering discussions about how to deliver this new technology responsibly and help manufacturers better understand the steps they need to take in their AI journey.

In writing the book, Greg conducted interviews with Microsoft manufacturing customers who are at the forefront of figuring out how AI can drive success for their companies. He also interviewed workforce experts, union leaders, and policymakers from around the world and identified some common themes across these conversations.

The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing points out the critical importance of cultural change as part of the digital transformation and the need for strong senior leadership in overseeing this shift. It also highlights the way in which the managers inside manufacturing operations who are closest to the workforce are often the most sensitive to AI’s impact on employees and are focused on improving worker safety and job satisfaction. And, while there is notable positivity from leaders in manufacturers around the impact of AI on jobs, there is also an understanding that a lot of work is needed to reinvent how we prepare people for the workforce.

The advent of AI makes this an exciting time to be in manufacturing. But it is also a time filled with great uncertainty. For anyone interested in learning more about why AI is so important to the future of manufacturing, I hope The Future Computed: AI and Manufacturing offers a useful guide. I also love the final remark that suggests leaders of today should lead with optimism.

I encourage you to download a copy here. You can also find out more about the people and companies profiled in the book and access additional information by visiting Microsoft’s AI and Manufacturing website. Additional resources can also be found in the Microsoft AI Business School.

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Harnessing big data in pediatric research to reimagine healthcare

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For many of us, life begins in the hospital—and so does our health data. Health organizations worldwide are amassing more information than ever before from millions of patients throughout their lifetimes. Wrangling massive volumes of health data—from smart devices, medical devices, electronic medical records and community health systems—is no small task, but cloud computing offers researchers a promising way to tap into this resource to achieve meaningful medical progress and improved patient outcomes. Microsoft for Healthcare aims to do just that: harness the power of data to reimagine healthcare, improve the health of the population, and, ultimately, help save lives.

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Zeroing in on clues

One of the most promising examples of this is in our collaboration with Seattle Children’s Research Institute. We are working together to find clues to a persistent and tragic medical mystery that hits close to home: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Every year, more than 3,500 infants die of SIDS-related causes in the United States. One of these children was the son of John Kahan, my colleague and Microsoft’s chief data analytics officer. John has made it his mission for no parent to lose a child to SIDS, and with his data science team at Microsoft and our friends at Seattle Children’s, they are working toward that goal in earnest.

The team started with publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 26 million births and deaths, and along with other data sets, studied 90 columns of data about every child born in the U.S. over a six-year period. Through this data science effort done in the cloud on Microsoft Azure, they discovered several correlations that showed statistical increases in SIDS. They then brought those findings to Seattle Children’s Research Institute, one of the world leaders in pediatric genomics and brain research— and lucky for us, right in our backyard.

Since then, we’ve been working together to expand the effort and the science, creating a collaborative genomics database for Seattle Children’s and the top SIDS medical researchers worldwide, and a world-class team of Microsoft data scientists. Together, we recently published our first manuscript from this collaboration in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Pediatrics, in which we used advanced modelling techniques to analyze the relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and SIDS-related deaths. Going forward, the hope is to use sequenced whole genomes as an additional data set along with the CDC data and other information in Microsoft Azure, helping to identify SIDS risk factors and, ultimately, ways to help prevent SIDS.

Similarly, we’ve been able to assist pediatric cancer researchers. Working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and our partner DNAnexus, we’ve been thrilled to be a part of the creation of the St. Jude Cloud—a cloud-based data-sharing and collaboration environment based on Microsoft Azure that contains an extensive public repository of pediatric cancer genomics data. St. Jude Cloud stores and shares thousands of cancer patient samples mapped against the human genome template, enabling researchers around the world to access and exchange data on a global basis. Researchers from more than 450 institutions across 16 countries now have immediate access to data that previously could take weeks to download, as well as access to complex computational analysis pipelines. The availability of this data could lead to progress in eradicating childhood cancer.

Clues like these seed future research, turning mere hints into new medical and biological knowledge, diagnostics, or therapeutics. Like John Kahan, many of our data scientists have been touched personally by medical or health issues and are exceptionally motivated to help solve these puzzles.

Reimagining healthcare

Collaborations like those with Seattle Children’s and St. Jude are just the beginning. Our technology is in virtually every healthcare organization in the world, from a nurse-led clinic in Kenya to larger organizations like Kaiser Permanente in the United States and NHS Glasgow and Clyde in the United Kingdom, putting us in a unique position to build and expand solutions with cloud computing and AI.

