Using Copilot in Whiteboard.

Copilot inside Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard is a blank canvas where users can draw, sketch, and write, just like a physical whiteboard. It allows multiple users to collaborate on the same Whiteboard in real-time. Whiteboard offers a range of features that enhance collaboration, creativity, and productivity in both professional and educational settings.

Here are some key features of using Microsoft Whiteboard:

  • Flexible and infinite digital canvas
  • Provides ink to shape and Intelligent Ink Recognition
  • Supports co-authoring
  • Allow simple ways to create and annotate content using sticky notes and text boxes
  • Insert images and documents
  • Fully integrated into Microsoft 365 and can be used in Teams Meetings.

Using Copilot in Whiteboard

Using Copilot in Whiteboard revolutionises idea generation and project collaboration, by helping people get started quickly with brainstorming and ideas . This is great when you want to use Whiteboard to collect and inspire ideas but don’t know where to start.

Copilot in Whiteboard makes it super easy to:

  1. Instantly generate fresh ideas and envision concepts in innovative ways to kick start a brainstorming session.
  2. Transform abstract thoughts and words into captivating end engaging visuals.
  3. Arrange and re-arrange ideas into logical categories to make Whiteboards easier to work with – improving clarity.
  4. Create new ideas and angles and overcome obstacles.

Getting Started with Copilot In Whiteboard

When you first start Whiteboard (assuming you are signed in with a Microsoft 365 account that has a Copilot license assigned). You can use Copilot on a new Whiteboard or on an existing whiteboard you have already created Whiteboards.

From a new or existing Whiteboard, you can summon Copilot by clicking on the familiar Copilot button which sits at the right of the tool bar.

On summoning Copilot, you are presenting with a “familar” Copilot prompt. From here you can simply describe what you want. In example below, I wanted to create a new whiteboard space to help me capture ideas about an upcoming team away day.

Within a few seconds, you’ll see Copilot come up with some discussion ideas as per the example below.

From here, we can edit our prompt, modify the prompt, ask for more ideas or simply accept and insert it. In this case Copilot has sugested Post it notes, which makes sense based on my prompt. Here, am going to Click on insert.

I am quite happy with this, but i do want to add a section about where we should have our offsite and what activities we should do.

I can of course, just add to this myself, or if I am feeling (lazy) or just keen to use Copilot. In this example, I’ve added my own postit and asked Copilot to suggest some locations and activities we can use for the away day.

Using Copilot with an existing Whiteboard.

You can also use Copilot with an existing Whiteboard to do things like create a summary of your Whiteboard content and notes. To do this, open a Whiteboard, click the Copilot button and ask it to summarise, suggest new content or catagorise any post its etc into catagories.

You can also, of course, also use as above to add new content or help you with inspiration.

What can’t Copilot do?

At the moment Copilot is mainly focussed around activities that involve post it notes. I’d like to see this extend to drawing visualisations, recommending templates, populating post it notes and changing layouts based on content. I’d also like to see it be able to take a set of bullet points from an email or Teams chat and create a whiteboard from that!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s helpful and really great and these idea generation and kick starting a whiteboard but there are other applications I’d like to see.


Interested to hear how you get on with Copilot in Whiteboard…..let me know in the comments!

Copilot is coming to OneDrive

Copilot is still very new and as such the pace of updates and wider use across the Microsoft 365 estate is ever changing and evolving.

Copilot in OneDrive is one of these upcoming changes. Using Copilot directly from OneDrive (consumer and Enterprise) will allow you to ask open-ended questions and get information from files in your OneDrive without having to open the files first.

What is also really cool is that it will let you with with one or multiple files at a time. It will support files with DOC, DOCX, FLUID, LOOP, PPT, PPTX, XLSX, PDF, ODT, ODP, RTF, ASPX, RTF, TXT, HTM, and HTML extensions.

According to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, this is expected to start rolling out in May 2024.


You can read more by checking item 381450 on the Microsoft 365 Official Roadmap.

For the rest of the updates in public roadmap you can check here.

Copilot gets cool little animations in the latest Windows 11 Insider build

The latest Windows 11 preview build is now rolling out to Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channel. This build (26052) is significant, since it is the first designated “Windows 24H2” build that has been made available to Insiders. It brings a number of new features and enhancements and Microsoft say its the beginning of what will be an AI infused set of updates that will come to Windows 11 this year.

One of the most noticeable things in this build (and partly to mark the 1-year birthday of Microsoft Copilot) is the introduction of new Copilot animations that are being tested. 

Image (c) Microsoft

The Copilot icon will now animate into a pencil or picture icon whenever you copy text or an image to your clipboard, indicating that Copilot can help you with the content you have just copied.

Interacting with Copilot Animations

Whenever content is copied to the clipboard and the intimation is show, users can hover the mouse over the animated Copilot icon to see a choice of different options that Copilot can do for you with the text or image just copied.

  • With text, you are presented with options to summarise, explain, or send directly to Copilot for further user defined queries and requests.
  • With images, you get an option to explain the image along with additional options to edit the image – which then takes you to the Microsoft Designer app.

With this build, Microsoft also supports the ability to launch Copilot by just dragging an image onto the Copilot icon in the taskbar, which then opens Copilot. If Copilot is already open, you can now also drag and drop an image into the text box in Copilot and type an action that you would like to perform on the image content.

Privacy

The content is not automatically sent to Copilot without your permission. The animation of the Copilot button is there to simply guide/remind you that it can help, but nothing is shared to the Copilot System until you choose too. Copilot can’t access your clipboard without consent.

First impressions

It’s an overall really handy shortcut, and one that will help less technically aware/savvy users that Copilot is available to help with content. I find this better than annoying advertising style pop-ups…

We are trying out a new experience for Copilot in Windows that helps showcase the ways that Copilot can accelerate and enhance your work.

Microsoft Windows Team

I especially like the drag and drop on to the Copilot logo and text input fields as this simplifies and shortens the time / steps needed to interactive with Copilot.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 features are now available from Windows 11 desktop

On Windows 11. corporate users with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license will see that premium experience is now integrated into the Copilot Windows desktop experience.

This means that users who have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license and Copilot for Windows enabled can chat with Copilot in Windows using Graph-based features.

With a unified experience across M365 Chat, Copilot in Windows 11 and the Copilot on the web experience, users can now leverage the Microsoft Graph connected features in Windows, thanks to the integration of Copilot for Microsoft 365 into the Windows desktop experience.

