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How AI is transforming education and skills development

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Artificial intelligence can help us to solve some of society’s most difficult challenges and create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all. I’ve already shared the exciting possibilities in the fields of healthcare and agriculture in previous posts. But there may be no area where the possibilities are more interesting – or more important – than education and skills. From personalized learning that takes advantage of AI to adapt teaching methods and materials to the needs of individual students, to automated grading that frees teachers from the drudgery of assessing tests so they have more time to work with students, to intelligent systems that are transforming how learners find and interact with information, the opportunities to improve education outcomes and accessibility will be truly transformational.

There are many classrooms around the world where educators teach very diverse groups of students from different cultures, who speak multiple languages. Take The Dhour Shweir Public Secondary School in Lebanon, for example. It improved the academic interaction between students and educators through applications like OneNote and Microsoft Teams which provides real-time language translation, allowing students who speak different languages to communicate with one another. The tools not only promote better collaboration and productivity, but also enhanced interaction between the students and their teachers.

We also saw just how much more Teams can do when Australian professor, David Kellermann, recently demonstrated how he created a unique learning experience for his university students – from a Question bot that can answer students’ queries on its own to a Power BI dashboard that shows how students’ exam answers compare to peers’ and helps build personalized study packs for future tests based on previous performance.

I am intrigued by a new digital assistant that was recently launched by Staffordshire University, in England. Called Beacon, it is designed to help ease the stress and anxiety that many students experience in their first year at university. Hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, Beacon takes advantage of the fact that students at Staffordshire, one of the UK’s leading institutions for digital technologies, are more likely to use their mobile phone to find information or search for help than to talk to a lecturer or seek out a member of the university’s staff.

Part information source and part digital coach, Beacon answers questions, suggests activities that students might be interested in, checks on their mood, and supports them in their classwork. If the digital assistant detects signs that a student is struggling, it can send an alert to a university staff member who is able to offer help. By providing insights about how each student is adjusting to university life and creating an avenue for delivering extra support quickly to those who need it, the hope is that it will reduce the dropout rate and help students thrive.

Education doesn’t end with school or University. In today’s world, we must all be prepared to keep learning and re-skilling, as the world of work evolves.

Outside of traditional education institutes, AI can also help people to reskill or acquire news skills – for example, through Microsoft’s partnership with Ashoka, a global organization that supports social entrepreneurs who are committed to finding innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social, cultural, and environmental challenges. As part of Microsoft’s worldwide Tech for Good Initiative, at the heart of this new partnership is the Microsoft-Ashoka Accelerator, a program designed to foster an ecosystem of start-ups that take advantage of the power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence to tackle social and environmental issues. I had the pleasure of meeting Arnaud Mourot, Co-Director of Ashoka Europe earlier this year, to talk about support for promising social start-ups. Microsoft is providing access to technology, AI and cloud expertise, and mentors who can help entrepreneurs create intelligent, data-driven solutions, connect to markets, and more.

I also attended the opening of the first Microsoft-Ashoka Accelerators in France and India, where we are piloting the program. Among the early participants in the program are Singa, an organization that helps refugees and asylum seekers connect with people, services, and economic opportunities in their host countries; Ipso Health, which is working to improve healthcare systems and expand access to quality healthcare; and Libraries Without Borders, which sets up libraries and provides access to information resources in conflict zones and areas affected by natural disasters.

One of the things I like most about this new partnership is Ashoka’s focus on programs for young people and its understanding of the value that comes from helping a new generation of young entrepreneurs gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to apply advanced technology to social innovation. Through its Youth Ventures program, Ashoka has worked with more than 500,000 young people around the world.

I too, am a strong believer in the value of mentoring young people, and it is something I am actively engaged in through Live for Good, a foundation my family and I founded in 2015 to enable young people from all walks of life to reach their full potential through social entrepreneurship and digital innovation.

One of the most important things I have learned is that the world is filled with talented young people who have brilliant ideas and a deep desire to create a better world, but who often lack access to skills training, to technology, or to mentors who can provide the critical guidance they need to truly thrive – in school and at work. Today, AI-based services like Staffordshire University’s Beacon digital assistant and programs like the Microsoft-Ashoka accelerator are providing opportunities for young people to get the support they need to prepare them to lead the way forward, while technologies such as AI are creating new ways to have a positive impact.

To me, this is probably the most inspiring and promising aspect of the digital revolution—the doors it is opening for all of us to thrive and to create a better world.


The post How AI is transforming education and skills development appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Enabling government to advance ‘tech intensity’ with newest cloud product innovations

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

In a world where every company is transforming to be digital, we see examples of organizations across public and private sectors embracing the concept of ‘tech intensity’ to maximize their impact. From our perspective, there are three aspects to the leadership principle of tech intensity: First, every leader will need to tune their organization to become a fast adopter of best-in- class technology.  Second, organizations will need to build their own unique digital capabilities, which starts with workers who are deeply knowledgeable about the latest technology. And finally, leadership in the digital economy will be exponentially amplified by the level of trust that is created with customers, partners, and stakeholders.

Today’s landscape demands a different leadership approach to capitalize on opportunities at the accelerated pace required to deliver modern mission outcomes. In the U.S. federal government, leaders are adopting technology to successfully optimize existing programs and to accelerate new services that improve the lives of American citizens. Many of our government customers are leading by example in building their own tech capabilities, which enable them to be more efficient and be better positioned to deliver on their mission service to their citizens. Examples abound and you’ll hear us showcase our partnerships with the Department of Veterans Affairs, USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Department of the Interior and more in the coming weeks.

