Tag Archives: Community

Microsoft advances Microsoft Software & Systems Academy expansion goals with Quantico ribbon-cutting ceremony – Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft set a vision to empower transitioning military service members and the veteran community with the opportunity to receive relevant training that could lead to meaningful careers. On Monday, the company held its ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) on Marine Corps Base Quantico. With the program’s growing availability, service members from coast to coast will be able to participate in technical training and career development. MSSA Quantico will focus specifically on meeting the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals.

The ceremony, which was held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, started with welcoming remarks from Col. Joseph M. Murray, Commander, Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region – Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Other speakers included U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman; Dr. Barry Butler, president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU); Marc Langlois, senior director, Department of Navy at Microsoft; and Brig. Gen. Kurt W. Stein, director of Marine and Family programs, Headquarters Marine Corps.

Barry Butler, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University president, delivers remarks at Quantico
Dr. Barry Butler, president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, delivers remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) at Quantico on Jan. 8, 2018.

“Your courage. Your dedication to others. Your ability to work together as a tight knit team. Your adaptability and accountability – these are qualities you have developed in the most challenging of environments,” said Marc Langlois, senior director, Department of Navy at Microsoft, speaking to the first cohort of students for MSSA Quantico.

“MSSA Quantico Cohort A, we don’t just think you are ready to learn. We know you are ready.”

Rep. Wittman also spoke to the group about the importance of programs like MSSA to train our transitioning service members and veterans.

“What a great combination of innovation and creation from the private side to the public side, who are putting that together for the betterment of our nation… [MSSA] is the first step of many steps of developing this skill set that exists here in the Marine Corps.”

The Quantico campus is the first of four scheduled MSSA launches in early 2018 on the Eastern Seaboard, and will complete Microsoft’s 2015 goal of opening nine regions servicing 14 bases. In the months ahead, Microsoft will open MSSA programs at Camp Lejeune, Naval Station Norfolk, and the Jacksonville Community Campus (near Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport).

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green speaks with Rep. Rob Wittman
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green, left, speaks with Rep. Rob Wittman following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for MSSA at Quantico on Jan. 8, 2018.

Since launching MSSA in November 2013 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington, Microsoft has worked with education partners ERAU and St. Martin’s University to create a successful and proven model for reskilling our nation’s heroes and preparing them for meaningful careers in technology. This cornerstone of the DoD Skillbridge program helps the industry overall, helps veterans and helps our country build a stronger workforce to compete on the world stage. In the past four years, the company has grown its hiring partner network to more than 240 companies, including Dell, Expedia, Accenture, Capgemeni and the Department of Defense, with an average starting salary of $70,000.

To learn more about MSSA at Quantico, visit military.microsoft.com/mssa.

Marine Corps Base Quantico ceremonial platoon presents the colors
The Marine Corps Base Quantico ceremonial platoon presents the colors during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for MSSA at Quantico on Jan. 8, 2018.

Tags: Education and Jobs, military, MSSA, veterans

Microsoft and Facebook disrupt ZINC malware attack to protect customers and the internet from ongoing cyberthreats – Microsoft on the Issues

Last week Microsoft, working together with Facebook and others in the security community, took strong steps to protect our customers and the internet from ongoing attacks by an advanced persistent threat actor known to us as ZINC, also known as the Lazarus Group. We concluded that this threat actor was responsible for WannaCry, a destructive attack in May that targeted Microsoft customers. Among other steps, last week we helped disrupt the malware this group relies on, cleaned customers’ infected computers, disabled accounts being used to pursue cyberattacks and strengthened Windows defenses to prevent reinfection. We took this action after consultation with several governments, but made the decision independently. We anticipate providing more information about our actions and their effect in the coming months once we have had the opportunity to analyze applicable data and information.

Today, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan have all announced that the government of North Korea is responsible for the activities of ZINC/Lazarus. We are pleased to see these governments making this strong statement of attribution. If the rising tide of nation-state attacks on civilians is to be stopped, governments must be prepared to call out the countries that launch them. Today’s announcement represents an important step in government and private sector action to make the internet safer.

Microsoft welcomed the opportunity to work with Facebook and others in recent weeks to address this issue. As we look to 2018, it’s essential that we act with shared responsibility to strengthen further the partnerships with the security community and governments to combat cyberattacks against civilians. There is much we can build on from our longstanding work with private industry partners, Interpol, Europol, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in our ongoing efforts to combat botnets and other cybercrime.

