Five fascinating facts from last year’s Microsoft Ignite

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Cat Mules

From Office to Edge, innovations from the world's leading software provider are telling about the future of the cloud. Here's a recap of Microsoft Ignite 2019.

Microsoft Ignite is not just for developers – the leading software provider usually manages to sprinkle in some big announcements for the everyday business person and consumer, too. As we look forward to next month’s annual event ‘gone-virtual’, here’s a recap of last year’s big news.

1. Superman – in a tiny piece of glass

As the amount of data stored on the cloud enters the range of hundreds of zettabytes, Microsoft are printing data on glass to protect it for potentially thousands of years.

At Ignite, CEO Satya Nadella showed us a piece of quartz glass the size of a drink coaster, storing 143-minute Warner Bros Superman Movie, ‘A Man of Steel’.

Using an ultrafast pulse laser, Microsoft’s Project Silica researcher’s permanently changed the structure of the glass, writing into it unique nano-sized ‘voxels’ – three-dimensional equivalents of the pixels that make up an image.

It’s a solution that can resist all matter of damage, including being boiled, baked, microwaved, flooded, scoured and demagnitised.

Credit: John Brecher, Project Silica.

2. The Office Mobile app for iOS and Android

Whereas before users were handling distinct Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps, the new Office app enables users to download a single unified version.

The unified app also includes several handy on-the-go features, such as the ability to transfer files from computer to phone, convert images into text or tables, and even scan QR codes.

3. Cortana’s AI smarts will come to Outlook

If you’re in the appointment-keeping business, you’ll appreciate the value time spent organising, coordinating and scheduling via emails.

Microsoft’s digital assistant and appointment sheduler, Cortana, now has new features to be ultra organised and in control of your daily emails. Cortana’s Play My Emails includes voice recognition, intelligent read-out,  and text to speech capabilties.

4. Limitless data analytics workloads

Azure Synapse Analytics – a limitless analytics service that combines traditional data warehousing and big data analytics.

This is the Azure SQL Data Warehouse evolved, enabling some critical new capabilities for collaboration, management and analysis.

5. ‘To be released’: Microsoft Edge for Enterprise

Microsoft’s business web browser, Edge, is being given general availability.

Edge is Chromium-based, enabling tracking and access protection enabled by default, the ability to share web research with users outside the organisation, and upgraded security baselines.


Those are some of the tastiest bites from last year’s Microsoft Ignite conference – and there’s much more to come. Join us for Ignite 2020 next month here.

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Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.


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Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.

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