MOFF-EN benefits - Microsoft Operations Framework Foundation Updated: 2023
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Microsoft Operations Framework(R) Foundation
Is the Manage layer part of the MOF lifecycle approach?
A. No, only the phases are part of the lifecycle approach.
B. Yes, the Lifecycle is composed of three phases and the manage layer.
What do the goals of the Reliability SMF include?
A. Service maintainability is aligned to the business in a cost-effective manner.
B. Service Continuity is aligned to the business in a cost-effective manner.
Which statement of the IT service lifecycle is not correct?
A. It isolates risk to the Operate phase.
B. It addresses the design and delivery of the IT service.
C. It describes the life of an IT
D. It represents planning and optimizing the IT service to align with the business strategy.
How many Management Reviews are defined in the Manage layer?
What is the goal of the Change and Configuration SMF?
A. Ensure that business changes are aligned with organizational direction
B. Decrease time to resolve problems from failed changes
C. Reduction in incidents
D. Create an environment where changes can be made with the least amount of risk and
impact to the organization
The service desk is a component of which SMF?
A. Business/IT alignment SMF
B. Customer Service SMF
C. Policy SMF
D. Service Monitoring and Control SMF
Which is a correct statement about the Deliver Phase?
A. It creates an IT strategy to provide value to the business strategy.
B. It is the foundational layer for MOF.
incorporates the best practices of the Microsoft Solutions Framework.
D. It has four SMFs.
One of the SMFs has the following goal: ow to build and maintain an IT organization that is
accountable, responsible, flexible, and scalable?One of the SMFs has the following goal: ?ow
to build and maintain an IT organization that is accountable, responsible, flexible, and
scalable? Which SMF has this goal?
A. The Change and Configuration SMF
B. The GRC SMF
C. The Financial Management SMF
D. The Team SMF
What is a key Team SMF principle?
A. manage with a higher hierarchy
B. separate Plan-Driven and Interrupt-Driven Work
the service desk
C. put the least expensive resources at
D. discourage advocacy
What does the focus of the Team SMF in the Plan Phase include?
A. Change evaluated across dimensions
B. General regulatory environment
C. Principles for effective strategic thinking
D. Principles for organizing operations work
Which statement is false about the Operate phase?
A. There are four SMFs in the Operate phase
B. The problem management SMF belongs to the Operate phase
C. Customer Service SMF is in the Operate phase
D. There are two reviews in the Operate phase
What is not a focus of the Change and Configuration SMF in the Operate phase?
A. Base-lining IT environment and configuration
B. Carrying out processes and procedures
C. Dealing with Standard Changes
D. Ensuring Policy compliance
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Whether you’re running a small business or a large enterprise, finding ways to stay connected and productive while on the go is key. And while there are lots of communication tools out there, only some of them offer the same level of convenience and reliability that comes with Microsoft Teams Telephony.
With this solution, you can make and receive calls, manage contacts, and conduct audio or video conferences directly from within Teams. You’ll also be able to access an array of advanced telephony features such as call forwarding, call waiting, and more. What’s more, the integration with other Office 365 tools makes it easy to coordinate your team’s actions in real time.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Microsoft Teams Telephony. And, how can help you streamline your business operations and become even more efficient than ever before.
Improved Collaboration and Communication
Microsoft Teams Telephony can be a game-changer for streamlining business operations. With its integrative capabilities, it allows teams to collaborate and communicate easily, both internally and with external partners.
Thanks to features like integrated audio and video conferencing, screen sharing, one-click join calls, HD voice calls, and real-time chat, external partners no longer need to worry about the complexities of setting up a conference call. Plus, with its automated calling capabilities, tasks like call routing can be set up quickly and hassle-free.
It’s also worth noting that Microsoft Teams Telephony enables secure collaboration. Also, it ensures that all data is safe and encrypted at the same time. This way, you can rest assured that your business information stays secure. And with its ability to provide real-time insights into team performance metrics, it’s easy to measure how teams are performing. Then, make improvements where necessary. All in all, Microsoft Teams Telephony is an invaluable tool for streamlining business operations.
Cost Savings With Integrated Telephony
When it comes to streamlining business operations, cost savings are a major factor. Microsoft Teams Telephony provides an integrated telephony solution that allows businesses to save on communication costs. And it still provides the same level of quality their customers expect.
The integrated telephony system simplifies how businesses communicate internally and externally. It creates cost savings through reduced call charges and improved operational efficiency. With the ability to set up local, long-distance, and toll-free numbers directly in the Microsoft Teams platform, businesses can reduce their costs for toll-free numbers by up to 50%. Furthermore, users can take advantage of various international calling plans at lower overhead costs than using traditional PBX systems.
Furthermore, integrating your telephony with Microsoft Teams means that you can easily manage video conferences and phone calls from a single platform. This eliminates the need for multiple systems and reduces the time needed to switch between them while minimizing cross-connectivity issues. By unifying all communications into one streamlined platform, businesses can save time and money while achieving greater efficiency in their operations.
Mobility and Flexibility for Remote Workforces
One of the main reasons businesses are turning to Microsoft Teams Telephony is its mobility and flexibility. With remote workforces now more common than ever, having a phone system that can support work-from-home employees is essential. Teams Telephony’s cloud-based service allows employees to access their business telephones from any location with an Internet connection, enabling them to keep in contact with coworkers and customers no matter where they are.
Plus, Microsoft Teams provides unified communications capabilities that extend beyond voice calling. It offers instant messaging, video conferencing, and file-sharing capabilities so you can stay connected with your team even when you’re working remotely.
Another great benefit of Teams Telephony is that it gives your employees the freedom to work on any device—whether it be a laptop, tablet, or smartphone—so they can stay productive from anywhere. It also makes it easy for employees to switch between devices without fear of losing important information or phone calls. This kind of mobility and flexibility helps promote smoother operations on both sides of the equation and ensures a seamless experience for customers as well.
Microsoft announced the upcoming availability of its first cloud region in Italy, providing Italian organizations access to scalable, available and resilient cloud services and confirming its commitment to promoting digital transformation and sustainable innovation in the country.
The new cloud region, consisting of three datacenters located in the Lombardy region, guarantees the highest levels of security, privacy and performance, and it will contribute to the acceleration of the digital transition of organizations and public entities in the area. This new world-class datacenter region will be available in the coming weeks for businesses using Microsoft Azure or Microsoft 365, with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform soon to follow.
The new datacenter region was announced during the Made in DigItaly event. Hundreds of companies, local innovators, key Microsoft partners, and institutions joined the event online and at Triennale Museum in Milan to discuss the opportunities offered by the cloud region as an enabler of economic and societal development and innovation.
Among them, Poste Italiane, the largest service distribution network in Italy, which is leveraging Microsoft technologies to accelerate its own digital transformation and offering a new set of joint digital solutions to Italian companies and public administrations.
“Digital innovation influences the strategic decisions of major companies and their business models,“ said Matteo Del Fante, CEO Poste Italiane. “Poste Italiane is leading this evolution and it has transformed itself thanks to investments in technology that are playing a systemic role in the digitization of the country. Our collaboration with Microsoft is long-standing, and today it’s focused on the introduction of infrastructure and on the application of big data analysis tools for achieving the transformation of our technological model by aligning it with the best tech companies. Poste Italiane wants to be the bridge between Italy’s big innovation centers and the territory for the development of businesses and digital skills, supporting the ecosystem of Italian startups and SMEs.”
Another company that will move operations to the new datacenter region is illimity, an Italian bank that was founded in 2018 as a cloud-based, digital-only startup. It has grown into a bank with more than 6 billion euros in assets and nearly 900 employees as of March 2023.
“illimity, together with Microsoft, created a few years ago the first Italian cloud-native bank, certainly one of the very first in Europe. Together we have successfully faced the technological, commercial and regulatory challenges typical of an industry, such as banking, where everything has changed in a few years. We chose from the beginning not to have legacies and to fully embrace open architectures,” commented Corrado Passera, CEO of illimity. “The cloud has proven to be the right choice both in terms of efficiency and cost, as well as in terms of effectiveness and commercial flexibility. The cloud is certainly the first prerequisite to be able to ride the digitization whose evolutions are today only to a small extent predictable. Competition in the financial services sector – as in almost all sectors – is less and less a question of size and more and more a question of innovation. And more and more innovation passes through the ability to react quickly, easily integrate external components and develop partnerships in open mode.”
The impact of the Microsoft cloud region in Italy
The datacenter region is part of Ambizione Italia, a five-year, $1.5 billion investment plan that launched in 2020 to create new growth opportunities through cloud technologies for Italian companies, modernize public administration and provide professionals with digital skills.
In accurate months, key strategic partners have joined the Ambizione Italia Cloud Region Partner Alliance, developed to sustain local companies and to leverage the new datacenter infrastructure for their digital transformation projects. The alliance now counts 32 partners across the territory.
