On 11th November 2015 Richard Astbury, Senior Architect and Microsoft MVP at Two10degrees attended the Future Decoded Microsoft event held at the ExCeL in London. With over 1,300 Microsoft Partners attending and exhibiting, including Richard’s personal favourite – a robotic arm bartender, this event featured some of the brightest minds in technology, sharing their views on what the future holds for businesses, society, leadership, technology and more. This was a two part event displaying the use of technology within business and the technological advancements, both in the future and those that are becoming integrated into everyday life.
As a software development company specialising in Microsoft Azure, integration of cutting edge technology for tracking, telemetry, M2M and emergency alerting applications, some of the announcements from Future Decoded created a lot of interest within the two10degrees office.
One such announcement came from Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella, who advised of Microsoft’s plans to offer commercial data centers from the UK, enabling users of Microsoft’s cloud services, Azure and Office 365, to keep their data within the UK at all times.
This announcement provided some reassurances after the European Union’s Court of Justice declared Safe Harbour - a treaty enabling data to be transferred to the US from Europe for storage – invalid; raising questions of how and where personal data would be stored.
In addition to offering UK data centres, Microsoft also announced the completion of the latest phase of expansions, for its data facilities in Ireland and the Netherlands.
“Microsoft’s announcement of a data centre in the UK is reassuring, especially as our data generation will increase exponentially as we become more connected.” – Richard Astbury
Due to the recent advancements in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, computer scientists have been able to design smarter applications that are capable of recognising words, sounds and images, as well as identifying facial expressions and emotions. Importantly, these types of systems get smarter with the more data received.
Chris Bishop, head of Microsoft Research Cambridge; advised that Microsoft’s Project Oxford team plans to release public beta versions of these new tools; with the aim of assisting developers who may want to include language understanding, vision, and capabilities like speech into their applications, but don’t necessarily have machine learning or artificial intelligence expertise.
Richard tried out one such smart application, which was able to recognise facial features and predict what the subject was likely feeling. Having successfully uploaded the Mona Lisa, the software was able to identify her as 84% neutral and 13% happy.
“Future Decoded highlights how far technology has progressed, and, how easily we have incorporated it into our society. With the advancements in AI and the IoT, what was once science fiction is now becoming reality” – Richard Astbury
Scott Guthrie’s keynote focused on a real life solution, based on the Internet of Things which used Windows Embedded software and Microsoft Azure cloud technology.
“HealthyCow24” by SCR Dairy is a cow-monitoring system designed to help farmers boost milk production, assist with calving and ensure a healthier herd. When combined with the “Heatime Solution” (which includes necklace tags with motion sensors and microphones that monitor the cows’ activity and rumination levels) the data collected can be sent directly to the farm office or accessed via a mobile application.
By “connecting” cows, farms will be able to manage dozens or even hundreds of cows with only a few farm hands. Farms will be able to make better decisions on animal welfare with access to daily data and in-depth reports, along with the ability to track an individual’s health history.
Farmers can also be alerted when an animal is showing an increased activity level or decreased rumination, which can indicate health problems.
For more information visit the Future Decoded website
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