Tags: Brad Smith, cybersecurity, malware

Empowering Connected Societies – Smart City Expo World Congress – Microsoft Enterprise

From cities as large as Mumbai to the smaller community of Tucson, Arizona and everywhere in between, citizens around the world are flocking to city centers at historic rates. More than 50 percent of the world’s population can now be found living in urban areas, and by 2050, nearly 70 percent of the global population—more than 6 billion people—will live in cities. This is 2.3 billion more people than live in cities today.  This rapid change coupled with innovative technology solutions solving complex problems and fundamentally disrupting even the most remote communities, show we are living in transformational times. It’s impacting the way we work, live, communicate and interact with the world around us.

The foundation for the smart city infrastructure of tomorrow is being laid today. Local leaders are pushing the traditional boundaries of government to make their cities smarter, safer, more sustainable, more economically robust and more efficient for their citizens and are looking to incorporate technology to effect positive and inclusive change. These leaders recognize that the time to invest in smart solutions is now. It’s time to elevate and combine the conversation around connected cities, governments, and citizens to work cohesively as well as independently. When we think about connected societies, we must think across a broad range of services and citizen life including energy, water, transportation, buildings, and public safety. There is a need for city infrastructure and services to evolve and become more connected. One aspect of this future connected society that is quickly growing today is transportation; transportation of both people and goods as retail options are increasingly on-line.

As civilizations have evolved, so have our modes of transportation. First by foot, then by horse and now by an array of vehicles large and small, public and private. Yet, as technology has improved and accessing transportation options are now available at our fingertips, our vehicles themselves are not yet integrated into the world around them. Vehicles have become “smarter” but to achieve their potential, they need to interact with a smart city with smart city infrastructure.

City infrastructures built to accommodate the smart car of tomorrow, connecting roads, street lighting and street signs should be a seamless system of transportation options allowing citizens to move and operate between home, work, school and play. As a result, city residents are empowered to navigate the daily routines, experiences and challenges of life with ease. Neighborhoods and citizens are safer thanks to solutions in the Microsoft Safe Cities portfolio, which allow systems to automatically monitor and attend to such things as malfunctioning traffic lights by rerouting a service crew a few blocks away.

Greater Connected Infrastructure

A recently released IDC white paper defines a smart city as a system of systems. The connected city system plays a vital role in a successful smart city because all systems are interconnected and one part impacts the whole. A city that harnesses its capability, capacity and intellectual might to focus squarely on improving infrastructure can cement a lasting impact for decades to come – not only in terms of the well-being of its citizens but also on the economic potential of the city by attracting key talent. With the internet-of-things sector growing into a trillion-dollar industry in the next decade, there is no limit to the impact these advancements may have on city infrastructure. In Gandia (Spain), municipal authorities have installed more than 13,000 connected lampposts across the city to remotely control and monitor energy usage, using Microsoft’s Azure cloud. The city now spends 80% less on energy and has reduced CO2 emissions in the process. In Atlanta, Georgia (United States), the Atlanta police department is enabling officers to use mobile devices to access data dashboards that identify repeat offenders, juvenile arrest records, neighborhood crime, gang-related information and more. By empowering officers with this improved situational awareness, they will be better able to track crime patterns and make real-time decisions to prevent crime.

Even with this progress, city infrastructure in many locations continues to gain momentum. Most existing smart city investment is for specific projects, led by individual departments, not coordinated across agencies or organizations. The next wave of smart city investment and innovation is about implementing solutions that connects separate systems together. IDC states that “if these separate systems are proactively coordinated, and supported with integrated data, the benefits can improve the entire city.” Accomplishing this will require working together. Microsoft has a vast partner ecosystem, which includes thousands of partners lighting up the solutions digital societies need. Digital transformation is not a transaction for Microsoft, it’s a partnership.

There are many barriers ahead, including: security and privacy concerns, a lack of industry standards, lack of funding and tight budgets, a plethora of solutions or vendors to use, and making that talk to a municipality’s existing mix of technologies. Microsoft and its partners are continually innovating and implementing solutions to help cities work around these barriers. Not only do we have the experience and ability to secure platforms for digital societies, we can help cities innovate on top of their existing systems to speed up their transformations.

Collaboration Spurs Innovation

Where some may see this complexity as a challenge, at Microsoft we view this as an opportunity. We want to live up to our own mission of empowering every person and organization – every city – on the planet to achieve more. We believe the technology industry has an important role to play in helping city leaders, government officials, academia, first responders, urban planners, auto makers and others come together to optimize city infrastructure and accelerate digital innovation.

