Copilot+ PCs are now available – What you need to know.

Last month, Microsoft announced the next generation of AI powered PCs from Microsoft and many other OEMs including Acer and Lenovo which leverage the latest Snapdragon ARM chipsets from Qualcomm. I covered this on a previous post here....

Yesterday (June 18th 2024), Microsoft’s own devices (the Surface Laptop 7 and Surface Pro 11) were officially available today to buy and any pre-orders were shipped to customers worldwide 🙂

Microsoft describes Copilot+ PCs as the “most intelligent” Windows PCs ever created. These new processors are capable of performing over 40 trillion operations per second. These PCs also offer long long long battery life and give access to advanced AI tools.

These latest Copilot+ PCs from Microsoft are sleek, lightweight, and elegantly designed to enhance productivity They ship with dedicated NPUs (for processing AI workloads on-chip) and have the longest battery life of any Surface ever.

Microsoft say that the new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro are Copilot+ PCs, are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs on the market. They are available in four colour options and start at $999 Estimated Retail Price (ERP) USD on Microsoft.com or at a Microsoft Experience Center (aka store).

What is a Copilot+PCs?

Copilot+ PCs represent a new category of Windows 11 PCs, equipped with a dedicated neural processing unit (NPU), which is a specialised type of processor designed for AI-intensive tasks such as real-time translations and image generation, capable of executing over 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS).

Are Copilot+PC only available from Microsoft?

No. Copilot+PCs are a new generation of PC devices which combined Windows on ARM (WoA) technology, Snagdragon powered chipsets and new updates and features built into Windows.

Other manufacturers are also making Copilot+PCs include (but not limited to).

Are Copilot+PCs for Consumers or for Business?

Copilot+PCs are designed for personal, small business and commercial/enterprise. Devices for Business such as the Surface for Business Range will start shipping in September 2024. More details can be found here.

What can Copilot+PCs do that others cannot?

Microsoft refers to new Copilot+ PC experiences which will be baked in to the next versions of Windows 11 and are advanced AI features unique to Copilot+ PCs that accelerate your productivity and creativity. This will include new AI features such as Recall, Cocreator in Paint, Windows Studio Effects, automatic super resolution and Live Captions.There are many more coming and expect to see new AI powered experiences such as offline Copilot coming to Copilot+PC devices in the future. These features require powerful neural processing units (NPUs) –so will be exclusive to the Copilot+ PC class of devices.

One super cool feature to call out for gamers is the new Auto Super Resolution (Auto SR) feature which integrates smoothly with Windows, automatically boosting the frame rates of existing games in real time and delivering detailed visuals. This feature is said to surpasses the capabilities of standalone PC hardware. Initially, Auto SR will be exclusive to Copilot+ PCs that have a Qualcomm Snapdragon® X Series processor and will support a select list of games available at a third-party open-source site, which Microsoft has provided compatibility data for.

Do I need a special version of Windows 11?

No – all new Copilot+ PCs running a Snapdragon® X Series processor will have Copilot+ PC experiences pre-installed. Microsoft will be continuing to update and enhance the Copilot+ PC experiences, so there will be new Windows Updates coming which will enable new features delivered as part of the usual Windows Update process. Only Copilot+PCs will get the new AI features.

What about devices with the latest AI chips from Intel and AMD ?

Microsoft are partnering with Intel and AMD as well to bring Copilot+ PC experiences to PCs with their processors in the future.


Microsoft also have a real good FAQ section on their website about Copilot+PCs.

“Windows Recall” feature postponed days ahead of launch

Windows Recall is (was) a new AI powered feature, exclusive for Copilot+PCs that can capture snapshots of your screen every few seconds allowing the user to essentially rewind back to a point in time to back track on work, application state and documents being worked on,

Recall overview (Microsoft)

Announced as the headline feature for the new generation of Copilot+PCs, this new flagship Windows Recall will now arrive at a later date, with a wider public  preview coming soon for Windows Insiders.

There has been many questions, concerns and clarity demanded from the public and tech pros about this new feature since it was announced in May, with concerns over whether Microsoft had “gone too far” in finding a use for AI and the new NPU powered Copilot+PCs. The fact this has not been through the usual process of testing my Microsoft’s loyal Windows Insider testing community was also surprising for such a huge new feature.

The first of the new Copilot+PCs are launching next week (June 18th), and in an expected update have said that their headlining “Windows Recall” feature will not be shipped at launch and  now arrive a few weeks later in an update.

Is Windows Recall too much?

Recall was heavily criticised after sourced said that recall stored it’s Recall  data in an unencrypted state, raising huge concerns among IT experts, users and anti-Windows fans!

