ARTICLE BY ROBIN SANDERS
Microsoft introduced new advancements at Microsoft Build, focusing on opening platforms to more developers and setting the tone for a mixed reality future.
Innovation and Productivity in the Workplace
Microsoft introduced updates to Office 365, including the use of Microsoft Graph APIs to connect data within the workplace, such as scheduling, content, and projects. One example demonstrated two employees with different native languages adding English subtitles to a PowerPoint via real-time linguistic translation.
Another update came with the announcement that any developer will be able to publish apps for the O365. Such updates demonstrate a movement towards open-ended development that will allow more content to reach a wider range of users. For example, Harry Shrum, VP of AI, touched on the impact that big computing has brought customization to the AI user experience in areas such as web searches and file storing.
Microsoft has made Cortana Skills Kit available to public developers, allowing third party development for Microsoft's AI shell. Being packaged as a personal assistant, Cortana will be able to fluidly move between a home device to an automobile to the office with minimal user involvement. This announcement marks significant advances in artificial assistance with various tasks and suggests that such assistance will play a larger role as AI like Cortana are further developed.
Windows 10 Updates
The most important aspect of Microsoft’s new OS is the streamlined experience across multiple platforms. Specifically, with the launch of Fluid Design System, Microsoft hopes to allow users to pick up on one device where they left off on another device. Microsoft’s new Timeline brings an ease to task switching through an organized visual display so users don't lose their progress.
Microsoft followed up by introducing the utilization of the Cloud Clipboard, which allows universal copying and pasting of text between apps and devices. This features could eliminate the hassle of sending photos, text, and other files between two devices.
Developer-Oriented Windows Store
Microsoft is making it easier to create and publish apps on the Windows Store with the introduction of Windows Story Remix. Remix uses Microsoft Graph to merge photo, video, and file sharing in order to expedite the creative process for the likes of not only content developers, but also the casual creator. Microsoft also announced that iTunes will be available for Windows 10 or 10 S, demonstrating a collaborative merger between two tech giants in order to bring more content to users.
Microsoft’s Mixed Reality
Microsoft announced the release of its Windows Mixed Reality development kit, which will put more creative power in the hands of developers than ever before. Developers will also be able to pre-order one of two offered headsets by Microsoft, made by Acer and HP in efforts to keep the innovation in virtual reality as open as possible.
To complement these changes, Microsoft announced the introduction of its Mixed Reality motion controllers. Being completely free-standing, the controllers will be the latest in assistive VR technology to deliver responsive motion tracking with 6 degrees of freedom.
As shown throughout the three-day conference, Microsoft has stayed current with its innovations. By keeping user experience in mind while also advancing its development in artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and user content, Microsoft has provided several promising projects that should help shape the future of how technology plays a role in our everyday lives.