January 31, 2023

The brand new yr brings alternative for considerate reflection in regards to the previous yr, each personally and professionally. 2022 was a yr of firsts for me—first time having clam chowder at Pike Place Market as a neighborhood, first time going looking 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 collection the place I plan to share extra about noteworthy and provoking knowledge 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 affect 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 traits, the retail trade continues to be on the entrance line of adaptive innovation. And moderately than making an attempt to foretell the longer term, retailers are working to attain larger enterprise agility essential to thrive in it. Which means that, like Majid Al Futtaim Retail, they automate tedious processes so workers can give attention to higher-value duties. Like Grupo Bimbo, they unify disparate knowledge factors in actual time in order that workers can entry a central supply of reality 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, knowledge is seen as an accelerant for progress, powering extra customized buyer experiences, cost-efficient provide chains, and proactive responses to market traits.

Enterprise agility requires folks, processes, and applied sciences to work in concord, and to align on how huge quantities of knowledge are managed, analyzed, and actioned to answer market calls for. More and more, these efforts give attention to driving sustainable progress that limits carbon emissions, for instance through the use of machine studying to extra precisely forecast demand to scale 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 best means on the proper time on a worldwide scale. That is the place Azure and the Microsoft Clever Information Platform—the outline we use to confer with all the Information & AI Azure services and products we provide shine. With managed databases like Cosmos DB, analytics companies like Azure Synapse, and main AI choices, retailers can reap the benefits of the “by design” integration the Microsoft Clever Information Platform affords, which suggests they’re able to make investments extra time in creating worth moderately than integrating and managing their knowledge property.

The Microsoft Clever Information Platform got here to life by new immersive demo experiences this yr 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 possibly can 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 knowledge. For instance, these two demos spotlight how tight integrations between knowledge, analytics, and AI can assist make resilient retail a actuality.

Extensive World Importers (WWI), a worldwide grocery store chain, needs to maximise the worth of their knowledge property. Through the use of Azure Synapse pipelines with Cosmos DB, they get actual time insights that are mechanically shared with the best resolution makers by instruments like Azure Data Explorer and Power BI. They’re capable of monitor their provide chain knowledge in actual time and use predictive AI to scale back prices. They’re additionally capable of govern their knowledge property from a single software one pane of glass utilizing Microsoft Purview.

Subsequent, Extensive World Importers faucets into the ability of Azure AI to construct a extra linked buyer expertise. They use Azure Form Recognizer to detect and redeem promotional affords. Azure Cognitive Search helps prospects discover product info extra shortly by recognizing their search intent and helps WWI ship extra customized suggestions. Pre-built AI capabilities, reminiscent of speech recognition and pc imaginative and prescient, additionally differentiate the purchasing expertise and supply a extra accessible stream.

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 functions. Clients 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 out there

The digitization of retail permits retailers to satisfy buyer expectations with rising precision, from offering personalized suggestions on-line to restocking stock based mostly on computer vision in bodily shops. Consumers count on the know-how behind their retail expertise to use knowledge 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 in the present day, 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 optimistic 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 trade, given its capability to mechanically and immediately scale when site visitors is unpredictable with out sacrificing efficiency or value effectivity. Microsoft runs each the Home windows retailer and Xbox Reside 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 knowledge shops in Azure Cosmos DB. These embrace the power to do full textual content searches in Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Cassandra by a local integration with Azure Cognitive Search, and help for GraphQL and REST by 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 out there

Assist for JSON paperwork in Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise tiers, delivered through the RedisJSON module, has been made usually out there 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 functions. The brand new RedisJSON module replace is nicely suited to retail prospects seeking to retailer, search, and index product catalogs and shopper knowledge 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 pacesetter within the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Perception Engines, which evaluates the capabilities of assorted distributors out there for offering enterprise-scale seek for app growth. Organizations profit, irrespective of the trade, however Cognitive Search is an exceptionally highly effective instrument for retailers, serving to them to shortly discover and analyze knowledge associated to buyer conduct, gross sales, and stock. It will also be used to personalize the purchasing expertise for particular person prospects based mostly on their previous interactions and preferences.

Be taught extra and download the report.

Clients innovating with Azure Information & AI

I’d like to shut my inaugural “what’s new” weblog put up with my favourite means of constructing every little thing I’ve coated above actionable—by sharing examples of our prospects succeeding. I share them as a means of serving to spark the understanding—perhaps even a bit of creativeness—in order that others can higher envision how this superb new Information & AI know-how 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 look ahead to 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 lots of of 1000’s of transactions globally and wanted a means for collaborators to shortly 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 knowledge, improve enterprise agility, and democratize insights for elevated productiveness throughout the group. Read the full Case Study.


How on-line market CDON used AI to grow to be a market chief

Sweden—CDON started as a small on-line retailer of CDs, DVDs, and video games and shortly grew to become 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 companies to higher perceive the person expertise on their web site and improve personalization for higher efficiency. Read the full CDON Case Study.


How AEON Group elevated income and maximized stock with knowledge 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 based mostly on promoting patterns all through the day.


How Fashable reimagines trend design with Azure Machine Studying and PyTorch

Portugal—Utilizing Azure Machine Studying, Fashable created an AI software that generates unique clothes designs to shortly get a pulse on client preferences. This helps trend firms perceive buyer demand, get to market quicker, and cut 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 nations with over 40,000 workers, Willis Towers Watson (WTW) has many years of expertise working with the world’s largest loyalty applications. To effectively govern the exponential progress in knowledge for these applications and apply improvements in superior analytics and AI, WTW moved its workload to Azure. Now their workers have extra time to give attention to uncovering insights for purchasers. Read the full WTW Case Study.