Two-weeks with Microsoft Copilot | Teams and Outlook.

Title Image for using Microsoft Copilot for two weeks

I have been using Copilot for Microsoft 365 for two full weeks in within our organisation (no test/dev platforms) since Microsoft made this more generally available on the 14th January 2024.

Two weeks on, I wanted to share my experience of using Copilot in Microsoft 365 fairly aggressively. I am breaking this blog into a series, focusing on different aspects of the experience starting today with the apps I spend most time in (as I am sure you do too) – Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook.

The other question I will try to answer is – so far, two weeks in, is it worth the £25 pupm!

Great Expectations

Despite working with organisation readiness since June with a focus on organisational data and security readiness, using a combination of labs and “closed” demo labs, this was the first time I had real hands-on exposure to the hype that is Microsoft Copilot. Like many, I was impressed by the many iterations of Microsoft’s sizzle videos, sneak peaks and on-stage demos from Microsoft and their early access programme (EAP) users and as such I was extremely excited to finally get my hands on the real thing and use it within our organisation (as part of an internal adoption trial).

One thing to note, before diving into this blog is that my personal expectations for Copilot were (and still are) extremely high.

The Copilot Onboarding Experience

This walks through the first couple of days from getting a license to being able to use Copilot in anger.

I closed my Office 365 apps (we are running on latest versions which is a pre-req) and slowly the Copilot experience begin to “light up in my apps”. First to get Copilot treatment was Microsoft Teams, followed by Microsoft Word. A few hours later, Copilot “lit up” in other apps including Loop, PowerPoint and Excel followed the next day (yes next day) in Outlook. The mobile apps also became Copilot active about the same time.

On getting a license assigned, I received an email tell me my organisation had assigned me a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license, but nothing happened in my apps.

I closed my Office 365 apps (we are running on latest versions which is a pre-req) and slowly the Copilot experience begin to “light up in my apps” – but not all at once. First to get Copilot treatment was Microsoft Teams, followed by Microsoft Word.

A few hours later, Copilot “lit up” in other apps including Loop, PowerPoint and Excel followed the next day (yes next day) in Outlook. The mobile apps also became Copilot active about the same time.

Other members of our initial internal pilot, had a similar experience but not in the same order.

One thing to note, is that if you are part of the first tranche of users within your organisation, then, Microsoft “kicks off” the Sementic index engine which runs across your tenant. This takes a few days (longer for larger organisations) and works from most recent events and content backwards. This means that things seem to “turn on” or “work” at different times initially. Users added later have a more rapid onboarding experience.

A Word on Data Preparation

Much of the technical preparation and guidance for organisation adopting Microsoft 365 Copilot is around data readiness and the need for “proper” adoption and training for users as Copilot is not like another new feature you simply turn on – well at least if you want to get the best out of it and demonstrate high returns on your £25 pupm investment. Much of this “readiness” is not a new requirement as such, but the way in which Copilot works is, and should, be a wake up call for organisations to spend time implementing a proper data governance and lifecycle policy.

Much of this preparation is just good practice, but in Copilot terms, not having the above will impact not only the user experience but accuracy and usability of the service unless you spoon feed it the data you need.

Why? This is because, what makes Copilot unique is it’s access to the Microsoft Graph and your underlying data which is powered by Microsoft 365 Search and the Semantic Index. This involves three key pillars around data;

  • Understanding where your data is located and who has access
  • Understand the context of your data – this includes key words, titles, versioning etc
  • Understanding the data the organisation needs (and does not need) – archive, search terms, lifecycle management, retention etc.
  • Access and accessibility – data privacy, security (access control), and other policies in place.

This many organisations, getting these things in shape (if not already) is not a simply task – it takes time, structure, training (especially if you are going to label and classify data) and often process change. If you don’t have these things in place, its not a show stopper for Copilot but it might mean you expose existing risks (Copilot operates under the user’s context). As such, Copilot is a good trigger point/reason to look at this – whilst ensuring good business change, adoption and training are undertaken to give users the information they need to work better with your company data

Once concern I have, is that with the entry point to Copilot now just a single license, organisations may not give this area the right level of attention which may lead to user issues, sudden changes in policy (what do users have access to) and un expected results.

That said, if you are working in Teams and Outlook where the data it is referencing is more recent, relevant to the meeting or conversation or “part” of the chat or email – the data stuff is less relevant…

I have covered this more in other articles….

Copilot for Microsoft 365 – First Impressions

#BeyondExpections and far better than using ChatGPT

Ok this is a bold statement but you need to remember that Microsoft 365 Copilot uses GPT-4 (and GPT-4 Turbo) under the hood.

Copilot in Microsoft 365 instantly adds value to my day. What makes this so so so much better that a standalone tool (and even Copilot in Edge) is the fact that it is embedded natively into your Microsoft 365 apps and services. There is then the fact that not only does it work in the context of your apps, it also operates within your organisations Microsoft 365 data and compliance boundary and the way in which it leverages the Microsoft Graph to “perform its voodoo”. Copilot in Microsoft 365 uses a sophisticated data access methodology which uses Retrieval Augmented Generation against content and context, retrieved from the Microsoft Graph (with the Semantic Index). This means that Copilot not only understands what data to use, but is also aware and understands the relationships with the data, it’s context, your meetings, emails, recent files, team members, people relations and interactions and more.

Image (c) Microsoft – The Microsoft Graph

The combination of Copilot and the Graph API enables Copilot’s powerful features, and this is just the start. Microsoft also supports the increasing use of connectors and plug-ins, which allow data ingestion or connection to the Microsoft Graph. This means you can “plug-in” or “connect” third-party data sources to Copilot and extend its reach beyond the Microsoft 365 environment, while still being protected by the “trust boundary”.

In my two weeks, I have found the performance of Copilot across all the apps fast and interactive and much better than I experienced with Chat GPT and the “free” version of Copilot in Edge (Bing Chat)] The main reason for this is that Copilot using the most recent and premium versions of the Open AI Large Language Models (LLM), which use the newest GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo models which mean they are not only faster but can work on, and create bigger documents, process more input and leverage multiple data sources in which to form its’ response.

Hands on with Copilot in Teams

We spend a lot of time in meetings. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report most of spend between forty (40) and sixty (60) percent of our week in meetings so if there is anywhere that Copilot can make a welcome impact its Teams.

Copilot in Microsoft Teams is your personal assistant before, during and after meetings. The during bit is really impactful.

Using Copilot During a Meeting

In order to use Copilot to it’s fullest, you need to make sure that meetings are transcribed (ideally recorded too). Transcribing and recording a meeting retains the transcript and recording for you to “recap” later (see Teams Intelligent Recap). As the meeting organiser, you can also choose to allow Copilot in the background without transcribing (if enabled by IT), but be aware if you do not transcribe the meeting, you will not be able to use Copilot once the meeting has finished. For best results, make sure you transcribe the meeting at least (but ensure you tell or ask people first!).

When the meeting is running, you’ll see the Copilot button in the meeting ribbon and activating it, brings up an integrated interface to the right to the meeting (just like the chat window does).

Copilot “button” in Teams Meeting

Note: Copilot prompts are only visible to you. Other participants cannot see or access your prompts or see Copilot’s analysis or results from what you ask.

Using Copilot After a Meeting

When a meeting has finished (whether you didn’t attend it, missed it, or had to leave early), you can access the meeting recap from the “recap” tab in the meeting. The recap contains the notes taken in the meeting by attendees, the recording (if recorded) and the transcript (if transcribed). If you have Teams Premium or a Copilot License, you also see see the “AI Generated” notes, which contain notes and suggested actions generated by Teams AI [this is both a Teams Premium and Copilot thing].

