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New Azure innovations are helping developers write code today for tomorrow’s technology challenges

This morning, at the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle, I talked about the key areas of new Azure innovation that enable the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

This morning, at the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle, I talked about the key areas of new Azure innovation that enable the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge – spanning developer tools, DevOps, containers, serverless, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Innovation starts with developers writing code. The effectiveness of your dev tools are at the heart of your ideas becoming reality. With this in mind, we continue to deliver new innovation and experiences with Visual Studio tools. Whether it is Visual Studio, VS Code or Visual Studio Team Services for DevOps, we are committed to providing the most productive developer experience end-to-end. Today, we announced a preview of Visual Studio IntelliCode, that brings AI to everyday development by providing intelligent suggestions that improve code quality and productivity. We also announced the preview of Live Share, which lets developers collaborate on their code and problem solve across Visual Studio and VS Code. Finally, building on our shared commitment to developers and open source, we also announced a fantastic partnership with GitHub where Visual Studio App Center will be natively available in GitHub via their marketplace. This means any GitHub developer building mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS devices can easily automate DevOps processes from their own experience.

When you’re developing applications that span cloud and edge, you will naturally take advantage of containers and a serverless, event-driven approach. The Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) has seen incredible adoption with usage growing more than 10 times over the past 12 months. Today, we’re announcing DevOps projects with AKS in Visual Studio Team Services – making Kubernetes based DevOps projects easier than ever. AKS is even on the edge now, working with Azure IoT Edge. This world-class Kubernetes and Azure integration means developers can spend more time being productive and writing code instead of stitching their services together.

With event-driven app design also growing rapidly, developers need a way to manage routing of numerous events coming from many different sources – and going to any destination. Azure Event Grid was developed for exactly this purpose – to simplify event-based apps. Using Event Grid, along with Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps creating enterprise, high-scale event-based apps has never been faster or easier.

IoT solutions are where all these technologies come together – across cloud and edge, using an event-driven model. We have been investing in IoT for over 2 decades – starting with our first embedded Windows before IoT was coined. And, IoT remains a significant investment area – in fact, we recently announced our $5B investment in IoT. Azure now provides the most comprehensive set of IoT solutions and cloud services on the market. With Azure IoT Hub for managing all of your IoT devices, Azure IoT Edge to run your application on the edge, located anywhere, and Azure IoT Central for operating your systems once they’ve been built. Combine this with Azure Stack for the largest of edge use-cases and Azure Sphere for the MCU-based devices – and you have unparalleled capability to run the largest to the smallest edge with Azure – all with a unified management and security approach. Today, we announced a number of new capabilities related to Azure IoT, most importantly that we have open sourced the Azure IoT Edge runtime. This enables the community to extend the use-cases and further innovate. You might think that you’re not an IoT developer, but with the growth of cloud and edge apps – running your code at the edge will become the new norm.

Data is a core part of every app and experience being delivered today. But, data isn’t just a core part of apps – increasingly it’s becoming the most mission critical aspect, and is fundamental to developing the breakthrough intelligent apps your organizations are counting on you to deliver. As cloud based applications increasingly scale, reach global users, and power AI experiences, we have come to a place where you need data at planet scale and performance. This is why we built Azure Cosmos DB, the first globally distributed, multi-model database service delivering turnkey global horizontal scale out with guaranteed millisecond latency and uptime.

Azure Cosmos DB allows you to elastically scale across any number of geographical regions while delivering the industry’s only financially-backed database SLAs across uptime, performance, latency, and consistency. Today, we previewed Azure Cosmos DB multi-master write capability. This unlocks new use-cases where multiple writes can happen across the globe and each synchronize simultaneously across locations.

Building on data, comes the incredible power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We know that developing an AI app today can be complicated. That’s why we built a comprehensive set of pre-built AI models, exposed as our Azure Cognitive Services APIs. This allows developers to simply write to these APIs and create powerful AI-based applications. Today, we have a number of fantastic updates to our Cognitive Services, including: a preview of Azure Search with Cognitive Services Integration which combines AI with indexing technologies to quickly find information and insights in either images or text; a new unified Speech service that improves speech recognition, translation and text-to-speech; and Custom Vision, which also now can be deployed on the edge for better visual detection and object recognition.

For those developers who are looking for advanced AI capabilities, Azure also provides comprehensive lifecycle tools and framework support to build your own custom AI models. From data prep, to building and training your model, to deploying it to the cloud and edge, Azure provides end to end capabilities with the combination of Azure Databricks, Azure Machine Learning, AI tools in Visual Studio and the breadth of AI framework support.

As the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge app model becomes central to every application, Azure innovation is focused on ensuring every developer is successful on this journey.