This experience requires users to have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license, as well as having Copilot i Windows 11 experience, making it a convenient and consisytent experience for users to access Copilot in Microsoft 365 features, along side the existing options in Teams Chat, Edge, and at https://copilot.microsoft.com.

For comsumer users wanted to leverage the advanced feaures of Copilot in their apps and services like OneNote, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, checkout Copilot Pro

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

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.

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.

Microsoft Copilot now fits in your pocket with new Android app

The world of Copilot is evolving quickly… You take a couple of days of downtime over the Christmas break to find that Microsoft has launched a new Copilot app for Android which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

The Copilot app (which is essentially just the Copilot bits of the Bing App), allows users to interact with Copilot like they would with the standalone Open AI ChatGPT. It can be used to ask questions, get help with stuff, creating images using Bing’s Image Creator all from text (or voice) prompts.

Copilot app for Android

Today, the app allows consumer users (you need to sign in with a Microsoft account) to access the app but doesn’t yet allow sign in from commercial Microsoft 365 accounts but presume this will be added in due course.

It is only available on Android today, but has the same functionality as the Bing app, so iOS users can still use that.

Copilot is powered by GPT-4 and DALLE 3, which provide fast, complex, and precise responses, as well as the ability to create breathtaking visuals from simple text descriptions.

Here’s some of the text-based things you can do with Copilot app:

  • Draft emails or re-phrase pretty much any piece of text
  • Create stories, scripts, plays, or game ideas.
  • Summarise complex or long documents including PDFs.
  • Translate documents of text from one language to another
  • Proof-read documents and compare against a scoring document.
  • Create personalised travel itineraries.
  • Write and update CVs and more.

Here’s some of the image-based things you can do with the Copilot app:

  • Create images, or complete pictures using text input.
  • Leverage a different set of styles such as cartoon, photo realistic or pop-art
  • Generate custom backgrounds images.
  • Create logo designs for blogs or your new company ideas.
  • Create illustrations for books.
  • Create images for blogs, cards, eBooks or social media.
  • Use or take a photo and have Copilot describe it create a new image based from it.

Example

In the example below, I am using Copilot to create a new image from a photo of some batteries. You’ll see how Copilot also tries to be smart and give some valuable tips about battery disposal.

Getting the best from Copilot

Getting the best results from using Copilot (or any Generative Chat based AI tool), is all about the prompt (the instruction we use to ask Copilot what we want it to do).

Check out my blog and example videos on how to get the best from these tools.


You can download the app for Android -> here.

2023 year in review – from the eyes of my Blog

Hello, followers and subscribers! As the year comes to an end, I want to take a moment to thank you for your support and interest in my blog. It has been a busy and exciting year in tech and I hope you enjoyed reading my posts which focussed mainly around AI, Modern Work, Cloud Security, Windows and Surface.

In my last blog post before Christmas, I will recap some of the highlights of what I posted about throughout 2023. Let’s take a look at what news and info I shared this year.

If you dont currently read or subscribe to my blog you can tune in or subscribe here.

January 2023

I kicked of the new year with ISE event, some news around Microsoft’sd Secyriuty revenue, the MVP programme and Cisco and Microsoft’s partnership around collaboration.

  • Cisco and Microsoft Teams partnership: The blog discusses the significance and benefits of the collaboration between Cisco and Microsoft to enable Cisco devices to run both Webex and Teams seamlessly without a reboot¹[1].
  • Microsoft’s security revenue and market share: The blog reports on Microsoft’s impressive growth in the cybersecurity market, driven by its integrated and comprehensive security portfolio and partner ecosystem.
  • Teams Premium features and pricing: The blog explains what Teams Premium is, how it differs from the standard Teams license, and how much it costs for different currencies.
  • Microsoft’s cloud price harmonisation: The blog informs about Microsoft’s plan to align the pricing of its cloud products and services across the globe based on the US dollar exchange rate, and how customers can prepare for it²[2].
  • Windows Insider MVP award and program: The blog shares the author’s personal experience and excitement of being re-awarded as a Windows Insider MVP, and invites others to join the Windows Insider Program and nominate potential MVPs.

February 2023

In february 2023, we sawe Cisco Contact Centre certified for Teams and a new Teams client announced (which is now generally available). I also found my old RM Tablet PC (running Windows XP tablet and did a quick recap review). Here is a summary of all the things I blogged about in Feb 23:

  • Microsoft Teams new client: The blog reports that Microsoft is working on a new version of Teams that will be faster, more efficient, and more stable than the current one. The new version will use Webview2 and React technologies and will be available in preview soon.
  • Webex Contact Center for Teams: The blog announces that Cisco Webex Contact Center has received official Microsoft Teams certification, which means that it can integrate seamlessly with Teams to provide enterprise-class customer service across multiple channels. The blog explains the benefits of this integration for both Microsoft and Cisco, as well as for organisations, partners, and customers.
  • Yealink DeskVision A24: The blog reviews a new all-in-one collaboration device from Yealink that combines a 24 inch 4K touch-display, a pop-up camera, a speaker, a wireless charger, and a touch screen monitor. The device is certified for both Teams and Zoom and offers a premium desktop collaboration experience. The blog praises the device’s design, functionality, and value.
  • RM Tablet PC: The blog revisits an old RM Tablet PC from 2002 that ran Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, which was a special edition of Windows XP designed for pen-sensitive screens. The blog credits the RM Tablet PC and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition for introducing and innovating the touch and tablet computing world that we now take for granted. The blog also reflects on the evolution of tablet devices and operating systems since then such as Microsoft Surface Pro.

March 2023

March was a busy month. We saw the Cisco and Microsoft partnership expand, talked about how Cisco Thousand Eyes is a vital tool for troubsleooting and managing the end user expewrience in the world of remote work and SaaS applications, chewed the fat over Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop, covered new AI features coming to Windows 11 and of course, covered the huge announcement about the upcoming Microsoft 365 Copilot. Here’s some of the things I talked about:

  • Microsoft and Cisco partnership: The blog starts with the announcement of the certification of Cisco Board Pro to run Microsoft Teams Rooms natively, as well as supporting Webex. This is part of the ongoing collaboration between Microsoft and Cisco to provide interoperability and seamless experiences for their customers.
  • Surface Hub 2S update: The blog then mentions the new version of Windows that will ship with the next generation of Surface Hub 2S devices, called Teams Rooms on Windows. This will feature a new user interface, unified management, and new collaborative features such as FrontRow and Copilot for Teams.
  • New Teams app for Windows: The blog also covers the new preview version of the Teams app for Windows, which is said to be faster, more efficient, and more streamlined. The new app also includes the foundations for new AI-powered experiences, such as Copilot for Microsoft Teams.
  • Microsoft 365 Copilot: The blog introduces Microsoft 365 Copilot, a new AI assistant that leverages large language models and Microsoft Graph data to help users with natural language queries, tasks, insights, and content creation across Microsoft 365 apps and services.
  • ThousandEyes by Cisco: The blog explains how ThousandEyes by Cisco is a digital end user experience monitoring solution that helps ensure optimal performance of SaaS apps and cloud services for employees and customers. It also compares it with Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365.
  • Windows 11 updates: The blog concludes with a summary of the latest updates and features coming to Windows 11 in 2023, such as Taskbar enhancements, Energy Recommendations, File Explorer improvements, and Moment updates.

