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Microsoft events — the year ahead – The Official Microsoft Blog

Empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more is a 7 billion-person mission that we don’t take lightly. None of us at Microsoft could ever hope to reach that objective without a vast set of partnerships with curious and passionate people who seek to deeply understand technology and its power to transform individuals, businesses and industries. Facilitating connections, sharing our technologies and partnering to create solutions to real-world challenges is why we create the many Microsoft event experiences we host around the world.

Microsoft event experiences are designed to benefit specific audiences and structured to support clear objectives. We’re committed to closely aligning with all our partners, customers, and business and IT decision makers and connecting you with peers and industry leaders. To find out more about each event, visit our event website for details. Or, if you’re looking for a quick description of each event, read below to get a snapshot of our upcoming events.

Flagship events
IT professionals and developers
Microsoft Ignite — For IT professionals, decision makers, implementors, architects, developers and data professionals. This event provides opportunities to explore the latest tools, receive deep technical training and get specific questions answered by Microsoft experts. With more than 26,000 attendees who join to learn, connect and explore what Microsoft has to offer, this truly is the place where reality meets imagination. Orlando, Florida | Nov. 4-8, 2019

Developers
Microsoft Build — Where leading architects, developers, start-ups and student developers converge to focus on the latest tech trends and innovate for the future. We maintain our “produced by developers and for developers” mantra while inviting the next generation of developers to participate in the student zone. Seattle, Washington | May 19-21, 2020

Microsoft partners
Microsoft Business Applications Summit — An annual opportunity to bring together a community of Microsoft customers and partners in roles that include power users, business analysts, evangelists, implementers and technical architects. This event provides a forum to learn how Microsoft’s end-to-end Dynamics 365 and Power Platform can create and extend solutions to drive business success. Anaheim, California | April 20-21, 2020

Microsoft Inspire — Where Microsoft partners meet to connect and celebrate as one community at the close of Microsoft’s fiscal year. With hundreds of thousands of partners across the world, our partner ecosystem is stronger and more united than ever. We invite you to learn more about how Microsoft leaders are supporting our partners, and how partners can capitalize on the opportunities ahead. We’ve co-located our Microsoft sales kick-off event to build on our shared partnership philosophy. Las Vegas, Nevada | July 20-24, 2020

Regional tours

We started our regional tours for attendee convenience and to gauge how digital transformation is happening around the world. They’ve been a success on both fronts. This year we’re expanding to 30 markets for Microsoft Ignite The Tour and starting Microsoft Envision I The Tour in seven cities. Check out one of the stops on our regional tours in a city near you.

IT professionals and developers
Microsoft Ignite The Tour — We are bringing the best of Microsoft Ignite to you by traveling to 30 cities around the world for both ease of access and for the robust localized content for these distinct markets. Join us for in-depth learning and experiences in a free, two-day format that allows IT professionals and developers to learn new ways to build solutions, migrate, and manage infrastructure and connect with local industry leaders and peers. Visit Microsoft Ignite The Tour for locations and dates.

Business decision makers
Microsoft Envision | The Tour — An invitation-only, single-day event held in multiple cities around the world. With a global focus, this summit allows members of the C-suite to focus on challenges and trends that are changing the way organizations do business. Taking inspiration from our CEO Summit, this conference is designed to give leaders a chance to step back and learn about smart strategies to tackle emerging issues, power new efficiencies and build new business models and revenue streams. Visit Microsoft Envision I The Tour for locations and dates.

Digital learning

For those unable to make it in person or who are looking to quickly skill up on a particular topic, we offer digital learning options. Watch training sessions and event keynote sessions at any time. View multiple modules or choose a learning path tailored to today’s developer and technology masterminds that are designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

Additional events

We’re just scratching the surface of the full picture of events that Microsoft has to offer. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, visit our full global events catalog for a list of events in your region and possibly your own city. These are events that are organized around specific product offerings and located in easily accessible locations with a wide range of class levels offered.

We invite everyone to join us to learn and grow, join us to connect with your peers, join us to get the answers you need so that you can deliver the solutions that can help propel your digital transformation. Visit our events website of flagship and regional events, and we look forward to seeing you in the year ahead.

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Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018: Europe’s challengers for the $100,000 prize

From environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, empowering the disabled and disadvantaged, driving up literacy rates and much more, technological innovation has the power to make our world a better place.