We’re already helping leaders develop and implement cloud-based technology solutions to deepen their innovation and digital transformation efforts so they can deliver safer, smarter and more effective government operations and citizen services. By bringing together the growing city ecosystem, innovative smart city technology and the rapidly growing connected car market we are focusing attention on one element of the future connected society. And we recognize that in order to build a connected society; and so, we will harness our robust partner ecosystems and trusted platforms.

Using lessons learned in London, Auckland, Miami, Atlanta and other cities, we can transform boundlessly. Soon, citizens around the world will have unparalleled transit options and safer roads to travel upon. Connected data will be secured to the highest possible standards and shared across government and private sectors. A traffic accident in the middle of a public housing development will be treated the same as an accident in the downtown business district. First responders will be called the moment a sensor is triggered aboard the vehicle and data analytics and video help explain what happened and how. School buses and public transit buses are routed around the accident scene so workers can still arrive to work on time.

In addition to the technology, collaboration enables this connected society. City leaders, citizens, academics and utilities all working together to enable our neighbors and enrich our communities. For example, we are working with Cubic Corporation to help them scale globally with the use of Azure. Cubic’s solutions are offering a huge benefit to citizen experiences around the world with its innovations in traffic and transportation management.

By leading this change in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, cities will create environments that are more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive for all. Through the Smart Cities for All (SC4A) initiative, cities are working to eliminate the digital divide for older people and persons with disabilities around the world. SC4A has developed a maturity model to help cities around the world evolve and assess their level of digital inclusion and accessibility. Through Vision Zero, Microsoft is working with Open Data Nation (ODN) to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. By creating welcoming environments that attract new business and cultures and build up citizens, those that lead today and do it well tomorrow, will develop reputations as creating a government and community that works for all its citizens.

All of this work is ultimately about the most important resource on the planet: people.

More than 80 percent of millennials believe SmartCity technology will positively impact our lives and we owe it to the next generation of leaders to judge us by how many lives we change because of technology.

At Microsoft, our goal is to be a trusted partner and we are humbled to be named the most-trusted smart city vendor. Even with a proven record of working with local leaders, we are forever striving to gain and keep their trust as we develop innovative solutions to help cities work around barriers. Combined with a robust partner network of problem-solving innovators, we can connect city systems, level the playing field for the underserved and grow cities around the world without bounds or limits.

Democratizing technology for an inclusive revolution – Asia News Center

Tuminez points to the Seeing AI app, which is designed for the blind and low vision community. The app uses artificial intelligence and the phone’s camera to perform a number of useful functions including the reading of documents, identifying products at the supermarket, and recognizing people based on their faces.

“This technology gives the visually impaired hope, allowing them to work as professionals, or just to function in everyday life”, she adds.

The M-Powered platform, active in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, is another instance of technology being leveraged to empower the disabled and other marginalized groups. Through a partnership between the public and private sector, the M-Powered portal helps users pick up skills relevant to the digital economy and, eventually, qualify for jobs. Besides a range of e-learning modules, users will also get access to online and in-person mentoring and job listings.  In Malaysia, where the government has a declared policy to have at least 1% of civil service jobs go to People with Disability (PWD), the M-Powered portal will help prepare a pool of potentially qualified workers that can fill the government’s need.

Microsoft has partnered with Genashtim, an online tech support business and a Certified B Corporation, to design, build and launch most of the M-Powered portals. Interestingly, 90% of Genashtim’s employees are disabled, including those who are blind, deaf or wheel-chair bound. They are part of its growing workforce. The brainchild of Thomas Ng, Genashtim proves that PWD, through their own strength, talent and persistence, can be successful professionals living full lives and contributing to their families and countries.

[embedded content]

The LV Prasad Eye Institute in India is another example of technology, especially the cloud, being used for public good. The institute has treated over 20 million patients with cataracts, which is a leading cause of blindness. It uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to both store and analyze data to drive clinical interventions for pre-emptive care. Through the digitization of medical records, information such as socio-economic data can be used to pinpoint the required procedures more effectively and improve patient outcomes.

The 4th Industrial Revolution has also cast a spotlight on technology’s role in the push for gender equality. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, the impact of the digital economy is likely to be disproportionately negative for women. Knowing this, Tuminez is passionate about ensuring women having equal access to opportunities.