April 2023

April saw me talk more about updated to Windows 11 and Windows 365 (including Windows 365 Boot), a review of the gorgeous Surface Pro 9 5G, new AI features in Widnows 11 and Surface and the lauch of Mcirosoft Designer in preview.

May 2023

May 2023, saw Microsoft Announce Fabric – their new data analtics platform for the AI era, Windows Copilot (the neg gen Clippy/Cortana for Windows 11) and a in depth comparison of ChatGPT vs Bing Chat (now, Copilot). Here are the summaries of the blog posts in order:

  • Microsoft Fabric: A new data and analytics platform for the AI era. This post introduces Microsoft Fabric, a new platform that integrates Azure Data Factory, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI into a single product. Fabric aims to simplify data management, integration, and operation by providing a lake-centric, open, and AI-powered approach. Fabric also offers role-specific experiences for data professionals and business users, as well as seamless integration with Microsoft 365 applications.
  • Windows Copilot: The Cortana that never was. This post discusses the new Windows Copilot feature that will bring AI to the forefront of Windows 11. Copilot will live in the Windows sidebar and offer contextual actions and suggestions based on what’s on screen. Users will also be able to ask natural language questions and Copilot will respond much like Bing Chat. Copilot will also support third-party plugins that use OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, enabling cross-application tasks and generative AI capabilities.
  • Bing Chat vs ChatGPT: Why Bing Chat is better. This post compares and contrasts Bing Chat and ChatGPT, two natural language chatbots that use OpenAI’s GPT technology. The post argues that Bing Chat is superior to ChatGPT in several aspects, such as speed, accuracy, quality, capability, and accessibility. The post also highlights some of the unique features of Bing Chat, such as web search, image search, image creation, conversation modes, and integration with other Microsoft apps and services.

June 2023

June 2023, I talked about how Microsoft is helping defend Ukraine from Cyber Attacks from Russia, the death of Internet Explorer and Windows Autopatch. We also looked at the massive changes to Cisco’s Cloud managed network infrastructure solutions.

Here are the summaries of the blog posts in order:

  • Microsoft shares lessons from Ukraine cyber war. This post talks about how Microsoft helped Ukraine defend against Russian cyberattacks and information operations, and what insights they gained from this experience.
  • Cisco brings Catalyst to the Meraki cloud. This post announced that Cisco was introducing a new option for customers to manage their Catalyst switches and access points using the Cisco Meraki cloud dashboard. This was announced at Cisco Live 2023.
  • Microsoft announces Viva Sales. This post introduces a new intelligent service that connects customer data across any CRM into Teams and Office and fills many of the gaps left by legacy CRM platforms. This was the latest additon to the Microsoft’s Viva suite.
  • Internet Explorer is officially dead: This post marks the end of life of Internet Explorer, the once dominant web browser that was released in 1995. It explains what end of life means for users, and why they should switch to Microsoft Edge or other modern browsers. It also reviews the history of Internet Explorer, its decline in market share, and its legacy features that are still supported by Edge.
  • Microsoft acquires Milburo: This post reveals that Microsoft has agreed to acquire Milburo, a world leader in foreign threat analysis and research detection services. It states that Milburo will join Microsoft’s Customer Security and Trust organisation, and will enhance Microsoft’s threat detection and analysis capabilities.
  • Microsoft launches software updates dashboard: This post unveils a new software updates dashboard in the Microsoft 365 admin center that enables IT to get a unified overview of the installation status of Windows and Microsoft 365 app updates across all their devices. It shows how the dashboard provides charts and statistics on update status and end of service, and how it supports both fully managed and monitored only devices. It also provides links to further information and instructions on how to enable the preview.
  • Windows Autopatch reaches public preview: This post announces that Windows Autopatch, a service to automatically keep Windows and Microsoft 365 up to date in enterprise organisations, has now reached public preview. It describes how Windows Autopatch shifts the update orchestration burden from the IT department to Microsoft, and how it provides features such as testing rings, halt and rollback, and expedited updates. I also covered prerequisites, licensing, and features of the service, and how to join the preview.

July 2023

The second part of the year, kicked off with pricing being announced for Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft renaming Azure AD to Entra ID and Bing Chat Enterprise (a commercial grade version of Bing Chat) being made available free to Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise Customers.

  • Bing Chat Enterprise: A new version of Bing Chat that is secure and private for work, powered by generative AI. It can be accessed from Microsoft Edge, Windows 11, or bing.com/chat. It is free for existing Microsoft 365 customers or $5 per user per month as a standalone version.
  • Microsoft 365 Copilot Pricing: An AI powered service that brings generative AI features into Microsoft 365 apps and services. It is currently in a closed private preview and will cost $30 per user per month for commercial customers on top of their Microsoft 365 licenses.
  • Orca AI: A new open-sourced AI model that can imitate the reasoning of large foundation models like GPT-4 in a much smaller footprint. It is designed to solve the limitations of using smaller language models and revolutionise the AI industry.
  • Microsoft Entra ID: A new brand name for Microsoft’s unified access and security offering, which includes two new products: Entra Private Access and Entra Internet Access. These products are designed to provide identity-centric and zero trust network access to any app or resource, from anywhere. Azure Active Directory is also renamed to Entra ID.

August 2023

In August (while many of were on summer holidays), I gave some key tips o Microsoft 365 Copilot based on feedback and questions from customers, talked about Microsoft’s upcoming Surface and Windows 11 event, highlighed key things from Cisco’s latest Network Trends report.

