Posted on Fri, 07 Mar 2014 14:00:00 GMT
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the annual Microsoft Dynamics Convergence and SharePoint conferences, profiles on five dynamic women in honor of International Women’s Day and the buzz building up to the March 11 release of “Titanfall.”
The Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 in Atlanta showcased how customers are using Dynamics, such as New Belgium Brewing Company’s external sales representatives, Beer Rangers, who brew up sales using Microsoft Dynamics AX. At Convergence, Microsoft unveiled new mobile applications as part of an update to Microsoft Dynamics and joined customers such as Delta Airlines and Lotus F1 in revealing how they are connecting with customers. As customers gather this week for the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas and Convergence in Atlanta, they received an update on Microsoft’s enterprise social vision and road map — including three new social experiences designed to help companies work like a network.
In celebration of International Women’s Day March 8, we enjoyed profiles of five dynamic individuals from all corners of the company who are changing the world through technology. They are a software developer, a researcher, a board member, a test lead and a diversity manager who are passionate about their work. The story also covers Microsoft’s efforts to nurture future generations of women in computer science. We also saw how Skype celebrates women inspiring children in science, technology, engineering and math.
As Microsoft heads to Austin for the annual South by Southwest gathering, one of its most anticipated events is the “Titanfall” launch party on March 10. With the release of Xbox One exclusive “Titanfall,” Respawn Entertainment is tantalizing gamers with two new trailers. Will Arnett (“The Millers,” “The LEGO Movie”) loves “Titanfall,” and so do some of his gaming friends and celebs, who got a sneak peek and chance to play the game, coming March 11 to Xbox One. This year Microsoft is an official sponsor of SXSW, which combines tech, music and film into one entertaining and educational festival and conference.
In other Xbox news, Xbox One’s March system update began rolling out Wednesday. As part of the Xbox One system update, any time you search with “Xbox Bing,” you’re now going to get results from the Web, as well as from an expansive marketplace. And now, you can watch music videos using Xbox One’s Xbox Music and create a video game on Project Spark, now in global beta for Xbox One. This week’s Xbox Live Store deals– which last until Monday -- include two Xbox One games, “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts Digital Hardened Edition.”
The worldwide availability of Skype for Outlook.com was announced Tuesday. Now you can easily connect with Skype friends right from your Outlook.com inbox, going from chat or email to a video call with one click.
We saw new and updated Windows and Windows Phone apps that can help get your financial house in order, connect with Facebook friends faster and put you into World Cup-worthy play. Tame taxes with the help of Bing Finance and other Windows and Windows Phone apps, stay on the right track with HERE Maps and find your dream abode on Zillow. In your downtime, watch favorite shows on USA Now, Telemundo Now and Syfy Now. Over in the Windows Phone Store, the App of the Week, “FIFA 14,” put you on the field with real teams and players. Facebook Messenger arrived, giving FB’ers everywhere a streamlined IM service. “Bridge Constructor,” Superpages and “Ice Road Truckers” rounded out the week’s notable mobile entries.
This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we introduced you to Natasha Nicole, an artist and illustrator who creates a piece of art every day for her blog using Fresh Paint. Tell us your story using #ICreatedThis.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Happy first week of March and see you next week!
Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:03:41 GMT
Posted on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 20:59:56 GMT
On Saturday, July 13, 2001, Microsoft was alerted to a nasty piece of malware called “Code Red.” In just two weeks, ABC News reported that the Code Red worm had infected more than 300,000 Windows computers around the world. When the news broke, it was like something straight out of a Tom Clancy novel. Microsoft learned early on that if it was going to succeed at building trust with its customers, it could not make security an afterthought when developing its products and services.
So how do you get a large organization like Microsoft to prioritize security with thousands of developers, writing millions of lines of code? How do you get everyone marching toward the same goal?
Some folks here recently spent time with a few of the people behind the scenes in security at Microsoft to discuss their journey and how they helped to fundamentally shift the culture within Microsoft.
Now you can get the never-before told inside story on Microsoft Security.
You might also be interested in:
· Be a game developer using Project Spark, now in global beta for Xbox One
· Find what you need on Superpages, now on Windows Phone
· Watch music videos using Xbox One’s Xbox Music
Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog
Posted on Tue, 04 Mar 2014 14:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Greg Myers, Vice President, Microsoft Federal.
On Tuesday in Washington D.C., federal technology leaders are gathering – in person and virtually – for Microsoft’s Federal Executive Forum. This annual one-day event brings together people from around the federal government to discuss how technology is helping agencies successfully innovate, leverage the most of existing investments and manage to very tight fiscal constraints. It’s a time for collaboration among agencies, sharing best practices and addressing everything from change management to leveraging what they already own to mastering cloud migration.
Here are just a few highlights of what we’re talking about at Tuesday’s event, showing that agencies around the federal government are using Microsoft technology to have a real impact:
- Mobility and Devices – Since we launched Windows 8 last year, we’ve seen significant progress in all form factor areas of devices. Over the next year, tablet-styled devices will out ship almost all other PC form factors, combined, making up almost 50 percent of the total PC market of desktops, notebooks and tablets. So, whether it is agencies looking to upgrade to ensure their employees can be mobile on the job, or newly-enabled applications that speed up customer service and case management, the Windows 8.1 family of devices can meet an astonishing array of challenges, all with unmatched flexibility, form and function. Today, we’re showcasing a variety of form factors, all with an out-of-the-box focus on security.
- Private Preview of the Azure government cloud – Last fall, we announced that Microsoft was going to create a cloud specifically for our government customers. Our progress has been significant in building on Windows commercial Azure capabilities to meet discrete needs of government customers. The Azure government cloud will have physical and logical isolation at all layers, it will be run by U.S. personnel with government background investigations and follow defense-in-depth, multi-level security practices. Today, we’re announcing that Azure government cloud private previews are taking place, as we work with customers to identify the workloads that best meet their key scenarios. Following these private previews, we’ll move to a limited public preview. This is in addition to our public Azure cloud offering, which already is FedRAMP certified.
In many ways, it’s a great time to be leading the IT Transformation period for agencies. From the advances available for a mobile workforce, to connecting with the world’s data and turning it into valuable insights to simplifying collaboration for employees and even giving agencies a new digital personality – the opportunities for leadership are rich. Yet the challenges are great too and require leaders who can step up to address increasing and diverse cyber threats, manage real privacy concerns and do all of this within an environment where the financial pressures are only increasing.
That’s why from mobility to cloud computing to line of business applications, many federal government customers are recognizing the importance of fully leveraging the portfolio that Microsoft has to offer. Agencies know they need a strategic partner who understands their needs, realities and requirements. This includes the ability to use new platforms like the cloud while making it easier to manage and simplify how it’s paid for. Microsoft’s Azure platform, for example, supports open standards and offerings including Hadoop, Linux, Wordpress and Oracle workloads.
As agencies explore moves to the cloud, many may have solutions already in place, and they need a partner who can help them leverage those, lower security risks and reduce training and implementation costs. In some cases, agencies may often be looking at some new combination of private cloud or even public or dedicated community cloud for government. Our hybrid cloud gives complex government environments the flexibility of working with us on their terms and within their architecture choice. Instead of coming to the table with predisposed ideas of what is best for each agency, we work with our agency customers to create and build the solutions that best meet their needs. From productivity, messaging and collaboration to CRM, storage, development and even virtual machines – Microsoft’s cloud offerings have not only already been tested across government enterprises and the largest commercial operations, but also meet and exceed the security and privacy compliance bars – from FedRAMP and ISO27001 to CJIS, HIPAA, and beyond.
If you are interested in following the action today’s Federal Forum, you can attend the event virtually.
Posted on Tue, 04 Mar 2014 14:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Kirill Tatarinov, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions.
Convergence, Microsoft’s premier business event taking place this week in Atlanta, is a celebration of business achievement and an opportunity to connect, engage and discover. We are pleased to highlight the achievements of great Microsoft customers such as Delta Air Lines, New Belgium Brewery, Lotus F1 and others that are succeeding by connecting with their customers.
This is an exciting time. Microsoft Dynamics is on the cusp of delivering a staggering wave of innovation to the market this spring that will significantly help businesses deliver amazing experiences to their customers. These technologies will deliver value in the areas that organizations need most to connect with their customers – marketing, commerce and sales, customer care and operations. We will also unveil a set of new mobile applications that are part of our update to Microsoft Dynamics. Additionally, we will be enabling cloud deployment of our flagship ERP solution - Dynamics AX - that will allow businesses to more strategically use the power of the cloud.