The new datacenter region will help drive economic growth and contribute to the creation of job opportunities to sustain digital innovation. According to a accurate IDC study,* over the next four years Microsoft, its ecosystem, and cloud customers together could generate about $135 billion in new revenue and add more than 237,000 jobs to the Italian economy.* The cloud region accounts for approximately 17.1% of the estimated new revenue total.
“The launch of Microsoft’s cloud region is important for the Lombardy region and Italy. The initiative not only brings quality employment opportunities, but above all it provides tools and technological infrastructure that allow companies and the public sector to accelerate digital transition. The government’s goal is to create an ecosystem that increases the level of competitiveness, protects Made in Italy from counterfeiting phenomena, optimizing production processes, quality control as well as logistics and energy sustainability. Microsoft’s cloud region enables the achievement of these goals,” said Valentino Valentini, deputy minister of enterprises and Made in Italy.
“Italian companies have long been renowned for their creativity, craftmanship and entrepreneurship, solidifying their position as some of the most esteemed and trusted brands in the world,” said Ralph Haupter, Microsoft President EMEA. “We believe that Italy’s vibrant business landscape deserves the best technological infrastructure available. With our new datacenter region in Italy, we are empowering Italian organizations to seize the opportunities of the digital age, more easily scale their operations internationally and leverage new technologies such as AI capabilities – ultimately helping meet and exceed their customers’ expectations.”
The benefits of a local cloud region: Innovation, security, and digital sovereignty
Italy joins the more than 60 Microsoft Cloud regions distributed all over the world and will grow to become one of the largest of our 17 announced or launched datacenter regions in Europe. The local cloud region will both serve Italian companies that need to run the services on Italian soil and global organizations that want to leverage the Italian region for accelerating their own digital transformation.
Microsoft will also provide cloud services to the Italian Public Administration as part of the National Strategic Hub (“Polo Strategico Nazionale,” PSN) by leveraging Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty, a new solution announced in July of last year that will meet the national government’s data classification standards and supports the country’s digital transformation goals with public cloud-based solutions, controls and policy governance.
“With our first cloud region, we want to reinforce our commitment as the trusted partner for Italy’s growth through digital innovation. Together with our ecosystem, we will support Italian companies with access to innovative and secure cloud services, improving competitiveness and sustainable development. This is the largest investment Microsoft has made in Italy in 40 years of presence in the country, with technologies and programs enabling a rich ecosystem of innovation in the country,” said Vincenzo Esposito, Microsoft Italy Country Manager.
Innovation to accelerate Italy’s economic growth
Thousands of customers and partners in Italy are already driving business transformation with Microsoft Cloud services. They include schools, universities, organizations and companies from all industries.
BasicNet is another Microsoft client that is supportive of Microsoft’s investment in the new cloud region in Italy. The company, which was created in 1994, has a portfolio of iconic casual fashion brands, including K-Way, Kappa, Robe di Kappa, Jesus Jeans, Superga, Briko and Sebago. The brands’ products are distributed in more than 130 countries worldwide, with 1.27 billion euros of aggregate sales in 2022.
“Since 1995, we have identified Microsoft as an ideal partner to build our fully web-based business model, which has allowed us to quickly scale globally. We migrated to cloud in 2015-2016 and we chose Microsoft. Today, the first cloud region in Italy is a strong and positive message for anyone with a business in our country,” commented Alessandro Boglione, Executive Vice President BasicNet SpA.
Other Italian companies also see advantages to embracing cloud technology.
“In the context of the confectionery industry, as in many other sectors, Italian companies must adapt to change and stay up to date on the latest trends to remain competitive on the global market. This is why I strongly believe in the importance of cloud and digital technologies as enabler for business development,” says Bernadette Bevacqua, Chief Executive Officer of Sperlari. “Through the adoption of Microsoft Cloud technologies, we can Strengthen operational efficiency, optimize production processes, reach new markets, and increase internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. Data and applications are available securely and in real time, allowing us to make more informed decisions and respond promptly to our customers’ needs. We need to embrace change, invest in digital skills, and take full advantage of cloud and digital technologies to support growth.”
“Innovation has always been a pillar of ELITE, launched in 2012 as an innovative project of Borsa Italiana and today part of the Euronext Group. The digital transition and sustainability are great challenges as well as a huge opportunity that companies in our country must seize,” remarked Marta Sesti, CEO Elite. “We are happy to be able to bring our testimony on the announcement of Microsoft’s first cloud region in Italy, which will have a positive and profound impact on the Italian economy. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the country’s economy. Today it is essential to enable these organizations to understand, and therefore to take full advantage of, the potential that digitization and innovation offer them to rethink their business model, also leveraging what the world of finance can offer them. The fundamental mission of ELITE is helping companies rethink growth strategy and how to access capital to finance it. In this way, we connect businesses and capital to create a positive impact on businesses, employment and territories,”
Italy’s ambition: The crucial role of people
According to research developed by IDC* Microsoft, and its partners and customers will add more than 237,000 jobs to the economy, including jobs directly in their own organizations and jobs generated indirectly in other organizations. What’s more, Microsoft, its ecosystem and IT departments in customer companies will add 40,700 new skilled IT jobs into the economy over the same period.
In the last three years Microsoft has trained and reskilled more than 3 million Italians with different training opportunities developed by local partners and nongovernmental organizations. At the Made in DigItaly event, Microsoft announced new skilling initiatives in collaboration with local partners to help professionals and students develop new skills in key areas such as data science, cybersecurity and AI.
A new generation of datacenters to help organizations achieve sustainability goals
The new cloud region will also help businesses achieve their sustainability goals in line with current priorities, as Microsoft datacenters are designed according to sustainability and circular economy principles.
By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975, inclusive of our datacenter operations.
By 2025, we will shift to 100% supply of renewable energy, meaning that we will have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100% of carbon-emitting electricity consumed by all our datacenters.
Through modern and innovative techniques, we are reducing the use of cooling water in our datacenters. We estimate that we will use water to cool our Italian datacenter less than 5% of the year.
* IDC Info Snapshot, sponsored by Microsoft, The Microsoft Cloud Dividend Snapshot: Italy, Doc. #US50728123, June 2023
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t the future; it’s here. It now serves as a crucial part of the operations of many enterprises, helping them keep up with the ever-changing digital infrastructure. Similarly, AI-focused federal solutions help the government in improving the national services related to security, defense, healthcare, education, and other sectors.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is the capability of advanced computer systems to perform tasks usually done by humans. AI uses a combination of machine learning, language processing, and speech and vision recognition to simulate human intelligence, emotions, the ability to reason, and past experiences. Using AI improves productivity and increases efficiency in company operations.
To address the ever-increasing need for advanced AI technology services in commercial and federal markets, here are the top artificial intelligence executives in 2023.
1. Vincent Bridgeman, Senior Vice President of National Security Services at Redhorse Corporation
Photo from Redhorse Corporation Official Website
Vincent Bridgeman is the Senior Vice President of National Security at Redhorse Corporation. He was promoted to the position on February 18, 2023, after serving as the Vice President for nine years and Vice President of Intelligence Services for six years.
For over two decades, Bridgeman served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and represented the Department of Defense in the In-Q-Tel. For a brief period, he also served as an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton before joining Redhorse Corporation.
Bridgeman has built a portfolio in intelligence, tactical, operational, and strategic functions throughout his tenure. His military and commercial intelligence expertise has earned him recognition as an innovative thinker for U.S. intelligence and technology programs.
Redhorse Corporation’s Senior Vice President of National Security Services Roles and Responsibilities
Redhorse Corporation’s Senior Vice President of National Security Services handles the company’s information technology services and contracting activities for the government’s national security priorities. Bridgeman is integral in shaping the company’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital transformation capabilities.
About Redhorse Corporation
Redhorse Corporation is a management consulting services company for technology and digital solutions. Established in 2008, the company has received multiple awards for its broad scope of services related to the federal government’s civilian, defense, intelligence, homeland security, and other functions.
2. Ro Dhanda, Vice President of Public Sector at H2O.ai
Photo of Ro Dhanda at LinkedIn
As the Vice President of Public Sector at H2O.ai, Ro Dhanda handles the company’s artificial intelligence, machine learning capabilities, and other technology platforms for the federal government. He has served in the position since February 2021.
Previously, Dhanda held increasing responsibilities for technology organizations such as Information Access, NCompass Labs, and Microsoft. His career as an executive began at Iron Mountain, where he served as the Vice President of Business Development. He then became one of the artificial intelligence executives in Daon, Dell, and Snowflake Computing.
Building his experiences in the technology sector, Dhanda is considered an industry leader in the IT and services industries. He is one of the pioneers of open-source data science and machine learning, making him a distinguished professional in Silicon Valley.
