Microsoft Ignite 2019: Delivering More Intelligent and Secure Tools and Services for Enterprises


November 4, 2019, Hong Kong – Microsoft’s largest annual event: Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, Florida welcomes more than 26,000 IT implementers, decision-makers, developers, data professionals and people across industries to experience the latest technologies, products, services and solutions from Microsoft. At the week-long Microsoft Ignite event, the company announces a broad range of new products and services, ranging from tools boosting productivity work, Azure services that give customers the flexibility to deploy AI capabilities in any environment, to the built-in capabilities, cloud-powered intelligence and integration that helps customers address some of the biggest security and compliance challenges.

Microsoft Azure for hybrid, edge, and unified data analytics

Bring Azure service and managements to on-premises, AWS or Google cloud

As more business operations and applications expand to include edge devices and multiple clouds, hybrid capabilities must enable apps to run seamlessly across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge devices, while providing consistent management and security across all distributed locations. Today, Microsoft announced the preview of Azure Arc, a set of technologies that unlocks new hybrid scenarios for customers by bringing Azure services and management to any infrastructure. Azure Arc extends the proven Azure management capabilities to Linux and Windows servers, as well as Kubernetes clusters on any infrastructure across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge.

With Azure Arc, customers can now have a consistent and unified approach to managing their different environments using robust, established Azure capabilities. Developers can build containerized apps with the tools of their choice and IT teams can ensure that the apps are deployed, configured, and managed uniformly using GitOps-based configuration management. It brings the benefits of cloud innovation, including always up-to-date data capabilities, deployment in seconds (rather than hours), and dynamic scalability on any infrastructure.

Expanded Azure Stack offerings for any edge

Enterprises across 60 markets including Hong Kong Stock Exchange, KPMG Norway and Airbus Defense & Space are building hybrid solutions powered by Azure Stack connected and disconnected from Azure. Today, Microsoft is expanding Azure Stack portfolio to offer customers even more flexibility with the addition of Azure Stack Edge. Azure Stack Edge is a managed AI-enabled edge appliance that brings compute, storage and intelligence to any edge. Customers will be able to take advantage of new capabilities including Virtual Machine support, a GPU based form factor, high availability with multiple nodes, and multi-access edge compute (MEC).

Bridge the gap of data warehouses and data lakes

Data warehouses and data lakes are two types of analytical systems businesses are forced to maintain – both are critical, yet operate independent of one another, which can lead to uninformed decisions. Azure Synapse Analytics is a new limitless analytics service that merges the capabilities of Azure SQL Data Warehouse with new enhancements that will help customers put their data to work much more quickly and securely by pulling together insights from all data sources, data warehouses and big data analytics systems. It gives you the freedom to query data on your terms, using either serverless on-demand or provisioned resources—at scale. Azure Synapse brings these two worlds together with a unified experience to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for immediate BI and machine learning needs. Companies like Unilever are choosing Azure Synapse to streamline their analytics processes.

Azure empowers AI for Good

Microsoft initiated AI for Good programs, to provide technology, resources, and expertise to empower those working to solve humanitarian issues and create a more sustainable and accessible world. In partnership with Beijing Hongdandan Visually Impaired Service Center, Microsoft Search Technology Center Asia (STCA) Speech team have made it possible for the NGO to create educational audiobooks quickly for the people who are blind, with the help of Neural Text to Speech (NTTS) technologies from Azure Cognitive Services. The application of Microsoft NTTS technology can greatly reduce listening fatigue for users interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) systems. At Ignite 2019, Microsoft introduced the new Custom Neural Voice capability built upon this NTTS advancement, which enables customers to create a unique brand voice, starting from just a few minutes of training audio. Using this latest capability, Hongdandan has built the digital voice of Lina, who became the first blind individual in China to become a certified broadcaster and is now a trainer at Hongdandan. The Custom Neural Voice technology can be widely used in intelligent assistants, customer service bots, educational companion robots, audio book creation, video voice-over and other scenarios to increase the customers’ emotional connection and enhance the user experience.

Microsoft 365: push the boundaries of productivity with AI

As the world’s productivity cloud, Microsoft 365 is bringing new innovations in six key investment areas: productivity, knowledge, workflow, security, compliance, and management. And AI in Microsoft 365 is leading this approach, with intelligent, natural, and personalized productivity experiences that help you find information, amplify skills, and transform collaboration.

Cortana to be more productive

Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS will help you catch up and act on emails hands-free. With new natural voice and language recognition, Cortana can intelligently read out your new emails and share changes to your day. Scheduler in Outlook is shipping in preview, you can use it to hand off scheduling meetings and coordinating participants to Cortana.

Knowledge Network in Microsoft 365

Knowledge Network uses AI to reason over your organization’s data and automatically organize it into shared topics like projects and customers. It also delivers relevant knowledge to people across your organization through topic cards and topic pages. In addition, Knowledge Network turns your content into an interactive knowledge repository—with innovations in smart content ingestion—to analyze documents and create sophisticated content models; machine teaching, to allow subject matter experts to teach the system how to understand semi-structured content; and knowledge retrieval, to make it easy for people to access the valuable knowledge that’s so often locked away in documents, conversations, meetings, and videos.

