Around the world, Microsoft AI Co-innovation Labs offer startups and established companies alike a place to collaborate and build, develop, prototype, and test new solutions. We opened our first lab in Redmond in 2017, followed by labs in Munich, Shanghai, and Montevideo. Today these labs are accelerating the development of new products for new use cases and growing the ecosystem of AI-driven solutions. Today, we’re extremely excited to announce the opening of our fifth lab, in San Francisco.
The labs are a place to more deeply understand and experiment with AI development tools. They’re about quickly applying emerging technologies to emerging needs with tangible business impacts.
“AI is one of the defining technologies of our time, and Microsoft is committed to empowering every person and organization, whether a large enterprise or startup, to achieve more with AI,” says Christopher Young, Executive Vice President, Business Development, Strategy and Ventures, Microsoft. “It has been incredible to see the pace of development and innovation coming from the Bay Area and we’re looking forward to working with companies of all sizes, across all industries, to bring their AI ideas and projects to life in the AI Co-Innovation Lab.”
The San Francisco lab is the latest launch in a series of programs and investments from Microsoft that help companies of all sizes take advantage of this new era of AI. Azure OpenAI Service, which became generally available earlier this year, enables companies to apply the most advanced AI models, backed by the unique supercomputing and enterprise capabilities of Azure, to innovate in new ways. Microsoft also supports the startup community through programs like Microsoft for Startups, where more than 5,000 AI-first startups are leveraging our platform to advance their innovations and their businesses, and the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, a global platform which helps startups accelerate innovation by providing access to industry-leading AI services, expert guidance, and the essential technology needed to scale their company.
With the rapid adoption of AI and generative AI across industries, there are countless companies, including startups, in the Bay Area looking for an open and collaborative space to experiment with AI tools, and the lab is a place where they can go to engage with a team of engineers and technology experts—and there are numerous examples of this type of experimentation and collaboration in action in our labs.
Sony Semiconductor Solutions Group’s (“SSS”) vision AI platform, AITRIOS™, sets out to democratize vision AI by simplifying the process to deploy and scale computer vision and edge sensing solutions across industries including retail, logistics, smart city, and more. As a strategic partner of ours, SSS is involved in our labs in Tokyo, Shanghai, Munich, and Redmond and is now joining us in the San Francisco lab.
“The Co-Innovation Labs is a place for customers and partners to test minimum-viable products (MVPs) and develop cutting-edge solutions with Sony’s resources and Microsoft’s support,” says Mark Hanson, VP of Technology & Business Innovation and Head of Marketing for System Solution Business Development at SSS-A.
Artificial, an M12 portfolio company, is a digital platform start-up in the lab orchestration and execution space. They will join us in San Francisco after completing a successful proof of concept in the Redmond lab, where they used Azure OpenAI Service to integrate ChatGPT into their current platform. The integration unlocks the ability for scientists and non-programmers to use natural language instead of needing coding expertise to create orchestration methods that execute scientific laboratory tasks such as operating many instruments in a process and moving specimens around a lab to generate results.
“Working with Microsoft, we developed a functional, end-to-end proof of concept for the non-programmers in the lab, which we are now commercializing,” Artificial CEO David Fuller told me. “For us, the Redmond lab experience rapidly accelerated our vision to orchestrate science using natural language.”
Another lab partner and M12 portfolio company is Space and Time. The company gives its customers the ability to use natural language, rather than complex SQL queries, to access Web3 data—which means the data is more accessible and, ultimately, more usable. It also has a next-generation AI chatbot and worked with us in the lab to integrate a vector search database to improve its chatbot’s ability to return accurate results.
“Before working with Microsoft, we had a 50-60% accuracy rate against our own prompts and expected query results. Now, we hear from our customers that it’s in the order of 80-90% accuracy,” said Scott Dykstra, Chief Technology Officer at Space and Time. “Working with them also accelerated the delivery of the solution by months.”
The lab spaces are so important as places for true collaboration and partnership, but also as spaces for us at Microsoft to get feedback on how to best apply our technology to right-now problems.
So, if you’re in San Francisco and you’re interested in an efficient and compact engagement designed to accelerate or otherwise enhance what you’re doing—join us! There’s no cost to participate. All you need is to be an Azure user or interested in becoming one; an AI use case and business plan; a committed engineering team ready to collaborate; and a desire to solve hard problems with transformative results.
We can work with you on any part of the stack; we can help connect you with other partners; or create a new product or refine your go-to-market strategy. Together, we’ll grow the AI ecosystem, promote the rapid deployment of more AI solutions and learn from each other along the way.
It’s easy to apply, just visit: https://aiotlabs.microsoft.com/p/apply/sprint and to learn more about Microsoft Co-Innovation Labs around the world—including our next one opening in Kobe, Japan, later this year, visit: https://aiotlabs.microsoft.com/en.