For us, reimagining healthcare starts with finding well-defined and well-scoped problems, then bringing together the best minds from a diverse set of disciplines and people—computer science, AI and data science, bioscience and medical—to solve them.

By analyzing masses of data with trusted cloud computing, one health concern at a time, we have a chance to extract new knowledge that could make a positive difference—empowering healthcare teams, improving operational outcomes and care coordination, and personalizing care.

Join us in reimagining healthcare. To learn more about harnessing the power of health data with cloud computing, take a look at our new e-book A New Framework for Healthcare in a Digital World. For a deeper dive on Microsoft Genomics visit here.

 

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Video games: A unifying force for the world

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My father, a chemical engineer, brought home our first computer, a Sinclair ZX81, which came out in 1981. We played games together and then later, we wrote games together.

Today, for many people around the world, gaming is the first entry point into technology, just like it was for me.

I believe in two fundamental truths about gaming:

First, gaming is for everyone. No one group “owns” gaming. Instead, whether you’re new to gaming or are a diehard e-sports fan, you are welcome to play and welcome to all the fun and skill-building that comes with gaming. In this way, when everyone can play, the entire world wins.

If you imagine gamers as predominantly men and specifically teen boys, think again. We are a 2.6 billion-person strong community of parents playing with our kids, adventurers exploring worlds together, teachers making math wondrous, grandmothers learning about their grandchildren through play, and soldiers connecting with their folks back home. Most gamers today are adults; nearly half are women.

Second, gaming must promote and protect the safety of all. Gaming must be a safe environment. Creating community is shared work, and protecting community is essential work, so, we all carry part of the payload of community safety – game industry and gamers alike.

This widespread embrace of gaming and its global communities have turned video games into the world’s leading cultural industry, bigger than movies or music. But it also comes at a time when digital life includes a growing toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny.

No different from rock and roll, books and TV before them, video games are often dismissed or maligned as frivolous, fraught with violence or filled exclusively with hate-mongering. But gaming is uniquely designed for equality. We don’t just walk in someone’s shoes – we stand on equal footing, regardless of age, education, socioeconomics, race, religion, politics, gender, orientation, ethnicity, nationality, or ability. Gaming doesn’t just bring stereotype-defying gamers together; it unites us through our universal language of fun and answers our human need to play. Research has shown an effective way to battle polarization and prejudice is through relationships with people outside our own groups, known as intergroup contact theory. This is where gaming excels: forging unexpected friendships with people we might never meet in real life. Dr. Linda Tropp, a professor of psychology at University of Massachusetts Amherst, observes, “As an interactive form of entertainment, gaming environments have the potential to bring people together for collaborations across differences, and to build empathy and mutual understanding through play.”

When people call video games a waste a time, I point them to the well-documented health and social benefits of gaming. Beyond pure exhilaration, gaming helps children with autism make new friends and seniors with Alzheimer’s improve their memory. Researchers have found that gaming teaches adults leadership, improves decision-making and reduces stress and depression and also teaches kids computational skills and empathy. Gaming is the gateway to these 21st century skills and to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Just consider: teen girls who play video games are three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree. Among teenagers who play games online with others daily, 74% have made friends online and 37% have made more than five friends online. 

By uniting as an industry, we can thoughtfully and deliberately continue building a safe and inclusive gaming environment for everyone. Microsoft, Team Xbox, and I are personally committing to this, beginning with the following principles and actions:

We commit to be vigilant, proactive, and swift. Our Xbox Safety team is nicknamed the “Defenders of Joy” because we will defend you in every humanly and technologically possible way, so gaming remains fun. We will identify potentials for abuse and misuse on our platform and will fix problems quickly. We are also intent on expanding the composition of our safety team so wide-ranging perspectives can help us identify future safety problems and solutions. Because hate and harassment have no place in gaming, we recently published a refreshed version of our Xbox Community Standards to communicate how each of us can keep gaming fun and safe for all and detail the consequences when any of us break these standards. A welcoming community is the key to a safe community, so our 150,000 Xbox Ambassadors – community leaders, stewards, and allies – will be engaged to embark on new community missions to help create an inviting and safe environment for all gamers. We will also continue to roll out new programs for the health of our entire gaming community.