Businesses need the best solutions to keep up with the transformative changes taking place around the world. We live in a more connected world, and the implications to businesses are staggering. Peoples’ expectations have changed dramatically: 70 percent of the buying experience is based on how the customer feels they are being treated; more than 90 percent never complain, but simply leave and never come back; 70 percent of customers form their opinion from their first interaction -- and it sticks; 86 percent of customers are happy to pay more for superior service. Greater connections, more access to information and more interactions with peer groups have resulted in people being more empowered and more enlightened.
This Era of the Customer means new challenges and opportunities for business. To win in this new era, businesses must have both the technology that optimizes for these experiences and the right changes in their culture and approach to customers. Businesses must have an approach that emphasizes human connections that remain at the heart of business success. Only then can they deliver the amazing and consistent experiences that are today’s new currency.
It starts with technology that is designed for businesses in this new era. Our commitment is to help our customers thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. The Microsoft Cloud provides a unified cloud platform with a complete array of infrastructure services and cloud business solutions – all accessible through the devices people love and with tools that enable business to unlock the right insights at the right time. This means turning mass data into useful insights; transforming social collaboration into a simple and natural process; making sense of the ocean of social conversations and measuring responses to customer concerns with a stopwatch and not a calendar; making people highly productive through the use of technology.
Technology alone is not enough. Business leaders must champion significant changes in the culture of companies to accept and embrace this new reality….creating an environment that takes full advantage of technology, collaboration and insights so people can better serve the customer. In this era of the customer, every interaction matters, so making every employee become customer-centric is critical. This change of culture must start with leadership – building trust among employees and trusting them to meet the needs of customers.
Advanced technology, coupled with the right cultural shifts, will position businesses to deliver amazing customer experiences. Experiences are the currency in this new era, offering value to customers and growth and success to businesses. Delivering experiences that are consistent, in the right setting, intentional -- with every interaction having a purpose, and every interaction being personal. It’s about delivering the type of experience so that the customer knows they are supported, understood and valued. This combination can increase customer loyalty and turn cynical people into enthusiastic fans.
These high value scenarios and interactions are at the heart of our strategy as a company. We are partnering with businesses and organizations around the world to transform the customer experience and allow our customers to achieve more. Convergence is an opportunity to discuss these major trends, challenges and opportunities.
With 12,000 business people joining us here in Atlanta and thousands of others checking in virtually, this is a great opportunity to hear from those that matter most - our customers. We are proud to work with businesses to help them succeed today; we are honored to provide the solutions and technology that help them connect with their customers; and we are privileged to work with them to shape a successful future.
Posted on Mon, 03 Mar 2014 05:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft.
One of the most interesting things about my job (and by extension, our company) is that I get exposed to a very diverse portfolio of innovations and experiences. One day I might be touring our Garage or getting the inside track on how best to counter “rodeo” attacks in Titanfall (pro tip: electric smoke). Other days, I get to dig in on all the breakthroughs happening to unlock organizational potential and build the workplace of tomorrow. This week, we are staging two conferences that provide a great opportunity to take a moment to look at the latter, and really celebrate some transformational work going on that can streamline the way hundreds of millions of people get things done every day.
At our annual SharePoint Conference, we will showcase how we’re re-imagining productivity in the cloud, enabling people to come together to accomplish things they never could with information locked in application silos. As anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter and other social services knows, sometimes the shortest path to the right information is just knowing who to ask. That’s the inspiration for some of the great social capabilities that are being built into Office 365. I’m particularly excited because there are a few core concepts I can’t wait to use in my own day-to-day work.
For example: The team is using machine learning to help identify (in the background) the people and information that would be most useful to me as I work on a specific assignment (like writing this blog post). It takes into account who I’ve exchanged mail with, what social conversations I’m having, PowerPoints I’m working on and what my team is doing. It shows this to me as naturally as my social networks tell me what music I should be listening to or where I should eat when I’m on the road. I’m also excited about the way Office 365 will enable me to focus on the groups of people I work with, instead of worrying about what specific applications I use to engage with them.
These and dozens of other changes to Office 365 in this next phase of cloud innovation are all designed to help teams stay connected and on the same page, in real time, so they can get more done and drive business impact.
Talking about business impact brings me to Microsoft Dynamics Convergence, our other big event happening this week. One of the most critical functions of any organization is enabling exceptional customer experiences. Everyone knows that now. But knowing it and being able to createthose experiences are not the same thing. If raising a child takes a village, as the saying goes, creating a delighted customer takes an empowered and informed team. And that’s why our Dynamics business is so exciting. When Kirill Tatarinov takes the stage this week to showcase both current customers and demonstrate some imminent innovations, you’ll see the future of customer experience excellence. With the right data in the hands of employees empowered to make smart decisions from the factory floor to the showroom, we know that companies who use Microsoft Dynamics will lead the way in the era of the customer.
Events like these are great, intimate, high-bandwidth channels for us to showcase the mobile and cloud first approaches we are taking to enable the social enterprise to improve customer responsiveness, collaboration and business impact. At these events, we get to go deep and tell our story to interested parties and give customers the insights, perspectives and roadmaps they need to understand our products and make informed purchasing decisions. We love them. But we also need to tell our story more broadly. So I’m excited that we’re also introducing a new advertising campaign this week, focused on Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Windows Azure and other cloud solutions for enterprise customers. Of course, Microsoft’s cloud services span all customer segments and many diverse categories, from gaming to communications to collaboration to the infrastructure it takes to run it all. In this campaign, we’re focused on telling the unified story of the services that enable our enterprise customers to drive their business forward, anytime and from anywhere, using the Microsoft Cloud.
Posted on Fri, 28 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
Greetings weekend warriors! We’ve got some tasty tidbits to satisfy both the right and the left side of your brain this week. Check it out …
What do some of Microsoft’s brightest minds do in their off time? They tinker. In the Garage. Discover this sanctuary for creativity and problem solving that harkens back to Microsoft’s start-up roots in a highly illustrative, interactive piece, straight from the imagination of the Stories team.
At Mobile World Congress this week, Joe Belfiore noted the steady growth of Windows Phone due to its “highly personal” approach to the smartphone experience. Microsoft also announced new hardware partners as part of the conference as well as plans to evolve Windows 8. Get the skinny on that and the strategy to grow and scale Windows Phone globally, here.
Microsoft can claim some credit for helping to break at least one winter game record: The largest-ever audience on an authenticated stream for any sporting event in history. More than 2.1 million people tuned in to watch NBC Sports Digital’s record-setting stream of Team USA versus Canada in the semifinal hockey game, thanks in part to Microsoft’s public cloud platform - Windows Azure. More on how Azure, Microsoft Dynamics and Enterprise Services won a place at the podium on The Official Microsoft Blog.
Windows Azure services became available in the Japan cloud Tuesday. With demand for Windows Azure increasing significantly, Microsoft is doubling capacity every six to nine months. In Japan alone, storage usage for Windows Azure has grown 10 times in the last 15 months. Welcome to the cloud, Japan!
We’re approaching the end of an era with support for Windows XP ending April 8. More than a decade after it was launched in 2003, Windows XP has been around since the ‘Hoff hung up his “Baywatch” board shorts. If you run Windows XP, your computer will still work come April 9, but over time, security and performance will be affected. The News Center has the details for what to expect during this transition.
Lots of apps to get excited about this week. Topping the list is a free way to watch all of your favorite sports on ESPN. WatchESPN for Windows offers live, streaming access to thousands of games and events including: Monday Night Football, the NBA regular season and playoffs, and Major League Baseball. Get ready for your Oscar night party with the Awards Show collection, which includes the E!Online app, IMDb and MTV News. Or, check out the next stage in local search evolution with the Superpages app. Spin the handy wheel and get instant access to categories like food, movies, stores and services. For a new spin on the modern “to do” list, download 2Day, which allows you to sync with your Microsoft account and add tasks by using your voice, then rearrange them into icons and colors.
Finally, this week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we launched #ICreatedThis, a way to showcase the amazing things people create using Microsoft technology. Have a cool story to share? Tell us about it using #ICreatedThis.
So get out there, think big, play hard and tap into your creative side this weekend. We’ll see you back here next week.
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Thu, 27 Feb 2014 16:48:53 GMT
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the U.S., has selected Office 365 as its faculty and staff email solution.
The district chose Office 365 for its reliability, flexibility and security features, as well as the opportunity to reduce the amount of time the district’s IT team spends on maintaining its infrastructure.
“With Office 365, we are supported by an integrated communication and collaboration platform that helps us work more efficiently and deliver better outcomes for teachers, administrators and students,” said Ron Chandler, the district’s chief information officer, in a press release. “It also aligns with our vision for the district to move away from relying solely on our datacenter; the cloud enables us to free up resources and devote them to other mission-critical activities.”
Read more about why the Los Angeles Unified School District chose Office 365 in this press release.
