Microsoft Ignite was held in Orlando, Florida in late 2019. The annual technology conference gets 26,000 attendees and hosts more than 1500 sessions.
The sessions cover everything from OneNote and Project through to the latest developments in AI, Machine Learning and Quantum Computing.
Diversity and inclusion are core elements of the Microsoft mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
The speed of technology change and breadth of skills and disciplines now in the technology sector is truly amazing.
Three that I felt showcased the development within Microsoft were Project Silica, The Power Platform and Project Cortex.
Bit nerdy (Project Silica)
With an estimated 100 zettabytes of data being stored by 2023, there is a need for low cost, high capacity, resilient storage. Microsoft and partners have developed a high capacity 3D storage solution by using lasers to etch the data into quartz glass. The videos are reminiscent of low budget 20th century sci-fi movies, where aliens from the future have stored their knowledge a small glass memory cube. https://youtu.be/6CzHsibqpIs
Business productivity (The Power Platform)
Microsoft has been building out their Power Platform suite for the last couple of years.
The aim is to build a set of tools that can quickly and easily be used to help businesses develop tools and solutions to address their own unique business requirements. Power BI for Business Intelligence and reporting, PowerApps for creating simple mobile applications and Power Automate to automate those day-to-day routine processes.
The latest versions of these tools increase the integration into your legacy applications. Allowing you to automate tasks such as inputting invoices into your accounting package, or time sheets into your payroll. The limitation with these tools is your imagination.
Workplace Intelligence (Project Cortex)
Over-time we develop contracts, policies, processes, configuration standards and a plethora of other collateral and knowledge we hope our staff are reading and following.
This unstructured data gets filed in word documents, wiki pages, e-mails and excel spreadsheets in what we all personally feel is a logical location, though no one else can ever find it.
Project Cortex is about bringing that data to those who need it, using AI and contextual search to scan, index and build relevant knowledge for your users. For instance, a search for “What is our company’s pet policy?” would result in the system automatically building a knowledge article for the individual based on employment contract templates, company handbooks and any other company accessible data.
The system will then provide links to the documents it gathered the data from and contacts you can talk to regarding the topic. This technology was certainly one of the most interesting at the conference and the one which could have the biggest impact on dealing with information management.
This is not a new service you need to subscribe to; it is being implemented into your standard Office 365 subsxcription. With more than 150 announcements, Microsoft did not disappoint. Revealing insights into Project Silica, the Power Platform, and Project Cortex.
The capabilities within Microsoft impressed the masses with their efforts towards enhancing workflow and optimising productivity in the workplace.
The encouragement to transform businesses by guiding them to the cloud, introducing plenty of opportunities and areas for growth will allow businesses to work smarter, not harder.