Just like the in-meeting experience, Copilot opens in the right hand pane, where you can interact and use your prompt (as questions) to extract the information you need.

While Copilot generates the answers, it always displays the reference time in the meeting and who said it, so you can jump to the transcript or meeting recording (assuming the recorded or transcribed). This is useful in case of course the transcription is not 100% leading to Copilot making an assumption based on the transcript. Always good to check right!!

What can Copilot do in Teams Meetings?

Using Copilot in Teams is such a game changer in meetings.

You can ask Copilot literally anything around what was said in the meeting, what something means, what questions were asked, actions, sentiment and more.

The table below, shows some examples prompts against the use-case or ask that you may typically have depending on your role in the meeting (or if you attended it or not).

The example on the left is an example of how Copilot outputs the response based on the last use-case example in the table.

Use-casePrompt
Summarise the meeting so farSummarise the meeting so far. Put the information in a table clearly stating the topic discussed, key points and opinions of each people.
Discuss Pros and Cons of the topics discussedCreate a table of pros and cons for [insert topic] discussed in the meeting.
Assess the mood of the meeting.What was the sentiment of the meeting? Which people expressed their views the most and did the participants generally agree with each other?
Assess the effectiveness of the meetingWere there any unanswered questions in the meeting that need to be followed up.
Plan the follow up.What was agreed in the meeting, what suggestions were made and what would the suggested next steps be? Put the results in a table and identify the most suitable owner for each action.
Use cases and action examples for Copilot in Teams

Using Copilot in Chat (and Channels)

Copilot is also really helpful in chats or when working in conversations within Team chat. Here I see two main use cases.

  1. To catch up or summarise chat threads, missed messages or other information
  2. To help you communicate better and more to the point.

You can ask Copilot to suggest next actions from the chat context, summarise the thread or create replies for you.

Using Copilot in Chat Threads from Microsoft Teams

This available now in Chat and coming “soon” to Channels Chat in Team sites too!

Things you may choose to ask in a chat window could be.

  • Show me highlights from the past x days.
  • What decisions were made?
  • What questions have been asked since xxxday?

Hands on with Copilot in Outlook

The second place (well mine) we all spend far to much time is Outlook. Its where many conversations (that could be an IM in Teams) happen, but also where many business to business communications and more formal communication takes place.

I have been using ChatGPT and Copilot In Edge since they first came out to help me re-write “some” emails or to help me adjust the tone of what I am writing, but Copilot in Outlook takes this to a whole other level.

Its worth noting that Copilot in Outlook is still “evolving” and is not yet (disappointingly) on par with the promotional “sizzle” videos Microsoft have been showing off (but it is coming). Today Copilot works in three ways.

  1. Drafting with Copilot – where you can tell Copilot what you want to see and it will draft the email for you or you can pick from standard “templated” responses.
  2. Coaching with Copilot – where Copilot works “with” you while you are writing to help you perfect/tune your email or response
  3. Summary by Copilot which provides as it says an overview of a thread of emails which is really useful if you are catching up on a long email conversation.

Drafting with Copilot

This is what most will be familiar with (and expecting) if they have used Copilot in Edge, or Chat GPT to write text based stuff. The main difference with Copilot in Outlook is also that it can reference and access recent files inline. Here is an example of an email I asked Copilot to draft.

Copilot in Outlook – Drafting Example.

Coaching with Outlook

This is similar to drafting, but works more like Grammarly or Microsoft Editor. Instead of drafting the entire email, you start it off and then Copilot works with you on the fly to provide guidance about how to better shape and perfect your email. In this mode, Copilot doesn’t re-write the mail, it helps you to perfect it.

Copilot in Outlook – Coaching Example

Summary By Copilot

This is used to bring together an email chain (the longer the better) into key points and actions. It is not replacement for manually combing through the email thread but is really useful for playing catch up.

Summary By Copilot in Outlook.

More AI things are coming

many of the other really cool feature are yet to go live in Outlook. One of the ones I am waiting patiently for is the ability to “Follow a Meeting”. Follow will be a new meeting response (RSVP) option that goes beyond the traditional Accept, Tentative and Decline choices geared towards individuals with high meeting loads and conflicting meetings each day. Follow is the ideal RSVP option for meetings you can’t attend but still want to stay engaged and receive info about.

When you follow a meeting, you will get all the updates and insights about the meeting without having to attend it. It is expected later this year.


Two weeks in – Is Copilot worth the cost?

It’s still early days, but here’s my initial view. Hell yeah!

We are of course talking about just two weeks of use, in which I have “got my head around it”, educated my self (mainly out of hours) on how to write good prompts to get what I need it to do and then of course put it to practice in real life. Over that time, I:

  • Have used Copilot in Teams to take notes, write up actions and also share a summary a notes to my OneNote. Across 10 meetings, I estimate it saved me ~15 mins per meeting.
  • Used Copilot in Teams to record and take notes in 5 meetings I could not attend and then used Intelligent Recap (both a Teams Premium and Copilot feature) to capture meetings notes and actions. All five meetings were 50 mins in length and given the time I used (around 15 mins) to review the minutes and notes,this saved me 35 mins per meeting that I did not attend without me missing the “beat” of the meeting.
  • Used Copilot in Outlook a fair amount to reply to emails quickly, redraft a few team update meetings and project progressions as well as to recap email threads. I would guess this has probably saved me about an hour or so in all over the past two weeks.

If I add these up (excluding gains in using Copilot in other apps) this has given me back:

  • [15×10]+[35×5]+[1×60] = 385 mins / 6hrs 25mins over ten days
  • Around 12 hrs 50 mins (over 4 work weeks)

If we assumed an average IT role of £51k p/a – then this equates to a cost of £26.15 p/h (using £51,000/52weeks/37.5hrs). A Copilot for Microsoft 365 license is £25 pupm so based the example above (using my experience over the past two weeks) then we see :

  • Productivity saving of 12.83x£26.15 = £335.50 per month per person
  • Return on Investment of 12.62

Coming next – Word, Loop and PowerPoint

In the next blog, I’ll be covering my experiences with Copilot in Microsoft Word, Loop and PowerPoint which are the next set of apps I used most (after Teams and Outlook).

I also really would love to hear your views on Copilot for Microsoft 365

New Windows Insider Build brings AI features to non NPU PCs

The Windows Insider team have released Windows 11 Build 26040 to Insiders in the Canary Channel, which is the first new build for this channel in 2024.

This build is full with improvements and fixes, but the main call out feature of this build is the addition of support for Voice Clarity on PCs that do not have dedicated NPUs. Until now, this was a feature that had been exclusive to select Surface devices with NPUs, but Microsoft are now making this available across all Windows 11 devices.

Voice Clarity uses advanced AI powered audio processing to help your voice be heard more clearly on online calls, and voice recordings even in noisy environments or when you move around the room. Voice Clarity also improves the quality of the voices you hear, making them sound more natural and realistic using a combination of echo cancelling, background noise suppression and removal of reverberation all in real-time.

Note: My understanding is that this new native OS based Voice Clarity will only activate "when the OEM device does not offer Communications Mode processing.". This means that if your device already has a noise-reduction technology (such as the Surface Pro 9) compatible with Communications Signal Processing Mode, the Windows 11 software-based Voice Clarity will not be activated and it will instead use the technology enabled by the NPU. 

