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6 Big Things To Know About Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Strategy

‘We always believe that the cloud is not one-size-fits-all,” said Microsoft’s JG Chirapurath. ‘Now, more than ever, customers need more choice, more flexibility, in how they approach the cloud.’

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The other thing that I’m super excited about is the rapid growth of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and how this can be effectively employed to solve real-world business problems in almost every industry.

What the pandemic really taught us was that the use of advanced technologies like machine learning…to do things like predictive analytics has really been sort of an eye-opener for all of us. So we continue to invest in a really big way in things like Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services and effectively enable customers to transform their digital infrastructure in ways that are profound.

It’s beyond saying that, “Hey, listen, I’m just migrating it, or I’m taking it from on premises into the cloud.” We see customers effectively saying, “Alright, we’ve done that. What’s next? Let’s figure out all of this data that we are gathering. How can we unlock real insights from it and apply machine learning techniques to it to unlock real value for us?”

The other sort of ancillary trend here is the use of edge devices -- as in devices that sit right on the edge of the network -- (that are) getting more computationally capable. Effectively, you can supply it with things like machine learning models, so that it can do inferencing at the edge. My favorite case study in this regard is a customer called Peace Parks (Foundation). These folks are the largest white rhino conservancy in the world. They’re based in Africa. To stop poaching, they turn to Azure to effectively patrol vast amounts of area, which is what the range of the white rhino is, and…use AI and machine learning techniques fitted on quadcopter drones with cameras to constantly scan the surface and take pictures and then send those pictures back to Azure. Azure Machine Learning effectively infers and alerts you if there is some suspicious activity in a zone or in a quadrant. It has helped this organization do their job better.

Two years ago, three years ago, these kinds of scenarios would have been really impossible for you to do effectively. But this is a case where technology has evolved to a point where you can apply IoT devices like cameras and drones and AI to solve something that is vital to mankind, humankind.


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