Microsoft Ignite 2021 kicked off its digital event today with a keynote presentation by CEO Satya Nadella. During the keynote, Satya acknowledged how the challenges of this past year brought about significant changes in society with cloud computing being at the forefront of human resilience against the pandemic. It has ensured business continuity across a range of industries by enabling remote manufacturing, assisting telehealth, ensuring seamless virtual teamwork and more.
But such capabilities were not acquired overnight. They were available, during world’s hour of need because of a decade’s worth of investments in new technologies and forward thinking. However, as the world recovers from the effects of the pandemic, it will need even more cloud computing capabilities. In fact, cloud computing will be critical to the new economy, enabling organizations to meet their most pressing challenges head on and stride into the future with confidence.
A Cloud Built for the Next Decade
During the keynote, Satya reflected on how the cloud will change over the next decade and the innovations that the world will seek from the cloud. He predicted that cloud technology will need to undergo a wide transformation to deliver the next level of broad economic growth where everyone can participate. To accomplish this, Satya shared five attributes that will drive the next-generation of innovation from the cloud.
Five Cloud Computing Predictions
- Ubiquitous and decentralized computing: Every organization, small or large, will require more ubiquitous and decentralized computing power. This will radically change the norms of computing architecture, from materials, semiconductors and systems, to the cloud and its edge, resulting in exponential growth in computing capacity.
- Sovereign data and ambient intelligence: The volume, velocity, and variety, of data is growing at an explosive rate in the cloud, and more specifically at the Edge, driving the decentralized architecture of compute. In the future, data will be more private and sovereign. Data governance and providence will assume a new importance. Large-scale, multi-modal models will become platforms unto themselves, creating ambient intelligence all around.
- Empowered creators & communities everywhere: The next decade will require technology advancements that radically democratize creation. New tools and platforms will enable everyone to create, whether it’s building a virtual world, students working on assignments, knowledge workers creating spreadsheets and formulas, pro-developers writing code or domain experts using local tools to build business apps. This democratization of creation will drive new innovation in end-user computing.
- Expanded Economic opportunity for global workforce: Organizations need to create continuous feedback loops between the work, skills, learning, and credentials required, both for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Productivity needs to be defined more broadly and inclusive of collaboration, learning, and well-being to drive career advancement for every worker. This includes frontline and knowledge workers, as well as new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.
- Trust by design: Fundamentally, a technology provider should succeed only when it helps the world around it succeed. No one wants to build technology that rapidly scales but then breaks the world around us, and no customer wants to be dependent on a provider that sells them technology on one end and competes with them on the other. There needs to be ethical principles that govern the design, development, and deployment of AI. The technology of today and the future needs to be designed with security to promote zero trust architectural principles.
New Microsoft Mesh
During the next phase of keynote, Alex Kipman (Technical Fellow AI & Mixed Reality) introduced attendees to Microsoft’s new Mixed Reality solution – Microsoft Mesh. This game changing solution will enable users to view and interact with mixed reality content together in a single virtual or actual space. Mesh builds on work Microsoft already has done around Azure Spatial Anchors, Azure Object Anchors, Azure Rendering, the AltspaceVR social virtual-reality technology Microsoft bought in 2017 and other internal mixed-reality research and commercial efforts.
New innovations in Microsoft Teams
Additionally, Microsoft made a number of feature enhancements in Teams to help people connect, collaborate, and accomplish more together! The top 5 Microsoft Teams announcements from Ignite 2021 day one include:
- Dynamic view: Intelligently arranges the elements of your meeting for an optimal viewing experience. As people join, turn on video, start speaking, or present in a meeting, Teams auto-adjusts and personalizes your layout.
- View switcher: The new view switcher in the top bar of your Teams meeting allows you to control how you see the meeting content. You may prefer to interact naturally with your colleagues and without visual distractions using Together mode. With Gallery located above, all video feeds display at to the top of your meeting window, making it easier to have a more natural eye gaze with others. Focus hides all video feeds and puts the attention fully on the shared content, while Full screen can help remove other desktop distractions. View switcher will be available soon.
- PowerPoint Live : Provides presenters control and confidence, while delivering a more interactive and inclusive experience to their audience. As a presenter, you can now lead meetings with a single view of your notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants. Attendees can also personalize their experience by navigating through content at their own pace or using the screen reader to consume content.
- Presenter mode: Steps up the production level of your presentations and customize how your video feed and content appear to your audience. The first presenter mode, Standout, shows your video feed as a silhouette in front of the shared content. Reporter mode places content as a visual aid above your shoulder just like a news story. Side-by-Side displays your video feed next to your content.
- Attendee registration and email confirmations: Setting up and running webinars will be just as easy as meetings in Teams. Easily add a custom attendee registration page to your meeting or webinar to manage attendance before and after any engagement. Following registration, attendees automatically receive an email confirmation for a simple join experience.
More details about Microsoft’s future product and services roadmap as well as exciting new announcements are anticipated during the remaining Microsoft Ignite 2021 keynote and technical sessions.
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