Microsoft looks towards humanitarian action

How can we use artificial intelligence to protect human rights? That was the starting point for the last edition of Ignite, Microsoft’s main technical event. Jorge Pais, technical leader that joined the event, invites us to discover Microsoft’s latest updates.

First, Jorge highlights the new concept of Artificial Intelligence for humanitarian action. What is that? A series of tools looking for solutions in 4 different areas: response to natural disasters, refugee’s assistance, detection and prevention of human rights violations, children’s security and wellness.

“At Pyxis we have been working for a year on a social impact project where different groups of the ecosystem work to create a product designed to help people, that is full of technological challenges,” says Jorge.

“Using technology for humanitarian causes is not a new thing, but the fact that one of the industry’s giants is giving one step forward towards it, should be a signal for other big -and not so great- take the initiative as well”, he adds.

Microsoft will invest 40 million dollars for this in the next five years, working together with diverse humanitarian organizations as well as NGOs. “I think Microsoft is trying to massify AI, and during the Ignite event, a lot of focus was placed on showing how the AI tools the company has been developing with its own and third-party products are integrated”, adds Jorge.

On the other hand, the company put a focus on two other concepts: Security and Intelligent Edge. “Artificial Intelligence is starting to integrate massively in the Azure services in order for companies to create the appropriate solutions for their clients”, assures Jorge.

Azure Digital Twins was also presented as a intelligence space platform towards IoT solutions, which allows to model devices not as isolated entities, but together in their context, being able to relate them with people and places. Just as Pais thinks, “The final potential of the tool remains to be seen, but I think that it will be an accelerator for the arrival of IoT solutions to final users in a much friendlier way”.

The concept of Intelligent Edge also arose during the event. “It is seen as a new computing environment, an intermediate between Cloud and On- premise. There, a set of connected devices coexist, where they have the ability to acquire and analyze massive amounts of data in scenarios that can be disconnected from the internet”, adds Pais. The goal is to process information in a distributed way and close to data’s origins and user’s locations.

Azure Stack is the platform that best reflects this subject, says Pais. “Although the concept was presented in 2017, it gained massiveness this year”. In addition, new components that make the Intelligent Edge as Azure Sphere were presented, an MCU developed with an operating system designed for security and integration with Azure; Azure Data Box Edge, an appliance that brings storage, IoT and IA capabilities to industrial environments; Azure IoT Edge, a managed service that integrates into On-premise environments and allows the management of IoT devices and the execution of AI and analytics workloads.

But that’s not all. Microsoft will now allow companies to rent a “virtual desktop” with Windows 10 in Azure, in addition to partnering with Adobe and SAP to create a unique model to represent customer data. Also, companies that use Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD) will be able to use the Microsoft Authenticator application on iOS and Android instead of a password to log in to their business applications.

No doubt that Microsoft’s biggest event was a success. With a diverse presentation of features and the attention set in humanitarian action, the next event is already the expectation of many.



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