H2O.ai’s Vice President of Public Sector Roles and Responsibilities
H2O.ai’s Vice President of Public Sector is responsible for democratizing AI solutions for citizens and residents of the United States. Dhanda leads the software development of hybrid cloud platforms, strategic partnership management, and other technical functions to solve complex problems and operations in public functions of society.
H2O.ai is an artificial intelligence software solutions provider based in Mountain View, California. The company is on a mission to democratize AI for everyone, enabling them to accelerate the discovery of new ideas. Partnering with over 20,000 global organizations, H2O.ai is a trusted company for the biggest corporations worldwide.
3. William Sullivan, Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Federal at Denodo
Photo of William Sullivan at LinkedIn
William Sullivan is the Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Federal at Denodo. As the leader in data virtualization and data fabric technology, he is responsible for driving 83% growth year-over-year by the end of the third quarter of the federal market.
Sullivan has been among the top artificial intelligence executives, building his leadership portfolio since 2002. After his sabbatical from 2019 to 2020, he rejoined the federal government contracting industry as the Principal at Quinn Consulting.
As a key AI executive in federal contracting activities, Sullivan advocates for the widespread adoption of AI applications and innovation of systems to overcome architectural and security limitations for hybrid clouds and multi-clouds.
Denodo’s Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Federal Roles and Responsibilities
Denodo’s Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Federal manages the multi-cloud development of systems and applications for the federal government. Sullivan is also responsible for the company’s marketing, sales, and contractual relationships with the federal, local, and state governments.
Denodo is an award-winning data management enterprise. The company’s advanced systems for data integration, management, hybrid/multi-cloud integration, and other artificial intelligence platforms offer 400% ROI and millions of dollars in benefits for its customers across large enterprises and mid-market companies.
4. Dan Wilbricht, General Manager of Public Sector at Devo Technology
Photo of Dan Wilbricht at LinkedIn
Dan Wilbricht has served as the General Manager of Public Sector at Devo Technology since August 2021. He builds processes, systems, and data management and heads the company’s development for cybersecurity and AI solutions for the federal government.
During his early career, Wilbricht handled sales and business development for various companies before engaging in the federal systems of tech giants such as Dell Software Group, Red Hat, and HP. In addition, he has served in several executive leadership roles and has been an advisor for technology companies and organizations.
Wilbricht’s addition to Devo Technology’s executive team has seen a significant performance leap from a decent-sized enterprise to a unicorn company. Within months of his appointment, he helped the company receive multiple investments and funding.
Devo Technology’s General Manager of Public Sector Roles and Responsibilities
Since joining as the General Manager of Public Sector at Devo Technology, Dan Wilbricht has set up a channel and federal system instigator-focused teams to handle GSA schedules and other government contracts. His core contributions include increasing the company’s valuation from $800 million to $2.5 billion.
About Devo Technology
Devo Technology is a cloud-native security analytics platform based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company is an expert in secure data management, ensuring its clients and partners of cybersecurity and digital protection. Devo Technology is backed by Insight Partners, Georgian, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
5. Walter Maikish, Vice President of Pure Federal at Pure Storage
Photo of Walter Maikish at LinkedIn
Walter Maikish serves as the Vice President of Pure Federal at Pure Storage. He works closely with federal departments and agencies to deliver data-driven management solutions that can help the government build a better world with data.
Previously, Maikish served as the Business Analyst of Financial Services Sector East at IBM and increasing responsibilities at Cisco, ultimately serving as the Operations Director of Federal Civilian. In his tenure, he has built experiences in a broad scope of federal affairs, including entitlement, scientific, legal, and veteran affairs.
Since joining Pure Storage in August 2021, Maikish has led the company’s business engagement efforts with the federal government. He has helped multiple government agencies to realize their digital transformation goals for society.
Pure Storage’s Vice President of Pure Federal Roles and Responsibilities
As the Vice President of Pure Federal at Pure Storage, Walter Maikish manages the company’s business engagements with the federal government. Under his leadership, his team delivers data-enabled solutions for mission-critical, modern analytics, and multi-cloud environments.
About Pure Storage
Pure Storage is a developer of all-flash data storage hardware and software products. Based in Mountain View, California, the company offers secure data solutions to enable SaaS companies, cloud service providers, and the public sector, among other industries.
6. Anthony Robbins, Vice President of Federal at NVIDIA
Photo from NVIDIA Official Website
Anthony Robbins is the Vice President of Federal at NVIDIA. He has served in the top artificial intelligence executive position since October 2017, running, building, and leading the company’s digital, cloud, and AI solutions for federal markets.
Robbins has been a renowned executive in the technology sector for nearly three decades. He has served in tech giants, including Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, Brocade, AT&T, and AFCEA DC. His career focuses on meeting the needs and requirements of the government for class-leading digital solutions.
As a key executive at NVIDIA, Robbins played a crucial role in delivering more than $15 billion in revenue. His leadership has provided digital IT and artificial intelligence solutions for the government’s warfighters and citizens.
NVIDIA’s Vice President of Federal Roles and Responsibilities
NVIDIA’s Vice President of Federal is responsible for helping the federal government with GPU and CUDA programming models. Robbins works closely with government agencies, cloud service providers, federal systems integrators, universities, and start-up communities to usher in a new era of artificial intelligence.
NVIDIA Corporation is an artificial intelligence software pioneer for transforming the largest industries in the world. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company is best known for producing graphics processing units (GPUs), application programming interfaces (APIs, and system-on-a-chip units (SoCs) for mobile devices, computers, and vehicles.
7. Cedric George, Director of DoD Strategic and Mission Acceleration Team at Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Photo from U.S. Air Force Official Website
Cedric George is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force with nearly three decades of experience in various agency divisions. Currently, he is the Director of the Department of Defense’s Strategic and Mission Acceleration Team at Amazon Web Services.
George was with the Armed Forces for three decades, assuming increasing responsibilities in different squadrons, operations, and directorates. He served as the Director of Logistics for over a year before retirement in 2019. After serving in the military, he served as the Chief Executive Officer at George Consulting Group, LLC.
Since joining AWS in May 2020, George’s position has been crucial to AWS’ activities with the Department of Defense and other defense-related agencies of the U.S. government. In 2021, he showcased his expertise during the U.S. Air Force’s On-Ramp 4 technical demonstration, which experiments on cloud capabilities for faster and more effective mission capabilities in the field.
Amazon Web Services’ Director of DoD Strategic and Mission Acceleration Team Roles and Responsibilities
Amazon Web Services’ Director of DoD Strategic and Mission Acceleration Team handles the cloud computing capabilities of the company for the government’s defense communities. George develops strategies using AI technologies to achieve better mission outcomes and enhance experiences by military personnel.
About Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services is a cloud computing platform offering over 200 fully featured services for millions of customers worldwide. The company boasts lower costs and more agile on-demand cloud computing software to fit the needs of fast-growing start-ups, large enterprises, and federal government agencies.
8. Dr. Tamara L. Nall, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at The Leading Niche
Photo of Dr. Tamara L. Nall at LinkedIn
As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Leading Niche, Dr. Tamara L. Nall leads an award-winning company providing cutting-edge artificial intelligence, internally labeled as ‘actionable intelligence,’ for commercial, defense, and civilian sectors.
Dr. Nall is one of the pioneers of data analytics and artificial intelligence, engaging in the industry since 1992. Her previous experiences include serving as the International Business Analyst at Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc., Independent Consultant at Hilton International, and Senior Associate at Booz & Company.
With decades of experience in the industry, Dr. Nall has received numerous awards for her contributions to the digital and cybersecurity sectors. Her leadership and expertise have grown the start-up company into one of the top artificial intelligence consulting businesses for a broad scope of government markets.
The Leading Niche’s Chief Executive Officer Roles and Responsibilities
The Leading Niche’s Chief Executive Officer helps companies remain competitive and sustainable in the ever-changing marketplaces for different industries. Since founding the company in 2007, Dr. Nall has built a comprehensive portfolio for big data, cybersecurity, intelligence, C4ISR, regulatory compliance, examination consulting, and more.
About The Leading Niche
The Leading Niche is a New York City-based business consulting and services firm recognized for using data and cutting-edge ‘actionable intelligence.’ The company supports the commercial and government sectors across domestic and international markets, spanning North America, Europe, and Africa.
9. Kristen Summers, Operating Unit Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Federal
Photo of Kristen Summers at LinkedIn
Kristen Summers has served as the Operating Unit Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Federal since January 2022. Working in the federal sector of one of the biggest tech companies in the world, she handles the enterprise’s technology and artificial intelligence businesses for the United States government.
Before joining Microsoft Federal, Summers worked as the Research Engineer at Thomson Corporation and Technical Director at CACI. She also held increasing responsibilities at IBM for over seven years. She ultimately served as the Distinguished Engineer with responsibilities of Artificial Intelligence Chief Technology Officer for Data and AI Expert Labs and Learning.