That’s where initiatives like Microsoft’s Imagine Cup come in – helping to encourage the brightest and best students to develop world-changing technology projects by unlocking their creativity.

Founded in 2003, it’s now the world’s biggest student technology competition, with tens of thousands of students participating from around the world each year.

This year, the global final will take place in Seattle on 25 July, with the first prize of $100,000, mentorship opportunities and Azure credits all to play for.

The winners will be awarded $100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a $120,000 Azure Grant and a trip to next year’s Build developer conference.

The Europeans are coming
Europe has long been a hotbed of computing talent. From “father of AI”, Alan Turing, to World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Nikola Tesla, the Lumière brothers and more, leading figures from the region have contributed to some of history’s most thrilling technology innovations. Now it’s time for the next generation to step out of the shadows.

So, who’s competing from Europe? Let’s take a look at the 14 teams travelling to Seattle and the projects they’ll be hoping to wow the judges with.

Team TBC (Belarus)
This project uses a neural network to determine psychogeometric characteristics of a person from photographs, which allows more effective communication according to their individual characteristics, with a focus on business and sales settings. The use-case is to help companies hire the right students by sophisticated data-driven algorithms based on psychology, face/gestures-recognition and company culture assessment. The algorithms can also be used to help out the service industry to better communicate with customers based on psycho-type and emotion detection in real time.

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Theatrall (France)
Theatrall aims to make theaters accessible for everyone through simple software available on smartglasses, smartphones or tablets, which will display the production subtitles in the language chosen by the user. The goal is to make theatre experiences accessible for everyone, such as people with hearing impairments, non-native language speakers, or simply for those wishing for subtitles.

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Soul Sailor (Germany)
Soul Sailor is a platform that provides psychological care for refugees and asylum seekers, including a chatbot to help individuals process their experiences while seeking refuge. Soul Sailor supports refugees dealing with mental illnesses such as PTSD or depression by providing psychological care and eliminating factors out of their surroundings which contribute to their issues. The platform is powered by an AI and data-driven digital companion called Mayu, who interacts with the user via speech and helps them express their experiences and worries. In addition, the system also allows fled relatives who have been separated to communicate with a novel event-based network solution.

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NASC (Germany)
NASC is a web app that allows you to search for news articles on the web, attempts to evaluate sentiments in those articles and then visualizes the results. The goal is to encourage people interested in politics and other important topics and events to go beyond the first search result and to look at multiple articles that express different views about the same topic. To achieve this, NASC offers three different result views. The Map view helps portray geographical differences in the attitude towards a given issue. The Timeline view visualizes the development of the sentiment towards an issue over time, and the List view provides a familiar user interface similar to regular search engines and shows more details at first glance than the other, more specialized views.

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Pavo (Germany)
Pavo Vision makes digital content accessible to visually impaired users, by utilizing advanced AI, Cloud Computing and the power of the community. Visual content in websites, documents, and other digital assets gets analyzed and equipped with a description of the visual for visually impaired users by the Pavo Vision System. Mistakes in the analysis can be reported by the Pavo community to train the system, making the models smarter over time. The Pavo Vision system is currently available as a browser plugin, with future support for Microsoft Teams planned.

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StudySmarter (Germany)
StudySmarter is an intelligent learning platform, designed to help students achieve their educational goals and graduate from university. The platform digitizes the entire learning process, making it more efficient, structured and engaging. Machine learning algorithms accompany the student through the entire learning experience by automating or creating learning materials such as summaries, mind maps or flashcards with just a few clicks. In addition, the student is automatically connected with fellow students.StudySmarter not only saves time learning, but also boosts motivation.

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iCry2Talk (Greece)
iCry2Talk proposes a low-cost and non-invasive intelligent interface between infants and parents. Baby’s cries are translated in real-time, being associated with specific physiological and psychological states. Results are depicted in text, image and voice messages. iCry2Talk believes that the efficient combination and analysis of different sources of information through advanced signal processing techniques and deep learning algorithms can provide meaningful and reliable feedback to parents.

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Innobie (Hungary)
Innobie is a smartphone app to help students understand the curriculum they are reading in textbooks. The app projects a virtual augmented 3D image over 2D illustrations in books, and can help elementary students learn biology, chemistry, geography, history, and more. By allowing users to explore virtual objects from all angles, they can gain a deeper understanding for more complex subjects than a mere 2D image would be able to provide.

