Microsoft Copilot Pro says goodbye to GPT Builder

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

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

Microsoft Copilot Team

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

Secondly, at £20 per user per month, which is a lot on top of a £79 a year Microsoft 365 Family Subscription, the main value of Copilot Pro is now the image creation boosts in Designer and Bing and the faster/access to GPT4-Turbo models. The in app experiences whilst great are no on par to Copilot for Microsoft 365 since there is currently no ability to reference files in Word or PowerPoint which is a huge thing!

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

What is Copilot Pro again?

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

What is happening then?

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

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

Excited yet pessimistic

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

New Copilot “Catch up” feature coming this month.

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

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

Catch up in Teams – Image (c) Microsoft.


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

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

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


Availability of Catch up

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

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

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

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

Digital Resilience Through AI

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

$1 Billion AI Investment Fund

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

New Strategic Initiatives

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

New certifications to empower partners

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

New innovations to their portfolio announced

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

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

There is no AI without data and networking

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

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

Excitement overdrive

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

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

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

Chuck Robbins |Chair and CEO | Cisco.

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

It’s not over yet.

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

Read more at Cisco

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

Copilot in Excel is getting huge  upgrades as it comes out of preview in June.

Microsoft will be taking Copilot in Excel out of preview next month and are adding a bunch of new and needed features.

The Microsoft 365 Roadmap calls out a key feature (ID: 394275) which will allow users to receive more conversational answers to various Excel-related questions and prompts. This aims to provide less expert Excel users with step by step help on formulas, ability to do more things using natural language and also finally the ability to work on data sets that aren’t confined to being encapsulated in an excel table.

The aim: to emoower everyone to use Excel better whether beginners to more advanced users.

Copilot can assist users in completing tasks by providing helpful steps, including formulas to copy and use. It can also explain formula errors and offer corrected formulas along with additional guidance.

Here’s a breakdown of what can be done with this newer functionality coming to Copilot in Excel:

  • Understand your questions and requests in a more natural way, making it easier to get the help you need and how to perform what you need in excel
  • Be able to answer a broader range of Excel-related questions, not just specific tasks and will also be able to provide clear instructions, including relevant formulas.
  • Help with formula errors by explaining the issue and suggesting corrected formulas with additional guidance.

Microsoft “Team Copilot” – what is and what does it do?

At Microsoft Build this week (May 2024) Microsoft set out their vision for the next stage of Copilot within Microsoft 365 with the announcement of Team Copilot. With the usual sizzle videos, blogs and presentations on this, the vision for the future of Copilot in Microsoft 365, whereby they see Team Copilot as a meeting moderator, group collaborator, or project manager – making it a “valuable team member” as Microsoft put it.

What is Team Copilot?

Team Copilot is the latest iteration of Copilot for Microsoft 365, designed to assist with tasks and activities across various aspects of team collaboration, projects, and meetings through AI support.

Microsoft say that Team Copilot expands Copilot for Microsoft 365 from a behind-the-scenes personal AI assistant to a valuable new team member, improving collaboration and project management. Team Copilot will act on behalf of a team, a department, or an entire company and you’re always in control – assigning tasks or responsibilities to Copilot so the whole team can be more productive, collaborative, and creative, together. Team Copilot will be available where you collaborate – in Teams, Loop, Planner, and more.

Microsoft showcases capabilities where Team Copilot can serve as a meeting moderator, group collaborator, or project manager, undertaking tasks such as:

  • Manage meeting agendas, meeting flow and also take notes in the Teams app;
  • Support employees in better performing their duties and solving problems through proactive notifications, suggested actions and guidance
  • Oversee project execution by assigning tasks, tracking deadlines, and informing team members of their required contributions.

Like Copilot for Microsoft 365 in the “personal assistant space”, The Team Copilot service will be tightly integrated across Microsoft’s core Office applications, such as Teams, Loop, and Planner.

The need for Adoption & Change Management has never been higher

We love the pace of innovation and change coming across the digital technology eco system. Services like Microsoft 365 have always have a rapid release and new feature cycle with literally hundreds of changes and improvements in development and rollout at any time.

Team Copilot – Image (c) Microsoft

In this rapidly evolving landscape of the AI powered workplace, the integration of Microsoft 365 and Copilot represents a significant leap forward. However, to truly harness the potential of these innovations, organisations need to ensure they have a robust and proven Adoption and Change Management (ACM) service in place. Training and coaching in line with this ACM, ensures that employees are not only aware of the new tools, their potential and how to use them, but also that they are coached and mentored to use them proficiently and to their full extent in order to release the value they offer.

This strategic approach mitigates resistance, fosters a culture of continuous learning, and aligns technological advancements with business objectives, thereby maximizing the return on investment.

Being on a Copilot journey ourselves in my organisation (Cisiilion), I see three paramount reasons why we invested in ACM for our Copilot deployment – these apply to almost all of the organisation we are working with today.

  • User Competency: Simply providing tools is not enough; employees need guidance to use them effectively. If you don’t have a dedicated ACM team in house, the importance of ensuring there is budget to use ACM services from your technology partner is critical to sccess and bridges the gap between access and ability, leading to increased productivity.
  • Cultural Integration: Tools like Microsoft Copilot are most effective when they become woven into the organisational fabric. Paying for professional ACM services (or leveraging your own in house team) facilitates this integration, ensuring that new technologies enhance, rather than disrupt, workflows.
  • Optimised Utilization: Without ACM, there is a risk of underutilization or incorrect use of sophisticated tools, which can negate the benefits. ACM services ensure that organizations extract maximum value from their investments.

In essence, simply dropping a license to a user (we did try that first), without support is akin to providing a car without any driving lessons or road to drive it on – it is the mastery and understanding fostered by ACM that truly puts an organisation in the driver’s seat of innovation and supports their employees in understanding, adopting and getting the best our using these technologies to improve the ways they work and get work done.

When will Teams Copilot be available?

Based on the information shared at Build, a preview version of Team Copilot will be available to Copilot for Microsoft 365 license holders before the end of the year.

You can read more from Microsoft on their official blog –> here <–

Balancing Act: Microsoft’s “Recall” Feature

The day before Microsoft Build 2024, Microsoft unveiled the future of Windows and the PC with what they dubbed “Copilot+ PC”. The build conference (as expected) has unveiled a plethora of innovations aimed at developers and of course AI has at heart of everything.

One of the key pieces of innovation announced at Build and at the Copilot+PC launch was the new AI-powered ‘Recall’ feature which will be coming soon to Windows 11 and will be enabled on devices with the new Copilot+PC powered by the new SnapDragon Elite processors.

This new AI powered feature promises to revolutionise how we interact with our digital histories, but it also raises important questions about privacy.

What is Microsoft Recall?

Recall is designed to transform searchability and predictive search within Windows 11 by recording / snapshotting user activities on their device. It captures snapshots of your screen every five seconds, allowing you to search and retrieve past activities, including app usage, communications in live meetings, and websites visited – giving you (and it) the ability to rewind time to any point (subject to configuration) to help you find what you need or pick up from where you left off. Your snapshots are then locally stored and locally analysed on your PC.

Microsoft Recall – Image (c) Microsoft

Recall’s analysis allows you to search for content, including both images and text, using natural language. Nothing is shared with other users or used to train their AI models. Privacy, Microsoft say is key!

The Promise of Recall

The benefits of Recall are immense. Imagine being able to revisit any moment of your digital life (work or personal), retrieve information from a past meeting, or recall a website or document you reviewed yesterday, last week or last month. This could significantly boost productivity and ensure no detail is ever lost in the digital ether. To “recall” this information, you simple “describe how you remember” using natural language, and Recall will retrieve the moment you saw it. In Microsoft’s blog post around this, they use this example:

Trying to remember the name of the Korean restaurant your friend Alice mentioned? Just ask Recall and it retrieves both text and visual matches for your search, automatically sorted by how closely the results match your search. Recall can even take you back to the exact location of the item you saw.”

Do we need Recall – what is wrong with search and history?

Recall does sound awesome and very clever – but are Microsoft is creating a solution for a problem that isn’t really there?

Microsoft said in the announcement “We set out to solve one of the most frustrating problems we encounter daily – finding something we know we have seen before on our PC. Today, we must remember what file folder it was stored in, what website it was on, or scroll through hundreds of emails trying to find it.”

Personally, I think search works pretty well on Windows 11 anyway and Edge has a great history, favourites and collections feature to help me find stuff I was browsing (they even work across devices). So why do we need recall?

Well…Recall will definately build on this make it much mich easier to find things and “go back in time”, essentially giving Windows 11 a “photographic memory,” as Microsoft explains it. The reason I think this will be a really awesome feature is less because I can never find something, but is more about the experience I want and am starting to expect from AI.