Having over two decades of tenure, Summers has accomplished multiple credentials and certifications, such as Professional Certification: Level 3 – Distinguished Data Scientist from The Open Group, Data Science Profession Certification – Level 3 Thought Leader, and IBM Consulting Profession Certification – Thought Leader from IBM.
Microsoft Federal’s Operating Unit Chief Technology Officer Roles and Responsibilities
As Microsoft Federal’s Operating Unit Chief Technology Officer, Kristen Summers creates artificial intelligence solutions to enable the federal government to maximize its data. Leading the operating unit’s technology services, she combines AI and analytics with state-of-the-art tools to understand and solve complex situations in the government.
About Microsoft Federal
Microsoft Federal handles the public sector solutions of the Redmond-based technology corporation. The company offers mission comprehension, engineering, and technology services to the U.S. government and its operations abroad. Some agencies with which the company collaborates include the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Navy, and the Choctaw Nation.
10. Margaret Graves, Senior Fellow at IBM Center for the Business of Government
Photo from IBM Center for the Business of Government Official Website
Joining IBM Center for the Business of Government as the Senior Fellow in July 2021, Margaret Graves focuses on creating technical solutions for problems in federal markets. She has over three decades of experience in the technology sector, working closely to offer customized services to government agencies.
Before coming to IBM Center for the Business of Government, Graves was the Federal Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Executive Office of the President for nearly four years. She was responsible for driving value in the federal IT sector, delivering growth for digital services, and developing next-generation IT workforces.
Graves completed various certifications, including AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner from Amazon Web Services and IBM Garage Essentials from IBM. Combined with her experience during her tenure, she’s now one of the top artificial intelligence executives and digital transformation strategists for the federal government.
IBM Center for the Business of Government’s Senior Fellow Roles and Responsibilities
Handling the digital business of IBM Center for the Business of Government, Margie Gravesis serves as the Senior Fellow and Partner of Digital Modernization Strategy. She improves the government’s delivery of results and technology services to the public. She also leads the development, execution, and oversight teams for technology policy for the government.
About IBM Center for the Business of Government
IBM Center for the Business of Government is committed to research and discussion to Strengthen federal, state, and local governments through technology, artificial intelligence, and more. The company innovates new ways and ideas to Strengthen public management and mission priorities.
Microsoft and Activision may be ready to take drastic measures in order to merge and become one of the biggest powerhouses in the video games industry.
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Microsoft is currently looking at ways to carry on with its $68.7 billion Activision merger without the United Kingdom's approval. The megaton merger was blocked by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, and with the merger's July 14 deadline fast approaching, it's possible that Microsoft and Activision could "close over" and proceed with the merger despite the CMA block.
There are already plans underway to close the deal in the United States despite the FTC's current administrative lawsuit. The FTC would need an injunction from a federal court in order to get the merger blocked, and this could be challenging as the merger has already been approved in the European Union for similar reasons as the FTC's anti-competitive objections.
One potential path forward would be to have Activision remove its video games operations from the United Kingdom and instead sell its games, content, and services through a distributor in the country.
Data indicates that Activision Blizzard King generated around $828 million in revenues from the United Kingdom in 2022, and it is unknown how much of the company's total UK earnings would be affected with this potential indirect business arrangement.
Activision would have to make this kind of deal itself and would need to be prepared for any potential revenue hits and policy changes throughout its business.
Bloomberg reports that Microsoft President Brad Smith plans to meet with UK regulators at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to discuss the merger. While in the UK, Smith is also expected to visit treasury head Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to discuss the deal.
As per Reuters, UK Chancellor Hunt had previously spoken about the merger in a conference:
"One of the reasons that companies like Microsoft and Google want to invest in the UK is because we have independent regulators that aren't controlled by politicians. I would not want to undermine that at all, but I do think it's important all our regulators understand their wider responsibilities for economic growth."
The report of these dramatic actions comes shortly after Microsoft President Brad Smith asserted that the company was working to find solutions with regulators in order to get the merger passed.
In a recent interview with CNN's First Move's Julia Chatterley, Microsoft President Brad Smith said:
Commercially Released Products Announced at Microsoft Build 2023
Microsoft announced multiple products that reached "general availability" (GA), or commercial release, during the Microsoft Build event for developers, happening this week.
The following GA list was extracted from Microsoft's "Book of News" (BoN) publication for Microsoft Build. It possibly includes some products that reached GA even before Microsoft Build, but it also has stragglers expected to reach GA later this year.
There were no standouts, but the highlights might include the new Burst Capacity for Azure Cosmos DB users, the Azure Monitor support for Prometheus container monitoring as a managed service, plus the ability of the Azure Kubernetes Service to use Azure Linux as a container host OS. Also, avatars for Teams users are expected next month.
Azure Services GA Features
Azure Machine Learning Registries reached GA. It lets developers "promote, share and discover machine learning artifacts such as models, pipelines and environments across multiple workspaces in an organization for more efficient cross-team operations and collaboration" (BoN 2.1.2).
Azure Container for PyTorch reached GA, giving developers access to the "latest PyTorch 2.0 capabilities and optimization software such as DeepSpeed and ONNX Runtime" for large model training. PyTorch is a Linux Foundation open source machine learning framework that's used for natural language and computer vision processing (BoN 2.1.2).
Azure Cosmos DB "Burst Capacity" reached GA. It gives databases or containers extra throughput capacity "during short bursts when requests exceed the throughput limit." Also, Azure Cosmos DB's "Hierarchical Partition Keys" reached GA, which lets databases be partitioned by "up to three partition keys" instead of just one, which broadens performance and scale options (BoN 2.2.3).
The open source Prometheus solution for monitoring workloads in containers is now available as a fully managed service within Azure Monitor, a capability that reached GA. This managed service can be useful for larger organizations by "automating complex tasks such as scaling, high availability and long-term data retention" (BoN 2.3.2).
Red Hat Enterprise Linux now can serve as the guest operating system on "AMD-based confidential virtual machines," where the guest OS's memory gets protected against host access by chipset-generated encryption keys. This capability is said to have reached GA, but just for the "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.2 Tech Preview image" (BoN 2.4.2).
The Azure Container Instances service now has support for "confidential containers," which is at the GA release level using AMD EPYC processors. Essentially, these containers can be run in a "hardware-based and attested Trusted Execution Environment," which serves to protect the data that's in memory (BoN 2.4.3).
Azure Deployment Environments, which gives developers a portal and templates for spinning up code environments, has reached the GA stage. Templates will be available for "Terraform" (preview) or "Azure Resource Management files." Azure Deployment Environments also can be used to "spin up dev boxes from Microsoft Dev Box" (BoN 2.5.1).
Microsoft Dev Box for Windows apps isn't at GA yet, but it will be "in July." The idea behind Microsoft Dev Box is that developers can create workspaces with all of the resources needed for a project, which can then be remotely accessed via a browser or remote desktop application. It's a Windows 365-based service for developers that also lets IT pros do auditing, control patching and set conditional access policies. Microsoft has added "new starter developer images" in the Azure Marketplace for Microsoft Dev Box users, which is now at the GA stage. Also, a Developer Portal capability for managing Azure Deployment Environments is now GA (BoN 2.5.2).
Azure API Management, which is a multicloud management solution for application programming interfaces (APIs), now has a "WebSocket API Passthrough" capability at GA. This capability lets organizations "manage, protect, observe and expose WebSocket APIs running in container environments with the API Management self-hosted gateway container." Also, organizations can now use Azure Active Directory tokens with the self-hosted gateway, which "allows customers to avoid manually refreshing a gateway token that expires every 30 days" (BoN 2.5.4).
Azure Communications Services, which offers REST APIs for integrating communication features (such as voice, video and chat) into applications, will get new APIs to support "intelligent calling workflows" augmented with Azure Cognitive Services' AI capabilities. This capability will reach GA "next month" (BoN 2.5.5).
Azure Kubernetes Service can now use Azure Linux as a container host OS, a capability that reached GA. Azure Linux is Microsoft's apparently new name for its CBL-Mariner Linux distro, which is used across its own services. Microsoft claimed that Azure Kubernetes Service users will gain better performance and increased security for their applications by using Azure Linux as a container host OS (BoN 2.5.7).
Azure Kubernetes Service now has a "long-term support" option at GA, which gives organizations two years of support for a particular version of Kubernetes. Also, "Transactable Kubernetes Apps" are now available from the Azure Marketplace, offering access to "first- and third-party Kubernetes-ready solutions" (BoN 2.5.10).
Semantic Kernel, an "open-source framework for building AI apps," is now at GA, with support for C# and Python. It lets developers "add intelligence to their apps" and works with template scripts. Semantic Kernel also is previewing as a VS Code extension (BoN 3.1.3).