Government is Embracing Tech Intensity

Tech intensity is really an equation – Tech Intensity = (Tech Adoption X Tech Capability) ^ Trust and as a company Microsoft is focused on providing the inputs to help our customers solve it. For the government agencies harnessing the benefits tech intensity today there are three critical factors to success we’re seeing them embrace: First, they’re finding ways to increase agility and become fast adopters of best-in-class technology, and equally important, they’re building or looking to build their own unique digital capabilities. Don’t forget the human factor here which starts with workers who are deeply knowledgeable about the latest technology backed by a culture that encourages capability-building and collaboration to generate new, breakthrough concepts. To speed tech adoption, they recognize how vital it is that they are able to access the latest commercial platforms, tools and training, so that they don’t have to re-create technology that already has been commoditized. It’s really the first step to building tech intensity.  Finally, to assist government leaders in building trust in technology and its deployment to meet Agency missions, Microsoft provides a variety of tools including AI Business School government curriculum (see below) and books like The Future Computed and Tools and Weapons which provide guidance around the impact and ethics of AI which we are seeing government agencies beginning to adopt.

Enabling Government’s Tech Intensity Journey

Microsoft is committed to supporting the technology needs of all branches and levels of government and we’ve worked with our government customers to achieve the most certifications of any cloud provider. We’ve built the most trusted, comprehensive cloud for government which includes Azure Government, Microsoft 365 Government, and Dynamics 365 Government. Today, we’re announcing the latest advances to these government cloud solutions, demonstrating our commitment to our customers unique needs and desire to empower their tech intensity journey.

Delivering mobility and power at the tactical edge with new Data Box capabilities

Microsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio designed to bring compute, data analysis and insight to the tactical edge. Azure Data Box and Azure Stack family of products help government agencies with remote operations access the information they need to make decisions at the edge, along with access to the full range of cloud capabilities as connectivity allows.

Azure Data Box EdgeFor example, Azure Data Box Edge, an AI-enabled edge computing appliance, processes and analyzes data right at the tactical edge and transfers data to cloud when connected. It includes an FPGA on-board to accelerate machine learning inferencing at the edge and transfers the data to Azure over network to retrain the machine learning model or perform aggregated data analytics.

Today we’re sharing that we are getting ready to deliver a new form-factor of Data Box Edge, which will be rugged, portable, and battery-operated. The new form-factor will be ruggedized to meet MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STG-461 standards. A single person can carry this appliance in the field, for example, in their backpacks, in remote and disconnected areas.  In field operations, speed is of the essence and insights empower decisions. We’ve partnered with Klas Telecom to bring you this new form-factor, which will further the intelligence of the forward-deployed operating units, ground patrols, or similar mission needs at the tactical edge and empower faster decision making.

New Microsoft 365 Government capabilities for cross agency collaboration and security

In March 2019 we announced that Microsoft Teams – the hub for teamwork– is available in all U.S. Government cloud environments. To further enable cross agency collaboration, we’re excited to announce. Teams Phone Systems and Audio Conferencing are rolling out GCC High and Department of Defense (DoD) environments starting mid-October. These new capabilities along with all the current collaboration services in Teams will enable governments to be mission focused and better service citizens.

As governments embrace tech intensity there’s in increasing demand on time and resources to manage data with a secure cloud environment. Microsoft 365 Government includes built-in security capabilities to protect, detect, and respond to cyberattacks. We’ve also recently announced general availability of Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to the GCC High environment, bringing endpoint detection, response, automated investigation and remediation to U.S. government customers in this environment.

New Business Applications capabilities to empower citizens through proactive customer service

Empowering citizens to engage is essential to modern government. With our Microsoft Business Applications portfolio, government is better able to interact with citizens, empower employees, optimize operations and transform cities at scale with our immersive solutions across Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. Earlier in 2019, we announced PowerApps and Flow for our GCC environments  and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Government  availability meeting DoD requirements for contractors holding, or processing DoD controlled unclassified information or subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). By the end of this calendar year, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Government  for DoD will be available.

Today, we are expanding the availability of PowerApps and Flow to GCC High environments. This means our government customers and DoD contractors with higher compliance demands can benefit from these tools. PowerApps and Flow, along with Power BI enables users to do three key actions on data: analyze, act, and automate. Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow work together to help anyone, regardless of technical ability, drive decisions with data.

Outdated tools, systems and practices can make interacting with the government cumbersome. To provide additional channels of engagement that make connections easier, we are announcing Chat for Dynamics 365 is generally available in GCC environments. Chat is an engagement channel that enables your agents to connect with customers in real-time.

Connecting global locations with fast, private, hybrid network connectivity

Customers with distributed operations across the United States or across the globe can benefit from the speed and efficiency of high-bandwidth connectivity, intelligent traffic routing, and the global scale of our network. With ExpressRoute Global Reach, customers gain not only a fast, private connection to the cloud, they can also use our global network as a backbone to connect their on-premises networks together. ExpressRoute can also be used to bring satellite data from ground to cloud, so it can be harnessed at the tactical edge or rapidly distributed to locations around the globe.

