Expanding and democratizing artificial intelligence, transforming businesses at Ignite — Weekend Reading: Sept. 30 edition

Sep 30, 2016   |   Vanessa Ho

Harry Shum smiles in black-and-white portrait
Harry Shum, executive vice president, Microsoft AI and Research Group

This week delivered plenty of powerful news from Microsoft, from game-changing announcements about artificial intelligence to new avenues for business transformation demonstrated at Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta. Here’s the highlights.

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it’s forming a new group to expand its artificial intelligence efforts by bringing together the company’s world-class research organization with more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers. Harry Shum, a computer vision luminary and 20-year Microsoft veteran, will lead the new AI and Research Group.

The group will accelerate delivery of new AI capabilities and further Microsoft’s goal of democratizing AI for every person and organization.

The week also saw a parade of exciting new products, services and partnerships on stage at the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference. Adobe and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership to strengthen customer engagement with the help of Microsoft Azure, Adobe Marketing Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Also at Ignite, Uber shared a new security feature that uses driver selfies and Microsoft Cognitive Services. The intelligence technology powers Uber’s feature, Real-Time ID Check, which periodically prompts drivers for a selfie before they can accept online ride requests. The tool helps protects drivers’ accounts from fraud and adds another security layer to Uber’s app for passengers.

And Lowe’s unveiled a newly enhanced version of its kitchen design tool created with Microsoft HoloLens. The mixed-reality solution helps customers remodel their kitchen, with full-sized, customizable, holographic images. No more bringing home handfuls of tiny swatch cards and samples. The tool will be available at select Lowe’s stores later this year.

In other news, Microsoft Azure will become more broadly available to eligible nonprofits, as part of the company’s $1 billion commitment to ensure that its cloud serves the public good.

“As the reach and capabilities of cloud computing continue to expand, so too does its potential to better serve the people and organizations working to address vital issues facing our planet and its populations,” wrote Mary Snapp, head of Microsoft Philanthropies.

Forza fans got new thrills with the worldwide release of “Forza Horizon 3” on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. The game takes players to beautiful, diverse Australia for a new race car adventure in the Horizon Festival.

And finally this week on Facebook and Twitter, Microsoft highlighted the partnership between Microsoft and the Tate Britain museum in London. The organizations came together to support Recognition, a technology that uses Microsoft-developed APIs to allow users to view and compare the likeness of two images.

Created by Italian research center Fabrica and developed by French artificial intelligence specialists Jolibrain, Recognition recently won the Tate’s IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation.

That’s it for the week. To see webcasts, photos and more news from Microsoft Ignite 2016, go to the conference’s news site. Thanks for reading and see you next Friday!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

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