Microsoft Edge Browser GA Features
Microsoft Edge's "Sidebar" in the browser now supports developers adding progressive Web apps at the GA stage. It's done by adding "one to two lines of code to the JSON manifest" (BoN 4.1.5).
Microsoft 365 Services GA Features
Microsoft Teams developers got several new capabilities at GA. Independent software vendors (ISVs) can now "target apps to select geographies" and see details about app use in the developer portal. ISVs can use keywords to Strengthen the discovery of their apps, and they have access to user app reviews through the Partner Center. ISVs also got a license management solution at the GA stage for tracking "SaaS licenses purchased in Teams and Teams admin center" (BoN 5.1.5).
Microsoft Teams Windows and Mac desktop app users will get avatars at the GA stage "staring this week" for "all Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses" (BoN 5.1.6).
Power Platform GA Features
Power Automate for automating workflows now has a "format data by examples" capability at GA. It lets users show examples of "a value they want to format and the desired output." In response, Power Automate will "suggest the appropriate expression to use" (BoN 6.1.4).
Security GA Features
A Microsoft Entra Tested ID Wallet Software Development Kit library will reach GA in "June 2023." Organizations can use this SDK to "build verifiable credentials wallets directly into their apps." Microsoft Entra Tested ID reached the GA stage last year. It's a decentralized blockchain approach that lets users establish identity information and have control its submission (BoN 8.1.3).
Windows GA Features
Windows on Arm will be getting the Unity Player middleware engine in "early June" (BoN 9.1.4).
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the United States continue to be the backbone of the economy, accounting for 99 percent of all businesses and employing more than 60 million workers—nearly half of the US workforce.1 From the rise of remote work to the emergence of AI, SMBs are poised to benefit greatly from a new generation of technology to help grow and scale businesses.
Through this collaboration, Coteccons will leverage Microsoft’s technology and solutions to accelerate digital transformation in four areas: helping it engage customers better, creating a secure modern workplace, optimising operations and transforming its products and services.
Coteccons will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the company’s current data centre infrastructure with help from Microsoft, including hardware, software, networking, and security systems, then analyse existing data centre operations and vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for improvements.
It will then apply design cloud reference architecture for modern infrastructure and platforms as a service to unlock the benefits of cloud computing, including scalability, cost efficiency and improved agility.
Under the MoU framework, Coteccons will invest resources to work with and build projects that can leverage the strength of Microsoft technologies and solutions. Microsoft will also provide training to Coteccons’ employees on Microsoft technologies, ensuring they have the necessary skills to use, manage and maintain the system.
"We would like to be one of the first examples in how to digitalise the construction industry in Vietnam. We recognise that there is an urgent need to apply established technologies and techniques in new ways in order to Strengthen not only management efficiency and productivity, and ultimately the welfare of stakeholders, but also ESG performance. Coteccons has decided to take the journey to the cloud.... We are confident about this collaboration with Microsoft as the backbone of our digital journey,” said Vo Hoang Lam, CEO of Coteccons.
Nguyen Quynh Tram, Country General Manager of Microsoft Vietnam, said: ”Today, cloud and AI technology play a critical role in the transformation of the construction industry by reducing labour costs, increasing safety, and improving the quality of the building design. By embracing our industry proven cloud and AI technologies, Coteccons will be enabling construction companies to achieve incredible designs and buildings in Vietnam.”/.
So where were we? Ah yes: five conclusions about the potential of private 5G to transform telco operations, and telco fortunes – as told by mobile network operators (MNOs) at RCR Live in London last month (all sessions available on-demand).
The conclusions, if we recall, are: that telecoms, for its own sake, only matters to telecoms (one); that Industry 4.0 is a team sport, and a speculative one at that (two); that 5G is an iterative technology, which has so far been oversold (three); that traditional MNOs retain valuable spectrum assets, especially for off-site mobility and even on-site redundancy (four); and that the SME market is where the war will be won and lost, some years from now (five).
The below provides the supporting quotes for these five conclusions, as taken from RCR Live in London last month, and as trailed on an editorial preamble last week; the responses, as indicated, are from Sandeep Raithatha, in charge of 5G-IoT strategy at Virgin Media O2 (VMO2), Sam Salih, heading 5G and IoT propositions and strategy at BT Business, and Bhushan Patil, chief growth officer for the telco business at system integrator Tech Mahindra.
1 | Private 5G only matters to telecoms (solutions)
Hardly revelatory, but it somehow matters to hear it from MNOs; that 5G is just a piece of a bigger puzzle. Salih explains: “Private networks are one part of the answer, certainly… [But] private networks are not about networks, actually. They are about enabling tangible business outcomes. It has to be a more holistic approach.” He goes on to say that BT Business, like other supply-side prospectors in the Industry 4.0 foothills, knows the sale of private 5G systems hinges on identifying and solving enterprise headaches first.
“You have to ask the enterprise about its ambition with digital transformation, and the Industry 4.0 elements it wants to bring into its operations, and how they are to drive benefits in terms of productivity, efficiency, safety and security. And you then have to work backwards to identify the use cases to start with. Which will inform what the network will look like, and how to use things like MEC, and that whole IT/OT convergence – to deliver customers a total solution rather than a point product.”
Patil at Tech Mahindra says exactly the same; the argument is that SIs have worked this way forever, as a consequence of their mix-and-match approach to problem solving. He comments: “The G doesn’t matter to enterprises that much. It is just about solving a business problem. And often, the enterprises that have done little reading around the subject, ask, ‘But why can’t I do it with Wi-Fi 6 or LTE?’”
And often, the answer, as BT and VMO2 both acknowledge (see conclusion #3), is that 5G is not needed at all, out of the gates. Tech Mahindra, says Patil, does not even talk about 5G, but rather about a combo-solution presented to customers as an “intelligent network”. “Because, in the end, the network is an enabler, and not a dead-end,” he says. “[And] that is the progress in the market – to bring together all the IoT and Wi-Fi and 5G to deliver a solution.”
2 | Private 5G is a speculative business (partnerships)
The above entry hints at the complex Industry 4.0 puzzle, but rather concludes that networking is a puzzle of its own, typically with the edge and cloud (and MEC) engine(s) attached. Nevertheless, as accurate commentaries about MWC and Hannover Messe make clear, digital change is not just about a smarter network; it is about what goes on top. This is implicit in the above-comments from Salih and Patel, but it should be explicit, too.
Salih makes it so: “Partnerships are critical. We will not win in this marketplace without a broad and deep range of partners across the [whole] ecosystem. BT is organised around key verticals, and is bringing expertise from outside telecoms… So, as we develop solutions, they are vertically aligned and appropriate, and our engagement is more consultative and outcome-led.” He mentions a “partner advisory board” with Microsoft, Atos, Ericsson, and PwC.
“The idea is to address big challenges… and produce things [together] that we could not do alone… We are bringing all of them together for customers, as [part of a] single solution… We couldn’t do this on our own.” Patil nods; MNOs have changed enough to be considered good industrial collaborators, even if they are generally ill-equipped to play as master integrators in the equation. “Telcos have developed skills and capabilities,” he says.
“[But] there are too many industries [and] too many use cases… Which is where we can help, because we are set up [to serve] industry verticals… We just need to shake hands, and SIs and MNOs will find a model to work together.” Raithatha at VMO2, also on the panel, picks up the related (eternal / infernal) question about who owns the customer relationship, within this wild Industry 4.0 partnership framework.
Does VMO2 expect to ‘prime’ every time? He responds: “Yes, ideally we would like to prime where we can and lead with the connectivity, and then build up the solution, and managed service and security wrap. But we are open of course. It depends on who is available and who the customer wants to work with. We will flex as needed. That ecosystem play is really important; it is not just one party that will create that complete solution.”
Salih chimes in: “We would love to prime, all the time. But it is not possible. We will work flexibly where it is needed.” It is exactly the same hymn sheet, and it sounds… totally correct and reasonable. He adds: “It is not about whether we prime, but how we achieve the best outcomes… We are not the prime in lots of [global contracts]. We will… prime where we can [and] where it is right – but it may not always be right, and we are comfortable with that.”
In the end, the whole Industry 4.0 discipline is speculative; these developing bands of tech suppliers are prospecting for gold in different industrial landscapes, and realise the one sense os to trust that the spoils will eventually be shared. Is that right? The question goes to Patil, who responds: “Sure. For us, it is more [just] about getting involved, and being part of the solution no matter which role we take.”
3 | Private 5G is not novel transformation (technology)
What is very clear – more clear than anything, perhaps – is that, in the scheme of things, private 5G is not delivering a particularly novel form of transformation, as yet. Most of the time, it is just making things work better, which worked imperfectly before. And lots of the time, it is not even 5G that is delivering these improvements. This is the case with the live deployments VMO2 and BT talked about last month at RCR Live.
