5 major announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2018

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At the Ignite conference in Florida, Microsoft is hosting more than 30,000 attendees this week. The tech giant made plenty of announcements at its massive tech event. In fact, the number of news is this much high that Microsoft had to provide a booklet of around 27 pages to the press. This post covers few of the most significant announcements from the Microsoft Ignite 2018, including partnership of Microsoft, Adobe and SAP, preview of SQL Server 2019, password-less sign-in to Azure AD, and more.

Highlightsfrom Microsoft Ignite 2018:

1. Open Data Initiative by Adobe, Microsoft and SAP

Mostof the organizations rely on software and services by Microsoft, Adobe and SAP.These services are used for product development, operations, finances,marketing, sales, human resources etc. At Ignite, these companies joinedforces toempower their mutual customers with the Open Data Initiative.

The aim of Open Data Initiative is to break the data silos andenable a single view of the customers. This will help organizations to bettergovern their data and support privacy and security initiatives.

“Adobe, Microsoft and SAP arepartnering to reimagine the customer experience management category,” said ShantanuNarayen, CEO, Adobe. “Togetherwe will give enterprises the ability to harness and action massive volumes ofcustomer data to deliver personalized, real-time customer experiences atscale.”

Together with Adobe and SAP we are taking a first, critical stepto helping companies achieve a level of customer and business understandingthat has never before been possible,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.

“Organizations everywhere havea massive opportunity to build AI-powered digital feedback loops for predictivepower, automated workflows and, ultimately, improved business outcomes.”

The three companies are enhancing interoperability and dataexchange between their respective applications and platforms through a commondata model. The data model will bring Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe ExperienceCloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and SAP C/4HANA and S/4HANA on a singleplatform.

“Microsoft, Adobe and SAPunderstand the customer experience is no longer a sales managementconversation,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “CEOs are breaking down thesilos of the status quo so they can get all people inside their companiesfocused on serving people outside their companies. With the Open DataInitiative, we will help businesses run with a true single view of thecustomer.”

2. SQL Server 2019

AtIgnite conference last year, Microsoft brought the SQL Server engine to Linuxwith the general availability of SQL Server 2017. This year, the tech gianthas announced the preview of SQL Server 2019.

The SQL Server 2019 will allow enterprises to seamlessly managetheir relational and non-relational data in an integrated solution. It willsupport Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) to providebuilt-in big data capabilities.

Microsoftsaid that SQL Server2019 creates a unified data platform with Apache Spark andHDFS packaged together with SQL Server a single, integrated solution.

Along with ability for creating big data clusters, it will provideexpansion of database management capabilities. Furthermore, it also featuresSQL Server Machine Learning Services and Spark Machine Learning (ML), so thatbusinesses can leverage AI-driven insights from data estate.

With the latest version of SQL Server, Microsoft wants to simplifybig data analytics for SQL Server users; give developers, data analysts, anddata engineers a single source for structured and unstructured data; and breakdown data silos and deliver one view across all of the data using datavirtualization.

3. Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise

Thenewly launched Cortana Skills Kit for Enterprise is adevelopment platform for businesses to build custom voice applications forusers and employees. Initially, the software development kit will be availableby invite only.

Cortana Skills Kit will be powered by Azure Bot Service andLanguage Understanding from Azure Cognitive Services. It will allow developersto build company-specific skills for Cortana using known and trusted tools.

“At heart, we are aboutproviding valuable assistance to users throughout their day. That assistancetakes different forms depending on where the users are in their day and whatthey are trying to do,” said Javier Soltero, the Microsoft corporatevice president in charge of Cortana.

“It’s important for enterprisesto be able to enable their workforces to use Cortana to performcompany-specific tasks.”

IT developers at Microsoft tested the new development kit to buildIT help desk skill, which allows Cortana to file tickets for employees havingcomputer problems.

4. Password-less sign-in method

MicrosoftAuthenticator application is now coming to Azure AD-connected apps. It will eliminatethe need for users to sign-in using a password, and replace it with amulti-factor authentication process. The multi-factor authentication is a moresecure process which combines the phone, fingerprint, face and PIN.

Microsoft claims that multi-factor sign-inmethod can reduce the compromises by up to 99.9%.

Microsoft Secure Score, the enterprise-grade dynamic report cardfor cybersecurity, is coming to Microsoft 365. The Secure Score enablesorganizations to get assessments and recommendations for reducing the chancesof data breach by up to 30 times.

5. Broad availability of Azure Sphere development kits

Microsoft Azure Sphere is a solution for creating highly-secure,internet-connected microcontroller (MCU) devices. Available for preview sinceApril this year, the service is now universally available.

The company said that all the IoT devices include amicrocontroller in them, which works as the brain of the device. It hosts thecompute, storage, memory, and operating system on the device. More than 9billion MCU-powered devices are shipped every year.

Theconnected devices developed using Azure Sphere stay protected even in theevolving threat landscape. The service leverages three components in unison toreduce risk. These components include Azure Sphere MCU, Azure Sphere OS, andAzure Sphere Security Service.

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