Other changes in Canary build 26040

Other noticeable changes in this build include:

  • Changes to the Windows Setup experience with a cleaner and more modern experience.
  • Improvements to the screen casting services
  • Moving of the Copilot in Windows button to the right side of the Taskbar making it easier to access and closer to where the Copilot pane opens.
  • Support for USB 80Gbps has been added to support the new devices shipping with the newest Intel Core 14th Gen HX-series mobile processors.
  • A New Task Manager icon – that matches the design language of Windows 11. There’s new option to show the GPU temperature in the Performance tab.

Read the full Windows Insider Blog

Full releases notes for the latest Canary Build can be found here, along with release notes for the Dev and Beta builds which also had new builds this week.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 coming to Windows 11 Copilot.

OK.. That’s sounds confusing but here’s what it’s all about.

If you are a fan of Copilot, you’ll know that Microsoft has Copilot in Edge (formerly Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise), Copilot in Windows 11, Copilot in Microsoft 365 (whixh domains the tech news last week) and other flavours of Copilot across their product suite.

Copilot in Windows will now leverage Copilot for Microsoft 365 for licensed users.

Very soon, those with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license will be able to access it right from the Windows Desktop using Copilot in Windows!…

Still confused?

Currently, you can use Copilot for Microsoft 365 365 in Microsoft’s Office apps and Teams, where you can chat with Copilot, ask questions, get answers, and generate content. But with Copilot for Microsoft 365 on Windows (that is still a mouthful), you can do all that and more, without leaving the desktop.

This means that rather than having different a Copilot experiences, Copilot in Windows will adapt based on other licenses that you have. So if you don’t have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license, then Copilot in Windows will continue to act as it does today. If you do have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license however, then Copilot in Windows will adapt and give you access to the full Copilot expeeience.

Availablity

Microsoft say that Copilot for Microsoft 365 on Windows will be available from February 5th, 2024.

Enabling Copilot for Microsoft 365 on Windows

Copilot for Microsoft 365 on Windows will not be enabled by default on managed Windows 11 devices. Enabling this will need to be done by IT admin using a temporary enterprise control while in early release meaning that organisations can choose whether to allow or block it.

Microsoft Copilot Pro: A staggering grand a year for a family of four!

Microsoft need to take urgent action to bring the awesomeness of Copilot Pro to their huge Microsoft 365 Family subscriber base without breaking the bank.

I was really excited to hear that Microsoft had annouced Copilot Pro bringing the power of Copilot into the heart of the consumer version of Microsoft 365 Family or invidual for £19 per user per month

Whilst I’m keen to try this out to see how this could benefit consumer users and families. I became rather shocked when I did the quick calculations on the cost for our family of four!

Family of four – A Thousand Pound a Year.

Yes, you read that correctly..

There is no doubt this will be an awesome addition to anyone using Microsoft 365 apps, but one thing you need to be aware of is how Copilot Pro is licensed for Microsoft 365 Family subscribers.

Firstly, let me say that Microsoft 365 Family is a bargain. For just £79 per year (I actually paid £59 on) for a family subscription which covers up to 6 people with full access to Microsoft 365 apps (online and full desktop and mobile apps which can be used in up to five decives each), 1TB storage for OneDrive, Microsoft 365 Family Safety and more. It’s great great value.

On a previous blog, I showed how you can add Copilot Pro to this subscription for £19 a month (which is £228 a year) which is a multiplier of X3 based in the £79 RRP price) which sounds staggering but could “probably” be justified….

But it gets worse…

Why… Well if you want all your family members to have access to the features of Copilot Pro (for example your kids for school and uni), you need to buy a Copilot Pro license for every member of your family you wish to use Copilot Pro.

This means an extra £19 per month for every family member on top of the Family Microsoft 365 subscription. We are a family of four!

12.5x the price

In my family of four, assuming my wife and two children needed / wanted a Copilot Pro license, our £79 a year subscription would increase by 12.5x to a staggering £991 a year

Wow…. Just wow.. That’s a lot of cash.

Of course not all the family may need a Copilot Pro subscription and at this price I imagine just the primary user would buy a license and then “use the same account” to access Copilot Pro.

Whilst this would t work in a corporation, as a family this is much viable.

Microsoft – please make this affordable for Families.

I get the hype and excitement about Copilot in Microsoft 365. I have been using it for a week where I work and beielve me, it is truly remarkable.

In the consumer world however, I just cannot see a Microsoft 365 Family subscriber adding a Copilot Pro license for any more than one user.

Of course not all may need it, and of course the free version of Copilot is brilliant for anyone that needs the power of ChatGPT in Windows and the web browser, Microsoft need to think about this key subscription and make the price for Families much much lower…

Microsoft…. Please look at an affordable price for these Family subscriptions.. I’d happily pay a small price per addiotnal user above the primary user but £1,000 for a family of four (in my case) is crazy….


I welcome your comments Microsoft 365 Family subscribers….

How to get OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL-E for free

You will probably be aware that Chat-GPT offers both a free tier (Chat GPT3) and a paid “plus” tier which costs $20 and upwards and includes more features and the new GPT-4 engine.

  • The free tier is limited, is based on the “older” ChatGPT-3.5 model and doesn’t include any image creation tools.
  • The Plus tier costs $20 and gives you ChatGPT-4 (the newest fasted and accurate model) and the ability to create AI images using DALL-E and ability to web search!
OpenAI ChatGPT Pricing Models. Free version and Plus version, which is $20 per user per month.

However, you can get access and use (legally) all the plus features (and more) including GPT-4 and DALL-E for free – by using Microsoft Copilot in Edge (you may know this as Bing Chat).

How to get all the features of ChatGPT-4 and DALL-E for free.

Microsoft Copilot is the brand Microsoft have given to their AI technology which is all built on the very same ChatGPT technology built by OpenAI. In face Microsoft own a significant portion of OpenAI and have been developing together for years.

Here’s why you really want to take a look.

  • Microsoft Copilot is 100% Free.
  • It uses the latest Chat GPT-4 models and you also get access to Image Designer which is built on DALL-E version 3.
  • It is available as a dedicated app on iOS and Android,
  • It is built in to Windows 11 (and soon Windows 10)
  • It is also built into Microsoft’s Edge browser (this is built on Chromium technology – so is essentially Chrome but better!).

Corporate users also get the same free version but with Enterprise data protection, meaning chat data and content is not used to train their consumer models.

Introduction to Microsoft Copilot

Copilot is Microsoft’s AI powered Generative AI tools built on the latest Open AI versions of Chat GPT large language model (LLM) and the DALL-E image creation technology. By using Copilot, users get access to this for free without having to pay the $20 per month subscription fee for ChatGPT Plus.

To get Copilot, you just need to head over the Apple Store or Google Play Store and search for Microsoft Copilot.

You don’t need to sign up, but if you do sign in with your Microsoft account (you can create one for free if you don’t have one) , you get access to more features and can have more detailed and longer conversations with the chatbot. This is definitely worth doing if you plan to use Chat GPT / Copilot more than a couple times a day…

This offers amazing value. Copilot is a free and amazing tool that uses the state-of-the-art AI models from OpenAI, including GPT-4 and DALL-E 3. Copilot gives you access to the same innovation and functionality that Microsoft is embedding into its premium products and services for both individual and business customers. DALL-E 3 is an impressive AI model that can produce stunning photos, artwork, stickers, backgrounds, and other images from your instruction / prompt.

Getting Started With Copilot – What can it do?

