Microsoft is doubling down on its cloud AI services for business customers with a fleet of new offerings aimed at helping companies deal with video and unique problems not solved by its off-the-shelf cognitive services.
New services announced Wednesday include a new Video Indexer service that will provide customers with automated captioning, sentiment analysis, custom face recognition, object detection, optical character recognition and keyword extraction of videos they provide. The tool is built on existing Microsoft services, but gives customers an easier way to process large amounts of video for indexing and analysis rather than require manual work by humans.
Windows 10 has hit a milestone: 500 million devices have installed it, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced Wednesday in his keynote opening the company’s Build 2017 developer conference. Another number, however, is more troubling: Just a fraction of those devices frequently use Cortana, Microsoft’s digital spokesperson for its push into artificial intelligence.
Just 141 million devices, or about 28 percent of Windows 10 users, use Cortana monthly. That stands in sharp contrast to what Microsoft calls the “intelligent cloud,” the next phase in the evolution of the “mobile first, cloud first” mantra that Nadella has talked up since he became CEO in 2014. At Build, Microsoft executives will describe how data used to be pushed from “edge” devices like phones or tablets to a cloud server, analyzed, and then sent back to the user. Now, Microsoft’s trying to build in those analysis capabilities as close to those data-generating devices as possible.
Two more hardware manufacturers are lining up behind Microsoft’s new Cortana-powered appliances: HP and Intel, indicating that Microsoft is turning to its tried-and-true PC partners to usher Cortana into the living room.
Microsoft announced support from both companies at its Build conference in Seattle on Wednesday, though what each company will eventually manufacture isn’t known. According to Microsoft, the company signed a partnership with HP to build products, and with Intel to provide reference platforms for Cortana-powered devices.
Though an alliance with HP is nothing to scoff at, Intel’s support should make the most difference. So far, Cortana competitors like Google Home and Amazon’s small ecosystem of Alexa-powered Echo devices are made just by the individual companies themselves. Intel has established relationships with numerous Asian suppliers, who use Intel’s reference designs as foundations to build their own PCs and gadgets. Intel’s support will help these same companies start building intelligent devices, roo.
Microsoft today is advancing its Visual Studio IDE in several areas, including serverless computing and development on the Mac.
For serverless computing, the company’s Azture Functions Visual Studio beta lets developers integrate Azure Functions into development flows, said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group. Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said the company would be “doing a bunch of things to make it easier to manage the entire life cycle of serverless code development.” The beta is a available as a Visual Studio 2017 extension, Guthrie said, and lets developers use third-party extensions, testing frameworks, and continuous-integration systems.
If the Arccos Caddie app can solve the mystery of the golf swing with big data, perhaps big data can solve other world problems, too. That's why Microsoft featured this app at Build 2017, to show off the data-crunching powers of its Azure cloud service.
According to Arccos, the Caddie app sources a wealth of data. It already knows how far you can hit a ball with each club, based on your history. It then correlates that information with more than 386 million geotagged points across 40,000 courses, plus weather info, to present a strategy—lay up or go for it, say—as well as the projected odds that you’ll hit the green. You can even adjust the tee box and pin location to provide a more accurate prediction. (The company’s YouTube video has more.)
Cisco this week said it patched a critical vulnerability in its widely deployed IOS software that was disclosed in the WikiLeaks dump of CIA exploits earlier this year.
Cisco had in March issued a “critical” security advisory for the IOS software that runs on some 300 models of its Catalyst switches and other networking equipment.
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Cisco this week wrote: “A vulnerability in the Cisco Cluster Management Protocol (CMP) processing code in Cisco IOS and Cisco IOS XE Software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a reload of an affected device or remotely execute code with elevated privileges.”
Demands on a city’s resources and services are increasing everywhere and developers are responding with an evermore sophisticated approach. As technology transforms the way we interact with transport, health, retail, education and everything else within the lived environment, the data and devices we use to communicate in this landscape will become even more important.
Recently, a United Nations report stated that by 2030 two-thirds of the world’s population will be urban. This will put considerable pressure on stakeholders to streamline and revolutionize the inner workings of the city to accommodate the influx and evolution of the urban populous. Imagine navigation systems automatically rerouting your car due to an accident on your intended route or perhaps effectively tracking bus arrival times via smart sensor applications. These applications have the potential to transform how we live forever. Cue the birth of the smart city.
The pace of innovation is accelerating and fast-tech adopters could leave you in the dust.
Recently, PwC conducted a global survey of more than 2,200 executives which showed that most companies are no better prepared in 2017 to adopt emerging technologies than they were a decade ago [Disclosure: I am a principal at PwC]. In many ways, companies are running in place, particularly in their exploration and implementation of emerging technology. Despite digital’s importance to business success – and game-changing advances such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing and more – investment levels in emerging technology as a percentage of overall technology spending are stagnant.
Malware attacks rarely have a bright side, but it appears that Microsoft moved very quickly to squash a dangerous hack directed against Windows Defender, the operating system’s built-in security software. Chances are good that if you’re running Windows 10, Microsoft has already patched your computer through its automated updated process.
You can easily find out by checking “Windows Defender Settings.” (Simply type that phrase into Cortana and you’ll see the right page to click on.) Take a look at the engine version: If it is 1.1.13704.0 or higher that means you've been patched. If you’re running an older version of Windows, it probably has not been patched and you’d better run an anti-virus scan immediately.
