Tag Archives: Innovation

Business and innovation tips for your Imagine Cup project

Editor’s note: This blog was contributed by the U.S. Department of Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST)GIST is led by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by VentureWell 

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup empowers student developers and aspiring entrepreneurs from all academic backgrounds to bring an idea to life with technology. Through competition and collaboration, it provides an opportunity to develop an application, create a business plan, and gain a keen understanding of whats needed to bring a concept to market to make an impact.We’ve partnered with GIST to provide some top tips for turning your idea into a marketable business solution and prepare you to present it effectively on a global stage. 

Key things to consider when developing a business idea

1. Assess whether your product is truly novel 

In the early development stages of a new idea, it’s important to assess whether your idea already exists in the current market and if so, what unique solution your application can provide. 

In the world of intellectual property law, “prior art” is the term used for relevant information that was publicly available before a patent claim. For example, if your company is working on a new type of football helmet, but another company has already given an interview about their own plans to invent such a helmet, that constitutes prior art – and it means your patent claim is likely to face a steep uphill battle. Start by asking yourself if your project is truly novelWhat problem does your application solve?  Are there similar solutions already on the market? If necessary, work with your university to establish if a patent already exists. 

2. Learn to take feedback  

It’s easy to get attached to an invention. However, being too lovestruck with your technology can prevent you from absorbing vital feedback from customers, professors, mentors, even teammates. “Feedback is learning,” says Dr. Lawrence Neeley, Associate Professor of Design and Entrepreneurship at Olin College of Engineering“Sure, feedback can hurt, but understand that you can’t improve your invention without learning what’s wrong with it. Feedback is a mechanism for growth.” In addition, don’t lose sight of the passion that originally drove you to developing a solution, as it can put you in the right mindset to listen to feedback. By keeping the core problem at the forefront, you can more effectively pivot your technology and business model to better address market demands. Read more about how to balance your passion with real-life data to make your project shine.

3. Incorporate diversity & inclusion 

Empower everyone to benefit from your solution by considering diversity and inclusion in your project early on. “When accessibility is at the heart of inclusive design, we not only make technology that is accessible for people with disabilities, we invest in the future of natural user interface design and improved usability for everyone,” says Megan Lawrence, an Accessibility Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. Check out some resources to help you build inclusion into your innovation: 

  • Use Accessibility Insights to run accessibility testing on web pages and applications. 
  • Learn how to create inclusive design through video tutorials and downloadable toolkits. 
  • Read the story of two Microsoft teams at Ability Hacks who embraced the transformative power of technology to create inclusive solutions now used by millions of people. 

Read more tips on using inclusion as a lens to drive innovation. 

4. Consider environmental responsibility 

To maximize impact from the start, it’s critical that student innovators develop an environmentally responsible mindset at the earliest stages of their innovation, business, or manufacturing process. Here are some examples from student innovators of how they integrated environmental responsibility into their business models: 

  • Use renewable energy sources where possible, such as solar power or implementing recycling processes. 
  • Incorporate sustainable processes through things like reducing packaging, limiting plastic waste, and sourcing materials that are reusable or biodegradable.  
  • Create an innovation that solves a key environmental issue or repurposes harmful by-products, such as recovering metal water contaminants or converting ocean waste.  

Read more about how they leveraged sustainability in their projects. 

Maximizing resources for your innovation 

It can be a challenge to seek support resources as a student entrepreneur.  Here are some top tips for maximizing on and off-campus benefits while you’re still in school  – check out additional advice if you’re interested in learning more.  

1. Take stock of university resources 

Assess what skills you may need beyond just technical and talk to faculty or administrators to develop a roadmap for your time in school. For instance, seek out seminars or courses in different departments to help sharpen writing or public speaking skills, or visit your university library to find out what resources they have to offer student entrepreneurs such as makerspaces, workshops, or guest lectures. 

2. Maximize networking opportunities 

Connect with others through LinkedIn, your university’s alumni network, classes, hackathons, and more to network with industry-specific experts. Pro-tip: Imagine Cup connects you to a global community of like-minded tech enthusiasts to collaborate and innovate together, in addition to giving you access to industry professionals. 

3. Take advantage of competitions  

Approach competitions as not just an opportunity to win, but also to further refine your project and go-to-market planLeverage feedback and insights from judges, mentors, and peers to continue ideating and developing a marketable solution.   

