Microsoft Copilot Pro says goodbye to GPT Builder

This week, Microsoft have announced that the Custom GPT builder which is included in Copilot Pro subscriptions (aimed at consumer and families) will be removed, in “favour” of enhancing the “in app” Copilot experiences.

We are continuing to evaluate our strategy for consumer Copilot extensibility and are prioritising core product experiences, while remaining committed to developer opportunities….We are now shifting our focus on GPTs to Commercial and Enterprise scenarios and are stopping GPT efforts in consumer Copilot.

Microsoft Copilot Team

I’m quite upset by this news, as I have found this to be great learning experience for me and have had fun creating custom GPTs for several topics and interests I have both around and outside of tech industry. For example, my children use a Custom GPT I built to research all about trains and tubes and I’m gutted these custom GPTs will soon be removed 🙁

Secondly, at ÂŁ20 per user per month, which is a lot on top of a ÂŁ79 a year Microsoft 365 Family Subscription, the main value of Copilot Pro is now the image creation boosts in Designer and Bing and the faster/access to GPT4-Turbo models. The in app experiences whilst great are no on par to Copilot for Microsoft 365 since there is currently no ability to reference files in Word or PowerPoint which is a huge thing!

I will stick with it for a bit, but keen to see if Copilot Pro continues and if it does, what new features will be announced to retain consumer interest.

What is Copilot Pro again?

Copilot Pro was announced in January 2024, which, along with enhanced and priority access to image creation tools and GPT-4 Turbo, brings the core features of Microsoft 365 Copilot to individuals and families using Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscriptions.

What is happening then?

Microsoft are retiring the GPT Builder from Copilot Pro from 10th July 10 2024, after which time, users will no longer have access to any of their custom GPTs or the associated data, as Microsoft will delete them during a specified period.

The decision to retire the GPT Builder feature is part of Microsoft’s strategy to focus on core product experiences and developer opportunities, particularly in commercial and enterprise… I read this as simply update and use of GPT Builder in Copilot Pro is low!

Excited yet pessimistic

As I said in the intro, I’m Anticipated about the upcoming improvements to the  In-App Enhancements as I feel Copilot Pro was kind of rushed with regards the Office App experiences.

I remain excited, no, hopeful, about the potential improvements to Copilot Pro and would like to see:

  • Ability to reference local or cloud-based files, akin to the functionality available in Copilot for Microsoft 365. This would significantly streamline workflows and enhance productivity, allowing users like me to seamlessly integrate Copilot Pro into our daily tasks.
  • Inclusion in more native apps, including OneNote (why is it not there) and Whiteboard.
  • Generals improvements to PowerPoint to leverage Microsoft Designer (not PowerPoint designer) for images rather than the stock apps or at least as an option.
  • Ability to read and process more data (give it more tokens) to ensure it can rival the likes of Google (and Now Apple).

I do hope Microsoft doesn’t yet again give up on consumer as they have done so many times with other apps and services and instead refine Copilot based on user feedback, I remain hopeful that the upcoming enhancements will enrich the user experience, making Copilot Pro an even more indispensable tool for consumers, artists, and families worldwide. Microsoft need to keep people in their native apps.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the retirement of the GPT Builder marks the end of an era, it also signals the beginning of a more focused and user-centric approach to Copilot Pro’s development. I do look forward to the next chapter in Copilot Pro’s evolution and the innovative features it will bring.

New Copilot “Catch up” feature coming this month.

Microsoft recently announced “Catch up” feature coming to Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. Whilst similar functionality can be achieved with your own “custom prompt”, this feature will make it easy for anyone (especially those new to Copilot) to catch up!

This new feature will be available later this month (June) in the Copilot chat within Microsoft Teams or from the web interface at https://copilot.microsoft.com.

Catch up in Teams – Image (c) Microsoft.


This new feature, which is rolling during June and July 2024, brings the following capabilities and benefits.

  • Stay Informed: The ‘Catch up’ tab provides a centralized place for updates on important meetings and documents.
  • Action-Oriented insights: Each update comes with a suggested prompt, enabling users to delve into details and take immediate action.
  • Seamless Integration: Accessible directly within Microsoft 365 and Teams, enhancing productivity without switching contexts.