We commit to empowering you to safeguard your gaming experience the way you want. We believe in equipping you with the tools to customize your gaming experience fit for your personal comfort level. This summer, we are empowering our official Club community managers with proactive content moderation features that will help create safe spaces for fans to discuss their favorite games. We plan to roll out new content moderation experiences to everyone on Xbox Live by the end of 2019. Creating a Child or Teen Account is the easiest way for parents and guardians to manage who their kids engage with as well as their family’s screen time, content and spending. While more than 26 million Child and Teen accounts have been created to-date, we will make it easier for parents and guardians new to console and PC gaming to discover and create Child or Teen accounts. This year, Microsoft Stores rolled out a series of family workshops to help parents understand the tools available to them on console and PC, and this summer we are launching Gaming Summer Camps offering young gamers new ways to explore life skills and practice healthy habits that can be used in gaming and everyday life. Additionally, we recently launched a new “For Everyone” destination on Xbox.com where parents, guardians and players can learn how we’re making gaming more fun for everyone with our new inclusivity, accessibility, and safety features. We’re innovating now in these and other concrete ways to reduce, filter, and develop a shared understanding of toxic experiences, and to ultimately put our community of gamers, and their parents or guardians, in control of their own experiences.

We commit to working across the gaming industry on safety measures. Because we intend to protect all gamers, we will openly share safety innovations with our industry the same way Microsoft has made PhotoDNA technology universally available to everyone from the police to the tech industry to fight the spread of child pornography. Today, multiple teams working in areas like moderation, user research, data science, and others are already aligning with industry partners to share insights, and best practices in areas of safety, security and privacy.

The gaming community continues to grow rapidly, and the imminent roll-out of new game services such as Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, will make gaming available to even more people worldwide. Our industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety.

We invite everyone who plays games, and industry partners, to join us in following these principles to help unify the world and do our part: make gaming accessible for everyone and protect gamers, one and all.

The post Video games: A unifying force for the world appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft partners with SAP as the first global cloud provider to launch Project Embrace

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

When Microsoft and SAP joined forces in 2017, it was aligned with a common goal: to provide enterprise customers with a clear roadmap to drive more business innovation in the cloud. It’s the same principle we called upon last year, when Microsoft teamed up with SAP and Adobe to launch the Open Data Initiative, which empowers companies to unlock more value from their most valuable asset, which is data.

Today, Microsoft and SAP are announcing a new effort that was built with the customer in mind. Microsoft will be the first global cloud provider to join SAP’s new Embrace program.

Project Embrace provides customers with an aligned pathway to the Intelligent Enterprise

Project Embrace is SAP’s collaboration with public cloud providers and Global Strategic Service Partners to simplify and accelerate a customer’s journey to the cloud. Through a combination of market-approved journeys, reference architectures, select service partners, and the power of the Microsoft Azure cloud, customers will be able to accelerate their digital transformation.

Embrace will help customers better manage refactoring and ongoing support costs, access the latest innovations, and improve the performance of SAP applications by leveraging Microsoft and SAP’s unified blueprint running S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft joins forces with SAP to accelerate customers’ journey to S/4HANA on Azure

Microsoft has been working with SAP on Project Embrace for more than a year to deliver a joint roadmap with specific integrated reference architecture to run SAP S4/HANA on Microsoft Azure. The collaboration will provide customers with prescriptive guidance that facilitates a move from their current on-premise production landscapes to a digital enterprise in the cloud.

Working hand-in-hand with SAP to make Project Embrace a success, Microsoft is developing an integrated, end-to-end process across product engineering, sales, marketing and support teams. As part of this effort, Microsoft and SAP are also aligning their joint Partner Ecosystem, as well as collaborating closely with the SAP Max Attention team to provide a more seamless customer support experience.

Microsoft and SAP work together to drive success for their joint customers

Microsoft’s unique position as the first global cloud provider to support Project Embrace speaks to its long history of partnership and co-innovation with SAP, a focus on joint customer success, and Microsoft’s strength in the enterprise market.

Microsoft and SAP’s mutual customers have been asking for an offering like Embrace. Cemex, a global leader in the building materials industry, sees the enormous opportunity Embrace delivers, as Carlos Mantilla, the company’s Senior Director of Worldwide IT Enterprise Architecture told us:

“We at CEMEX are excited to further explore Project Embrace with SAP and Microsoft! We believe it will assist us in accelerating our, already in-progress, Digital Transformation and Journey to S4/HANA in the Azure Hyperscale cloud.”

