Microsoft Power BI Visualizes IoT Data From Azure Stream Analytics


A new integration allows customers to create real-time dashboards based on Internet of things data from their Azure Stream Analytics.

Microsoft’s business intelligence and analytics product, Power BI, is already helping enterprises keep an eye on key business metrics by transforming big data into charts, tables and other visualizations. Now, Azure Stream Analytics customers can use the cloud-based tool to convert Internet of things (IoT) data into insights that update in real time.Capable of handling millions of events per second, Azure Stream Analytics enables organizations to perform real-time analytics on data from IoT devices using an SQL-like language. Used in conjunction with Azure Event Hubs and IoT Hubs—two other cloud-based IoT communications and data collection services—Stream Analytics enables customers to aggregate and filter streaming data for further analysis.This week, Microsoft released a new output connector for Power BI, ushering in the creation of interactive, live dashboards that offer users an up-to-the-minute overview of their IoT device deployments.”This will dramatically reduce the latency and time to action on your most important business metrics,” said Ryan CrawCour, a program manager at Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics, in an April 21 announcement. “We have been working with hundreds of customers in public preview to visualize data from sensors, business applications, social media, user logs, etc.”

The connector can help eliminate several steps involved in building an analytics solution, said CrawCour. In addition to ingesting, processing and storing data in a database, drawing insights from IoT sensors, devices and applications often requires developers to build custom software that is in constant communication with the database. Further, they are also often required to build the end-user dashboards.

Ultimately, the new integration can reduce complexity and add a new level of responsiveness to IoT-enabled business processes, added CrawCour. “Real-time dashboards provide a live view of the metrics that matter most to your business allowing for faster time to insight and action.”Meanwhile, Microsoft is offering customers a behind-the-scenes look at how IoT Hub handles a sudden influx of data.In blog post, Nicole Berdy, a Microsoft Azure IoT program manager, explained that IoT Hub runs on the same hardware that runs other customer IoT Hubs, thereby making it a shared resource. To keep the service from collapsing under denial of service-like spikes in usage and affecting other customers, Microsoft throttles device connections, device-to-cloud telemetry, requests and commands as they flow through the service.Also this week, Microsoft unveiled a public preview of new JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) functionality in Azure SQL, allowing the cloud database to easily ingest JSON data, exchange that data with other systems and services using JSON documents and create flexible data models. “Azure SQL Database works with JSON documents in standard well-known textual format. There is no need to convert your JSON documents to some custom binary serialization format or type, or to reload or transform your JSON data,” assured Jovan Popovic, a program manager in Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database team, in a separate blog post.

By Pedro Hernandez
Source: eweek

Microsoft (MSFT) Sues US Government Over Secret User Data Requests

Satya Nadella Microsoft


Microsoft Corp.  has sued the U.S. government for the right to tell its customers when a federal agency is looking at their emails, the latest in a series of clashes over privacy between the technology industry and Washington.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in the Western District of Washington, argues that the government is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing Microsoft from notifying thousands of customers about government requests for their emails and other documents.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

The government’s actions contravene the Fourth Amendment, which establishes the right for people and businesses to know if the government searches or seizes their property, the suit argues, and the First Amendment right to free speech.

Microsoft’s suit focuses on the storage of data on remote servers, rather than locally on people’s computers, which Microsoft says has provided a new opening for the government to access electronic data.

Using the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the government is increasingly directing investigations at the parties that store data in the so-called cloud, Microsoft says. The 30-year-old law has long drawn scrutiny from technology companies and privacy advocates who say it was written before the rise of the commercial internet and is therefore outdated.

“People do not give up their rights when they move their private information from physical storage to the cloud,” Microsoft says in the lawsuit, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. It adds that the government “has exploited the transition to cloud computing as a means of expanding its power to conduct secret investigations.”



Source: ibtimes

Microsoft, major banks strike blockchain deal

Microsoft logo

Jim Young | Reuters

Microsoft has struck a deal with a group of leading banks to help develop blockchain-like technology, the U.S. technology giant said on Monday.

Blockchain is the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency bitcoin. It works like a huge, decentralized ledger for bitcoin which records every transaction and stores this information on a global network so it cannot be tampered with. Banks feel blockchain technology can be utilized in areas from remittances to securities exchanges.

Banks around the world are looking into the technology which could disrupt the processes carried out by lenders.

Microsoft and the R3 Consortium, a group of the world’s biggest banksincluding JPMorgan and Citigroup that is dedicated to researching and delivering new financial technology, said they would work together to “accelerate the use of distributed ledger technologies, also known as blockchain”.