Meeting the full spectrum of data classification requirements

As previously announced, Azure Government Secret includes dedicated regions built to support US agencies and partners working with Secret U.S. security classification level data. We’re seeing significant demand for these new regions, and today we’re announcing Sequoia Combine for Azure Government and Azure Government Secret, delivering dev, test and deployment capabilities for classified clouds from an unclassified environment. This emulator service, currently in preview, offers an approved, trusted, and proven approach for IC and DoD air-gapped region solution development.

Accelerating the path to compliance

We’re continually working to streamline compliance, making it easier for customers and partners to accelerate their path to ATO. FedRAMP is a critical certification for many federal agencies and a growing number of state and local government agencies. Today we’re announcing the built-in Blueprint for FedRAMP to help customers with compliance requirements based on FedRAMP proactively manage and monitor the compliance of their Azure environments. This new offering joins a series of recent releases including the NIST SP 800-53 R4 blueprint, all focused on helping you meet your compliance requirements more easily and efficiently.

Responsible AI in Government Business School Module

We launched AI Business School because we know AI will be used more and more to help organizations to innovate and solve problems, and we wanted to help leaders be ready to do so in the right way. We recognize that every organization faces its own challenges, and we wanted to provide concrete examples for each of them through tailored information and real-world case studies. That’s why we added a learning path specific to government because of the uniqueness of the problems these agencies face when considering AI applications. Earlier this week, we rolled out a new version of AI Business School, with updates to that government path, new and adapted lessons within our Responsible AI module and a new learning path for education industry decision makers and educators. The new module focuses on identifying governing practices for responsible AI in government and draws on the wisdom from experts at EY and Altimeter Group. In it we share examples from governments around the world to shed light on what government officials should consider and how to take action. It also has information on tools to support responsible AI and how to make AI governance both tangible and measurable

We’re on a Mission Together

Tech intensity is the motivation behind our mission at Microsoft to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. As agencies face a range of new challenges in meeting their missions, we are committed to helping our more than 10,000 government customers use technology to unlock the power of data, which underpins everything they do. I look forward to sharing many more examples of how government is embracing tech intensity to better engage and connect with citizens, modernize the government workplace, and enhance government services to benefit society. Learn more about how government agencies are using Microsoft cloud technology here.


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Bringing together deep bioscience and AI to help patients worldwide: Novartis and Microsoft work to reinvent treatment discovery and development  

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

In the world of commercial research and science, there’s probably no undertaking more daunting – or more expensive – than the process of bringing a new medicine to market. For a new compound to make it from initial discovery through development, testing and clinical trials to finally earn regulatory approval can take a decade or more. Nine out of 10 promising drug candidates fail somewhere along the way. As a result, on average, it costs life sciences companies $2.6 billion to introduce a single new prescription drug.

This is much more than just a challenge for life sciences companies. Streamlining drug development is an urgent issue for human health more broadly. From uncovering new ways to treat age-old sicknesses like malaria that still kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, to finding new cancer treatments, or developing new vaccines to prevent highly-contagious diseases from turning into global pandemics, the impact in terms of lives saved worldwide would be enormous if we could make inventing new medicines faster.

As announced today, this is why Novartis and Microsoft are collaborating to explore how to take advantage of advanced Microsoft AI technology combined with Novartis’ deep life sciences expertise to find new ways to address the challenges underlying every phase of drug development – including research, clinical trials, manufacturing, operations and finance. In a recent interview, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan spoke about the potential for this alliance to unlock the power of AI to help Novartis accelerate research into new treatments for many of the thousands of diseases for which there is, as yet, no known cure.

In the biotech industry, there have been amazing scientific advances in recent years that have the potential to revolutionize the discovery of new, life-saving drugs. Because many of these advances are based on the ability to analyze huge amounts of data in new ways, developing new drugs has become as much an AI and data science problem as it is a biology and chemistry problem. This means companies like Novartis need to become data science companies to an extent never seen before. Central to our work together is a focus on empowering Novartis associates at each step of drug development to use AI to unlock the insights hidden in vast amounts of data, even if they aren’t data scientists. That’s because while the exponential increase in digital health information in recent years offers new opportunities to improve human health, making sense of all the data is a huge challenge.

The issue isn’t just a problem of the overwhelming volume. Much of the information exists in the form of unstructured data, such as research lab notes, medical journal articles, and clinical trial results, all of which is typically stored in disconnected systems. This makes bringing all that data together extremely difficult. Our two companies have a dream. We want all Novartis associates – even those without special expertise in data science – to be able to use Microsoft AI solutions every day, to analyze large amounts of information and discover new correlations and patterns critical to finding new medicines. The goal of this strategic collaboration is to make this dream a reality. This offers the potential to empower everyone from researchers exploring the potential of new compounds and scientists figuring out dosage levels, to clinical trial experts measuring results, operations managers seeking to improve supply chains more efficiently, and even business teams looking to make more effective decisions. And as associates work on new problems and develop new AI models, they will continually build on each other’s work, creating a virtuous cycle of exploration and discovery. The result? Pervasive intelligence that spans the company and reaches across the entire drug discovery process, improving Novartis’ ability to find answers to some of the world’s most pressing health challenges.

