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

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

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

Digital Resilience Through AI

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

$1 Billion AI Investment Fund

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

New Strategic Initiatives

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

New certifications to empower partners

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

New innovations to their portfolio announced

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

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

There is no AI without data and networking

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

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

Excitement overdrive

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

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

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

Chuck Robbins |Chair and CEO | Cisco.

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

It’s not over yet.

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

Read more at Cisco

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

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.

Microsoft Surface – Are you ready for what m”ai” be next?

Next week is Microsoft Build, and the day before (that’s Monday 20th May), Microsoft is set to host a significant event in-person in Seattle about the the future and of Windows, Surface and Copilot.

The event (which is not being live streamed unfortunatley) takes place at 17:00 UK Time (10:00am Pacific Time) and will showcase (I hope filled with the famous Microsoft sizzle videos) the next wave of innovation for Surface, Windows and Copilot powered by new AI powered chipsets…

As usual Microsoft has not disclosed specific details about what is being announced, but there have been many “suggestive” leaks, predications and teases about what is coming. What we do know is that this will be a big and “special” announcement.

This year, Microsoft have already launched the first generation of new AI PC with the release of the Surface Pro 10 and The Surface Laptop 6 which were built on the new Intel AI Boost technology – which you can read more about here.

So what is being announced?

We know this is a pretty big annoucement and we do know that this is the year of AI and the year of the AI PC, so we can expect some pretty exciting annoucements. Despite the various leaks, we wont know until monday what is actually coming, but we do know that Microsoft’s previous product updates were only around the Intel based devices and their ARM powered devices haven’t yet received an update.

Windows Insiders will be well aware of the all the AI innovating coming to the next generation of Windows 11 so we can expect some new AI wow to be announced for Windows 11 as Microsoft gear up for the 24H2 update coming later this year.

Next Generation of Windows and Surface (and Copilot)

Given the new Qualcomm chipsets such as the Snapdragon Elite X, it would make sense for this to feature in the announcements. These new chipsets (which I discussed here) provide huge NPU capabilities which are needed to process AI workloads efficiently without sloooooooowing down the device so it will be exciting to see if these feature in the future of Surface and Windows!

Will Copilot work “locally/Offline?

What? Well today, all the AI and Copilot experiences we have seen with Windows 11 (and Microsoft 365 Copilot) take place in the cloud, but I also wonder if Microsoft will discuss their plans and advancements around local/on-device Generative AI experiences. With the newer AI Boost PCs from Intel, what is now available with Qualcomm and what Microsoft have in their arsenal with Copilot and OpenAI, it will be interesting to see what Microsoft can tell us about how they could de-couple the AI experiences, providing the ability to run local LLMs “on chip”. This of course is as much about the software (Windows OS) as it is the hardware that powers it.

What about Windows 365?

I hope so – since Windows 365 is very much part of the Windows story and I’m hoping we will hear some updates about what is coming to Windows 365. We have seen huge performance and boot time increases this year, new innovation with Windows 365 Boot and Windows 365 Switch (i have covered this in another blog) so be great to see what is next for Windows 365. There were also many things annouced over the past 12 months such as offline mode that haven’t yet made it to market – could this be finally coming?

Microsoft Places now in Public Preview

Microsoft have finally (after a long wait), released the much-anticipated Microsoft Places into Public Preview. When it launches later in 2024, Places will be licensed as part of Microsoft Teams Premium.

What is Microsoft Places?

Microsoft Places, is Microsoft’s “AI-powered” (of course it is), connected workplace app that has been “designed to revitalise flexible work by helping employees coordinate where they work, modernise in-person connections, and provide valuable data for IT, Real Estate and Facilities Management to optimise the workplace.

Microsoft Places Promo (2024)

What’s included in the Places Public Preview

At launch of the public preview, not all features will be available, but more features will roll over time based on feedback on those in the private preview and MVPs. The following is included initially.

  • Location Plan: Allows people to share their proposed location schedule and see who else will be attending in-person – this makes in-person huddles, team lunches and “working together” easier.
  • In-Person Meeting: Sounds like an odd one, but provides updates to meeting invites and calendaring to communicate the organisers “intention” for people to work together with an in-person meeting invite (no Online Meeting) – this is good for team meetings, workshops etc.
  • New Hybrid RSVP: Intended to help us plan better – this shows a collated view of who is coming into the office, allowing people to adjust their location plan directly from their Calendar.
  • Expanded Presence: Provides the ability for people to easily add their location to your presence state, indicating when they are in the office, working at home or from another specific location.

What won’t be available in the preview?

As discussed above, there are some features that Microsoft spoke about when they first announced Places back in 2022. These include:

  • Access to the Places Directory: This will not be available yet as part of the public preview
  • As such the following sub-services that this enables will also not be available including
    • Space Analytics and occupancy data
    • Ability to find rooms by buildings in the Places Finder
    • Ability mention @nearby in Teams

Microsoft have also said that the integration of Places data into Microsoft Copilot will make coordination even easier. Coming in the second half of 2024, you will be able to use Copilot to understand which days are best to come into the office.