Build business skills through hands-on innovation 

What better way to put these tips into practice than through bringing your own solution to life? The Imagine Cup is your opportunity to build a technology innovation from what you’re most passionate about. Regardless of where you place in the competition, youll have the chance to connect with likeminded tech enthusiasts across the globe, including joining a network of over two million past competitors. In addition, teams who advance to the Regional Finals will receive mentorship from industry professionals and in-person entrepreneurship workshops from GISTled by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by VentureWellthelp elevate their solutions.   

Learn by doing, code for impact, and build purpose from your passion. Register now for the 2020 competition. 

 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

AT&T integrating 5G with Microsoft cloud to enable next-generation solutions on the edge – Stories

DALLAS and REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 26, 2019 — Microsoft and AT&T are ramping up innovation in the early days of their strategic alliance announced in July. One area of focus is aimed at enabling new 5G, cloud and edge computing solutions to drive enterprise capabilities for companies around the world.

The companies are opening select preview availability for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology, which weaves Microsoft Azure cloud services into AT&T network edge locations closer to customers. This means AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.

From making the world’s first 5G millimeter wave browsing session on a commercial 5G device to groundbreaking commercial installations in healthcare, manufacturing and entertainment, AT&T has proved itself to be a leader in 5G. The company recently activated an industry-first 400-gigabit connection between Dallas and Atlanta to support video, gaming and other 5G needs. AT&T serves parts of 21 cities with its 5G network using millimeter wave spectrum (5G+) and plans to offer nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020.

“The first smartphones on 3G networks introduced the idea of mobile apps over a decade ago. A few years later, 4G LTE made it feasible to connect those devices faster to cloud applications to stream videos, hail rides, and broadcast content to the world,” said Mo Katibeh, EVP and chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “With our 5G and edge computing, AT&T is collaborating uniquely with Microsoft to marry their cloud capabilities with our network to create lower latency between the device and the cloud that will unlock new, future scenarios for consumers and businesses. We’ve said all year developers and businesses will be the early 5G adopters, and this puts both at the forefront of this revolution.”

This innovation points to a future where high-end augmented reality glasses are as thin and stylish as a standard pair of eyeglasses, lightweight drones can track themselves and thousands of nearby companions in near-real time, and autonomous cars have access to nearly-instant data processing capabilities without having to install a mini data center in the trunk.

“We are helping AT&T light up a wide range of unique solutions powered by Microsoft’s cloud, both for its business and our mutual customers in a secure and trusted way,” said Corey Sanders, corporate vice president, Microsoft Solutions. “The collaboration reaches across AT&T, bringing the hyperscale of Microsoft Azure together with AT&T’s network to innovate with 5G and edge computing across every industry.”

 5G and edge for gaming, drones, and more

One example of how edge computing can unlock new scenarios and experiences is in mobile gaming, where gaming company Game Cloud Network has created a unique 5G game that’s hosted on the network edge with Microsoft Azure. Game Cloud Network is a pioneer in developing game-based brand engagement and a customer of AT&T. The company is now showcasing its new “Tap & Field” game, which utilizes Microsoft’s Azure PlayFab services. In the game, users race each other in near-real time via this track-and-field-style game, enabled by the speed of 5G-connected devices.

“5G gaming provides consumers with the best of both worlds: highly-immersive experiences on lightweight mobile devices,” said Aaron Baker, chief executive officer, Game Cloud Network. “AT&T and Microsoft are building the perfect environment for game developers to create amazing new possibilities for gamers. 5G and edge computing have the potential to radically change how we play together and launch new business opportunities for brands and game publishers.”

Through AT&T Foundry, AT&T and Microsoft are exploring proofs-of-concept including augmented and virtual reality scenarios and drones. For example, both companies continue to work with Israeli startup Vorpal, helping its VigilAir product track drones in commercial zones, airports, and other areas with near-instant positioning. The companies also recently demoed using Microsoft HoloLens to provide 3D schematic overlays for technicians making repairs to airplanes and other industrial equipment.

Progress toward a “public-cloud first company” and more

Microsoft is also helping AT&T Communications become a “public-cloud first” company by migrating most non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024, and this migration to Azure is already underway. Another important part of AT&T’s strategy is to empower much of its workforce with Microsoft 365. This includes cloud-connected Office apps on Windows 10, and modern collaboration with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive. AT&T has begun rolling out these solutions to tens of thousands of employees to help drive a culture of modern work.