A webpage, image or document we are looking at doesnt paint the whole picture and with search these things are isolated. Recall brings this all together. Maybe I was researching a trip or a topic – with recall it can colate the whole story, bringing together context, images, notes, documents, searches, websites together.

Privacy Concerns

Recall’s powerful capability to record and store every action poses significant privacy concerns and social media has been rife with this (no such thing as bad press right). The thought of someone else accessing this data is unsettling, yet Microsoft assures us that the data remains fully encrypted, local, and linked to that user’s profile. It is not shared with anyone, accessible by anyone or used to train their Large Language Models or dor advertising purposes.

Of course, despite this, the potential for misuse cannot be ignored, especially if sensitive information like passwords or financial details appear on-screen so people I guess are rightfully concerned and since this is not actually “available” yet many of the concerns, assurances etc., are not yet “proven” either way.

Microsoft has a FAQ section that explains how Recall works. This is something everyone panicking about Recall should read.

Microsoft’s Safeguards

The integration of Recall into Windows 11 by Microsoft is designed to keep user data secure and private. Personally and knowing how Microsoft always put the user in control of what is and is not enabled in Windows 11, I am personally not concerned, but understand why some might be initially.

Secondly, Recall works on-device and not across the cloud. This means, no data leaves the PC to Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft will not improve its large language models using this particularly sensitive data. Microsoft say that they will also not use the data for targeting advrtisments. Recall data isn’t available to other applications.

To mitigate these concerns, Microsoft has implemented several safeguards:

  • Recall will not capture InPrivate browsing or DRM-protected content.
  • Users can pause, stop, or delete captured content at any time
  • Users can exclude specific apps or websites from being recorded
  • Users can disable recall and not use it at all.

I also wanted to share directly from Microsoft’s post around this – their approach around privavcy and responsible AI

Microsoft has been working to advance AI responsibly since 2017, when we first defined our AI principles and later operationalized our approach through our Responsible AI Standard. Privacy and security are principles as we develop and deploy AI systems. We work to help our customers use our AI products responsibly, sharing our learnings, and building trust-based partnerships. For more about our responsible AI efforts, the principles that guide us, and the tooling and capabilities we’ve created to assure that we develop AI technology responsibly, see Responsible AI.

Recall uses optical character recognition (OCR), local to the PC, to analyse snapshots and facilitate search. For more information about OCR, see Transparency note and use cases for OCR. For more information about privacy and security, see Privacy and security for Recall & screenray“.

The Future of Recall

As we move forward, the Recall feature will likely evolve, based on feedback from the Window Insider Community and MVPs. Microsoft will need to continually balance AI innovation with user trust, ensuring that privacy is not sacrificed for convenience and that users are given choice with regards features that record and track usage and interactions. The conversation around Recall is just beginning, and it will be fascinating to see how it shapes the future of digital interaction and privacy.

In conclusion, Microsoft’s Recall stands at the crossroads of technological advancement and privacy. It’s a powerful tool that promises huge benefits but also requires careful consideration and management of privacy concerns. As with any new technology, it will be up to both Microsoft and its users to navigate these waters responsibly.


Would love to hear your views on this? What do you think, excited for this new feature (on the new Copilot+PC hardware) or will you be turning it off or jumping OS!! 🙂 

For more detailed information on the feature and its capabilities, please refer to the official announcements and resources provided by Microsoft.

AI wave helps Cisco deliver beyond expectations despite Q3 revenue drop.

Last week, Cisco reported its Q3 fiscal results which beat market in terms of both top and bottom-line.

Cisco achieved this despite a continued decline in overall revenue, showing that like many of the US tech giants, Cisco have become leaner and more cost effective as an entity. It is also recognition of their shift to a software organisation (that also sells hardware).

As a Cisco partner, we understand why Cisco have attributed the majority of their sales revenue decline being due to their customers still deploying data centre and networking equipment purchased late last year due to shifting busienss priorities and re alignment over hybrid work practices. This is certainly something we have seen some still an overspill from the huge chip and stock shortages we saw in COVID-19…

Cisco remain confident that Q4 will see a turn around. Personally, we (Cisilion) have already seen a great Cisco Q3 personally and expect a great Cisco Q4 with some large networking and data centre refreshes.

Riding the AI Wave

Cisco are also making big step forward in the new AI powered world in two parts.

Aquisitions and Parnering

Firstly, Cisco have recently closed the $28 billion acquisition of security and observability software Splunk. Whilst not yet assimilated and incorporated into Cisco’s mainstream portfolio (this won’t likely happen until mid to late FY25) the aquisition will boost their cybersecurity and AI goals. With Splunk, Cisco is gaining a tool to better compete with their competition such as  Palo Alto and Crowd Strike and ensures they remain relevant. 

I covered the Cisco / Splunk aquisition in a recent fireside chat and blog.

Cisco is also well-aware that in order to grow, they need to join forces and work with the other tech giants that dominate the cloud and modern workplace technologies. Their partnership with Microsoft in the modern work space and alignment with building more services for Azure as well as supporting their digitial market place for software and service sales will also boost their reach.

Last month, Cisco have announced a new partnership with NVIDIA to enable enterprises to quickly deploy and manage secure AI infrastructure with new hardware being announced.

As a Cisco and Microsoft Partner, it is great to see the partnership paying off, and our customers live the choice, flexibility and sustainability offerings possible through the deep integration of Cisco meeting room technology on Teams, their integration with Microsoft Sentinel and the work they have done with Cisco Webex Contact Centre which now offers one of the most feature rich and mature customer experience platforms on both Cisco Webex and for Microsoft Teams.

Through these partnerships and aquisitions, Cisco seemed well placed to help organisations build, power, support, and secure AI

Partnership is great for our customers and for us (Cisilion) as a partner.

The Network: Powering the AI Wave

In a recent interview and video we did to celebrate the opening of our new Customer Experience Centre in London, Chintan Patel (Cisco UK CTO) said that “there is no AI without the network“.

This statement, made by Cisco CTO, underscores the critical role that networks play in the functioning and advancement of AI.

Cisco and Cisilion talking AI with Cisco UK CTO

AI rely heavily on data – they need to ingest, process, and learn from vast amounts of information to function effectively. This data needs to be transported, often across great distances, and this is where the network comes in. Without a robust and reliable network, data cannot be moved efficiently, and AI systems cannot operate at their full potential.

Cisco, with its extensive experience in network provision, is uniquely positioned to provide the high-speed, reliable network infrastructure that AI systems require. Their networks are designed to handle the high data volumes and fast data speeds that AI applications demand.

AI is fuelled by the Data Centre.

The Data Centre is the heart of any AI operation. They house the servers that store and process the data AI systems use and are vital for any organisation or service provider building out training their own AI models.

Having been along time leader in the data centre space, offers state-of-the-art technology, from a a compute and networking stack that help organisations design and build through their partners, modern environments that can handle the intensive computational needs of AI, providing a stable and efficient environment for AI operations.

When we come back to partnership and alliance, some of the largest AI service providers, including Microsoft and Adobe use data centres powered by Cisco (amongst others) and rely on their network and data centre (Azure) to power their AI services like Copilot and Azure AI. Cisco’s advanced network solutions and data centres provide the necessary infrastructure for these companies to run their AI applications effectively.

As we see more organisations look to build their own large and small language models, Machine Learning and AI computational and generative AI, Cisco will be helping to power this AI revolution.

As such their technology infrastructure will plays a crucial role in enabling AI service providers to deliver innovative solutions that drive business growth and societal advancement.

I’m confident this will re innovate the infrastructure market across both businesses and service providers.  In conclusion, Cisco’s statement that “there is no AI without the network” rings true. As AI continues to evolve and become more integrated into our daily lives, the role of network and data centre providers like Cisco will only become more critical.

Of course Cisco aren’t the only provider in this space, but I’m impressed with shift and direction Cisco are moving to stay relevant and partner with the other AI giants. As a Cisco partner this is great to see.


To read more about Cisco technology, data centre, observability and network, you can check out their pages below.

https://www.cisco.com/site/us/en/solutions/artificial-intelligence/infrastructure/index.html

Copilot+PC – Fastest, most AI-ready Windows PCs ever built.

Today (20th May 2024), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled a new category of PC that features the latest generative AI tools built directly into Windows and powered by the latest generation of AI computing hardware. Microsoft say this is “the most significant change to the Window platform in decades“.

Microsoft said this entirely new class of Windows PC is engineered to unleash the power of distributed AI in conjunction with the latest generation of AI-Powered chip sets from Qualcomm which bring new AI hardware which will power these new AI features which will be “part of” the Windows OS.

Microsoft call this new category ‘Copilot Plus’… which will see the creation of the latest, fastest, most AI-ready Windows PCs ever built. Copilot+ PCs represent a significant advancement in computing, offering powerful performance and pioneering AI capabilities. Equipped with Snapdragon® X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors, these PCs are engineered to provide peak processing efficiency and swift response times.