As part of our work with Novartis, data scientists from Microsoft Research and research teams from Novartis will also work together to investigate how AI can help unlock transformational new approaches in three specific areas. The first is about personalized treatment for macular degeneration – a leading cause of irreversible blindness. The second will involve exploring ways to use AI to make manufacturing new gene and cell therapies more efficient, with an initial focus on acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And the third area will focus on using AI to shorten the time required to design new medicines, using pioneering neural networks developed by Microsoft to automatically generate, screen and select promising molecules. As our work together moves forward, we expect that the scope of our joint research will grow.

At Microsoft, we’re excited about the potential for this collaboration to transform R&D in life sciences. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained, putting the power of AI in the hands of Novartis employees will give the company unprecedented opportunities to explore new frontiers of medicine that will yield new life-saving treatments for patients around the world.

While we’re just at the beginning of a long process of exploration and discovery, this strategic alliance marks the start of an important collaborative effort that promises to have a profound impact on how breakthrough medicines and treatments are developed and delivered. With the depth and breadth of knowledge that Novartis offers in bioscience and Microsoft’s unmatched expertise in computer science and AI, we have a unique opportunity to reinvent the way new medicines are created. Through this process, we believe we can help lead the way forward toward a world where high-quality treatment and care is significantly more personal, more effective, more affordable and more accessible.

The post Bringing together deep bioscience and AI to help patients worldwide: Novartis and Microsoft work to reinvent treatment discovery and development   appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Empowering financial services to achieve more

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

It’s a transformative time for the financial services industry. In the fast-changing, tech-driven world banks now live in, they recognize that technology can play a role in helping them meet both their customers’ expectations and challenging regulatory requirements. Coming to Microsoft from that world myself just two weeks ago, I’m now leading the team responsible for helping our customers do just that – regardless of where they are in their transformation journey.

After 20 years in financial services, I’ve seen the impact technology can have, and recognize we have been approaching an inflection point for some time – and are at the tipping point.

We’re approaching the close of a decade, and the industry has a tremendous opportunity to accelerate use of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) as a catalyst to improve competitiveness, drive growth, elevate customer experiences and keep ahead of changing regulations and cybersecurity threats.

To take full advantage of what Sibos 2019 describes as a hyper-connected world, more banks are making broader cloud platform choices – moving beyond infrastructure services – and extending their cloud investment to productivity, data and AI, and agile customer relationship management services.

They’re making this platform decision to seize the opportunity at hand and evolve to meet the rapidly changing needs and expectations of customers. They recognize technology can help them create the new business models required – even integrate past, present and future.

As we look ahead, key to this will be the ability for financial organizations to:

  • Deliver differentiated ​customer experience​ by accelerating growth and loyalty through deeper customer insights and relationships ​
  • Modernize payments and core banking​ with agility to roll out new products and services​
  • Manage risk across the organization​ with deep insights and compliance with regulatory requirements​
  • Empower employees​ through teamwork​ and improved employee productivity and accelerate workplace modernization​
  • Combat financial crime​ by protecting your bank and customers while lowering compliance costs​

Because of the hyper-connectivity, we know that regulatory compliance is and must be a top priority, which is why Microsoft continues to work with financial services regulators and customers to ensure our cloud services help customers meet their strict regulatory requirements. Our team has been a part of the consultation period in sharing perspectives on updated outsourcing guidance by the European Banking Authority (“EBA)” and the final issued guidance, which takes effect on Sept. 30, 2019.  This longstanding engagement with regulators around cloud computing is one of the reasons more than 90 percent of Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions (“GSIFIs”) depend on Microsoft cloud services. As a company we’ve made the investments and commitments to ensure they can meet their regulatory obligations.

To accelerate digital transformation, Microsoft has focused on removing barriers to adopting cloud technology – such as regulatory and compliance, and beyond. At Sibos, we’re unveiling several announcements to further underscore this effort:

  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection general availability and new feature addressing wrongful declines: This cloud-based solution will be generally available on Oct. 1, 2019 and is designed to decrease fraud costs and help increase acceptance rates for customer payment transactions with e-commerce merchants. Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is designed to benefit merchants and banks while also improving customer shopping experiences by providing a seamless purchasing experience. The solution combats payment and account-creation fraud with AI technology that continuously learns and adapts to evolving fraudulent patterns. When generally available, the service will include a new feature (Transaction Acceptance Booster) that addresses wrongful declines – a common issue negatively impacting both merchants and banks. Among the first to deploy the new solution is Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting Group in India to reduce the fraud rate for their ecommerce platform FMCG players like Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting Group can opt into this feature to increase acceptance rates for authorization requests they make to their issuing banks participating in Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection.
  • Microsoft Banking Accelerator adds BIAN API implementation: Following the general availability of the Microsoft Banking Accelerator in July, today we are releasing an API sample implementation on GitHub for interoperability with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) API service domains. BIAN is a not-for-profit association to establish and promote a common architectural framework for enabling banking interoperability. Microsoft and BIAN have been working together to help unlock new open banking opportunities by allowing organizations to more seamlessly and consistently share banking-specific data across disparate systems. In addition to the BIAN API samples, Microsoft released an update to  Banking Accelerator on AppSource bringing additional use cases for retail banking.
  • Microsoft is the first cloud provider to receive a comprehensive cloud assessment from TruSight, an industry-backed, best-practices third-party assessment utility. Today, TruSight delivered a comprehensive on-site assessment of Microsoft’s Cloud Computing environment, including Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. The assessment was conducted using TruSight’s stringent best-practices assessment methodology. The new TruSight report gives financial services organizations a high-quality assessment of Microsoft’s cloud services based on standardized, industry-designed control assessment methodology. TruSight and its third-party assessment utility was created by leading banking institutions for the collective benefit of all financial services participants. The utility gives financial institutions the ability to access assessments on the most widely used third parties across financial services, rather than having to individually conduct assessments. Microsoft is the first of the major cloud providers to complete the assessment, which covered 27 control domains such as information technology, cybersecurity, business resiliency, privacy, physical security and risk management. Visit the Microsoft Trust Center to learn more.