AT&T and Microsoft will have more to share over the coming months and years as this unique alliance continues to evolve and expand. The two companies will both create and adopt new technologies to develop tools, commercial services and consumer applications that benefit everyone.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It executes in the market under four operating units. WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. AT&T Communications provides more than 100 million U.S. consumers with entertainment and communications experiences across TV, mobile and broadband services. Plus, it serves nearly 3 million business customers with high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions. AT&T Latin America provides pay-TV services across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is the fastest growing wireless provider in Mexico, serving consumers and businesses. Xandr provides marketers with innovative and relevant advertising solutions for consumers around premium video content and digital advertising through its AppNexus platform.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information is available at about.att.com. © 2019 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

 Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

This news release may contain certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations between the non-GAAP financial measures and the GAAP financial measures are available on the company’s website at https://investors.att.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, contact:

Clay Owen
AT&T Corporate Communications
Phone: (404) 538-0124
Email: [email protected]

Microsoft Media Relations
WE Communications for Microsoft
Phone: (425) 638-7777
Email: [email protected]

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Author: Microsoft News Center

OneDrive Personal Vault and expandable storage now available worldwide

Microsoft OneDrive has long been an innovation leader in cloud storage, and today we’re excited to launch a new feature that gives you greater security for your files in the cloud. This summer, we announced OneDrive Personal Vault, which uses identity verification to protect your most important files. Now we’re happy to share that Personal Vault is available worldwide on all OneDrive consumer accounts. Additionally, we have more OneDrive news to share on expandable storage options, automatic folder backup, and dark mode—read on to learn more.

Meet Personal Vault

Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that can only be accessed with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS.1 Personal Vault gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files, photos, and videos—for example, copies of documents such as your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information—should someone gain access to your account or device.

Plus, this added security won’t slow you down. You can quickly access your important documents, photos, and files with confidence wherever you are, on your PC, OneDrive.com, or your mobile device.2

Beyond a second layer of identity verification, Personal Vault also includes the following security measures:

  • Scan and shoot—Using the OneDrive app, you can scan documents or shoot photos directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device, like your camera roll.
  • Automatic lockingNo need to worry about whether you left your Personal Vault or your files open—both will close and lock automatically after a period of inactivity.3
  • BitLocker encryptionOn Windows 10 PCs, OneDrive automatically syncs your Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive.4
  • Restricted sharing—To prevent accidental sharing, files in Personal Vault and shared items moved into Personal Vault cannot be shared.

Taken together, these security measures help ensure that Personal Vault files are not stored unprotected on your PC, and your files have additional protection, even if your Windows 10 PC or mobile device is lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it or to your account.

Animated image of a user verifying her identity in OneDrive Personal Vault.

Personal Vault is the latest advancement in OneDrive’s suite of security features, which also includes file encryption at rest and in transit, suspicious sign-in monitoring, ransomware detection and recovery, mass file deletion notification and recovery, virus scanning on downloads for known threats, password protected sharing links, and version history for all file types.

Personal Vault is now available worldwide

To start using Personal Vault, look for the Personal Vault icon Personal Vault icon. in your OneDrive and simply click or tap it. If you’re using OneDrive’s free or standalone 100 GB plan, you can store up to three files in Personal Vault. Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home subscribers can store as many files as they want in Personal Vault, up to their storage limit.

OneDrive

Don’t have OneDrive? Download the app and get your first 5 GB of storage free.

Get OneDrive

Learn more in this Personal Vault podcast on Intrazone.

Backing up your folders just got easier

We made it easy to back up your important folders to OneDrive—so your files are protected and available even if something happens to your PC. With PC folder backup you can choose to automatically back up files in your Desktop, Documents, or Pictures folders to OneDrive. Now you don’t have to worry about protecting your work—OneDrive will do it for you.

You can also access your backed-up files even when you’re away from your PC—just use the OneDrive mobile app or go to OneDrive.com. Plus, saving your files to OneDrive allows you to view and restore previous versions of your files up to 30 days in the past.

PC folder backup is now more deeply integrated with the newest version of Windows 10, so you can easily enable it during Windows setup or updates. The feature is included with all OneDrive consumer plans and is available on Windows 7, 8, and 10 PCs with the OneDrive sync app. Learn more about PC folder backup.

OneDrive fans rejoice—additional storage is now available!

In June, we announced that we would deliver on one of the most requested OneDrive features of all time—more storage options. Now you can add storage to your existing Office 365 subscription in 200 GB increments, starting at $1.99 per month.5 Learn more about OneDrive additional storage.

