Microsoft’s Latest Announcements
Microsoft Connect 2018, its annual cloud- and data-focused developer conference, took place last week. Though the event is normally held right before AWS Re:Invent, the company decided this year to hold it a week after. In conjunction with the event, Microsoft unveiled several new products and services.
The company announced the general availability of their Azure Machine Learning service, new Azure Stream Analytics on IoT Edge, the preview of Azure Time Series, and Cloud Native Application Bundles (CNAB), Docker and Microsoft’s Cloud Native Application Bundle.
CNAB, built on top of JSON and Open PGP, is an open-source package format specification meant to deal with cloud-native packaging, installing, and managing distributed applications. The company’s principle engineer on the open-source Kubernetes Helm project, Matt Butcher, says CNAB will work with any cloud and will allow its users to “manage distributed applications using a single installable file, reliably provision application resources in different environments, and easily manage the application lifecycle without having to use multiple toolsets.”
The updates for the Azure Stream Analytics include a new and improved Azure IoT Device Simulation Solution Accelerator, improvements to Azure IoT Remote Monitoring Solution Accelerator and Time Series Insights, and Azure Maps enhancements.
Microsoft also announced their intent to work with other leading companies and government organizations to regulate facial recognition, and by extension other AI technologies. Microsoft’s plan includes a commitment to adopt six guiding principles: Fairness, Transparency, Accountability, Nondiscrimination, Notice and Consent, and Lawful Surveillance. Microsoft plans to publish a document detailing these principles this week. The Liftr Cloud Insights team believes that facial recognition is the catalyzing use case for these regulation efforts – voice recognition, gait recognition, and other similar systems deployed at scale will also soon be able to automatically identify people with high accuracy. For our take on fairness and transparency, see our LiftrCloud.com blog “Artificial Intelligence Can Reinforce Bias, Cloud Giants Announce Tools For AI Fairness.”
British Telecom Removes Huawei from Its Core Network
British Telecom, or BT, announced plans to pull Huawei equipment out of its core 4G network within two years to fit its own internal policy. This move follows Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou arrest in Canada two weeks ago on behalf of the U.S. and reports that the US is trying to persuade foreign allies’ wireless and internet providers to avoid the Chinese company’s equipment, citing cybersecurity risks.
BT has also excluded Huawei from bidding for contracts to supply equipment for use in its core 5G network; however, it will continue to use Huawei’s kit in what it deems to be benign parts of the network, such as equipment on masts.
Earlier this year, Australia banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment, citing security risks as well and New Zealand rejected Huawei’s first 5G bid, citing a national security risk. The Japanese government is also expected to revise its internal rules on procurement to ban government purchases of equipment from Huawei.
Also, earlier this year, the US government banned Huawei technology and systems from its contracts. The US exclusion covers a wide range of technology including phones, tablets, smart watches, mobile hot spots, broadband routers, switches and servers.
Cloud Providers go AI for NeurIPS 2018
The 32nd annual conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, or NeurIPS, was held this past week from December 3-9 in Montreal, CA. This year’s conference was sponsored by an extensive list of major cloud service providers and datacenter chip suppliers. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM Research AI, and Intel AI were diamond-level sponsors, while Google, Alibaba Group, Baidu, and Qualcomm AI research were platinum-level sponsors. Their presence at the conference is evidence that CSPs are sustaining major research and development investments in AI as they try to create competitive differentiation.
This Year’s Cloud Events Rewind
As we enter the last few weeks of 2018, Liftr Cloud Insights Principal Analyst Paul Teich looks back at this year’s cloud events in his most recent LiftrCloud.com blog “Reviewing 2018 by Conferences.” Paul is attending the Linux Foundation’s collocated KubeCon & CloudNativeCon events this week. After that, we look forward to his predictions for the cloud in 2019.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Liftr Cloud Look Ahead. Has your business made strides using cloud? We want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!