This is a true example of partnership—the power of Microsoft, the power of SAP and a trusted relationship coming together to provide the best cloud experience for customers.

 

The post Microsoft partners with SAP as the first global cloud provider to launch Project Embrace appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

10 cool things to check out at Microsoft Build 2019

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Microsoft Build is underway in Seattle, and this year’s premier developer conference is focused on empowering developers of all kinds, from experienced computer scientists to tech beginners with big ideas. We’re sharing the latest on Microsoft platforms, tools and services that are making it easier to create and innovate using AI and mixed reality with the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge, as well as helping people and organizations do more each day.

Here’s a peek at some of the event’s highlights:

1.

Check out the new features in Microsoft Edge built on Chromium OSS that will make it easier to collect, organize and share content, and give you additional privacy controls to make your own decisions about how third parties can track you.

2.

See how technology is helping Starbucks and their baristas deliver great customer experiences including managing predictive maintenance on coffee machines with Azure Sphere; giving personalized recommendations to customers via the Starbucks mobile app with reinforcement learning on Azure; and powering digital traceability efforts to track coffee beans from farm to store with Azure blockchain service.

Photo of Starbucks barista smiling and making an espresso drink
Technology is helping Starbucks and their baristas deliver great customer experiences (Photo courtesy of Starbucks)

3.

Read about Fluid Framework, a web-based platform expected to be available later this year that will give teams new ways to create together, enabling content to be deconstructed and reconstructed into modular components and allowing intelligent agents to work alongside people to co-author, provide photo suggestions, translate data and more.

4. 

Learn more about Microsoft’s vision for intelligent agents that leverage breakthroughs in conversational AI and machine learning pioneered by Semantic Machines, which Microsoft acquired in May 2018. We’re showcasing a calendaring application of the technology that can make organizing your day with an intelligent assistant a more natural and powerful experience, and the same technology will eventually be integrated into our conversational AI moving forward across all of Microsoft’s products and services.

Photo of woman holding smartphone and screenshots of her calendaring activity in the background
A woman engages in a smooth, back-and-forth dialogue with an intelligent assistant that helps her juggle upcoming appointments on her calendar.

5.

See how more everyday uses of AI in Microsoft 365 and Office 365 can help improve productivity, including Ideas in Word for Word Online, which can help you easily design and present polished documents, and Microsoft Search, a new enterprise search experience that applies AI technology from Bing and deep personalized insights surfaced by the Microsoft Graph.

6. 

Learn more about a new platform that can help make it easier for companies to create autonomous systems, whether it’s a robot that can help in life-threatening situations, a drone that can inspect remote equipment or systems that can autonomously calibrate factory equipment. The first component in this platform is now available in a limited preview program.

Photo of snake-like robot with two lights on the front
An experimental version of the Sarcos Guardian S, a robot that can be used in disaster recovery or for industrial inspections, uses Microsoft’s autonomous systems platform. (Photo by Dan DeLong)

7.

Learn what developers will be able to do with Microsoft Graph data connect, a service that helps organizations bring together productivity data from the Microsoft Graph with their own business data securely, providing new opportunities to create insight-powered apps while helping address the challenges of moving and managing large amounts of data.

8.

Learn about the new tools and capabilities in Azure AI for developers and data scientists, including Ink Recognizer, which lets developers embed digital ink recognition, an advanced speech-to-text capability that transcribes meeting conversations in real time so participants can fully engage in the discussion and know who said what later on.

9.

See how the new Azure Blockchain Service will empower developers, letting them deploy a fully managed consortium network with a few simple clicks and use built-in governance to add new members, set permissions and authenticate user applications. They’ll also be able to monitor their network’s health and activity.

10.

Check out IoT Plug and Play. One of the greatest challenges customers face when deploying Internet of Things solutions broadly is connecting their IoT devices to the cloud. IoT Plug and Play offers a new open modeling language to help make this happen seamlessly, as well as a large ecosystem of partner-certified devices that simply work, with over a dozen certified devices now available.

Get more details on all of these announcements and more on our Microsoft Build 2019 website.

 


Lead photo by Brian Smale

 

The post 10 cool things to check out at Microsoft Build 2019 appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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