“There is often a misconception that technology and careers related to science, technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are only for men and mainly involve engineering work. But this isn’t true,” Tuminez explains.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the first steps is to expose young girls and women to coding, and inspire them to pursue STEM education so that they develop confidence and interest in these subjects. They will then be more likely to pursue, or consider, a career in the science and tech industries, she believes. In Myanmar, for example, Microsoft works with the Myanmar Book Aid and Library Preservation Foundation to train young women, aged 16-20 and affiliated with libraries throughout the country, in digital literacy and technology. In Cambodia, Microsoft supports Passerelles Numeriques, which trains young women and men for two years in technology, English and values. When they graduate, they have a 100% employment rate.

Technology has the power not only to transform lives, but also give hope and even protect vulnerable populations.

In China, it is being used to help parents find their missing children, of which there are tens of thousands in the country. “We had a recent case, where a father nearly four years ago lost his then 14-year-old son, who had Down syndrome and was unable to speak. They were in a restaurant, the father went to use the bathroom, and, when he returned, his son had disappeared,” shares Tuminez.

Junxiu Wang reunited with his son after a search of nearly four years

It was an agonizing search for the father, who eventually turned to Baby Come Home, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to finding missing children. The NPO worked with Microsoft, which had developed an application called Photo Missing Children, or PhotoMC – powered by its publicly available facial recognition technology.

Baby Come Home used a photo the father provided to scan a government database of 13,000 images of children living in shelters across the country. Within seconds, a list of 20 possible matches were found, leading eventually to the happy reunion of father and son.

Tuminez believes there is a role for everyone to play in democratizing technology so that all communities can access its benefits and opportunities.

“Businesses, governments and non-profit organizations must come together with a shared vision, relentless passion, and pragmatic thinking to help improve the human condition. Only then will it be possible to drive more inclusive and truly shared growth in Asia,” Tuminez says.

Hyper-V Documentation for All!

With the recent release of Windows Server Technical Preview 4 – I now have a huge amount of material that I need to write about.  But before I get to that – there is something else I want to talk about.  As well as launching a new Technical Preview – we have updated our documentation site.  And the biggest change is this little button:

I have highlighted it in red – but now anyone can make edits and editions to our documentation.  Even you! (Don’t worry though – we are reviewing changes before taking them to make sure they are technically accurate).

If you click on this button on any page in our documentation – you will be taken to the associated page on GitHub:

Here you can add information that you think is helpful, or fix any errors that you might find.  When you are done, submit a pull request and we will review it. 

Also – do not feel like you are limited to tweaking our existing documentation.  If there is something that you think should be documented on our official site – but is missing – go for it!  You can go straight to our documentation GitHub repository and create new files to submit as proposed new pages:

If you are interested in being involved – key links to be aware of are:

Cheers,
Ben

Hyper-V Documentation for All!

With the recent release of Windows Server Technical Preview 4 – I now have a huge amount of material that I need to write about.  But before I get to that – there is something else I want to talk about.  As well as launching a new Technical Preview – we have updated our documentation site.  And the biggest change is this little button:

I have highlighted it in red – but now anyone can make edits and editions to our documentation.  Even you! (Don’t worry though – we are reviewing changes before taking them to make sure they are technically accurate).

If you click on this button on any page in our documentation – you will be taken to the associated page on GitHub:

Here you can add information that you think is helpful, or fix any errors that you might find.  When you are done, submit a pull request and we will review it. 

Also – do not feel like you are limited to tweaking our existing documentation.  If there is something that you think should be documented on our official site – but is missing – go for it!  You can go straight to our documentation GitHub repository and create new files to submit as proposed new pages:

If you are interested in being involved – key links to be aware of are:

Cheers,
Ben

Posterpedia is now a Universal App!

I have talked about Posterpedia before.  It is a very handy application that allows you to access electronic versions of our detailed Windows Server Architectural posters.  Well, the authors have released an updated version of it which is a Universal App.  This means you can have it on your phone and your desktop!

Other updates include:

  • Featured posters  Find out the latest posters that are available in Posterpedia.
  • Recently viewed  Quickly jump to the last poster you looked at from the hub screen.
  • Download  Download a PDF version of the poster straight to your device.
  • New appbar buttons Quickly go back to the Posterpedia hub page with the home button or get help by using the help button.

You can download the app from the Windows Store, or go directly here:  http://aka.ms/sposterpedia

You can download the app for Windows Phone, or go directly here:  http://aka.ms/Audwjw

You can also view a video of the new features in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYWSBSzfzZI

Cheers,
Ben