Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: May 2021 (Page 1 of 5)

Microsoft Build — selected news

Lots of news this week at the annual Microsoft Build developer conference. They did produce a very helpful “Book of News” (at about 8,800 words) with a table of contents to cover it all. Below is a selection of announcements our readers are most likely to be interested in, followed by a link to the complete list.

Azure AI

Azure Cognitive Services, a family of AI services to deploy high-quality models as APIs, has multiple updates, including:

  • Document Translation, a feature of Translator in Azure Cognitive Services announced in preview in February, is now generally available. Document Translation enables developers to quickly translate documents while preserving the structure and format of the original document. This feature helps enterprises and translation agencies that require the translation of complex documents into one or more languages.
  • Text Analytics for health is now generally available with Text Analytics in Azure Cognitive Services. It enables developers to process and extract insights from unstructured medical data. Unstructured text includes doctors’ notes, medical journals, electronic health records, clinical trial protocols and more. Another new feature of Text Analytics is Question Answering. Now in preview, Question Answering helps users find answers from a passage of text without saving or managing any data in Azure.

Azure Data

With the introduction of the partial document update for Azure Cosmos DB, developers can modify specific fields or properties within a document without requiring a full document read and replace. This gives developers more flexibility to update only certain portions. Partial document update is available for Core (SQL) API and via .NET SDK, Java SDK and stored procedures. Developers can sign up for the partial document update preview.

Azure Cosmos DB serverless is now generally available for all APIs (Core, MongoDB, Cassandra, Gremlin and Table). Developers can now optimize costs and more easily run apps with spiky traffic patterns on Azure Cosmos DB. Serverless is a cost-effective pricing model that charges only for the resources consumed by database operations. It is ideally suited for apps with moderate performance requirements and frequent periods with little to no traffic.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft Graph data connect is now offered on Microsoft Azure as a metered service. Microsoft Graph data connect is a more secure, high-throughput connector designed to copy select Microsoft 365 productivity datasets into the Azure tenant. It’s a tool for developers and data scientists creating organizational analytics or training AI and machine learning models. Although most Microsoft 365 products are offered on a per-user/per-month basis, the company is offering Microsoft Graph data connect as a metered service, so developers pay for only the data they consume.

Microsoft Search Federation, which connects information from across platforms, will be generally available later this year. It creates a unified search experience across Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search and Dynamics 365. Microsoft 365 customers use several search options, from Microsoft Search to Azure Cognitive Search. Microsoft Search Federation connects these systems, making finding information much simpler.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams apps for meetings, launched last year, gives developers the tools to build collaborative apps that help connect people to solve common goals and design experiences across the full lifecycle of a meeting. Now, developers can build even more unique scenarios with new features that include:

  • Shared stage integration, in preview, provides developers with new access to the main stage in a Teams meeting through a simple configuration in their app manifest. This provides a new surface to enable real-time, multiuser collaboration experiences for their meetings apps, such as whiteboarding, design, project boards and more.
  • New meeting event APIs, in preview, enable the automation of meeting-related workflows through events, such as meeting start and end, with many more planned for later this year.
  • Together mode extensibility, coming soon, empowers developers to create custom scenes for Teams meetings and share them with users. This provides an easy design experience, within the Developer portal, so developers can make meetings more engaging.
  • Media APIs and resource-specific consent, coming soon, provide developers with real-time access to audio and video streams for transcription, translation, note-taking, insights gathering and more.

Fluid components in Microsoft Teams chat is now in private preview and will expand to more customers in the coming months. Fluid components are powered by the web, can be edited in real-time or asynchronously and work across surfaces, such as Teams and Office apps. Fluid components in Teams chat allow users to send a message with a table, action items or a list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line, minimizing the need for long chat threads and meetings. Fluid components can be copied and pasted across Teams chats, helping users become more efficient.

Power Platform

Microsoft Power Fx, a low-code open-source programming language, is adding new features that allow developers to build apps using natural language — no coding required.

The new experience centers around three key scenarios: natural language transforms to Power Fx code, Power Fx code transforms to natural language and programming by example where a user inputs an example of a data pattern that trains the model.

This experience is powered by GPT-3, the world’s largest natural language model from OpenAI, running on Azure Machine Learning. Microsoft also is announcing the PROgram Synthesis using Examples SDK (PROSE), which can train models to do certain tasks by typing in a few examples.