Last week, Microsoft released a blog and announcement to try to alleviate these concerns by reassuring people that Windows Recall would encrypt data and require the user to be physically present at the device (via multi factor authentication) to access recall. They were clear however, that not only was Recall safe but they it would ship next week with the arrival of the Copilot+PCs.

The Cisilion Fireside Chat suspected so much.

Just this week, I hosted a fireside chat, and we discussed the view of Recall from a security and privacy violation.

There’s a link to the episode here if you’d like to hear the views of a number of IT leaders…but the view of my customer panel ahead of (the now postponed) launch include:

We’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to protect our data and here we are Tada you can now just have a look at what Kim was sharing three minutes ago.” [link]

“It undermines years and years and years of work and unless they can work out a way there’s no way I’m letting this anywhere near my en.” [00:08:25][Link]

“You are the attack surface… we have to remind the the owners of the business that ultimately it’s their heads on the Block if things go wrong.” [00:45:32]

In short, our panel, beleived that Recall might face significant challenges before its implementation, possibly leading to its postponement or modification, especially in enterprise environments. They highlight the need for clear communication, education, and possibly policy changes to address the concerns raised – looks like this is exactly what happened.

Microsoft committed to trust and privacy but is it enough?

Just earlier this week, Microsoft had said that all images are encrypted, stored and analyzed locally, using on-device AI capabilities to understand their context. When logged into your Copilot+ PC, you can easily retrace your steps visually using Recall to find things from apps, websites, images, and documents that you’ve seen, operating like your own virtual and completely private “photographic memory.” You are always in control of what’s saved. You can disable saving snapshots, pause temporarily, filter applications and delete your snapshots at any time.

The question still on people minds is is this enough, how does this work if viewing content other people are sharing on screen when Recall is being used and what happens if a device is compromised or user subject to ransomware or phishing attack and get access to this device…

Postponed not cancelled?

Perhaps to ensure the backlash over recall doesn’t impact Copilot+PC sales, these new devices will not ship with Recall initially. Microsoft have said that Windows Recall will be added in a future Windows update, but has not given a timeframe for when this will be. This will give their huge Windows Insider Community time to test this with Microsoft and provide the much needed feedback, tuning controls and more.

The updated Microsoft blog post states the following:

Recall will now shift from a preview experience broadly available for Copilot+ PCs on June 18, 2024, to a preview available first in the Windows Insider Program (WIP) in the coming weeks. Following receiving feedback on Recall from our Windows Insider Community, as we typically do, we plan to make Recall (preview) available for all Copilot+ PCs coming soon

Copilot+PCs still get loads of new AI Goodness.

Of course, Recall wasn’t the only AI infused feature that Copilot+PCs will include, and the other rest of the AI features that Microsoft showcased will still be available to use. These include live captions and translations across all apps, new Windows Studio Effects for meetings and video, new. Image creation and generation tools across the stock Windows Apps including paint and photos.

Time will tell

Time and testing wil tell whether this feature gets simply delayed, hugely altered or scrapped all together. What do you think?


Microsoft June 13 2024 Blog Post: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2024/06/07/update-on-the-recall-preview-feature-for-copilot-pcs/

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

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.

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.

“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.

Be an email Ninga with Copilot in Outlook

Copilot in Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered assistant designed to provide information, answer questions, and engage in conversation. It uses Open AI’s ChatGPT 4 technology plus your apps and data to deliver relevant and useful responses directly from the browser or from your Office apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, making it a hugely accessible and valuable.

Note: Copilot is not included within the standard Office 365 subscription, meaning that to access Copilot across your Microsoft 365 apps and services you need either a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license ($30 pupm for organisations) or a Copilot Pro license ($20 pupm for individual and family subscriptions). 

Copilot in Outlook

Copilot adds huge value across many of the core Microsoft 365 apps and service, but in the context of Outlook, I see Copilot as a huge time saver and productivity booster. Copilot in Outlook can help users manage their emails more efficiently, easily schedule meetings, quickly following up on emails and authoring better emails. Since Copilot understands the context of the email, the wider thread, and even tasks, Copilot can provide suggestions and actions that are tailored to the user’s needs.

Let’s look at how Copilot in Outlook works and what it can do.

Using Copilot in Outlook

First things first, to use Copilot in Outlook, you need to be using the new Outlook experience (or Outlook on the web). To do this check that the new Outlook Experie4nce toggle is set to on.

New Outlook Toggle

1. Summarising an email thread.

With an email open, you’ll see the Copilot Summarise icon at the top of the email thread. With an email selected, you can simply click “Summary by Copilot” and Copilot will scan through the entire email thread to look for key points and will then generate a summary for you.

The Copilot summary will appear at the top of the last email of the conversation as illustrated below.

