This year’s significant breakthrough in technology space can be represented by only two letters- A and I. Microsoft recognizes the complexity, evolution, and excitement that accompanies this transformative journey in the way we work, connect and collaborate. Thus, it is not unexpected that artificial intelligence will serve as a common thread weaving through the fabric of innovation at this year’s Microsoft Build 2023, the tech giant’s esteemed annual event for developers.
2023 started with an ‘AI’ bang
We witnessed some rapid growth in the tech space, marked by several noteworthy milestones. Microsoft’s announcements during the start of this year have already conferred 2023 as a landmark year for the tech industry. Partnering with OpenAI, which aims to accelerate breakthroughs in AI and democratization of its benefits with the world, to unveil an entirely new Bing search engine and Edge browser, both powered by AI, already set the pace at the start of the year. The emergence of Copilots has been invaluable companions for users across domains, including Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Copilot for Power Platform, and several other milestones. These milestones exemplify Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to harnessing the power of AI and driving technological advancements.
Isn’t it the dawn of a new era? The era of AI. And hence, Microsoft Build 2023 is such a significant event. This event showcased how AI is revolutionizing developers’ approach to building and transforming the future of work. Not only it brings together industry leaders to explore the limitless potential of AI, but the flagship event also inspires collaboration and innovation for a future where AI permeates every aspect of our lives.
Key focus areas of Microsoft Build 2023
Before we delve into the key updates of Microsoft Build 2023, let me take you through the primary concepts which have been the focus during Build 2023- copilots and plugins.
- Github Copilot– a concept that Microsoft introduced around two years ago, is an AI pair programmer that leverages AI and large language models like GPT 4 to aid users in complex tasks. From envisioning new product scenarios and shaping user experiences to designing architecture, leveraging services, and prioritizing safety and security- the Copilot signifies a paradigm shift in AI-powered software and development. Microsoft continues to release copilots across various core businesses.
- Secondly, there is the emergence of plugins - a valuable tool that enhances AI systems (such as in Bing). Plugins facilitate seamless interaction with other software and services through APIs, enabling real-time data retrieval, incorporating business information, innovative computations, and secure user actions. In short, plugins bridge the gap between copilots and the broad digital world.
Key highlights of Microsoft Build 2023
With this brief introduction on Copilot and plugins, let us go through the key updates of the Microsoft Build 2023 event.
Development of the AI plugin ecosystem
Microsoft announces adopting an open plugin standard- allowing interoperability across ChatGPT and Microsoft’s copilot offerings. This will empower developers to create plugins that seamlessly work across consumer and business surfaces, including Bing, Dynamics 365 Copilot, and Microsoft 365 Copilot. Since Azure OpenAI Services supports this plugin standard, it enables developers to build natural language interfaces for their AI applications.
Extending Microsoft 365 Copilot with plugins
Microsoft announced the introduction of plugin integration for Microsoft 365 Copilot, which empowers developers to extend its capabilities. With plugins such as ChatGPT, Bing, Teams message extensions, and Power Platform connectors, developers can leverage their existing investments and easily create new plugins using Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio. Additionally, developers can enhance Microsoft 365 Copilot by integrating their data into the Microsoft Graph- utilizing the recently announced Semantic Index for Copilot to provide contextually relevant and actionable information. During the early access program, customers will have access to over 50 plugins from partners like Atlassian, Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks, and Mural, with thousands more becoming available upon the general availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot.
Among several new updates at Build 2023, Microsoft announced Azure AI Content Safety, a new Azure AI service that will help businesses create safer online environments and communities. It is a known fact that Microsoft is committed to developing products ethically and responsibly. As a part of that commitment, the tech giant will integrate Azure AI Content Safety across all its products. Azure Machine Learning now offers expanded Responsible AI dashboard support, allowing users to evaluate large models for errors and fairness before deployment. This integration also helps in detecting and removing harmful content. Microsoft also announced upcoming media provenance capabilities in Designer and Bind Image Creator to verify AI-generated content. By using cryptographic methods, it will watermark AI-generated material with metadata on its origin.
Microsoft Fabric – a consolidated analytics platform
This Build 2023, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Fabric – the revolutionary unified platform for analytics that unleashes the true power of data in this AI era. Information flows incessantly from our devices and interactions in today’s data-driven world. However, most organizations struggle with disparate and disconnected analytic systems. Now enters Microsoft Fabric- a game-changing solution encompassing data engineering, integration, warehousing, real-time analytics, observability, and business intelligence, all seamlessly connected through a central data repository that is One Lake.
What sets Microsoft Fabric apart is its user-friendly design, catering to users of all technical backgrounds. Infused with Azure OpenAI Service, it empowers developers to harness the potential of generative AI for unprecedented data insights. With Copilot integrated into Microsoft Fabric, users can now converse in natural language to create dataflows, generate code, build machine learning models, visualize results, and even develop their conversational language experiences by blending Azure OpenAI Service models along with their data. It is time to unlock the full potential of your data with Microsoft Fabric’s unified and AI-driven analytics platform.
Windows Copilot for Windows 11 – Amping up Windows 11 with AI
In Build 2023, Microsoft also revealed that Copilot will be included in Windows 11. It is the same assistant that connects with Microsoft Edge, the Office program, and GitHub is the same one. The app will be located in the taskbar and, when activated, will display the Copilot sidebar, which will let users ask it to paraphrase, rewrite, and explain the text in any of their active apps. Prior to bringing out the features to more users, Microsoft will begin testing them out in the public beginning next month. More minor upgrades include Bluetooth LE compatibility and adding 10 new languages and dialects to the live captions feature, which instantly transcribes audio.
365 Copilot integration in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft is going to integrate 365 Copilot into its Edge browser. The tool is located in the sidebar, and one can use the content on the website they are browsing to help work on projects in Microsoft 365 apps such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and others. As a result, one may draft emails, create status updates based on chats, add data to an Excel file, and much more.
Microsoft Dev Box
There are several more updates, such as the Microsoft Dev Box – the Azure service for developers, which has new capabilities to enhance productivity. With new customization features that use configuration-as-code and starter developer images in Azure Marketplace that allow tailored environments, developers eagerly look forward to its availability in July.
The onset of AI has brought about a tremendous speed of acceleration, and Microsoft, with its latest updates in Build 2023 event, ensures that all kinds of businesses benefit from it- whether SMEs or large organizations. Are you an enterprise that would like to leverage the latest Microsoft technology and harness the power of AI and data analytics? Check out Saxon’s offerings. We also have programs such as InnovAIte, which enables businesses to solve business challenges by unlocking the full potential of AI.