Microsoft has released a limited public preview of the Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service, which enables customers to embrace the Internet of Things and benefit from ‘ambient intelligence’.
The new cloud-based service allows customers to connect, manage, capture and transform machine-generated data from sensors and devices, regardless of the operating system or platform they are using.
Microsoft has also released two other updates to the company’s current data platform across Office 365, Azure and SQL Server. These include SQL Server 2014 – which delivers built-in memory technology and public cloud scale and disaster recovery with Microsoft Azure – and Analytics Platform System. The solution combines the SQL Server database and Hadoop technology to help businesses take advantage of big data, was also launched at the event.
Built over the last 12 months, the new solutions leverage various Microsoft platforms including Power BI for Office 365; Azure HDInsight for Hadoop in the cloud; PolyBase, which combines structured and unstructured data in a data warehouse appliance; and Power Query for Excel, which makes it easier to discover data.
Speaking at a customer event in San Francisco on 15 April, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that as both human and technological interactions become digitised, it is increasingly important that companies are able to access, capture and manipulate this data to drive business insights.
Writing in a blog post, Nadella said: “The opportunity we have in this new world is to find a way of catalysing this data exhaust from ubiquitous computing and converting it into fuel for ambient intelligence. This fuel will power improved experiences, understanding and interactions. When these devices around us gain the capacity to listen to us, respond to us, understand us and act on our behalf, we enter into an entirely new era. The era of ambient intelligence.”
He also highlighted the importance of creating a data culture that encourages interaction with all employees in organisations.
“A data culture isn’t just about deploying technology alone, it’s about changing culture so that every organisation, every team and every individual is empowered to do great things because of the data at their fingertips,” said Nadella. “This means bringing together people, IT and developers to create a cultural shift that is just as important as systems and infrastructure. This is especially true when every employee can harness the power of data once only reserved for data scientists and tap into the power of natural language, self-service business insights and visualisation capabilities that work inside familiar apps such as Office.”
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