You might also be interested in:
· RCS MediaGroup uses Office 365 and other Microsoft technology to modernize its communications
· Customers win with continued Microsoft Dynamics collaboration
· Check it off your to-do list with help from 2Day for Windows PCs, tablets and phones
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 23:30:00 GMT
|About 100,000 people visited Microsoft Technology Hall during the XXII Winter Olympic Games in the Olympic Park, featuring the latest Windows 8.1 devices for anyone to try.
Many records were broken at the Winter Games, but Microsoft can claim some credit for helping to break at least one more: The largest-ever audience on an authenticated stream for any sporting event in history. More than 2.1 million people tuned in to watch NBC Sports Digital’s record-setting stream of Team USA versus Canada in the semifinal hockey game, thanks in part to Microsoft’s public cloud platform - Windows Azure.
Like the elite athletes who competed, the Windows Azure cloud platform stepped up to deliver rapid and cost-effective development and operation of a dynamic, high-performance site at scale. During the 18 days of one of the biggest sporting events in the world Windows Azure provided information on the Games to more than 100 million fans and guests through sochi2014.com and delivered more than 6,000 hours of high-definition streaming from Windows Azure Media Services, to 5 broadcasters across 22 countries in 4 continents. This included 204 live streaming channels, more than 100 TB of storage and around 500 billion storage transactions. None of this would have been feasible without a globally distributed public cloud platform like Windows Azure.
In addition to Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics powered the IT infrastructure for the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee and Microsoft’s Enterprise Services handled the design, development and support of the solutions.
“It is a great recognition and honor for Microsoft Russia to become a supplier of the Sochi Olympics. Microsoft technologies ensured that the innovative Olympic Games in Sochi were organized at the highest level and, in our view, contributed to the establishment of a new technological standard for large sports events organization in Russia and the whole world,” says Nikolay Pryanishnikov, the president of Microsoft Russia.
Fans using Windows Phone devices were also able to get instant information on the Winter Games through two mobile apps: Sochi 2014 Guide and Sochi 2014 Results. These apps made the Top 20 free applications at the Windows Phone Store in Russia, with more than 1 million people installing them.
“Microsoft is the industry leader with a unique and convincing vision of the future. We are very happy that millions of fans and guests of the Games can get acquainted with Microsoft’s technologies,” says Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, in a press release. “By collaborating with the company, we were able to use the latest and most reliable information technologies during preparing for the first Olympic Winter Games in Russia, the most innovative Games throughout history.”
Microsoft technologies also played a big part behind the scenes with the continuous and effective operations of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee. Microsoft partnered with the Organizing Committee to manage finance and management accounting, logistics and procurement management to human resources and personnel management. The “Dynamics for Olympics” system managed 800,000 units of equipment, 36,000 square meters of warehouse space, 1.2 million liters of diesel fuel and 18,500 truck deliveries in the last three months.
SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM also helped run the enormous logistics involved in preparing and staging the Olympics, including arrivals, departures and accommodations.
For more details on how Microsoft helped power the infrastructure behind the Winter Games and made information and coverage about it accessible to fans, check out the Microsoft Russia press release and the announcement from Microsoft and NBC at the commencement of the Winter Games.
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise marketing, Microsoft.
Less than a year ago, we announced Windows Azure services for Japan to support the growing demand for Microsoft’s cloud services. I am pleased to share that Windows Azure in Japan East (Saitama Prefecture) and Japan West (Osaka Prefecture), will be generally available later Tuesday.
Japan’s cloud market has grown considerably in the last few years and this growth is only expected to increase, with the projected 2014 forecast estimated at around $1.6 billion, according to IDC. These new regions will help fulfill the current and future needs of our cloud customers with secure and highly available services that help them grow their business. In addition, they provide local customers the ability to achieve data residency and realize data recovery scenarios, as data will be replicated between the two regions.
Building an enterprise class cloud infrastructure that exceeds our customers’ expectations is our ultimate goal. At Microsoft, we are making this goal real by bringing a deep enterprise legacy to our customers worldwide. We have already invested more than $15 billion in our cloud infrastructure, providing more than 200 cloud services to more than 1 billion customers in 90 markets around the world. Now, we are furthering our commitment to grow our cloud business and deliver a consistent experience across Windows Azure, partner-built and on-premises clouds.
With demand for Windows Azure increasing so significantly, we’re doubling capacity every six to nine months. Furthermore, in Japan alone, storage usage for Windows Azure has grown 10x in the last 15 months. As we continue at this growth rate, we will work with our customers and partners to ensure that we provide the value and support needed. We look forward to growing Japan’s cloud market, offering customers new options while helping push cloud adoption forward across the globe.
Posted on Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:00:00 GMT
Some of the company’s – if not the world’s – brightest minds don’t just turn off when the workday is done. They head to The Garage, a sanctuary for creativity and problem solving that harkens back to Microsoft’s start-up roots.
It’s here, fueled by Manny’s and pepperoni pizza, that that the Mouse Without Borders was born, and the idea for the forgotten Outlook attachment reminder was hatched.
Sam Trim, a technology architect by day, calls the garage an “idea factory”.
“We reshape the world in our day jobs, and that’s totally awesome, but you have to know that people like that don’t stop thinking at the end of the day,” he says. “They need a home for the rest of what they want to do. This is it.”
In the Garage’s nearly six years, more than 3,000 employees have completed more than 10,000 projects. They vary wildly in size and scope. Some become features in Microsoft’s software and services. Others are still, becoming …
Meet Trim and the other Garage denizens, and learn more about their native habitat, here.
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Mon, 24 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Dr. Dennis Schmuland, Chief Health Strategy Officer, U.S. Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft.
This week, we are at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's (HIMSS) 2014 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., showing off the innovative ways our partners and customers are using technology to transform the healthcare industry. With the use of mobile devices, social apps, cloud services, and big data and analytics, healthcare providers are able to offer patients better care and lower costs.
Together with some of our partners in the industry, Microsoft on Monday announced new electronic medical record (EMR) apps and solutions on Windows 8.1, Surface and Windows Embedded technology that make better and more streamlined care a reality. This includes our work with leading EMR vendors like Epic’s Hyperspace 2014 app for clinicians. With massive EMR investments and increased EMR adoption now becoming the standard, these new apps on clinical grade devices will enable mobile, multi-disciplinary care teams to more quickly and easily communicate with each other and access their full function EMRs from anywhere at any time. We’re seeing significant uptake of the move to these types of solutions because they help make clinicians more productive on the move. This allows clinicians to spend more time caring for their patients and less time juggling multiple devices and workstations.
And it’s not only about EMR integration on mobile tablets, as critical as that is. We see true transformation in the remote consultations and care being delivered to patients. For example, alongside AirStrip, we are demonstrating revolutionary point-of-care solutions like the AirStrip ONE Cardiology app, which allows clinicians the ability to read EKG data from an FDA-cleared app for Windows 8.1 tablets, workstations and Windows Phone 8 devices. This powerful tool lets clinicians access AirStrip ONE Cardiology both within and beyond a hospital’s walls, which can have an immediate impact on saving lives and reducing costs.
The incentives for positively impacting health through technologies like Microsoft have never been greater. Health organizations’ revenues are expected to fall significantly over the next 10 years and organizations are getting paid to keep patients healthy, rather than getting paid for the services they provide. Add to that the fact that consumers are becoming more engaged in their health, seeking new ways to better understand and protect their health, and you have true ingredients for change.
As we look at the current landscape, it’s safe to say we are seeing some noteworthy themes. From an increase in EMR integration on clinical grade tablets to an improvement in real-time analytics that is driving down costs, readmission rates and unnecessary waste, it’s clear that technology and policy are rapidly aligning to transform both the practice of medicine and the patient experience. There is no better time to be part of this transformation.
Microsoft remains a committed partner to the healthcare industry, providing critical technology solutions that keep patient data safe and streamline processes to improve the health care experience for all. To that end, Microsoft is committed to carrying out an audacious mission that we cannot accomplish alone:
To collaborate and innovate with industry, academic and government leaders and consumers to transform healthcare from an economic threat into an advantage.
We believe that technology can help us achieve this mission with our customers and 28,000 partners in health. That is why we offer a family of devices, cloud services and partner solutions, backed by Microsoft’s industry leading Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Business Associate Agreement (BAA), which empowers everyone at home, at work and on the go to do the things we value the most, especially when that involves our health.
Come visit us this year in our booth (#4749) at HIMSS to see how these transformative technologies come to life.
Here are a few other resources to follow:
Posted on Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:15:00 GMT
The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft.
Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona this week, one of the biggest events of the year for the mobile industry. I love Barcelona, and am sad to miss MWC this year. There is something about the combination of the history and tradition of Barcelona past and the energy and innovation of Barcelona present, with all the attendees of MWC a punctuation mark. And there is always something new, companies with something to say.
Microsoft is no exception. On Sunday afternoon, we hosted a press conference where we reinforced the momentum we’re seeing for Windows Phone – the fastest growing mobile OS with 91 percent year-over-year growth. We announced we’re working with nine new Windows Phone hardware partners , including Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE as well as a collaboration with Qualcomm to help more manufacturers build Windows Phones faster. You can read Joe Belfiore’s blog post from yesterday for more details.
Nokia held its press conference earlier Monday. They announced a number of new devices from their Mobile Phone division including Nokia X, which will compete with Android devices in the affordable smartphone category and introduce the Microsoft cloud to a new set of customers in growth markets.
There’s been lots of speculation about what this announcement means for Microsoft and about our pending acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business. Here are a couple of points to put things into context.
First, our transaction with Nokia has not yet closed. Today, we operate as two independent companies as required by antitrust law, and we will until the acquisition is complete. The anticipated close timeframe for the acquisition remains end of the first quarter of 2014.
Second, we’re pleased to see Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com being introduced on these devices. This provides the opportunity to bring millions of people, particularly in growth markets, into the Microsoft family. The Skype team on Monday announced an offer in select markets for the first customers who purchase a Nokia X, one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription. Read the Skype blog for more details.
Finally, our primary smartphone strategy remains Windows Phone, and our core device platform for developers is the Windows platform.
It is a fascinating time in the industry today. The rate of improvements in devices, the breadth of services offered, the way consumers and businesses are using devices of all shapes and sizes to do more – it is a reminder to all of us that what is considered status quo in Barcelona this year has the potential to look very different in the rear view mirror a year from now.
We’d have it no other way. :)
Posted on Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about free cloud storage OneDrive being globally available, Microsoft Dynamics CRM adding more capabilities to deliver even better customer service, and new and updated Bing apps for Windows Phone.
Who knew moving day could be so easy? Microsoft’s free cloud storage, OneDrive, became available this week. Existing SkyDrive customers only need to head over to OneDrive.com and log in to get files moved over. There are some changes we think you’ll like, including automatic camera backup for Android, and the ability to share and view videos just as easily as photos. There’s also some new ways to get more storage, on top of the 7 GB you get for free. And OneDrive is accessible everywhere – on all of Microsoft’s latest devices and services (from Xbox to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 to Office), as well as on the Web and other platforms, including iOS and Android.
New marketing, customer care and social listening capabilities will be part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM release, expected to be available in the second quarter this year. Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said the update “democratizes social listening, adds new marketing capabilities for more impact and enables businesses to deliver outstanding customer service. With this new release, we are essentially changing the CRM game.” The new Microsoft Social Listening service will let businesses analyze and act on market intelligence from social conversations, including measuring sentiment across a wide array of social channels.
Several new and updated Bing apps for Windows Phone are available to help you when it comes to food, fitness and travel and more -- and each app syncs across all of your Windows devices. Fans of the Windows 8 Food & Drink app will recognize the companion Bing Food & Drink app for Windows Phone, designed with both the novice cook and expert chef in mind, with thousands of recipes from leading culinary content partners. Health & Fitness is designed to be your all-in-one tool for wellness, centralizing your nutrition, fitness and medical information, as well as giving you hundreds of customizable workouts and tools. The Bing Travel app provides destination guides, gorgeous photos and expert reviews.
The first public demonstration of video calling between Lync and Skype was shown this week at the Lync Conference in Las Vegas, “making it possible for consumers and businesses everywhere to use video for nearly every conversation,” said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president for Lync & Skype Engineering. Pall said “video everywhere” is just one of the changes coming to Lync and Skype to take the services from offering unified communications to universal communications.
Have you met Office Online at Office.com? If not, say “hello.” It’s the new name for Office Web Apps, so you know where to find our free online experience. As the Office Blogs notes, renaming Office Web Apps to Office Online will help alleviate any confusion associated with the service, which is free on any Web browser.
Microsoft’s employees raised a record-breaking $113 million for more than 19,000 nonprofit organizations worldwide in 2013. “The $113 million total includes our employees’ cash donations, the company’s matching contributions, and $7.8 million from Microsoft to match volunteer hours logged by our employees,” said Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.
This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we ventured into majestic forests with this free Windows theme.
That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Thanks for visiting, and have a great weekend!
Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:05:00 GMT
It’s moving day, with free cloud storage OneDrive now globally available — but you don’t have to do a thing. Existing SkyDrive customers are all set: Your files are ready in the new OneDrive, writes Chris Jones on The OneDrive Blog. “All you have to do is head over to OneDrive.com and log in.”
You’ll find some changes, ones we think you’ll like. “We’re rolling out several new capabilities, including automatic camera backup for Android and the ability to share and view videos just as easily as photos,” Jones writes. “We’ve also added new ways for you to earn more storage — on top of the 7 GB we already give you for free. Customers who refer friends can now receive up to 5 GB (in 500 MB increments) for each friend who accepts an invitation to OneDrive, and we’ll even give you 3 GB just for using the camera backup feature, since we want to help make sure you never lose another photo. There’s even a new monthly payment plan, if you’d like a little more flexibility in how you use your storage.”
OneDrive is available across every major device and platform. It’s built into the latest versions of Windows, Windows Phone, Office and Xbox. “You can even make OneDrive your default storage option, so you never have to worry about whether you are saving files to the cloud: They are just there,” Jones writes. “If you happen to carry an iPhone or Android phone, or use an iPad, Android tablet, Windows device, or a Mac— OneDrive is available there, too.”
To celebrate the official launch of OneDrive, Microsoft will give 100,000 people 100 GB of free storage for one year. “That’s 10 petabytes of free storage — enough storage space for a photo of everyone on the planet. If you want to be one of those 100,000, keep an eye on @OneDrive for clues.”
To learn more, read the press release, and head over to The OneDrive Blog.
You might also be interested in:
· Microsoft announces SkyDrive will soon be renamed OneDrive
· Free “Forza Motorsport 5” Road America track add-on, game’s first, now available
· Video calling between Skype and Lync is part of next step of universal communications
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Tue, 18 Feb 2014 17:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President for Lync & Skype Engineering, Microsoft.
It’s great to be in Las Vegas today with almost 2,000 customers, partners and industry professionals for the first day of our second annual Lync Conference. This is my first public appearance since taking over responsibility for Microsoft’s communications business, and as someone involved in Lync since its inception, it is awesome to be able to see first-hand the excitement in the room.
When we launched Lync in 2010, we had a vision of using software to unify the various ways that people communicated at work and to make communications easily accessible from Microsoft Office and the other applications people used every day. Today, I look at stories from Lync customers like Telefónica, Cargill, Adventist Healthcare System and others as signs that our vision was right. It is customers believing in our vision that has helped lead to double-digit revenue growth for Lync every quarter for the last five years, enabling Lync to become a $1 billion dollar business and to ship more unified communications voice lines to enterprises than any other technology company in the world.
Unifying communications within the enterprise is a critical first step, but it is not enough. The coming years will bring an even more dramatic transformation as we enable people everywhere to take advantage of rich communications for all the important relationships in their work and personal lives. Consumers that already enjoy Skype will be able to easily reach businesses from the devices and services of their choice, and to take advantage of chat, voice, video and content sharing as they see fit. Professionals will be able to connect in the same ways with co-workers, business partners and customers around the globe, from the applications they use to run their businesses. We call this universal communications and we’ll deliver it by focusing on the following strategies:
· Consistent experience for work and for life. Lync provides a consistent single-client experience for instant messaging, voice, video and meetings, as does Skype. We will bring these experiences even closer over time to make it easier for people to communicate, both at work and in life.
· Context and Application Intelligence. We make communications accessible in the online activities people care about most, including Xbox One, Office, Outlook.com, Bing, SharePoint and others, and will include communications as we help customers harness the potential of the social enterprise with Yammer.
· Across all devices. Lync supports Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and Windows, and last year we delivered updates every quarter on nearly all of these. On mobile, we added voice and video over IP, meeting content viewing, anonymous meeting join, and most recently, speech commands on Windows Phone. Today, we’re showing our Lync app for Android tablets for the first time, which will be available this summer. Skype supports each of these platforms as well, and adds Xbox One and numerous smart TVs.
· Video everywhere. Skype made video calling between consumers everywhere possible, and Lync delivered cost-effective HD video calling and meetings over the Internet for enterprises. Last year, we connected Skype and Lync for audio calling and instant messaging. Customers have already registered more than 10,000 unique domain names to use this service. Today, we’ve taken this a step further by demonstrating video calling between Skype and Lync, making it possible for consumers and businesses everywhere to use video for nearly every conversation. We’re also adding native interoperability between Lync and legacy video teleconference systems, helping customers achieve a continuing return on existing investments.
