16,000 people from 144 countries converged on Toronto early in July for Microsoft’s World Partner Conference. Highlights of the opening day included: an announcement from General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt and Microsoft CEO, SatyaNadella, that GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet is available on the Azure cloud; Japan Airlines using Microsoft HoloLens to change the training paradigm for flight crews and mechanics.
Of more direct interest to business users of Microsoft products was an announcement of new resources from Skype for Business. Microsoft announced the Skype Operations Framework (SOF), an end-to-end planning, deployment and operations methodology for Skype for Business.
Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, said: “It provides partners a comprehensive guide and toolset for implementing and managing a reliable, cost-effective communications service with Skype in the cloud. It can help partners drive operational excellence and high-quality deployments.”
He said also that the global footprint of Skype for Business PSTN services was being expanded. “PSTN Conferencing is now available to customers in 92 countries including Venezuela, Uruguay, Vietnam and Kenya, added this month. In addition, PSTN Calling is now available in both the UK and the US, providing inbound and outbound calling, voicemail, phone numbers and calling plans.”
Koenigsbauer also unveiled plans to offer automatic transcription and translation in Skype Meeting Broadcast by the end of 2016. “These new services will provide live closed captioning of presentations and allow viewers to choose translation into their preferred language from a list of supported languages,” Koenigsbauer said.
He revealed also that users of Microsoft 365 would get increased coverage from AIG’s CyberEdge cyber risk insurance, designed to provide cover for a variety of cyber risk exposures not covered under conventional property and casualty insurances.
CyberEdge covers: the financial consequences of losing or misappropriating customer or employee data; the loss of net profit due to an interruption to the customer’s network following a cyber breach; the cost of restoring, recollecting or recreating data after a leak or breach; the potentially significant costs and expenses of a data protection regulator’s investigation and fines following data security breaches. There is also the option to cover the ransom payments required to end an extortion threat.
Koenigsbauer said Microsoft was the first cloud vendor to achieve this status with AIG. “AIG’s CyberEdge clients using the Microsoft Cloud will now have access to expanded business interruption coverage,” he explained. “Upon completion of a short questionnaire, AIG will offer this enhancement to identified Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 customers when quoting a new or renewal CyberEdge policy including network interruption coverage.”
Microsoft also unveiled an online certification program, Microsoft Professional Degree, presently in beta. The first certifications, which Microsoft will award this September, will be in data science.
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