Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference kicked off in Seattle today, at which it released an avalanche of news.
In his keynote this morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a new AI for Accessibility program, more advanced Windows Mixed Reality capabilities, and new Azure services and partnerships around AI, drones, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
That’s only a fraction of the news. Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, AI and cloud head Scott Guthrie, and Windows chief Joe Belfiore also detailed product announcements covering everything from blockchain and developer tools to Microsoft 365, the company’s various office and productivity apps, and Windows 10 features extending to mobile apps.
Read on for a breakdown of the biggest news out of Build.
1. Cortana + Alexa
- 1 1. Cortana + Alexa
- 2 2. AI for Accessibility
- 3 3. DJI and Qualcomm Partnerships
- 4 4. Project Kinect for Azure
- 5 5. Multi-Sense Mixed Reality
- 6 6. Azure Blockchain Workbench
- 7 7. More Intelligent Cloud Services
- 8 9. Microsoft 365 Integrations
- 9 10. Apps and Adaptive Cards
- 10 11. Windows Timeline on iOS
- 11 Get Our Best Stories!
2. AI for Accessibility
3. DJI and Qualcomm Partnerships
Nadella also announced two new major partnerships with Qualcomm and DJI. The drone maker is working with Microsoft on a new software development kit (SDK) for Windows 10 that will give Windows users full flight control and real-time data transfer capabilities from their PCs over DJI’s full ecosytem of drones, such as the Mavic and Phantom lines.
The companies will also co-develop Azure IoT Edge and AI services focused on agriculture, construction, public safety, and other drone-based use cases.
The Qualcomm partnership is centered around Azure IoT Edge. Microsoft and Qualcomm are creating a vision AI developer kit for camera-based IoT devices. The tech combines Azure Machine Learning with Qualcomm’s Vision Intelligence Platform and AI Engine on a combined hardware and software solution. Microsoft said the IoT cameras will be able to run cognitive services and stream real-time data locally as the cameras scan and process information at the edge.
4. Project Kinect for Azure
Kinect lives again! Sort of. The technology behind Microsoft Kinect already underpins the foundations of Microsoft HoloLens, but now Microsoft is expanding the Xbox motion control tech’s legacy to a new IoT device.
Project Kinect for Azure combines a package of embedded sensors incorporating fourth generation Kinect technology, Microsoft’s Time of Flight depth camera, and an onboard AI edge computing module into a small new device built for enterprises. It will also include a 360-degree microphone array, an RGB camera, and an accelerometer. The “small form factor” device uses Azure AI services for better accuracy and field of view in hand tracking and spatial mapping. Microsoft said Kinect for Azure can be applied to a host of different “insights and operations” settings for AI on the edge.
This news goes hand-in-hand with Custom Vision(Opens in a new window) coming to Azure IoT Edge in devices like drones and industrial equipment. Nadella said Custom Vision is now the first Azure Cognitive Service to support edge deployment, with more coming to Azure IoT Edge in the next few months.
5. Multi-Sense Mixed Reality
6. Azure Blockchain Workbench
On the blockchain front, Microsoft announced the public preview of a new service called Azure Blockchain Workbench, which simplifies blockchain app development by connecting the decentralized app to cloud services like Azure Active Directory (AAD), Key Vault, and SQL Database.
Guthrie said Workbench can dramatically reduce proof-of-concept development time by automating infrastructure setup, which is a key selling point of the company’s blockchain-as-a-service offering. It’s also a core design philosophy of Coco, Microsoft’s open-source blockchain framework announced last year.
Microsoft has been testing Workbench in preview with more than 100 customers since last year, as it has expanded available Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates. Workbench lets you associate blockchain identities with AAD, store encrypted keys with Azure Key Vault, and sync on-chain data with off-chain storage and databases.
7. More Intelligent Cloud Services
Microsoft is doing a ton on the intelligence front, and at Build, Nadella, Scott, and Guthrie revealed a slew of new projects, services, and updates. The company announced a new Speech Devices SDK that lets developers build more advanced audio-processing apps for scenarios like drive-through ordering, in-car systems, smart speakers, and digital assistants. The SDK not only has more accurate speech recognition, but also sports features like noise cancellation and far-field voice pickup.
There’s also an Azure preview of Project Brainwave(Opens in a new window), a Microsoft Research project for deep neural network processing that Microsoft is also developing for its Azure Stack and Azure Data Box products. The AI list goes on. Microsoft also announced a new unified Speech platform in Azure Cognitive Services with improved speech recognition and text-to-speech. There’s an updated Microsoft Bot Framework(Opens in a new window) too, with richer dialogs and voice customization, and a new preview of Azure Search integrated with Cognitive Services for quicker AI-enhanced search. Finally there’s a new platform called Windows Machine Learning, designed to let developers build and train machine learning models more easily in the cloud and then deploy them offline on a PC.
9. Microsoft 365 Integrations
10. Apps and Adaptive Cards
Microsoft is releasing a new app called Your Phone, which connects a user’s smartphone to a window in their PC for syncing messages, photos, and notifications across devices. Your Phone will start rolling out to the Windows Insider Program this week, and there’s also a new Microsoft Launcher app for Android.
Microsoft 365 is also getting a new user interface element called Adaptive Cards. These cards, which work with Outlook and Teams, let users access rich interactive content directly in messages. Belfiore explained that if a user sees something like an expense report come in, they can approve it directly in Outlook through an Adaptive Card.
11. Windows Timeline on iOS
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Source By https://www.pcmag.com/news/microsoft-build-all-the-news-you-need-to-know