Microsoft outlines intelligence vision and new innovations for Windows 10
On Wednesday this week at Build 2016 in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group, talked to thousands of developers about the work Microsoft is doing to help them embrace the new era of conversational intelligence and create more personal computing for every customer, industry and business.
Nadella showcased improvements to Cortana and announced previews of new cloud services and toolkits designed to understand the world around us and create intelligent bots.
Myerson announced the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which he claimed will deliver new innovations for consumers and developers for the Universal Windows Platform.
“As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence,” said Nadella. “At Microsoft, we call this ‘Conversations as a Platform’, and it builds on and extends the power of the Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows platforms to empower developers everywhere.”
Myerson added: “With Windows 10 now running on over 270 million active devices, we’re celebrating with our fans by delivering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This significant update will help you interact with your Windows 10 devices as naturally as you interact with the world around you, using your pen, presence and voice. We are dedicated to making Windows the most productive development environment for all developers, with all-new capabilities for the Universal Windows Platform and all-new tools for bringing apps to Windows 10 from any platform.”
The Cortana Intelligence Suite, formerly known as the Cortana Analytics Suite, is powered by cutting edge research into big data, machine learning, perception, analytics and intelligent bots. Built on Microsoft Azure, these capabilities can be used by developers and businesses to create intelligent end to end solutions, including new apps that learn about our world and bots and agents that interact with people in personalized, intelligent ways.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced new additions to the Cortana Intelligence Suite, both in preview. The first, Microsoft Cognitive Services, is a collection of intelligence APIs that allows systems to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret our needs using natural methods of communication. The second, the Microsoft Bot Framework, can be used by developers programming in any language to build intelligent bots that enable customers to chat using natural language on a wide variety of platforms including SMS, Office 365, Skype, Slack, the web and more.
Microsoft demonstrated how developers can use services, like those found in the Cortana Intelligence Suite, to transform not only businesses but people’s lives. Seeing AI, a research project under development, shows how these new capabilities can help people who are visually impaired or blind better understand who and what is around them.
Also on Wednesday, Microsoft released the Skype Bot Platform, which includes the SDK, API and Workflows all in the new Skype Bot Portal. With this platform, developers can build bots that use Skype’s multiple forms of communication, including text, voice, video and 3D interactive characters. Customers can get started with Skype Bots by downloading the latest Skype apps for Windows, Android and iOS. Developers can start building Skype Bots now using the Skype Bot Platform.
Today, Windows 10 is off to the fastest start in Windows history with over 270 million active devices, outpacing Windows 7 by 145%, noted Microsoft at the event. Customers have spent more time in Windows 10 than ever before; over 75 billion hours since its launch. As a result of this rapidly growing base, Microsoft is seeing new universal apps from Twitter, Uber, King, Disney, Wargaming, Square Enix, Yahoo and WWE; with new apps on the way from Bank of America, Starbucks, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. The Windows Store has seen over five billion visits as Windows fans are discovering apps for Windows 10, including nearly 1,000 Cortana apps.
At Build on Wednesday, Microsoft shared the next chapter in its more personal computing vision, with a Windows 10 Anniversary Update featuring innovations for Windows Ink, Cortana, Windows Hello and gaming. Windows Ink is a new experience, putting the power of Windows in the tip of a pen. With Windows Ink, users can write on a device as they do on paper, create sticky notes, draw on a whiteboard and easily share thoughts in the digital world.
New Cortana features enable users to receive proactive guidance from Cortana throughout the day and speak with Cortana, even while a device is locked, without logging in. New Windows Hello features extend the security of Windows 10 to multiple devices and to Microsoft Edge, so users can log into devices and websites with enterprise-grade security. These are just a few of the many features that will become available this summer when the Windows 10 Anniversary Update becomes broadly available.
Microsoft also shipped Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition for the first time, extending the Windows experience to holograms and allowing developers to begin helping build the future of holographic computing. Microsoft highlighted commercial customers in several industries that are using HoloLens today, including Case Western Reserve University and NASA. Developers can use the Universal Windows Platform to create new mixed reality with holograms.