September 23, 2023

The brand new 12 months brings alternative for considerate reflection in regards to the previous 12 months, each personally and professionally. 2022 was a 12 months of firsts for me—first time having clam chowder at Pike Place Market as an area, first time going purchasing for heels with my daughter, and first time delivering an Azure keynote at Encourage as a Microsoft worker when pre-COVID-19, I used to be a Companion listening within the viewers. And right here is one other first; the beginning of a brand new weblog sequence the place I plan to share extra about noteworthy and provoking information and AI improvements we’re releasing throughout Microsoft. Given the National Retail Federation’s Big Show this week, I’ll additionally spotlight how these improvements impression retail.

Let’s discover what’s new for Azure Information & AI this month:

Microsoft underscores resilient retail at NRF

A bellwether for financial and societal tendencies, the retail business continues to be on the entrance line of adaptive innovation. And moderately than making an attempt to foretell the long run, retailers are working to attain higher enterprise agility essential to thrive in it. Which means, like Majid Al Futtaim Retail, they automate tedious processes so staff can concentrate on higher-value duties. Like Grupo Bimbo, they unify disparate information factors in actual time in order that staff can entry a central supply of fact when and the place they want it. And, like CCC Group, they keep laser-focused on delivering differentiated buyer experiences to construct loyal followers. Throughout every of those organizations, information is seen as an accelerant for progress, powering extra customized buyer experiences, cost-efficient provide chains, and proactive responses to market tendencies.

Enterprise agility requires individuals, processes, and applied sciences to work in concord, and to align on how large quantities of knowledge are managed, analyzed, and actioned to answer market calls for. More and more, these efforts concentrate on driving sustainable progress that limits carbon emissions, for instance by utilizing machine studying to extra precisely forecast demand to cut back extra stock and waste.

We all know cloud applied sciences like databases, containers, and AI can allow extra correct selections, however it may be difficult to make sure these applied sciences converse to one another in the appropriate approach on the proper time on a world scale. That is the place Azure and the Microsoft Clever Information Platform—the outline we use to consult with all the Information & AI Azure services we provide shine. With managed databases like Cosmos DB, analytics providers like Azure Synapse, and main AI choices, retailers can reap the benefits of the “by design” integration the Microsoft Clever Information Platform affords, which implies they can make investments extra time in creating worth moderately than integrating and managing their information property.

The Microsoft Clever Information Platform got here to life via new immersive demo experiences this 12 months at NRF and I’m going to briefly spotlight what we showcased on the convention. Earlier this week at NRF, Microsoft’s Alysa Taylor and Shelley Bransten spoke on the subject of Resilient Retail and shared examples of organizations digitizing their companies to do extra with much less. You may learn extra about their talks on our Industry blog.

Microsoft additionally met with prospects at our NRF sales space to debate methods for making sense of all their information. For instance, these two demos spotlight how tight integrations between information, analytics, and AI will help make resilient retail a actuality.

Large World Importers (WWI), a world grocery store chain, needs to maximise the worth of their information property. By utilizing Azure Synapse pipelines with Cosmos DB, they get actual time insights that are mechanically shared with the appropriate choice makers via instruments like Azure Data Explorer and Power BI. They’re capable of observe their provide chain information in actual time and use predictive AI to cut back prices. They’re additionally capable of govern their information property from a single utility one pane of glass utilizing Microsoft Purview.

Subsequent, Large World Importers faucets into the ability of Azure AI to construct a extra related buyer expertise. They use Azure Form Recognizer to detect and redeem promotional affords. Azure Cognitive Search helps prospects discover product info extra rapidly by recognizing their search intent and helps WWI ship extra customized suggestions. Pre-built AI capabilities, equivalent to speech recognition and laptop imaginative and prescient, additionally differentiate the buying expertise and supply a extra accessible move.

The overall availability of Azure OpenAI Service 

As Eric Boyd talked about in his weblog, we introduced the overall availability of Azure OpenAI Service as a part of our ongoing partnership with OpenAI. Azure OpenAI Service offers a commercialization platform for companies to leverage superior AI fashions like GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL*E to create progressive purposes. Prospects of all sizes throughout industries are utilizing Azure OpenAI Service to do extra with much less, enhance experiences for finish customers, and streamline operational efficiencies. 

Microsoft Accountable AI Dashboard now obtainable

The digitization of retail allows retailers to fulfill buyer expectations with rising precision, from offering personalized suggestions on-line to restocking stock primarily based on computer vision in bodily shops. Buyers anticipate the expertise behind their retail expertise to use information and AI responsibly. In December, we started rolling out our new Responsible AI dashboard in Azure Machine Studying, which incorporates capabilities like equity evaluation, interpretability, error evaluation, and causal inferencing. And at the moment, we’re excited to announce the overall availability of the Microsoft Accountable AI dashboard. Retailers can leverage the Accountable AI dashboard to optimize the patron’s expertise in addition to construct belief and constructive notion for his or her manufacturers.

