ThyssenKrupp elevator using Azure Machine Language to drive down maintenance costs

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Great example / scenario of how Azure Machine Language can help your business drive down costs.

Since last year the company has been working with Microsoft to build a monitoring system that feeds data from its elevators and escalators to the Azure cloud platform, using Microsoft’s Intelligent Systems Service to help capture that information and its Machine Learning service to make sense of it.

The aim is to develop a system that knows what repairs need to be carried out before anything breaks and which can advise engineers on what work needs doing during call-outs.

“With machine learning we’re going to be given a list saying ‘On your next maintenance these are the tasks that you should perform’,” said Smith.

Full Story at ZDNet

DevOps adoption rises and hybrid cloud strategy deepens in new study

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The RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud report has found DevOps adoption increase year on year in enterprises, as well as a continued push towards a hybrid cloud strategy.

Other interesting stats from the study included:

  • 62% of enterprise respondents say central IT makes more than half of cloud purchasing decisions
  • Greater scalability (57%) remains the key benefit of the cloud, alongside faster access to infrastructure (57%) and higher availability (51%)
  • 93% of the 930 respondents are using cloud in some capacity, with 58% opting for both public and private, 30% public only, and 5% private only

Full Story

What is Azure Machine Learning and why is it important: 4 Examples

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Azure Machine learning — getting a system to teach itself from lots of data rather than simply following preset rules — actually powers the Microsoft software you use everyday.

Examples

  1. Machine learning enables Clutter in Office 365 to determine with uncanny accuracy which email
  2. Makes it easier to touch the right menu on a Windows tablet with your finger
  3. Helps OneNote figure out your handwriting.
  4. If you’re selling handbags, dresses, shoes, or other fashion items on eBay, you might see much better sales overseas because automatic translations of listings are more accurate — and available in all 45 languages Azure ML supports.

InfoWorld

Full Story: Yesterday’s announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft’s deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere.

Microsoft Azure ML Site: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/machine-learning/ 

Don’t be a Luddite! Get rid of your old, outdated tape backup software

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Microsoft just announced a number of new features in their February 2015 Azure Backup update. The key capabilities (for non System Center users) are:

  • Long term retention – cloud as tape replacement
  • Offline seeding – complete your initial seeding faster and off-the-network

With the latest update, customers can specify daily, weekly, monthly and yearly retention policies. Customers can now retain their data for up to 99 years in Azure! If you are using tapes to address your long term retention needs – this release provides a compelling value prop to use Azure to address your backup and long term retention needs.

Full Story: Long term retention – cloud as tape replacement

Hold the Date – Microsoft to Announce New Features on March 2nd, 2015

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The next round of announcements are coming in less than a month.  Hopefully the Azure Preview Portal release from beta will be one of many announcements.

On March 2nd I’m doing an Azure event in London that you can attend for free.  I’ll be speaking for about 2.5 hours and will do an end-to-end walkthrough of Microsoft Azure, show off a bunch of demos of great new features/capabilities, and talk about some of the improvements coming out over the next few months.

Full Story: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/scottgu-azure-event-in-london-on-march-2nd

Office on iPad/iPhone devices Now Working without OneDrive

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I didn't see this coming.  This is great news for iPad/iPhone users!

Native cloud storage integration in the iOS apps

Starting today, third-party cloud storage providers can natively integrate into the “Locations” picker in the iOS Office apps. This will enable users to open, edit and save documents from these providers right from within Office. While we’re announcing availability of the iPad and iPhone integration today, we’re hard at work on the same type of integration for the Office universal apps for Windows 10 and the Office for Android apps. So in the future, no matter what device, platform, or storage provider you’re using, your Office documents will only be a tap away.

Full Story: http://blogs.office.com/2015/02/17/new-cloud-storage-integration-office/

How to Get $500,000 of Free Azure

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Microsoft will provide Y Combinator’s current class access to Microsoft Azure and a broad suite of Microsoft technology, as well as support.  This will include $500,000 in Microsoft Azure credit, three years of Office 365,  as well as direct access to Microsoft’s engineering teams – for Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 batch of startups.