Here are the summaries of the three blog posts on this page:

  • 5 things you need to know about Microsoft 365 Copilot: This post covered the main features and benefits of Microsoft 365 Copilot, a new AI-powered assistant that can help users with various tasks across Microsoft 365 apps. It also discussed the pricing, availability, and preparation for Copilot, as well as the potential drawbacks and limitations of AI-generated content.
  • New devices? More AI? What is coming to Windows 11 and Surface?: This post speculates on what Microsoft we going to announce at their “special event” on September 21st, 2023. It expects that Microsoft will unveil new Surface products, such as Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Laptop Go 3, and Surface Go 4, as well as highlight the recent advancements in AI, such as Windows Copilot, Bing Chat Enterprise, and Windows Studio Effects.
  • Cisco adds ransomware detection and recovery to their XDR system: This post reports on Cisco’s new solution that integrates their Extended Detection and Response (XDR) system with Cohesity’s DataProtect and DataHawk offerings to provide ransomware detection and recovery support. It explains how this solution can help organisations protect and restore their data in the event of a ransomware attack, and how it fits into Cisco’s comprehensive security portfolio.
  • Key highlights from Cisco network Trends Report. The blog post discusses the 2023 Global Networking Trends Report by Cisco, which covers some of the emerging networking trends in the multi-cloud world, and how they affect the IT operations and security of organisations and highlights the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work and multi-cloud adoption, such as providing secure access to applications distributed across multiple cloud platforms, gaining end-to-end visibility into network performance and security, and adopting a SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) model that delivers simplified and consistent security and performance for multi-cloud access and hybrid work. I also covered an overview of the Cisco products that can help organisations address many of the challenges of multi-cloud networking and security, such as Cisco SD-WAN, Cisco Umbrella, Cisco Cloudlock, and Cisco SASE.

September 2023

This was a busy month of blogging. I talked about the Meta and Microsoft partnership, availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot for “some customers”, Cisco’s aquistion of Splunk, New AI features in Surface and Windows, Microsoft Copilot “copyright” protection, changes to E5 licensing with more Security included and more.

Here are the key things talked about in each blog post on this page:

  • Meta AI to use Microsoft Bing: This post discusses the expanded AI partnership between Microsoft and Meta, which will integrate Bing Search into Meta’s AI chat experiences, such as ChatGPT, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
  • Microsoft Mesh entered public preview in October: This post introduces Microsoft Mesh, a new 3D immersive experience that will be surfaced through Microsoft Teams. It explains how Mesh can help blur the lines between the physical and virtual space, and how to get started with it.
  • Microsoft unveils the Surface Hub 3: This post explores the features and benefits of Surface Hub 3, the latest all-in-one hybrid meeting and collaboration device that combines the best of Microsoft Teams Rooms, Windows, and Surface Hub. It also compares it to Surface Hub 2S and explains how to upgrade from it.
  • Cisco to Aquire Splunk: This post reports the news that Cisco will acquire Splunk, a cybersecurity and observability platform, for $28 billion. It describes how the acquisition will help Cisco create the next generation of AI-enabled security and observability solutions.
  • Microsoft announces Microsoft 365 Copilot availabilty: This post announces the availability and pricing of Microsoft 365 Copilot, a new AI assistant that helps users with various tasks across Microsoft 365 apps and services. It also covers the features and benefits of Copilot in Windows, Bing, and Microsoft Shopping.
  • Windows 365 get’s top spot in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. – where I discussed that Microsoft had been recognized as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for Desktop as a Service (DaaS), which is the provision of virtual desktops by a public cloud or service provider. We covered their Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop platforms and Microsoft’s unique position in this space.

October 2023

October saw me talk more about the ROI of Microsoft Copilot, the new vision for Micrsosoft OneDrive, Teams Town Hall, major updates to Bing Image Creator and the end of support (RIP) for Windows Server 2012!

  • OneDrive 3.0 Update: This post announces a major update for OneDrive, which includes a new design, AI features, and more. It also explains how to get started with OneDrive Town Hall, a new experience for large-scale events that replaces Live Events.
  • Teams Town Hall: This post introduces Teams Town Hall, a new feature that allows users to host various types of internal and external events, such as company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, etc. It also describes the advanced production capabilities, the structured approach for attendee engagement, and the unified experience for users that Teams Town Hall offers.
  • Windows 11 Moment 4 Update: This post highlights the new features and improvements that are rolling out with the latest feature update for Windows 11. It includes a new File Explorer design, Copilot for Windows, a new AI assistant, improvements to the Taskbar, and notable in-box app updates.
  • Windows Server 2012 End of Support: This post reminds users that support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 ended on 10th Oct 234. It also provides some options for users to upgrade, purchase Extended Security Updates, or migrate to Azure.
  • Bing Image Creator: This post showcases the new Bing Image Creator, which uses OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 to generate high-quality, creative, and realistic images from natural language prompts. It also explains how to use Bing Image Creator and how it provides improved safety and ethics with content credentials and content moderation system.
  • Microsoft 365 CoPilot: What is the ROI? – This talked about availability and pricing of Copilot, and went into looking at examples around the ROI. We explored how it can help with productivity, creativity, and decision-making for users who can leverage its features and capabilities and looked at some numbers. We also covered the need to adopt Copilot in the right way – proper planning, training, support, and data management to ensure successful adoption and measurable outcomes.
  • News about the key annoucements at Microsoft Envision: this was a review of the key things announced at Microsoft’s AI event in London in 2023. I talked about my take on the keynote speeches and what we have and what is coming in this esciting world of AI.

November 2023

Another busy month of news – it never slows down. In November I talked about my hands on experiences with Windows 365, Copilot coming to Windows 10, all the new “Copilots” Microsoft announced at Ignite, new Apps in Teams and did a demo and walk through of Copilkot Studio. I also shared my view on why “everyone” needs a Surface Pro for work!! I also shared details of major updates coming to Cisco’s partner programme in 2024.

Here is a summary of my key blog posts:

December 2023

In the the last month of 2023 (a short month for many), I closed the year with a post about the Cisco and Microsoft “better together” story and invited people to register for our event in January at our new Client Exdperience Centre, gave tips on writing AI prompts, talked about Google’s Gemini AI (the ChatGPT compete), talked more about Designer and Image Creation, updates to Copilot with GPT4 Turbo, and highlighted the results of the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS. We also talk about Mcirosoft investment in the UK for AI data centres and charges coming for Windows 10 support beyond 2025.

