Microsoft recently welcomed over 400 ICT professionals to ‘Azure Summit 2018’ at the Taj Samudra hotel, where the company showcased how it is infusing cloud across its products to help customers visualise and create the future of business.
The event spanned Microsoft’s hybrid cloud platform Azure, with a focus on how the company is empowering people and organisations to succeed in a rapidly evolving workplace, and enabling customers such as, Hirdaramani Group, MAS Holdings, McLarens Group and John Keells IT to harness data, AI, hybrid and cloud technologies to evolve business process and innovate for the future.
Microsoft Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Hasitha Abeywardena kicked off the session by showcasing Microsoft’s footprint and impact in the country – while emphasising the importance of cloud technologies to capitalise on future growth. “Azure is impacting all verticals, creating unprecedented opportunities for organisations of all sizes. At Microsoft, we are inspired by the ingenuity of our customers, partners and developers that are pushing the frontiers of what’s possible with cloud technologies,” he stated.
Abeywardena then showcased how Microsoft Azure helped the Hirdaramani Group create a smart quality management system to cut costs and improve quality. The solution uses data analytics to improve production quality, eliminate reporting time lags, and enable faster and more accurate decision-making.
Microsoft APAC Cloud and Enterprise General Manager Mike Chan delivered a keynote on the transformative power of Azure in enabling people to work the way they want, at what time they want on any device that they want. “All the amazing things you can do with your phone is made possible by the cloud. If you think about it, turn off the internet on your phone, and you’ll see just what I mean,” he said.
Chan later cited customers such as Nvidia offering deep learning methods using the power of GPUs in the cloud. This feature of Azure allows users to strip their hardware on-premises and still carry out millions of floating point calculations at a much faster rate than before. He also explained services such as, Azure Active Directory, Azure Services, Azure Data Services and Azure Security and Management to boost productivity and security.
Harsha Randeny, Partner Technology Strategist at Microsoft Sri Lanka, explained how Microsoft’s 50 regional data centres operate. He went on to explain the stringent measures – from perimeter security and biometric authentication to fire suppression – that Microsoft deploys to make sure their customer and consumer data is protected.
Microsoft APAC Senior Sales Director for Data Platform and AI Arijit Roy revealed out how AI can help build innovative tools and services, all with the aid of Microsoft Azure. “Today, Artificial Intelligence amplifies human ingenuity. It enables people, has inclusive design and can help companies build trust in technology with their customers,” he said.
Microsoft’s Azure Machine learning or cloud-based AI allows developers to carry out both simple and complex data science calculations, allowing them to build sophisticated AI applications from the ground up.
Arijit spoke about how AI can help interpret the world around you. As an example, Arijit demonstrated ‘Seeing AI’; a research project that uses the power of AI to describe people, objects and text to those who are visually impaired.
Microsoft APAC Azure Sales Manager Luka Debeljak encouraged attendees to modernise their enterprise-grade applications at the risk of aging infrastructure. “With Microsoft Azure and services such as Azure Container Services, Azure Container Instances, Azure Service Fabric and Azure App service, you can develop your existing apps into the Microsoft Azure framework and then keep your app on the cloud with no problems,” he said.
Debeljak then went on to speak about deploying Applications using Azure DevOps Suite. The suite of tools allows users to test applications before they go into production at a much faster rate.
Microsoft SEA New Markets Chief Marketing and Operation Officer Rena Chai closed the session by revealing how Microsoft is doing more to build trust amongst both customers and consumers with its commitment to security, privacy, and compliance – the three important factors that both customers and consumers look at when asked for their private data.
Following the keynote speeches, representatives from MAS Holdings addressed the scalability, availability and cost efficiency of deploying serverless solutions from Microsoft Azure to manage their 90,000 workforce while McLarens Group revealed the benefits of migrating to Microsoft’s enterprise-grade disaster recovery service, Azure Disaster Recovery and Office 365. Similarly, representatives from John Keells IT demonstrated one of their in-house applications that made use of deep learning using a mixture of Microsoft Azure and Xamarin to identify receipts captured through the camera of a mobile phone.
Members of the audience subsequently attended one of three breakout sessions – Apps, Data or Infrastructure – revolving around Microsoft Azure. Depending on their interests, the participants made their way over to the designated areas to learn more about Microsoft Azure and how it can help their business can capitalise on future growth.