You may not want to buy the ShapeScale 3D body scanner unless you’re comfortable in your own skin. Using infrared depth sensors and a high-res camera, ShapeScale can create an amazingly accurate 3D image of your physique, from your bulging biceps to corpulent love handles. It’s now available for pre-order on the ShapeScale website for $499, and rest assured it’s been created for good, not evil.
Sure, the technology will give you an exacting view of all your fleshy flaws. It will also create a high-res 3D image of your butt. Unless you’re an Australian Instagram star, you may not have a lot of experience with, well… studying what's on the other side. So just know belfies are in the program.
Check Point is investing heavily in educating IT pros about the cloud, not only to promote their own cloud security products but to give potential customers the skills they’ll need to keep their jobs as their employers move more and more resources to public cloud providers.Check Point
“We try to explain how to be relevant in the cloud,” says Itai Greenberg, head of cloud security for Check Point.
A lot of old-school IT security workers need to learn about how cloud infrastructure works, the terminology used, the interconnections between cloud and corporate owned networks and the ins and outs of APIs, among other skills.
E-commerce businesses may face further antitrust investigations, the European Union's top competition watchdog has warned.
The European Commission hopes these investigations will lead to more choice and lower prices for consumers, online and off. It has just wrapped up a two-year study of business practices that raise competition concerns in the e-commerce sector, and published its final report on Wednesday.
"Certain practices by companies in e-commerce markets may restrict competition by unduly limiting how products are distributed throughout the EU. Our report confirms that. These restrictions could limit consumer choice and prevent lower prices online," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Branch sites are ideal places to make networking simpler and less expensive. There's often little or no IT expertise there, and it's harder to justify costs because only a fraction of a company's business happens at a given branch.
Yet the rise of software-defined WANs and branch offices, designed to scale back the expense and complexity of far-flung networks, has left some parts of the problem unsolved, according to SD-WAN startup Versa Networks.
For one thing, replacing branch appliances for each function with applications running on one system may raise software compatibility issues that are even more complicated than wiring up several boxes. Also, swapping out private WAN links for lower-priced internet service can open branches up to some new security threats.
According to a recent report, academics have been analyzing brainwaves of computer users to improve how they are alerted to cybersecurity dangers. I’m sorry, but getting users to pay stricter attention to security isn’t brain surgery: It’s all about money and job security. Come to think of it, job security itself is all about money, which makes money the only carrot and the only stick that IT needs.
That report, courtesy of Bloomberg BNA, said, “Many computer users automatically swat away repetitive dialogue box warnings of impending doom, especially when they are engaged in another activity. Now, engineers are using data analytics based on user tracking to discover what might help users pay attention to warnings. Software engineers are exploring promising techniques, such as changing background colors in warning notifications and switching formats to distinguish substantial security warnings from mundane messages. Tapping people’s brains helps the engineers design more effective user interfaces.”
Forrester Research recently released its report naming Sungard AS, Bluelock, IBM and iland as the top disaster recovery-as-a-service companies.
With enterprises expecting their network up at all times, backup and recovery are key to keeping things running smoothly with no downtime. With ransomware waiting to pounce the minute a user clicks on a link, companies rely on network recovery in a matter of minutes not days.
Start-up Impossible Objects on Tuesday unveiled its Model One 3D printer, which it claims is the first such printer that can build parts from composite materials including carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass.
The Northbrook, Ill.-based company said its technology can compete with injection molding "in terms of speed and price" to create production parts.[ Further reading: The march toward exascale computers ]
Because of the composite makeup, customers will be able to customize a part's properties, so parts can have heat and/or chemical resistant properties, the company said.
HP's Elite x2 could be the right Surface clone at the right time. On Monday, Microsoft's Panos Panay crushed our dreams (and those of many others, no doubt) when he said there'd be no Surface Pro 5 in the near future to replace the rapidly aging Surface Pro 4. C'mon, Microsoft, it's been 18 months—only Apple can string its users along for years!
Enter HP's Elite x2 1012 G2. Announced Wednesday, it'll ship in July with a starting price of $1,099. Read on to see how it offers all the updated parts we'd love to have in the Surface Pro 4, let alone the mythical Surface Pro 5.
What's the relationship between Amazon and autonomous vehicles? Amazon is changing the way products and services are delivered to customers, and so will autonomous vehicles, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang believes.
The "Amazon effect," Huang said, will turn transportation on its head. Autonomous technology will play a big role for more point-to-point movement of products and people.
Amazon has announced Prime Air, a future-looking program in which unmanned aerial vehicles will deliver products in under 30 minutes. Nvidia is backing the idea of autonomous cabs, and providing hardware and mapping technology for accurate point-to-point navigation.
To help you get a better night’s sleep, Apple will now be using Beddit’s sleep monitor system.
In late March when I got an unsettling message on my Gmail account: "Warning: Google may have detected government-backed attackers trying to steal your password."
Google sends them out when it detects a "government-backed attacker" has attempted to hack an account through phishing or malware.
Last time I saw one, I added two-factor authentication to many of my accounts. This time it prompted me to ask: Can I do even better?Martyn Williams/IDGNS
A security warning message displayed by Google.