See how one can learn more about Responsible AI.

Full textual content search capabilities come to Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra

Azure Cosmos DB has seen large momentum throughout the retail business, given its potential to mechanically and immediately scale when site visitors is unpredictable with out sacrificing efficiency or price effectivity. Microsoft runs each the Home windows retailer and Xbox Stay on Azure Cosmos DB for this very function. This month, we’re saying a number of efficiency enhancements to Azure Cosmos DB to make it simpler and quicker for builders to question information shops in Azure Cosmos DB. These embody the power to do full textual content searches in Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra via a local integration with Azure Cognitive Search, and help for GraphQL and REST via Information API builder.

For extra technical element about these and different updates to Azure Cosmos DB, visit our developer blog.

JSON help for Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise usually obtainable

Assist for JSON paperwork in Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise tiers, delivered through the RedisJSON module, has been made usually obtainable as of November 2022. This turns Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise right into a high-performance NoSQL doc retailer and drives effectivity for builders to modernize their purposes. The brand new RedisJSON module replace is properly suited to retail prospects seeking to retailer, search, and index product catalogs and shopper information through a single atomic operation.

To study extra on Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise and the RedisJSON module please check out the blog.

Microsoft named a Chief within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Perception Engines

In December, Microsoft was named a frontrunner within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Perception Engines, which evaluates the capabilities of assorted distributors available in the market for offering enterprise-scale seek for app growth. Organizations profit, irrespective of the business, however Cognitive Search is an exceptionally highly effective instrument for retailers, serving to them to rapidly discover and analyze information associated to buyer conduct, gross sales, and stock. It can be used to personalize the buying expertise for particular person prospects primarily based on their previous interactions and preferences.

Study extra and download the report.

Prospects innovating with Azure Information & AI

I’d like to shut my inaugural “what’s new” weblog submit with my favourite approach of creating every part I’ve coated above actionable—by sharing examples of our prospects succeeding. I share them as a approach of serving to spark the understanding—possibly even a bit of creativeness—in order that others can higher envision how this superb new Information & AI expertise can be utilized in their very own organizations.

I hope you loved studying this month’s version of what’s new in Azure Information & AI. We sit up for sharing extra insights and inspiration within the months forward.


Grupo Bimbo transforms the information evaluation of business areas with Microsoft Options

Mexico—The worldwide baking firm carries out tons of of hundreds of transactions globally and wanted a approach for collaborators to rapidly entry and act on insights to enhance gross sales. By adopting Energy BI and Azure Synapse, Grupo Bimbo was capable of unify inner and exterior information, enhance enterprise agility, and democratize insights for elevated productiveness throughout the group. Read the full Case Study.


How on-line market CDON used AI to develop into a market chief

Sweden—CDON started as a small on-line retailer of CDs, DVDs, and video games and rapidly turned the Nordic’s largest on-line market. When CDON realized legacy applied sciences have been holding it again, the corporate seemed to Azure to speed up its innovation and scale. Now their builders use Azure Cognitive Search, Azure DevOps, and different providers to higher perceive the person expertise on their web site and enhance personalization for higher efficiency. Read the full CDON Case Study.


How AEON Group elevated earnings and maximized stock with information and AI

Japan—Since opening its first retailer in December 2005, Maibasuketto, a member of the AEON Group’s grocery store enterprise, has expanded its footprint at a tempo of 100 shops yearly. To make sure its progress was sustainable, the corporate launched into an initiative to optimize retailer ordering and operations utilizing Azure Cognitive Companies, maximizing provide chain and stock primarily based on promoting patterns all through the day.


How Fashable reimagines vogue design with Azure Machine Studying and PyTorch

Portugal—Utilizing Azure Machine Studying, Fashable created an AI utility that generates authentic clothes designs to rapidly get a pulse on client preferences. This helps vogue corporations perceive buyer demand, get to market quicker, and scale back clothes waste by solely producing what they know will promote. Read the full Fashable Case Study.


WTW accelerates supply time with Azure Migration and Analytics

United Kingdom—Working in additional than 140 international locations with over 40,000 staff, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has a long time of expertise working with the world’s largest loyalty applications. To effectively govern the exponential progress in information for these applications and apply improvements in superior analytics and AI, WTW moved its workload to Azure. Now their staff have extra time to concentrate on uncovering insights for shoppers. Read the full WTW Case Study.