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This year’s Vision Keynote kicked off Ignite in great style. Not only did we get a glimpse of Microsoft’s plans for the future, but Satya Nadella also showed us a diverse set of use cases for Office 365 technologies. In case you missed it, here are the main takeaways from this year’s opening keynote.

Satya ushered in the show with the premise that we’re in the era of the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. He spoke on how computing has become ingrained in every industry and in the everyday lives of people around the world.

To capitalize on this, he proposed that we need “tech intensity.” We need to adopt the latest and greatest technology, and we’ve got to build our own digital capability. No matter the industry you’re in, every business is a digital business. If you want to keep up, you’ll need to evolve. And Microsoft is here to make that transition as seamless as possible.

Examples of Tech Intensity Across Industries

To help illustrate just how critical technical innovation is to a successful business, Satya described seven distinct use cases from a variety of industries. Each is summarized below:

Royal Dutch Shell

  • Have built AI systems that intelligently guide drills
  • Partnered with Bonsai to enable machine teaching and reinforcement learning to scale their drilling operations
  • Partnered with C3 IoT for Internet of Things preventative maintenance
  • Experimenting with computer vision and commodity cameras to improve the safety of its operations

CBRE

  • Built a software product on top of Azure Digital Twins service
  • Software creates a simulation of the interactions between people and things in a space
  • Allows for better facility and space management

Bühler

  • Taking advantage of Azure AI and computer vision to identify toxins in large shipments of grain before they’re passed on to the consumer
  • Partnering with Ridgewood Brothers to create an industry blockchain to achieve complete traceability

BMW

  • Want to ensure control of their brand experience
  • Building a branded intelligent agent
  • Using azure AI services (bot framework, cognitive services for voice, dialogue management, etc.) to power it

H&M

  • Implemented an AI-driven mirror that uses speech and vision to help consumers get familiar with their fashion
  • Built the entirety of their latest brand from scratch in the cloud using Azure and Dynamics 365

Eli Lilly

  • Decided to use Microsoft 365 to ensure better collaboration
  • Able to bring new solutions to the marketplace faster and optimize their workflows
  • Underwent a complete internal cultural transformation

ZF

  • Equipping firstline workers with technology makes a significant difference in their productivity
  • Provided their firstline workers on the factory floor HoloLenses for training, remote assistance, etc.

New Open Data Initiative

After bringing Bill McDermott and Shantanu Narayen onstage, Satya announced their partnership in bringing an open data initiative to life. Many businesses have a significant amount of customer data, but it’s often scattered throughout different internal and external silos. The focus of this open data initiative would to bring all of that data together for easy visibility while also giving businesses direct control of and access to that information.

To that end, Microsoft, Adobe and SAP are coming together to help all brands unlock the full potential of customer data. The three major principles of this initiative are:

  • Customer ownership and control
  • AI-driven business outcomes
  • Keeping everything open and extensible

Adobe, Microsoft and SAP will start the trend of unlocking customer data for business owners, and they hope others will join them. Instead of data silos, they want businesses to think of all data as a renewable resource.

Trust and Security

Microsoft is aware that there can be some friction when undergoing a digital transformation. To help alleviate this, they’re taking trust and security very seriously. This will be via three core avenues:

Operations: Operational security posture that they have on behalf of all of your digital estates.

Technology: Offering a set of advanced threat protection services to help customers with security.

Partnerships: Working with companies throughout the tech industry (via things like bilateral agreements and the Cybersecurity Tech Accord) to protect everybody.

AI for Humanitarian Action

To close, Satya touched on Microsoft’s AI for Good initiative. Their first campaign was AI for Earth to go after the challenge of environmental protection. There was then AI for Accessibility, with the mission of helping those with disabilities can benefit from advantages in digital technology.

Microsoft has now announced that it’s focusing on AI for Humanitarian Action. They see opportunities in four critical areas:

  • Disaster Response
    • Automatic damage mapping
    • Ability to predict where and when famine will occur
  • Needs of Children
    • Working with Operation Smile to extend its reach to more children
  • Refugees and Displaced People
    • Helping with job skill training
    • Help discovering and accessing learning materials
  • Human Rights
    • No specifics on what this entails just yet

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