Under the terms of the “strategic partnership”, Microsoft Azure will be the cloud service provider for R3. Microsoft will provide cloud-based tools, services and infrastructure for R3 as well as dedicated technical architects, project managers, lab assistants and support services, the companies said.

“With intelligent, cloud-based technology, R3 and member banks will experiment and learn faster, accelerating distributed ledger technology deployment,” Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of global business development at Microsoft, said in a press release.

R3 and its members will have access to Microsoft’s blockchain partners which includes the likes of start-ups Ethereum and Ripple. .


By: Arjun Kharpal

Source: CNBC

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It’s man with machines, not man vs machines: Satya Nadella at Build 2016

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft on Wednesday kicked off its annual Build developer conference in San Francisco with its first keynote spearheaded by CEO Satya Nadella.

The company showcased its move towards conversational intelligence with cloud services, tools and bots.

“Human language is the new UI layer, bots are like new applications, and digital assistants are meta apps. Intelligence is infused into all of your interactions,” said Nadella

Speaking to an audience of nearly 5000 developers, Nadella introduced improvements to Cortana and announced previews of new cloud services and tool kits to create intelligent bots.

“We want to build intelligence that augments human abilities and experiences. Ultimately it’s not going to be about man versus machine. It is going to be about man with machines,” added Nadella.

The major announcements were the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortona Intelligence suite, interactive bots, Microsoft Cognitive Services, improved pen support, Xbox One development kit and HoloLens integration.

The software giant also announced the HoloLens Development Edition for developers and enterprises while highlighting that developers can use the Universal Windows Platform to create new mixed reality with holograms.

“With Windows 10 now running on over 270 million active devices, we’re celebrating with our fans by delivering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. We are dedicated to making Windows the most productive development environment for all developers, with all-new capabilities for the Universal Windows Platform and all-new tools for bringing apps to Windows 10 from any platform,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group.

Microsoft announced new additions to the Cortana Intelligence Suite- Microsoft Cognitive Services and Microsoft Bot Framework.

Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of intelligence APIs that allows systems to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret commands using natural methods of communication.

On the other hand, the bot framework can be used by developers — programming in any language — to build intelligent bots that enable customers to chat using natural language on a wide variety of platforms including text/SMS, Office 365, Skype, Slack, the Web and more.

It also released the Skype Bot Platform. With this platform, developers can build bots that leverage Skype’s multiple forms of communication, including text, voice, video and 3D interactive characters.

By: Debashis Sarkar


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Microsoft Aligns With NetEnrich on Azure Migrations

Microsoft, NetEnrich

Microsoft is working with NetEnrich to provide partners with a white-label service they can use to move application workloads into Azure.

As part of an effort to significantly expand the consumption of cloud services on the Microsoft Azure platform, Microsoft is enlisting the aid of NetEnrich to provide its partners with a white-label service they can invoke to move application workloads into Azure.

NetEnrich CEO Raju Chekuri said the goal behind the alliance is to give partners access to the expertise needed to move a workload to the cloud without requiring them to hire IT professionals with that expertise. Not only are those IT professionals in short supply, but the need to move a workload into the cloud is sporadic in nature, Chekuri noted. So it doesn’t make sense for every partner to develop that capability on their own.

However, once that migration is complete, that partner then benefits from the ability to resell subscription licenses to a variety of Azure applications and services, he said.

“This creates an opportunity to drive new streams of revenue,” said Chekuri. “Partners can opt to just sell the migration or go deep with Microsoft services.”

NetEnrich has already piloted this service with roughly 250 partners and has nearly 500 trained engineers certified on Microsoft technologies. The goal now is to enable the roughly half a million service providers around the world to more easily migrate workloads into the Microsoft Azure cloud.

At this juncture, it’s inevitable that many workloads will be moving into the cloud. Prakash Parikh, chief operating officer of SNP Technologies, a solution provider that now focuses exclusively on cloud services, said that for partners that focus on small and midsize businesses (SMBs), the NetEnrich service makes economic sense. In contrast, Parikh noted that SNP Technologies has already built out its own migration expertise.

“I don’t think we would use more complicated applications in the midmarket,” said Parikh. “But for SMB customers that typically only have two servers this could make sense.”

Whatever the approach, Parikh says solution providers that do opt to focus on the cloud will ultimately be more profitable because the days of having to invest in trucks to deliver IT services to customers running servers on premise are increasingly coming to a close. The only issue now is how quickly that transition to the cloud will occur.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.


By: Michael Vizard

Source: Channelinsider