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Microsoft To Build First Cloud Data Center Region In Mexico

The No. 2 cloud computing provider also will open labs with state-of-the-art technologies at three public Mexican universities to help develop students technology skills.

Microsoft will build its first cloud data center region in Mexico as part of a $1.1 billion investment in the country in the next five years.

The No. 2 cloud computing provider also will open laboratories with state-of-the-art technologies at three public Mexican universities to help develop students' tech skills as part of its “Innovate for Mexico” plan to drive digital transformation and development there.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador announced the news at a press conference in Mexico City today that included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella via a video feed.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to apply digital technology to create new opportunity in Mexico to help make every small business more productive, every multinational company in Mexico more competitive…every government institution more efficient and improving health and educational outcomes,” Nadella said. “I saw this firsthand during my visit to Mexico last year, when I met so many inspiring Mexican innovators -- from local hospitals applying technology to improve patient care, Mexican multinational companies using the latest collaboration tools to foster a completely new culture of work, to manufacturing companies harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to bring new insights and improve their operations.”

Microsoft’s investment demonstrates Mexico is an attractive investment destination, according to Lopez Obrador, who pointed to a strong local currency, stable inflation and careful debt management, Reuters reported.

Microsoft is the first of the top three major cloud providers to announce a planned data center region in Mexico, which would extend its global infrastructure to 57 cloud regions in 141 countries.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company couldn’t disclose details of the planned location or expected launch date of the data center, which would provide services including Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.

“We intend to build scalable and resilient infrastructure to support the needs of commercial customers in Mexico and will have more to share about the details of our data center region in the future,” the spokesperson said.

Microsoft customers in Mexico include telecommunications company América Móvil, retailer El Puerto de Liverpool and Servicio de Administración Tributaria, Mexico’s tax authority.

Laboratories And Virtual Classroom

Mexico’s education ministry will select the public universities in the northern, central and southern parts of the country that will house the three physical Microsoft laboratories.

The goal is to provide updated training in technological solutions to meet labor market needs. Teachers, students, researchers and university administrators will be able to develop personalized learning paths to learn new technical skills and content relevant to their chosen professions.

A virtual classroom component is intended to amplify innovations from the labs to improve young Mexicans’ employability.

Microsoft will establish an advisory board with chief executive officers of companies from leading industries to identify the demand for skills education, share best practices and track progress.

“Over the next 5 years we will invest in these and other initiatives, including events to foster innovation and skilling for developers, startups, organizations in general,” Enrique Perezyera, general manager Microsoft Mexico, said in a statement.

AI Commitment

Microsoft also will contribute to Mexican projects that could benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities as part of its “AI for Earth” initiative for environmental innovation launched in 2017 with a $50 million-plus commitment over five years.

One of its first investments is support for the “Artificial Intelligence to Monitor Pelagic Sharks in the Mexican Pacific Ocean” (Shark ID) project based in Cabo San Lucas that’s focused on the conservation of mako sharks under the auspices of Mexico Azul, an environmental conservation organization, with students from La Salle University. The project will get a Microsoft grant to create open-source software that will photo-identify individual sharks of four highly vulnerable pelagic species in the Mexican Pacific by using AI and machine learning technologies.

The initiatives are part of Microsoft’s ongoing work in Mexico, where, according to the company, it’s contributed to 156,000 jobs in the information technology sector in conjunction with 4,000 Mexican business partners. Microsoft said it's maintained an alliance with foundations and non-governmental organizations by creating a network of training centers where people can access computers and learn digital skills. Fifteen million online trainings have been completed to date, it said.

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