Microsoft customers share their success stories 

Microsoft is focused on empowering financial services organizations to achieve more. That requires being focused on trust, and always enabling our customers – through innovation, and security and compliance investments, as well as industry leading cloud scale. We continue to put our customers at the center of everything we do by sharing their inspired stories from our customers’ success since last year’s Sibos. We see momentum increasing worldwide as our customers tell their transformation stories – answering the questions about how they overcame obstacles, pitfalls to avoid, keys to success, why cloud or AI, and why Microsoft. Here are just a few of their stories:

Microsoft partner news 

At Sibos 2019, we’re excited to showcase our partners’ progress in helping our mutual customers with their technology needs. Microsoft is the only cloud provider with a mature partner program and has the largest partner ecosystem in the market with more than 68,000 partners worldwide. Our partners are equipped and prepared to work with financial services organizations of all sizes across all their needs.

We’re featuring the following partner successes and collaboration efforts:


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Announcing new Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI-driven insights applications and our vision for the future of retail

Written by admin_wp_f1. Posted in Parceiros

Last week, at a gathering of press and analysts in San Francisco, I had the privilege of introducing new features and applications for Dynamics 365, spotlighted by AI-driven insights that empower organizations to take informed actions and improve customer experiences. In addition, I presented our vision for retail, brought to life by two new applications—Dynamics 365 Commerce and Dynamics 365 Connected Store—that will help organizations transform the retail experience.

Helping worldwide business leaders drive intelligent action and make better decisions

More organizations are choosing Dynamics 365 and Power Platform than ever before – from industries spanning energy (ExxonMobil), to transportation (Virgin AtlanticPaccar), to sports and entertainment (Miami HeatTivoli) and many others. The common thread in our customers’ success is the power of a comprehensive, connected business cloud, drawing on unified data and applied intelligence to help customers make proactive decisions to positively impact their business. Customers have seen a transformative shift from a siloed to a proactive way of doing business.

This approach has a dramatic impact to business leaders to drive results across the organization.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood and ask her about the transformational journey of Microsoft’s finance organization. Here is Amy in her own words, sharing how she thinks of our business applications portfolio and what business leaders like her need from technology solutions.

YouTube Video

Introducing new features and applications across our portfolio of AI-driven insights applications

Over the past year, we have been investing in our AI-driven insights applications. Today, we are unveiling new features for existing applications along with entirely new applications and capabilities. With the expansion of the portfolio, we can provide a 360-degree view of your business. One that goes beyond data capture and backward-looking insights, to unification of all data, providing forward looking intelligence. Powered by Azure AI, these tightly integrated capabilities can make AI real for businesses today and enable employees to proactively drive decisions and action.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

Customer expectations are rising all the time, but people aren’t coming up with these new expectations on their own—it’s brands and businesses that excel at delighting their customers that raise the bar for everyone. Organizations that can adopt AI to manage and analyze data will be better positioned to build powerful relationship with customers over time.

Generally available earlier this spring, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights helps maximize customer lifetime value by surfacing a 360-degree view of the customer – to help organizations unlock insights and determine the best action possible to drive personalized engagement at scale.

Today, we are announcing new capabilities that extend Dynamics 365 Customer Insights beyond B2C scenarios to address complex B2B journeys. Now, with the ability to add an organization as a first-class entity, organizations can map leads and contacts to buying groups, accounts and account hierarchies, giving them the ability to build segments and measure the relationship between an account and contact.

Any organization—in any industry, from amusement parks to retailers and manufacturers— can effortlessly connect data from every source of interaction and arm employees with a single source of truth right within the external business applications they use every day.

Dynamics 365 Product Insights

Organizations on the quest to digitally transform their entire customer journey realize the important role product telemetry can play in terms of monitoring and learning from interactions a customer may have with connected products or services. These lessons help organizations to better understand customer expectations and then deliver more personalized experiences.

Dynamics 365 Product Insights is a new application to the portfolio that can bring insights from connected physical products and give visibility into product performance and customer interactions so organizations can build richer relationships and improve engagement.

Ecolab has been working with us in early development stages as they seek to improve operational efficiencies at nearly three million customer locations in more than 170 countries.

Previously, Ecolab struggled in the “signal collection” phase with disjointed data sets making integration of that data even more challenging. They needed an end-to-end solution for reactive and proactive repairs of their products. Looking at just one example – their Internet-connected commercial dishwashers— Ecolab will now be able to use Dynamics 365 Product Insights to identify anomalies, like an unexpected drop in water usage for a certain model range, and then analyze that data in real time to narrow down to specific model and firmware. Now, in a matter of minutes, they’ll be able to identify a solution to a product performance issue that used to be very time consuming or even impossible to uncover.

Ultimately, with Dynamics 365 Product Insights, Ecolab will be better positioned to unify development, deployment and usage data to get a view of their products; market, sell and better support their products; and then be more proactive with customers to optimizing their experience.

Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service

Customer service organizations have a growing need for deeper, more actionable insights to serve their customers, as well as tools to resolve customer issues quickly. New capabilities in Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service announced today, will enable service teams to more easily create and deploy virtual agents that engage in personalized conversations with customers without writing a single line of code. We’re releasing new authoring and web publishing improvements that will enable teams to deploy a virtual agent on a demo website for testing and stakeholder feedback before deploying on the external-facing website.

Once deployed, new AI-driven insights will allow managers to monitor performance metrics for the virtual agent. Through a new customer satisfaction dashboard, customer service managers can view the overall customer satisfaction score and bot topics driving the score. In addition, they can now view “hours saved” metrics—the return on investment provided by bot sessions compared to typical resolution times by human agents, who are now free to tackle more complex, time-intensive cases.

TruGreen, the largest lawn care company in the U.S., serves more than 2.3 million customers. With Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service, they will now be able to create and deploy a Virtual Agent on their website for routine inquiries in less than two days effort. Beyond simply answering routine questions, by utilizing out-of-the-box connectors from our Power Platform and the orchestration engine of Microsoft Flow, the TruGreen Virtual Agent will be able to take actions based on customer intent. For example, TruGreen can integrate to their ERP application to offer a customer visibility into their available account balance, and then schedule one of 13,000 technicians as a next best action. Ultimately, this will help TruGreen to reduce the call handling time for many of their customers most common requests via their website or mobile app, improving customer satisfaction while increasing their employee effectiveness as routine tasks are offloaded to virtual agents, freeing human agents to field more complex calls.

IoT Intelligence for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management

Product quality is at the heart of any customer experience. And capturing the signals created when customers use a product can be game changing but imagine if you could capture critical insight before the product leaves the manufacturing facility.

Organizations need a level of visibility and insight into shop floor and equipment operations—an end-to-end solution that provides real-time visibility of production and inventory by leveraging the power of AI, machine learning and mixed reality.

With new IoT Intelligence capabilities we’re announcing today, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can connect IoT signals from mission-critical assets with business transaction data, enabling manufacturers and distributors to proactively manage production and stock in real-time, leverage predictive analytics to predict maintenance needs for business-critical equipment before downtime occurs, boost equipment performance and increase throughput, minimize waste and improve business performance.

With headquarters in Australia, Majans is a producer and distributor of snack foods on a global scale and is in the process of trialing these new capabilities to build their factory of the future. By integrating IoT Intelligence, connected devices can detect salt and moisture content in the snacks they make, as well as machine and production KPIs. Signals from connected machines create a digital feedback loop that helps Majans reduce waste, eliminate rework from packaging of poor-quality product, reduce factory downtime with predictive maintenance and connect people with data and insights to refine processes and standards.

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New applications to help industries bridge the digital and physical worldsstarting with retail and manufacturing

This is an exciting time to be involved in the retail industry. Shopping is no longer an isolated activity or a special destination, it’s something customers can do from anywhere, anytime.

Mobile and digital platforms have enabled customers to have access to information and shopping experiences that were not even possible just a few years ago. Consumer expectations have evolved so much that historical models of operation are no longer good enough. For example, 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations.

With data driven intelligence, coupled with modern business applications, organizations can deliver personalized and differentiated shopping for their customers. We see this as a future of retail – and it is happening today.

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To bring this vision to life, we’re introducing two new applications that help transform the retail space – bringing together physical, digital and observational data sources to improve the store experience.

Dynamics 365 Commerce 

A new application that we are announcing today, Dynamics 365 Commerce, is a comprehensive omni-channel solution for retail and e-tail companies that unifies back office, in-store, call center and digital experiences.

A fully-connected solution that will evolve Dynamics 365 for retail, Dynamics 365 Commerce can transform the customer experience—from the digital experiences that make shopping fun and rewarding to productivity and collaboration solutions that help retail employees provide outstanding customer service.

In addition, intelligent systems provide deep insights to empower advanced decision making and personalization, delivering the fully connected commerce solution retailers need to build brand loyalty, optimize operations and supply chain efficiencies and deliver better business outcomes.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the third-largest premium wine company in the U.S., today announced plans to empower customers throughout the shopping experience and transform the way Ste. Michelle Wine Estates does business with Dynamics 365 Commerce as its end-to-end omnichannel solution across physical and digital channels.

With three distinct consumer touch points – e-commerce, traditional brick and mortar and loyalty programs such as wine clubs – Ste. Michelle Wine Estates was challenged by the complexity of the technology needed to provide a true 360-degree view of its consumer. To offer customers the best possible experience, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates plans to align its operations with Dynamics 365 Commerce to power a comprehensive customer engagement platform capable of integrating distinct brands across all its direct-to-consumer sales channels.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store

In retail, success relies on a consistent customer experience across web, mobile and physical storefronts. The challenge for omni-channel retailers is ensuring the same level of service and convenience in physical locations as online—from stocking the same variety of inventory to offering personalized recommendations based on browsing and buying behavior.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store is a new application that provides insight into the retail space, helping physical retailers understand and improve the in-store experience by analyzing disparate data from video cameras and IoT sensors to providing real-time and predictive insights that help store managers and employees make better decisions.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store uses observational data generated as customers move through the store, as well as the status of store equipment and product, to create employee alerts and actionable insights that can improve store efficiency. For instance, Connected Store can improve the checkout experience by triaging extra cashiers via instant notifications, based on sensor or camera data. Fluctuations in the condition of store equipment such as freezers and refrigerators can put product quality at risk. Connected Store, supported by Azure IoT Central, utilizes IoT sensors to monitor temperature and humidity, which can quickly highlight any anomalies to protect inventory.