In particular, VMO2’s headline-grabbing deployment with British Sugar, across four sites in the Midlands, running indoors and outdoors, is based an LTE-based system in the first instance, geared to provide reliable connectivity, most to workers (carrying smartphones and laptops) – rather than to connect machines for automation and intelligence. “We started with 4G [for connecting workers], and we’ll see how it evolves,” comments Raithatha.
Which has value, of course; British Sugar has coverage for the first time in some areas – “in quite-rural places, [and] indoors and in outdoor campuses where it has its external production and storage”. He adds: ”Other use cases will come through, more around automation and efficiency.” But even the other VMO2 example, a full-5G network on one floor of a hospital for the South London & Maudsley (SLAM) NHS Trust, is mostly just about broadband connectivity
Raithatha says: “We have seen some great value over the last year – firstly to connect workers, allowing clinicians to update information in real time, and remote experts to help field IT engineers with AR; and tracking and monitoring medicines as well. There are multiple solutions that will stack up to deliver that ROI.” But the point is these are not, yet, high-fidelity platforms for novel Industry 4.0 pyrotechnics; the 5G standard is developing, and has a way to go.
For now, deployments are mostly being bankrolled by their broadband-style connectivity and coverage capabilities. Private cellular is not, as yet, an Ethernet-equivalent mobile control network, offering near-total reliability and near-zero latency for rarefied industrial cases – and maybe not ever be, at least as a mass-market service. BT’s live showcase, at Belfast Harbour is a “really good example of a 5G deployment that actually needs 5G”, responds Sailh.
“It is not just enabling more basic connectivity and coverage across a large site, we are also starting to deploy real 5G use cases, like AGVs and automated buses. [It is] a very complex site… [with] a plethora of use cases, deploying phase by phase, each with a clear ROI. And we are seeing the same with other port deployments, too.” But critically – at least so far as we are to gauge progress – Belfast is a picture of the future, and not typical of most deployments.
Salih says: “A lot of customers are much more ready for 4G. That is what the conversation comes back to – the right network for the right use cases, and giving them a path to 5G, as they need it; rather than us saying, ‘Here is a shiny 5G network’, and them saying, ‘But what do I do with it?’ It is a more holistic outcome-based approach.”
4 | Private 5G needs public spectrum (use cases)
Or rather, private enterprise needs public spectrum, too, in some cases – and in many cases, potentially. Which, again, is hardly revelatory, but which is refreshing to hear – and also needs saying, after all these years of MNOs practically being written off as new-age M2M providers. Because there are plenty of high-volume use cases that will not work with patched-together island networks. Remember connected cars? Maybe much higher-volume cases.
But there are more traditional Industry 4.0 cases that will also use public spectrum. British Sugar and SLAM are using VMO2’s licensed national spectrum, in ring-fenced locales; they are not using any of the newly-liberated n77 band, at 3.8-4.2 GHz, which UK regulator Ofcom is supplying directly to enterprises, for dirt-cheap. Raithatha responds: “When we’ve deployed private networks in the UK, we have used our own spectrum.”
He adds: “We will continue to do that – where we can, obviously, with careful planning to avoid conflict or congestion. And we are leveraging our parent companies’ [spectrum; from Telefonica and Liberty Global], as well, and their footprints across Europe and Latin America to see how we can approach multinational opportunities, leveraging our strengths from across the joint venture as well.”
Salih chimes in: “The n77 shared band in the UK doesn’t actually address many of the initial use cases enterprises want… Customers… [often need] wide-area coverage. We are [often] deploying 4G instead of 5G, utilising our [existing] assets and building a pathway to 5G instead. But most of the use cases are around connectivity – whether to connect people, devices or machines. Which is where we see our own spectrum adding most value.”
The discussion at RCR Live got into the important minutiae of private 5G categorisation, noting the difference between dedicated on-premise edge 5G setups, and more integrated (NPI-NPN) hybrid and hosted networks, and suggesting that operator-led deployments of the latter two services using national infrastructure in some capacity will likely serve a swathe of the enterprise market. This will deliver “the ability to roam… and also to cut costs”.
Raithatha adds: “We mostly see dedicated private networks today. But if you think about IoT, where you want to understand your supply chain across a whole country or region, then bringing together both worlds is probably a good thing to work towards. There’s definitely some value to be able to roam between the two. It is important to have a clear use case and ROI to underpin that type of investment and solution as well.”
Patil also notes how the deployment trend will likely shift, to an extent, away from bespoke edge deployments towards hybrid versions. “As Sam [Salih] said, many use cases will not stay isolated. They will need to move from private to public networks. Most of our engagements are about sites that are independent. [But that will change – which is] where the public network does come into play.”
5 | Private 5G will be defined by SMEs (sales)
Which, with a skip and a jump, gets into the question about how private 5G eventually scales – to transform whole industries, and even economies, and not just single enterprises. The point is raised in London that, at Hannover Messe last month, Volkswagen, the biggest car maker on the planet, took to the stage to say it had so far deployed just four (!) private 5G test networks in four different plants for four different brands (Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Volkswagen), and that, whatever anyone says, the private 5G story is going nowhere very fast; so what to do?
The response from the panel is about focusing on vertical solutions, and abstracting the technology from them. Patil says: “We will make an industry solution. We have chosen four industries, where we will go do business case development with the subject matter expert, and make it technology-agnostic. That is the way I think it is going to scale. You have to show it and replicate the same thing.”
Which sounds like a recipe for ‘blueprints’, which the whole industry loves to talk about. Is that what is needed, or is the reality that Industry 4.0 suppliers have to go mob-handed every time, enterprise-by-enterprise, to make bespoke solutions every time? Salih responds: “It sits somewhere between the two. We are focused on five verticals, which all have a need for private networks, and are all active with digital transformation as well.
“There are analyst reports that say everyone will get a private network at some point, but that is not the case right now. In terms of blueprints, some of those on-premise networks are highly bespoke and complex, deployed in very challenging environments. We have blueprints for how to approach those solutions, and how to take customers on a journey to arrive at a solution, and that is working very well for us.
“But I don’t think an on-prem rinse-and-repeat network will quite work. It will be different with hybrid networks, leveraging the macro network – there are blueprints we can start using [for those], where we know it will be the same every time.” Indeed, there is a temptation to think Industry 4.0 makes it when Volkswagen commercialises and multiplies its scattered private 5G experiments; but these are large-but-limited proof points for a bigger rollout. In other words, how and when is the SME market opened up for private 5G, and who is best positioned to supply it?
Raithatha responds: “There will definitely be an opportunity for us in the SME market – [and] that is where you’ll see [this] scale to millions of deployments. Most operators have great channel-reach already with SMEs. There has been a lot of focus on custom solutions for complex organisations. [The question is] how you make this more repeatable, and easily deployable, with use cases that can be delivered off-the-shelf – [by] leveraging [our] spectrum where we can, and reducing the total cost of ownership.”
He adds: “Those are some of the things we’ve got to tackle. There is quite a lot to do to get in front of SMEs and scale it up.”
In the era of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), organizations are constantly seeking efficient ways to harness the power of data for transformative insights. Microsoft Corp. has stepped forward with a groundbreaking solution called Microsoft Fabric. This integrated data analytics platform brings together various data and analytics tools required to lay the foundation for AI-driven decision-making. With Microsoft Fabric, organizations can simplify their data operations, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs. This article explores everything you need to know about Microsoft Fabric, its key features, and the advantages it offers in the realm of data analytics and AI integration.
The Need for Microsoft Fabric
In today’s data-driven world, organizations generate massive amounts of data through devices, applications, and interactions. While companies have made significant progress in leveraging this data for digital transformation, the advent of generative AI and large language models necessitates a streamlined approach. The traditional approach of using disconnected tools and services for AI development proves time-consuming and costly. Microsoft Fabric aims to address these challenges by providing a unified platform that consolidates data integration, engineering, warehousing, science, real-time analytics, observability, and business intelligence tools.
Key Features of Microsoft Fabric
1. Integrated Platform: Microsoft Fabric replaces disparate systems with a single, simplified, and cost-effective platform. It consolidates essential tools required by data professionals, offering seamless data integration, engineering, warehousing, science, real-time analytics, observability, and business intelligence capabilities.
2. Core Workloads: At launch, Fabric supports seven core workloads, including Data Factory, which offers more than 150 connectors to popular cloud and on-premises data sources. It also supports Synapse data engineering, data science, data warehousing, and real-time analytics. Additionally, Fabric integrates visualization capabilities from Power BI and provides real-time data detection and monitoring through Data Activator.
3. Copilot Tool: Microsoft Fabric incorporates its own copilot tool, similar to GitHub Copilot. The copilot tool, available in preview soon, allows users to interact with Fabric using natural language commands and a chat-like interface. This feature simplifies code and query generation, enables custom Q&A, facilitates the creation of AI plugins, and streamlines visualization tasks.
