Microsoft Ignite 2023 The event comes with many updates, and AI product unveilings and expansions are front and center as the company lays out its updated vision for IT professionals.
As our very own Devin Coldewey written in October, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that the company is all-in on AI, and Ignite is proof of that. From the rebranding of its competitor ChatGPT Bing Chat which is under the Copilot umbrella, as expected conventional AI chips to compete with Nvidia and ways to create text-to-speech avatars, there were several AI-centric reveals at Wednesday’s event.
We’ve gathered various announcements from our respective Microsoft and AI experts Frederic Lardinois and Kyle Wiggers all in one place so you don’t miss them.
ChatGPT’s competitor Bing Chat is now Copilot
Microsoft Bing Chat has been renamed, the AI-powered chatbot that Bing launched earlier this year, to Bing’s Copilot. Bing Chat Enterprise has also been rebranded to Copilot.
As Kyle said, the change is likely due to the fact that Bing Chat hasn’t moved the needle much for Bing. Now it seems that the company is looking to divorce the technology from the search engine to better compete with ChatGPT and other popular chatbots.
Copilot is now accessible on Windows in addition to Copilot.Microsoft.com and Bing, shipping on a variety of Microsoft business subscription plans at no additional cost. Copilot will be included in Microsoft 365 F3 starting December 1, and will be available for $5 per month for all other customers.
Custom chips with AI emphasis
Microsoft is looking to free itself from GPU dependence with both custom-designed, in-house and data center-bound AI chips: the Azure Maia 100 AI Accelerator and the Azure Cobalt 100 CPU.
The Maia 100 can be used to train and run AI models, while the Cobalt 100 is designed to run general workloads.
The Maia 100 and Cobalt 100 will begin rolling out early next year to Azure data centers, Microsoft says. It first powers Microsoft AI services like Copilot and Azure OpenAI Service.
New features in AI Copilot Azure, Copilot for Service and Copilot Studio
Microsoft unveils new AI tools Copilotthe company’s brand of generative AI technologies: Copilot for Azure, Copilot for Service, Copilot Studio and Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides.
Copilot for Azure is Microsoft’s answer to Google Cloud’s recently announced Duet AI, which takes the form of a chat-driven assistant for cloud customers. Azure’s Copilot is currently in preview.
Copilot for Servicea tool for customer service needs, can answer frequently asked questions from customer service agents by drawing on a company’s websites, knowledge articles, offline databases and more .
Copilot of Dynamics 365 Guides taps into generative AI to summarize information potentially useful to frontline workers and overlay it on the equipment they maintain. Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides will first launch in private preview with a “limited set of customers and capabilities.”
Copilot Studio can be used to create a custom copilot — like a chatbot for cost management, for example — by describing it in natural language. Copilot Studio is now in public preview for existing Copilot for Microsoft 365 subscribers.
Microsoft Teams gets an AI-powered home decorator and voice isolation
New Microsoft Teams “decorate your background” The feature means you never have to clean your messy home office again. The video call feature can view your room and clean the clutter, and add plants or even decorations to your background.
Microsoft also announced an AI-powered noise reduction feature for Teams that can reduce repetitive background noise as well as other people’s voices.
The voice isolation feature is live now and will be available to most in early 2024, while “decorating your background” will be available early next year in Teams Premium.
Microsoft To Do, Planner and Project become one product
Microsoft has made project management tools less confusing. The company announced that it is consolidating various planning tools – Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project — to a new product for a more “integrated experience.”
There is also a Planner copilot that helps users plan things faster and suggest new tasks.
The new Microsoft Planner will first be available in Microsoft Teams in the spring of 2024, with the web version launching later in 2024.
Generative AI copyright protections for many customers
Microsoft has announced that many customers can be protected and compensated for any “bad judgments” if they sued for copyright infringement as a result of outputs from using Axure’s OpenAI Service.
This policy does not apply to every Azure OpenAI Service customer by default. Subscribers must first implement “technical measures” and follow risk mitigation documentation to be considered for eligibility.
Windows AI Studio makes it easy to run AI locally on Windows
In an effort to push generative AI experiences from the cloud to Windows devices, Microsoft announced Windows AI Studio. The toolkit combines AI tools and a catalog of generative AI models that developers can fine-tune, customize and deploy for local, offline use in their Windows apps.
Windows AI Studio gets more capable local models including text-generating Meta Llama 2 and the Stability AI text-to-image model Strong Dispersion XL.
Azure AI Speech to create text-to-speech avatars
Microsoft has announced a tool that can do what is a deep fake. Azure AI Speech text-to-speech Avatar creates a photorealistic avatar of a person and animates that avatar to say things that person shouldn’t say.
Microsoft has noted several obvious ways this tool can be abused, and they’ve put limitations on it. Currently, most Azure subscribers can only access prebuilt avatars at launch. Microsoft says that custom avatars are currently a “limited access” capability available through registration only and “only for certain use cases.”
Recap the entire Microsoft Ignite 2023 event
If you want to experience the Ignite event again or for the first time, you can watch highlights from the keynote at The Microsoft website.