If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
The Microsoft Power Platform has become an industry leading low-code development platform that enables developers of all skill levels to create unique solutions for business challenges. Infusing AI into solutions can improve processes in many ways, including efficiency, accuracy, and ease of use. As an example, we previously did a demonstration on how AI Builder works seamlessly with Power Automate to create a fully automated document processing solution. At Microsoft Ignite, we announced some exciting new capabilities we are releasing for AI Builder. These new features will further enable Power Platform developers to utilize AI for their business solutions.
UiPath Inc. has always been an unconventional company. It started with humble beginnings as essentially a software development shop. It then caught lightning in a bottle with its computer vision technology and simplification mantra, creating easy-to-deploy software robots for bespoke departments to automate mundane tasks. The company grew rapidly and was able to go public earlier this year. Consistent with its out-of-the-ordinary approach, while other firms are shutting down travel and physical events, UiPath is moving ahead with Forward IV, its annual user conference next week -- with a live audience at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It's also "fast forwarding" as a company, determined to lead the charge beyond robotic process automation point tools and execute on a more all-encompassing enterprise automation agenda.
Coming to grips with machine learning needn't require vast amounts of labeled data, a team of data scientists, and a lot of compute time. The state of the art in modern artificial intelligence has reached a point where there are now models that are sufficiently general purpose (within their own domains, of course) that they can be dropped into your applications without additional training and customization. We've seen some of this with the evolution from Project Adam to Azure Cognitive Services. Now Microsoft is taking the next step, using that foundation to deliver a set of machine learning models that provide assistance with common tasks: Azure Applied AI Services. We've already seen some of this with the Power Platform's new document automation tool in Power Automate.
Microsoft this week expanded into process capture and analytics with the release of Microsoft Process Advisor. This extends the reach of Microsoft Power Automate, the company's robotic process automation (RPA) and cloud integration platform. These updates will help Microsoft's Power Automate strategy scale beyond RPA into the broader hyperautomation market, which Gartner expects to grow from $481.6 billion in 2020 to $596 billion in 2022. "The idea of'automating automation' is core to our strategy," Microsoft Power Automate product manager Stephen Siciliano told VentureBeat. Process Advisor gives organizations the ability to capture processes for further analysis or as templates for creating more full-fledged automations, he added.
Power Automate is Microsoft's platform for streamlining repetitive workflows -- you may remember it under its original name: Microsoft Flow. The market for these robotic process automation (RPA) tools is hot right now, so it's no surprise that Microsoft, too, is doubling down on its platform. Only a few months ago, the team launched Power Automate Desktop, based on its acquisition of Softomotive, which helps users automate workflows in legacy desktop-based applications, for example. After a short time in preview, Power Automate Desktop is now generally available. The real news today, though, is that the team is also launching a new tool, the Process Advisor, which is now in preview as part of the Power Automate platform.
Bengaluru: Microsoft and Salesforce have been ranked by GlobalData as leaders in the low-code market segment after causing a tectonic shift in this market with the automation capabilities within its Power Platform. Low-code is a software development approach that requires little to no coding in order to build applications and processes. The low-code market segment has become fiercely competitive, and Microsoft's Power Automate is expected, in itself, to be highly competitive when coupled with Azure's backend integration and storage service. "Low-code enabled artificial intelligence (AI) and automation innovations, coupled with the cloud, have created a culture of data ubiquity where data from virtually any source can be accessed and integrated into modern apps," Charlotte Dunlap, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, said. However, she said that enterprises are prioritising modern software delivery initiatives through these development platforms.
As it does annually, Microsoft is making available today its plans for new features it will be adding to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform starting in the fall. On July 8, Microsoft is publishing its 2020 "Release Wave 2" plans. This is a collection of hundreds of new features, both incremental and more substantial, which Microsoft will be rolling out to customers between October 2020 and March 2021. Microsoft will be making some of these coming features available for early access for testing and validation purposes in non-production environments starting August 3, 2020. Rollout of the Wave 2 features begins on October 1, 2020.
Today we are excited to announce that three AI Builder preview model types are now generally available. Models that are generally available are considered production ready. The Entity extraction prebuilt model identifies and classifies key elements from text into pre-defined entities. You can use the prebuilt model out of the box in power apps and power automate. The Entity extraction custom model enables you to identify and classify key elements from text into your domain-specific custom entities that you define.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the planned acquisition of Softomotive, a UK-headquartered robotic process automation (RPA) software company with roots in Greece. With the intended purchase, Microsoft has muscled into the RPA game in a big way and, in doing so, removed any doubts that RPA has really arrived. Expect others to follow suit with a buying spree and resulting shakeout of the weaker players. Given the current recession and focus on projects that reduce cost, the timing could not be better. Most of Softomotive's 8,000-plus customers are single users or small work groups.
Microsoft has acquired U.K.-based Softomotive, a robotic process automation (RPA) vendor, for an undisclosed amount, the companies announced on May 19. Microsoft plans to incorporate Softomotive's products, including WinAutomation, into its Microsoft Power Automate (Flow) tool. In a May 19 blog post, Microsoft officials said Softomotive has more than 9,000 global customers already automating business processes across legacy and modern desktop apps. Microsoft is planning to use WinAutomation in combination with Power Automate to provide additional options for RPA desktop authoring. That way, officials said, "anyone can build a bot and automate Windows-based tasks."