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DeafKIT (Moldova)
DeafKIT is an automatic solution for sign-language translation based on neural networks. Translations are provided with video capturing to make communication easier and more effective, with up to 100% accuracy. The solution aims to be used on trading centres, social networks and more.

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Wavy (Poland)
Wavy is an underwater locator for scuba divers which allows divers to track each other via a small device, which can prove to be vital during emergency situations. In addition to its safety benefits, the Diving Logbook feature tracks the route, depth and temperature of each dive. Diving bases can also measure the most popular routes to help recommend them to customers.

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VisionX (Romania)
XVision is a system designed to automatically detect anomalies and diseases encountered anywhere in the human body with radiologist-level accuracy, just by analyzing common medical X-ray images with the help of the latest Azure AI technologies such as Machine Learning. The system will provide a crucial solution for people in areas of the world that lack access to radiology diagnostics while also acting as an assistant tool for the medical experts examining radiographs.

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Coffee Break (Russia)
Coffee Break utilises spectrometry in an innovative way by labeling tradeable goods. this amazing tool in the business for labeling of tradable goods. The solution can be used in a variety of ways, such as counterfeit detection, by comparing goods to the known qualities of their genuine counterparts. The tool can also be used to track expensive items such as wine.

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InterviewBot (UK)
InterviewBot is a web-based application tailored to aid students with video or physical interviews when applying for jobs by providing real-time feedback on interview-style questions. Companies can also use this tool to assess their candidates’ performance, while a written transcript allowing employers to dissect interviews in detail. It uses facial analysis and speech recognition to offer real-time feedback on facial expressions during practice interviews, informing users whether their style is positive, neutral, or negative.

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Black Light (UK)
Black Light’s project, Firepoint, is a First-Person mixed reality simulator, built around helping firefighters explain and display what their daily work environment is like without putting anyone at risk. The simulator allows users to see through the eyes of a firefighter as they make their way through a multi-story training ground with a variety of different encounters to tackle. The goal is to use this tool to help firefighters in community outreach, recruitment, and training.

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The rainbow ripple effect: how Microsoft and its LGBTQ+ employees push for change across borders

It lends support when possible through empowering employees such as Cathy Balcer, GLEAM chapter lead in Singapore, who joined with other companies to promote “freedom to love” nights all over the city; Andrea Llamas, GLEAM lead in Mexico, who helped Microsoft officially join a local network of companies that are LGBTQ+ friendly; and Nidhi Singh, Roland White, Bibaswan Dash, and Mike Emery, who helped launched the first GLEAM chapter in India, which garnered 100 employee members in its first week.

Aside from pushing for social change and increased protections, around the globe, Microsoft is also working to drive inclusion in the technology industry for all, including people who are LGBTQ+.

Women account for 24 percent of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs, according to the Economics and Statistics Administration’s 2017 numbers.

Chen was initially worried that she would have be closeted to survive a corporate work environment. But when her teammates showed genuine interest in her life and weren’t at all bothered by her sexuality, she decided she was never going to hide her real self for a job again.

“If you’re LGBT and minority, you’re in a double bind. If you’re in a minority and LGBT and a woman, you’re in a triple bind,” said Rochelle Diamond, chair of the board of directors of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals.

That’s why Microsoft supports organizations like Out Leadership, which works to fill more C-suite level jobs with LGBTQ+ talent. Microsoft employees attend events like the Lesbians Who Tech summit, which connects lesbians and helps them build a network of colleagues, associates, and friends in the industry in addition to championing the representation of out lesbian women in the field.

It was that very summit helped spark Chen’s own personal awakening.

“Shortly after I started, I was out to my immediate team and manager, but I was living as a software engineer who also happened to be gay,” said Chen. “It wasn’t a part of who I was at work, just kind of like a fun fact about me.”

Chen had heard about the Lesbians Who Tech summit and wanted to check it out. She was trepidatious when she asked her manager, unsure how taking time off work solely to understand how what it means to be gay in the workplace might be perceived. To her delight, her manager was all in.

“My being queer was seen by management as important and worth the funding to explore what that meant for me,” she said.