    This new feature should make it easier for users to stay on top of tasks and collaborations with others, making it another valuable addition for Copilot for Microsoft 365 and Teams users.


Availability of Catch up

The rollout begins late June 2024 and is expected to complete by late July 2024. Users will need a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license to access this feature

Cisco Live 2024: Unveiling an AI-powered and secure future

Cisco’s annual event, Cisco Live 2024, has seen a huge number of new AI-powered innovations and investments from a Cisco as they took to the stage in Las Vegas. This year the focus has been about powering the AI transformation and has been particularly impactful with the introduction and expansion of AI-enriched solutions across networking, security, and observability domains.

Here’s my take aways from the event based on snipits I watched and blogs from Cisco I’ve read over night on how these advancements are set to further transform the tech industry across almost almost every vertical.

Digital Resilience Through AI

Cisco talked about how their AI-powered innovations which are heavily focussed on the platform that drives transformation (the network and connectivity) are designed to enhance digital resilience, combining the power of the network with industry-leading security and observability. This integration simplifies adoption and provides comprehensive visibility across the digital landscape.

$1 Billion AI Investment Fund

Cisco annouced a new Global AI Investment Fund in a bold move to foster industry innovation and customer readiness and likely help them fund and invest into future aquisitions which is becoming common in the industry with start up innovation and backing. This strategic initiative supports Cisco’s vision of an AI-powered future, connecting and protecting organisations of all sizes through Cisco innovative networking and secure cloud technology platforms.

New Strategic Initiatives

Cisco’s collaboration with industry giants like NVIDIA, Splunk (who they aquired earlier this year) , and others, showcases its commitment to customer success and growth. Cisco referenced some of their largest clients including Steve Madden and McLaren F1 Racing that see Cisco continuing to play a vital role as a strategic ally in business and technology across their entire portfolio from network, security observability and collaboration.

New certifications to empower partners

Designed to prepare partners and ensure skills for the AI powered future, Cisco annouced new AI Fundamentals for their Partners including a new Certification in AI. Cisco plan to ensure they continue to equip partners and the workforce with the necessary skills to thrive in an AI-driven landscape which shows no sign on flowing down.

New innovations to their portfolio announced

Cisco has also announced new AI-powered features for their contact center solutions at Cisco Live 2024. These include.

  • New capabilities in Webex Contact Center will help organizations design and manage conversational self-service experiences. . This means businesses can automate their customer service to a greater extent, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • An AI Assistant is being provided for contact center agents. This assistant can help agents handle customer queries more effectively and efficiently, leading to improved customer service.
  • Cisco is also enabling the integration of third-party virtual agent solutions into their contact center offerings12. This allows businesses to leverage a wider range of technologies and services to enhance their customer service.

There is no AI without data and networking

With Cisco networking already the motorway for connectivity inside data centres, organisations IT and for connecting people, things and devices: 

  • Nexus HyperFabric AI clusters. This is a “breakthrough” AI cluster solution developed in collaboration with NVIDIA and provides a single place to design, deploy, monitor, and assure AI pods and data center workloads. This means businesses can manage their AI workloads more efficiently and effectively.
  • Cisco Hypershield support for AMD Pensando DPUs and Intel IPUs,which Cisco say will enables enterprises to “realize an AI-driven, distributed security architecture” that seamlessly goes from the cloud to the data centers to the edge while still being highly performing and energy efficient.
  • Cisco will also combine the the power of the Splunk with their AppDynamics Application Performance Monitoring (APM) with the introduction of Splunk Log Observer for Cisco AppDynamics. This integration will enable users to drive faster troubleshooting across on-prem and hybrid environments.

Excitement overdrive

As a leading UK Cisco Partner, Cisco Live brought excitement to our teams and will give new innovation enablement for Cisco customers.

Cisco’s innovations will help us continue to help out customer build a more resilient, intelligent, and secure digital environment.

We’re thrilled to share incredible innovation and new AI-powered capabilities for our customers this week at Cisco Live… Cisco is uniquely positioned to revolutionize the way infrastructure and data connect and protect organizations of all sizes, and we are confident we are the right strategic partner for our customers in this era of AI.”

Chuck Robbins |Chair and CEO | Cisco.

