Digital optimism: Customers drive cloud and industry innovation with Microsoft technology

Among the prominent trends highlighted at Microsoft Inspire, our annual partner conference, was “digital optimism,” where the Microsoft cloud is playing an outsized role in many key areas defining the future of global business, including hybrid work, resilient global supply chains, inclusive economic development, global sustainability and cybersecurity. This optimism reflects how customers are increasingly seeking ways to innovate and future-proof their business models with the cloud. It also underscores how Microsoft and our global partner community are co-developing digital solutions that help these customers create lasting value amid pandemic-related market shifts, despite industry or geography.

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At Microsoft Inspire, Judson Althoff, Microsoft EVP and chief commercial officer, highlights digital technology’s role in meeting today’s challenges with examples from Ford, FedEx, bp and AB InBev.

This past quarter highlighted technology’s critical role across industries. Microsoft acquired Nuance to address healthcare industry needs by combining our cloud, AI solutions and expertise. We are working with AT&T to move its 5G mobile network to the Microsoft cloud to support evolving customer needs, and Mars to optimize operational speed and intelligent manufacturing supply chains using Azure. We are co-innovating with Morgan Stanley by bringing together technology and engineering expertise to solve financial industry challenges and a have a partnership with Standard Bank, driving innovation and resiliency to promote economic growth in Africa.

Met Office supercomputer system

The Met Office is building the world’s most powerful weather and climate forecasting supercomputer in collaboration with Microsoft.

In the public sector, our ongoing partnership with the U.S. Army used Microsoft’s HoloLens to create devices that fundamentally change how soldiers operate and redefine what they can do. Microsoft donated Azure credits to the National System of Unemployment in Brazil to help with economic recovery, skilling and sustainability, and Chile’s Immigration Department launched a digital transformation initiative so people can obtain an electronic visa quickly. We are also partnering with the Met Office to build the world’s most advanced weather and climate forecasting supercomputer to protect people, businesses and infrastructure in the U.K. from the impacts of extreme weather.

Students at desks in classroom

District of Columbia Public Schools expands the learning universe for students with Microsoft Teams and Surface.

In education, hybrid environments are the new normal and our technologies and devices break down classroom barriers. Dubai College built a new learning model to provide live video lessons and course materials using Teams, OneNote and Surface devices. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David is using a range of Surface devices to integrate mobility across multiple campuses, professional services staff and academics, and Washington State University is using Teams and Surface devices for student athlete coaching, academic support and team building. District of Columbia Public Schools shifted 117 schools to remote learning, while four of The Russell Group universities enabled secure remote learning with Azure Virtual Desktop. Beyond the classroom, Cogna Educação in Brazil used Azure cloud services to unify its entire academic management platform, and the University of North Carolina Charlotte developed an Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) and IoT technology-based solution to retrofit streetlights as multivehicle smart charging stations.

NFL and Microsoft Teams screen collage

The NFL huddles with Microsoft Teams to digitize collaboration and deliver virtual game day experiences.

In media and communications, we partnered with WPP to launch Cloud Studio, an innovative cloud platform on Azure that will arm its creative teams with technology to collaborate and create anywhere. In China, Samsung deployed Microsoft Azure Metrics Advisor to improve customers’ entertainment experience. Multinational telecommunications services provider Telefónica is revolutionizing secure data management through on-premises mobile edge computing within a private 5G network for safer and more efficient data management. Malaysia-based Axiata Group is tightening its cybersecurity using Azure Sentinel and Microsoft 365, including password-less solutions, and Nokia built an app on Power Platform to generate more accurate reporting in less time, resulting in improved service delivery performance and customer satisfaction. We also partnered with customers across the sports industry to develop interactive fan experiences throughout the pandemic. Mexico-based events specialist AS Deporte consolidated its platform using Microsoft cloud solutions to strengthen and simplify its management and operations. Using AI and machine learning, LaLiga is reinventing interactive audiovisual experiences and formats, while the NBA is delivering fans powerful insights behind every shot, pass and play. The NFL is using Teams to digitize collaboration and deliver virtual game day experiences, the Los Angeles Clippers are engaging fans with a hyper-personalized game night experience using Dynamics 365 Marketing, and the Miami Dolphins are using Power Virtual Agents and Power BI for an automated and predictive website experience.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev is taking advantage of Microsoft technology to dramatically transform its operations and ensure the perfect sip is delivered to customers every time.

In retail and consumer goods, companies migrated to SAP on Azure to facilitate their business-critical workloads and increase scalability, including Campbell Soup Company, L’Oréal and Mondelēz International. Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev is creating the brewery of the future by developing a digital factory platform based on a unified AI and Azure Digital Twin environment, delivering the perfect sip to customers and transforming its operations. Kraft Heinz is using Teams to keep its workforce connected and products on shelves worldwide. Goodyear turned to Teams on RealWear devices to bring engineering experts into plants virtually for equipment installation or troubleshooting, and Hasbro is virtually testing Monopoly boards using real-time insights from families.

Woman and boy in kitchen

Humana is working to end food insecurity — 14 meals at a time.

Across industries, customers continue to embrace digital innovation. Japanese automaker Toyota is bringing together fusion teams comprising professional and citizen developers to build an internal vehicle delivery application. Nationwide is using Microsoft 365 accessibility features to build an inclusive culture that supports its customers and employees. Stanley Black & Decker adopted IoT and edge solutions to increase equipment efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve manufacturing agility, and thyssenkrupp Steel Europe kept its remote work and manufacturing process secure through an agile digital culture using Microsoft 365. Jefferies is using Microsoft compliance solutions to maintain financial services regulatory restrictions, while Royal Bank of Canada created a privacy platform on Azure Confidential Computing that relies on secure enclave technology to keep client information protected, confidential and highly secure. AXA is building a digital healthcare platform to simplify the healthcare journey and empower customers with an integrated ecosystem, and Humana is using leveraging Power BI and Azure for an assessment and tracking system with AI-powered predictive models to identify people lacking reliable access to food. Tetra Pak is driving organization-wide sustainability by implementing IoT solutions to create smart factories. Energy momentum continues as we partner with customers, including Williams, BHP and Chevron to achieve ambitious sustainability goals and increase efficiency. Microsoft also launched a new sustainable datacenter region in Arizona to enable state agencies and customers to run Azure applications securely and resiliently.

I am both heartened and excited to see how customers around the world are using digital technologies and embracing digital optimism to transform the way they do business — becoming more efficient, achieving greater agility and paving a path toward a more sustainable and secure future. Technology has a critical role to play in advancing businesses and industries forward, and I am grateful for the trust our customers continue to place in Microsoft as their digital partner of choice.


Tags: AI, Azure, Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Databricks, Azure HPC, Azure IoT, Azure Synapse, Cloud Computing, COVID-19, customers, Dynamics 365, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, education, healthcare, Healthcare Bot, HoloLens, IoT, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Cloud, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, Microsoft Inspire, Microsoft Mesh, Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva, mixed reality, partners, Power BI, PowerApps, Surface


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