Weekend Reading: April 18th Edition — Converting big data to ambient intelligence

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on creating a data culture, an Internet of Things service built on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Research’s Silicon Valley TechFair.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, along with Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner and Data Platform Group Corporate Vice President Quentin Clark, spoke Tuesday about creating a world in which devices and services anticipate and understand our needs. Building out a comprehensive platform that enables ambient intelligence is an initiative that Microsoft is uniquely qualified to undertake. The platform will include services such as: SQL Server, BI, Machine Learning, Bing and Microsoft Azure, Nadella explains. Creating a “data culture” is about deploying technology and changing the culture within organizations, empowering people to do great things.


Microsoft’s Intelligent Systems Service, previewed at the “Accelerate Your Insights” conference Tuesday in San Francisco, is an Internet of Things offering built on Microsoft Azure, which makes it easier to securely connect, manage, capture and transform machine-generated data regardless of the operating system platform. The Internet of Things (IoT) is “clearly one of the most important trends in data,” and not only does Microsoft envision data from IoT solutions being well served by the data platform, but “we need to ensure the end-to-end solution can be realized by any customer,” writes Quentin Clark, Data Platform Group corporate vice president.


Thursday, the Microsoft Research Silicon Valley lab hosted the Silicon Valley TechFair, an open-door event for customers, academia and partners to learn more about the inner workings of Microsoft Research.The Silicon Valley community checked out 18 research projects that showcased the future trends and technology areas that Microsoft scientists and engineers are exploring across the company’s global labs – such as environmental sustainability, tools for big data and engaging with machines in more intuitive ways. The TechFair provided the opportunity for attendees to explore and discuss the work directly with the scientists. The Microsoft researchers who worked on the research underpinnings of Cortana were also there to showcase their role and work on Microsoft’s new personal assistant.


Detecta, an intelligent system of crime monitoring, is being deployed in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.This tool, jointly developed between Microsoft and New York City, uses cutting-edge technology to improve police work through counter-terrorism efforts, as well as other types of crimes. This is the first time that the tool will be used outside of New York City. Detecta unites the most modern technologies in the area of computing: Big data (which stores and processes large amounts of information) and business intelligence (which allows data processing for specific pre-determined purposes).


We saw new hardware this week that gives you more power and convenience under your fingertips. For example, there’s a new All-in-One Media Keyboard that lets you share photos and videos on the big screen – our home TVs – with family and friends from comfy couches. It has a multi-touch trackpad next to its full size keyset so you type, swipe, drag, drop, zoom and click. Also showing some flexibility are new Lenovo FLEX 2 dual-mode laptops that can be used in laptop mode or in stand mode, by flipping the keyboard underneath the screen 300 degrees. Finally, a new Toshiba Satellite with 4K Ultra HD display gives creative professionals the ability to view and create content in much finer and smoother resolution.


We saw apps and games that take us on wild and trippy rides, bring us out into the great outdoors and let us sit at the table with the world’s best card players. The latest Staff App Pick, simian.interface, is a simple puzzle game that makes ingenious use of abstract shapes, beautiful colors and spatial and visual patterns for Windows and Windows Phone. For those who favor nature’s wonders, we put together 8 hiking and outdoor apps for Windows Phone and Windows. Back in the great indoors, the App of the Week is “World Series of Poker: Full House Pro.” New Windows Store standouts include “The Final House of Titanfall,” “Archie Riverdale Rescue” and “LEGO Hero Factory: Invasion from Below.” For Windows Phone users, “Dragon’s Blade II FX,” “Angry Birds” spinoff “Bad Piggies” and “Where’s My Water? XYY” provide good times on the go.


This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to Susan Hendrich.She helped give Cortana her personality. Tell us your story using #ICreatedThis.


Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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