  • Cisco and Microsoft: Simplifying Enterprise Collaboration. This post discusses how Cisco and Microsoft have partnered to enable Cisco’s Webex video devices to connect to Microsoft Teams meeting services, and how this collaboration benefits customers who use both platforms.
  • Microsoft investing 2.5 Billion in UK Data Centres – This blog seems me talk about what this means for the UK and for AI, jobs and the future.
  • Prompt Engineering: AI prompts that punch! This post provides some tips on how to write and perfect good AI prompts for generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot, including how to be specific, provide context, use simple language, and experiment with different variations.
  • Teams meetings, webinars and Townhalls. What to use when. This post explains the differences and use cases of three distinct formats of virtual events in Teams: meetings, webinars, and town halls. It also outlines the key features and considerations of each format.
  • Microsoft and Cisco: Leaders in the UCaaS Gartner 2023 Magic Quadrant This post summarises the highlights of the Gartner 2023 Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, where Microsoft and Cisco are both Leaders. It also compares their strengths and weaknesses in terms of messaging, meetings, telephony, contact center, and pricing.
  • What is Google Gemini and when is it available? This post introduces Google Gemini, a new AI-powered search engine that aims to provide more relevant and personalised results for users. It also discusses the features and benefits of Google Gemini, such as semantic understanding, contextual awareness, and conversational interface. It says that Google Gemini is expected to launch in mid-2024.

Goodbye 2023 – Hello to an AI Powered 2024

That’s it for my year in review! I hope you enjoyed reading it, maybe learned something new or useful from it or saw different perspective.

I want to thank you again for your support and interest in my blog and for being part of my journey. I appreciate your comments, likes, shares, and feedback and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

In 2023, we witnessed the dawn of a new era, where AI became an integral part of our everyday lives, enabling us to accomplish things beyond our imagination. This era is as significant as the inception of the personal computer, the start of the world wide web, mobile phones, and cloud in the previous decades. What new opportunities and challenges will AI bring us in 2024?

I wish you all a Happy New Year! May 2024 bring you health, happiness, and success in all your endeavors!

Thanks again,
Rob

Prompt Engineering: AI prompts that punch!

What is an AI prompt?

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft Copilot in are becoming increasingly popular among developers, content creators and, now almost any and everyone with the release of Copilot Edge (formerly Bing Enterprise Chat) and of course, Copilot for Microsoft 365.

I often hear “of ChatGPT is better than XYZ or Copilot is better than ABC. The fact is, whilst these tools can yield incredible results, getting started can be challenging, and getting the prompt to do exactly what you “had in mind” takes practice – especially for those who are new to generative AI.

In this blog post, I provide some tips on how to work with generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot, including how to write, and perfect, good AI prompts. Prompts are essentially instructions that are used to tell/ask the AI what you’d like it to do…

Understanding how Generative AI works

Generative AI chatbots use complex language models (LLMs), machine learning algorithms, internet data and organisational data (in the case of Microsoft Copilot) to generate text, create, summarise, rewrite or transform content, write code, generate images and even help people build low code workflows or model driven apps in Power Platform. These GenAI tools do this based on user input and context, known as “prompts”.

Whilst these tools are incredibly smart (having been trained on a decade of data, images, writing styles and even the works of Shakespeare, the results are not perfect and can sometimes generate inaccurate or irrelevant content, known as hallucinations.

These hallucinations are usually caused by a lack of understanding of the ask from the user, conflicting requests or poor data upon which they base their response. Remember these tools can access your company data (under the context of the user) and the web.

Writing good AI prompts – the ingredients

To get the best results from generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot, it’s essential to write good AI prompts. Here are some AI 101 tips on what good AI prompts look like:

  • Be specific with the ask: Make sure you are being clear about what you want the AI model to do. The more specific you are, the better the AI model can understand your prompt and provide accurate results.
  • Avoid using ambiguous language: If what you ask could be interpreted in different ways, you may not get the result you hoped for. Be clear and concise in your prompt to avoid any confusion.
  • Provide context: this is crucial to ensure that the AI model understands the intent behind your prompt. The more context you provide, the better the AI model can understand your prompt.
  • Use simple language: that is easy for the AI model to understand. Avoid using complex words or phrases that the AI model may not be familiar with. Slang words are generally OK but take your time to read the prompt back to make sure it makes sense.
  • Take advantage of turns: A turn is essentially your response to the AI’s answer. You can use this to either rephrase your ask or to fine tune the response and is a good alternative to trying to write long complex prompts in one go.
  • Make it a conversation: Building on the above, think of how you might ask a human to help you with a task. You can use the “turns” to perfect the prompt and even ask the AI why it gave a particular answer or to explain something you don’t understand. This may feel unnatural at first but soon it’s just IM’ing a friend or co-worker.

Good and bad prompt examples

Here are some examples of good and bad AI prompts. Try these and see how you get along.

I’ve included a video which walks though these and shows the differneces in the results based on the prompts we gave. You’ll see we can be quite specific in what we want. The video also showcases how we can “perfect” our answers through additonal turns.

Goal: Create a product update for the Flux Capacitor 2

Bad prompt: “Create me a product update for the Flux Capacitor version 2”.

Good prompt: “Create me a product update for the Flux Capacitor version 2. This is a fictional product, based on the original flux capacitor used in the film Back to the Future 2. Make up some new improvements that the Flux Capacitor V2 could have over the first version. Be creative with improvements.”

Write a product brief in Copilot.

Explanation – the second prompt is better because we have firstly provided context of the ask (this is a fictional product), been specific with the ask (we have told it what we expect).

Goal: Create a Lego avatar of yourself

For this, I am using Microsoft Designer Image creator.

Bad prompt: A picture of a person with brown hair as a Lego man.

Good prompts: A person with short dark brown hair, wearing a tuxedo and holding a glass of champagne sitting on a chair outside a large country house on a cold dusk evening in the summer. Lego Style, illustration, 3d rendered.

Explanation: The second prompt is better (well depending on what we want) because again we have given specific asks about what we want, been specific with the ask, provided some context about what we want to produce and described the image we want.

Goal: Write a story about a dog called Benji

Bad prompt: Write a story about a dog named Benji

Good prompt: Write a story about a dog name Benji. Benji a small puppy and lives a family with four people including two young children called Jack and Jill. Benji is a lazy dog but discovers a passion for going for walks to train stations and barking at trains. Creative Style writing.

Explanation – the second prompt is better because we have firstly provided context of the story we would like and have also given a background to the story. We have guided the AI to how we’d like the story to flow and then left it to the AI to write. We have also specified a mode we want it in “be creative”. We can use another “turn” to make the story shorter or to write a catchy title for the story.

Goal: Extract key information from a document

Note: For this example, I am using a document here: Energy Consumption in the UK 2023 (publishing.service.gov.uk). I have opened this page in Microsoft Edge and am using Copilot in Edge to ask about the document.

