Microsoft Ignite 2020: Empowering businesses to build resilience for today and what’s ahead

 |   Microsoft Hong Kong

Satya Nadella at Ignite

September 23, 2020, Hong Kong – Today, every industry is reimagining how it uses technology to transform business, multiple years’ worth of digital transformation happens in a matter of months because of the impact of COVID-19. What is becoming clear is that those companies and organizations that are able to adopt technology to drive their digital transformation forward are building resilience for today and for whatever may come. At Microsoft Ignite 2020 coming online this week, Microsoft brings announcements with latest services and tools from across Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365, to empower organizations and people to build this resilience for today’s challenges and to build what’s possible in the future.

Microsoft Azure for multi-cloud multi-edge hybrid, MR and AI capabilities

  • Hybrid adoption in the enterprise is accelerating as it becomes central to enabling remote work, prioritizing IT investments and accessing the scale of cloud computing. Today, we’re sharing updates to our Azure hybrid-enabled cloud servers, services and devices:
    • Azure Arc enabled servers is now generally available. Customers can seamlessly organize and govern Windows and Linux servers—both physical and virtual machines (VMs)—across their multi-cloud, multi-edge environment, all from the Azure Portal. Azure Arc enabled data services is now in preview, now Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure PostgreSQL Hyperscale can run across on-premises datacenters, multi-cloud, and the edge.
    • Preview of Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI. AKS on Azure Stack HCI enables customers to deploy and manage containerized apps at scale on Azure Stack HCI, just as they can run AKS within Azure.
    • Two new Azure Stack Edge rugged devices are available. Customers can perform machine learning and gain quick insights at the edge by running the Azure Stack Edge Pro R with NVIDIA’s powerful T4 GPU and the lightweight, portable Azure Stack Edge Mini R. Both devices are designed to operate in the harshest environments at remote locations.
    • Azure SQL Edge is now generally available, bringing the most secure Microsoft SQL data engine to IoT gateways and edge devices.

Read the Azure Hybrid blog for more information.

  • For Azure AI, we’re updating Azure Cognitive Services with new capabilities to streamline business processes, enabling organizations to stay resilient and committed to economic recovery while deploying AI responsibly.
    • Metrics Advisor Preview is a new service that makes it easier to proactively monitor the performance of an organization’s growth engines and diagnose issues.
    • Spatial analysis is a new feature of Computer Vision developed with strict ethical standards and guidance on how to implement responsibly, and it can be applied to help teams and organizations re-open by creating in-room layouts that support social distancing and other health-compliance measures.
  • Continuing our focus on helping enterprises create immersive and innovative experiences for customers, we’re expanding the portfolio of Azure Mixed Reality services to now include Azure Object Anchors, enabling developers to automatically detect, align and track objects in the physical world.
  • We are also announcing the commercialization of our industry leading 3D ToF depth technology that powers the Azure Kinect enabling the development of commercial 3D cameras and related solutions to our technology to partners around the world, including Analog Devices and SICK AG.
  • To further scientific advancement, exploration and use of space data, we are extending the power of our global cloud to space. Today we’re announcing the preview of Azure Orbital, enabling customers to quickly analyze data captured from space through physical satellite capabilities.

