Microsoft woos AI developers with new capabilities on cloud and at edge

|May 8, 2018 1

USA: On Monday at Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2018, Microsoft leaders showcased new technologies to help every developer be an AI developer on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and across any platform.

“The era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge is upon us,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “These advancements create incredible developer opportunity and also come with a responsibility to ensure the technology we build is trusted and benefits all.”

Microsoft 365, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility and Security- now with insights from the Microsoft Graph, will empower developers to build intelligent applications also.

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The company also today announced AI for Accessibility, a new $25 million, five-year program aimed at harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capabilities for people around the world with disabilities.

Here’s the snapshot of the announcements:

Data and AI development: 

Microsoft announced Project Kinect for Azure, a package of sensors, depth camera, with onboard compute designed for AI on the Edge. Project Kinect for Azure empowers new scenarios for developers working with ambient intelligence. It can input fully articulated hand tracking and high-fidelity spatial mapping, enabling a new level of precision solutions.

The new Speech Devices SDK delivers superior audio processing from multichannel sources for more accurate speech recognition, including noise cancellation, far-field voice and more. With this, developers can build a variety of voice-enabled scenarios like drive-thru ordering systems, in-car or in-home assistants, smart speakers, and other digital assistants.

Azure Cosmos DB updates include new and differentiated multimaster at global scale capabilities, designed to support both the cloud and the edge, along with the VNET general availability for increased security. With these new updates, Cosmos DB delivers even greater cost-effectiveness and global scale, further cementing it as the fastest-growing database service in the world.

A preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing, is now available on Azure and on the edge. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run real-time AI and is now fully integrated with Azure Machine Learning. It also supports Intel FPGA hardware and ResNet50-based neural networks.

New Azure Cognitive Services updates include a unified Speech service with improved speech recognition and text-to-speech, which support customized voice models and translation. Along with Custom Vision, these updates make it easier for any developer to add intelligence to their applications.

New updates to Bot Framework and Cognitive Services will power the next generation of conversational bots enabling richer dialogs, and full personality and voice customization to match the company’s brand identity.

A preview of Azure Search with Cognitive Services integration– a feature that combines AI with indexing technologies so it’s possible to quickly find information and insights, whether via text or images.

Advancements in the intelligent edge and intelligent cloud:

As smart devices have been proliferating in homes and businesses across the globe, Microsoft announced new capabilities for developers to extend to the edge:

Microsoft is open sourcing the Azure IoT Edge Runtime, allowing customers to modify, debug and have more transparency and control for edge applications. Custom Vision will now run on Azure IoT Edge, enabling devices such as drones and industrial equipment to take critical action quickly without requiring cloud connectivity.

The drone company DJI is partnering with Microsoft to create a new SDK for Windows 10 PCs, and it has also selected Azure as its preferred cloud provider to further its commercial drone and SaaS solutions. The SDK will bring full flight control and real-time data transfer capabilities to nearly 700M Windows 10 connected devices globally. As part of the commercial partnership, DJI and Microsoft will co-develop solutions leveraging Azure IoT Edge and Microsoft’s AI services to enable new scenarios across agriculture, construction, public safety and more.

Microsoft has also announced a joint effort with Qualcomm Technologies to create a vision AI developer kit running Azure IoT Edge. This solution makes available the key hardware and software required to develop camera-based IoT solutions. Developers can create solutions that use Azure Machine Learning services and take advantage of the hardware acceleration available via the Qualcomm Vision Intelligence Platform and Qualcomm AI Engine. The camera can also power advanced Azure services, such as machine learning, stream analytics, and cognitive services, that can be downloaded from the cloud to run locally on the edge.

Tooling and experiences for any platform in any language

Microsoft is empowering developers to use the languages and frameworks of their choice:

With Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), developers can simplify how they build and run container-based solutions without deep Kubernetes experience. Microsoft is now offering Kubernetes support for Azure IoT Edge devices.

Visual Studio IntelliCode is a new capability that enhances everyday software development with the power of AI. IntelliCode provides intelligent suggestions to improve code quality and productivity and is available in preview today in Visual Studio.

Visual Studio Live Share, now in preview, lets developers easily and securely collaborate in real time with team members who can edit and debug directly from their existing tools like Visual Studio 2017 and VS Code. Developers can use Live Share with any language for any scenario, including serverless, cloud-native and IoT development.

Microsoft announced a new partnership with GitHub that brings the power of Azure DevOps services to GitHub customers.

The new Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench makes it easier to develop blockchain applications by stitching together an Azure-supported blockchain network with cloud services like Azure Active Directory, Key Vault and SQL Database, reducing proof-of-concept development time.

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  1. RajeshN
    #1 RajeshN 31 May, 2018, 14:15

    Awesome! This is really a great post about Microsoft’s announcement to help AI developers on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and across other Microsoft platforms. And, thank you very much for letting me to know and learn about the Microsoft projects “Kinect for Azure”, “Brainwave”, etc. Great information! Thank you.

    Best Regards
    RajeshN
    Nous Infosystems

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