The New Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Bing

Microsoft announces that the general availability of the all-new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser is targeted for January 15, 2020, and you can download release candidate now. The all-new Microsoft Edge offers enterprise users new tab page, providing a direct access to your Microsoft 365 files, sites, and intranet search, making every tab you open a portal to productivity. The Microsoft Edge is available across all devices with settings seamlessly roam among them, allowing you to search work files from your phone. With the new Microsoft Search in Bing integration, searching for information at work is as easy as searching the web. You can now access files, people, office floorplans, acronym definitions, and more company information from across your Microsoft 365 ecosystem right from the search bar.

Microsoft Stream to unlock video contents

Video is an increasingly powerful medium for capturing and sharing knowledge and learning. Microsoft Research Asia and Microsoft Stream collaborated to create an algorithm which detects speech and other audio frequencies in a video, then isolates the most prevalent speech signal to separate it from any background noise. This gives the effect of enhancing the voice, while muting the background noise. It allows you to focus on the spoken word by reducing background noise.

More Announcements of Microsoft 365

Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork. The new features include secure private channels, multiwindow chats and meetings, pinned channels, task integration with To Do and Planner and improved integration between Outlook and Teams.

Workplace Analytics is making it even easier to gain knowledge about the way people work and its impact on business and organizational outcomes. Business leaders will get at-a-glance insights to quickly understand and improve meeting culture, manager practices, organizational networks, and customer relationships.

Office Scripting simplifies clunky processes and automates repetitive tasks so you can work less while doing more. Microsoft introduced scripting in Excel, a new process automation feature that allows to record actions inside a workbook and save it to a script.

MyAnalytics can help you prepare for time off by automating out of office notification setup, informing collaborators of your time away, resolving meetings you’ll miss. With the innovation from MSRA, Excel can now support natural language queries, users can now ask a question of their data, just like they would if they were talking to a person, and get quick answers.

Any customer with any Azure AD plan, including a free plan, can now use the Microsoft Authenticator app for secure, passwordless access to both Microsoft and non-Microsoft apps. With Azure AD and Microsoft Authenticator, enterprises can go passwordless for a great user experience and lower support costs while also implementing two-factor or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for greater security.

Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities are now available in preview for Mac OS devices, and will be adding support for Linux servers next.

Application Guard for Office is now available in preview, it provides hardware-level and container-based protection against potentially malicious Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.

New business opportunities by automated Power Platform

For Microsoft, it’s a privilege to work with global organizations every day to help them compete and innovate in a modern, data-driven economy. The goal with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform is to help organizations drive more impactful business outcomes and take proactive actions that will uniquely position and differentiate your business in the fast-evolving market. Microsoft Dynamics 365 introduced 400+ new capabilities just a few weeks ago with the 2019 Wave 2 release. At Microsoft Ignite 2019, Microsoft announces more major updates to the Power Platform that unlock new possibilities.

Microsoft Flow is being renamed to Power Automate, to better align with the Power Platform. Robotic process automation (RPA) added to Power Automate, delivering an end-to-end automation solution that spans AI, APIs and UI on the Microsoft Power Platform. Power Automate simplifies end-to-end scenarios through a unified automation platform that can bridge the gap between API-based automation and UI-based automation.

Microsoft announce the public preview of new RPA capability in Power Automate called UI flows. Creating a UI flow is a simple and familiar point-and-click / low-code experience that makes it easy for users to turn manual tasks into automated workflows by recording and playing back human-driven interaction with software systems that don’t support API automation. Couple the capabilities of UI flows with Power Automate’s prebuilt connectors for more than 275 widely-used apps and services that supports API automation, and you have an end-to-end automation platform capable of reinventing business processes for a wide range of workloads across industries.

Power Virtual Agents, now in public preview, is a new offering that enables subject matter experts in your organization – such as customer service, sales, marketing, finance or HR – to easily create powerful bots using a guided, no-code graphical interface—without the need for data scientists or developers. Because they’re already integrated with Microsoft’s Power Platform, you can use hundreds of pre-built connectors so your bot can talk to your backend systems with a few clicks – or easily add capabilities like using Power Automate to call an API. If you want to add code or some more complex capabilities, Microsoft’s Cognitive Services and Bot Framework are fully integrated.

A new set of prebuilt models for AI Builder that add even more advanced AI models to Power Automate and Power Apps that are available to everyone. AI Builder is the no-code AI capability on the Power Platform, it enables organizations to tailor AI to their specific business needs and their unique data without the need to hire data scientists or pro-developers to make their apps and processes more intelligent. AI Builder takes common AI scenarios and provides point-and-click solutions for app makers to solve everyday tasks like forms processing, object detection, and text and binary classification.

A host of new security enhancements for Power BI, that add industry leading data security capabilities no matter where your analytics data is used and accessed. Tighter integration between the Power Platform and Microsoft Teams bringing the world’s most popular collaboration app and Power Platform closer together.

Visit the official site of Microsoft Ignite 2019. For more details of the event, you can watch Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s key note, and there are also more than 1,000 great sessions available to watch virtually.


About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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