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Microsoft CEO lays out post-pandemic vision for work — including a new metaverse concept

Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella described his firm’s function in a new economic system and society remodeled by the pandemic in a keynote tackle on Tuesday kicking off Microsoft’s digital 2021 Ignite developer convention.

Nadella laid out a vision the place Microsoft’s new choices in AI, cloud, safety and its productiveness apps make it doable to edit encrypted paperwork concurrently even amongst individuals who work at totally different corporations; to construct specialised functions and harness AI fashions even when individuals aren’t coders; and to create digital environments and avatars that goal to revive pre-pandemic sense of human connection, at the same time as staff proceed to work remotely.

“Going ahead, each enterprise course of might be collaborative, powered by information and AI, and can bridge the digital and bodily worlds,” Nadella mentioned in a pre-recorded video.

When Nadella first grew to become Microsoft’s CEO in 2014, he talked relentlessly about reworking Microsoft into a “cell first, cloud first” firm. However in a sign of how a lot the enterprise panorama has been modified, first by widespread adoption of cloud expertise in addition to smartphones and cell units, after which by COVID, Nadella articulated a new vision Tuesday.

“Essentially, we’re transferring from a cell and cloud period to an period of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence, an period which can expertise extra digitization over the subsequent 10 years than the final 40,” he mentioned, including that this 12 months’s Ignite convention is devoted to “what is going to occur over the subsequent decade.”

Microsoft is rolling out dozens of new cloud, AI, safety and productiveness choices throughout this 12 months’s Ignite convention.

Nadella introduced a new “metaverse” concept for Microsoft Teams – which has hosted distant conferences for tons of of tens of millions of staff throughout the pandemic – during which staff navigate digital environments as avatars. “Mesh for Groups” combines “shared holographic experiences” with present communication instruments corresponding to digital conferences, chats and shared paperwork.

The new “metaverse” mannequin makes it doable to work together with the bodily world in new methods, Nadella mentioned, even when staff aren’t in the identical location. For instance, he mentioned, Azure Digital Twins permits groups to work on bodily world gear in a digital house and Dynamics 365 Related Areas permits companies to watch and extract information from bodily environments.

Microsoft’s metaverse-related bulletins come lower than a week after Fb mentioned it will reshape its firm into a new mum or dad group often known as Meta and broaden its focus additional past social media to growing metaverse-related experiences.

Nadella additionally unveiled a Microsoft 365 product called Loop, which, he mentioned, brings collectively “individuals’s content material, feedback, chats, reactions and reside enterprise course of information even, collectively into a new collaborative canvas.”

He additionally talked about Azure OpenAI Service, which offers entry to AI fashions that may summarize passages and generate content material and code.

And Nadella mentioned a new model of Azure Arc, which goals to assist prospects handle information and functions throughout hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

“Trying again, there isn’t any query that the previous year-and-a-half has been a catalyst for actual structural change throughout each business from adoption of telehealth and healthcare, digital wallets in monetary companies, curbside pickup, contactless buying in retail and far past,” Nadella mentioned.

Watch Nadella’s keynote tackle beneath, beginning on the 20-minute mark.

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