Welcome to Copilot. This is the ultimate chat tool for creating and exploring amazing content. If you have used Chat GPT before, you already know how powerful and fun it is. But Copilot takes it to the next level. With Copilot, you can not only use chat to search, but also use it to access and manipulate data from the internet (how cool is that?), and even generate stunning images with your words. And if you use Copilot from the Edge browser, you can also analyse and work on content from any web-page – that’s awesome, right? Don’t believe me? Just see for yourself.

Getting started is super simple – whether you are using the browser, Windows 11, or a mobile app. You can simply use the ‘Ask me anything’ prompt to type your question or instruction (this is called a prompt), upload an image, or paste some text in, or tap the microphone icon to speak to Copilot. Copilot has the ability to reply with audio as well as displaying results on screen which is nice.

The following images show the different starting screen on different devices.

Some things Copilot can help you with.

Copilot (as the prompts suggest) can be used to perform a powerful range of text and image based tasks, research and more. For example, you could use it to help you…

This table, show the outputs of these steps based on the prompts I used. Why not follow along and adapt the prompts to suit your need. You may need to tweak them to get the desired result.

Desired OutcomeSample Prompt (instruction)
A story about a car that can fly.Write me a story about a family that take their new car out for a drive only to find it has the ability to fly. Make the story funny and limit it to 3 paragraphs“.
Drafting an email about a specific topic.I need to write an email to my team explaining that we are planning to restructure the team to align to our new coprate vision. Draft me an email that will be both empatetic but also direct about the change that is happening.”
Summarise a documentOpen a PDF document in the browser. “Summarise the key points of this document into 3 sections including a summary, key points and a conclusion“.
Compare different things (such as products) and present the information in a preferred (e.g., a table) format.I want to go on holiday with my 2 young children over xmas next year where the weather will be warm and sunny and near a beach. Create a table with some different places we could go that are good for children, expected costs per person and the location. Ensure flight times are under 5 hours.
Rewrite a body of text (document, email body, report).Instruction: Open a document you are working in word or powerpoint in the browser. Highlight a body of text and select “write” from the context menu.
Text based awesome things Copilot can help with or perform for you.


This table, show the outputs of these steps based on the prompts I used. Why not follow along and adapt the prompts to suit your need. You may need to tweak them to get the desired result. You can create these prompts directly in Copilot or for more control and fun. Just go to. https://designer.microsoft.com .

Desired OutcomeSample Prompt (instruction)
Create social media content about a [brand launch] or something else.“Create me an image for social media to promote my new webinar I am launching in March on AI technolog in the retail industry.”
Create an image such as an illustration for the story we just created above.“I have written a story about a family that take their new car out for a drive only to find it has the ability to fly. Create me some illustrations of a flying car taking off for the story using in coloured pencil sketches for a childrens book.”
Create an image for a blog site or report. I need to write a financial report for the return on investment of AI technology in the enegery sector. Create me a modern, line art image I can use on the front cover. Make it look professional with minimum colours”.
Explain an image by asking questions about a local image or doc on the webUse the upload image box to upload an image from your phone or computer and then ask Copilot to “describe the image or create you some alt-text”.
Recreate an image using AI. Upload an image and then ask Copilot to create a new image based on this. For example: “Create a new image that uses the same background but adds some farm animals ouitside the building
Image based awesome things Copilot can help you with or perform.

Here’s a bonus cool prompt you can try.. I have endless fun with this..

Vibrant red eyes, dark green baby dinosaur in a forest with leaves hiding some people his cute but fierce face. BLACK background with faint outlines of forests and mountains in the background. studio photography, close up

Great Designer Image Creator Prompt.
Created with Microsoft Image Designer

Conclusion

Microsoft’s Copilot app is now available for iOS and Android users. It ships with a ton of features, including the capability to generate answers to queries, draft emails, and summarize text. You can also generate images using the tool by leveraging its DALL-E 3 technology. It also ships with OpenAI’s latest LLM, GPT-4, and you can access all these for free.

Wait.. There’s more.

OK, so there is more.. You can also opt to purchase Copilot Pro…. For £19 pupm for individual for Microsoft Family subscriptions you get aceess to event better GPT4-Turbo, faster speeds and much more more.

Read about Copilot Pro here..

What is Copilot Pro?

Microsoft have annouced a new version of Copilot, called Copilot Pro which brings the core features OF Microsoft 365 Copilot to individuals and families using Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscriptions.

The free version of Copilot is still available (see below) for those happy with the extensive features and services (which include access to Copilot with OoenAIs GPT4 and Dalle-3 image creator but don’t need to Microsoft Office integrations offered by Copilot Pro. Here’s how they differ.

Copilot Free Edition

This is still ideal for anyone who wants to use Microsoft’s extensive Generative AI and image technology to find information, create new content, summarise and rewrite and have access to DALL-E 3 image creation technology (outside the Office 365 apps) and enables users to:

  • Access to Copilot via Windows 11, The Edge Side bar, the web (Copilot.Microsoft.com) and also as a dedicated app on Windows, Android, macOS and iPadOS
  • Use CHAT GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo for free (with some speed limitations during peak times).
  • Access Copilot via text, voice and images in conversational based search with up to 30 iterations (turns) per conversion and no limits on the number of chats.
  • Access to Microsoft’s Designer image creator (powered by Open AI DALL-E 3) with 15 speed boosts per day.
  • Access to consumer aligned plug-ins available from third party providers such as OpenTable, Skyscanner and Spotify.

Copilot Pro

This premium service costs £19 per user per month ($20) on top of your Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription is aimed at individuals and families (or people that work from themselves) who want to Turbo charge their productivity and use Copilot directly from within their Microsoft 365 apps like Word and Outlook as well getting Premium, faster access to GPT-4, GPT-4 Turbo, along with additional premium features within Microsoft’s Bing image creator and Designer

With Copilot Pro, you get:

  • Priority access to GPT-4 and the newest GPT-4 Turbo features with no performace caps during during peak times.
  • The ability to access Microsoft Copilot directly from within Microsoft 365 apps like Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. This can be used to create and re write content directly from the Office apps for content creation, drafting documents and emails, create presentations and summarise data in excel.
  • Premium features and newest features first with DALL-E 3 including ability to create content in landscape format. Subscribers also get more image creation boosts with this rising from 15 to 100 per day with Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator).

How to get Copilot Pro now

You can subscribe to Copilot Pro for $20 \ £19 a month. What is good is the commitment is only one month so can be cancelled at anytime.

Copilot Pro for Individuals.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/b/copilotpro?rtc=1


Word of caution of pricing on Family Subscriptions…

One thing you need to be aware of is how Copilot Pro is licenses for Microsoft 365 Family subscribers. You usually pay your £79 per year for the family subscription which covers up to 6 people with full Office 365, OneDrive etc.

You need to buy a Copilot Pro license for every member of your family you wish to use Copilot Pro. So this is an extra £19 per month for every family member on top of the Family Microsoft 365 subscription.

So my family of 4 that takes a Copilot Pro version of Microsoft 365 Family to over £1,000 a year! We just use a single license!


As a consumer or individual will you be investing in Copilot Pro or is the free version enough for you.

Cisco announces “AI Assistant for Security”

Last month, and now just a few weeks away from Cisco Live, Cisco have announced they are bringing a new “AI Assistant for Security” to market this year. This is an artificial intelligence tool that combines generative AI technologies with an “unparalleled scope of data” , giving IT/SecOps teams the ability to generate more secure, AI-driven insights that span devices, applications, security, networks, and the internet .