4. OneLake Data Lake Platform: Fabric is built on the foundation of OneLake, an open data lake platform. OneLake acts as a single source of truth, eliminating the need for data extraction, movement, or replication. This approach ensures persistent data governance and provides a scalable pricing model based on usage. The open nature of OneLake mitigates the risk of proprietary lock-in.
Advantages of Microsoft Fabric
1. Simplified AI Development: Microsoft Fabric streamlines AI development by offering a unified product with all the necessary capabilities to extract insights from data. It enables developers to easily integrate AI into their technology stacks, eliminating the complexities of working with disconnected tools and services.
2. Enhanced Data Utilization: Fabric’s native integration with Microsoft 365 applications, such as Excel, empowers users to directly discover and analyze data from OneLake. This integration enables seamless generation of Power BI reports with a single click. Users of Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 can also leverage Fabric to incorporate data into their communication and decision-making processes.
Data-Related Updates and Future Prospects
In addition to Microsoft Fabric, several data-related updates were announced at the Build 2023 conference. Power BI received enhancements aimed at increasing user productivity, such as Copilot for Power BI, Power BI Direct Lake for avoiding data replication, and Power BI Desktop Developer Mode for developer-centric workflows.
Azure Cosmos DB, Microsoft’s cloud database service, also received updates. Burst Capacity was introduced to Strengthen performance during traffic spikes, hierarchical partition keys were introduced for efficient partitioning strategies, materialized views were added for improved NoSQL functionality, and .NET and Java SDK telemetry and app insights were enhanced. Hyperscale pools, a shared resource model for Hyperscale databases, were also introduced in preview, allowing developers to build and manage scalable databases with varying usage demands.
Microsoft Fabric is a game-changing data analytics platform that integrates AI capabilities, providing organizations with a unified solution to extract insights from their data. By consolidating various tools and services into a single platform, Fabric simplifies AI development, enhances data utilization, and reduces costs. The integration with Microsoft 365 applications and collaboration tools further empowers users to leverage data for informed decision-making.
With Microsoft Fabric, organizations can overcome the challenges of working with disconnected tools and services, enabling them to unlock the true potential of their data. As Microsoft continues to invest in data-related updates and innovations, the future of data analytics and AI integration looks promising, offering unprecedented opportunities for organizations to gain a competitive edge in the digital landscape.
Advancements in AI and data analytics have revolutionized the way organizations operate and make critical decisions. Microsoft Fabric, with its integrated data analytics platform, is at the forefront of this transformation. Let’s delve deeper into the key features and benefits of Microsoft Fabric, as well as explore its potential implications for businesses.
Comprehensive suite of tools for data professionals
One of the standout features of Microsoft Fabric is its comprehensive suite of tools for data professionals. By bringing together data integration, engineering, warehousing, science, real-time analytics, observability, and business intelligence capabilities, Fabric simplifies the data analytics workflow. Instead of grappling with multiple disjointed systems, data professionals can now access all the necessary tools from a single platform, saving time and effort.
Fabric’s integration with Azure Data Factory is particularly noteworthy. Data Factory provides over 150 connectors to popular data sources, both on-premises and in the cloud. With its drag-and-drop functionality, Data Factory allows seamless data integration and transformation, enabling data professionals to easily extract insights from diverse data sets. This streamlined process enhances efficiency and accelerates the time to value for data analytics projects.
Another powerful component of Microsoft Fabric is Synapse, which encompasses data engineering, data science, data warehousing, and real-time analytics. Synapse offers a unified environment for building, managing, and analyzing large-scale data pipelines and machine learning models. It empowers data professionals to collaborate, iterate, and deploy their data-driven solutions efficiently. With Synapse, organizations can harness the full potential of their data assets and drive innovation.
Fabric’s integration with Power BI, Microsoft’s leading business intelligence and data visualization tool, further enhances its capabilities. Power BI provides intuitive and interactive visualizations that enable users to derive actionable insights from their data. By combining the power of Power BI with Fabric’s data integration and analytics capabilities, organizations can create compelling data stories and share them across the enterprise, fostering a data-driven culture.
Simplifying the development process
Microsoft’s decision to incorporate a copilot tool within Fabric demonstrates their commitment to simplifying the development process. This tool, powered by natural language processing, enables users to interact with Fabric using conversational commands. It facilitates code and query generation, enabling users to write complex queries or create AI plugins with ease. The copilot tool’s chat-like interface makes it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise, further democratizing data analytics and AI development.
The underlying foundation of Microsoft Fabric, the OneLake data lake platform, is equally critical to its success. OneLake acts as a centralized and unified data repository, eliminating the need for data extraction, replication, or movement. This simplifies data governance and ensures data consistency and reliability across the organization. Additionally, Fabric’s open nature and scalable pricing model based on usage provide flexibility and mitigate the risk of vendor lock-in.
The benefits of Microsoft Fabric extend beyond data professionals. With its native integration into Microsoft 365 applications, such as Excel, Teams, and Dynamics 365, Fabric empowers users across the organization to leverage data in their day-to-day workflows. For instance, Excel users can directly access and analyze data from OneLake, generating Power BI reports seamlessly. Teams users can incorporate data into their chats, channels, meetings, and presentations, enabling data-driven collaboration. Sales teams using Dynamics 365 can unlock valuable insights on customer relationships and business processes, driving better customer engagement and informed decision-making.
Looking ahead, Microsoft Fabric has the potential to revolutionize how businesses approach data analytics and AI integration. Its unified platform, coupled with AI-driven capabilities and seamless integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem, positions it as a transformative tool for organizations of all sizes. By democratizing data analytics, Fabric empowers users across the enterprise to harness the power of data and make data-driven decisions, ultimately driving innovation, operational efficiency, and competitive advantage.
In conclusion, Microsoft Fabric is a game-changing data analytics platform that integrates AI capabilities, revolutionizing the way organizations analyze and derive insights from their data. By consolidating data integration, engineering, warehousing, science, real-time analytics, observability, and business intelligence into a unified platform, Microsoft Fabric simplifies the analytics workflow.
Impact of AI on data Analytics
The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on data analytics has been transformative, revolutionizing the way organizations extract insights from their data. AI technologies, such as machine learning and deep learning algorithms, have the ability to process massive volumes of data at incredible speed and uncover patterns, trends, and correlations that were previously undetectable. Here are some key ways in which AI has reshaped the field of data analytics:
1. Enhanced Data Processing: AI algorithms excel at processing and analyzing vast amounts of structured and unstructured data. This capability allows organizations to extract valuable insights from complex data sets quickly and efficiently. AI-powered data analytics platforms can handle diverse data types, including text, images, audio, and video, enabling a more holistic understanding of the data and uncovering previously hidden patterns.
2. Improved Accuracy and Predictive Capabilities: AI algorithms can learn from historical data to make accurate predictions and forecasts. By training models on historical patterns and data, AI-driven data analytics can identify trends, anticipate customer behavior, detect anomalies, and make data-driven predictions. This empowers organizations to make informed decisions, mitigate risks, and optimize operations based on accurate predictive analytics.
3. Automated Data Analysis: AI algorithms automate various aspects of data analysis, reducing the time and effort required by data professionals. AI-powered tools can perform data cleansing, feature selection, and outlier detection automatically, saving valuable time for data scientists and analysts. This automation allows data professionals to focus on more strategic tasks such as interpreting results, developing insights, and driving business value.
4. Real-time Insights and Decision-Making: With AI, organizations can gain real-time insights from streaming data sources. By continuously analyzing data as it flows in, AI-powered analytics systems can detect emerging trends, identify anomalies, and provide real-time recommendations. This capability enables organizations to make timely decisions, respond to market changes quickly, and capitalize on new opportunities.
5. Personalization and Customer Experience: AI-driven data analytics enables organizations to personalize customer experiences by analyzing vast amounts of customer data. By leveraging AI algorithms, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of individual preferences, behavior patterns, and needs. This data-driven personalization helps organizations deliver tailored recommendations, targeted marketing campaigns, and improved customer service, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
6. Advanced Data Visualization: AI-powered data analytics tools provide advanced data visualization capabilities, enabling stakeholders to comprehend complex information quickly. Interactive dashboards, visual representations, and intuitive charts generated by AI algorithms make it easier for decision-makers to understand and communicate insights effectively. This empowers organizations to democratize data analytics and enables a wider range of stakeholders to leverage data for decision-making.
In conclusion, AI has had a profound impact on data analytics, enabling organizations to unlock the full potential of their data. By automating data analysis, providing real-time insights, improving accuracy, and enhancing data visualization, AI-driven data analytics has transformed decision-making processes and empowered organizations to stay ahead in today’s data-driven landscape. As AI technologies continue to advance, the future of data analytics holds even more exciting possibilities for organizations across industries.
