May 13 by Cory Haynes

Microsoft Build took place May 7 – 9, 2018 in Seattle, WA.. Build is Microsoft’s Microsoft Build. This year the conversations at Build were very timely and relevant. Not surprising, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain topped the list. Here are the top 7 takeaways from Build 2018.

Microsoft Build: AI, AI, AI…

I am not talking Allen Iverson here (my apologies to the late 90’s basketball fans), rather we are talking about artificial intelligence, and the fact that it is being embedded in everything. Microsoft is applying deep learning to chips with Project Brainwave in partnership with Intel. It was hardly a shock that the keynote at Microsoft Build contained a ton of AI-related announcements, given the massive investments virtually every tech giant is making in both AI and machine learning talent & hardware. The announcements included new AI services for cloud developers, with a vision service and a common programming interface (API) for voice, speech and translation services. Additionally, support for running trained AI models on Azure IoT Edge hardware also made the stage. There was also a neat conference-room demo in which AI was used to detect a meeting’s participants to transcribe and translate their conversation in real-time.

Blockchain (z)

2ChainZ would have been jealous of all the Blockchain in the house. The hype is becoming reality with great demos of smart contracts on the blockchain, accelerated by Microsoft Workbench, their one year old blockchain deployment accelerator. Apttus’s own Cory Haynes (me) and Cliff Goodwin presented a Loan Securitization demo at Microsoft Build. Demonstrating how banks can securitize loans to offload from their books and sell on the open market can become safer, faster, and more transparent using the immutability and auto-execution of distributed ledger framework from the Apttus CLM framework. We presented to a packed crowd standing room only. I was a speaker and almost did not get in the room.

Cortana and Alexa are “in a Relationship”

Send out the invitations, its official Cortana and Alexa are a thing. At Microsoft Build, a joint demo presented by Microsoft and Amazon showed off how Cortana through an Amazon Echo (or Alexa) or through your Windows 10 PC can get things done. This partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, is making each of their smart assistants available on one another’s platform. I don’t know if Cardi B and Rebel Wilson come with the integration.

Your Phone Syncs with Windows

The Windows phone is dead. You know the old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them” – for Windows on mobile devices, you can now utilize some Windows functions on Apple iOS and Android. With the app you’ll be able to send text messages, access your photos, and view mobile notifications from your computer.

Timeline for iOS and Android

Microsoft just introduced the Timeline with its latest update to Windows, and now the tool is about to get even more useful. Windows 10’s Timeline keeps track of all the apps you’re using and what you’re doing in them. You can open the timeline to view your history and jump right back to where you were.

What’s powerful about the Timeline is that it can sync across Windows 10 devices. And now, Microsoft is bringing the Timeline to iOS and Android. So, if you use the same apps on your phone and desktop, you’ll be able to pick something up on mobile that you started on a desktop. On Android, Timeline will be included as part of the Microsoft Launcher. On iOS, it’ll be a tab within the Edge browser.

Microsoft Offers Developers More Money than Apple or Google

“Mo money, mo problems”, said Notorious BIG. That’s a problem that Microsoft Developers welcome. A problem which will hopefully spark more apps on the Microsoft platform, since Microsoft will only take a 5% cut instead of 30%.

Xbox Kinect

Remember the when the Xbox worked with Kinect? That’s now moved to the cloud and will enable developers with the ability to send information from their own cameras and depth sensors up to Kinect in the cloud, then have Microsoft process that information, and send it back to the device. This is a little creepy, but I guess it could be useful for security surveillance and robotics used for manufacturing or security. Hopefully it gets a better response that it did with XBox.

Kudos to Microsoft for a well-organized and very substantive developers conference running at the same time with Google’s I/O developers conference and on the heels of Facebook’s f8 developers conference. One thing Microsoft didn’t have to compete with: being vilified by Congress about privacy issues. This time Microsoft is ahead of the fray.

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