May
07
2018
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Microsoft brings more AI smarts to the edge

At its Build developer conference this week, Microsoft is putting a lot of emphasis on artificial intelligence and edge computing. To a large degree, that means bringing many of the existing Azure services to machines that sit at the edge, no matter whether that’s a large industrial machine in a warehouse or a remote oil-drilling platform. The service that brings all of this together is Azure IoT Edge, which is getting quite a few updates today. IoT Edge is a collection of tools that brings AI, Azure services and custom apps to IoT devices.

As Microsoft announced today, Azure IoT Edge, which sits on top of Microsoft’s IoT Hub service, is now getting support for Microsoft’s Cognitive Services APIs, for example, as well as support for Event Grid and Kubernetes containers. In addition, Microsoft is also open sourcing the Azure IoT Edge runtime, which will allow developers to customize their edge deployments as needed.

The highlight here is support for Cognitive Services for edge deployments. Right now, this is a bit of a limited service as it actually only supports the Custom Vision service, but over time, the company plans to bring other Cognitive Services to the edge as well. The appeal of this service is pretty obvious, too, as it will allow industrial equipment or even drones to use these machine learning models without internet connectivity so they can take action even when they are offline.

As far as AI goes, Microsoft also today announced that it will bring its new Brainwave deep neural network acceleration platform for real-time AI to the edge.

The company has also teamed up with Qualcomm to launch an AI developer kit for on-device inferencing on the edge. The focus of the first version of this kit will be on camera-based solutions, which doesn’t come as a major surprise given that Qualcomm recently launched its own vision intelligence platform.

IoT Edge is also getting a number of other updates that don’t directly involve machine learning. Kubernetes support is an obvious one and a smart addition, given that it will allow developers to build Kubernetes clusters that can span both the edge and a more centralized cloud.

The appeal of running Event Grid, Microsoft’s event routing service, at the edge is also pretty obvious, given that it’ll allow developers to connect services with far lower latency than if all the data had to run through a remote data center.

Other IoT Edge updates include the planned launch of a marketplace that will allow Microsoft partners and developers to share and monetize their edge modules, as well as a new certification program for hardware manufacturers to ensure that their devices are compatible with Microsoft’s platform. IoT Edge, as well as Windows 10 IoT and Azure Machine Learning, will also soon support hardware-accelerated model evaluation with DirextX 12 GPU, which is available in virtually every modern Windows PC.

Jun
14
2017
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Facebook teaches machines to negotiate with humans

 Though Facebook is rarely mentioned alongside Apple, Microsoft and Amazon in discussions about conversational AI, the company has published a hoard of papers that underscore a deep interest in dialog systems. As has become clear with Siri, Cortana and Alexa, dialog is hard — it requires more than just good speech recognition to deliver a killer experience to users. From the sidelines… Read More

May
10
2017
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Microsoft Maluuba is teaching machines to ask questions

 Microsoft Maluuba, the research team of PhDs that Microsoft acquired back in January, has been hard at work exploring the nexus of machine learning and question generation with the aim of delivering an intelligent personal assistant that surpasses the limited capabilities of today’s market leaders. Read More

Jan
10
2017
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The latest Windows 10 Creators Update preview gets a blue light mode and browser upgrades

windows10-my-people Announced in October, Windows 10 Creators Update is still a ways off — slated to be released this spring – but Microsoft’s already testing new features galore by way of its Windows Insider preview. The latest edition includes a number of usual updates for the forthcoming OS that are shaping up to make a pretty compelling upgrade. On the list of new offerings in the latest… Read More

Dec
06
2016
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Windows 10 Creators update loads up on features for IT

can_9787 Microsoft announced a slew of goodies today for its upcoming Windows 10 Creators update, designed to please IT admins and simplify management of Windows 10 inside large enterprises. Microsoft has been trying to get enterprise companies — you know the ones with lots of users — to make the switch to Windows 10. They claim, even before this announcement, the number of… Read More

Sep
26
2016
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Windows 10 hits 400 million machines as growth slows post-free upgrade

Satya spoke about new platforms and uses for Windows 10 Back in July, Microsoft tempered its Windows 10 expectations a touch, noting that its initial projection of mid-2018 for one billion active devices was probably a bit over-ambitious. That pronouncement came shortly after the company announced that its OS had hit 350 million machines (after hitting 300 million in May) — and roughly a fortnight before ending its free upgrade period.… Read More

Sep
26
2016
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Microsoft makes its Edge browser safer for the enterprise

dsc06785 At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced that it is making its Edge browser more secure in enterprise environments.
As Microsoft explained during a press conference ahead of the event, the so-called Windows Defender Application Guard insulates Windows 10 from untrusted browser sessions by running it in a container that is bound directly to the hardware. Microsoft argues that… Read More

Apr
22
2016
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Windows Ink, Cortana improvements and more arrive in the latest Windows 10 build out now

ink3-1024x683 It’s going to be a good Friday for those testing the latest releases of the Windows 10 operating system, as Microsoft is today rolling out a new build of its PC and mobile OS, which will allow users to try the newly announced Windows Ink experience for the first time. Windows Ink, announced at the Build 2016 event last month, offers improved pen support for Windows 10 PCs, including… Read More

Mar
30
2016
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Microsoft: Windows 10 now runs on 270M monthly active devices

O92A2781 Following from the unmitigated disaster that was Windows 8, Windows 10 has been doing rather well for Microsoft. After announcing that its flagship operating system ran on 200 million monthly active devices in January, the company today used its Build keynote to announce that this number is now up to 270 million monthly active devices. Read More

Mar
01
2016
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Microsoft to bring post-breach detection to Windows 10 security

Distraught IT pro sitting on floor of data center. Microsoft announced a new tool today called Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection designed to help IT detect threats to Windows 10 machines after a threat has penetrated the network. While most security strategy to this point has focused on keeping bad actors out of the network, there is a sense of inevitability that no matter how careful a company is that the defenses will break down… Read More

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