Copilot+ PCs can run AI workloads up to 20x faster and 100x more efficiently than traditional PCs.

Microsoft have also announced today, their first Copilot+ PCs, in both the new Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 – both powered by these new AI Chipsets. They are also working with Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung who will also be bringing their Copilot+ PCs to market.

Here’s the Sizzle Video.

Copilot+PC – Microsoft (c)

As Microsoft took to the stage in front of the world’s tech press, they said that they estimate more than fifty million “AI PCs” will be sold over the next 12 months, given the appetite for devices powered by ChatGPT-style technology.

“…more than 50 million AI PCs will be sold over the next 12 months”

Satya Nadella | Microsoft.

The Copilot+ PC is here

The concept of Copilot+ PC is not merely to offer a handful of AI features. Instead, it is about having a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) on a Copilot+ PC that continuously runs multiple language models in the background of Windows 11. These models will monitor all your activities on your PC to provide contextual information whenever you need to prompt Copilot effectively. Microsoft refers to this functionality as Recall, describing it as a “sensor for AI.”

Satya Nadella announcing the Copilot+PC
Satya Nadella announcing the Copilot+PC

As suggested in the sizzle video above, this implies that a Copilot+ PC can retrieve a line from a document you write or reviewed days earlier, remind you of a commitment or action you made in an email last week, or monitor your web browsing to suggest frequently visited websites and services based on your current activity or “intent”. Whilst there are clear privacy concerns, Microsoft claims that Copilot+ becomes an AI superpower when fully operational and respects your privacy at all times – helping you to do more.

Constant monitoring will be at the heart of a Copilot+ PC, but Microsoft say that it’s substantial AI computing power can do much much more. For example, there will be many creative tools that leverage AI, ranging from Photoshop’s generative AI fill to Microsoft’s AI image generation, to AI video and voice effects in meetings. With a Copilot+ PC, these functions are executed locally on the device – saving time, reducing the need to rely in cloud services and reducing CPU workload and power consumption.

Microsoft have said that users will always be in control and will have the option to disable the always-on AI tracking and to be able to review and delete these AI snapshots individually.

To be classed as Copilot+ status, PCs must be able to deliver at least 40 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS) of AI processing power from the Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This represents a significant increase from previous offerings, such as Intel’s Meteor Lake, which provided only 10 TOPS from the NPU.

Under the Hood of a Copilot + PC

So, what is powering these new Copilot+ PCs? Despite Microsoft announcing the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 for business earlier this year, the new Copilot+ PCs are not powered Intel or AMD chips.

“Over the past year, we have seen an incredible pace of innovation of AI in the cloud with Copilot allowing us to do things that we never dreamed possible…..

Now, we begin a new chapter with AI innovation on the device…..

We have completely reimagined the entirety of the PC, from silicon to the operating system, the application layer to the cloud, with AI at the center, marking the most significant change to the Window platform in decades”

Microsoft (May 2024)

Instead, the initial series exclusively features the Snapdragon X Elite or Snapdragon X Plus chips, each boasting more than 40 TOPS of AI power. According to Qualcomm, these chips provide over four times the AI power of their competitors‘ chips and have more than enough power to run the latest AI infused games.

The Copilot+PC also include the dedicated button to prompt the Copilot AI assistant at any time.

Security is also AI Powered

Microsoft focussed heavily on Security. As with the current ARM powered devices such as the Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 9 5G, every Copilot+ PC comes secured out of the box.

The Microsoft Pluton Security processor (which goes way beyond TPM) is activated by default on all Copilot+ PCs, and they are introducing several new features, updates, and defaults in Windows 11 24H2 that will simplify, yet enhance user security. Additionally, Microsoft are integrated additional personalised privacy controls to safeguard personal and sensitive data.


Microsoft’s vision is to ensure this new AI standards for PCs will enable the next generation of AI development which is timely given their annual Build Conference runs this week in which they will be driving new development capability to develops eager to ride the AI gravy train for Windows system and application development.

As the primary investor in OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, Microsoft also confirmed that the newly announced GPT-4o model, which powers the chatbot, will also be integrated into Copilot+ PCs “soon”. GPT-4o is currently available in preview in Azure AI.

Microsoft confirm GPT-4o is now available on Azure AI

Just ahead of Microsoft Build, the Azure team have announced the availability of GPT-4o, OpenAI’s latest flagship model on Azure AI. This innovative multimodal model combines text, vision, and audio capabilities, establishing a new benchmark for generative and conversational AI experiences. GPT-4o is now available in the Azure OpenAI Service for preview, with support for text and image inputs.

This is a preview for testing now

What does GPT-4o Bring?

GPT-4o represents a paradigm shift in the interaction of AI models with multimodal inputs. It integrates text, images, and audio to deliver a more immersive and engaging user experience.

What does the “preview” include?

Currently in preview, Azure OpenAI Service customers will be able to test GPT-4o’s broad capabilities via a preview playground in Azure OpenAI Studio. This initial version emphasizes text and visual inputs, offering a preview of the model’s possibilities and setting the stage for additional functionalities, including audio and video.

The preview is free to try but has limitations around usage and location availability.

Designed for rapidity and efficiency, GPT-4o’s sophisticated processing of complex inquiries with fewer resources has the potential to offer both cost efficiency and enhanced performance.

Note: At time of writing, this is preview is available in two US regions only West US3 and East US.

What about GPT-4o in Microsoft Copilot?

We don’t know yet, but we do know that there will exciting updates around the rest of the Microsoft AI stack this week. Microsoft has an agressive and innovation fuelled roadmap for Microsoft 365 Copilot so as Microsoft continues to update and integrate OpenAI’s latest models into Copilot – I’m looking forward to hearing more this week.

What else is coming?

This week is Microsoft Build 2024 in Seattle and online. I expect this to be (pretty much) all about Copilot, and AI so expect to hear more about GPT-4o and other Azure AI updates.


Further Reading

You can read more about GOT-4o at the official OpenAI Blog which is < here >.

Will 2024 be the year of Windows 11 on ARM?

We are not even six months into 2024, yet we have already seen some of the most exciting innovation to hit the PC in a decade.

Earlier this year we saw the birth of the “AI-PC” which saw Intel ship their new Core Ultra chipset which includes their AI Boost technology (essentially an NPU) along with the much improved Intel Arc graphics chips which brought performance increases far beyond the i5 and i7 chipsets we have been using for years.


Why do we need NPUs again?

As we use increasingly more AI services, whether that is image blurring, sound enhancement or running a local LLMs on your device, Neural Processing Units (NPUs) are much much faster at processing these workloads locally and because they do all the hard work, the CPU doesn’t need too, also freeing up CPU time increasing overall performance. . This therefore also leads to more efficient processing and less battery use.


I remember back (too many) years ago, when the chipset battle was between Intel and AMD. This has moved on significantly of late though with Qualcomm now a real contender in realm of AI workloads, portability and battery/eco performance. Qualcomms new Snapdragon chipsets are built on what was previously called “Oryon” which was designed by NUVIA (which QualComm brought for $1.4 Billion in 2021).

Interesting fact: Nuvia was founded by a group of ex-Apple engineers who were responsible for the original Apple M1 + chipset architecture.

This Oryon chipset (known now as the Snapdragon X series) has been the result of that acquisition and ongoing investment. These ARM chip brings an amazing addition to lower power usage and energy consumption, mobile connectivity, longer battery life and amazing performance (especially with AI workloads) and will soon be running the current and next generation of Windows 11 on ARM technology.

Is Surface RT – Back from the Dead?

Well, yes and no – more sort of.

If you have been using Microsoft hardware (and Surface in particular for while, you may remember the Infamous Surface RT device that Microsoft launched in 2012 along side the Intel Powered Surface Pro (v1). Whilst not a success at the time (and laughed at by many), this was the real exploration of using ARM architecture in mainstream computing running a desktop Operating System (Windows 8.1 back then). Windows 8.1 RT was based on Windows 8 at the time but compiled specifically for the ARM chipset that drove the Surface RT.

Surface RT was a hybrid tablet developed by Microsoft. It was the first personal computer designed in-house by Microsoft and was released in October 2012. It ran on Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 optimised for ARM processors. It has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra processor, 2GB of memory, a 10.6-inch display, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, and a magnesium chassis.

But it failed right? It did – but the failing (in part) was not really down to the ARM technology itself, it was more because the mainstream computing world only really knew the world of Win32 or x64 applications which were built on a totally different architecture and could not run on ARM. There were a number of Win32 applications that were recompiled for ARM and made available via the (then limited) App Store, but these were few and far between (a bit like Windows Phone) which meant that Surface RT was a good good for web browsing and web apps, plus the stock apps and re-compiled Office Applications which worked quite well.

