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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Microsoft Build 2018 - All the Announcements That Matter

Build is Microsoft's developer conference. This year's conference - Build 2018 - is from 7 May to 9 May, which is the same week Google plans to hold its own developer conference. The company will use the two-day event to discuss its plans around artificial intelligence (AI), cloud services, Cortana, Office, and Windows 10, of course. The full conference pass to attend is going for $2,495.

*Windows 10: Your Phone app:* Microsoft unveiled a new “Your Phone” app for Windows 10. It provides a mirror of a phone straight to a desktop PC, so that you can access texts, photos, and notifications from your workstation.

*Windows Mixed Reality*: Microsoft Layout. Microsoft announced a new “mixed reality” tool called Microsoft Layout. It lets you design and visualise real spaces in either Microsoft HoloLens or a virtual reality headset. Layout allows Windows Mixed Reality you to construct a virtual floor plan and move 3D models on it using a VR headset, so you can preview how a room would look. Then, you can go to the physical location and view that layout using HoloLens.

*DJI partnership*: DJI partnered with Microsoft to create a new drone SDK for Windows 10. This will enable full flight control and data transfer to Windows 10 PCs. So, with apps written for Windows 10 PCs, DJI drones will be able to be customised and controlled for a wide variety of industrial uses. This will also make it easy to integrate third-party hardware, such as multispectral sensors or custom actuators, with DJI’s drones.

*Alexa and Cortana*: We've been given a demo of Cortana running on Alexa and vice versa. It works by simply summoning Cortana with the command “Alexa, open Cortana.” You can then ask questions or commands (like “send an email”) to a specific person - something you can't do with just Alexa alone. Similarly, you can cue up Alexa within the Cortana interface on Windows 10 in order to access Alexa skills.

*Kinect in the cloud*: Microsoft is moving Kinect to the cloud, according to CEO Satya Nadella: “Kinect, when we first launched it in 2010, was a speech-first, gaze-first, vision-first device. It was used in gaming, and then, later on, it came to the PC, and it was used in many applications: medical, industrial, robotics, education... We’ve been inspired by what developers have done, and since Kinect, we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress when it comes to some of the foundational technologies in HoloLens. So we’re taking those advances and packaging them up as Project Kinect for Azure.”

*Meeting room*: Microsoft demoed "meeting room" - prototype hardware that should make meetings and conferences more manageable. Microsoft’s meeting room features a 360-degree camera and microphone array that can detect anyone in a meeting room, greet them, and transcribe what they say in any language. It also uses artificial intelligence to follow up on what meeting participants say in a meeting.

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