Microsoft announces a series of new Azure services and developer technologies that provide advanced capabilities of AI, IoT, blockchain and mixed reality. The company unveils some of these news about edge computing (data analysis in the proximity of where they were collected) and the hybrid cloud at Microsoft Build 2019 event, which runs from May 6 to May 8 in Seattle, USA.
Microsoft's commitment to building the most productive AI platform continues
Microsoft announces a new range of Azure AI technologies to help developers and data scientists integrate AI features into almost any project.
- Azure Cognitive Services (services that replicate human characteristics through artificial intelligence - AI). Such features can be visualization, hearing, response, text translation, additional explanations, and more. Microsoft is launching a new category of cognitive services, called "Decision", which gives users a specific recommendation for more informed and effective decisions. This category includes "Content Moderator", "Anomaly Detector" recently announced and a new service called "Personalizator", which uses conditional learning to give users specific recommendations for quick and informed decisions.
- Microsoft brings AI to Azure Search with the general availability of cognitive search capability, allowing customers to apply algorithms to extract new information from structured and unstructured content.
New innovations from Azure Machine Learning simplify the process of building, training and implementing automated learning models:
- Azure DevOps Integrated Attributes (IT System Development Tool) enables developers to automate complete learning cycles with the necessary repeatability and transparency.
- New ML automation functions and intuitive interface make it easier to develop complex models.
- The visual learning interface provides the ability to create and deploy a non-code learning machine model based on drag-and-drop functions.
- To allow for an extremely low latency and an effective inference process, Microsoft announces the general availability of the accelerated hardware models that can run on dedicated FPGA chips as well as the ONNX environment for NVIDIA TensorRT and Intel nGraph for high-speed chipset inference NVIDIA and Intel commercially available.
Expanding opportunities at the smart edge (data analysis in the vicinity of where they are gathered in the network)
The company has introduced several new products and solutions, related to the existing and emerging needs of hybrid cloud and edge computing:
- Microsoft introduces Azure SQL Database Edge to support edge computing needs. The product is an optimized SQL engine for low-cost computing with integrated AI and combines data streaming with self-learning and visualization features for local use. Given that Azure SQL Database Edge has the same programming paradigm (s) with SQL Server, developers can easily translate edge applications without having to learn new programming tools and languages.
- Microsoft announces IoT Plug and Play, a new open modeling language for seamlessly connecting IoT devices to the cloud, allowing developers to address one of the biggest challenges they face - deploying IoT solutions on a large scale. Previously, the software had to be written specifically for the connected device it supports, limiting the scale of IoT implementations.
HoloLens 2 Development Edition
To help catalyze the third wave of computing, Microsoft extends the Mixed Reality Developer Program. Over the past year, over 20,000 developers have been involved in mixed reality.
To meet the needs of a larger audience, the company invests in several meetings, programs, events and solutions (including the Mixed Reality Dev Days event now taking place), with a strong focus on serving the community of global reality developers.
Available through the Mixed Reality Developer program, the Developer Edition brings together all the tools necessary for developers to initiate:
- Un dispozitiv de realitate mixta HoloLens 2
- 500 $ in Azure credits for the development of mixed reality projects using Azure mixed reality services
- 3 months free test Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ Plugin for using CAD data.
By combining HoloLens 2, Azure Mixed Reality Services and Unity Pro, the most widely used real-time 3D development platform, developers are more likely to create real-life mixed-life experiences using existing design data. The PiXYZ Plugin provides the tools to create real-time experiences using Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) or Building Information Management (BIM).
Microsoft also announces support for Unreal Engine 4. It will be available to developers by the end of May to create realistic high-quality images and immersive reality-mixed experiences for solutions that relate to architecture, product design, production and more.
Visit hololens.com to learn more about HoloLens 2 Development Edition and sign up to stay up to date with the latest news, mixed reality tools, code samples and open source projects.
Azure Blockchain Service: Base for blockchain applications in cloud
Azure Blockchain Service is a fully configurable blockchain service that simplifies the formation, management and governance of the consortium blockchain networks so that companies can focus on workflow logic and application development. Azure Blockchain is now available in the preview version.
With just a few clicks, users can create and deploy a blockchain network and manage the permissions and policies of the consortium using an intuitive interface in the Azure Portal. Built-in governance allows developers to add new members, set permissions, monitor the status and activity of the network, and run governmental and private interactions by integrating with the Azure Active Directory (Identity Management Solution).
Microsoft also announces its partnership with J.P. Morgan to transform the Quorum solution based on the Ethereum protocol into the first blockchain register available in the Azure Blockchain Service It integrates with a vast array of open-source tools, while supporting confidential transactions - a must for our enterprise customers. After configuring the basic blockchain network with the Azure Blockchain Service, it is necessary to encode business logic using smart contracts. Until now, this process has been difficult, requiring multiple command line tools and limited integration in application development environments. To address these issues, Microsoft is launching an extension for VS Code.
This extension allows creation and compilation of intelligent Ethereum contracts, their deployment either in the public chain or in a consortium network in Azure Blockchain Service and managing their code using Azure DevOps.
Microsoft believes that the best way to provide customers with blockchain is to partner with diverse and talented open-source communities that are currently stimulating blockchain innovation.
At Microsoft Build 2019, Microsoft will show how all developers - even those without AI or data science - can use the tools and services of the company to provide the benefits that more and more customers expect.