ARM – “I’ll be back”

With the “fail” of Windows RT, ARM was pretty much a thing of the past until 2019, when Microsoft released the Surface Pro X, which I still love and use today. This was the start of a new era for Windows on ARM (some seven years later) which saw Windows 10 (WoA) running on a Microsoft customised Qualcomm which Microsoft called the SQ1.

The SQ1 was based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx laptop chip but with some customization.
It combined Snapdragon hardware with AI capabilities, resulting in a powerful chipset, which gave impressive battery life (well more than in the intel version), and quick charging (to 80% in just an hour). It also featured 4G connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi. Graphics are powered by the Adreno 685 GPU

Microsoft did a brilliant job of this. They produced a super sleek and super thin, fanless Surface Pro device which ran full Windows 10 on ARM. Unlike the Surface RT, whist it could of course run native ARM apps, it was also able to run x64 apps through x64 emulation. These apps did ran slower than they would on their intel counterparts, but and ability to run these apps without recompiling the code removed (mostly) the “app gap”. With devices now going to market (other vendors followed), it also saw software giants like Adobe, beginning to develop their own apps compiled for ARM to run natively. Looking ahead to today, there’s a good steady (and growing) number of apps that are natively compiled for ARM.

As Windows 11 was released in October 2021, we saw a new and refreshed experience for fans of ARM devices with the the support to run Win32 and x64 apps through emulation as well as native ARM apps of course. Microsoft have recently released updated to their ARM powered Surface Pro devices (only Surface Pro devices currently ship with an ARM option), the latest being the Surface Pro 9 5G which features the Microsoft SQ3 processor.

The SQ3 was built on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. This is an 8-core processor with 8 threads and is based on the second generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips. Graphics are powered by the Adreno 690 GPU. This also features 5G connectivity.

The Future of AI Powered PCs

There is no doubt we are witnessing a seismic shift in the market as devices are next generation devices are being primed for AI capabilities, and it’s nothing short of revolutionary. With Intel shipping their new AI powered chipsets in the fist part of 2024 and with what is coming from Qualcomm in the second half, 2024 looks to be the year for Windows 11 on ARM with new devices coming soon from leading PC/Laptop manufacturers, including new Microsoft Surface devices based on the rumours! Apple of course have also announced the M4 for their newest devices.

Intel Ultra with AI Boost

Earlier this year, Microsoft led the charge with the Surface Pro 10 for Business, armed with the Intel Core Ultra processor. What makes this processor different to the previous Intel generations is what they call their integrated AI Boost! This cutting-edge feature turbocharges performance by processing AI tasks locally. This results in a significant reduction in reliance on the CPU and, in some fortunate cases, even the GPU. This means faster, more efficient processing that’s sure to supercharge your productivity, powered by the Intel NPU.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite

But that’s not all! Qualcomm has also thrown its hat into the ring with the Snapdragon X1E Elite and Plus chipsets. This comes hot on the heels of their acquisition of Nuvia, marking a bold new chapter in their AI journey which we are about to start seeing hit the market.

Qualcomm AI Engine, Snapdragon X Elite can run generative AI models with over 13 billion parameters on-device. Qualcomm claims it has 4.5 times faster AI processing than its competitors. Qualcomm has called Snapdragon X Elite the “most powerful, intelligent, and efficient processor in its class for Windows,”

Apple M4

Yes so Apple have recently announced their new M4 Processor which will power the new iPad Pro. Apple say that the M4 promises 50% faster CPU performance than Apple’s M2 and is four times faster than the M2 in GPU performance.

Intel vs Qualcomm vs Apple

While benchmarking processor performance can sometimes be influenced by the manufacturer or even be misleading to the end user, the numbers below are really interesting to see.

The new Intel Core Ultra 5 chipset has also shown significant improvement, boasting a score of 2,150 and 10,450 for single core and multicore respectively. These numbers highlight the rapid advancements in AI capabilities and the potential they hold for our work.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite made a grand entrance with a single core score of 2,574 and a multicore score of 12,562. This immediately positions it as a formidable contender, outperforming the Ryzen 9 7940HS.

Qualcomm has added an AI engine to the X Elite too, which they say is capable of 75 TOPS (trillion operations per second) — that’s a huge increase over the roughly 34 TOPS the Intel Core 7 165H chip is capable of.

There are not yet scores for the Apple M4 to compare against the Snapdragon X Elite since the benchmarks for the M4 are not out yet.

Conclusion

With the latest iterations of Windows 11, we have a mature and stable build of ARM on Windows, that can run Intel apps in both Win32 and x64 mode, as well as native ARM applications. There are more apps than ever that run native ARM in Windows – and even Google have now launched an ARM version of their Chrome Browser.

The marked performance of the Snapdragon shows that will accelerate both the performance and advancements of AI edge compute in Windows 11, along with the efficiency and battery life expected. With this, the next generation of Qualcomm AI PCs on Windows 11 looks extremely exciting.

As we move into the second half of 2024, I think business, consumers, education and more are going to be super excited about the ability to get a new range of super quiet, super fast, super efficient devices with a real stonker of battery life that is able to run AI and traditional workloads with a breeze. All powered by Windows 11 on ARM and Snapdragon X Elite at the core.

So is 2024 the year for Windows 11 on ARM ?

Interview: Mark Brown – VP Solutions Engineering at Splunk

This week, I had the pleasure of running a Fireside Chat with Mark Brown, who leads the engineering team at Splunk. The chat was streamed live on Linked In and YouTube as part of Cisilion’s monthly technology chat show which has been running for more than three years.

This month, we took to the virtual stage to discuss the acquisition of Splunk by Cisco, the history and innovation that Splunk brings across security and data analytics and observability, and some of the huge success stories and customers of Splunk since the company’s founding in 2003.

Cisilion and Spunk – May Fireside Chat

In this month’s show, we delved into Splunk’s history and capabilities, its evolution over the last 20 years, and its role as a data analytics platform. We talked about Splunk’s diverse customer base, including huge “high street” brands like Siemens and Gatwick Airport, where we discussed how Splunk’s data analytics is helping to enhance operational efficiency and security at the airport and how by processing local traffic and weather data along with real time people traffic in the airport, they help to ensure that LGW meet their people flow SLAs of getting people from check-in and through security.

Finally we talked about why Cisco have acquired Splunk, the market opportuntiy it creates and how partners like Cisilion will be able to leverage this aquisition into the Cisco portfolio over time. Mark talks about this being a strategic move to integrate Splunk’s data analytics with Cisco’s network and security solutions, offering a comprehensive approach to observability and security and giving them a real competitive edge whilst, increasing their market share and making the solutions simpler for their customers.

Using the power of AI, I have used Microsoft Copilot to breakdown the key sections of the video and help you to navigate to areas you think might be useful to you.

(I have a video on how to do this which you can access -> here -<

Cisilion and Splunk Fireside Chat – Key Coversations

  • [00:01:18] Introduction of Mark Brown from Splunk
    • Leads the UK solution engineering team
    • Discusses Splunk’s recent acquisition by Cisco
    • Highlights the value Splunk brings to businesses
  • [00:03:00] Explanation of what Splunk is
    • Describes Splunk as a platform for searching logs in data centers
    • Evolved into a leader in security and observability
    • Known as the “Google for the data center”
  • [00:18:09] Cisco’s acquisition of Splunk
    • Seen as a natural fit with little overlap in technology offerings
    • Expected to enhance both Cisco’s and Splunk’s product portfolios
    • Acquisition aligns with Cisco’s strategy to expand software offerings
  • [00:08:14] Reference customers of Splunk
    • Splunk’s reference customers span 110 countries and includes major brands across various industries
    • Talking through examples including Siemens, Singapore Airlines, and Gatwick Airport
    • Talking about wider use cases that demonstrate Splunk’s adaptability and impact
  • [00:14:22] Splunk’s competition in the market
    • How and where Splunk competes with and partners with various tech companies such as Data Dog and Relic
    • How Microsoft Sentinel have also become a leader in the SIEM space in just two years and how Microsoft and Splunk are working together to deliver Splunk Solutions to customers in Azure.
    • How Splunk have been leaders for more than 10 years.
  • [00:17:46] Cisilion’s perspective on the acquisition
    • How Cisilion are excited about the integration and potential for new market opportunities and the alignment between Cisco and Microsoft, Cisilion’s two strategic partners.
    • How we see the acquisition as a way to complete the technology journey for clients bringing together multiple technnologies and creating a single pane of glass for security logs and observability.
    • Our forward looking view on the game-changing advancements in observability and security this aquisition could bring to Cisco.
  • 00:25:23] The chat continues around use cases, market trends and the future of security and observability

Welcome your views on the video and the discussion as always.

Microsoft are adding a Copilot for Copilot (well sort of).

Yesterday, (8th May, 24) Microsoft released their 2024 Work Trend Index Report which covered the State of AI at Work (you can see this here) as well as announcing some more improvements coming to Copilot for Microsoft 365 in the coming months.