Sustainability, hybrid cloud, edge operations and managed services were among the subjects discussed at last week’s Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas.
During an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, industry analysts Dave Vellante and Lisa Martin spoke with Dell Technologies Inc. executives and several of the company’s partners and customers to discuss trends they’re seeing and their approaches to addressing today’s complex challenges. (* Disclosure below.)
Dell and Intel aim to reduce product carbon footprint
Driving decarbonization for a climate resistant future was a major theme at this year’s conference. Dell and Intel are working together to increase their customers’ energy efficiency by addressing four phases that make up the product carbon footprint: manufacturing of consumer products, transportation, use in the data center and end of life. While the use phase is problematic for the data center, the manufacturing of laptops and notebooks poses another, different kind of challenge.
“You’ll see the types of innovations at Dell and Intel that on the laptops and notebooks, we are focusing on how to be more responsibly manufactured,” said Alyson Freeman (pictured, left), sustainability product manager of the Infrastructure Solutions Group at Dell. “And in the data center, we’re going to talk about how to make them more efficient.
Dell’s strategy is driven, in part, by customers who have their own internal sustainability goals, as well as those who must comply with environmental social and governance regulations.
Data center efficiency is something Intel has been working toward for decades.
“In the last 15 years alone, by continuing to deliver a CAGR of 15% performance per watt improvements, we’ve saved a thousand terawatt hours of energy consumption for the planet,” said Jennifer Huffstetler (right), chief product sustainability officer of Intel Corp. “We’re innovating inside the processor as well, so not only are you getting more performance at lower power with Moore’s law and other transistor innovations, we’re also having product innovations inside to accelerate the workload for common and growing workloads like AI.”
As Intel processors increase in compute power, much of the carbon impact and energy cost involves cooling those processors.
“As we innovate in our cooling technology, we can help compensate for the amount of extra power needed for the compute that the world needs,” Freeman said.
The partnership that Intel and Dell have, and the integration of their technologies, is what drives value for customers, according to Huffstetler.
“Platform telemetry with your open managed software [represents] a really tight partnership that we have that helps the enterprise IT operator better manage their energy consumption.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Alyson Freeman and Jennifer Huffstetler:
Dell, Microsoft take shared vision for hybrid cloud to a new level
Dell and Microsoft Corp. have collaborated for more than 30 years. More recently, their association has culminated with their Azure Stack HCI partnership. The relationship has been built on the common desire to make hybrid cloud easier for customers to consume, deliver services that they know and love in Azure and extend them to on-premises or the edge in a way that reduces data latencies and resolves cost issues.
“It is a critical partnership for us and … even more so right now as we’re seeing a real pivot,” said Douglas Phillips, corporate vice president of the Azure Edge & Platform organization at Microsoft. “With the incredibly broad adoption we see from our customers of cloud and cloud computing, more and more of our customers want to take the power of the cloud … and expand that out into the world, where they live, work and make decisions. That’s the way we refer to the edge — it’s everywhere outside of our brick-and-mortar data centers. Our ability to partner together and deliver a seamless experience for our customers is absolutely critical.”
The companies are taking their partnership to the next level with the accurate announcement of the Dell APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure. The integrated solution is designed to enhance the Azure hybrid experience with full stack software integration and automated lifecycle management through Microsoft-native management tools and extensive engineering collaboration between Dell and Microsoft. The announcement also stated that the platform is ideal for application modernization and delivers faster time to value of Azure based on Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure with consistent operations and governance across on-prem data centers, edge locations and the Azure public cloud using Azure Arc.
This initiative is driven by a significant shift in the market toward hybrid cloud.
“We did a survey recently. Almost 50% of our customers are hybrid today, and over the next 12 to 24 months, an incremental 25% say they’re going to go hybrid,” said Travis Vigil, senior vice president of product management, cross-platform software installations at Dell. “We’re talking about 75% of all customers being in a hybrid workflow.”
These hybrid customers are asking Dell and Microsoft to work together so that when they deploy the infrastructure to their data centers or at the edge, it’s easy to scale, easy to upgrade and ensures that everything is working properly so they can effectively scale that environment back on-prem.
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Douglas Phillips and Travis Vigil:
Dell NativeEdge simplifies edge operations for Bosch manufacturing customers
As businesses become increasingly distributed, moving data is both costly and complicated and IT architectures can be difficult to manage, provision and automate. Companies are looking for simpler and more effective ways to manage and secure their ecosystem of edge technologies and applications.
On May 23, Dell announced Dell NativeEdge to address the need to manage and simplify a business’ entire edge estate with a single solution to, as the company asserts in its announcement, “help deliver better experiences, products and outcomes” to its customers.
“NativeEdge is an edge operation software platform that is going to help our customers … dramatically simplify, optimize and secure their edge operations across their entire edge estate,” said Gil Shneorson, senior vice president and general manager of the Edge Business Unit at Dell. “It is solving two very interesting problems at the same time. One is the ability to securely onboard devices with zero touch anywhere in the world. Another one is the ability to orchestrate applications to those devices, to data centers and to clouds to orchestrate a complete outcome. We’ve put those things together for the first time in the industry and are expecting to add great value to our customers.”
One of Dell’s partners in this endeavor is Bosch Global Software Technologies PVT Ltd., a global supplier of technology and services. The Dell-Bosch partnership spans nearly two decades, designing solutions for manufacturing companies that help them optimize their operations and accelerate innovation.
“If you look at a shop floor nowadays, you see a huge heterogeneity of devices, of machines. You see a proliferation of disparate technology at the edge, and you see data and application silos, which is bascially a challenge if you want to create that digital backbone of your factory of the future,” said Tobias Grocholl, strategic innovations manager, Bosch Global Software Technologies PVT Ltd. “We experience that ourselves. There is a very specific challenge arising, which is how to actually deploy applications throughout the entire edge estate and how to run your lifecycle management, especially when you have this huge heterogeneity.”
This is where NativeEdge comes into play, providing faster time to value and helping Bosch innovate faster while saving resources.
Dell’s playbook is based on delivering value as a horizontal company that provides technology, support and services while building an ecosystem that broadens its ability to solve problems specific to different industries through partners, such as Bosch.
“Nobody can do it on their own … so it was very important for us to add value, but not too much value, because there are people that are better than us in many, many ways,” Shneorson explained. “It’s a design guideline we’re living by, because we want to partner with people that know more than us, where it’s not our core competency. But we’re going to do a very good job in what we do know how to do, which is building hardware, the operating environment and the edge operation software.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Gil Shneorson and Tobias Grocholl:
Dell’s partner ecosystem focused on removing complexities, enabling transformation
With more than 60,000 team members in 170 countries and an asset install base of more than 250 million, you could say that Dell Technologies Services has very big ears and a wide view to see what its customers are experiencing, the issues they have with technology and how they want to use that technology to achieve outcomes.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about having the right solutions for the customers to be able to support their journey; that’s as simple as it gets,” said Satish Iyer, vice president and general manager of emerging services at Dell. “Multicloud … calls for some interesting architectures in terms of how our customers view their outcomes, and that’s another area where customers have choices and they have implementations. But when you marry that with what is already there, a lot of our customers, especially the global 500s and 1000s, have a massive amount and a lot of complicated implementations today. How do you basically adapt those, how do you transform those into this new design?”
Dell’s open partner ecosystem is expanding to solve complex multicloud and other critical issues, including the use of generative artificial intelligence technology, edge computing challenges and cybersecurity demands. A growing theme for Dell is that by deepening and extending its partnerships, the company can take on the burden of digital transformation for its customers, allowing them to focus on achieving the benefits rather than figuring out the mechanics of the implementations.
On May 23, Dell and Nvidia announced a joint initiative to make it easier for businesses to build and use generative AI models on-prem to quickly and securely deliver better customer service, market intelligence, enterprise search and a range of other capabilities.
Companies are eager to explore the opportunities that generative AI tools enable for their organizations, but many aren’t sure how to get started.
“Managing and developing these models are quite complex; they are not simple,” Iyer explained. “We talk about how much developers are going to spend time creating these new models versus managing the ecosystem of this model building, model management, and that’s where services can help. We have managed services that we can actually take the entire machine learning ops, DevOps cycle, and take the complexity away from them.”
Dell is also playing a critical role in facilitating the telecom industry’s adoption of technology to establish America’s first Radio Access Network 5G edge infrastructure. DISH Network LLC and Dell are collaborating on this cloud-native network that will be powered by Dell devices and expected to cover 75% of the population in the U.S. this month. The relationship and inroads into telecom represent “massive opportunities” for Dell to be a strategic advisor as telecom companies transform themselves, Iyer added.
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Satish Iyer and Doug Schmitt, president of Dell Technologies Services at Dell:
Be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Dell Technologies World.
(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Dell Technologies World. Neither Dell Technologies Inc., the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)
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