Bad Prompt: Tell me about this document.

Good Prompt: Read this document and create a table that shows the main energy usage across different key areas in order of highest to lowest. Also provide a short commentary after the table that describes more about these areas and whether these are increasing over time or reducing.

Using Copilot in Edge to discuss and extract data from a document.

Explanation: the first prompt simply creates a summary of the document. This is useful (try it), but we haven’t told it what we actually want to see (which might be fine) and usually we have a specific thing we are looking for when we analyse a document. The second prompt is much more specific. It gives the AI clear direction (specific ask) about what we want and how we want the data presented.

Perfecting your “Prompts”

Writing good AI prompts is just the first step in working with generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot. To get the best results, you need to perfect your prompts over time and practice. Don’t think of it as a chore. Enjoy it as you learn… You’ll soon become a pro.

Here’s my tips on how to perfect your AI prompts:

  • Timing: I find it best to think of a task you need to perform and use a real example to see if you can get what you need. As an example, if I’m doing a customer demo on AI, I tend to use an example relevant to organisation I am working with and make the request about them (or make up a scenario specific to them).
  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different prompts and see what works best. Try different variations of your prompts and see which ones generate the best results.
  • Adapt: Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot are constantly evolving and improving, so it’s essential to adapt your prompts to keep up with the latest changes. This also means the result you get from the same prompt may change a week or month later. The data it’s referencing may also change.
  • Enjoy the learning experience: Working with generative AI tools can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun. Enjoy the learning experience and don’t be afraid to try new things.
  • Use image creation as a fun way to learn whilst text-based requests are usually caused hat we need to do, practicing on image creation using something like Microsoft Designer is great fun and people tend to share their prompts on social media… Here is an example of one I shared.
Bing Image Creator in Designer.

Conclusion

Working with generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Copilot can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can write and perfect good AI prompts that generate accurate and useful results. Remember to experiment, adapt, and enjoy the learning experience.

With practice, anyone can become proficient in working with generative AI tools.

The video I have included hopefully provides more context – feel free to follow along in Copilot in Edge or ChatGPT

Copilot to get GPT-4 Turbo and more in early 2024

Microsoft announced yesterday (5th Dec 2023) that Microsoft Copilot will soon be updating again and is set to include new enhancements which include transition to GPT-4 Turbo, a new advanced Code Interpreter, and the integration of the latest DALL-E 3 image creation model.

At ignite, Microsoft also consolidated their various AI services such as Microsoft 365 Copilot, Bing Chat Enterprise etc, under a unified brand – Microsoft Copilot in a view to create a consistent message, branding and look and feel. Microsoft is investing more than ever in their AI quest and has recently revealed plans to introduce a host of new AI features across the board. In early 2024, we can expect to see many upcoming additions to Microsoft Copilot, including the integration of GPT-4 Turbo, a new Code Interpreter, and the latest DALL-E 3 model. We will also see increased plug in and extensibility features which will be accessible via the newly announced Copilot Studio and other developer tools.

Its worth noting that GPT-4 is already used in many places across the Microsoft eco system including Bing, Copilot, Image Creator from Designer, and is already in use in regular web result ranking in Bing.

What new features are coming to Copilot in early 2024?

  • GPT-4 Turbo – Microsoft has confirmed in their AI blog post that Copilot will soon leverage OpenAI’s latest model, GPT-4 Turbo. This will bring signifcant enhancements to chat and allow users to use Copilot to handle lengthier and more intricate tasks. This could launch to early access users users by the end of December with wider availability from early 2024.
  • DALL-E 3 – the updated image creation model available now in Bing Image Creator and Designer. and Copilot in Edge (Bing Chat). This enhanced image model brings enhanced capabilities and will allow to generate more relasitic, higher quality and more accurately matched images based on user prompts and requests. These features are available now and can be accessed from Copilot in Edge (and Microsoft Designer) to create impressive images through prompts.
  • Inline Compose is a new feature in Microsoft Copilot for Edge that allows users to highlight/select specific text on a website (such as email compose or a blog) and have Copilot rewrite it or modify it. Copilot will then rewrite the selected text accordingly and provide options to tune the way it rewrites it. This is available now in Copilot in Edge.
  • Code Interpreter – Similar to what is already available in ChatGPT, Copilot will soon get a Code Interpreter which will enable users to undertake complex tasks such as precise calculations, complex coding, data analysis, visualisations, and mathematical operations. This is currently in provate preview and is expected to be rolled out in early 2024.
  • GPT-4 powered search – Microsoft have said they will soon be merging the capabilities in GPT-4 powered search with vision – integrating Bing image search and web search data. This integration will enhance image understanding for user queries and provide an improved search experience. This is due in early 2024.
  • Deep Search – Ok, so I saved the best till last! Deep Search will soon be integrated into Copilot, leveraging the latest capabilities of GPT-4. With this, you can get better search results for complex topics and explore the web in more depth and detail. Deep Search will not replace Bing Search but instead will provide an additional option for users. Note: while regular search results are returned in less than a second, Deep Search may take up to thirty seconds to complete – Microsoft say that although this may seem like a long time compared to normal search, it delivers significant more specific and comprehensive answers. This is due to be released in early 2024.
Deep Search in Copilot - Image (C) Microsoft.
Deep Search in Copilot – image (C) Microsoft.

No increase in pricing for GPT-4 in Copilot

Like Bing Chat, Copilot remains a free experience with access to GPT-4 and DALLE-3 on its platform. By contrast, ChatGPT and GPT-4 Premium both require paid subscriptions to access either of those abilities from within its chatbot.

What is GPT-4?

GPT-4 is a state-of-the-art generative AI LLM (Large Language Model) that can create natural language text from any input. It is built by Open AI and can be bought or licensed directly or via many Microsoft AI services including Azure Open AI and Microsoft Copilot.

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What is Google Gemini and when is it available?

The Gen AI wars have just taken a step up. To compete against the growing popularity of ChatGPT, (and of course Microsoft copilot which is powered by ChatGPT), Google announced that they are upgrading their Bard AI generative AI chat bot with the highly anticipated “Gemini” model, which Google say will create a vastly superior chatbot to OpenAI’s ChatGPT (in its current capacity at least).

As the dominant force in search, Gemini looks to help Google to better compete in the rapidly growing field of generative artificial intelligence and given their advertising reach, it won’t be long before everyone knows what Gemini is – kind of reminds me of the Genesys AI from the later Terminator Film 🙂

According to Google, the model has already made Bard smart enough to overtake OpenAI’s free ChatGPT service in six out of eight benchmarks it used including in math and language understanding.