When Chen started at Microsoft as an intern, she initially worried that she would have be closeted to survive a corporate work environment. But when her teammates showed genuine interest in her life and weren’t at all bothered by her sexuality, Chen decided she was never going to hide her real self for a job again.

“Now, I try to include this perspective in every discussion I have. I want to be the representation that I was so sorely missing growing up.”

How Data will Influence the Future of Storytelling | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is empowering all types of people to tell stories with data. We’ve seen journalists using Power BI to understand and illustrate the news, customers using Power BI to interact with their fans, and business analysts justifying a budget ask from their managers. Modern storytelling requires the effective use of data.

Recently, we showcased Power BI’s storytelling prowess at the Future of StoryTelling Summit (FoST) in New York City. FoST is ‘an exclusive event, gathering a stimulating mix of thinkers and practitioners from diverse fields who are shaping the art, science, and business of storytelling in the 21st century.’ We are always excited to interact with our customers and learn from the ways they are using the tool to achieve more.  At this event we had the opportunity to introduce a variety of creative storytellers to the potential of using data to tell their stories with Power BI.

“An exceptional story is at the heart of every memorable communication,” said Charles Melcher, President of Melcher Media and Founder and Director of Future of StoryTelling. “Data-driven storytelling connects to my passion for telling stories that are enduring, authentic and innovative.”

While at the Summit, our team learned some valuable lessons for data-driven storytelling. We wanted to share how these lessons, combined with Power BI, can strengthen your storytelling skills.

Identifying your story

Power BI can help you discover your story. Often when working with data, you may not know exactly what the story is until you visualize it. Visualizing your data in Power BI is a great first step in identifying the truth in your data.

Once you understand what your data is telling you, you can begin to plan your story arc. Identifying what you want the reader to take away from your story when interacting with your data visualization will set the stage for an effective story. Rather than trying to show every aspect of the data, think about what you want your audience to understand and how to best guide them through the data. The most effective stories leave the reader with insights carefully brought to life through the visualizations you create, with the ability to continue to explore.

The most effective way to do this is to know your audience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes, think about how they might want to interact with the data, how you want them to interact with the data and how this relates to your goals for your data story. Identify what is inherently interesting about your dataset and present that to your reader in the most effective way you can.

One way to do this is by connecting with the reader on an emotional level. At the Future of Storytelling Summit, we presented a story about the history of artificial intelligence using the Timeline Storyteller custom visual for Power BI. Knowing this audience had a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality, and how technology continues to play an integral part in writing history, we connected with our audience by showing a story that highlighted works of fiction across literature and film that included AI themes. Including these data points set the scene for the rest of the story, sparked curiosity, and engaged the audience on an emotional level as they thought back to movies and books they may have loved or even hated!

Compared to what?

The most effective data stories provide the whole picture. After identifying key insights in your data, a great question to ask is “compared to what?” Providing context to the reader helps a data story feel more honest and unbiased. It shows the reader how the data being highlighted fits into the bigger picture.

In the demo we created for the Future of Storytelling Summit, we wanted to show the audience all the exciting contributions Microsoft has made to the field of artificial intelligence. While creating the report, we asked the question “compared to what?” With Power BI, we were able to include a full timeline that was inclusive of all major contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. We showed our audience that there is more to the field of artificial intelligence than just Microsoft, and our story came off much more authentic and honest.

Presenting your story

Once a data story has been created, finding an effective way to present it has historically been a challenge for our customers. Our goal with Power BI has always been to enable users everywhere to experience data in the best way possible. This goes for authors as well as the audience of the reports. Power BI Publish to web allows users to tell compelling stories with interactive data visualizations in minutes. You can use “Publish to web” to embed Power BI visualizations in your blog, website, emails, or even social media accounts.

Additionally, in the October Feature Update to Power BI Desktop, our team announced an exciting new preview of a tool called “Bookmarking.” This was one of the features our team demoed at the Microsoft Data Insights Summit to save and share out your insights with others. It can also be an extremely effective storytelling tool. Report authors can now create a list of bookmarks, organizing a story arc for the readers of a report. More information on how to create bookmarks can be found here.

Getting Started

We have several resources on the Power BI data journalism site to help you get started building your data story. We even teamed up with renowned visualization expert Alberto Cairo to share the methodology behind graphics and how they can support data storytelling by developing five Data Visualization and Storytelling courses.