The new features annouced are all aimed at helping to optimise prompt writing, making it easier for people to get a prompt that does what they need first time (a Copilot for Copilot essentially). These updates will include.

  • Auto-complete for prompts
  • Prompt re-write
  • A new catch up feature
  • Copilot Labs upgrade.

Let dive into these quickly. All. Images (c) Microsoft.

Auto Complete for Prompts

Copilot’s new “autocomplete” feature is similar to what you get in a search engine, where it will anticipate (using Machine Learning) what you are writing and help you to complete your prompt when you start typing one out.

Image (c) Microsoft

The aim here to suggesting more details to ensure you get the intended outcome. It will also offer an expanded library of ‘next prompts’.

This means if you start typing “summarise” then Copilot will display options to summarise the last 10 unread emails and chat messages or other tasks that might be related.

Prompt Rewrite

The “rewrite” feature is something that many image AI tools have had for a while. The aim is to be able to takes a person’s basic prompt rewrite it to me more thorough, “turning everyone into a prompt engineer,” according to the Microsoft.

Image (c) Microsoft

Also known as “elaborate your prompt”, Microsoft say this will be able to rewrite any prompts people create making it much easier to do more complex tasks especially when working with documents or ‘connected apps’.

Copilot Catch-up

Copilot Catch Up aims to start making Copilot more “proactive”. Here the chat interface will be able to presents people with “responsive recommendations” based on their recent activity. As an example, it will be able to notify you about upcoming meetings and suggest ways to help you prepare for that meeting, by bringing a summary of recent email and chat threads, meetings notes and documents write in the chat thread. This feature is also coming into Copilot in Outlook.

This feature brings Copilot more into the realms of good ol Clippy (ok I’m kidding here) but will enable Copilot to start proactively helping rather than waiting for its pilot to issue a command and bring the genie out of its lamp!

The aim is to further integrate Copilot into the user’s workflows. Imagine for example having a morning prompt that tells you about your day, tickets logged via Service Now, or a project that is over running (via Project or Planner) or has  completed early perhaps!

Updates to Copilot Labs

Similar to Microsoft app Prompt Buddy, Microsoft will also start to allow people to create, publish, and manage prompts in Copilot Lab.

Image (c) Microsoft

This will bring new features that that can be tailored for individual teams within businesses. This is aimed to make it a lot easier to share useful prompts for employees, Teams and departments to use.

Will these help adoption?

What do you think about the new updates, will these help remove the dark art of promoting and make Copilot easier to use and faster to help people get the desired results.?

Let me know on the comments..

“AI at work is here – Now comes the hard part” – Microsoft & Linked In WTI.

Microsoft and Linked In have just released their first joint 2024 Work Trend Index Report, which is titled , “AI at work is here. Now comes the hard part.”

The report is based on a survey of some 31,000 people across 31 countries, global and regional employee and hiring trends on LinkedIn, trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals from the Microsoft Graph, and detailed research across many of the Fortune 500 organisations. 💬I’ve also added my thoughts and experiences at each section.🗨️

“AI is seen as a tool that saves time, boosts creativity, and allows employees to focus on their most important work”.

Microsoft and Linked In – Work Trend Index Report (2024)

The WTI report deep dives into how AI is influencing the way we work, lead, and hire. Here are some key takeaways from the report – I’ve included a link to the whole report and resources at the end of the post too. Here’s the highlights.

AI Adoption and Its Impact

The report states, rather to the point, that “Employees want AI at work — and won’t wait for companies to catch up“. The is backed up by research that reveals that 75% of knowledge workers are now using AI at work.

Image (c) Microsoft May 2024

It says that “AI is seen as a tool that saves time, boosts creativity, and allows employees to focus on their most important work”. It also talks about the fact that there is a disconnect between employees and leaders when it comes to AI adoption. it also reveals that while 79% of leaders agree that AI adoption is critical to remain competitive, 60% express concern about their company’s lack of vision and plan to implement it. This has led to a new trend of Bring Your Own AI (BYOAI), where 78% of AI users are bringing their own tools to work.

💬This is something we / I have seen at Cisilion. When running workshops with customers. many say they are not ready, only to later discover that many many employees are already using BYOAI without the business knowing, in an uncontrolled, non-sanctioned way…

The AI Skills Gap

The use of generative AI at work has nearly doubled in the past six months. This is not surprising given the general availability of Microsoft 365 and the rapid go-to-market of almost every SaaS company offering “new AI expertise”. LinkedIn are seeing a significant increase in professionals adding AI skills to their profiles. However, only 39% of users have received any form of official AI training from their company, and only 25% of companies expect to offer it this year. – This has led to professionals taking the initiative to skill up on their own. As of late last year, there has been a 142x increase in LinkedIn members adding AI skills like Copilot and ChatGPT to their profiles.

💬This is also interesting and in our/my experience, we have seen many organisations “stumble” at the first hurdle of a pilot with tools like Copilot due to not investing in training. Those that have (and Microsoft are helping their customers through partners like Cisilion), get started with tools like Copilot. Working with Gen AI is very very different way of working and training and adoption services make a huge difference to success/failure and business benefits of this technology.

The Emergence of AI Power Users

The report identifies four types of AI users, from sceptics who rarely use AI to power users who use it extensively. The report says that Power users have reoriented their workdays in fundamental ways, saving a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Over 90% of power users say AI makes their overwhelming workload more manageable and their work more enjoyable.

Image (c) Microsoft & Linked In

💬Personally I think this is just the beginning, as more us get used to working with AI tools like Copilot, we will redefine how and what we use it for and this will give us time back to focus on more of the right stuff.

I also see the other side, many that dabble (without training or coaching or time to experiment and test) often turn their noses up as they don’t see the value. It takes time to get the hang of it, get the prompt write (the below will help) and share successes. AI is not perfect either and the experiences are not always “predictable”. Teams need to work together – ideally led by a coach or adoption expert to get over the hurdles, support employees and measure success.

New Capabilities in Copilot for Microsoft 365

Microsoft also used this report to officially announce some new capabilities that are coming to Copilot for Microsoft 365. These include: an auto-complete feature in the prompt box, a new prompt rewrite feature that turns a basic prompt into a rich one, a new chat interface called Catch Up that surfaces personal insights based on recent activity, and new capabilities in Copilot Lab that enable people to create, publish and manage prompts tailored to them, and to their specific team, role and function.

💬We/I have seen the benefits of using Copilot in Microsoft 365 both in internally within Cisilion and with our customers. There is so much value in Copilot “just” in Teams and Outlook alone. This stat from the report definitely resonates with me.

💬It is also worth checking out the official Microsoft 365 Roadmap for all the latest Copilot features – there are a lot of them and they are coming thick and fast!

New AI Tools from LinkedIn

LinkedIn is also providing going to be providing more AI tools to enable employees to stay ahead in their career. LinkedIn Learning offers more than 22,000 courses, including more than 600 AI courses, to build aptitude in generative AI.

These new courses are free and will be available for everyone to use through July 8. Additionally, AI-powered personalised takeaways on LinkedIn Feed can help employees or work seekers daily in their career with personalised, relevant insights and opportunities.


Thanks for reading – if you liked what you read, considering subscribing or leaving me a comment.


Read More

You can read the full posts and reports from Microsoft and Linked In below:

AI at Work Is Here. Now Comes the Hard Part (microsoft.com)

Microsoft and LinkedIn release the 2024 Work Trend Index on the state of AI at work – Stories

Prompt-a-long with Copilot in Word

Goal: Perfecting Prompting in Word

The goal of this blog post is to provide some field experience tips and coaching to help you get the best out of using Copilot in Word. For this you need to have either a Copilot Pro license or a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license and be signed into Word (or Word Online).

In this example, our Goal is to take a Marketing Analysis document we have been sent, and to draw out key information we can use in a “sales meeting” that we have coming up. The document contains lots of information relevant to different parts of the business.

I have provided a link to the document I used (courtesty of Microsoft) so you can either follow along or reference the videos included in this post. Welcome your comments – so please let me know how you get on.

Scenario: Using Copilot to pull key info from a Marketing Report

Instructions:

To work on this example with me, speak to your marketing team and obtain a Market Analysis Report for other similar document. For this example, I am using a public sample document Microsoft have shared called “Mystic Spice Premium Chai Tea.docx” which you can access here. The password for the link is “Copilot”. Once you have done that, save the file to your OneDrive so you can use it to test out and experiment with these prompts.

  1. Open the document you obtained (or use my link above) in Word and then
  2. Open the Copilot pane by selecting the Copilot icon in the top right of the “ribbon”
  3. Enter the prompts below and follow along.

The Starting Prompt

Enter the Starting prompt Summarise this Word Document” or click the suggested prompt to do the same thing…

In this simple prompt, we have started with what I call the “Alexa Prompt” – we are asking a simple question with a basic goal “to summarise the Word document”.