Dark mode is now available on OneDrive iOS

We’re also thrilled to announce that the OneDrive mobile app on iOS 13 now supports dark mode. This dramatic new look is both easy on the eyes and lets you take full advantage of an OLED screen to save battery life. To try it out, simply set your iOS 13 device to Dark Appearance in Settings > Display and Brightness and then open the OneDrive app.

Animated image of a phone switching between dark mode and standard, and back again.

Let us know what you think

To let us know what you think or share your thoughts and ideas, visit OneDrive UserVoice. To learn more about all the advanced protection features included in Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscriptions, see our support page.

Notes:
1 Face and fingerprint verification requires specialized hardware including a Windows Hello capable device, fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor, or other biometric sensors and capable devices.
2 OneDrive for Android requires Android 6.0 or later; OneDrive for iOS requires iOS 11.3 or later.
3 Automatic locking interval varies by device and can be set by the user.
4 Requires Windows 10 version 1903 or above.
5Additional storage only available to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal subscribers. For Office 365 Home subscribers, only the primary subscription holder may purchase additional storage, and only for that user’s account.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Schlumberger refines global teamwork with Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365 Blog

The Schlumberger logo.


Profile picture of Ron Markezich.With more than 80 years of pioneering innovation in reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and exploration, Schlumberger is the leading provider of upstream products and services in the oil and gas industry. It’s a highly collaborative business, both internally, with more than 100,000 employees working in 85 countries, and externally, with the world’s leading global oil and gas customers depending on Schlumberger products and services. Moving data and expensive resources through a complex network of delivery systems calls for reliable, real-time collaboration and communication for all stakeholders. That’s one reason why standardizing on Microsoft 365 is a major step forward in the company’s strategy to harness the cloud and drive efficient customer service.

Recently, Schlumberger’s VP of Information Technology Sebastien Lehnherr had this to say about driving teamwork and productivity on a global scale:

“Operational efficiency and agility are requirements in a highly regulated service industry striving for performance and service quality. We use Microsoft 365 as a core element of our digital strategy—Microsoft Teams, Enterprise Mobility + Security, Power BI, and Windows 10 empower our employees globally with the intuitive, feature-rich tools that help them collaborate more efficiently and be more productive working in the office or while on the road.”

With highly secure, collaborative cloud apps at their fingertips, Schlumberger employees working in the field and at head offices in Paris, Houston, London, and The Hague are empowered by agile digital connections that accelerate service delivery and keep customers’ products moving to market. Unimpeded communication helps connect the big-picture expertise from Schlumberger’s leadership centers with local experience at production sites, adding value to customer relationships. We’re also excited to see how Schlumberger’s global Windows 10 deployment will add value to its Microsoft cloud business productivity platform.

Asia and the Intelligent Edge: Riding a new wave of innovation – Asia News Center

A new wave of innovation is surging ahead. And, the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, Asia, is riding its crest.

The billions of appliances, gadgets, machines, and vehicles that are routinely rolling off Asian production lines are becoming smarter and connected. So too are the factories that make them.

Built with sensors, infused with artificial intelligence (AI) and enabled by machine learning (ML), these devices will push the boundaries of the Internet of Things (IoT) through the next decade and beyond. Advanced algorithms will help them see, listen, reason, predict and more, without requiring “always on” connectivity to the cloud.

This is the intelligent edge and it is based on the principle that data has gravity. In other words, the closer we move computing to a device, the faster we can move from insights to action.

You can see edge computing is any scenario where data is collected and processed inside a device or machine, allowing it to act faster than it would if had to rely on the cloud. Equipment on a factory floor can use ML and AI to anticipate when a part will break or fail. An autonomous car will be able to take evasive action when it faces a possible collision. In both cases, the milliseconds saved could be the critical difference between a safe outcome and an accident.

At this year’s Computex trade show in Taipei, we saw how the intelligent edge will be a key part of a future in which trusted, ubiquitous computing will be part of the fabric of life.

“Everything in our lives is being connected,” Nick Parker, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Consumer and Device Sales, said in a keynote address to a sell-out audience.ws. “Whether it is the sensors in our domestic appliances, whether it is our cars, whether it is new markets for precision agriculture, whether it is the IoT of our lives, or maybe in the experiences we have with technology.”

Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President of Consumer and Device Sales, Microsoft

With insights gleaned from these connected intelligent devices, companies will be able to reimagine business models with new product offerings, new customer experiences, and new efficiencies.

The business potential is huge, and the competition is likely to be fierce. Isaiah Cheung, Microsoft’s Vice President for Consumer and Device Sales in the Greater China Region, said the race is now on among Asian manufacturers and service providers to get into the intelligent edge game.