· Global reach through the cloud. Universal communications not only means delivering rich communications for businesses of all sizes, but also ensuring that anyone on Lync Online can reach anyone else, whether on Skype, Office 365 or the PSTN. In addition, customers can take advantage of the full power of Lync Server in private cloud offers from our global alliance partners, and have the option to purchase Office 365 from AT&T, Vodafone and others who combine their own services with Lync Online.
I’m confident that no other company in the world can connect people like we can. We have fundamentally blurred the lines of communication and continue to innovate and revolutionize how people communicate with one another. I am thrilled to be back and leading the Lync and Skype team and look forward to leading the shift to delivering universal communications to people everywhere.
Posted on Tue, 18 Feb 2014 16:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.
The past year has been a busy one at Microsoft – and not just because of new products, a new acquisition and a new CEO. It has also been a busy time for our employees and their support of the nonprofit community.
In fact, 2013 was a record-breaking year! Microsoft’s employees raised $113 million for 19,123 nonprofit organizations worldwide. Amidst Microsoft’s transformation, the value of community involvement continues to define us as employees.
The $113 million total includes our employees’ cash donations, the company’s matching contributions, and $7.8 million from Microsoft to match volunteer hours logged by our employees. Our volunteer program provides a Microsoft contribution of $17 for every hour spent by our employees. Last year, more than 7,400 employees participated, logging almost 460,000 volunteer hours to help nonprofit groups. This has been growing – enough so that 2014 may well see Microsoft employees contribute half a million hours of volunteer time to help nonprofits thrive.
In our own backyard, Microsoft employees raised more than $59 million for 4,858 nonprofits in Washington state in 2013. This included support for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Hopelink, Humane Society for Seattle/King County, KUOW, Northwest Harvest, Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, United Way of King County and Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. Over the 30+-year lifetime of the Microsoft Employee Giving Program, total contributions to Washington State-based nonprofits now approach $600 million.
Our Employee Giving Program is now among the largest of its type in the world. Responding to requests from our employees, this past year we increased the company’s matching funds available to each employee from $12,000 to $15,000 annually. And we helped newly hired employees kick off their giving by donating $50 to their nonprofit of choice.
But reflecting on large numbers means little without a glimpse into who is helped by these dollars and hours. Around the world, employee donations benefit global health efforts, disaster response, cancer research, youth empowerment and more through the work of organizations that tackle the world’s biggest challenges, including American National Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UNICEF and World Vision.
Microsoft employees also found hours in their busy days to lend a hand to families in need, to make hundreds of sandwiches for food banks and to help high school students chart a course for future careers in computer science through our TEALS program. They supported Blind Children’s Learning Center, “I Have a Dream” Foundation, XBOT Robotics and countless other youth serving causes that we prioritize through our global company-wide YouthSpark initiative.
I am proud of our people for their generosity and fundraising creativity. Microsoft employees placed bids in our online auction to win breakfast with sloth bear cubs at the Woodland Park Zoo and the honor of running the scoreboard at an upcoming Mariners game. They braved a dunk tank in October, photographed their pets for our traditional Cats and Dogs of Microsoft calendars, fell in love while compiling the award-winning Microsoft Cookbook and joined their colleagues around the world in a 24-hour Giving relay.
In 2012, we announced that we reached the milestone of $1 billion in Employee Giving since 1983. We’ve been asked when we’ll reach the second billion. It’s clear to me that with three record-breaking, $100 million years in a row, we are well on our way!
Follow the conversation at #MSFTGiving. We welcome you to share your own Giving stories with us.
Posted on Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:46:51 GMT
The following post is from Rob Knies, senior writer, Inside Microsoft Research.
|Butler Lampson with his wife, Lois, at LampsonFest held at the New England Research & Development (NERD) in Cambridge, Mass.
Late in the afternoon on Feb. 13, the lead headline on boston.com read: “Thick blanket of snow falling.” That was just the most recent of a series of similar weather-news blasts in what has been a shivering sort of winter for residents of Boston and environs.
But at the same time over in Cambridge, Mass., a couple of hundred fortunate folks were comfortably nestled into Microsoft Research New England for a heartwarming tribute to one of the greats in computing history: Butler Lampson.
The audience sat transfixed as a succession of computing’s seminal scientists took turns at spinning stories about the early days of computing—and Lampson’s instrumental role along the way.
Among the participants were no fewer than five winners of the A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing”:
· Alan Kay, president of the Viewpoints Research Institute and formerly of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, was the Turing winner in 2003.
· Barbara Liskov of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Liskov received the Turing in 2008.
· Ron Rivest, also of MIT CSAIL, was the Turing recipient in 2002.
· Chuck Thacker, formerly of Xerox PARC and now a technical fellow with Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, who won in 2009.
· And, of course, the guest of honor, Lampson, who won his Turing in 1992.
These legends of computing were greeted by a robust contingent representing the Microsoft Research management: Peter Lee, Jeannette Wing, Jennifer Chayes, and Christian Borgs.
With a gathering featuring accomplished scientists with a long history of foundational contributions among them, the reminiscences were both powerful and touching. Speakers shared illuminating details about the development of fundamental technologies we now take for granted. Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of the Ethernet and founder of 3Com, regaled the crowd with anecdotes about how computer networking came into being.
But somehow, as appropriate, the tales always ended up extolling the same theme: the many and varied contributions to computer science made by Butler Lampson.
Charles Simonyi, another veteran of Xerox PARC’s renowned innovation factory who later became chief architect and a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, brought along a couple of surprises: quotes he had been given to share by Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates.
“Butler is probably the broadest and smartest computer scientist today,” said Schmidt, executive chairman of Google. “We all just tried to keep up with him—and almost always fell behind. His contributions made much of our world possible, and I am beyond grateful.”
The comments from Gates—Microsoft founder, technology adviser and board member—were similarly admiring.
“If you could pick anyone to help you with a complex systems problem,” Gates said, “you would pick Butler. At Xerox and Microsoft, he was the key person helping with the most complex problems. I only wish I had taken more advantage of his abilities.”
It was that kind of day at Microsoft Research New England: cold and treacherous without, but warm and affectionate within.
Posted on Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on making Valentine’s Day memorable using apps, the continuing commitment to empowering youth through YouthSpark initiatives and tips to stay safer online.
The international day of love celebration known as Valentine’s Day inspired Bing, Windows 8.1, the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store to play Cupid. Bing shared l’amour-related search trends, including most romantic cities, as well as hottest dating sites and couples. Bing also showed us how the Bing Food & Drink app and Bing Boards could elevate you to be the master of romance. Windows 8.1 can also help plan the perfect experience with a variety of projects and apps at the ready for romance. Over in the Windows Store, the Valentine’s Day Collection gave us Valentine Cards, Urbanspoon, Cocktail Flow and Allrecipes as more resources to wow sweethearts near and far. If you’re rolling solo this Valentine’s Day, Match.com offers a free service trial. And if you’re still looking for help on the go, you’re in luck. In the Windows Phone Store, the Valentine’s Day Collection gathered together apps like 101 Love Msgsto help you express your love with the press of a button.
Through YouthSpark, Microsoft continued to empower youth through technology, key events, programs and competitions. The company launched a three-year commitment as co-title sponsors of Free the Children’s signature We Day event and We Act program in Seattle and in San Francisco. And, Challenge for Change is back for a second year, tapping into the next generation of big ideas. Competitors ages 18-25 are encouraged to submit an idea designed to spark change for good in their community or around the world for a chance to win prizes. Entries will be accepted through March 5.
To mark Safer Internet Day (SID) 2014, Microsoft asks people to “Do 1 Thing” to stay safer online and to make that one thing part of their daily digital routines. As part of this campaign, Microsoft launched a new interactive website Safer Online, where individuals can share their “Do1Thing” promise; learn what others are doing to help protect themselves online, and get instant tips to enhance and better protect their digital lifestyles.
The general availability of Power BI for Office 365 was one of several developments that showed the impact Microsoft technology is making with businesses around the world. Telefónica chose Lync as the centerpiece of its unified communications strategy. It’s the world’s fifth-largest mobile provider and has 140,000 employees who speak six languages and work from 26 countries. At the Singapore Airshow this week, Microsoft shared how its technologies help airlines deliver better in-flight entertainment for passengers, give airlines better situational awareness through real-time access to crucial information such as weather and provide in-flight crews with feature-rich applications for sales and services to passengers. Microsoft is also helping airline pilots go paperless with apps and Surface 2, which passed Federal Aviation Administration authorization as an electronic flight bag.
