The Microsoft Ignite of 2021 brings many innovations on all fronts, from cybersecurity to manufacturing solutions, from Microsoft 365 to Dynamics, from data centers to the cloud. But the main message is that all of these innovations go in one direction: that of uniting the real world with the digital, simplifying and improving collaboration, both in person and remotely. In short, Microsoft is in the process of building its own metaverse which, unlike those assumed by Facebook – which still has no defined form – is extremely concrete. And in which virtual and augmented reality is part of the system, not the heart of the experience.
Microsoft Ignite 2021: towards the hybrid work model
In his Scheduled speech, the CEO of Microsoft Satya nadella he underlined the big changes affecting the world of work, which has been totally disrupted. If first and foremost revolves around the cloud and mobile, the future looks toubiquitous intelligence, where IT tools are available everywhere, all the time. Over the past year this has been necessary to ensure business continuity, but now that people have gotten used to this model, it will have to become the norm. Nadella explains how today’s workers seek an environment that guarantees productivity and flexibility, and allows them to choose where to work. If they want to keep talent close, companies must take this into account and cannot forgo a hybrid business model.
But this is only the first of the three directives at the center of Nadella’s speech, which also addressed the issue ofhyperconnected business, where almost everything is managed remotely. In the pandemic, companies have struggled to modify their production systems and infrastructure so that they can monitor and control remotely, but now we need to take the next step and ensure that this concept is incorporated directly into the business. product and service design.
This brings us directly to the third theme: if every type of business goes digital, we need to simplify the interactions between different applications and infrastructures. Think from a multi-cloud and hybrid cloud perspective, but also edge and multi-edge, with intelligence as a glue, both in the cloud and at the edge. And, most importantly, do it in a sustainable way, by finding ways to reduce emissions from the construction and operation of data centers, all along the supply chain. Without neglecting cybersecurity, an area in which the Redmond giant has announced many innovations. Starting with the improvement of Defender, which now also protects the cloud, to go to Azure Active Directory, which extends access protection and management by enabling devices to make real-time decisions about access reliability, thereby extending collaboration, simplifying it, while ensuring the highest security standards. As Microsoft itself points out, the goal is to “build a fabric of trust“.
The metaverse according to Microsoft
To implement Nadella’s vision, the key is in communication, which must be strengthened and simplified. The innovations presented by the Redmond company all go in this direction and Microsoft has improved all its applications to exchange data between them, starting with Teams, which as we have explained here will be updated and integrated into all applications. , including Dynamics 365 (who can now count on Connected spaces), to improve communication between the various personalities concerned.
We think of the supply chain or customer service, where many people can be involved in every process. The teams have been reinforced precisely to help employees exchange information, break down the many silos in order to always have an accurate picture of the situation and to intervene quickly at all levels of the supply chain.
The cement of this increasingly open collaboration is Buckles, a sort of workflow management system that allows you to always have an eye on all aspects of a work project.
Artificial intelligence is behind it all, and that’s why Microsoft acquired it some time ago GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful natural language processing engine. This engine will be available through Azure OpenAI Service and can therefore be integrated into different applications and, above all, into development tools. A developer can avoid writing these more repetitive and “simple” pieces of code: a comment describing the function will suffice and the system will automatically interpret it and suggest the code suitable for the specific function, greatly speeding up the work and allowing those who write applications to focus on logic and not on entering common routines that can be executed by a machine.
All of Microsoft’s technologies will help create a metaverse, which in Nadella’s vision is not just a virtual space in which to come together to collaborate or have fun, but a kind of digital twin of the world. Each element of the company’s portfolio has its own role, both in the real world and in the virtual world, but the goal is not to alienate us, to transport us to another place, but to have more tools available to keep reality under control, consisting of devices, applications and people, and to facilitate communications, regardless of the channel used.
Applications like Teams and Dynamics 365 will provide the interface to communicate via any device, be it a smartphone or a Hololens-style viewer, and take advantage of the intelligence provided by Azure AI they or they Autonomous systems. Azure Synaps Analitics will manage all the data, which will be reproduced in the metaverse through the Azure digital twins, digital twins of machines, of processes, but also of entire supply chains, which will acquire data in real time thanks to sensors present in the physical world and interfaced with Azure IoT.