Microsoft Power BI users can now embed Microsoft Power BI analytics reports in a Jupyter Notebook. Jupyter Notebook, an open-source development tool featuring documents with live code, equations, visualizations and narrative text, is often used for data visualization and more. Power BI Embedded Analytics enables data app developers to engage directly with data, explore analytics and generate reports. These Jupyter Notebook integrations are now in preview.

Power BI Premium, which enables analysts, developers and business users to create, develop and turn data into insights, has added Automation APIs to its deployment pipeline capabilities. This allows developers to use tools, such as Microsoft Azure DevOps and Azure Pipeline, to automate the deployment of Power BI assets and integrate into their existing app deployment framework.

Elastic adds features in Elastic Enterprise Search 7.13

Elastic announced new Dropbox integrations, the beta release of the Elastic App Search precision tuning API, and enhanced custom source APIs across the Elastic Enterprise Search solution in the 7.13 release. Elastic Enterprise Search includes expanded content sources for Elastic Workplace Search, now supporting Dropbox Paper and complete document-level permission synchronization across all Dropbox content. Teams that rely on Dropbox to collaborate, create, and coordinate can use Workplace Search to find the content they need alongside relevant chat messages, wiki pages, PDFs, and other content.

The new Elastic App Search precision tuning API, now available in beta, allows customers to adjust the recall and precision of their websites or application search results. Through a single API call or parameter at query time, search admins can easily unlock granular search optimization by configuring how broad or narrow their search results should be to suit the exact needs of their users.

New custom source management APIs, also introduced in Workplace Search 7.13, simplify data ingestion and enable users to manage content from any source, including legacy and custom applications. The new APIs allow for programmatic, on-the-fly creation and operation of sources without the need for manual setup. Users can create high-quality ingestion pipelines for any source alongside other day-to-day tools, all with unified relevance.

Librestream enhances knowledge-sharing with AI Connected Expert

Librestream, provider of augmented reality (AR) and remote collaboration solutions, launched new capabilities for its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Connected Expert vision giving industrial workers access to the content, people, smart data and guidance needed to efficiently and safely perform their work.

The new components to the Onsight platform include natural language processing (NLP) with real-time translation capabilities to bridge language barriers amongst global workers, and an industrial-first AR experience for the Microsoft HoloLens 2 platform. The advancements build on the AI Connected Expert workforce vertically-trained computer vision, reducing human cognitive load, and enabling faster time to competency for employees, as well as IoT sensor data visualizations within the Onsight experience.

Onsight Translator, Librestream’s NLP capability, enables users to simply and securely translate “speech to text,” including live transcription (captions) displayed on-screen and live translation of calls from one language to another. Whether a field technician works with a subject matter expert on an asset repair task, communicates with a supplier in a different country or assists with a remote inspection, Onsight Translator’s  speech recognition and machine translation bridges language gaps.

Onsight Connect for HoloLens 2 provides hands-free experience across collaborators, incorporating the mixed reality features of the HoloLens 2 such as holographic visual interface and support for gestures, voice-driven commands, and 3D audio experience.

Varada delivers text analytics on the Data Lake for SQL Consumers

Varada, a data lake query acceleration provider, announced its platform now supports text analytics workloads and helps data teams deliver faster time-to-insights on exabytes of string-based data. Varada’s solution for interactive text analytics, integrated with open source search engine Apache Lucene, works directly on the customer’s data lake and serves SQL data consumers out-of-the-box. Varada’s text analytics feature is deployed in the organization’s own environment, so the data is not duplicated and never leaves. Plus, it incorporates all data from any source without modeling with results that are both thorough and precise. Varada’s dynamic and adaptive indexing technology enables text analytics workloads to run at close to zero latency response time.

Varada’s adaptive and autonomous indexing technology leverages machine learning capabilities to dynamically accelerate queries to meet evolving business requirements. Varada indexes data directly from the data lake across any columns. Based on the data type, structure, and distribution of data, Varada automatically creates an optimal index from a set of indexing algorithms including text-optimized search and index (based on Apache Lucene) as well as bitmap, dictionary, trees, etc. Indexes also adapt to changes in data over time.