In the Xbox universe, limited time sales, new exclusives and “Titantfall” news set players’ minds abuzz. If you’ve always wanted to check out the latest entertainment experiences on Xbox 360, now is your chance, writes Larry Hryb: Xbox Live Gold member benefits for Xbox 360 will be free for all Xbox Live subscribers from Feb. 14-16 in the U.S. and Canada. “During this free Gold weekend, all Xbox Live entertainment apps and online multiplayer gaming will be available for free,” says Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson). There are also games and add-on deals in the Xbox Games Store, good through Feb. 17, which include “NBA 2K14” and “Fable II,” both on demand for Xbox 360. While the Winter Games continue in Sochi, you might already be thinking of more warm weather sports. For you, “Kinect Sports Rivals” will be available exclusively on Xbox One April 8 in North America, Australia and New Zealand, and April 11 in Europe. New sports include climbing, wake racing and target shooting, as well as fan favorites soccer, tennis and bowling. As the gaming world gears up for the release of “Titanfall” in March, the Xbox Wire team presents a video of Respawn team members looking back at their journey over the last few years, and you can also check out the early reviews of “Titanfall” beta. Fans of “Dead Rising 3” can do the zombie dance with the release of the new downloadable episode “Fallen Angel”, which reveals a new character. There’s also the global launch of “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition” with new features. To enhance play on those and other games, the Xbox One Stereo Headset and the Stereo Headset Adapter are due out worldwide in early March. Also that month, expect Xbox One multiplayer and party updates.
Apps and games in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store offer an abundance of ways to have fun and stay informed – and you can enjoy them all on the new Nokia Lumia Icon. In the Windows Store, “Glacier Blast,” “Medieval Apocalypse” and the App of the Week: “World at Arms” can all make time pass much more quickly, while Staff App Picks Urbanspoon and Watch ABC can give you food pointers and catch you up on favorite shows. WatchESPN keeps you current on sports. In the Windows Phone Store, the Red Stripe Deals collection gives you plenty of options for play and work, while the “Subway Surfers” update takes players to Seoul. The WeatherBug app, which already gives you access to the world’s largest network of weather sensors for super-accurate forecasts, now gives you Spark Alerts that turn your Windows Phone device into a personal lightning detector. Use the free Amtrak and Instagram BETA apps for a chance to win a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone. Speaking of phones, the new Nokia Lumia Icontakes high definition video to the next level for smartphone users.
This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we went hands on with 3D printing with Windows 8.1.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Have a happy Valentine’s Day (or weekend!) and see you next week.
Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Thu, 13 Feb 2014 23:21:00 GMT
The following post is from Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president, Xbox Marketing, Microsoft
The release of January NPD Group data today provides a chance to reflect on the success of Xbox One. We are incredibly humbled and proud to see Xbox One continue to be the best launch of an Xbox in our history. Comparatively, Xbox One consoles have sold at a rate of 2.29 times faster than Xbox 360 in the U.S. in the same timeframe for the first three months on the market. From our blazing start out of the gate, we have continued to see Xbox One delight fans in 13 markets around the world, with many more markets to come this year.
More importantly, it is gratifying for our team to see Xbox continue to prove it’s the best place to play games. January NPD Group figures released today revealed Xbox* sold the most games across all console platforms in January with 2.27 million units sold, making up 47 percent of software market share. Fans continue to show their excitement for new generation Xbox One games, with U.S. consumers purchasing an average of 2.7 games per console since launch. This amazing success is due in large part to our unrivaled games lineup, first class Xbox Live multiplayer games service and a platform for game developers that offers unique capabilities such as Kinect and Xbox SmartGlass.
During the month of January, Xbox* held five of the top 10 spots on the console game title list in the U.S.: “Battlefield 4,” “Call of Duty: Ghosts” (Xbox 360 and Xbox One), “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Minecraft.” Gamers love Xbox and our community has never been more vibrant on the industry-leading Xbox Live service. Since launch, over 2.6 billion global Gamerscore has been achieved, 165 million global achievements have been unlocked and 130 million global Game DVR clips have been uploaded.
We’re just getting started. Our team couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming launch of “Titanfall,” which is exclusive to Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Recently called the “most important game in years,” a “game changer” and “system seller,” “Titanfall” has been heralded for its “spectacular action,” termed a “ridiculously good looking game,” and the “most exciting shooter in years.” For people who haven’t purchased Xbox One, we believe “Titanfall” will be the energizer to launch a new generation of gameplay.
In addition to being the best place to play games, we also had a goal to create an all-in-one entertainment device that brings new and unmatched entertainment capabilities worthy of a next generation console. We’re pleased to see that goal bear out as our global fans use Xbox One in incredible ways at rates we’ve never seen before:
- We’ve seen over 740 million hours of fun on Xbox One across games, apps, and TV.
- Our top apps showcase the diversity of entertainment enjoyed on Xbox One, including TV, Upload, Internet Explorer, Game DVR, Netflix, YouTube, Skype, Xbox Video and Blu-Ray player.
- People are seeing the benefit of Kinect, with over 685 million speech commands used to navigate Xbox One, including 20 million commands of “Xbox, Record That” alone.
- Xbox One connects families and friends in unparalleled ways. Over 1 million people have launched Skype on Xbox One, discovering the brilliance of large screen communication every day.
These are just a few of the reasons that we are energized and motivated to continue to deliver breakthrough experiences for our fans. In fact, last week, we announced new product features and updates coming soon in our first product update, with significant new features for our multiplayer and party systems in March – along with a host of new developments we’ll share in the coming weeks. We are committed to delivering continuous innovation – the best games and entertainment, the best multiplayer, and the best community – and the only all-in-one entertainment device. Best of all, it is an incredible time to be a gamer and in the industry. The new generation of consoles all up are off to an unbelievable start. We’re honored to bring a unique and fresh perspective with Xbox One.
All NPD data from NPD Group (January 2014); other data is Microsoft internal data
*Across Xbox One and Xbox 360
Posted on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Susan Hauser, corporate vice president, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft.
This week, we are onsite at the Singapore Airshow to announce the latest in airline innovation in collaboration with our partners. Airlines around the world face tough competition, thin margins, increased passenger expectations and, as a result, are seeking new ways to achieve efficiencies while delivering great customer experiences.
Cloud technologies enable greater agility while reducing IT inefficiencies, giving businesses in the aviation industry an unprecedented opportunity to use technology to save costs, increase revenue growth and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Microsoft partners attending the show are delivering solutions that truly embody how cloud innovation is transforming the aviation industry and providing real benefits today. They include:
In-flight entertainment that gives customers more than just movies
Long gone are the days when airline passengers suffered through the small screen anchored to the back of the seat in front of them with only a few movies to choose from for their in-flight entertainment. Lufthansa Systems is showcasing its BoardConnect app today on Windows 8. The app will allow airlines to create their own unique experience for their in-flight passenger entertainment systems on Windows devices, giving passengers the opportunity to select movies, order food, shop, find out information about their destination and much more. The app can be quickly customized by each airline, allowing them to configure devices to offer a uniquely branded product to passengers.
Electronic Flight Bags that go beyond digitizing paper content
Jeppesen is in Singapore to show off their FliteDeck Pro app – a complete Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution built with an app designed specifically for the Windows platform. The app gives airlines a data-driven, interactive navigation solution ready for commercial use. FliteDeck Pro provides access to Jeppesen’s global library of terminal charts, change notices and text, as well as data distribution and deployment support. FliteDeck Pro increases situational awareness through faster, real-time access to information like weather and NOTAMs, and reduces pilot workload by eliminating manual paper revisions and the need to haul 30 to 50 pounds of paper materials for each flight.
Cabin service for point-of-sale and much more
Avanade’s Mobile Airline Platform, available today, provides in-flight crew with innovative and feature-rich applications for sales and services that enhance the passenger experience while creating opportunities to generate new revenue models. This includes powerful front and back-office processes, an easy-to-use mobile interface, support for personal devices and both online and offline connectivity and processing.
At Microsoft, we understand what airlines need and are delivering technologies to help them be more successful. Our innovation is helping to solve business problems, including enhancing mobility via Windows-powered devices, facilitating digitization of charts, maps and operations manuals and enabling integration with back-end systems and cloud services. Airline customers are also benefiting with a superior in-flight experience. Technology is changing the airline industry in amazing ways for everyone. At Microsoft, we are excited have a front row seat to help these exciting innovations take off.
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Posted on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 17:00:00 GMT
The following post is from Quentin Clark, Corporate Vice President, Data Platform Group.