Using a standard/simple Copilot prompt to Summarise a Doc in Word.

This has done we asked but since we gave no context or information about what we wanted and why we needed it, Copilot has just read throught the document a pilled out key bits of information from each section.


The “better” prompt

To improve on this, we are going to repeat the prompt, but this time, we will add some more context to help Copilot understand the purpose of the summary and tailor the response for us accordingly.

Write a new prompt: “Summarise this document and create a brief overview of the main points to discuss with my team during the tomorrow’s Sales meeting“.

Here we are giving Copilot some more context specific about what information we want. It now knows why we need the information (for a sales meeting) and it knows to keep the ouput brief.

Using a more specific Copilot prompt to Summarise a Doc in Word.

If you run the prompt yourself (or check the video above) you will see that this time Copilot has pulled out specific around Market Trends and Demand inluding stats around CAGR. It has told us about the key competitiors, distribution and sales channels and also Sales Strategy, Outcomes and the Challenges in selling.


The Super Prompt

For the final prompt (I call it the “super prompt”), we are going to be even more specific with the ask to get just the information we need.

Use this prompt “Summarise this word document but focus on the Competitive Analysis section only. Provide a brief overview of the main points to discuss with my team during the tomorrow’s Sales meeting. Please keep the summary to 5 key points and use simple language.”

If you compare the output of this prompt to the previous ones, you will see that since we have been specific about where we want Copilot to focus, the response we get is specific to what we have asked. It’s still a summary, but it is focussed on the just the Competitor Analysis section and we have kept the response concise and in simple language. It knows to keep this simple and make it relevant to sales…

Follow along – or check out the video below where I run the prompt.

Our “Crafted” Super-Prompt in Copilot in Word

So there you go – we have started with a simple prompt and I have hopefully shown you that by thinking about what and why we want the information and also the audience the response is indended for, Copilot can produce information just the way we need it.

Summary and Lesson

So, I am pretty happy with that result. To recap – here is what we did to perfect our prompt…

  1. We started with our Goal (which was to summarise the document)
  2. Added some Context (that we want the information for a sales meeting)
  3. Specified the Source of the information (we asked to focus on competitive analysis), and
  4. Set clear Expectations, (we asked for five key points using simple language).
Our Final Prompt: 

"Summarise this word document but focus on the Competitive Analysis section only. Provide a brief overview of the main points to discuss with my team during the tomorrow's Sales meeting. Please keep the summary to 5 key points and use simple language".

This prompt has all the details it needs to give us the results we need. It has a Goal, Context, Source, and Expectations.

Can you restrict what Copilot can search across for in SharePoint?

Starting later this month (April 2024) , Microsoft will rollout an configuration setting called Restricted SharePoint Search (RSS) that will allow Global/Tenant and SharePoint Admins to disable organisation-wide search and instead select a set of curated/specific  SharePoint sites.

“YES YOU CAN”

This feature will work by allowing admins disable organisation-wide search, and instead to enable/restrict both specific sites impacting the scope of what Enterprise Search and Copilot can seek out and index when using search or Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.

With this configuration in place, only these specific libraries along with the users’ OneDrive files and content, will be accessible in search and within the Copilot experiences.

This means that whether your organisation has Enterprise Search or Restricted SharePoint Search enabled, users in your organisation will still be able to interact with their OneDrive information in Copilot but there will be more control over excluding old/legacy or restricted SharePoint areas.

Why do we need to Restrict Search?

Is this not against the pricipals of Copilot and Microsoft Search?

Well.. Kinda. Restricted SharePoint Search has been provided to give organisations time to review and audit their data and SharePoint site permissions. Microsoft say that…

It is designed to help you maintain momentum with your Copilot deployment while you implement robust data security solutions from Microsoft Purview and manage content lifecycle with SharePoint Advanced Management. Combined, these two solutions offer a complete solution for data discovery, protection, and governance. “

Restricted SharePoint Search capability

Once Enterprise Search is disabled, Admins are the able be to tune which content will be indexed for search from an allowed list of up to 100 SharePoint sites. This will honor sites’ existing permissions.

Once configured, content from these areas will be searchable and accessible by Copilot as well as…

  • Content stored in the the curated list of SharePoint sites as specific by the admin.
  • Other frequently accessed SharePoint sites that the user accesses.
  • Content from users OneDrive, Teams chat, email, calendars.
  • Files directly shared with the user.

Copilot users in your organisation will see this message in their Copilot experiences.


Your organization’s admin has restricted Copilot from accessing certain SharePoint sites. This limits the content Copilot can search and reference when responding to your prompts

For more information and rollout timeline check out Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID: MC726119

Does this mean Copilot can’t access files outside of the search scope?

No… Users can still directly reference a file in Copilot and access the file via manual search or navigation. This is because, restrictive search does not alter the permissions for user access, it just instead, is designed to help minimise the risk of overexposure of overshared content by reducing what they can discover in search and Copilot.

With Restricted Search configured, search results and Copilot search results will be limited but users will still able to navigate (as before) or directly link to a file to open or to “use Copilot” with.

Configuring Restricted Search

Restricted SharePoint Search is off by default.

Whilst this will be coming to the SharePoint admin pages soon… It will, at release be configurable via Power Shell only and will of course require admin privileges.

There is also an ‘allow’ limit of just 100 sites initially though I hear this will soon be expanded following early feedback from customer… Phew!

More information can be found here.

Microsoft to open new AI Hub in London

Microsoft has announced plans for a new artificial intelligence (AI) hub in London, which will be focused on leading edge product development and research. This will be led Microsoft AI Lead Mustafa Suleyman (confounder of DeepMind) who Microsoft hired last month.

This annoucement comes less than a month since Microsoft unveiled a new consumer AI division.

There is an enormous pool of AI talent and expertise in the UK, and Microsoft AI plans to make a significant, long-term investment in the region. (London).

Mustafa Suleyman

This is great for the UK and for London and will help both Microsoft and the UK become an AI  and technology superpower leveraging the hub of tech talent, access to leading and world class universities and research centres with ability to attract the best talent for the next generation of development of AI.

Microsofts AI Future in the UK

This announcement builds on Microsoft’s recent commitment to invest 2.5 Billion into data centre infrastructure and improving AI skills across the UK.

Microsoft’s AI investment in the UK includes building a major new data centre in West London and installing 20,000 high-powered processors in the UK by 2026.

Microsoft’s new UK hub will be run by Jordan Hoffmann,  (another former employee from DeepMind) and will collaborate closely with OpenAI which powers Microsoft’s AI driven Copilot System framework.

AI-PCs – what’s the hype all about?

The new buzz in the world of PCs is all about the “AI PC”. This term is the latest messaging being banded around from PC/Laptop manufacturers with a view to ensure that people, families and organisations are taking this next generation of PC into account when planning their legacy hardware upgrades over the next 12-18 months.

AI analytics and modeling require vast amounts of data, which are best suited for cloud, but performing some workloads at the device level delivers more efficient processing, or inferencing, by being offloaded to the device. These efficiencies could be applied to:

  • Visual inferencing: AI applied directly to the camera feed
  • Audio inferencing: AI applied to audio inputs
  • Live transcription: AI applied to language processing

New AI-PCs are being designed and built with specialised processors (NPUs) to support executing those models, and more, locally, in real time.

You don’t need to look very far to see the phrase “AI PC” everywhere both from Intel and leading device manufacturers including Microsoft, but what is the tech behind the latest tech phrase?

You may be aware that Microsoft recently launched the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 – both of these fit into the new “AI-PC” catagory!

Note: AI is the capability of a computer program or a machine to "think, learn, and take actions without being explicitly encoded with commands".

So what is an AI PC?

In short an AI-PC needs to have these three key components:

  • An Chipset with a new NPU, CPU and GPU built-in
  • Windows 11 and Copilot in Windows
  • A Copilot Key (technically).

Of course CPUs and GPUs have been around for a long time, but it is the NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that is new in PCs and it is this that is the key part of an AI-PC. The NPU (or AI-Boost as Intel calls it) is designed to process AI workloads locally rather than in the cloud which brings many improvements for the user, including processor efficiency, improved battery life and increased security.

The NPU is a dedicated microprocessor designed to efficiently handle AI-specific tasks, such as executing predictive models, processing machine learning algorithms, or powering generative AI applications.

Surface AI-PC – Available on Surface Pro 9, 10 and Surface Laptop 6

The Intel Core Ultra processors featured in AI-PCs like Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 provide a holistic approach to running AI workloads on PC. These different processors offer programming versatility to developers that maximise the three type of microprocessors – CPU, GPU, and their new, integrated NPU. With an AI-PC, each microprocessor (compute engine) has its own specialisation, but in the context of AI on Cloud PCs mean they work together when using AI workloads with:

  • The CPU being ideal for general and traditional compute workload as well as light-weight, single inference AI tasks. Think “accelerating cloud-delivered AI” while minimising impact on overall system performance.
  • The GPU being ideal for AI infused into media and 3D rendering apps and tasks. Users can perform data visualisation tasks, create and manipulate 3D images, or generate elaborate reports, enabling your team to efficiently tackle complex data workloads.
  • The new AI-Boosting NPU which is designed specifically for sustained and efficient offloading of AI models such as Windows Studio Effects.