Connected Store also tracks long-term trends in the retail space, illuminating patterns and opportunities across day-to-day, season-to-season activities and occurrences. Teams across the organization can stay updated with automated emails and a web app to review and report data. Whether you’re a regional manager who seeks to increase revenue and reduce cost by optimizing operations, a store manager who seeks to better-utilize their teams, or a store associate who seeks to better-prioritize their daily activities, Connected Store offers you benefits that can help you optimize customer experience.

Multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is deploying Connected Store at its flagship, located in the heart of London, helping them achieve their ambition of becoming a ‘digital-first’ retailer. Store managers report that Connected Store gives M&S employees a real-time understanding of what is happening within their retail space, allowing them to work more efficiently and provide a more personalized customer experience.

Here is a look into the impact Dynamics 365 Connected Store is having on M&S and how it is changing the way they deliver technology into their stores and into the hands of their colleagues.

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Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection general availability and new feature addressing wrongful declines

The cost of fraud to both banks and merchants as well as the customer shopping can be quite high and detrimental to a company’s bottom line. To combat this, we are announcing Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection will be generally available on October 1. This new application will decrease fraud costs and help increase acceptance rates for customer payment transactions with e-commerce merchants.

Banks and merchants can realize immediate benefits with Fraud Protection, but customer shopping experiences can also be improved by providing a seamless purchasing experience. The solution combats payment and account-creation fraud with AI technology that continuously learns and adapts to evolving fraudulent patterns.

As part of this release, Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection will include a new transaction acceptance booster that addresses wrongful declines – a common issue that negatively impacts both merchants and banks. Merchants can opt to participate in this feature to increase acceptance rates for authorization requests they make to issuing banks participating in Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection. Microsoft is at the Sibos 2019 global financial services conference this week showcasing this and several other announcements illustrating our focus on removing barriers for the financial services industry to adopting cloud technology and accelerate digital transformation.

Tune in to the Wave 2 Release Virtual Launch Event on October 10

Only Dynamics 365 connects all forms of data—from observational, to analytics, transactional and beyond – revolutionizing CRM and ERP, and empowering you and your employees to accelerate your business.

To learn more about the technologies we announced today and much more, join us on October 10 for the Microsoft Business Applications Virtual Launch Event—a free virtual event showcasing how we’re accelerating innovation with new features and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

With updates, insights and demonstrations directly from the experts, you’ll better understand how to leverage these new technologies as part of your own organization’s digital transformation initiatives.


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Analyzing data from space – the ultimate intelligent edge scenario

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Space represents the next frontier for cloud computing, and Microsoft’s unique approach to partnerships with pioneering companies in the space industry means together we can build platforms and tools that foster significant leaps forward, helping us gain deeper insights from the data gleaned from space.

One of the primary challenges for this industry is the sheer amount of data available from satellites and the infrastructure required to bring this data to ground, analyze the data and then transport it to where it’s needed. With almost 3,000 new satellites forecast to launch by 20261 and a threefold increase in the number of small satellite launches per year, the magnitude of this challenge is growing rapidly.

Essentially, this is the ultimate intelligent edge scenario – where massive amounts of data must be processed at the edge – whether that edge is in space or on the ground. Then the data can be directed to where it’s needed for further analytics or combined with other data sources to make connections that simply weren’t possible before.

DIU chooses Microsoft and Ball Aerospace for space analytics

To help with these challenges, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) just selected Microsoft and Ball Aerospace to build a solution demonstrating agile cloud processing capabilities in support of the U.S. Air Force’s Commercially Augmented Space Inter Networked Operations (CASINO) project.

With the aim of making satellite data more actionable more quickly, Ball Aerospace and Microsoft teamed up to answer the question: “what would it take to completely transform what a ground station looks like, and downlink that data directly to the cloud?”

The solution involves placing electronically steered flat panel antennas on the roof of a Microsoft datacenter. These phased array antennas don’t require much power and need only a couple of square meters of roof space. This innovation can connect multiple low earth orbit (LEO) satellites with a single antenna aperture, significantly accelerating the delivery rate of data from satellite to end user with data piped directly into Microsoft Azure from the rooftop array.

Analytics for a massive confluence of data

Azure provides the foundational engine for Ball Aerospace algorithms in this project, processing worldwide data streams from up to 20 satellites. With the data now in Azure, customers can direct that data to where it best serves the mission need, whether that’s moving it to Azure Government to meet compliance requirements such as ITAR or combining it with data from other sources, such as weather and radar maps, to gain more meaningful insights.

In working with Microsoft, Steve Smith, Vice President and General Manager, Systems Engineering Solutions at Ball Aerospace called this type of data processing system, which leverages Ball phased array technology and imagery exploitation algorithms in Azure, “flexible and scalable – designed to support additional satellites and processing capabilities. This type of data processing in the cloud provides actionable, relevant information quickly and more cost-effectively to the end user.”