In contrast, OpenAI’s ChatGPT v3 was released last year at end of November 2023 and has since been used as the primary large language model used by Microsoft Copilot. It has undergone many enhancements and upgrades this year including the most recent ChatGPT 4 turbo models.

ChatGPT can also be purchased and used as a standalone AI and comes in a free, Premium and enterprise SKU for business. Microsoft use ChatGPT4 in their consumer and enterprise grade generative chat services including Bing Chat (now Copilot for Edge) and Copilot for Microsoft 365.

What is Google Gemini?

Gemini is a collection of large language models that can handle various data tasks, as well as read and understand entire pages, including signature blocks, document stamps, process text, images, audio, video, 3D models, and graphs simultaneously.

Gemini comes in three tiers – Gemini Ultra, Gemini Pro, and Gemini Nano.

  • Gemini Ultra is Google’s most powerful model, pitched as a competitor to OpenAI’s GPT-4.
  • Gemini Pro is a mid-range model powered to beat out GPT-3.5, the baseline version of ChatGPT.
  • Gemini Nano, a more efficient model built to run on mobile devices and is expected to come to Google pixel next year.

Google say that Gemini responds in a much more human like way to ChatGPT and has more sophisticated multimodal capabilities and can better master human-style conversations, language, and content.

Image (c) Google

The also say it can understand and interpret images, code prolifically and effectively, and generate data analytics. Gemini can also be used by developers to create new AI apps and APIs⁴.

Gemini is expected to power most of Google’s products and services in the near future, such as Google Workspace, Gmail, Search, Bard, Pixel, and Nest⁴. Some of the services will be included in their products for free whist others will be premium/costed options. It will be part of the Bard Advanced service. I couldn’t find any details around pricing at time of writing.

This is the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched….. In the coming months, users can also expect Gemini to power other services, including Google Search, ads, and Chrome.

Google

According to Google, the Gemini model has already made Bard smart enough to overtake OpenAI’s free ChatGPT service in six out of eight benchmarks it used including in math and language understanding. They claim:

Gemini is the first model to outperform human experts on MMLU (Massive Multitask Language Understanding), one of the most popular methods to test the knowledge and problem-solving abilities of AI models.”

Demos and teasers

People can see demos of Gemini’s capabilities on a website that showcases how their new AI model can understand user inputs in a variety of different sources, including text, images, audio, and code. For example, the model can produce a small computer program simulating the movement of a flock of birds simply by showing Gemini a video.

A YouTube video also shows a teaser aimed at parents in which it shows how Gemini can understand math problems written on a sheet of paper and provide correct answers.

Google Gemini does math

Gemini – a threat to Microsoft ChatGPT and Copilot?

In the consumer world, where Google dominates search, this could stop Microsoft from making any form of dent in Google’s search dominance, and area Microsoft has been trying to gain market share in with the power and uniqueness of ChatGPT 4 through Copilot in Edge. ChatGPT already has a strong brand presence in the Enterprise and Commercial space and also leverages Bing as its primary internet search tool, making the relationship between Open AI (the founder of ChatGPT) two-way and plutonic.

What is ChatGPT 4?

ChatGPT-4 is an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI, capable of generating human-like text based on context and past conversations. At time of writing, it is the most advanced system produced by OpenAI, with broader general knowledge and problem-solving abilities than previous models. It can solve difficult problems with greater accuracy, generate, edit, and iterate with users on creative and technical writing tasks, such as composing songs, writing screenplays, or learning a user’s writing style. It is more creative and collaborative than ever before. It can also generate visual content and solve problems with visual input. GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content and 40% more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5 on OpenAI’s internal evaluations.

ChatGPT-4 is built on the structure of GPT-4, which is based on a large language model that checks for the probability of what words might come next in sequence. It enables users to refine and steer a conversation towards a desired length, format, style, level of detail, and language.

What is Microsoft Copilot?

Microsoft Copilot is the name for Microsoft’s suite of AI tools built closely around the ChatGPT large language model. Initially announced in March 2023 and now generally available in other product suites include Edge, Power Platform and GitHub, Copilot is now a board room level conversation for most commercial organisations.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 for example brings generative AI into the heart of Microsoft’s collaboration and productivity tool set and combines that with the organisations content, data and objects such as people and relationships into the Microsoft 365 apps and services that people use every day, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and others.

Microsoft Copilot is also not just a single AI model but is described as a platform that also empowers organisations and third-party developers to you to build their own copilots for different domains and scenarios.

Microsoft also recently released Copilot Studio to create custom copilots that can handle specific tasks, such as sales, cybersecurity, healthcare, education, and more⁸. There is then the wider Azure AI Studio which can be used to build generative AI apps, discrete and trainable language models and custom copilots that using natural language prompts.

Summary

As you can see, Google Gemini, ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they can complement each other in different ways. The only way to determine which is best for each business use case (and it may not be a simple case of one or the other) is to look at the use case, test and PoC each service (and others) and make your own deductions. Cost and integration, as well as security, control, and governance will also be key considerations as organisations look to develop and adapt their strategy around AI and in particular Gen AI tools within business.

Happy AI-ing!


Links, References and further reading

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 overview | Microsoft Learn.

Introducing Gemini: Google’s most capable AI model yet (blog.google)

Chat GPT Enterprise by Open AI

Microsoft are investing £2.5 billion for AI Data centres skills in UK

Microsoft has announced its biggest investment in the UK in its 40-year history, with a commitment to spend £2.5 billion over the next three years to expand their AI data centre infrastructure and train one million people for the AI economy.

This investment will more than double Microsoft’s data centre footprint in the UK, and will see them add more than 20,000 GPUs to the UK data centres for AI tasks by 2026. The new AI infrastructure will be located across in London and Cardiff, with future expansion into northern England.

Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure, easy access to the skills people need, and broad protections for safety and security.

Brad Smith |  President | Microsoft


This investment was announcement at the Global Investment Summit, where the UK government unveiled they were investing £29.5 billion into the most innovative sectors, including tech, housing, science and medicine, renewables, and UK infrastructure.

Microsoft are one of the founding fathers of modern technology and today’s announcement is a turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and development in the UK.

Rishi Sunak | UK Prime minister


Microsoft’s investment will help bolster the UK’s growing AI sector, which already contributes nearly £4 billion to the UK economy and employs around 50,000 people. Microsoft are also extending their Accelerating Foundation Models Research (AFMR) programme to provide prioritised access to GPUs for science, medical and research purposes.