“New emerging device companies in our region want to infuse their products with AI,” he said. “And big, established companies are doing the same. They want AI built into the big multimillion dollar machinery in their factories to improve efficiency. And, they want to build the intelligent edge into all the consumer devices, appliances and services they export around the world.

“Just the other day, I had one big brand ask me how they could put AI into a new line of rice cookers. Another one is doing the same with its white goods. The list goes on and on.”

Isaiah Cheung, Vice President, Consumer and Device Sales, Microsoft Greater China Region

To add to this progress, Microsoft has established the  Intelligent Edge Partner Community. “Our initial focus is on fostering collaboration across our partners, providing training, and early-adopter programs,” Roanne Sones, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Core Operating System and Intelligent Edge, shared. “From a resource perspective, members receive access to documentation, specs, builds and certification details to further their intelligent edge business”.

Parker sees a new wave of business opportunities and economic progress coming off the back of the intelligent edge, with Asia being a major player.

“Asia has always been very much a center of global innovation, whether it is in a lab in Shenzhen or our partnerships across the Greater China region in terms of supply chain or our partnerships in Taiwan,”  Parker to a media conference at Computex. “We see so much of our new technology, particularly in the intelligent edge, starting here and delivering worldwide.”

Roanne Sones, Corporate Vice President of Core Operating System and Intelligent Edge, Microsoft.

Asia is also playing a major role in developing new AI technologies, with Microsoft’s research labs around the world – including in China and India – working in this space for decades. They have achieved a series of breakthroughs, using the immense computing power of the Azure cloud.

With this know-how, Microsoft has been able to infuse AI into its core products and services. It has delivered AI tools and frameworks, including cognitive, vision, spatial and object APIs, and earlier this year announced a limited preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing on the edge – all of which partners can use to enable next-generation AI applications and solutions that run on devices.

Project Brainwave – a new deep learning acceleration platform for real-time AI.

Meanwhile, intelligence is spreading across mass markets as microcontroller units (MCU) become connected. These tiny AI-enabled single-chip computers (see picture at the top of this article) now power more than 9 billion new devices around the world every year.

“An MCU is a single-chip computer that is no larger than your thumbnail,” Distinguished Engineer and Managing Director at Microsoft, Galen Hunt, told the Computex audience. “These are very tiny, very low-cost chips and enabling them with connectivity means you can turn anything into an IoT device. We are headed to a world where everything can become connected.”

As amazing as they are, these tiny chips have had one a big flaw: They were never designed to be secure. When a device is compromised, it can impact your privacy, your data and your infrastructure, and even your physical security.

“If these devices aren’t secured, who are we bringing into our most personal spaces? Who are we bringing into our homes, into our schools, into our hospitals, our offices, our factories? And what is at stake? Our data, our privacy, our infrastructure, our property, even our safety.”

This changed this year when Microsoft launched Azure Sphere, an end-to-end solution for creating highly secure, MCU-powered devices.

Galen Hunt, Distinguished Engineer and Director, Microsoft

In a recent blog, Hunt described MCU internet connectivity as “a two-way street.” “With these devices becoming a gateway to our homes, workplaces, and sensitive data, they also become targets for attacks. Look around a typical household and consider what could happen when even the most mundane devices are compromised: a weaponized stove, baby monitors that spy, the contents of your refrigerator being held for ransom.

“We also need to consider that when a device becomes compromised, it’s not just a problem for the owner, it can also become a problem for society. A device can disrupt and do damage on a larger scale.”

This is what happened with the 2016 Mirai botnet attack where roughly 100,000 compromised IoT devices were repurposed by hackers into a botnet that effectively knocked the east coast of the United States off the internet for a day.

With connected MCUs built into billions of new devices every year, it is of “paramount importance” that security keeps pace with an ever-changing threat landscape.

Hunt suggests that as we look to a future, where every device will be smart or intelligent, we need to redefine what we mean by “smart”. Yes, smart devices are intuitive, insightful, and easy to use. But we need to add one more thing: Smart devices must be secure – if a device is not secure it is not smart.

This makes security essential for manufacturers in Asia and around the world. “We see an ecosystem that is very eager to deliver the products that customers need, and customers need secure products,” he said adding that Azure Sphere makes it easy for manufacturers to create smart/intelligent products that are innately secured.

READ: Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific

ALSO READ: Microsoft’s AI Blog

Chief data officer role: Searching for consensus

Big data continues to be a force for change. It plays a part in the ongoing drama of corporate innovation — in some measure, giving birth to the chief data officer role. But consensus on that role is far from set.

