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5 things you need to know about Satya Nadella’s Ignite 2019 keynote

During the first week of November, we kicked off the Microsoft Ignite 2019 technology week (for the 3rd year in a row) in Orlando, Florida – the US’s Sunshine State. In this first blog post of the ‘Xylos at Microsoft Ignite 2019’ series, we’ll provide you with a brief summary of all the headlines during the keynote of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. Let’s get started!

1. Satya's keynote: a popular tradition

Just like every year, customers and partners travelled to this IT Pro conference with high expectations about technological evolutions, new and exciting Microsoft solutions, and Microsoft’s ecosystem partners.

Over the years, it’s become a tradition for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to deliver the Monday morning keynote, and once again, it was outstanding. Satya’s keynote was thrilling and it gave Ignite 2019 a blistering start! To get the keynote started, Satya referred to his famous mathematical formula about Tech Intensity:

2. Tech Capability


Azure Intelligent Cloud & Edge

The first topic Satya discussed was the Intelligent Cloud, which is completely built on modern Azure data centre infrastructure, and he announced the exciting news that Microsoft is piloting a completely new data centre infrastructure that runs on 100% renewable energy and doesn’t waste operations. This pilot/PoC is currently running in Sweden, but Microsoft plans to roll out this concept in all Azure regions soon.

He also had a lot of news on Intelligent Edge; first of all, there will be several new HW products to enable Edge Computing. Microsoft showed off large and small products, some of which were specifically packed in shock-proof boxes for on-site deployments in any type of remote location. All of these were validated for the Azure Stack Infrastructure ecosystem.

  • The newly-announced Azure Arc provides you with a new, single-pane control interface for your multi-cloud and multi-edge deployment.
  • Azure Digital Twin was demonstrated with a real example case at Willow Rail, were they created an Azure Digital Twin for the complete railway infrastructure. This helps the company to predict maintenance and provide operational excellence.
  • The newly-announced Azure Synapse is the next generation for Data Analytics and Data Warehousing. During a demonstration in which the system competed with Google BigQuery, Azure Synapse took 9 seconds for a query that took Google BigQuery 11 minutes!

Democratising AI

In order to democratise AI, Microsoft focuses on several areas:

  • Autonomous systems: building an autonomous AI Engine, with machine teaching and simulation capabilities. Read more on https://aka.ms/as
  • Storage: exploring new storage systems, demonstrating an example where the entire Superman movie was captured in a small piece of glass that is more resistant to environmental damage than other data carriers, such as classic video tapes.
  • Quantum computing: announcement of Azure Quantum built on Open HW (e.g. partners such as Honeywell) and Open SW (Open Source).

3. Tech Adoption


Development

In the development area, there’s a continuous evolution with great products that promote inclusion and teamwork. Coding an application is no longer a job for a single person, but needs a (virtual) team to work together and find the most effective solution.

With Visual Studio Online, Visual Studio Intellicode, Visual Studio Liveshare, GitHub and more, Microsoft delivers the ultimate toolset to this group of developers, giving them access to the complete toolset to write code and providing everything they need to collaborate on their code and project.

It’s expected that over 500 million new apps will be available by 2023, which comes down to the same amount as the total amount of apps produced in the last 40 years.

Microsoft is also devoted to facilitating ‘Citizen Developers’ with easy-to-use development experiences like Flow and PowerApps.

4. Trust


Security

Cyber attacks have cost organizations an astonishing 1 trillion US dollars in 2018, which definitely makes security a focus area for many customers.

“Before a security breach, it’s sometimes difficult to allocate the right amount of budget to get all the necessary security mechanisms in place. In practice, we see that this changes when an organisation suffers a real security breach – at that moment, it sometimes seems like the security budget suddenly becomes unlimited.”

To close the security cycle, Microsoft is investing in building a complete end-to-end architecture. The newly-announced Microsoft Endpoint Manager combines several existing products into one single solution. And of course, there’s Azure Sentinel. This innovation, which was already announced some months ago, will provide you with intelligent security analytics that apply to your entire enterprise.

5. Tech Intensity


Power Platform

Two new great products will be available in the Power Platform:

  • Power Automate will help you quickly automate your workflows, enable business logic to simplify app building, and model your processes across connected data sources and services.
  • Power Virtual Agents, a new no-code tool for building chatbots. Built on Azure’s existing AI (e.g. NLP) smart solutions and tools for building bots, Power Virtual Agents promises to make building a chatbot almost as easy as writing a Word document.

