“Superman” on quartz glass, a designer of bots without code and questions in Excel: what Microsoft showed on Ignite 2019

Briefly about the main announcements from a major conference of the company.

On November 4, the annual Ignite 2019 conference from Microsoft started in the United States . The first day the company devoted to announcements of new products and updates, TJ talks about the main thing.

“Superman” on quartz glass

Microsoft talked about the success of Project Silica – a concept for using quartz glass as a repository of information. The company teamed up with Warner Bros. Studios. and first recorded on 1978 a quartz glass – Superman.

Quartz glass with recorded “Superman” Microsoft Photo

The original recording from four film reels was transferred to a piece of glass 2 mm thick and the size of a cup stand – 75 by 75 millimeters. For recording, an ultrafast laser was used, which encoded data onto glass, creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale lattices and deformation at different depths and at different angles.

For data reading, machine learning algorithms that decoded patterns were responsible. Hard quartz glass can withstand boiling in water, heating in the oven and microwave, washing, cleaning, demagnetizing and other environmental influences.

Bot Designer without Power Virtual Agents Code

The new Power Virtual Agents tool will allow you to create chatbots without writing code. Microsoft noted that this will allow developing bots as easy as writing text in Word.

Interface for creating a chatbot in Power Virtual Agents Microsoft Screenshot

The tool works with chat bots in a complete cycle from writing dialogs to integration into instant messengers like Teams and Slack. Thanks to Microsoft’s AI functions, users don’t have to spend a lot of time describing every possible question and answer, instead they can rely on the automatic system and make minor corrections afterwards.

You can always translate the created bot into code to modify it at a different level. The service will also provide detailed statistics on user interactions with the bot. Power Virtual Agents is now available for public testing.

Detailed Chat Bot Usage Statistics Microsoft Screenshot

Communication with Excel in the “natural” language

Now the table in Excel can ask questions like an ordinary person and get quick answers. No complicated formulas or queries will be needed for this. Microsoft believes that this will simplify interaction with the program among users at various levels and will allow faster information.

A similar feature is in the “Sheets” from Google, but even there it does not always work correctly. So far, new features are available to users of the Office Insider testing program.

Chromium Microsoft Edge release date and new logo

A new version of the browser Edge on the engine, Chromium release January 15, 2020 for the first time on Windows and MacOS. Shortly before the release of Microsoft changed the program logo with “an e” letters to “wave to surf on the Internet.”

Among the main innovations in Edge – “Collections”, which will allow you to collect content from the Internet in a kind of notes directly on the pages. In the new Microsoft browser opted for privacy – it automatically limits the tracking on the Internet. Pre-release versions can download all comers.

AI-based company security

In Microsoft will add 365 tool Insider Risk Management. This new solution for risk management in companies, which will identify and eliminate threats within the organization.

The system analyzes the atypical and suspicious behavior of employees, for example, actions with specific files. Using algorithms, the tool warns superiors and helps prevent risks that cannot be detected by conventional methods.

Microsoft claims that Insider Risk Management collects data anonymously from Microsoft Graph and third-party sources like HR systems to identify patterns. So far, only a closed trial version is available to organizations.

Automated Enterprise Data Network Project Cortex

The first new service in Microsoft 365 since the launch of Microsoft Teams. A tool is something between an automatic content classifier and a digital assistant.

It automatically finds and distributes various information on topics, for example, in Office, Outlook and Teams applications, identifies experts and creates a “knowledge network” of the company. While only available in closed testing, a public release is scheduled for the first half of 2020.

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