We are always interested in hearing more from our customers about how they are using Power BI to tell stories. We’re committed to optimizing Power BI storytelling capabilities, and creating new features to enable more powerful storytelling. We’d love to hear your feedback, and we welcome the opportunity to hear more about your work in the Data Storytelling Discussion forum.

Additional Resources

Future of Storytelling Summit

History of Artificial Intelligence Report

Power BI Publish to Web

Power BI Bookmarking Preview

Power BI Data Storytelling Discussion forum

Data Journalism Course with Alberto Cairo

Microsoft at Sibos: How AI can enhance the customer experience

At Sibos, Microsoft will demonstrate how it is empowering the industry to drive digital transformation with the financial services ready cloud. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will deliver the closing keynote on October 19, and we have an extensive suite of events planned and opportunities to meet Microsoft executives during the show.

Book a meeting with Microsoft at Sibos


Reimaging the customer experience

What makes a consumer choose one particular brand over another? Cost? Convenience? As customers get used to more personalised, engaging and seamless interactions and experiences in all aspect of their lives, so too have they come to expect a similar level of service from their financial services provider.

Chad Hamblin, worldwide financial services industry director at Microsoft, says that most banks understand this, and are exploring how they can improve their ability to better engage with their customers.

“Today, every customer is a digital customer, and this requires banks to not only digitise their services, but make their entire offering better aligned to customer needs,” he says. “They need to treat every interaction with the customer as more of a conversation – one that is natural, intuitive and personal.”

To achieve this, many banks are exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). “It’s high on their priority agenda and we’re starting to see more and more banks experimenting with this technology,” Hamblin says. “Applications range from using robo-advisors to help answer common customer queries, all the way through to running algorithms that anticipate customer issues before they arise.”

Monique Dahler, worldwide financial services director and AI lead at Microsoft, says that financial institutions see AI as a key enabler to accelerate their transformation to a digital business.

“Through AI, banks can provide innovative customer experiences at any point in time through any channel,” she says. “AI is a key driver to realise cost and operational efficiency, better risk management, and secure customer acquisition and growth.

“In its simplest form, it can automate manual tasks – such as generating reports or answering common enquiries, freeing up staff to carry out more value-added tasks. But it also has the potential to transform entire business models and revolutionise more strategic functions such as financial analysis, asset allocation and forecasting.”

To help banks on their journey towards adopting and harnessing the power of AI, Microsoft has developed the Microsoft Bot Framework, which provides everything needed to quickly build and connect a bot to whatever channel and integrate with popular tools such as Skype and Office 365.

“This is not just about providing a product, though,” Dahler explains. “At Microsoft, we believe that the value of AI is not about getting a quick chat bot in place. Where we make a difference is that we help banks take advantage of our entire AI value chain. We give them access to our entire product suite and connect them with industry experts, helping them to transform data into intelligent actions.”

For banks that are considering exploring the potential of AI but are put off by the time, effort and costs it could take – Microsoft also has a number of AI early adopter programmes. “For example, the Intelligent Bots EAP is a programme that delivers a customer or employee facing bot into pilot in a short timeframe” Dahler explains. “We help them to create a solution and pilot it with real end users. It’s a great way of getting AI developments off the ground quickly.”

Hamblin says that for those banks who are willing to explore the potential of AI now, the possibilities are endless. “We’re in conversations with customers who are developing everything from robo-advisor capabilities – using AI as a vehicle to do low cost trading without human intervention or as a first line of communication with the customer – through to using AI and social capabilities as the canary in the mine to identify problems and issues before they progress and cause problems. This is just the beginning of the transformation of our industry.”

As we shared in earlier blogs, at Sibos Microsoft will demonstrate how It is empowering financial institutions to drive digital transformation with solutions to reimagine the customer experience, empower employees with a secure and productive digital workplace, optimize operations through improved risk insight and regulatory compliance, and transform products with agile and interconnected business models and real-time predictive digital processes. We have an extensive suite of events planned and opportunities to meet Microsoft executives during the show.

Book a meeting with Microsoft at Sibos

Learn more about Microsoft at Sibos

Follow us @msftfinserv

Read more on the Microsoft Banking & Capital Markets and Insurance blogs.


This article was originally published in The Record

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