On Monday we announced that Power BI for Office 365 – our self-service business intelligence solution designed for everyone – is generally available. Power BI empowers all kinds of business users to find relevant information, pull data from Windows Azure and other sources, and prepare compelling business intelligence models for analysis, visualization, and collaboration.
Modernizing business intelligence
Today business intelligence is only used by a fraction of the people that could derive value from it. What we all need is modernized business intelligence which will help everyone get the information they need to understand their job or personal life better. Not just the type of information gained from an Internet search, but also information from expert sources. Now imagine you could bring together these different information sources, discover relationships between facets of information, create new insights and understand your world better. And that you could get others to see what you see, and enable them to collaborate and build on one another’s ideas. And imagine that available on any scale of data and any kinds of computation you might need. Now imagine it’s not just you – but that anyone can access this kind of data-driven discovery and learning.
Power BI brings together many key aspects of the modernization of business intelligence: a public and corporate catalog of data sets and BI models, a way to search for data, a modern app and a Web-first experience, rich interactive visualizations, collaboration capabilities, tools for IT to govern data and models, and a groundbreaking natural language experience for exploring insights. Together, these capabilities will not just change the kinds of insights we can gain from data, but change the reach of those insights as well.
Bringing big data to a billion users
With Power BI, we have the opportunity to bring these types of data insights to a billion people. Office 365 is broadly adopted and growing – one in four of our enterprise customers now has Office 365. By making our business intelligence features part of Office, we ensure the tools are accessible, and through Office 365, we make the tools easy to adopt – not just the ease of using Web applications, but making things like collaboration, security, data discovery and exploration integrated and turnkey.
I talked earlier about the importance of reach, and one of the ultimate forms of reach we discovered over the course of developing Power BI has been a feature we named Q&A, which allows anyone to type in search terms – just as they would in Bing – and get instantaneous, visual results in the form of interactive charts or graphs.
Realizing value from data
I personally know how significant this all is – as you can imagine, at Microsoft we run our business on our own data platform and on Power BI. In my role as head of our data platform group, I don’t create a lot of models, but I consume a lot of them – everything from the business financials of the SQL Server business and team management to our engineering and services datasets. My mobile business intelligence application for Windows 8 allows me to interact with our daily engineering data. The ability to visualize and interact with data on my large PPI screen allows me and my finance and marketing partners to meet in my office and have a deep conversation about the business. Collaboration through Office 365 and SharePoint Online allows me to share perspective with my peers around the company.
Power BI for Office 365 has empowered me to realize deeper value from data. I’m excited to share this power with everyone.
Posted on Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, Windows Azure being used to provide live streaming and on-demand video of the 2014 Winter Games on NBC, and the fourth-largest school district in the U.S. planning to have 100,000 Windows 8 devices in students’ hands by 2015.
Satya Nadella says he is “honored and humbled” to succeed Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as only the third CEO of Microsoft in nearly four decades. “Our industry does not respect tradition -- it only respects innovation,” he says. “I see a big part of my job as accelerating our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.” The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is “vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform,” he said in a press release. Nadella, 46, was born in India, and was most recently executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Married with three children, he’s an enthusiastic fan of cricket and also enjoys reading poetry. “It’s like code,” he says, adding that the best code is poetry.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates said “there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella.” Nadella, he said, “is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.” Gates, previously chairman of the board of directors, takes on a new role on the board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.
|Bill Gates, Satya Nadella and Steve Ballmer with employees on Feb. 4, 2014.
If you’re watching the 2014 Winter Games on NBC on demand and streamed on smartphones, tablets, computers or Internet-connected TVs, you’re watching the power of Windows Azure Media Services at work. Cloud-based Windows Azure Media Services, a highly scalable video service platform hosted in Microsoft’s datacenters, is being used to publish and stream more than 1,000 hours of coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games through Feb. 23. Viewers can access live and on-demand content via the NBC Sports Live Extra app available free on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Fans also can go to NBCOlympics.com to view live or on-demand Olympics events on a PC or Mac. With so much interest in the games, “To meet that demand, Windows Azure is leading the way by providing end-to-end live streaming of the Winter Olympics entirely in the cloud, including encoding, transcoding and streaming, for the first time in history,” said Scott Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the U.S., is taking steps to close the divide between students who have access to technology and those who do not. At a Microsoft YouthSpark Connection panel in Miami Thursday, Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho and Margo Day, Microsoft vice president, U.S. Education, announced the district will move forward with its 1:1 device initiative, rolling out a total of 100,000 Windows 8 devices by August 2015. Microsoft also announced this week that in line with President Barack Obama’s ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age within five years, the company and its OEM partners have created a new offer to all U.S. K-12 public schools for Windows devices in the classroom. It’s an offer that has “potential to inject $1 billion in savings into the system, via the purchase of Windows-based tablets, laptops and devices, which we are providing at substantially lower pricing on devices and services through our partners Dell, Lenovo and others,” Day wrote.
We updated our transparency reporting to provide new information relating to governmental demands for customer data.“Beginning last summer, Microsoft, Google, and other companies filed lawsuits against the U.S. government arguing that we have a legal and constitutional right to disclose more detailed information about these demands,” wrote Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs. “We contended that we should be able to disclose information about legal orders issued pursuant to U.S. national security laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which we had previously been barred from disclosing.” As a result of that litigation, he said, the government recently agreed for the first time to allow technology companies to publish data about FISA orders. “While there remain some constraints on what we can publish … we are now able to present a comprehensive picture of the types of requests that we receive from the U.S. Government pursuant to national security authorities.”
|NBC Sports Live Extra app for Windows Phone.
There’s no shortage of ways to keep up with the Winter Games, or other games, on Windows Phone. With the NBC Sports Live Extra app, you not only get the Winter Games live, but you’ll also find complete schedule of the events and, push notifications for start times you’re interested in. You might also want to check out the Winter Sports collection, including various guides to what’s going on in Sochi, skiing apps and the Bing Sports app, in the Windows Phone Store. (Speaking of Bing, consider it your one-stop shop for trivia galore about the Winter Games, including a new timeline feature that gives a quick chronological list of an athlete’s career highlights.) If you’re feeling like less sport-y and more game-y (so to speak), take a look at “Jetpack Joyride,” where you play as Barry Steakfries, a hero breaking out of a lab trying to keep an ultra-powered jetpack out of the hands of evil scientists. Go back in time and play the new Caesar in the fast-paced strategy game, “Roman Empire,” where your goal is to conquer Europe – and hang onto it for 500 years. If you don’t want an empire, try city building with “2020: My Country,” with your mission being to create and maintain a futuristic metropolis on a chain of island cities. Or, earn the title King of the Road in “Hot Rod Racers,” which brings the adrenaline rush of drag racing exclusively to Nokia Windows Phones devices.
This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we congratulated the Seattle Seahawks on their Big Game victory.
What a historic week it has been! That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Thanks for visiting, and we’ll see you next Friday!
Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff
Posted on Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:47:00 GMT
The following post is from Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft Corp.
Today, I had the pleasure of sitting on a Microsoft YouthSpark Connection panel in Miami with local education, business and city leaders, to discuss a problem facing the city of Miami, and this nation — the unfortunate divide between students who have access to technology, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. While sitting next to Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, we made an exciting announcement that is one step closer to bridging this divide for local students. M-DCPS is moving forward with its 1:1 device initiative, rolling out a total of 100,000 Windows 8 devices by August 2015. This spring, 13,000 elementary school students will get laptops and about 15,000 7th grade civics students and 9th grade world history students will get Windows 8 devices.
This is a big step forward for the students of M-DCPS. It is made even more significant by the fact that since M-DCPS’s more than 350,000 students will receive Office Pro Plus for free as part of Microsoft Student Advantage, once they are connected to enterprise-quality Windows 8 devices, students will literally have the tools in their hands to gain the skills proven to be most valuable for success in college and career. A recent IDC Study, which scanned more than 14 million job postings, found that the most in-demand skills for the top jobs through 2020 are the modern skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork, coupled with the technical skills of Microsoft Office. In fact, Microsoft Office is the No. 2 skill employers are looking for in the highest-paying jobs, and No. 3 skill in all jobs.
Now, make no mistake — we know technology on its own will not close this education gap; it alone won’t improve test scores. Yet, it is powerful when used effectively. The empowered teacher and flexible technology combination can be a magical mix.
We applaud M-DCPS for carefully looking at the needs of its teachers and students before making the decision of which technology solution to implement. Microsoft is committed to helping teachers at Miami Dade learn new ways to teach with technology. It’s critical to help teachers reduce the time they spend on administrative tasks such as grading homework. With the use of tools such as shared OneNote Notebooks, this is finally possible. Ultimately we want to help teachers spend the most time doing what they do best and love to do most: teach.