The 2018 Big Data Executive Survey of decision-makers at more than 50 blue-chip firms found 63.4% of respondents had a chief data officer (CDO). That is a big uptick since survey participants were asked the same question in 2012, when only 12% had a CDO. But this year’s survey, which was undertaken by business management consulting firm NewVantage Partners, disclosed that the background for a successful CDO varies from organization to organization, according to Randy Bean, CEO and founder of NewVantage, based in Boston.

For many, the CDO is likely to be an external change agent. For almost as many, the CDO may be a long-trusted company hand. The best CDO background could be that of a data scientist, line executive or, for that matter, a technology executive, according to Bean.

In a Q&A, Bean delved into the chief data role as he was preparing to lead a session on the topic at the annual MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium in Cambridge, Mass. A takeaway: Whatever it may be called, the chief data officer role is central to many attempts to gain business advantage from key emerging technologies. 

Do we have a consensus on the chief data officer role? What have been the drivers?

Randy Bean: One principal driver in the emergence of the chief data officer role has been the growth of data.

Randy Bean, CEO, NewVantage PartnersRandy Bean

For about a decade now, we have been into what has been characterized as the era of big data. Data continues to proliferate. But enterprises typically haven’t been organized around managing data as a business asset.

Additionally, there has been a greater threat posed to traditional incumbent organizations from agile data-driven competitors — the Amazons, the Googles, the Facebooks.

Organizations need to come to terms with how they think about data and, from an organization perspective, to try to come up with an organizational structure and decide who would be a point person for data-related initiatives. That could be the chief data officer.

Another driver for the chief data officer role, you’ve noted, was the financial crisis of 2008.

Bean: Yes, the failures of the financial markets in 2008-2009, to a significant degree, were a data issue. Organizations couldn’t trace the lineage of the various financial products and services they offered. Out of that came an acute level of regulatory pressure to understand data in the context of systemic risk.

Banks were under pressure to identify a single person to regulators to address questions about data’s lineage and quality. As a result, banks took the lead in naming chief data officers. Now, we are into a third or fourth generation in some of these large banks in terms of how they view the mandate of that role.

Isn’t that type of regulatory driver somewhat spurred by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which recently went into effect? Also, for factors defining the CDO role, NewVantage Partners’ survey highlights concerns organizations have about being surpassed by younger, data-driven upstarts. What is going on there?

Bean: GDPR is just the latest of many previous manifestations of this. There have been the Dodd-Frank regulations, the various Basel reporting requirements and all the additional regulatory requirements that go along with classifying banks as ‘too large to fail.’

That is a defensive driver, as opposed to the offensive and innovation drivers that are behind the chief data officer role. On the offensive side, the chief data officer is about how your organization can be more data-driven, how you can change its culture and innovate. Still, as our recent survey finds, there is defensive aspect, even there. Increasingly, organizations perceive threat coming from all kinds of agile, data-driven competitors.

Organizations need to come to terms with how they think about data and, from an organization perspective, to try to come up with an organizational structure and decide who would be a point person for data-related initiatives. That could be the chief data officer.
Randy BeanCEO and founder, NewVantage

You have written that big data and AI are on a continuum. That may be worthwhile to emphasize, as so much attention turns to artificial intelligence these days.

Bean: A key point is that big data has really empowered artificial intelligence.

AI has been around for decades. One of the reasons why it hasn’t gained traction is, in its aspects as a learning mechanism, it requires large volumes of data. In the past, data was only available in subsets or samples or in very limited quantities, and the corresponding learning on the part of the AI was slow and constrained.

Now, with the massive proliferation of data and new sources — in addition to transactional information, you also now have sensor data, locational data, pictures, images and so on — that has led to the breakthrough in AI in recent years. Big data provides the data that is needed to train the AI learning algorithms.

So, it is pretty safe to say there is no meaningful artificial intelligence without good data — without an ample supply of big data.

And it seems to some of us, on this continuum, you still need human judgment.

Bean: I am a huge believer in the human element. Data can help provide a foundation for informed decision-making, but ultimately it’s the combination of human experience, human judgment and the data. If you don’t have good data, that can hamper your ability to come to the right conclusion. Just having the data doesn’t lead you to the answer.

One thing I’d say is, just because there are massive amounts of data, it hasn’t made individuals or companies any wiser in and of itself. It’s just one element that can be useful in decision-making, but you definitely need human judgment in that equation, as well.