Fluree and Lead Semantics announce TextDistil

Fluree, provider of an immutable semantic graph data platform, announced a technical partnership with Lead Semantics to provide an integrated solution, TextDistil, for enterprise data management teams building semantic-capable, secure data fabrics. A focus for the integrated solution includes regulated industries, with a greater magnitude and scope of requirements needed to prove compliance, including fintech, banking, insurance and the public sector.

Lead Semantics’ natural language processing (NLP) technology, powered by Fluree’s semantic graph database, will help convert unstructured data assets into semantic-capable enterprise knowledge. With TextDistil, Lead Semantics and Fluree are bringing unstructured data into the structured context of businesses’ respective operational transactional worlds with security, traceability, and audit-capabilities provided by Fluree’s immutable ledger. Key benefits:

  • With TextDistil, free text becomes yet another stable source of data with ‘structure’ much like data from a relational database in an enterprise.
  • Fluree’s trusted ledger, with the Fluree technology integration, companies using TextDistil will have secure and provable data, which is audit-friendly and can wrap legal contracts with blockchain-grade traceability.
  • Both follow standards-based data semantics, making them easily integratable. On the output side, TextDistil encodes text into knowledge according to a domain ontology. W3C semantic standards compliant knowledge-facts (RDF triples) are output to be loaded into Fluree Database enabling automatic semantic integration and standard SPARQL querying. ▪︎

Squirro launches new Squirro App Studio

Squirro, an Augmented Intelligence solutions provider, has announced the launch of its new Squirro App Studio, a no code / low code platform to build and set up AI-powered apps such as Cognitive Search quickly and easily. The platform enables users with no background in data science to build a Cognitive Search app, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) to create a unique enterprise search experience. Cognitive Search offers a unique search experience that gathers data from internal and external sources, and understands the users’ intent and context whilst providing them with the correct information at the right time.

The platform is enhanced with an extensive set of connectors, allowing users to unify their data sources and extract actionable insights and recommendations. In one click, users can connect the Cognitive Search app with CRM systems such as Salesforce, premium market data such as Refinitiv, Pitchbook, and a range of different enterprise systems including OneDrive, SharePoint, Confluence, Jira, Google Drive, Gmail and Dropbox.

AtScale announces AtScale CloudStart

AtScale, a provider of semantic layer solutions for modern business intelligence and data science teams, announced the launch of AtScale CloudStart for building analytics infrastructure on cloud data platforms. This offering enables organizations to rapidly integrate AtScale’s semantic layer solution on cloud data management platforms. CloudStart provides customers a way to start with a smaller semantic layer investment aligned with entry points for cloud data platforms with the ability to scale seamlessly with your analytics infrastructure.

As enterprise data moves to the cloud, analytics teams are challenged to ensure performance and manage costs while capturing the value of democratizing data. AtScale’s semantic layer eliminates the friction of moving BI, artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads to the cloud. By leveraging a single source of enterprise business metrics, organizations can drive data literacy and self-service BI initiatives while aligning business intelligence and data science teams.

AtScale CloudStart is immediately available for Snowflake, Microsoft Azure Synapse SQL, Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, and DataBricks. Customers can leverage this offering to connect cloud data sources to BI tools including Tableau, Excel, Looker and Power BI (leveraging the recently announced Live Query support for Power BI). Accompanying services packages support training and rapid onboarding.

Widen upgrades combined DAM and PIM solution

Widen launched upgrades to the Widen Collective, its platform that combines digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) into one solution. The Collective equips brands to bring together product data, marketing content, and digital assets, send them anywhere their customers shop, and automate the steps in that process. The upgrades will help brands establish a product content supply chain that minimizes manual steps. Marketing teams often struggle to bring products to market efficiently when the required product data, marketing content, and digital assets are siloed in multiple systems and files. The Widen Collective offers a central place to assemble, manage, and distribute all product information. Upgrades include:

  • Product hierarchies. Marketers can categorize their product catalog into a hierarchy with product brands, families, and lines that is reflective of what customers see online.
  • Product variants. When marketers update specs like dimensions, weight, and materials for a “parent” product, the new data automatically cascades to every product variant in that family.
  • Auto-updating portals. Users can configure portals to automatically ingest the newest product assets based on metadata rules.
  • E-commerce syndication bundle. Brands can purchase Widen’s combined DAM and PIM solution in a bundle with Productsup, an e-commerce syndication platform.

« Older posts

© 2024 The Gilbane Advisor

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