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Microsoft Build 2020: All the major announcements

While companies like Google and Facebook canceled their tech conferences this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this did not stop Microsoft from holding Microsoft Build 2020 — its 10th annual developer event. In response to the lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world, this year’s event was online only. Still, during the 48-hour event, there was a nonstop flow of news and announcements. Microsoft also made sure to accommodate various time zones for the event to convey the information to its geographically separated audience that included developers and tech communities.

Although the event was entirely online, tech enthusiasts, developers, and developer communities were able to actively participate. According to Microsoft, the total number of registered attendees at Microsoft Build 2020 was more than 230,000, making it one of the largest online tech events in recent times. This year’s Build had a lot more interesting announcements and news for developers than it did about consumer products.

Microsoft used Build 2020 as a platform to announce several new tech-related news in various fields. This year’s event was largely focused on tools and services for increased productivity, Azure public cloud, advancements in AI, and better tools and services for developers.

Here are all the most interesting and top announcements you need to know from Microsoft Build 2020.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft had a bunch of announcements about its Microsoft 365 at Build 2020. One of the important announcements was the introduction of a new tool called Microsoft Lists to Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Lists is a productivity-focused Microsoft 365 application that helps users better organize and track information. Lists is a very easy-to-use, basic yet intuitive application to track all the issues, routines, plans, inventory, and more. It is also a very highly customizable application that can be configured with various smart rules for better collaboration and productivity. Microsoft Lists will be rolling out later this summer for Microsoft 365 users in the form of a web and a mobile application.

Microsoft Cloud for Health Care

Microsoft revealed its new plans for its cloud franchises Azure and Dynamics. The company announced the stretch of its cloud services into the health-care domain. Microsoft at the event announced that it is working on ensuring all its existing industry customizations and cloud solutions will work for health-care workers.

Moreover, Microsoft also said it has plans to bring out more tools and services specifically for the health-care domain. This new Microsoft’s Cloud for Health Care bundle is going to be a customized solution containing many existing products such as Teams, Azure cloud, and other communication and collaboration tools.

The company also highlighted Dynamics’ ability to offer industry-specific customizations such as a patient portal. The company said it has already started working with health-care companies to bring out a dedicated Azure-powered app for the health-care domain.

AI: More power and security

Microsoft also used Build 2020 as a platform to announce its plan to bring more trust and transparency to its AI and machine learning-powered models and solutions. Microsoft is enhancing its Azure Machine Learning Cloud Service by partnering with others and using several open-source tools designed to fine-tune its AI systems.

The company announced Innovations in Responsible Machine Learning, which is essentially meant to help developers better understand, control, and protect their AI models throughout the machine learning lifecycle. Microsoft has added all these capabilities to Azure Machine learning as well as on GitHub.

Microsoft has broken down this into phases focusing on interpreting and explaining model behavior and mitigating model unfairness while preventing data exposure and safeguarding the data for security. More information about it can be found here.

Faster, better, more effective solutions for developers

Microsoft announced a bunch of features, new tools, and integrations for developers at Build 2020. Programmers all over the globe usually prefer working individually. However, this can lead to a lack of collaboration affecting the overall performance and productivity of teams. Microsoft, therefore, came up with its new and innovative idea to provide integrated chat and audio support in Visual Studio Code.

The company is also going to integrate Live Share Web with Visual Studio Code to enable effective communication between developers. Both the host and guest can access this feature using VS Code. This feature will be made live in the upcoming weeks, but Microsoft did not commit to an exact date.

Microsoft also announced the much-awaited integration of Teams with Visual Studio Code editor. This new Microsoft Teams Toolkit extension is now available to download from the Visual Studio marketplace. This integration is meant to enable developers to create, debug, and deploy Teams directly on Microsoft’s own Visual Studio Code.

Cloud supercomputer

Microsoft announced the fifth most powerful publicly recorded supercomputer at Build 2020. What makes it unique is that this powerful machine is the first of its kind supercomputer to leverage the power of the cloud.

This computer was built in collaboration and exclusively for OpenAI — an AI-based company. This supercomputer is meant to help the company process and train several AI models and also packs in power by adding all the benefits of Azure’s cloud infrastructure.

There were several other developer-specific announcements made at Microsoft Build 2020. The majority of these focused on new integrations and features for Azure and the developers’ community and platforms. We will take a closer look at what Build 2020 had for developers in an upcoming article.

Images: Microsoft

Sukesh Mudrakola

Sukesh is a computer science graduate by profession and an IT enterprise and tech enthusiast by passion. He holds an expertise in mobile and wearable technologies and is an avid Android fan.

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