What are the benefits of an AI-PC?

In short – performance, battery life and enabling new AI-Powered experiences.

Windows and many other apps have AI features within their applications sets, but put simply with AI-PCs these AI features and tools will work much quicker and will unlock additional NPU-Specific features.

The NPU is a dedicated microprocessor designed to efficiently handle AI-specific tasks, such as executing predictive models, processing machine learning algorithms, or powering generative AI applications. The image below shows the difference between a video app’s back-ground blur using a CPU vs an NPU. The device on the right is a Surafce Pro 9 with dedicated NPU and it is easy to see how much better the AI effect is when it is processing the AI workload locally.

Image showing the difference between a video app’s background blur on a CPU vs. an NPU.

The key thing about the AI-PC is the impact on the CPU processing AI workloads when there is an NPU present. With AI features like voice and video effects in Windows and the wealth of AI features in apps like Adobe, CPU workload is dramatically reduced as the NPU does the AI grunt work (and is far more efficient at running them) This leads to a more efficient device, increased battery life and a more responsive OS and applications for users. The image below illustrates the impact savings running smilar tasks on a PC vs an “AI-PC”.

Image (c) Microsoft – March 2024

AI-PCs will empwer and improve many experiences – as compute for AI workloads moves to more local-mode and hybrid-mode processing. This goes beyond just video effects and speech and will include things like object detection “seeing AI”, gesture tracing, security and many more.

Intel claim that “AI PCs with an Intel Core Ultra processor are able to edit videos more than 230% faster and perform AI image editing tasks 52% faster.

AI PCs are also set to be defined by how they align with Microsoft’s Windows operating system as well. One of the most consumer-facing AI products right now is Microsoft Copilot, which is slowly rolling out to Windows 11 devices and we’re set to see a dedicated Copilot key on some laptops in the future too. Over time this will also take advantage of local AI-processing with AI-PCs

Note: Today, Copilot operates in the cloud and thus does not utilize a computer’s onboard NPU. However, this is expected to change, as Microsoft has announced plans for new system architectures that will enhance Windows AI experiences by integrating the GPU, CPU, NPU, and the cloud.

Will the birth of the AI-PC reboot the PC market?

I think the AI PC will be the PC of the next decade.

The PC market has been in decline for several years, but IDC predict that 2024 is estimated to see a 3.7 percent year-over-year increase in shipments, ending the decline the market has seen since the highs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are seeing Microsoft, Dell, HP and Lenovo, jumping on AI PCs and with the next two years likely to be the time that more organisations really start to experiment and test AI within their organisations, the rise of the AI-PC is set (according to IDC) to kickstart the PC business again.

Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 – The new AI-PCs from Microsoft

Microsoft has just (21st March 2024) announced their 2024 AI-powered flagship devices – the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6. Both devices are AI-PCs, packed full of the latest AI hardware to designed to deliver the best performance of the next wave of AI powered apps such as Copilot for Windows, Copilot for Microsoft 365 and of course other AI powered applications from other software vendors such as Adobe. These new devices will yet again setting bar of how to make enterprise class devices for Business.

Video (C) Microsoft

Both the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 also come with a new Copilot key, putting Copilot front and centre and showing that Microsoft means business when it comes to AI PCs and Copilot.

These new AI-PCs are aimed at business users and not consumers……currently!

When are the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 Available?

Both the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 are available to pre-order now on Microsoft’s website. The devices will be released on April 9.

Introducing Surface Pro 10

Surface Pro 10 yet again improves on the previous version. In the case of Surface Pro 10 we see a huge improvement in power and performance boost over the previous Surface Pro 9 model thanks to the latest Intel Core Ultra processors which boost performance by 53%. As an AI-Powered PC, Surface Pro 10 also features a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU) which does the core Edge processing of AI tasks, reducing load on the CPU and processing AI tasks significantly faster than a CPU does.

Surface Pro 10 | Image (c) Microsoft

The Surface Pro retains the same design and format of its predecessors, but does include a new screen which is now non-reflective and 33% brighter, making it much easier to use outside and when travelling, while also retaining the same battery life. Microsoft also provide more configuration options than ever with options for Intel Core Ultra 5 135U or Intel Core Ultra 7 165U processors and support for RAM configurations from 8GB to 64GB.

Surface Pro 10 also gets a front camera upgrade and comes with a brand new 1440p webcam with a 114-degree field of view. This, combined with the new Windows 11 Studio effects and the Core Ultra’s NPU for AI workloads enables brings new capabilities for video enabled applications and clearer images.

Surface Pro comes with Thunderbolt 4 ports as standard for connectivity and charging but still includes the staple Surface connector port for connections to Surface Docks and Surface Chargers. You also still get USB-A and microphone jack. There is no SD-CARD slot which is something I still think is a poor decision but hey – nothings perfect.

Connectivity and working from anywhere continues to be a big theme for Surface Pro, with Surface Pro 10 being the first Surface device to support 5G.

Introducing Surface Laptop 6

Available in 13.5-inch and 15-inch models, Surface Laptop 6 combines the sleekness and modern design of a premium laptop with the processing power of a desktop, supporting for the first time, Intel’s H-series processors without compromising on weight, thickness or prestige creating a power house of a laptop, second only to the Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop 2.

Surface Laptop 6 | Image (c) Microsoft

During Microsoft’s live event in the US, they showcased the Surface Laptop 6 connected to multiple 4K screens, running video calls, complex graphics apps, Visual Studio and other apps showcasing the sheer grunt work and power of the device. Leveraging options to choose the Intel Core Ultra 5 135H or Core Ultra 7 165H processors means that Surface Laptop 6 can run at twice the performance of the Laptop 5.

The Surface Laptop 6 stands out not only in performance capabilities but also in its range of specifications catering to various user needs. At its base, the device is equipped with 8GB of RAM, which is quite generous for standard tasks, yet it offers scalability up to an extraordinary 64GB of RAM for those requiring intensive computational power for tasks such as data analysis, programming, video editing, and more.

In terms of storage, this now starts at 256GB Gen4 SSD, ensuring quick boot times and efficient data retrieval. For users with higher storage demands, this can be configured all the way up to 1TB of storage capacity, allowing ample space for large files, video, multimedia libraries, and extensive software applications.

Further bolstering Microsoft’s security credentials, Surface Laptop 6 also comes with additional (optional) security features, with options to include a smart card reader (currently available solely in the US) and near-field communication (NFC) technology, which is aimed at bolstering a client’s commitment to zero-trust security principles. These features enable swift and secure sign-in and sign-out processes, particularly vital in high-risk areas where security is paramount.

Surface Laptop 6 still of course includes support for Windows Hello for Business and of course user-specific PINs, again helping to eliminate the need for cumbersome passwords. This approach to dual-factor authentication significantly heightens security, making unauthorised access exceedingly difficult.

Sustainability and Repairability

Finally, I need to mention Microsoft’s on-going commitment to sustainability and reparability. Microsoft design all their products with the circular economy in mind, with “integrity built in across the entire product lifecycle – from design and supply chain through product usage and end-of-life management”.

The new Surface devices are fashioned from recycled aluminium, which not only provides a sleek, modern aesthetic but also reduces the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process. Internally, the device now includes QR code guidance, which simplifies repair processes and effectively reduces the overall maintenance costs, further catering to the needs of businesses conscious of their environmental impact and operating expenses.

This dedication to environmental conscientiousness and user-centric design makes Surface an exemplary devices and the most sustainable devices on the tech market.

Surface for Business… What about Consumer?

Unlike in previous years, Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 are only available for business customers. But don’t worry – Microsoft made it clear that they “absolutely remain committed to consumer devices.” “Building great devices that people love to use aligns closely with our company mission to empower individuals as well as organisations and we are excited to be bringing devices to market that deliver great AI experiences to our customers. Todays commercial announcement is only the first part of this effort.”

Are Microsoft Changing Copilot in Windows?

This week, Microsoft shipped Windows Insider preview build 26080 (in both the Canary and Dev channels), which has introduced a way for users to release the Copilot Window from being attached to the right-hand side of the screen where it has lived since birth!

Previously, the Copilot widget opened on the right of the screen, and whilst in recent preview builds, Microsoft introduced the ability to resize it (make it bigger), it was still attached to the right side of the screen as shown below.

