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Modules Bringing AI and Mixed Reality to Dynamics 365

A challenge with artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality is often figuring out how to apply the somewhat futuristic concepts to everyday business problems. Microsoft is trying to move that process along within the context of its business applications suite, Dynamics 365.

On Tuesday, Microsoft showcased five new apps for Dynamics 365 that embed within everyday business tasks either the AI capabilities that increasingly permeate the Azure cloud or the mixed reality promise of the Microsoft HoloLens visor-based computer or Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets from OEMs.

The demonstrations came as a teaser for the Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Envision conferences next week in Orlando, Fla., where Microsoft will address IT and business applications audiences and unveil new products, features and services across its many platforms.

In a briefing for press and analysts, Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president of Business Applications & Industry Marketing at Microsoft, unveiled three AI modules that will be released as previews this fall: Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service and Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights.

Taylor described the three products as "a new class of AI applications that will deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions."

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales will be designed for both salespeople and their managers, providing next-step suggestions for the sales team and coaching recommendations based on pipeline analysis for their managers.

The Customer Service module will use natural language recognition and AI to both guide customer service employees and to provide virtual agents that can handle basic tasks and lower support costs. Again, the emphasis, Taylor said, is to deliver those benefits "without needing in-house AI experts and without writing any code."

The Market Insights module for Dynamics 365 is aimed at surfacing Web and social insights to improve the performance of marketing, social media and market research teams.

Also on Tuesday, Microsoft officials showed off two mixed reality modules for Dynamics 365 that have been previously discussed as part of the October 2018 release of Dynamics 365, which will be generally available on Oct. 1.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist (pictured above) provides for a new type of customer support that takes advantage of the hands-free nature of a HoloLens headset. The person needing assistance can wear the HoloLens, which both streams video to a remote support worker and allows the support worker to project spatial directions or diagrams onto the person's display. In technical terms, the solution consists of heads-up, hands-free video calling, image sharing and mixed reality annotations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Layout immerses planners and their customers in a 3-D version of potential room designs, floor plans or entire building configurations that help them collaborate on the finished setup. Leveraging various pieces of the Microsoft stack, including HoloLens or immersive goggles, the Layout module includes capabilities for scanning real spaces, loading new virtual layouts to overlay the physical version and the ability to view the results in mixed reality or via streaming to other screens.

Posted by Scott Bekker on 09/18/2018 at 2:13 PM


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