Microsoft Inspire 2018

Inspire 2018: Opening doors for partner innovation, growth and differentiation

Organizations around the world are undergoing transformation fueled by cloud, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and the Internet of Things. These technologies are helping businesses and society reach new heights – retail is becoming more personal, banking is becoming more seamless, and healthcare is becoming more predictive and preventive.

At the heart of these incredible stories of transformation – and more – are Microsoft partners. The Microsoft partner ecosystem is a group of hundreds of thousands of organizations driving positive, global impact. Building everything from line-of-business apps to industry-specific solutions on Dynamics 365 to gaming experiences, these companies are a natural extension of the team at Microsoft, delivering cutting-edge technology to millions of customers.

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Microsoft to deliver intelligent cloud from Norway datacenters | Stories

Microsoft Cloud to accelerate digital transformation and innovation through a strategic partnership with Equinor and to the benefit of organizations across Norway

REDMOND, Wash., and OSLO, Norway — June 20, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to further expand its significant and growing investment in cloud computing in Europe by delivering the intelligent Microsoft Cloud from two new datacenter regions in Norway: one in the greater Stavanger region and the other in Oslo.

The Microsoft Cloud, comprising Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance with data residency from new datacenter locations. Initial availability of Azure is planned for late 2019 with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to follow. Microsoft has deep expertise protecting data, championing privacy, and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements with Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles and the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.

“Over a billion customers around the world trust the intelligent Microsoft Cloud to provide a platform to help transform their businesses,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft. “By delivering the Microsoft Cloud from new datacenter regions in Norway, organizations will be empowered through cloud-scale innovation while meeting their data residency, security and compliance needs.”

Equinor, an international energy company, has chosen the Microsoft Cloud in Norway to enable its digital transformation and drive cloud-enabled innovation. The strategic partnership is supporting Equinor’s digital journey through a seven-year consumption and development agreement valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars (USD). Leveraging the cloud is a prerequisite for the energy industry’s transformation toward a digital future, and secure, reliable and cost-efficient operations are a requirement for Equinor’s adaptation of the cloud.

“Equinor plays a central role in stimulating innovation and advancement of the Norwegian economy, and we are deeply honored to be partnering with them to help take their business into its next stage of growth through the intelligent Microsoft Cloud,” said Kimberly Lein-Mathisen, general manager, Microsoft Norway. “By bringing these new datacenters online in Norway, we are also very pleased to be able to pave the way for growth and transformation of many other businesses and organizations in Norway, whether they be large enterprises, government bodies, or any of the 200,000 small and medium-size businesses that create Norway’s thriving economy.”

Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norwegian minister of Trade and Industry said, “The Norwegian government is deeply committed to helping Norway thrive as a hub for digital innovation. Norway needs new industries that create jobs and boost economic growth. In February 2018 the Norwegian government released its datacenter strategy ‘Powered by Nature,’ establishing that attracting datacenters and international investments is an important part of our industrial policy. Therefore, we are very pleased to see Microsoft’s commitment to our country with this new datacenter. We believe that datacenters and cloud services will help ensure the competitiveness and productivity of Norwegian businesses and government institutions, and have a positive impact on our responsibility to our citizens to create an inclusive working life, to the environment, and to our economic development and job growth.”

The delivery of cloud services from Norway expands on Microsoft’s existing investments having operated in the country since 1990 with nearly 600 people working in offices in Lysaker, Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsø across sales, marketing and development, and a network of more than 1,700 partners. This new investment is the first time Microsoft will deliver the intelligent Microsoft Cloud from datacenters located in Norway and is expected to enable greater innovation for oil and gas and other industries, as well as the public sector.

Extending the value of the Microsoft Cloud regions for Norway, customers can also take advantage of hybrid cloud options with Microsoft Azure Stack. Available through service providers in the region, Azure Stack enables customers to develop solutions that harness the power of consistency between Azure and Azure Stack to cater to unique connectivity and compliance needs.

Microsoft has been rapidly expanding to meet an intensifying customer demand for cloud services. By investing in local infrastructure, Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services help companies innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting data residency, security and compliance needs. Microsoft also has a long history of collaborating with customers to navigate evolving business needs and has developed strategies to help customers prepare for the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We have invested to make the Microsoft Cloud GDPR compliant, are delivering innovation that accelerates GDPR compliance, and have built a community of experts to help customers along their full GDPR journey.

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 continue to expand the data residency options for customers with 18 geographies announced. The two products are the only productivity and business application platforms that can offer in-geo data residency across such a broad set of locations. Each datacenter geography delivers a consistent experience, backed by robust policies, controls and systems to help keep data safe and help comply with local and regional regulations.