Copilot in Windows (attached to the right of the screen)

Detaching Copilot

With preview build 26080, it is now possible to undock Copilot, so it feels like a traditional app, meaning you can move Copilot to wherever you want to. The Copilot “app” can moved and resized as needed to make it more customisation in how you choose to work in Windows – just like you would with say the Calculator app. Bear in mind this is in preview and subject to user feedback (file in the Feedback Hub), this may not be a permanent change.

Copilot in detached mode (Windows Insiders on Canary Build).

This is rolling out for Windows Insiders on the Canary Build but will make its way to Insiders on the Dev build soon following initial feedback from Canary build testers.

Note: Microsoft use Windows Insider Builds to try new things out, seek feedback from users and to gauge how well innovative ideas and changes are received, as well as to action the feedback from users.

Copilot in Windows is also getting bigger hooks

In this preview build, Windows Insiders are also going to see that Copilot is getting new abilities to act and control the underlying Windows 11 settings. This includes the ability to perform tasks such as emptying the Recycle Bin, toggle Live Captions, toggle Voice Access, and can also ask Copilot more about various system stats such as battery information, system infrormation and also has the ability to enable battery saver.

A note on Build Numbers

Regular Windows Insiders may also notice that both the Canary and Dev Channels are receiving the same build number currently. Microsoft remind users that this does happen sometimes as during the times in which the Canary and Dev Channels are on the same builds (e.g. Build 26080), it provides an opportunity for Insiders in the Canary Channel to switch to the Dev Channel. Once this windows has passed, the Canary Channel will jump to higher build numbers and the window will be closed.

You check out the recent builds and offioial blog from Microsoft here:

Microsoft’s Copilot for Security available April 1st

No – it’s not an April Fools Joke – Microsoft yesterday (13th March 2024) announced that their much anticpiated Copilot for Security will be available to buy and use from 1st April 2024.

What Does Copilot for Security Do?

Originally announced a year ago and after extensive testing in private preview, Copilot for Security is aimed at IT Security and Sec Ops teams as it brings Microsoft’s Copilot technology, Microsoft’s threat intelligence services and Machine Learning into a dedicated security service powered by Copilot. .Copilot for Security can processes prompts and responds in eight languages, with over 25 languages supported at launch.

For organisations that already invest and consume Microsoft security services such as Sentinel, Defender, Entra, Priva, Intune, and Purview this is a exciting time!

Image (c) Microsoft Security.

Copilot for Security is informed by large-scale data and threat intelligence, including Microsoft’s daily processing of more than 78 trillion security signals – a gaint increase from 65 trillion signals stated just last year. This is largest threat intelligence database in the world. Microsoft do not use any organisational data to train their LLMs.

One huge advantage of Copilot’s conversational abilities is its capacity to rapidly compose incident reports. It can also tailor these reports to be more or less technical based on the intended employee audience, say Microsoft.

Copilot for Security offers a huge variety of capabilities, including:

  • Human-readable explanations of vulnerabilities, threats, and alerts across all of Microsoft’s security products and services, aswell as, (later) third-party tooling as well.
  • Answer questions about alerts, threats and incidents in real-time and take action.
  • Automatically summarising incident analysis and offers recommendations for subsequent actions based on the tools the organisation is licnesed for and/or deployed.
  • Ability for users to edit the prompt to correct or adjust responses and share the findings with others and create extensive run books based on prompts as well as ability to share prompts with other anaysts in the team.

After nearly a year of various preview stages and vigorous testing both my Microosft Security Expert and enterprise organisations, Microsoft say the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive.” A recent AI economic study by Microsoft demonstrated that security professionals work 22% faster and are 7% more accurate when utilising Copilot for Security. An impressive 86% of participants reported that Security Copilot enhanced the quality of their work, and >90% expressed a desire to use Security Copilot for future tasks. The report further indicates that security novices, possessing basic IT skills, performed significantly better with Security Copilot compared to members of a control group. Moreover, their superiors expressed greater confidence in their output.

Copilot for Security in Action

A year in readiness.

In the annoucement, Microsoft cited statements from Forrester VP Jess Pollard who said that “Experienced practitioners will reap the most rewards from the capabilities Microsoft offers, and while it’s unlikely to identify threats SOC [security operation center] teams would miss, it does make investigation and response faster”.

Just like Copilot for Microsoft 365 – Adoption and Training is Key

Just like any major technology change such as Copilot for Microsoft 365, adoption, training and practice is going to be vital to get maximum value anmd trust from Copilot for Security. Security teams will need to a fair amount of change management and training to ensure they can take advantage of the Microsoft Copilot for Security. Forrester cited in the report that “it takes around 40 hours of training to get security practitioners comfortable with using Copilot for Security. In addition, we heard that it takes four or more weeks — with many stops and starts — to get practitioners comfortable with the technology.”

With a global shortage of Cyber Security Skills, an exponential growth in attacks and attack surfaces and the rise of AI at cyber crimimals finger tips, Copilkot for Security has been one of the most anticipated uses for Copilot. There is no doubt that Copilot for Security can lower the barrier to entry into the cybersecurity industry, Forrester also said that “Though large language models and generative AI may level the playing field and allow for accelerated security talent development, no amount of out-of-the-box prompt books and guided response steps replace fundamental security knowledge, skills, and experience.

The Pros Microsoft Copilot for Security

Feedback from Microsoft early-access clients loved about Copilot for Security, including the following:

  • Making script analysis easier by de-obfuscating and explaining contents.
  • Accelerating threat hunting by helping write queries based on adversary methods.
  • Speeding up and simplifying complex KQL queries or PowerShell script creation.
  • Analysing phishing submissions by verifying true positives and providing inbox details.
  • Improving analyst experience by reducing the need to swap between various tools.
  • Generating leadership / executive-ready incident report summaries efficiently.

Things to be aware of at launch

There are serveral key areas which wont be available at intial launch, but epect to see rapid release cycles and updates once GA. Currently the following is not available but will be added over time.

  • Single Data Repositories – Copilot currently requires multiple instances for users / organisations that want to silo data between different business units, group companies or geo locations. These will be eventually be rolled into a single instance/interface but today will cause challenges for large MSPs and global / complex organisations.
  • Third Party Tools – At launch Copilot for Security will not provide integation into third party tools so organisations will need to be using Microsoft’s first party security tools like Defender for Ideneity and Defender for Endpoint. This is on roadmap.
  • Limited Integfration and Automation: Much of the work Copilot for Security does on day one is around reporting, alterting across mutiple signals sources and behaviour. Whilst it can execute run-books, some services like auto-quarantine and network isolation will not be available at launch.

New Features at Launch

In the annoucement, Vasu Jakkal, corporate VP of compliance, identity, management, and privacy at Microsoft said that as part of the launch, the following new features will be available to Copilot for Security:

  • Custom promptbooks,: allowing Security Teams to create and save their own natural language prompts for common security workstreams and tasks similar to the notebook feature in Copiolot for Microsoft 365.
  • Knowledge integrations: Which will enable the connecting of Copilot for Security to customers’ logic and workflow and the ability to perform activities based on company defined step-by-step guides.
  • Integration with customers’ curated external attack surface from Microsoft Defender External Attack Surface Management to identify and analyse the most up-to-date information.
  • Summarisation in natural language of additional insights from Microsoft Entra audit logs and diagnostic logs for a security investigation or IT issue analysis related to a specific user or event.
  • New fully customisationable usage dashboards to provide reporting on how teams interact with Copilot.

Which Organisations benefit most?

For organisations that already invest and consume Microsoft security services such as Sentinel, Defender, Entra, Priva, Intune, and Purview – Copilot for Security will likley be at tool that provides an indispensable enhancement that will not only reduce workload and increase productivity, but siginifcantly help Security Teams to work better together and detect and respond faster than ever.

Organistions that are not fully invested in Microsoft’s extensive secrtirty portfolio and choose to use other vendors will still benefit, but until wider third party support is available, runinng trials and evaluating the potential move to more Microsoft Security technologies is a smarter move. There will be increased funding pots and incentives to entice organisations to move to Microsoft Security.

Almost every Security vendor is adding Gen AI into their products and services, but today, no other organisation has built what Microsoft have (though this will likley change).

Pricing from $4 per hour

Yes, ok I saved this for the end.

Pricing will be offered through a consumption-based model, allowing customers to pay according to their usage needs. Usage will be categorised into Security Compute Units (SCUs). Customers will be billed for the number of SCUs provisioned on an hourly basis at a rate of $4 per hour, with a minimum usage requirement of one hour. Microsoft say this is an opportunity for any organisation to begin exploring Security Copilot and expand their usage as necessary.

This, lowers the entry point to the solution without a big initial license outlay and should simplify the pilot, on-boarding and rollout process. The PAYG model is also something organisations are used to, making it more accessible and straightforward and avoiding the complexity of traditional stackable licensing schemes.

Microsoft CSP partners, like Cisilion will be key in helping customers to manage their spend, working with the Sec Ops team to tweak and finetune the solution to help map, manage and plan spent.