To ensure the funding drives tangible outcomes, Microsoft are also investing millions of pounds into training, with a goal to train one million people with the skills they need to build and work with AI, including diducated pots of training support for AI start ups with a join goal with the UK government to accerate the UK in becoming a technology, science and AI superpower.

We are proud to be making this significant investment in the UK’s future as a global leader in AI. This is a critical moment for the UK to harness the power of AI to drive innovation, create new jobs and improve lives. We are committed to working with the UK government, universities and businesses to make this vision a reality.

Brad Smith | President | Microsoft

The investment comes as the government agreed a new Online Fraud Charter with tech companies, including Microsoft, to clamp down on attempted fraud taking place on their and other platforms. This represents the first agreement of its kind in the world and will help protect enterprises and consumers from online scams, phishing attacks and fraud.

The pace of change in AI demands action today to build a prosperous future for the UK tomorrow. Today marks the single largest investment in our more than 40-year history in the UK.

As business and the public sector embrace the AI opportunity, we are building the infrastructure that will support the growth they need, training the people who can deliver it responsibly and securing our society against emergent threats.

Clare Barclay | UK CEO | Microsoft

Intro and demo of Microsoft Copilot Studio

Copilot Studio Logo

Microsoft has recently unveiled the introduction of its new Copilot Studio platform, aiming to empower Microsoft 365 organisations to build their own generative artificial intelligence (AI) ‘copilot’ assistants.

Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2023 this month, Copilot Studio was officially announced alongside a plethora of other updates (and new Copilots), as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance and expand artificial intelligence capabilities across their core product offerings.

With Copilot Studio, users will be able to efficiently create, test, and deploy independent copilots and custom GPTs, providing them with a seamless experience in harnessing the potential of AI technology.

Copilot Studio exposes a full end-to-end lifecycle for customisations and standalone copilots within a single pane of glass meaning you can build, deploy, analyse, and manage all from within the same Web experience….and since it’s a software as a service (SaaS), everything you create is live instantly.

Jared Spataro | Head of Modern Work & Bus Apps | Microsoft.

The announcement of Microsoft Copilot Studio follows the roll-out of a similar DIY copilot creation platform from OpenAI last week called GPT Store. Copilot essentially replaces Power Virtual Agents and is available to try now.

What does Microsoft Copilot Studio do?

Microsoft Copilot Studio leverages low-code, no code and provides a web-based platform that completely transforms the way Microsoft 365 customers users approach application development and extension. Of course, one of the key advantages of Copilot Studio is its seamless integration with the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem and the Microsoft Graph – enabling developers to easily leverage existing data and tools within their organisation, streamlining the development process and maximising productivity. Copilot Studio, like Power Platform is designed for professional developers or users new to AI application development – providing a comprehensive set of tools and resources to support your journey.

Copilot Studio makes it easy to design and prototype AI applications and offers a wide range of templates and pre-built components, empowering even non-technical users to create innovative solutions.

Copilot Studio also brings robust testing capabilities, including integrated debugging tools and simulation environments to help developers easily identify and address any issues before deploying their applications.

Once the AI app is built and tested, Copilot Studio provides a simple deployment process. It provides seamless integration with Microsoft 365 services that allow IT to publish the application to your Microsoft 365 cloud environment or share it with specific users or teams.

How to build your first Copilot in Copilot Studio (follow along).

Once you have signed up for a trial of copilot (it’s in preview), getting started is easy. To login, simply go to Microsoft Copilot Studio

Step 1: Build my Copilot. The easiest way to start is to follow the wizard and point Copilot Studio at a website. For this example, I have used my children’s school.

There are advanced options which include the ability to dive straight into existing data sets and experiences that you have created in Power Platform, but for simplicity, I am following the wizard.

Step 2: Explore the interface: From here you can then see the options expand. You can go straight to the Generative AI Chatbot and start to test it based on the website you have linked it too, or start looking at the options below which include the ability to:

  • Create Custom Topics for your Copilot.
  • Create Plugins and Actions to connect to data that is outside the website.
  • Extend the Microsoft 365 Copilot with data connectors and plugins to your other data.

Step 3: Customise the Generative AI settings: I’m going to click on the “Go to Generative AI” and customise the “sensitivity” of Copilot (I have set mine to medium). I can also further customisations such as adding additional websites for indexing or even upload specific files. The Generative AI model uses the Azure Open AI service. Here I have added another website to index.

Step 4: Testing my Copilot. I can now quickly test my Copilot out by asking a question. In this example I am going to ask it about the schools in the Academy Trust and then dig a little more into the school he attends.

Step 5: Adding Custom Topics: By default, you don’t have much control over the data that comes with the generative answers. This is where topics come into play. These allow you to add in specific topics that you want the bots to be able to speak or answer that have not come automatically from the data, websites, databases or documents you have connected in.

Step 6: Publishing your Copilot: To Publish your Copilot, you have a few options. You can publish to a website (either your own or one can be created for you), to Teams or other locations. To do this, you first need to navigate to Settings –> Channels and choose where you wish to publish your Copilot. For this example, I have chosen a Demo Website.

Once you’ve done that (you can pick multiple), head on over Publish menu on the left and publish your Copilot. You then get a link to test your Copilot. Here is mine below in a simple demo website.

There we go – a very simple first look at the potential of Microsoft Copilot Studio. Next time we will explore a little more. Have a play and look at the potential and possibilities.

How can I try Copilot Studio?

Copilot Studio is available to try now and will be available to all Microsoft 365 customers who have a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license.

Summary

Copilot Studio should bring the same ease of use to Gen AI apps as Power Platform did for apps, virtual agents and flow. It’s central hub, intuitive design tools, robust testing capabilities, and simple yet powerful deployment options aim to help accelerate and simplify the design, build, testing and deployment of custom AI applications.

By providing users with the tools to develop their own copilots, Microsoft is fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Copilot Studio opens up countless possibilities for businesses, researchers, and developers alike. Whether it’s creating intelligent chatbots, generating realistic text, or automating repetitive tasks, the potential applications of GPTs are limitless.

Similar to its counterpart GPT Store, Copilot Studio puts the power of AI into the hands of those who seek to harness its capabilities. It offers a user-friendly interface that streamlines the process of building custom GPT models and applications. This accessibility ensures that individuals with various levels of technical expertise can participate in this exciting field, expanding the boundaries of what is possible with language-based AI.

The demo build example is a simple first step into building Gen AI led chatbots and copilots using websites and other data sources. This is simple to test and try.