Within the summary, Copilot includes citations (indicated by small reference numbers), which are hyperlinks back to the corresponding email within the conversation thread. You can see here; five emails have been pulled together to create the key points I need to know.

2. Drafting an email

In my experience, this is the feature that will save you the most time whilst also helping to ensure your email is polite, on-point, profession and inclusive in tone.

To use the Draft with Copilot feature, simply click on the button to reply to an email or start a new one. You’ll see that Copilot automatically offers you several quick options. Select “Custom” to generate a personalised draft. In the example below, I am going to use Copilot to help me author an email to my builder.

In the Draft with Copilot dialog, we simply describe what we would like to say. You can use the settings button to change things like tone and length.

Copilot will then generate you a response. Once created you can tweak the response, change, modify it or ask Copilot to regenerate. Copilot can be quite “creative” so be sure to review the draft and modify it as needed. The video example below shows the immediate response and a change I ask it to make. You can keep asking for changes until you are happy or accept the draft and make the final changes.

Drafting with Copilot in Outlook.

3. Replying to an email with Copilot

This is like drafting new email, but when replying to an email, Copilot also has better context, since it has access to the entire email thread making the drafted responses, in my experience, more accurate on first take!

In this example, I am replying to an email about a Gang Show event being run by the Cubs and Scouts.

When I click Generate, Copilot drafts me an email. Notice how it has read the context of the email I am replying to and has even automatically calculated the cost of the tickets I want to purchase based on the pricing that was shown and by assuming that I might want two adult and two child tickets. Adult tickets are £10 and children’s tickets are £6, so the £32 is correct!

Using Copilot in Outlook to reply to an email.

4. Coaching with Copilot

The next area Copilot in Outlook can help you is in its “coaching” ability. Here, you do the drafting and let Copilot help you with making sure the email is “on-point”. This is like using tools like Grammarly or Microsoft Editor but is more aligned to the specific email you are writing or replying to.

Using my previous example of the email to my builder, I am this time drafting an email and then asking Copilot to “coach me”. You can see in the video below, that Copilot provides me with tips to make the email better. It does this by suggesting changes to tone, specific detail and clarity based on the context of the email content.

Coaching by Copilot in Outlook.

In coaching mode, Copilot does not make changes to the email for you. Instead, it provides guidance and advice for changes based on its suggestions. You can then copy and paste the suggestions directly into the email draft.

5. More features coming soon.

Microsoft Copilot in Outlook is already great and saves lots of time, especially in drafting and summarising emails. Copilot, like the rest of Microsoft 365 is constantly evolving and there is a roadmap you can access here. Of interest in Copilot for Outlook – my upcoming favourites are:

  • Schedule from email with Copilot: Often you may want to transition a conversation from an email thread to a meeting. From March 2024, Copilot will help you do this by being able to start scheduling right from the email conversation. This will save time and effort by generating a meeting invite that’s ready for you to review and send. Soon, when you click on “Schedule with Copilot” a meeting form will appear with a Copilot generated meeting title, agenda, and conversation summary as well as a pre-filled attendee list from the email thread and an attachment of the original email thread.
  • Follow a meeting: This is new meeting response (RSVP) option coming in June 2024, that will go beyond the traditional Accept, Tentative and Decline choices geared towards individuals with high meeting loads and conflicting meetings each day. Follow is the ideal RSVP option for meetings you can’t attend but still want to stay engaged and receive info about. Other attendees will be able to see if you are following a meeting.

Conclusion

Outlook has long been a staple in the world of email and personal organisation. With the integration of Copilot, it takes a significant step forward in enhancing user experience. Copilot’s features are designed to streamline the way users manage their emails and schedules.

Drafting emails can often take up a significant portion of your day. Copilot assists with email composition by providing suggestions and completing sentences, making the process of writing more efficient. This is especially useful when you’re drafting responses to a large volume of emails or need to quickly send out a professional reply. Copilot’s AI-driven writing assistant helps maintain consistency and tone across your communications.

Microsoft’s aim is to make Outlook not just a tool for reading and sending emails, but a comprehensive assistant that augments productivity and organisation. With Copilot, Outlook becomes more than just an email client; it’s a powerful ally in managing your digital communication and scheduling needs. Copilot also works on Web and Mobile.

Using Copilot in Whiteboard.

Copilot inside Microsoft Whiteboard

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

Here are some key features of using Microsoft Whiteboard:

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

Using Copilot in Whiteboard

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

Copilot in Whiteboard makes it super easy to:

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

Getting Started with Copilot In Whiteboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Copilot with an existing Whiteboard.

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

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

What can’t Copilot do?

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

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


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

Copilot is coming to OneDrive

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Image (c) Microsoft

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

Interacting with Copilot Animations

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

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

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

Privacy

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

First impressions

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

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

Microsoft Windows Team

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