To me, personally, we will be playing with this in a demo environment as many of the key benefits I see are in the Places Directory.

Keep an eye on the Places Space to keep up-to-date with updates and changes as the public preview progresses.

Integration with Building and FM Providers

Microsoft are partnering with a wealth of FM and building companies across this market. With Microsoft Places, they have built a ecosystem of partners (listed below) who will build on top of the Places platform with new and existing solutions, leveraging, and enhancing data related to people, location, and space. Microsoft have listed the following launch partners but have said that more are coming rapidly.

  • Avanade
  • AppSpace
  • AVI/SPL
  • CBRE
  • Cisco Spaces
  • Chestron
  • Eptura
  • ISS
  • JLL
  • Service Now
  • Verge Sense

I’m super excited by the integration into App Space and Cisco Spaces 🙂


How do I get on the Microsoft Places Public Preview?

The Microsoft Places public preview is available on request and IT need to sign up using the link below. You can register your primary “live” environment or demo/dev environment (we did both). To sign up follow this link here:

“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.


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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.

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.

New Windows Insider Build brings AI features to non NPU PCs

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

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

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

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

Other changes in Canary build 26040

Other noticeable changes in this build include:

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

Read the full Windows Insider Blog

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

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

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

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

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

Family of four – A Thousand Pound a Year.

Yes, you read that correctly..

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

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

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

But it gets worse…

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

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

12.5x the price

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

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

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

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

Microsoft – please make this affordable for Families.

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

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

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

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


I welcome your comments Microsoft 365 Family subscribers….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction to Microsoft Copilot

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

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

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

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

Getting Started With Copilot – What can it do?

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

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

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

Some things Copilot can help you with.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Great Designer Image Creator Prompt.
Created with Microsoft Image Designer

Conclusion

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

Wait.. There’s more.

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

Read about Copilot Pro here..

Cisco announces “AI Assistant for Security”

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

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

Brian Feeney | VP Global security partner sales | Cisco

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

Firewalls first – more later

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

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

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

Image (c) Cisco

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

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

Jeetu Patel | VP security and collaboration | Cisco

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

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

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

Scope

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

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

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

Use Cases

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

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

Cost

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

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

A better together story?

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

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

Closing Thoughts

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

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


Read more

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

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

Cisco AI Assistant: Cisco AI Assistant – Cisco

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



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

Windows Keyboard with Copilot Button

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

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

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

Yusuf Mehdi | Chief Marketing Officer | Microsoft


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

The AI Powered PC

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

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

AI – from Chip to the Cloud

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

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

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

Microsoft Surface first?

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


If you want to lean more.

Read the full article from the Windows Blog.

Read more about Copilot in Windows on my blog here.

My 8 AI tech predictions for 2024

man looking up a cloud thinking about AI advances in 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 We will see more Legal Claims against AI.

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 The rise of robust governance policies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#6 Proliferation of “new” wearable AI technology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8 Zero Trust will finally be taken seriously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Conclusion

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

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

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

Microsoft Copilot now fits in your pocket with new Android app

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

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

Copilot app for Android

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example

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

Getting the best from Copilot

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

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


You can download the app for Android -> here.

2023 year in review – from the eyes of my Blog

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

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

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

January 2023

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

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

February 2023

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

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

March 2023

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

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

April 2023

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

May 2023

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

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

June 2023

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

Here are the summaries of the blog posts in order:

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

July 2023

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

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

August 2023

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

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

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

September 2023

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

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

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

October 2023

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

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

November 2023

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

Here is a summary of my key blog posts:

December 2023

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

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

Goodbye 2023 – Hello to an AI Powered 2024

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

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

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

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

Thanks again,
Rob

Prompt Engineering: AI prompts that punch!

What is an AI prompt?

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

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

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

Understanding how Generative AI works

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

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

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

Writing good AI prompts – the ingredients

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

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

Good and bad prompt examples

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

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

Goal: Create a product update for the Flux Capacitor 2

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

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

Write a product brief in Copilot.

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

Goal: Create a Lego avatar of yourself

For this, I am using Microsoft Designer Image creator.

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

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

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

Goal: Write a story about a dog called Benji

Bad prompt: Write a story about a dog named Benji

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

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

Goal: Extract key information from a document

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

Bad Prompt: Tell me about this document.

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

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

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

Perfecting your “Prompts”

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What new features are coming to Copilot in early 2024?

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

No increase in pricing for GPT-4 in Copilot

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

What is GPT-4?

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

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What is Google Gemini and when is it available?

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

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

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

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

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

What is Google Gemini?

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

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

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

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

Image (c) Google

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

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

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

Google

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

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

Demos and teasers

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

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

Google Gemini does math

Gemini – a threat to Microsoft ChatGPT and Copilot?

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

What is ChatGPT 4?

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

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

What is Microsoft Copilot?

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

Happy AI-ing!


Links, References and further reading

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 overview | Microsoft Learn.

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

Chat GPT Enterprise by Open AI