“AI Assistant for Security will help provide better protection to our customers by simplifying management for both seasoned administrators and novice users. Our aim is to inject generative AI and unify telemetry across all Cisco Security solutions to create a more effective experience and safeguard our customers”

Brian Feeney | VP Global security partner sales | Cisco

Cisco AI Assistant for Security marks a major step in making artificial intelligence pervasive in the Cisco Security Cloud. Starting with the Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center, Cybersecurity professionals will be able to leverages Cisco AI Assistant for streamlining and automating firewall management both on premises and in the cloud.

Firewalls first – more later

Cisco have said that they will launch the AI Assistant for firewall as soon as Spring 2024, with this representing a great opportunity for their partners and customers to start leverage the advantages of AI.

Cisco say this will be included and integrated into their cloud-delivered Firewall Management Center with no additional charge. Longer term, Cisco said they plan to extend it to their other firewall management tools later.

Why? Well, according to Gartner, Configuration complexity and inconsistent rules are among the highest cause of security risks and breaches when it comes to configuring networks and firewalls with misconfiguration being the cause of nintey nine percent (99%) of all firewall breaches.

Image (c) Cisco

The AI Assistant for Security is built on “Ciscos foundation of security, data protection, and privacy, guided by Cisco’s responsible AI principles and framework”. Their AI assistant is trained on Cisco’s huge security-focused datasets, (Talos) which analyses more than 550 billion security events daily and helps IT and SecOps teams in making informed decisions, enhancing their tooling and reporting capabilities, and automating intricate tasks.

“Cisco is harnessing AI to reframe how organisations think about cybersecurity outcomes and tip the scales in favor of defenders. Cisco combines AI with its breadth of telemetry across the network, private and public cloud infrastructure, applications, internet, email, and endpoints. “

Jeetu Patel | VP security and collaboration | Cisco

Cisco say that their Cisco AI Assistant for Security is a major step forward in making artificial intelligence relevant and pervasive in the Cisco Security Cloud – their unified, AI-driven, cross-domain security platform. Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center will be the first platform to leverage the AI Assistant for Security to simplify firewall management.

This should make it much easier to manage and maintaining firewall rules and policies, by enabling administrators to “talk to and administer” the platform to with natural language to find policies, understand rules, spot anonomises and even get suggestions for new rules.

How AI Assistant for Security is different to Microsoft Security Copilot?

Scope

Cisco AI Assistant for Security and Microsoft Security Copilot are both artificial intelligence tools that are designed to help IT and SecOps teams work do efficiently, smarter and safer users work faster, but the platforms and services are different in several ways when comparing to Microsoft Security Copilot.

Cisco’s AI assistant is designed to work across (initially) their firewall services (with other services that make up the Cisco Secure Cloud portfolio coming later), Microsoft Security Copilot is designed to assist cybersecurity professionals in investigating critical incidents across their entire security portfolio including Microsoft 365, their XDR platform, Azure and Sentinel. Microsoft Security Copilot doesn’t work across physical security devices like firewalls so the two services are potentially good complementing services.

Microsoft has combined the power of OpenAI’s large language model with Microsoft’s own threat analysis footprints which is informed by more than 100 different data sources across Microsoft 365,Azure and hundreds of this party data analysis companies. It uses the combined intelligence of more than 65 trillion threat signals every day to provide company and sector specific insights, alerts and guidance.

Use Cases

Currently AI Assistant for Security is designed to help organisations better configure their security services (starting with firewalls), detect inconsistencies (for example across different sites, service or offices). This will expand over time however and we expect more to be annouced in Feb 2024 at Cisco Live in Amsterdam.

Use cases for Microsoft Security Copilot include for example the ability to allow admins to use prompting language prompting to ask Copilot to  acreste an exec level report on an incident response for a particular ongoing investigation. Copilot will pull data across multiple sources based on the set of interrelated and connected tools and services. Another change of prompt for example could the see Copilot provide more information, change how it displays or summarises the report, or even create lessons learned documents or suggest changes in process.

Cost

According to Cisco, the AI assistant for Security will be generally available for firewall customers in the spring of 2024 at no additional cost via the cloud-delivered Firewall Management Center (FMC) and expanding to other management tools in the future.

Microsoft Security Copilot, however, which is currently in paid public preview is expected to cost >$100k when it’s officially availabily later this year.

A better together story?

As you can see the Cisco and Microsoft’s offering in this space is quite different. While Cisco see their AI Assistant for Security as a way of differentiating their brand in the cyber security space and to leap ahead of the competition in this traditional secoery space (think Palo, HPE, Dell, Checkpoint etc), Microsoft Security Copilot is more geared towards collating security signals from the organisations configuration, reports and signals from Microsoft’s own threat intelligence of 65 Trillion signals, the organisations configuration and third party connected signals to provide almost an AI powered cyber security team.

I very much see this as a “use both” better together theme.

Closing Thoughts

According to Gartner, Configuration complexity and inconsistent rules are among the highest cause of security risks and breaches when it comes to configuring networks and firewalls with misconfiguration being the cause of nintey nine percent (99%) of all firewall breaches.

As such, launching this with a “firewall first” approach is a sensible move by Cisco to add more value to their offering through the use of embedding generative AI into their core security product base without adding a surcharge or making it “Premium”. It should help to further position Cisco as a Leader in the security space against the fierce completion. I look forward to this being available and for Cisco to increase it’s reach over time to the rest of their portfolio.


Read more

You can learn more about Microsoft Security Copilot at and Cisco’s AI assistant below.

Cisco Announcement and Blog: Help Firewall Admins With Cisco AI Assistant for Security

Cisco AI Assistant: Cisco AI Assistant – Cisco

Microsoft Security Copilot: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/business/ai-machine-learning/microsoft-security-copilot



Microsoft 365 Copilot now available for everyone including CSP customers.

Today, 15th Jan 2024, Microsoft has announced that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now available for organisations of all sizes and individuals with no seat minimum. Microsoft Copilot Pro was also announced for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family users.

Originally annouced in March 2023 and then hitting general availability for enterprises in November 2023 with a 300 seat minimum commitment.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s AI-powered productivity tool that uses/is based on the OpenAI ChatGPT 4 large language models (LLMs) and integrates your business data with the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 Apps, working alongside employees core business apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and of course Microsoft Teams.

Copilot Pro and Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft has today announced that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is now also generally available for small businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Business Standard licenses. What’s more, they can purchase between just one and three hundred (well 299) seats for $30 per person per month.

Copilot for Enterprise and Commercial with no minimum purchase

Microsoft has also removed the 300-seat purchase minimum for commercial plans and made Copilot available for Office 365 E3 and E5 customers.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 teaser video. (c) Microsoft

Commercial customers can now purchase Copilot for Microsoft 365 through Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partners such as Cisilion.

Plus Copilot ‘Pro’ for individuals

Finally, Microsoft has also annouced Microsoft Copilot Pro which is aimed at comsumers/individuals.

Available “soon”, this is a subscription bolt on for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers bringing the power of Copilot to everyone.

Unlike the free Copilot experience (available in Edge and Windows 11), Microsoft’s Pro version will serve as a “single AI experience” that runs across your devices and also works (like the version for Business) from within the Microsoft Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Microsoft 365.

Users will also get “priority access” to OpenAI’s latest AI model GPT-4 Turbo even during peak usage times and can also choose between different GPT models in a later update. Users also get enhanced AI image creation with Image Creator from Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator), with 100 boosts per day while bringing more detailed image quality as well as landscape image format.