Full Story: Microsoft announces partnership with Y Combinator, leading startup accelerator

“Microsoft Outlook is the Best Email App”…But Not on iPhone

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Full disclosure: I’ve been an iPhone customer since 3.0 shipped.  I’ve upgraded my iPhone at every opportunity, I currently use the 6+.  While working at Microsoft (my previous employer), I was constantly ridiculed by my peers as being stupid or insubordinate – for using an iPhone.  For me, it was just about using better technology.  I wasn’t making a political statement.

Today Steven Tweedie wrote that Outlook is the best Email App in the SmartPhone market. That may be, if you own a Windows Phone.  However for the rest of the smartphone users (that comprises about 97% of all smartphones users), Outlook is not an option. The two most common options for iPhone are iPhone Mail and Microsoft OWA..  And to be perfectly frank, OWA on iPhone is clearly much worst the iPhone Mail.  In fact, in my opinion is not a good product. Ten to 15 years ago, I would have said “it sucks”, but I digress.  Aside from constant reliability issues (it crashes on regular basis), OWA is slow and lacks many common and intuitive features that iPhone Mail provides.

However, Microsoft was smart enough to realize the issues with OWA and wisely purchased two new products that are very good on the iPhone.  The first app is called Acompli.  It combines Mail, Calendar and popular storage platforms like OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox and Box.  Acompli is a fantastic app, I highly recommend you give it a try.  The second app (acquired only a few days ago) is Sunrise.  I’ve used Sunrise user for over a year.  If not the best calendar app, it’s clearly in the top 3 on iPhone.  The combination of Acompli and Sunrise has replaced Mail and Calendar on my iPhone.  OWA was deleted the day I installed Accompli.

Next up on the list for an upgraded app on the iPhone is a great contact manage app – that integrates with other iPhone Apps.  I’m currently testing Humin and FullContact.  However the jury is still out.  Check back later for my review.

Microsoft Outlook is the best email app out right now (by @SteveTweedie)
Full Story: http://read.bi/1Do88Pd

Microsoft Azure Fastest Growing Cloud, But That’s Not Saying Much

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Microsoft Azure has made incredible progress over the past 2 years chasing the “big dog” Amazon AWS.  However, when you own a small percentage of the market, growth rates are misleading.

However, the growth of Azure does indicate Microsoft is clearly in second place and beating Google, IBM and Salesforce.  Like most pundits and bloggers, I believe it’s a 3 horse race between Amazon, Microsoft & Google.

Microsoft Azure: Fastest-Growing Big Cloud Provider - By Joe Panettieri (@JoePanettieri)

In terms of growth rates, Microsoft (up 96 percent) showed the greatest progress in 2014, followed by Google (81 percent), Amazon (51 percent), IBM (48 percent) and Salesforce.com (37 percent), Synergy estimates.

Full Story Here: http://bit.ly/1vwdVB4

Free Ebook – Fundamentals of Azure – Don’t Delay

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Hot off the press, Microsoft releases a new book on Azure.  This is a great book if you are just getting started. You’ll want to download and read as soon as possible. These books become dated in about 6 months – given the pace of new features from the Azure team.

Topics

Getting started with Azure
Websites and Cloud Service
Virtual Machines
Storage
Virtual Networks
Databases
Azure Active Directory
Management Tools
Business Scenarios

Who should read this ebook

This ebook focuses on providing essential information about the key services of Azure for developers and IT professionals who are new to cloud computing. Detailed, step-by-step demonstrations are included to help the reader understand how to get started with each of the key services. This material is useful not only for those who have no prior experience with Azure, but also for those who need a refresher and those who may be familiar with one area but not others. Each chapter is standalone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any particular chapter

Download

http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/ebooks

More Info

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2015/02/03/free-ebook-microsoft-azure-essentials-fundamentals-of-azure.aspx