Last week Microsoft hosted its first in-person Microsoft Ignite event since the pandemic hit the world in 2019. As per the norm, the event kicked off with a keynote by the CEO of Microsoft Corporation, Satya Nadella, whose focus was on “digital perseverance”. His keynote included some of the biggest and most important announcements from the entire event, all to facilitate businesses to navigate through the challenges they’ve faced through the pandemic and help prepare better for emerging challenges. This blog will give you a summary of all major announcements and updates that were revealed during the keynote. To review the list of 100+ announcements from the whole event, take a look at the Microsoft Ignite Book of News.
From resilience to digital perseverance
This year’s spotlight shifted to moving beyond resilience and focusing instead on digital perseverance – helping make work simpler as the workplaces evolve and promoting more fruitful and efficient outcomes.
In the keynote, Judson Althoff introduced five imperatives for organizations to be successful. The imperatives are aligned to the various new’ announcements and updates around Microsoft Cloud, Security and Compliance, Microsoft 365, AI, Power Apps, and developer tools.
He emphasized how organizations can do more with less through these discussion points.
Be data-driven and optimize with Azure
“Azure is the world’s computer,” stated Satya while addressing the their business which Azure will help them accomplish. It is the only cloud that supporting all organizations and workloads, from enterprises to startups to highly regulated industries.
He talked about Azure Arc, which delivers the power of Azure everywhere. to help you build applications that run across on-premises, edge, and multi-cloud environments.
Azure VMs with Ampere Altra ARM-based processors
Next came an announcement for the general availability of Azure VMs with Ampere Altra ARM-based processors that operate at the highest clock speed of any ARM-based processor available in the cloud today and are extremely cost-effective and efficient without compromising on performance.
Azure Elastic SAN
Azure Elastic SAN, a cloud-native, fully managed storage area network service, is now in preview and offers massive scale and enables a seamless transition from a customer’s SAN data estate to the cloud.
Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework
Another was Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework, allowing developers to build, deploy and manage highly sensitive multi-party applications.
Deliver efficiency with automation and AI
Regarding the second imperative Satya said, “when it comes to doing more with less, AI is the ultimate amplifier. It’s going to change what an application looks like, what the design language of an application is and how it gets built, and how it gets delivered.”
Azure Container for PyTorch
One of the first announcements around automation and AI was the launch of Azure Container for PyTorch, which brings the latest version of PyTorch together with the best optimization software for training, inferencing, tested, and optimized for Azure. Tools like responsible AI dashboards help evaluate performance and fairness of your . Another highlight was Microsoft’s work with OpenAI. They’ve helped train the GPT family of models for human-like language generation, DALL-E for realistic image generation and editing, and Codex for code generation in more than a dozen programming languages.
Microsoft is also bringing Microsoft Designer, a new graphics design app, where AI models will help amplify and create new designs that the world has never seen before and which are uniquely going to be yours. Instead of searching through thousands of templates, you can tell Designer what you like, and the design becomes tailored for you. Microsoft Designer immediately generates templates for you based on your writing, and you can get custom-made images based on your ideas.
Innovate with a cloud developer platform
For some time, Microsoft’s goal in the development arena has been to develop an intuitive cloud developer platform. With time, they are getting closer to achieving this goal with various key solutions.
GitHub Copilot Labs
GitHub Copilot is already writing 40% code for developers and helping them code more than 50% faster. Microsoft is also experimenting with GitHub Copilot Labs – where Explain Code lets you highlight a block of code and see what it does in plain English, and Translate Code lets you select a language and translate the code into it.
Express Design in Power Apps
With the power of AI, Microsoft is turning lo-code to no-code. With Express Design in Power Apps, Microsoft brings the Copilot capabilities into the Power Platform. Now you can upload a hand-drawn sketch, and it will be converted into a working app within seconds.
Next was the availability of Microsoft Syntex – which uses Microsoft’s AI Builder and Power Automate capabilities to automatically read, tag, and index high volumes of content and surface it where needed. It is also integrated with Microsoft 365 and Teams.
Re-energize your workforce with Microsoft 365
The concept of work and the workplace has evolved since 2019, when the world was hit with the pandemic, and there has been no looking back. Microsoft CEO stressed that this new way of work is the new reality, and businesses should directly address the lessons learned and find a new path forward.
“Employees must be empowered and energized to do meaningful work so that they can thrive“, emphasized Nadella. To help employees feel aligned with their company’s mission, purpose, and business priorities and help them build new skill sets in the flow of work, he focused on three key products offered by Microsoft: Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Viva.
According to Microsoft, customers can save more than 60% of their time and be more productive with Microsoft 365, which offers a complete cloud-first experience New applications like Loop, Clipchamp, Stream, and Designer will help enhance productivity. With all this Microsoft Graph, you will have information about people, their relationships, work artifacts, meetings, events, and documents in one interconnected system. Microsoft will also introduce specialized versions of Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 for government workers and Microsoft 365 for shift-workers.
Microsoft Teams Premium
For Microsoft Teams, Microsoft has introduced over 450 capabilities over the past year and announced a new set of capabilities at Ignite. This includes Teams Premium, which delivers advanced meeting protection, so your sensitive conversations are secure and Intelligent Recap, which uses AI to assign tasks during meetings and call out important moments in the recording.
This year Microsoft has taken hybrid work a step ahead by announcing – a virtual meeting space that allows employees to gather in a metaverse boardroom. Microsoft Places hybrid scheduling will leverage common data signals from Outlook and Teams to allow you to view the week ahead and see when your co-workers and close collaborators are planning to be in the office. Intelligent booking will help you discover available spaces with the right technology to match your meeting purpose and mix of in-person or remote participants. With wayfinding, you’ll no longer waste time looking for the right conference room or following outdated building signs; instead, you’ll be able to access a map on your mobile device that guides you to the right place. Hot desk booking will allow you to see where your closest colleagues are sitting and choose your desk accordingly. Places will be available next year.
Mesh avatars in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft announced the private preview of Mesh avatars in Microsoft Teams globally. With Mesh avatars, employees can connect with presence in Microsoft Teams meetings without turning their cameras on. They can represent themselves how they want to show up by choosing the avatar that fits their specific meeting—casual, professional, or day-to-day. Private Preview of Mesh avatars for Microsoft Teams is limited to Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers.
Protect everything, everyone, everywhere.
The final imperative – security, a top priority for organizations across the globe as the pace of threats accelerates globally. “The more agile you become, the more your security teams struggle to manage the risk.” This statement from Satya is the essence of current threats and the need for greater security within organizations in today’s world.
He introduced new capabilities to Microsoft Entra – Microsoft’s new vision and portfolio for identity and access. It works securely across multiple platforms, and a comprehensive security solution providing even greater control over digital identities across on-premise, and the cloud, so that only the right people are granted the right access to the right resources at the right time. This will help close gaps and work for you at machine speed.
Microsoft Entra Identity Governance
The preview of Microsoft Entra Identity Governance was announced, which helps your organization ensure that the right people have the proper access to the right resources at the right time. Thus, enabling greater control over digital identities.
Defender for DevOps
The new Defender for DevOps was also revealed, which will help secure the entire development lifecycle and unify DevOps security management across multiple environments.
Closing the keynote, Satya announced that customers should expect more than a hundred cloud updates during the whole event and that these updates are the building blocks. He said, “Ultimately, it all comes down to outcomes you drive with these platforms and the tools, and how you’re able to transform your company, your industry and the world.” He ended the keynote where he started it – these five imperatives are the digital imperatives for every organization and will help drive new outcomes as we do more with less.