Every year, Microsoft’s Ignite conference captivates tech enthusiasts and industry leaders alike with networking opportunities and groundbreaking announcements. In this year’s conference, which took place November 14-17, artificial intelligence held center stage with its salient promise to redefine the future of technology. Here are ten highlights from the Microsoft Ignite 2023 conference that give an insightful glimpse into the ways cutting-edge AI can revolutionize today’s businesses.
Copilot for Modern Work
Microsoft’s extensive AI assistant, called Copilot, is going to be a game changer in the ways employees get their work done. At the Ignite conference there were all sorts of announcements about this helpful tool. Some of our favorites were Copilot for Service, which will allow team members to ask questions in natural language and get conversational answers based on customer & product data sources, and Copilot Studio, a low-code tool that lets you build and customize stand-alone copilots for your own scenarios.
Another big announcement in the ever-critical area of cybersecurity is the new Security Copilot. This AI-powered helper keeps security teams up to date in defenses against increasingly sophisticated threats, unifying security areas that are commonly fragmented. Its capabilities will be embedded in the Intune admin center for IT specialists, Entra for identity management, Purview for data protection & compliance, Defender XDR, Sentinel, and more. Check out the details on how Security Copilot integrates with these powerful solutions for even more intelligent defense.
Microsoft custom chips for AI
The tech giant will be creating two new silicon chips custom-suited to enterprise workloads in the Microsoft Cloud, optimizing for performance and price. Microsoft Azure Maia is an AI accelerator chip that will run cloud-based training and inferencing for AI workloads. Microsoft Azure Cobalt is a cloud-native chip designed for general purpose workloads, made for optimal performance and power efficiency.
The Microsoft Loop app is now generally available for commercial customers, and the mobile version is also available for consumer customers. New capabilities in preview for Loop include workspace status notifications of upcoming deadlines, automatic surfacing of relevant documents when a workspace is created, and integration with Power Automate to improve task tracking and project management.
New Virtual Machines with Improved Performance
Confidential virtual machines (VMs) with new NVIDIA chips (H100 Tensor Core GPUs, to be precise) will be the only cloud offering that allows AI developers to run GPU-powered applications confidentially, with encryption generated by hardware. New general-purpose VMs are also optimized for memory and computing with 4th Generation AMD EPYC™ CPUs. This virtual machine series will include Azure Boost, which enables faster networking performance and storage on the VMs.
Azure Quantum Elements
There’s an exciting new offering called Azure Quantum Elements which is meant specifically to accelerate scientific discovery. Customers can make use of AI-powered computing and high-performance simulation workflows, experiment with existing quantum hardware, and access Microsoft’s quantum supercomputer to come. Based on private preview so far, some researchers have sped up their time to results from six months to one week, and nearly a year’s worth of chemistry simulations have been compressed into one minute!
Azure AI Studio
Microsoft’s new one-stop AI platform is called Azure AI Studio. This is the place organizations will go to explore, build, test and deploy solutions with the most advanced AI tools and machine learning models. This space is designed to allow for cutting-edge possibilities while simplifying the complex process of creating generative AI applications.
GPT-4 Turbo and GPT-4 with Vision
If you thought ChatGPT powered by GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 was amazing, imagine GPT-4 Turbo! This will bring extended prompt length and greater control and efficiency to generative AI interactions. By the end of the year there will also be a preview of GPT-4V, which is integrated with Azure AI Vision, allowing for images and videos in the AI outputs and analysis. Updates also grant fine-tuning with GPT-4, which means organizations can tailor these powerful models to fit their specific needs.
Expansion of Open-source ML Models
In Azure Machine Learning customers can use a helpful model catalog to compare metrics on various ML models in order to decide on the best choices for their specific applications. There’s now even more to choose from: the catalog has expanded to include Stable Diffusion, Code LLaMa, and OpenAI’s CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pretraining) models.
Development of Small Language Models (SLMs)
We’ve heard so much about large language models (LLMs) recently—but these powerhouse machines are very expensive to run and consume huge amounts of energy and water. Relatively compact small language models can be built much more quickly at a fraction of the cost, and research shows they can even outperform LLMs at specific tasks. In Windows AI Studio, developers can customize and fine-tune SLMs to deploy in their local Windows applications.
How to Get Started with New Offerings Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2023
The possibilities with today’s AI technologies are truly amazing. But how do you know which models and applications will best benefit your business, and how can you make sure you’re implementing them in a smart, responsible, and cost-effective way? Infused Innovations provides strategic advisory with each organization’s unique scenario in mind. When we work with you, we want to learn your business goals and biggest dreams—so that we can help you build the roadmap that will take you there.
Many of the announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2023 are currently still in preview or have yet to be released, but our forward-looking team and partnership with Microsoft will put you ahead of the game and allow you to become an early adopter of the most transformative technologies humanity has ever seen. Contact us today to start the conversation.