Arriving at a packed ExCeL arena in East London, Microsoft’s annual Future Decoded event was sure to bring plenty of excitement around the latest products and services in the Microsoft world. As always, experimentation and the implementation of artificial intelligence, with data science for business, was at the forefront of the event. With insightful keynote presentations, dispersed with in-depth breakaway sessions, the event has something for anyone interested in technology.

Decoding the Future With Artificial Intelligence

2018 was they year that Microsoft suggested businesses should embrace digital transformation. Microsoft see 2019 as the year to accelerate this. They suggest that organisations should now:

  • Move from experimentation to implementation
  • Create a culture of participation
  • Make AI work for everyone

Microsoft has also introduced a capability whereby users are able to add AI to their Microsoft applications. For example, PowerPoint has a presenter coach. This tool will monitor a presentation and provide feedback, for example on the speed of the presentation, or repetitive words mentioned. Also, PowerPoint now suggests design ideas when you paste images into a slide.

Many other platforms, such as Excel and Power BI (which can integrate an AI voice bot), can integrate with this new AI builder tool. To get started, training is supplied through the Microsoft AI Business School.

Lock Down Your Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is here to stay and will always be a threat, it will never go. An interesting discussion by Stuart Aston, Microsoft’s National Security Officer, revealed that most hackers will break into system with well-known exploits; rarely is it new ones. It was also noted that in most cases, the weakest link into a system is the user itself. To minimise the effect of exploits, Microsoft recommend:

  • Patching and Multi Factor Authentication is key
  • Do not have exposed endpoints
  • A well tested backup and recovery strategy
  • Use strong unique passwords, at least 16 characters in length & use a password manager
  • Set Multi Factor Authentication for user accounts
  • Review the Microsoft 365 Security Centre – check your security score and act on issues
  • Don’t allow users to set weak passwords – a list of common password hashes is published by the NCSC
  • Monitor your environment

Bring Power To Your Applications

It has been predicted that artificial intelligence will soon exceed the available developer resources. Therefore, the introduction of Power Apps, a platform where non-technical users will be able to create simple apps with connectors to create functionality such as electronic form filing to reduce paper-based records, will become incredibly important. It was also noted that the average cost of web app development in the US is in the region of $135,000!

Going forward with application development, it is paramount to consider accessibility. By ensuring your app layout and similar characteristics are appropriate to your audience and works well with screen reader support, you’ll ensure your apps are accessible to as wide an audience as possible. If you’re after app development drop us an email or get in touch.

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