Business IntelligenceDigital Transformation

Top 10 takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2023

By November 22, 2023 No Comments
Jared Spataro Microsoft Ignite 2023

Copilot for Azure. Copilot for Fabric. Copilot for GitHub. Copilot Studio. Copilot for Microsoft 365. After last week’s information-packed Ignite 2023, it’s clear that Microsoft’s vision is to be the Copilot company – creating a future where there will be a Copilot for everyone and everything they do, everywhere they do it.

With over 100 announcements, it was hard to narrow the news down to a top 10, but here you go, my top 10:

  1. Microsoft is designing custom chips

    Microsoft’s first custom in-house CPU series is Azure Cobalt. Azure Cobalt is specifically designed for the Microsoft Cloud and the first release, Cobalt 100, is a 64-bit 128 core ARM based chip that’s the fastest of any cloud provider, delivering up to 40% more performance than the current generation of ARM chips. Azure Cobalt is already powering several internal services now (Microsoft Teams, Azure Communication Services, and Azure SQL) and will be made available to customers next year.

    Microsoft’s first custom in-house AI accelerator chip is Azure Maia. Azure Maia is designed to run cloud AI workloads like LLM training and inference. This chip is manufactured on a 5-nanometer process and has 105 billion transistors, making it one of the largest chips that can be made with current technology. Since the intensive computational demands of AI tasks consume more power, Microsoft also built a “sidekick” liquid cooling system that sits next to the Maia 100 rack, allowing its placement in existing datacenters.

  2. Model as a Service

    Another big step in support of open-source models is Model as a Service (MaaS). It allows developers to leverage ready-built APIs and hosted finetuning so they can focus on development and not back-end operations. Meta’s Llama 2 is the first supported MaaS with support for Mistral’s premium models, G42’s Jais, Cohere’s Command, and Microsoft’s Phi all coming soon.

  3. Azure AI Studio Preview

    Azure AI Studio offers full lifecycle tools to be able to build, customize, train, evaluate, and deploy the latest next generation models – safely and to scale! With Azure AI Studio, developers can detect and filter harmful user-generated and AI-generated content in their applications as well as their services. Microsoft's Customer Copyright Commitment for Azure OpenAI Studio was also announced, mitigating legal risks by providing recognition of copyrighted content so it can be avoided or cited.

  4. Microsoft Fabric in general availability and mirroring in Microsoft Fabric

    These announcements allows connections between OneLake and new data warehouses and databases that can be quickly created with near real-time synchronization (aka.ms/Fabric). Microsoft Fabric achieved use in 25k organizations and 67% of the Fortune 500 during its public preview. More details on Microsoft Fabric can be found in these Inviso blog posts:

    - Data engineering in Microsoft Fabric
    - OneLake in Microsoft Fabric: An introduction
    - Direct Lake mode in Microsoft Fabric: An introduction

  5. Copilot in Microsoft Fabric announced

    Currently in preview, Copilot in Microsoft Fabric provides database architects and developers the same kind of Copilot for GitHub functionality, allowing them to ask questions about and take actions on enterprise data sources.

  6. General availability of Mesh on Microsoft Teams

    Mesh on Teams will be generally available in January, creating a new way for employees to come together using avatars across PC, HoloLens, and MetaQuest regardless of whether the users are using a 2D Teams meeting or a 3D immersive space.

  7. Copilot for Microsoft 365

    We’ve provided our take on the Copilot for Microsoft 365 announcements in our post on the Ignite 2023 keynote “Becoming an AI-powered organization with Microsoft Copilot” here – check it out!

  8. Microsoft Copilot Studio

    Included in Microsoft 365, Copilot Studio provides a low-code tool to customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 and build standalone copilots, essentially providing a Power Platform tool to create organization-specific copilots that run inside Microsoft 365. Users can take advantage of any of the 1,100 available connectors to integrate with enterprise data sources like SAP or Service now.

  9. AI and Mixed Reality

    While there were no specific announcements, all indications are that this is one of two areas that Microsoft sees as the next area for AI innovation. The idea is that applying AI to mixed reality turns the real world into both prompt and interface. For example, with a HoloLens and Dynamics 365 Copilot, looking at a piece of equipment and pointing to a specific part would allow Copilot to change a prompt like, “where does this go” into “where is the x-21 placed in a standard assembly” and show the answer with a schematic instead of just a text response.

  10. AI and Quantum

    Scientific discovery is often based on complex simulations of natural phenomenon and Azure Quantum Elements adds a new model architecture called GraphFormers that will use AI to reduce the search space for a given simulation accelerating the solution. Just as large language models can generate text, Azure Quantum Elements will combine the speed and power of quantum computing and AI to discover or generate entirely new compounds to solve problems.

Curious about how these announcements impact your next project? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss where you’re at, where you want to be, and the best way to get you there.

Steven Fiore

Author Steven Fiore

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