Over the past three years, the number of Azure regions available has more than doubled. Azure has more regions than any other cloud provider with 52 regions announced across the globe.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Microsoft to deliver intelligent cloud from Norway datacenters | Stories

Microsoft Cloud to accelerate digital transformation and innovation through a strategic partnership with Equinor and to the benefit of organizations across Norway

REDMOND, Wash., and OSLO, Norway — June 20, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to further expand its significant and growing investment in cloud computing in Europe by delivering the intelligent Microsoft Cloud from two new datacenter regions in Norway: one in the greater Stavanger region and the other in Oslo.

The Microsoft Cloud, comprising Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance with data residency from new datacenter locations. Initial availability of Azure is planned for late 2019 with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to follow. Microsoft has deep expertise protecting data, championing privacy, and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements with Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles and the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.

“Over a billion customers around the world trust the intelligent Microsoft Cloud to provide a platform to help transform their businesses,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft. “By delivering the Microsoft Cloud from new datacenter regions in Norway, organizations will be empowered through cloud-scale innovation while meeting their data residency, security and compliance needs.”

Equinor, an international energy company, has chosen the Microsoft Cloud in Norway to enable its digital transformation and drive cloud-enabled innovation. The strategic partnership is supporting Equinor’s digital journey through a seven-year consumption and development agreement valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars (USD). Leveraging the cloud is a prerequisite for the energy industry’s transformation toward a digital future, and secure, reliable and cost-efficient operations are a requirement for Equinor’s adaptation of the cloud.

“Equinor plays a central role in stimulating innovation and advancement of the Norwegian economy, and we are deeply honored to be partnering with them to help take their business into its next stage of growth through the intelligent Microsoft Cloud,” said Kimberly Lein-Mathisen, general manager, Microsoft Norway. “By bringing these new datacenters online in Norway, we are also very pleased to be able to pave the way for growth and transformation of many other businesses and organizations in Norway, whether they be large enterprises, government bodies, or any of the 200,000 small and medium-size businesses that create Norway’s thriving economy.”

Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norwegian minister of Trade and Industry said, “The Norwegian government is deeply committed to helping Norway thrive as a hub for digital innovation. Norway needs new industries that create jobs and boost economic growth. In February 2018 the Norwegian government released its datacenter strategy ‘Powered by Nature,’ establishing that attracting datacenters and international investments is an important part of our industrial policy. Therefore, we are very pleased to see Microsoft’s commitment to our country with this new datacenter. We believe that datacenters and cloud services will help ensure the competitiveness and productivity of Norwegian businesses and government institutions, and have a positive impact on our responsibility to our citizens to create an inclusive working life, to the environment, and to our economic development and job growth.”

The delivery of cloud services from Norway expands on Microsoft’s existing investments having operated in the country since 1990 with nearly 600 people working in offices in Lysaker, Oslo, Trondheim and Tromsø across sales, marketing and development, and a network of more than 1,700 partners. This new investment is the first time Microsoft will deliver the intelligent Microsoft Cloud from datacenters located in Norway and is expected to enable greater innovation for oil and gas and other industries, as well as the public sector.

Extending the value of the Microsoft Cloud regions for Norway, customers can also take advantage of hybrid cloud options with Microsoft Azure Stack. Available through service providers in the region, Azure Stack enables customers to develop solutions that harness the power of consistency between Azure and Azure Stack to cater to unique connectivity and compliance needs.

Microsoft has been rapidly expanding to meet an intensifying customer demand for cloud services. By investing in local infrastructure, Microsoft’s intelligent cloud services help companies innovate in their industries and move their businesses to the cloud while meeting data residency, security and compliance needs. Microsoft also has a long history of collaborating with customers to navigate evolving business needs and has developed strategies to help customers prepare for the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We have invested to make the Microsoft Cloud GDPR compliant, are delivering innovation that accelerates GDPR compliance, and have built a community of experts to help customers along their full GDPR journey.

Office 365 and Dynamics 365 continue to expand the data residency options for customers with 18 geographies announced. The two products are the only productivity and business application platforms that can offer in-geo data residency across such a broad set of locations. Each datacenter geography delivers a consistent experience, backed by robust policies, controls and systems to help keep data safe and help comply with local and regional regulations.

Over the past three years, the number of Azure regions available has more than doubled. Azure has more regions than any other cloud provider with 52 regions announced across the globe.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.