Copilot Pro for Individuals. Video (c) Microsoft

Copilot Pro will also (soon) allow users to build their own Copilot GPT, a customised Copilot tailored for a specific topic, in the new Copilot GPT Builder with just a simple set of prompts.

People/families will be able to subscribe to Copilot Pro for $20 per month/per user.


You should still prepare though…

Whilst this makes it more attractive to organisations of all sizes and also helps organisations “test it out”, my worry is this will just be treated alike a product and as such organisations risk dabbling and not putting the effort in to making this a success.

My advice is to still follow the adoption and readiness guidelines around data protection, life cycle management and governance and security to ensure that Copilot gives the best results, provides real ROI and drives real outcomes. For now though the huge barrier to a pilot of Copilot is removed which in turn should help adoption, testing and business case development.

Adoption, training and change management is also super important..

The cover lots of this in my previous sets of blogs amd articles here.

Could HPE’s acquisition of Juniper disrupt the networking market?

It’s official – HPE have confirmed they are acquiring Juniper Networks for around $14 billion in an “all-cash” deal. According to reuters, this price represents a premium of just over 32% over Juniper’s closing stock price on the day the deal was announced.

Since HPE (Hewlett Packard Enterprises) broke away from HP in 2015, they have been on an acquisition spree and have made a number of strategic purchase including Nimble Storage, SGI, Cray and SimpliVity. The acquisition of Juniper will be HPE’s largest acquisition to date. The deal is expected to close later this year or early 2025.

Under the acquisition, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim will lead the combined HPE networking business, reporting to Antony Neri, CEO of HPE.

Why have HPE bought Juniper?

The acquisition will add a huge arsenal to HPE’s already impressive networking business and according to HPE will “create a new networking leader with a comprehensive portfolio”.

In the annoucement by HPE they said that “HPE’s acquisition of Juniper represents an important inflection point in the industry and will change the dynamics in the networking market and provide customers and partners with a new alternative that meets their toughest demands,” | HPE CEO Antonio Neri.

HPE claims that this deal will enhance their role at the intersection of fast-growing AI trends, increase their market potential, and foster more innovation for their customers as they assist in connecting the AI-native and cloud-native domains. They also claim that it will create substantial value for their shareholders.

Combining HPE and Juniper’s complementary portfolios supercharges HPE’s edge-to-cloud strategy with an ability to lead in an AI-native environment based on a foundational cloud-native architecture

Antonio Neri | CEO | HPE

This acquisition of Juniper will position HPE as a strong end to end contender in the enterprise and mid market networking space, in a space which is dominated by the likes of Cisco, Arista and Dell.

The coming together of HPE and Juniper will esentially create a networking company that can compete in the growing era of “AI everywhere”. This will give HPE two main vantage points to compete against the network giants like Cisco, Arista and Dell.

  • HPE should have more capablity, the products and reach to target the data center network infrastructure business with a focus on AI workloads, leveraging Juniper’s expertise and track record in data center and cloud networking whilst also expanding HPE’s edge-to-cloud portfolio offering.
  • HPE will also gain the ability to leverage Juniper’s investment and maturity in AI powered network management to stregthen and innovate the overall HPE portfolio.

HPE has emphasised this aspect of the deal in their press statement, seeing this as a huge opportunity to leverage the “explosion of AI and hybrid cloud-driven business” and meet the increasing demand for technologies that are needed to connect, protect, and analyse vast amounts of data from the edge to the cloud.

How will impact the competition?

How this impacts the other networking giants will remains to be seen. Much of the success of HPE in this expanded market and where Aruba operates today will be one of great interest as they have traditionally been seen as entry level and far from entperpise class. However, HPE have the change to change all this and reset expections buy taking advantage of Juniper’s MIST and JunOS platform – perhaps breathing new life into Aruba and create a wider, extensive portfolio of products that scale to any market, office and budget but time will tell. This along with the wider HPE and Juniper porfolio could create a comprehensive and consistent offering across every market segment.

From an SD-WAN perspective, it’s also worth noting that HPE own Silverpeak and Juniper is not a market leader in that space. When we look at the wider security portfolio also, it will be interesting to see where HPE they will focus their efforts. Integration of Aruba Clearpass with Junipers’ MIST could be intriguing, or could even put them in the postion to create a competitive solution to Cisco full software defined access (SDA). Time will tell.

As the world continues to prepare, adopt and invest in the new emerging technolgies of AI, this new technology battle field will not just be aimed at the enterprise networking market. This aquisition will put new competition across all market verticles and all segments including mid market, enterprise, service provider and cloud. How this is taken by customers also remains to be seen. Some I have spoken too think that this may make existing Juniper customers re-evaluate their opens and look at the likes of Cisco, Arista or Dell again, while others think it will only bring growth to HPE.

One this is for sure – there will be increased competiton and it will keep the other networking giants on their toes. In these situations this can only be good for the customer as increased competition or a new offence usually creates innovation from all the partners in the space and creates a price compete.

What do you think about the aquisition? Feel free to tell me in the comments below.


Leave a Reply

Who are Juniper?

Juniper is a leading provider of networking products, including routers, switches, network management software, network security products, secure access service edge (SASE) solutions and software-defined networking (SDN) technology. According to their website "Juniper is dedicated to dramatically simplifying network operations and driving superior experiences for end users. Our solutions deliver industry-leading insight, automation, security and AI to drive real business results. We believe that powering connections will bring us closer together while empowering us all to solve the world’s greatest challenges of well-being, sustainability and equality".

Who are HPE?

According to their website, "Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud company that helps organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere. Built on decades of reimagining the future and innovating to advance the way people live and work, HPE delivers unique, open and intelligent technology solutions as a service.  With offerings spanning Cloud Services, Compute, High Performance Computing & AI, Intelligent Edge, Software, and Storage, HPE provides a consistent experience across all clouds and edges, helping customers develop new business models, engage in new ways, and increase operational performance". 

Today, HPE offers switches via its Aruba Networks business unit which they acquired back in 2015.


HPE Press Statement:
HPE to acquire Juniper Networks to accelerate AI-driven innovation | HPE

Juniper Press Statement:
HPE to Acquire Juniper Networks to Accelerate AI-Driven Innovation | Juniper Networks Inc.

Surface devices will now get firmware updates for six years

Microsoft have announced (quietly) that all Surface devices shipped from 2021 onwards will now receive firmware updates for six years (two years more than initially committed).

The documentation states that all Surface devices shipped after 1st January 2021, will receive six years of firmware updates. Devices that shipped prior to this date will continue to receive update for four years.

What Surface devices will receive six years of updates?

Any Surface device shipped after Jan 1st 2021, the following devices will now benefit from the extended firmware support cycles.

  • Surface Pro 7+ onwards.
  • Surface Go 3 onwards.
  • Surface Laptop 4 onwards.
  • Surface Laptop Studio 1 onwards.
  • Surface Studio 2+ onwards.

What about older Surface Devices?

In their documentation, Microsoft states they reserve the right to extend the firmware support cycle for any device where necessary. For example, Microsoft have already extended the firmware update life cycle with the Surface Studio 2 despite this shipping in 2018. This already has a six support file until later this year (2024).

It is worth noting that firmware updates are different to the Windows Operating System updates that devices receive through Windows Updates. Firmware updates are software updates that are applied to the hardware components of a device, such as a motherboard, a hard drive, or a graphics card. Firmware updates can improve the performance, stability, security, or compatibility of the device. Firmware updates are usually provided by the device manufacturer and can be downloaded from their website or through Windows Update.