For Cisco, it represents a step forward in leading the industry towards an inclusive AI-powered future. And for partners like Cisilion, it’s an opportunity to leverage these advancements to deliver cutting-edge solutions to our clients.

It’s not over yet.

Stay tuned for more updates from Cisco Live 2024, as we continue to explore the possibilities of AI and its impact on the world of technology.

Read more at Cisco

What are you most excited about for Cisco Live and what were you hoping they annouced and didn’t?

Forrester: Microsoft Leading the Charge in XDR Innovation

This blog post captures Microsoft’s latest achievements, innovations and recognition in cybersecurity as reported by Forrester in their recent wave report on Extended Dedection and Response (XDR) plafforms. Here is have focussed on the latest developments and Microsoft’s move to leading in this report.

The ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, organisations face the challenge of defending against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Based on the analysis performed by Forrester in their 2024 Wave report, Microsoft has yet again risen to the occasion, with them being placed at the far out leader in Forrester Wave: Extended Detection and Response (XDR) platforms – Q2, 2024, pushing them ahead of both Palo Alto and Crowdstrike in this recent report. They have been leaders in this space for over 4 years but this year pulled further ahead than ever before.

In the last year, 75% of security professionals witnessed an increase in attacks with 85% attributing this rise to bad actors using generative AI

Report By Security Magazine 2023


The Forrester report details how to protect against the constant and more spohisticated AI powered “intelligent attacks”, a Unified Approach to Cybersecurity is needed rather than a traditional add-on and multi-vendor approach. Forrester comment how Microsoft Defender XDR stands out with its unified visibility, investigation, and response capabilities. It integrates seamlessly across endpoints, IoT, OT, identities, email, collaboration tools, SaaS apps, cloud workloads, and data insights, providing end-to-end protection.

Generative A is the Game-Changer

Forrester say that the introduction of Microsoft Copilot for Security marks a significant milestone in Microsoft’s approach to XDR. This generative AI solution simplifies incident remediation, reverse engineers malware code, and empowers analysts with natural language processing to generate Kusto Query Language (KQL) queries.

Microsoft’s Automatic Attack Disruption – also powered by their latest AI and Threat Hunting services, has led to the development of automatic attack disruption features in Defender XDR. This technology can detect and disrupt ransomware and other advanced attacks within minutes, showcasing the power of AI in cybersecurity. The services work seemlessly toegther across their wider Azure and Microsoft 365 security portoflio making these a real multi-layered protect, detect and respond approach rather than multiple products stacked on top of each other.

The Future of Cyber Defense

Microsoft’s recognition by Forrester underscores its dedication to innovation and excellence in cybersecurity. As cyber threats continue to evolve, Microsoft’s XDR and unified security operations platforms will remain essential tools in the arsenal of cybersecurity professionals.

In Microsoft’s own blog post on the matter they state that “We believe Forrester’s recognition showcases that Microsoft Defender XDR is the broadest native XDR solution on the market and that our most recent additions of Microsoft Defender for Cloud data and Microsoft Purview Insider Risk Management data are critical to give the SOC access to end-to-end data. Its incident-level visibility, automatic attack disruption of advanced attacks, and accelerated detection and response now work across endpoints, Internet of Things (IoT), operational technology (OT), on-premises and cloud identities, email and collaboration tools, software as a service (SaaS) apps, cloud workloads, and data insights.”

“Microsoft is refining the most complete XDR offering in the market today, their dedication to innovation is demonstrated by its percentage of the R&D budget by revenue, which rivals the most innovative vendors in security.”

Forrester Wave Report: Q2 2024

Summary

Great to see Microsoft continue to innovate in this area, after Satya Nadella stated that they are “priotitising security above all else” in a recent report.

The recent report from Forrester does not of course mean that the other vendors in this report are no good. The familiar vendors such as Palo Alto, Crowdsrike continue to innovate in this space and the others are working hard to move up the quadrant.

Others to mention are Cisco who have moved into the Challengers Quadrant this year, following huge investments in thier Cisco Secure Cloud platform and their continued invenstment to bolster their security portfolio.

It is worth noting that XDR is just one of the security pillars reported on by Forrester and other leading analysts like Gartner.