Dynamics 365 (Business Apps)

Two new features for Dynamics 365 were also announced: Customer Data Platform and Customer Insights.

The goal of these new solutions is to correlate all your business data, including:

  • CRM data
  • ERP data
  • Ticketing systems data

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is now officially marketed as the World’s Productivity Cloud.

Recent studies have revealed that multitasking between different applications noticeably impacts our efficiency, because it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain focus. This decreases our productivity with as much as 40%.

Important parts of Microsoft 365 are the focus on Device Innovations (Surface portfolio), Infused AI (Search, Cortana, Live Captions, …) and Microsoft Teams as a single UI experience for the productivity platform.

The following are the top 12 new innovations that will become available in Microsoft 365:

  1. With the newly-announced Project Cortex, Microsoft will turn data into knowledge by utilizing the Microsoft Graph for AI, People, Content and Context information.
  2. Audio enhancements in Microsoft Stream will block out background noise in uploaded videos (such as wind and environment noise when filming outside).
  3. Surface Pro X delivers the newest Surface experience with a new design and integrated Surface Pen.
  4. Surface Hub 2S extends the power of Surface into your meeting rooms, delivering an all-in-one collaborative experience for Video Conferencing, Content Collaboration, Whiteboarding, Applications, …
  5. Templates in Microsoft Whiteboard provide you with the right context in every collaboration session.
  6. Eye Gaze on Surface Pro X will make you look more natural in every video call.
  7. Custom Teams Backgrounds during video calls let you work in any environment without showing any distractions in the background.
  8. Intelligent Content Capture in meeting rooms allows you to include a traditional whiteboard into your Teams video meetings.
  9. Natural language search in Outlook makes it easier to search for content in Outlook, especially when you’re on the go.
  10. Image-to-table conversion allows you to take a picture of a table, which is then converted into a real table on the digital replica.
  11. Microsoft Fluid Framework enables co-authoring and collaboration over multiple tools, making it possible for person A to edit content in Outlook while person B edits the same content in Teams.
  12. Surface Laptop 3 is the fastest laptop in the portfolio, doing the live test on stage ‘from boot to action’ in only 14 seconds!

After this, there was an extra surprise novelty: the new range of mobile devices with Surface Neo and Surface Duo, which will be available in the holiday period of 2020.

Finally, a real customer case of Saint Luke’s Hospital provided us with a demonstration of the new Virtual Consults functionality in Microsoft Teams. This functionality will definitely open many possibilities for remote hospitality in healthcare and other sectors or industries.

Future of the Web

The discussion about the future of the Web started with online safety and providing the ability for real private browsing. Apart from this topic, the logical everyday questions popped up:

  • Why can’t we find information in our own organisation like we do on the Web?
  • Why can’t the Web be integrated with our everyday apps?

These questions led to the announcement of the new Edge browser and Bing search engine. The new Edge browser is based on a Chromium browser (like Google Chrome) and will be available independent of your OS (e.g. Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, …). A personalized Home Search Screen will immediately provide you with personal information (such as the information available in Office 365 Delve today). When visiting a website that needs a legacy browser, the new Edge will open up an Internet Explorer window that’s directly embedded in the new Edge browser, so you no longer need to switch windows between Edge and Internet Explorer.

A new functionality called Collections will help you harness knowledge from the Web and infuse it in your everyday workspace.

And the new Microsoft Bing experience will make it possible to blend your search in the local Intranet together with the public Internet. It even goes one step further with additional search connectors for other business applications, such as SAP, Box, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Tech Intensity

To conclude, Satya mentioned that Tech Intensity is really about “empowering every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more”, which is the mission statement of the new Microsoft.

As you’ve probably noticed, there was a lot of exciting news during the Microsoft Ignite 2019 keynote – and luckily for all of us, Microsoft already did the heavy lifting by bundling the news and all reference links to more detailed information in the wonderful ‘Microsoft Ignite 2019 Book of News’. 

Be sure to read the next posts in this blog series, where we’ll give you fascinating deep-dive details about specific solutions such as Microsoft Teams and Project Cortex.

 

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