Written by Simon Allison, Cisilion’s Microsoft Solutions Consultant
Last week, Microsoft showcased their latest and “in progress” developments at their annual Build 2019 Conference held in Seattle with over 6,000 attendees! Not just professional developers attended – it was attended by end users, students, developers and of course Microsoft partners from all over the world.
So what was big at Build 2019 and why should you care?
Satya’s Keynote showcased eight exciting new developments coming our way…
1. Azure Speech Service
Meeting transcriptions will become available to everyone in the future and picking up difficult jargon also promotes a low-cost solution as Microsoft showed us you can create a microphone array using just a Surface and two mobile phones. This gives speech-to-text, text-to-speech and speech translation into a single Azure subscription to provide your applications with easy speech capability.
Cortana doesn’t get the air time that Siri or Alexa gets in our personal space, but Cortana is big and by no means have Microsoft abandoned her. The key messages at Build this year were that digital assistants need to be multi-turn, multi-domain and multi-agent. What does this mean?
Though some digital assistants are one command only at the moment there are improvements coming to Cortana to offer conversations. Amazon have also cottoned on to this and at the AWS Summit have also announced plans to allow Alexa to be smarter and not always need the “Alexa…” command invoked for a second (follow on action), at Ignite last year Microsoft announced Cortana and Alexa integration so you can call Cortana on Alexa and vice versa to provide you with your meeting times:
“Cortana, what is my schedule for today?”
Breakfast 7am, lunch 12pm and dinner at 7 pm
“Okay, can you move dinner to 9pm?”
Yes, I will move dinner to 9pm. Anything else I can help you with?
“No, thank you”
Great, have a nice day!
In the Cortana Demo, Microsoft showed 33 dialogues that you could have and reached into different apps and services to find the information it needed to find and bring back to the user. Cortana integrates with Office 365 and Dynamics to not only provide you with your working day schedule but to pull up your Azure AD Profile items such as calendars, reminders, search and sending email whilst respecting enterprise data with policies and ignoring email, calendar, and people list items that are sensitive.
It will be hard in the future to tell if you’re talking to a human or a digital assistant. Talk to us to see how you can enable Cortana in your organisation.
3. Hololens 2 Spatial Spaces
Using Hololens 2 you can be a virtual avatar and see your hands moving using spatial spaces. You can use hand tracking to share documents which each other and annotate over objects. Meeting attendees can join and can upload 3D Models into the virtual meeting space.
Hololens 2 integrates with Dynamics 365 Guides which allows business today to create heads-up, hands-free holographic training materials so no need to flick through a manual or consult a search engine for information. You can just ask and it knows what you are looking at and provides you precisely where the nuts and bolts go.
4. Microsoft Search
Microsoft Search works as a unified search experience and is extending across all platforms Office, Outlook, Sharepoint, OneDrive, Bing and Windows. Microsoft Graph will also be coming to all platforms. Microsoft Search will be rolling out across Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Commercial Subscriptions at the end of May.
5. Fluid Framework
Allows seamless editing and collaboration between different applications starting with Microsoft Word, Outlook and Teams. As an example, you will be able to edit a Microsoft Word Document then share a table from that Document to Teams in real-time. Rob Quickenden, Cisilion’s Chief Strategy Officer, wrote a blog post about Fluid Framework – a great read.
6. Microsoft Edge
IE Mode is coming to the new chromium based Edge which is in Development right now and you can download the latest Canary and Developer builds to test it out. IE Mode will support legacy enterprise applications and you don’t have to open multiple browsers. Support for the New Edge browser extends to Windows 7, 8.1 and MacOS.
Edge Insider can be added to Intune and deployed to the company portal so that end users can install automagically but note that it is still in preview. Get ahead of the game by installing and testing it with your applications, once the new Edge is released to production, your users will thank you.
7. Windows Terminal
New command line app, which brings PowerShell, cmd and WSL together in one terminal window. It will provide themes, emojis and text rendering options.
8. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2)
Developers don’t have to install another Linux OS or Open a Virtual Machine with WSL provides all the common Linux command-line tools, utilities and applications within Windows. WSL2 Extends further by providing an actual Linux Kernel. This shows that Microsoft is committed to the open source community.
What does this all mean for my business?
These new developments from Microsoft will improve our technology by empowering every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
Fill in the form below if you’d like to speak to our experts and book a session in our Innovation Centre where we can demo Edge, Terminal app and WSL. We’re also adding HoloLens 2 to our experience, but you can pre-order your kit with us.