For the students, it was wonderful to see Miami-Dade deeply consider the diverse needs of its student population and avoid a one-size-fits-all technology solution. We believe that choice in devices is critical and we support the variety of our hardware partners with their diverse Windows 8 offerings. It may be that 4thgraders will benefit from a more ruggedized laptop, whereas Middle- and High schoolers need the flexibility of tablet devices. Yet even with a diversity of devices, all students will have the consistent, secure, privacy-respecting experience of one platform.
At Microsoft, we place special emphasis on our commitment to teachers and student success over the long haul. We know the hard problems don’t stop surfacing after initial deployment. We want schools to be confident in their potential from the moment these devices are turned on and placed in every students’ hand until the day the device is replaced with a diploma.
Education is going through an incredible transformation. It is fitting that Miami-Dade County Public Schools put a stake in the ground this week, as just two days ago, President Obama himself focused the nation’s attention on the importance of ensuring all our nation’s kids reap the benefit of what technology can do to enhance their learning experience. We were proud to stand with the President and do our part towards closing the gap of schools who have access to the best devices and education services.
With the technology available and innovation happening now, there is indeed no better time to be a student.
Posted on Thu, 06 Feb 2014 14:00:00 GMT
New Olympic events in snowboarding, freestyle skiing and figure skating in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games start Thursday and when NBC’s viewers want to see those competitions and others streamed live or on demand on their smartphones, tablets, computers or Internet-connected TVs, it will be Windows Azure Media Services making it possible, from behind the scenes.
NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, and Microsoft announced that Windows Azure Media Services is being used to publish and stream all 98 events of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, through Feb. 23. It’s a massive undertaking, one that involves managing more than 1,000 hours of streaming coverage and serving millions of viewers who are using different devices and operating systems.
To meet those demands, Windows Azure will be “leading the way by providing end-to-end live streaming of the Winter Olympics entirely in the cloud, including encoding, transcoding and streaming, for the first time in history,” said Scott Guthrie, acting lead of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group, in a press release announcing the partnership with NBC.
Viewers can access live and on-demand content by using the free NBC Sports Live Extra app, available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. They can also go to NBCOlympics.com to view live or on-demand Olympics events on a computer – PC or Mac.
That’s the power of Windows Azure Media Services, which can be used to build, manage and distribute video using any streaming format, to any device for broadcasters and other customers.
“We know the country will be watching, so we think it’s a great testament that NBC Olympics has chosen Microsoft as its partner for broadcasting the Games,” said Steven Martin, Windows Azure Marketing & Operations general manager. “There are literally millions of dollars at stake here, and they’re counting on us to deliver.”
“We are pleased to be working once again with Microsoft, and we are confident that Windows Azure Media Services will help us provide the most robust streaming experience ever for a Winter Olympics,” said Richard Cordella, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group, in the press release.
The NBC Sports Group worked with Microsoft for some aspects of broadcast coverage during the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and in Beijing in 2008.
Also, last spring, NBC Sports Group chose Windows Azure Media Services to be used across NBC Sports’ digital platforms, including NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com. At that time, Cordella described Microsoft as the kind of “tried and true” company NBC can trust.
“There are a lot of stakeholders within our ecosystem that depend on this content being delivered at a high-quality rate, to anywhere and any device,” he said in the video above.
At the 2012 London Olympics, several foreign broadcasters used Windows Azure Media Services for streaming the games. Among them: France Télévisions, RTVE in Spain, CTV in Canada and Terra in Central America and South America.
During those Olympics, in the United States viewers with connected devices watched, on average, six hours of the NBC’s coverage each day, “and we anticipate this demand will continue to grow” with Sochi, said Guthrie.
Transforming the media services industry
NBC Sports’ decision to use Windows Azure Media services is a “galvanizing moment to help the industry understand what Microsoft can bring with Internet broadcast events,” said Martin. “We see lots of opportunities for sports and video streaming of a variety of kinds. We think this is going to be a big market for Microsoft.”
Windows Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform used to securely build, deploy and manage applications and services using datacenters managed by Microsoft. Windows Azure Media Services offers ready-to-use services to handle, encode, store and stream live and on-demand video to any connected device anywhere.
Sudheer Sirivara, director of Windows Azure Media Services, said, “The most exciting thing about this event is that, for the first time, we are doing the complete end-to-end workflow, including live transcoding, dynamic ad-insertion, closed captioning and multi-format streaming in the cloud, as a platform. We have a unique offering in the industry and are the first to do it in a public cloud environment.”
Without Windows Azure’s services, he said, NBC would need to purchase and provision the required encoding hardware, networking equipment and storage for the duration of the event – assets for which they would not have much use after the event ends.
“This is where Windows Azure Media Services, with the inherent elasticity that it brings to the table, provides the ability to scale up and down the required resources on demand, providing the ability for NBC to bring many more sporting events online,” Sirivara said.
Olympic coverage from Sochi will first go through the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., then to two Microsoft datacenters, one in the eastern U.S. and another in the western U.S., for on demand and live streaming of more than 50 high-definition streams using Windows Azure.
“These channels will be running across both the datacenters simultaneously so that we provide geo-redundancy in addition to cluster and machine level redundancy already built into the service,” Sirivara said.
Microsoft is working with partners to deliver the Olympics live streaming and on demand video. Adobe Systems Inc. and its Primetime publishing and monetization platform will ensure a rich video experience and reach across all devices. Another partner, iStreamPlanet, will use its Aventus live video workflow solution to enable live transcoding in Azure.
Microsoft is also working with DeltaTre to bring the Olympics to 24 nations including Canada, Japan, all of Latin America and the Baltic countries. DeltaTre has built its solution on top of Azure Media Services to offer an end-to-end live and on demand streaming capability to hundreds of millions of people across these countries.
Customers ready to embrace the cloud
NBC’s choice of Windows Azure Media Services demonstrates that customers feel comfortable putting their trust in Microsoft’s cloud platform, Martin said.
“NBC is using a lot of our higher-level services. They’re not just using compute and network – they’re using a lot of our media services to help stream, which we think is a big differentiator for us over Amazon and other players,” he said.
“Amazon’s business is primarily renting IT capacity. We know that the market is evolving beyond that very quickly, and wants higher-level services.”
With Windows Azure Media Services, “We have encoding services, multi-format packaging and streaming services, content delivery services – we have a lot of the services that NBC needs to deliver a finished service, which means they don’t have to write nearly as much code.”
Windows Azure’s stability and security is also part of its success. “Customers just expect it to work. They expect it to work just like turning on their televisions works,” Martin said. “They expect high levels of reliability and availability.”
Windows Azure is adding about 1,000 customers a day
Among the customers using Windows Azure are Toyota Motor Corp., which has 16 customer websites, including a site with a three-dimensional virtual city where users can drive virtual cars and chat with fellow passengers; bicycle manufacturer Trek, which moved its retail management system to a cloud-based system to reduce support costs and make it easier to maintain; Aston Martin, which uses Windows Azure to optimize the company’s IT operations; and 3M, which uses Windows Azure to manage a new internal startup, 3M Visual Attention Service.
At 3M, Windows Azure deployment has scaled by 400 percent since its initial deployment, without the need for additional hardware or personnel.
“We don’t need to plan for increased scale in our use of Windows Azure,” said William K. Smyth, global business manager of VAS at 3M. “Given the low cost, we don’t need to worry about budgeting for it either.”
Windows Azure “continues to add about 1,000 customers a day,” Martin said. “We’re doubling the compute utilization every six to nine months, so we’re still very much in a high-growth area of the business.”
More than 200 new services were added to Windows Azure over the past year, including Media Services, as well as Mobile Services and Web Sites, “for customers who are driving new business value through cloud-native applications,” Martin said in a recent blog post. In the last year, Microsoft expanded its datacenters around the world, with launches in mainland China and Japan, and plans for datacenters in Australia and Brazil.
“Anyone who is doing video encoding, video on demand or broadcast should take a look at Windows Azure Media Services,” he said.
Certainly, Microsoft’s partnership with NBC is “a scenario where we’re demonstrating the future,” Martin said. “We know that, over time, a significant portion approaching 100 percent of the media will traverse Internet lines, rather than proprietary lines. This is a partnership that shows the world how Microsoft participates in that evolution.”
You might also be interested in:
· App of the Week: Catch all the glory of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games with NBC Sports Live Extra apps
· Microsoft Teams Up With NBC Sports Group to Deliver Compelling Sports Programming Across Digital Platforms Using Windows Azure
· Windows Azure Media Services Enables Cloud Delivery of London Olympics
· Windows Azure Media Services and the London 2012 Olympics
· NBC News Picks Windows Azure over Amazon to Host Push Notifications to Mobile Apps
Microsoft News Center Staff