Microsoft HoloLens speeds service for thyssenkrupp Elevator, researchers achieve speech recognition milestone and Old Glory Relay kicks off — Weekend Reading: Sept.16 edition

 |   Athima Chansanchai

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories on how Microsoft HoloLens is helping thyssenkrupp Elevator service technicians make quicker fixes, how researchers achieved a major milestone in speech recognition and the beginning of the more than 4,200-mile Old Glory Relay, sponsored by Microsoft.

Elevator technician wearing HoloLens talks to a woman on Skype, who appears virtually in front of him

Stairs are great for a workout and a necessity during emergencies. But when you need to get up several floors fast, nothing beats an elevator.

With 1.2 million units, customers in 150 countries and more than 50,000 employees, thyssenkrupp Elevator knows a thing or two about keeping elevators running. Using the predictive maintenance capabilities of the Azure IoT Suite, thyssenkrupp’s service technicians already identify problems with elevators, which allows them to make time-saving interventions and quicker fixes before it inconveniences their customers. Now, with the use of Microsoft HoloLens, they will be able to work hands-free while on the job and make remote calls to more experienced technicians who can walk them through solutions – and provide them with valuable on-site education. Get all the details on the Transform blog.

Headshot portrait of a man smiling, wearing a plaid shirt
Geoffrey Zweig manages Microsoft’s Speech & Dialog research group.

In the quest for computers to understand speech as well as humans do, Microsoft researchers have reached a milestone in achieving a word error rate (WER) of 6.3 percent, the lowest in the industry.

“This new milestone benefited from a wide range of new technologies developed by the AI community from many different organizations over the past 20 years,” says Xuedong Huang, the company’s chief speech scientist, who reports the milestone in a recent benchmark evaluation against the industry standard Switchboard speech recognition task. Read all about it on Next at Microsoft.

Group of people in running gear posed in front of the Space Needle with an American flag.
Microsoft’s Old Glory Relay group.

Sunday, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a reveille sunrise ceremony at Seattle’s Space Needle kicked off the Old Glory Relay, in which 62 teams will take the American flag on a 4,216-mile relay to Tampa, Florida. Team Red, White and Blue, an organization committed to supporting veterans as they move back into civilian life, organized the relay, which is in its third year. Microsoft, which provides training and resources to help service members transition into successful careers in technology through programs like Microsoft Software & Services Academy, has once again signed up to be the presenting sponsor of the Old Glory Relay.

YouTube Video

In a new round of testing with other browsers, Microsoft Edge again emerged as the best choice for extending battery life on Windows 10, thanks to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. It’s up to 24-43 percent more efficient than the competition for general purpose browsing (video playback, multi-tab productivity, shopping, social media and more). When streaming video, it lasts up to 23-69 percent longer – more than 90 minutes longer than Google Chrome. Get all the details on the Windows Blog.

Screenshot showing various landscape photos
Evernote for Windows 10

This week, we saw a lot going on in the world of apps and games. New, rich, fully featured apps built using the Desktop Bridge are now in the Windows Store for Windows 10 customers running the Anniversary Update, including the all-new Evernote app for Windows 10, Arduino IDE, Double Twist, PhotoScape, MAGIX Movie Edit Pro, Virtual Robotics Kit, Relab, SQL Pro, Voya Media, Predicted Desire and korAccount. The bridge gives developers the ability to bring their existing desktop apps and games over to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). This allows the app or game to reach all Windows 10 devices over time, including phones, Xbox One and HoloLens.

Also check out the latest episode of “Minecraft: Story Mode” – “A Journey’s End?”; as well as VUDU and “ReCore” – the first Xbox Play Anywhere game – now on Xbox One and Windows 10. Then head over to the Windows Store and celebrate the 50th anniversary of a beloved sci-fi small screen pillar by getting bonus Microsoft Rewards points when you buy select “Star Trek” series or movies. With Video Breakdown, a new platform released through the Microsoft Garage, you could search for videos about a specific topic, jump to the moments that mention it and share those segments. Get all the details on Fire Hose.

Closeup of a person playing with a multi-colored cube game

This week on the Facebook and Twitter pages, we shared Fast Company’s article on Microsoft’s unique program for employees with autism. Millions of autistic adults often find themselves risking discrimination in the workplace, starting with the interview process. Microsoft, as one of the largest companies to focus on this effort, is leading the charge to fix the stigma associated with autism and similar disorders.

That’s it for our round-up. See you next Friday for another Weekend Reading!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

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