Firmware updates are sometimes needed to fix driver compatibility issues, known bugs or security vunerabilities and may also be required (or recommended) for major OS upgrades, but are not always necessary. As such there is no issue continuing to use devices that are beyond the firmware lifecycle end date.

What do firmware updates do?

Firmware updates are software updates that are applied to the hardware components of a device, such as a motherboard, a hard drive, or a graphics card. Firmware updates can improve the performance, stability, security, or compatibility of the device. Firmware updates are usually provided by the device manufacturer (in this case Microsoft) and can be downloaded from their website or are delivered/offered directly via Windows Update.

Firmware updates are sometimes needed to fix driver compatibility issues, known bugs or security vunerabilities and may also be required (or recommended) for major OS upgrades, but are not always necessary. As such there is no issue continuing to use devices that are beyond the firmware lifecycle end date.

Firmware updates are important for Surface devices because as well as fixing bugs or vulnerabilities, they also optimise and “tune” the device’s compatibility with Windows and drivers. Typically a firmware update can improve stability, enhance the battery life and improve/tweak performance of the device, and sometimes they can introduce or activate new Windows features. Therefore, it is beneficial to have firmware updates for your Surface devices as long as possible so this extended support cycle is welcomed.

The Future Of Surface

With the departure of Panos Panay last year, many have questioned what the future will look like for Surface. We know there will be some major updates this year to the Surface Pro and Laptop lines (I’m sure you’ve seen some of the “leaks”) as they continue to press forward with updates to Windows (and the next version) which will see more AI goodness throughout the OS.

This coupled with the longer support lifecycles for their older devices also suggests a commitment to continue to innovate and lead the future vision of the Windows device eco system.

Windows 11 PCs to get Copilot key as Microsoft embeds AI in Windows.

Windows Keyboard with Copilot Button

Microsoft today, 4th Jan 2024, announced that Copilot in Windows is coming out of preview. They also announced the next significant step forward for Copilot in Windows and the future of the AI Powered PC. Microsoft say that the future of Windows, Silicon and Copilot, are the next stage of enabling the significant shift towards “a more personal and intelligent computing future where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system to the silicon, to the hardware“.

The next technology shift, driven by AI innovation is continuing to grow exponentially and is posed to fundamentally change the way we use and access technology forever.

“From reinventing the way people search with Copilot in Bing, and unlocking productivity with Copilot for Microsoft 365, to reimagining how people get things done on the PC with Copilot in Windows”.

Yusuf Mehdi | Chief Marketing Officer | Microsoft


Microsoft, in their blog, talk about 2023 being the year of the birth of Generative AI, with 2024 being the year of the AI Powered PC.

The AI Powered PC

As significant as the introduction of the Windows Key was in the 1990s, the introduction of a new Copilot key will be the first significant change (in over 30 years) that is coming to the Windows PC keyboard starting with new devices shipping this year.

The Copilot key, which will sit near the space bar and replace the right ALT-GR key on most keyboards, will invoke the Copilot in Windows experience to make it seamless for people to engage Copilot in their day-to-day work or lives and is designed to make it easier for everyone to be part of the AI transformation more easily.

AI – from Chip to the Cloud

In same way Microsoft approaches security – Chip, OS and Cloud, they are taking the same approach with AI. Starting with their own NPUs in Surface and now across their eco system OEM partners, Microsoft say that there is huge momentum from AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, all of whom have launched dedicated NPUs to unlock the power of edge AI processing in their latest chipsets and with the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just round the corner, we expect to see many new innovation and advances coming from Microsoft and the rest of the Windows OEMs this year. This powerful combinations and advances coming to Windows OS, their Copilot Cloud system and advances in NPUs, the next twelve months seem very exciting.

Microsoft say they are committed to the pace of development in Copilot and Windows and are positioning Windows to be “the destination for the best AI experiences”. This combined with the development of their AI Cloud Services and the new local processing made possible by new hardware and silicon, will allow Windows to be an “operating system that blurs the lines between local and cloud processing“. The year ahead promises to be nothing short of extraordinary!

Note: Copilot in Windows is being rolled out gradually to Windows Insiders in select global markets. The initial markets for the Copilot in Windows preview include North America, United Kingdom and parts of Asia and South America. It will come additional markets over time.

Microsoft Surface first?

It’s unknown at the moment what OEMs will start to ship devices with the new Copilot key, but according to leaks and social media, Microsoft is rumoured to be launching updates to the Surface Pro Surface Laptop family this year and these will ship with the new Copilot key.


If you want to lean more.

Read the full article from the Windows Blog.

Read more about Copilot in Windows on my blog here.

My 8 AI tech predictions for 2024

man looking up a cloud thinking about AI advances in 2024

Our social media feeds will be full of predictions for the year ahead this week, after all, 2023 was an exciting and crazy year in tech with arguably some of the biggest advances we have seen for more than a decade. You can read my 2023 tech review here.

With all the advancements in Generative AI technology and chatbots in 2023, I have focussed my tech predications specifically around the rise and development of Generative AI, since every aspect of IT is going to be “AI infused” this year I believe, and organisations start to enter the next level of adoption maturity – from “what is coming” and “what might be possible” to real business impacts and tangible examples.

#1 AI is going to keep getting better and more “intelligent”.

This is quite a no-brainer really, as we already know that OpenAI has big plans for 2024 and with Google hot on their tail with Gemini, I would expect to see the release ChatGPT 4.5 (or even 5) at some point in the first half of 2024. We could also see image technology like DALL-E shift into video creation for the masses an not just images. There will also be more competition to win the Gen AI race from Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. This could be the new browser and search engine wars. Microsoft will adopt the later ChatGPT and DALLE-3 tools into their Copilot products.

#2 Business will invest more AI and core technology training.

Outside of using Generative AI to help us write emails and documents, many organisations will be looking to AI to further enhance business automation and data processes to complement and enhance human capabilities.

With the output of most of the AI tools we will use in the enterprise being reliant on the data on which they use as a reference point or to operate, there will be a need to invest in skills around the fundamentals of AI and big data analytics. People will need to learn how to interface with AI, how to write to good prompts that deliver the right outcome and how to leverage these new tools to radially improve productivity and outcomes.

At the more basic levels, there will also be a focus and need to drive good adoption of the base technologies used within organisations as a result of the technologies and processes put in place. From good data labelling and classification, to simply working with and storing files in the right places in Office 365 and to using the new tools such as Copilot in Edge and Microsoft 365, Intelligent Recap in Teams, businesses will need to revisit the level of IT training given to employees, encouraging Centres of Excellence and building technology sponsors or mentors across different teams.

Training users on what tools to use, how to use them and when will be key and is something many organisations still do badly.

#3 We will see more Legal Claims against AI.

Whatever happens in terms of the tech advances of AI, there is no doubt that we see a leap in the number of legal claims from authors, publishers and artists against companies who have been building AI products – after all, we’ve already seen a few in 2023.

The reason for this, is that at the heart of any Generative AI products are large language models (LLMs). The leading AI companies such as Google, Microsoft and OpenAI, have worked really hard to ensure their models adhere to and respect copyright laws while “training” their models. In fact, Microsoft are so bold about this, they even put in place a copyright protect pledge to protect companies back in September last year.

Just last week (December 2023), the New York Times filed a huge lawsuit against Open AI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. They claim that their heavily journalism content was being used to train and develop ChatGPT without any form of payment.

