Top 5 takeaways from Microsoft Build 2022

Top 5 takeaways from Microsoft Build 2022

Another year, another exciting digital event from Microsoft. Can you believe the last in-person Build was in 2019?

This year, Microsoft emphasized several new developments. We were particularly excited by those relative to the unified data platforms, the “cloud everywhere” approach, and hybrid AI.

Oh, and if you missed Scott Hanselman’s “AI After Hours” tour of the Microsoft Archives, you can share the nostalgia of old computers, Xbox dev kits, and the rare Surface table on his TikTok.

But back to the new tech. Here are Neal Analytics’ top takeaways from Microsoft Build 2022…

1. Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform

As Satya Nadella said in his keynote, we’re moving into a world where every app will become intelligent and adapt in real-time. That means analytics will be a critical part of the app experience, not something relegated to the backend. And with that comes the headache of ensuring data governance throughout the process.

So instead of viewing databases, analytics, and data governance as three separate things, Microsoft’s Intelligent Data Platform creates a single foundation, or “architectural fabric,” to accelerate innovation, improve agility, and ensure compliance.

The Intelligent Data Platform will include SQL Server, Azure SQL, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, Microsoft Purview, and Azure AI.

Why we’re excited

Having one foundation for your databases, analytics, and data governance will be a huge step forward to reduce friction when scaling up DevOps, MLOps, and BI without sacrificing compliance.

2. Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Purview will be playing a big role in the Intelligent Data Platform when it comes to governance, so we think it should have its own spot in our list.

The move to expand (and rebrand) Azure Purview into the Microsoft Purview “family” of solutions demonstrates the push for unified governance across data platforms, apps, and clouds. We’ve mentioned the benefits of Purview before on our blog. As AI/ML initiatives move forward, governance will only become more critical.

Why we’re excited

Microsoft Purview doubles down on a unified governance approach. Its role in the Intelligent Data Platform will be key to leveraging your data effectively for things like real-time personalization and advanced analytics.

3. Hybrid AI

First of all, Project Volterra sounds like a cool, space-age robot. It’s actually a Windows dev kit equipped with an ARM CPU and a neural processing unit (NPU). So that’s already pretty cool.

The NPU will support “best-in-class AI computing capacity” according to Microsoft’s very stylized video. Along with Project Volterra comes the Hybrid Loop, which is described as a “powerful, cross-platform development pattern for building AI experiences that span the cloud and edge.” Hybrid Loop will leverage both ONNX Runtime and Azure Machine Learning, plus the Prototype AI toolchain.

 Why we’re excited

While there are still many unknowns around Project Volterra and the Hybrid Loop, it will be exciting to see how these tools open up the hybrid AI space for developers. At Neal we are working on more and more projects using AI at the edge and the performance, cost, and power saving capabilities that Project Volterra could bring to the AI table could be a game changer.

4. Low-code/no-code with Power Platform

Power Platform doesn’t get enough credit for how many ways it helps the end-user work with data and have AI and BI at their fingertips. It’s all part of Microsoft’s “fusion development” approach.

Power Platform now has its own logo (which some people were very excited about) and has expanded its ecosystem to include Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, and the new Power Pages.

It also includes new and extended capabilities like Express Design in Power Apps, Power BI integration with PowerPoint, and Power Virtual Agents having a unified canvas with Azure Bot Framework.

Why we’re excited

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Data (and for that matter, AI/ML solutions) are only useful for a business if people in the business use it. Power Platform enables the insights those models deliver to be seamlessly integrated into processes, UX, and apps users are familiar with. This will help create that company culture needed to accelerate company’s digital transformation, aka enable digital acceleration.

5. Industrial Metaverse

Today, most people associate the metaverse with gaming and, let’s be honest, cool but not really useful use cases. This can change with the Industrial Metaverse. It promises to be an interesting combination of IoT, Digital Twins, and mixed reality that will unlock new use cases to accelerate the transition to Industry 4.0 “smart factories.”

One use case featured Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Taking an Industrial Metaverse approach, this company combined Azure Percept to observe failures, HoloLens for technical experts to help operators, and Digital Twins to diagnose and remotely fix issues. Kawasaki essentially created an entire metaverse ecosystem, leveraging their sensors and distributed workforce to keep production running safely and efficiently.

Why we’re excited

This is one application of the metaverse/mesh platform that has some serious implications for Industry 4.0. It will be exciting to see how different processes in the manufacturing space incorporate IoT, vision AI, and Digital Twins to boost efficiency.

Still catching up on Microsoft Build 2022?