With Azure, customers gain its advanced analytics capabilities such as Azure Machine Learning and Azure AI. This enables end users to build models and make predictions based on a confluence of data coming from multiple sources, including multiple concurrent satellite feeds. Customers can also harness Microsoft’s global fiber network to rapidly deliver the data to where it’s needed using services such as ExpressRoute and ExpressRoute Global Reach. In addition, ExpressRoute now enables customers to ingest satellite data from several new connectivity partners to address the challenges of operating in remote locations.

For tactical units in the field, this technology can be replicated to bring information to where it’s needed, even in disconnected scenarios. As an example, phased array antennas mounted to a mobile unit can pipe data directly into a tactical datacenter or Data Box Edge appliance, delivering unprecedented situational awareness in remote locations.

A similar approach can be used for commercial applications, including geological exploration and environmental monitoring in disconnected or intermittently connected scenarios. Ball Aerospace specializes in weather satellites, and now customers can more quickly get that data down and combine it with locally sourced data in Azure, whether for agricultural, ecological, or disaster response scenarios.

This partnership with Ball Aerospace enables us to bring satellite data to ground and cloud faster than ever, leapfrogging other solutions on the market. Our joint innovation in direct satellite-to-cloud communication and accelerated data processing provides the Department of Defense, including the Air Force, with entirely new capabilities to explore as they continue to advance their mission.






The post Analyzing data from space – the ultimate intelligent edge scenario appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Microsoft events — the year ahead

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Empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more is a 7 billion-person mission that we don’t take lightly. None of us at Microsoft could ever hope to reach that objective without a vast set of partnerships with curious and passionate people who seek to deeply understand technology and its power to transform individuals, businesses and industries. Facilitating connections, sharing our technologies and partnering to create solutions to real-world challenges is why we create the many Microsoft event experiences we host around the world.

Microsoft event experiences are designed to benefit specific audiences and structured to support clear objectives. We’re committed to closely aligning with all our partners, customers, and business and IT decision makers and connecting you with peers and industry leaders. To find out more about each event, visit our event website for details. Or, if you’re looking for a quick description of each event, read below to get a snapshot of our upcoming events.

Flagship events
IT professionals and developers
Microsoft Ignite — For IT professionals, decision makers, implementors, architects, developers and data professionals. This event provides opportunities to explore the latest tools, receive deep technical training and get specific questions answered by Microsoft experts. With more than 26,000 attendees who join to learn, connect and explore what Microsoft has to offer, this truly is the place where reality meets imagination. Orlando, Florida | Nov. 4-8, 2019

Microsoft Build — Where leading architects, developers, start-ups and student developers converge to focus on the latest tech trends and innovate for the future. We maintain our “produced by developers and for developers” mantra while inviting the next generation of developers to participate in the student zone. Seattle, Washington | May 19-21, 2020

Microsoft partners
Microsoft Business Applications Summit — An annual opportunity to bring together a community of Microsoft customers and partners in roles that include power users, business analysts, evangelists, implementers and technical architects. This event provides a forum to learn how Microsoft’s end-to-end Dynamics 365 and Power Platform can create and extend solutions to drive business success. Anaheim, California | April 20-21, 2020

Microsoft Inspire — Where Microsoft partners meet to connect and celebrate as one community at the close of Microsoft’s fiscal year. With hundreds of thousands of partners across the world, our partner ecosystem is stronger and more united than ever. We invite you to learn more about how Microsoft leaders are supporting our partners, and how partners can capitalize on the opportunities ahead. We’ve co-located our Microsoft sales kick-off event to build on our shared partnership philosophy. Las Vegas, Nevada | July 20-24, 2020

Regional tours

We started our regional tours for attendee convenience and to gauge how digital transformation is happening around the world. They’ve been a success on both fronts. This year we’re expanding to 30 markets for Microsoft Ignite The Tour and starting Microsoft Envision I The Tour in seven cities. Check out one of the stops on our regional tours in a city near you.

IT professionals and developers
Microsoft Ignite The Tour — We are bringing the best of Microsoft Ignite to you by traveling to 30 cities around the world for both ease of access and for the robust localized content for these distinct markets. Join us for in-depth learning and experiences in a free, two-day format that allows IT professionals and developers to learn new ways to build solutions, migrate, and manage infrastructure and connect with local industry leaders and peers. Visit Microsoft Ignite The Tour for locations and dates.

Business decision makers
Microsoft Envision | The Tour — An invitation-only, single-day event held in multiple cities around the world. With a global focus, this summit allows members of the C-suite to focus on challenges and trends that are changing the way organizations do business. Taking inspiration from our CEO Summit, this conference is designed to give leaders a chance to step back and learn about smart strategies to tackle emerging issues, power new efficiencies and build new business models and revenue streams. Visit Microsoft Envision I The Tour for locations and dates.

Digital learning

For those unable to make it in person or who are looking to quickly skill up on a particular topic, we offer digital learning options. Watch training sessions and event keynote sessions at any time. View multiple modules or choose a learning path tailored to today’s developer and technology masterminds that are designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

Additional events

We’re just scratching the surface of the full picture of events that Microsoft has to offer. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, visit our full global events catalog for a list of events in your region and possibly your own city. These are events that are organized around specific product offerings and located in easily accessible locations with a wide range of class levels offered.

We invite everyone to join us to learn and grow, join us to connect with your peers, join us to get the answers you need so that you can deliver the solutions that can help propel your digital transformation. Visit our events website of flagship and regional events, and we look forward to seeing you in the year ahead.

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