More secure, efficient and convenient productivity platform and tools

  • Security, compliance and identity continue to be priorities for our customers in these times of transition. As companies shift to hybrid work, the need to onboard users remotely, and the reality of growing security threats, means that IT and security professionals continue to be the heroes of their organizations. We’re pleased to share updates in this area for both Azure and Microsoft 365, including changes to Microsoft Defender, our comprehensive extended detection and response offerings, enhanced protections for containers and IoT, Compliance Manager to help customers address increasing regulations, a new decentralized identity pilot and new connectors and APIs to help you to protect identities, apps, and services across your cloud environments, even outside of Microsoft.
  • We’re announcing new Microsoft 365 capabilities meant to equip organizations and teams with the tools they need to be resilient and thrive in the new world of work. A few of my favorites are:
    • Microsoft Teams features that make meetings better, including new Together mode scenes and custom layouts that make presented content more dynamic and engaging, for example, by bringing the presenter’s video feed into the foreground of the shared content screen.
    • Enhancements to Microsoft Teams Rooms and devices that support health and safety as some people return to their worksites, such as Touchless meeting experiences, like the Room remote app, Teams casting, and voice assistance with Microsoft Cortana, so that employees can meet safety guidelines without compromising the power of collaboration.
    • New personal wellbeing insights and features in Teams, including a virtual commute that provides structure to long workdays from home, and integration with apps like Headspace that make it easier to de-stress and find focus through meditation before, during or after busy work days.
    • As organizations face uncertainty and change, insights from Workplace Analytics within Teams will give managers and leaders an EKG for organizational resilience by surfacing insights that help them understand if employees are at the risk of burnout, or if employees are able to maintain strong connections with colleagues and customers.
    • Enhancements to Power Platform in Teams that make it easy for anyone to create and use no-code apps, bots and automated workflows that solve business challenges, as well as access data insights using Power BI, all within Teams.
    • New management capabilities in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, make it easier to secure and manage your devices across platforms from one place.
    • With the addition of three more categories, Productivity Score provides visibility into how your organization works, insights to identify where you can make improvements, and actions you can take to update skills and systems so everyone can do their best work.
    • And new enterprise content management solutions with SharePoint Syntex make it easier to find and work with content across your organization. SharePoint Syntex is the first product stemming from Project Cortex to be made generally available, using advanced AI to deliver content understanding and process automation.

For more information of Microsoft 365 updates, please visit the blog.

  • HoloLens 2: We are expanding the global availability of HoloLens 2, which is now available for purchase in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore
  • Surface Hub 2S 50”: Pre-sales reservations for Surface Hub 2S 85” start today in the U.S. Businesses can begin pre-sales reservations for Surface Hub 2S 85” in the U.S. today with more markets to follow later this year. Availability will begin in January 2021

Business application that help to build a resilient business

  • With Dynamics 365 we are focused on helping organizations digitize their end-to-end business operations so they can rapidly adapt to changing market conditions. We are introducing new capabilities focused on the most critical centers for customer satisfaction, especially in today’s business climate: Customer Service and Supply Chain Management. These enhanced solutions are business-ready; yet rapidly scalable and customizable to build unique digital capabilities.
    • A new first-party voice channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service, built on Azure Communication Services, will be available in private preview. By integrating voice into existing omnichannel capabilities, we are providing a seamless, end-to-end customer service experience within a single solution built on the Microsoft cloud that empowers teams to deliver consistent, connected support across all channels.
    • Two new add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management to enhance visibility and enable customers to quickly respond to changing demand and supply. The new Cloud and Edge Scale Unit add-ins allow organizations to run critical warehousing and manufacturing workloads on the Edge using Azure stack devices to improve resilience and ensure operations without interruptions even when temporarily disconnected from the cloud. While the new Inventory Visibility add-in enables large volume retailers and manufacturers to easily handle millions of transactions every minute and determine cross-channel inventory accurately in real time.
  • The last several months have shown us that professional developers are often tasked with quickly creating business solutions to help organizations adjust in an unprecedented environment. In support of this reality, we’re announcing low code updates in Power Platform and Azure for professional developers to create custom apps, bots and workflows fast with Azure APIM and GitHub integration. We’re announcing the preview of Power Automate Desktop, which provides a desktop automation option for citizen developers and business users.

For details on updates of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, please read the blog.

  • Secure, streamlined communication with customers and the workforce is crucial in this environment, and today we’re announcing Azure Communications Services, making it easier for developers to deliver enterprise-grade communication experiences across devices and platforms, using the same secure platform that powers Microsoft Teams. For details of Azure communication services please read the blog.

Be sure to check out all the highlights on our Microsoft Ignite site – including key segments from Microsoft executives – and other session content available virtually.

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