OpenAI and Microsoft are also caught up in another lawsuit over the alleged unauthorised use of code in their AI tool Github Copilot and there have already been other examples of lawsuits against developers of generative AI products including Stability AI and Midjourney in which artists have accused the developers of using their content to train text-to-image and image creation generators on copyrighted artwork.

The legal battles of 2023 highlight some of the complex and evolving issues surrounding intellectual property rights with the development and use of AI.

As 2024 gets underway, I suspect we will see more examples (especially if the New York Times case is successful).

#4 The rise of robust governance policies.

As we move from proof of concepts and idealisation to real proven examples of how these AI tools can be used in our daily lives, I think we will see an increase in regional, state and local companies, putting in place robust governance policies, processes and tools including the testing and validation for content generated by AI generated content. This will require new tools for ensuring there are appropriate guard rails and monitoring throughout.

Organisations will need to have clear AI policies in place that map out what AI products and tools they allow, guidance around content and image generation as well as what they view as ethical, responsible, and inclusive use of AI, outside of the policies that the AI companies have in place and the guidance they provide.

Education will also be key to ensure that employees can learn and put to practice, the necessary skills to use AI tools in workplace and to ensure the above checks and policies are implemented. Creating centres of excellence and good practice sharing will also be key to ensure employees and organisations get maximum benefit and gains from using AI.

#5 Expect to see more deception, scams and deep fakes.

We will likely see more deception and trickery for financial gain this year as fake person generators and deep fake voice and videos become more of a widespread tool for phishing and scams. We have already seen cases (and warnings) by banks where voice cloning technologies can already accurately replicate human voices and threaten the security of voice print based security systems. In 2024,we are likely to see this go further to many more areas across personal, corporate and political exploitation and deception.

Left unsupervised and unprotected, the rapid growth and risks of digital deception imposes a huge risk and needs security response and protection organisations to respond. I think we will see more guidance, more safeguards, specialised detection tools, increased awareness and increased use of multi-factor protection. A new method of digital prints to detect such fakes is going to be critical if people and organisations are going to remain confident that these technologies can’t be beaten by deep fakes.

To protect the reliability of information in a fast-changing digital world, it will be essential to have the tools and skills to detect and counteract AI-generated fabrications.

#6 Proliferation of “new” wearable AI technology.

I expect to see a huge increase in products and services around AI wearables or AI-powered wearables. This will further drive the already increasing trend that shifts away from traditional screen-focused devices towards more integrated, context and environment aware devices that provide up-to-date monitoring that fuel data driven insights and decisions into personal and professional lives.

Applications: This could open up huge advances in for example continuous health monitoring devices, such as blood glucose monitors, anxiety detection, cancer scanning, gut health and even AI controlled insulin pumps. In sports we could a new level of performance monitoring and tracking with huge sponsorships deals by leading health and fitness companies. This will/could also lead to more data for unique advertising revenues…

Apple have also recently said they are working with OpenAI and plan to leverage the computing edge (their devices) by directly enabling AI processes on their devices rather than relying solely on cloud connected AI services.

Security comprises and wider privacy concerns are likely to be impacted by this shift especially as these devices (in a similar way to health trackers do today) will have the ability to record and process huge amounts of personal, health and other data. In the case of smart glasses for example, this could also lead to new laws and legislation (and restrictions) to ensure privacy isn’t compromised by recording or capturing video without permission or consent.

#7 Cyber attacks and defence will become “more AI driven”.

With any new technology – security plays a vital role. I think we will see a massive change to the level of attacks and therefore the protection and detection needed from cyber security systems this year. From an attacker perspective, it is likely that the use of Machine Learning and AI will continue to amplify the sophistication and effectiveness of cyber attacks – with more convincing personalised-driven tactics, including advanced deepfakes and intricate, personal phishing schemes, using AI to craft more convincing social engineering attacks that make it increasingly difficult to differentiate between legitimate and deceptive communications – both externally and from within the organisation. We will also see systems customise attacks based on industry, location and known threat protection landscape.

From a defence perspective, the fight against AI attacks will also be AI-centric with new AI-based detection tools and applications that work in real time. Identity will be the primary defence and attack vector. For example, Microsoft’s Security Copilot which is currently in preview promises to be the first generative AI security product to help businesses protect and defend their digital estate at AI speed and scale. These tools, in partnership with people powered response and remediation teams should at least even the fight between the AI powered attackers and the defenders that are needed to keep our businesses, industry and services safe.

Without playing the War Games/Terminator scare games, the treat of bad actors/nation state attackers. organised cyber crime division and opportunity hackers have a new set of tools available to help them. The battle between attackers and the biggest Cyber Security MSPs, Cloud giants and business is going to heat up. We will see victims and we will see scares. The battle against cyber threats is becoming ever more complex and intertwined with AI.

Businesses will need a more nuanced and advanced approach to cybersecurity which will mean simplification, standardisation and most likely reducing the number of different disconnected security products they have and adopting a more defence in depth approach with AI powered SEIM tools or full outsourced Managed Security.

#8 Zero Trust will finally be taken seriously.

To wrap it up – and with the growth of AI in to every part of our personal and work lives, working across more devices, applications, and services, the realm of control that IT traditionally had over the environment will continue to move outside of their control.

With the rise of AI and more importantly AI being used to drive more sophisticated attacks – compromising personal devices that are used to access corporate data, I think we will see more organisation adopting the zero-trust security models whilst consolidating their point product solutions into a more streamlined and unified approach.

Zero Trust is a security strategy – not a product or a service, but an approach in designing and implementing the following set of security principles regardless of what technology products or services an organisation uses:

  • Verify explicitly.
  • Use least privilege access.
  • Assume breach.

The core principle of Zero Trust is that nothing inside or outside the corporate firewall can be trusted. Instead of assuming safety, the Zero Trust model treats every request as if it came from an unsecured network and verifies it accordingly. The motto of Zero Trust is “never trust, always verify.”

We also know many organisation have a huge amount of digital dept when it comes to security – with lots of point products, duplicate products and dis-jointed systems. I think we will see organisations focus more around:

  • Closing the gaps in the Zero Trust strategy– making sure they have adequate protection against each of the layers
  • Focus on data protection to minimise data breach risk – things like Data Loss Prevention, encryption, conditional access, labelling and data classification etc.
  • Doing more with less – by removing redundant or duplicate products and aligning with tools that better integrate with one another and that can be managed holistically through a single pane of glass.
  • Doubling down on Identity and Access control – moving to passwordless authentication methods, tighter role based access control, time-based access for privileged roles and stricter conditional access policies.

I also think that Generative AI has a huge potential to strengthen both our awareness of data security, and in adding an additional layer of visibility and protection. I expect we will see admin tools become smarter at looking at information over sharing, pockets of risk and potential compromise and having the ability to take action (expect more premium SKUs) to close the gaps, inform information owners or alert Sec Ops teams. I think we will see organisations spend more time looking at risk management and insider risk too.


I could probably go on – as there is so much happening and the pace we saw in 2023 will only continue and if not increase.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this article has discussed some of the major trends and my predictions for AI in 2024, based on the developments, achievements, rumours and general trajectory seen last year.

In short, my predictions, include the improvement and competition of generative AI models, the need for more AI and data skills training, the legal and ethical challenges of AI-generated content, the rise of AI governance and security policies, the increase of deception and deepfakes, the proliferation of AI wearables, and the role of AI in cyberattacks and defence.

These trends highlight the both the opportunities and risks of AI for personal, professional, and societal domains, and the importance of being aware and prepared for the impact of AI in the near future.