The past few years have been a period of dramatic change, with disruptions to our society, the global economy, political landscape, technology and the way we work. As organizations adapt to new challenges, they are turning to their technology providers to help them succeed.
Against this backdrop, at this year’s Microsoft Ignite we are focused on how Microsoft Cloud is helping customers do more with less. In today’s uncertain economic environment, companies are looking to change the way they do work to get better results, with less friction and more choice.
Microsoft Ignite is a showcase of the best of what’s next for Microsoft and its partners, technical decision-makers and information technology implementers. The products and updates unveiled during Microsoft Ignite are designed to help customers, partners and developers get the full value of Microsoft’s technologies.
At every layer of the tech stack – whether it’s infrastructure, data, hybrid work, developer tools or security – we believe the Microsoft Cloud offers best-of-category products and best-of-suite solutions to help organizations be more secure, and to help their workers complete their tasks more easily and effectively.
We know that things become most useful to businesses when they become part of ordinary workflows, which is why we’ve made huge investments in our overall AI technology, in Microsoft 365, in our developer tools, in the Microsoft Cloud and in our security offerings. These are all things that are important to our customers, and so we’re aligning our resources to better help them.
Now, let’s dive into some of the more than 100 services and updates being announced at Microsoft Ignite.
Infrastructure that works for every customer
When we introduced the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform earlier this year, we set out to unify Microsoft’s database, analytics and data governance offerings so our customers didn’t have to. We removed a major pain point around stitching together fragmented data workloads, enabling customers to gain quicker business insights and spend time on what matters most. That platform is now expanding, with 12 partners joining the ecosystem.
Our enterprise-grade, highly scalable, serverless distributed database Azure Cosmos DB already helps mission-critical applications of any size or scale deliver speed and availability to users anywhere in the world, increasing geographic availability, scalability and distribution.
Now, we’re adding distributed database support for PostgreSQL, a popular open-source database engine. This means PostgreSQL developers can take advantage of the speed, scale and performance of Azure Cosmos DB, and open-source developers can access both structured and unstructured data in one familiar database service.
With our hybrid and multicloud offerings, we’re enabling customers to take advantage of the capabilities of Azure wherever they are, whether that’s new functionality to deploy Azure Kubernetes Service on-premises or at the edge with Azure Arc. We’re also continuing to invest in the infrastructure that carries it all, with Azure public multi-access edge compute. It’s helping operators like AT&T deliver 5G in U.S. cities.
We’re also announcing Visual Studio images for Microsoft Dev Box, a service in preview that provides developers with cloud-based, ready-to-code workstations. With Visual Studio available as soon as a developer creates a dev box, developers can save time and focus on coding what matters.
Harnessing the power of AI
Azure OpenAI Service, part of the Azure AI platform, will offer invite-only access to DALL∙E 2, a model that allows users to generate custom images using text or images. The addition of the DALL∙E 2 model expands the breadth-of-use cases Azure OpenAI Service customers can employ with the security, compliance and responsible AI guardrails that Azure provides. Select customers will be able to generate content, images and code to bring visual ideas to life – all from inputting simple text.
With Power Automate, Microsoft is simplifying workflows using the power of AI in everyday natural language. Users can create a cloud flow that corresponds to the request made using natural language. Here, AI helps to turn low-code into no-code, making it easier for more people to build different types of automation faster.
The introduction of Microsoft Syntex integrates offerings from across the Microsoft Cloud, from Microsoft 365 and Azure to Power Platform and Microsoft Purview. Syntex automatically reads, tags and indexes high volumes of content and connects it where it’s needed in context – in search, in applications and as reusable knowledge. It puts people at the center, with content integrated into collaboration and workflows like eSignature.
Microsoft Intelligent Document Processing, powered by AI Builder and Power Automate, enables end-to-end document processing with no code required. Processing documents can be a cumbersome task and AI Builder automates this process, giving workers time back to focus on more high-priority work.
With more sellers on the road and in digital meetings, we’re making conversation intelligence free for Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and the newly released Viva Sales. Conversation intelligence gives sellers the power of insights while helping them be more productive by using analytics and data science to help sellers cut down time spent on administrative work and spend more time with their customers.
Helping organizations thrive in the new world of work
At Microsoft Ignite we’re introducing Microsoft Places, a new workplace app that optimizes the use of physical space. According to our recent Work Trend Index, more than 80% of employees go into the office for each other. Places provides insights into when colleagues are coming into the office or what meetings are best suited for in person.
You’ll also see intelligent recap, which is like having a virtual assistant at every meeting. It will use AI to assign tasks from meetings, automatically generate chapters from the meeting and share personalized insights from the recording, enabling users to discover information that matters most to them. Intelligent recap, along with other new features, will be delivered as part of the new Teams Premium add-on, purchased separately.
With Microsoft Edge we are continuing to invest in distinct experiences that make the workday easier. Microsoft Edge Workspaces is a shared set of browser tabs where groups can view the same websites and latest working files in one place. For example, let’s say a new team member is being brought on to an existing project. Instead of overwhelming them with links and files over email, the team can share one link to their Microsoft Edge Workspaces, which has all their relevant files and links open as browser tabs. As the team works together, tabs are updated in real time so everyone stays on the same page.
Comprehensive security means helping protect everyone wherever they choose to work
The new Defender for DevOps tackles one of the biggest problems faced by the tech industry – new and legacy code not written with security in mind, which can be rapidly exploited by attackers. Organizations can secure applications as they are being built, giving developers the assurance that when they get code from external sources or are working with large application teams, they know they can get ahead of security vulnerabilities and deliver a more secure solution.
We are also offering Power Platform Managed Environments, which enables organizations to introduce low code broadly to spur innovation with the knowledge that IT admins maintain governance and security capabilities over low-code implementations, allowing teams to create at scale without security concerns.
Microsoft is helping organizations build the identity system of the future, a connective network that enables people, organizations, apps and even smart devices to make real-time access decisions.
With Microsoft Entra we are introducing identity and access management solutions designed to securely work across multiple cloud platforms. Microsoft Entra Identity Governance helps organizations ensure the right people have the right access to the right resources at the right time. Within Entra Identity Governance, Workload Identities controls and secures identities for digital workloads, such as apps and services, and controls user access to cloud resources, while certificate-based authentication enables customers to adopt easily deployable phishing-resistant authentication.
To learn more about announcements being made at Microsoft Ignite, be sure to watch the sessions from Satya Nadella, Scott Guthrie, Panos Panay, Judson Althoff, Alysa Taylor and Vasu Jakkal. In addition, more than 100 product announcements can be found within the Book of News, and you can also explore the product specific blogs below for a more granular view of the news and learn more about how this technology is being used today.
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Tags: AI, Azure, developers, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Ignite, Security