- We announce recent innovations that help developers build AI and multi-device and multi-sense experiences, and a new $ 25 million program called AI for Accessibility.
REDMOND, Wash. – May 2018 – During Microsoft Build 2018, the annual conference for developers of the company, the leaders of Microsoft showed new technologies to help each developer to be an AI developer, to be it in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and through any platform. Building for IA is now more important than ever for developers because technology does not stop changing the way people live and work daily, through the cloud and through environmental devices.
“The era of smart cloud and the intelligent environment is upon us,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO. “These advances create an incredible opportunity for developers and they also come with a responsibility to ensure that the technology we build is reliable and benefits everyone.”
As part of Microsoft’s commitment to reliable and responsible AI products and practices, the company also announced AI for Accessibility, a new five-year, $ 25 million programs focused on harnessing the power of AI to amplify human capabilities. for more than a billion people around the world who have a disability. The program includes grants, investments in technology and experience, and will also incorporate innovations from AI for Accessibility to Microsoft Cloud services. This program is based on the success of the similar initiative called AI for Earth.
Advances in the intelligent environment and in the intelligent cloud
Smart devices are increasingly present in homes and businesses around the world and expects there to be more than 20 billion of these by 2020. In fact, these devices are so smart that they drive advanced ways of seeing, listening, reasoning and predict, without the need for constant connectivity to the cloud. That is the intelligent environment and has begun to open opportunities for consumers, businesses and entire industries, from the operating room to the production plant. On this occasion, Microsoft announces new capabilities for developers to extend to the environment:
Microsoft has converted open source Azure IoT Edge Runtime, to allow customers to modify, debug and have more transparency and control for environmental applications.
Custom Vision will now run on Azure IoT Edge, to allow devices like drones and industrial equipment to take critical action quickly without requiring connectivity to the cloud. This is the first Azure Cognitive Service that supports implementation in the environment and will reach more Azure IoT Edge in the following months.
DJI, the world’s largest drone company, is partnering with Microsoft to create a new Windows 10 PC SDK and has also selected Azure as its preferred cloud provider to power its commercial drones and SaaS solutions. The SDK will bring full flight control and real-time data transfer capabilities to nearly 700 million Windows 10 devices connected globally. As part of the commercial partnership, DJI and Microsoft will jointly develop solutions that take advantage of Azure IoT Edge and Microsoft’s AI services to enable new scenarios through agriculture, construction, public safety and more.
Microsoft announced a joint effort with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to create an IA vision development kit that runs on Azure IoT Edge. This solution provides 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 through the Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform and Qualcomm® AI Engine. The camera can also boost advanced Azure services, such as machine learning, analytics transmission and cognitive services, these can be downloaded from the cloud to run locally in the environment.
Data and development of AI for a new era
Using data, machine learning and cognitive intelligence, developers can build and manage AI-rich solutions that transform the way people work, collaborate and live:
Microsoft announced Project Kinect for Azure, a package of sensors, which includes our next-generation depth camera, with integrated computing, designed for AI in the Environment. Based on the Kinect legacy that has passed to HoloLens, Project Kinect for Azure is driving new scenarios for developers who work with ambient intelligence. By combining the Microsoft Time of Flight sensor, which has defined the industry, with additional sensors, all in a small form factor and with energy efficiency, Project Kinect for Azure will take advantage of the richness of Azure AI to significantly improve the information of value and operations. You can enter fully articulated hand tracking and high fidelity spatial mapping, allowing a new level of precision solutions.
A Speech Devices SDK announced today that delivers superior audio processing from multi-channel 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, such as order systems for restaurant windows, car or home wizards, smart speakers and other digital assistants.
Azure Cosmos DB updates include new and differentiated multi-master capabilities on a global scale, designed to support both the cloud and the environment, along with the general availability of VNET for enhanced security. With these new updates, Cosmos DB delivers even greater cost-effectiveness and global scale, to further consolidate as the fastest growing database service in the world.
A previous version of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural network processing is now available on Azure and in the environment. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run IA in real time and is now fully integrated with Azure Machine Learning. It also supports Intel FPGA hardware and neural networks based on ResNet50.
New updates in Azure Cognitive Services include a unified Speech service with enhanced speech and text-to-speech recognition, which supports custom voice models and speech. Together with Custom Vision, these updates make it easy for any developer to add intelligence to their applications.
Microsoft makes Azure the best place to develop AI conversational experiences integrated with an agent. New updates to Bot Framework and Cognitive Services will drive the next generation of conversational bots to enable richer dialogues, and complete personalization of personality and voice to match the brand identity of the company.
A previous version of Azure Search with integration to Cognitive Services. This new feature combines AI with indexing technologies so that it is possible to find valuable information quickly, either through text or images.
Multisense and multi-device experiences
Microsoft also demonstrated combined reality capabilities to enable richer experiences that understand the context that surrounds people, the things they use, their activities and relationships:
A new initiative, Project Kinect for Azure – a package of sensors from Microsoft that contains our depth chamber without similar, with integrated computing, in a small form factor and with energy efficiency – designed for AI in the Environment. Project Kinect for Azure brings together this leading hardware technology with Azure AI to drive developers with new scenarios to work with ambient intelligence.
With Microsoft Remote Assist, customers can collaborate remotely with video call, image sharing and combined reality annotations. First-line workers can share what they see with any Microsoft Team expert, while they are busy solving problems and completing tasks together, quickly.
With Microsoft Layout, customers can design spaces in context with combined reality. Import 3D models to create scale room designs in real time, experience designs in the form of high-quality holograms in physical spaces or in virtual reality, and share and edit with interested people in real time.
Mechanization and modern experiences for any platform in any language
Microsoft encourages developers to build for the new era of the intelligent environment, through Azure, Microsoft 365 and other platforms, through the languages and frameworks of their choice:
With Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), developers can drastically simplify the way they build and run container-based solutions without deep Kubernetes experience. AKS, which will be available in the coming weeks, is integrated with developer tools and workspaces, DevOps capabilities, networks, monitoring tools, and more, on the Azure portal, so developers can write code, and not join services. In addition, Microsoft now offers support for Kubernetes for Azure IoT Edge devices.
Visual Studio IntelliCode is a new capability that improves every day the software development with the power of AI. IntelliCode provides smart suggestions for improving code quality and productivity and is now available as a previous version in Visual Studio.
Visual Studio Live Share, now in a previous version, allows developers to collaborate easily and safely in real time with team members who can edit and debug directly from their existing tools such as Visual Studio 2017 and VS Code. Developers can use Live Share with any language for any scenario, including serverless development, native cloud and IoT.
Based on our shared commitment to developers and open source, Microsoft announced a new partnership with GitHub that brings the power of Azure DevOps services to GitHub customers. Today, we launched the integration of the Visual Studio App Center and GitHub, which allows GitHub developers to build applications for iOS and Android devices to automate fluid DevOps processes directly from the GitHub experience.
Available as of today, the new Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench facilitates the development of blockchain applications by bringing together a blockchain network supported by Azure with cloud services such as Azure Active Directory, Key Vault and SQL Databases, to reduce the time of proof-of-concept development in an important way.