Review of the year: The Microsoft stories you may have missed in 2018

Over the past 12 months, Microsoft has hit the headlines crosswise the world for portion consumers, companies and organisations.

The company has launched a range of high-profile products and worked with some big companies in the UK this year, but there is tons of news you may have lost. Here are some highlights:


At beginning of the year, the UK News Centre met Lucy Cassidy, an Advanced Practice physical therapist at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. She launched the Virtual Fracture Clinic, which helps people who have broken a bone or who have a nasty soft tissue injury to get treatment in their own home via online videos. Then, if needful, they can see a doctor who specialises in that part of the body. The whole solution uses kinetics 365.

Lucy Cassidy
Lucy Cassidy

January besides saw the announcement that a new £40 million Institute of cryptography, which would teach people digital skills so much as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, would be set up in the UK.

The venture was launched by a pool of more than 60 universities, industry experts and businesses, including Microsoft, in a bid to tackle the country’s digital skills gap.

The aim of the institute was to deliver practical digital skills to higher education students and those not yet in employment via industry-accredited courses at 25 traditional universities crosswise United Kingdom, and education providers.


At the beginning of the month, Microsoft proclaimed it was launching the UK’s most powerful cloud employment – M-Series virtual machines (VM) in Azure, which can handle very large workloads that involve a lot of information. Here’s the technical bit: the M-series supports up to 128 virtual central process units (vCPU) and between one and four tebibytes of memory – a tebibyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes – on a single VM. In addition to M-series, Azure besides offers specific products for SAP HANA that offer up to 20 terabytes of memory – the most offered by any public cloud.

Fast car headlights in London street

Later that month, Microsoftopened a $20 million venue in London to help the UK remain the home of technology innovation in Europe.

The Reactor, in Shoreditch, will be used to “nurture and develop start-up talent in the UK” by giving new businesses access to Microsoft partners, customers and products, UK Chief Executive Cindy Rose aforesaid.

The move was welcomed by Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, who told Rose during the launch of the two-floor space that Microsoft is “doing so much for start-ups” in the UK.


March saw the launch of Soundscape. The free app enables you to set audio beacons at familiar destinations and landmarks, and then use 3D audio cues to improve your close awareness as you make your way to the destination. By simply copulative a stereo telephone receiver, you can explore the outdoor world with more independence. With 3D audio, the sounds are perceived as coming from the point of interest, so the user can build a mental image of what’s around from the sounds in the environment and the Soundscape app. Rushing between classes, going for coffee with a friend or itinerant a new city with the family are all common experiences that could be more appreciated and cause less anxiety for nearly 300 million people with sight loss worldwide.

Woman hugging her guide dog

Microsoft’s Mixed-Reality Capture Studio filmed Sir David Attenborough so the Natural History depository could turn him into a holograph for a new virtual reality experience.

The ground-breaking experience lets people visit environment of the London depository normally closed to the public with the world-famous broadcaster and hear him talk about the rare artefacts and objects on display, all from the comfort of their own home.


Microsoft discharged a survey showing that girls in the UK are much more likely to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) if they have a role model who inspires them. The study, which documented the views of 11,500 young women in 12 countries crosswise Europe, found that more than half (52%) of women aged 11-30 who looked up to either fictional or non-fictional people involved in STEM aforesaid they were interested in acquiring a job in the sector. Less than a third (32%) of women without a role model aforesaid the same. A fifth more UK girls aforesaid they could imagine a career in STEM if they had a role model compared with those who don’t.

Slide from STEM research

Steven Woodgate, a Marketing and communication theory Manager at Microsoft, stood up at the AdWeek conference in London and proclaimed that he had learning disorder and dyspraxia. He talked about how the tools that are built in to Microsoft’s products – so much as so much as Dictate, Read Aloud, Eye Control, Touch, Inking and auto-subtitles – have “levelled the playing field” and helped him be more productive.


In May, Microsoft launched the Xbox adaptative Controller, which lets people with disabilities plug in the helpful AIDS they not yet own to play games. The product allows those with limited quality to use their own buttons, joysticks and switches to mimic a standard controller, so they can play any videogame. This allows them to choose which helpful aid will make the character jump, run or shoot, for example, without relying on pressing specific buttons on the controller that came with the Xbox. It has won galore awards since it was discharged.

The Xbox adaptative Controller

A new Surface Hub that can be revolved 90-degrees and attached to up to three other Hubs was besides disclosed by Microsoft

The Surface Hub 2 has been designed to help people work together and “get out of their seating, imagine, create and dynamically collaborate as a team, regardless of location”, Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, wrote in a blog post.

Unlike the original Surface Hub, which was discharged in 2015, the device can be revolved, so users can work on the 50.5-inch 4K+ multi-touch PixelSense Display in either landscape or portrait mode. As the cameras, speakers and microphones are built into the device, they will pivot, too.


A new Mixed Reality Accelerator that helps companies use Microsoft HoloLens to transform how they work was launched at the University of Hull in June. The venture saw some of the university’s brightest students use Microsoft’s telephone receiver, which places holographs in the real world, to solve problems for businesses. Microsoft is a partner in the programme, which will besides feature computing company VISR.

University of Hull Enterprise Centre, Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 18 June, 2018. Pictured: LtoR Josh Grierson, Arjun Chauhan, Students acting with the HoloLens/VERTX technology being pioneered by the VISR.

A mouse that changed how people use the net and was beloved by gamers was relaunched by Microsoft in the same month. The Classic IntelliMouse contains new technology to make trailing more accurate and still features the scroll wheel button that let people easily move down web pages, ever-changing how users navigated the net.

It has been discharged 15 years after the previous model – the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 – was interrupted. The move led to some fans paying more than double the original retail price to ensure they would have one for years to come, piece others stockpiled the product.


As the weather was hotting up, so was Microsoft’s product range. The company disclosed some other device in July – its smallest and lightest Surface device. The two-in-one Surface Go has a 10-inch screen, is 8.3mm thin and weighs just 1.15 pounds. It besides boasts nine hours of battery life and is able to run Office apps. Chief Product Officer Panos Panay wrote in a blog post: “Since my two youngest daughters have started exploitation Surface Go, I see them observation movies, reading and drawing on it every day. It’s the perfect device for them. And for me, whether I’m at home, in the office, or on a plane, putt my Surface Pen on the screen and lease my thoughts flow is a necessary step in my creative process. It’s how I work. It’s so easy to carry Surface Go with me so I can capture those moments, instantly.”

Surface Go

The UK News Centre besides according on two motorbike makers who use Surface Pro inclination because it’s the only device that can work as fast as they do. Bujar and Gaz Muharremi besides praised the Surface’s movability as they move from designing to building in their workshop.


A new partnership between the British Heart Foundation. Microsoft, the NHS and New Signature aims to map all the defibrillators in the UK, so 999 call handlers can tell people portion a internal organ arrest patient where the nighest device is. There are 30,000 internal organ arrests outside of UK hospitals annually but less than one-in-10 of those survive, compared with a 25% survival rate in Norway, 21% in North Netherlands, and 20% in Seattle, in the US. Defibrillators are used in just 2% of out-of-hospital internal organ arrests, often because bystanders and car employment don’t know where the nighest device is located.

A woman walks past a defibrillator on a wall

Also in August, Microsoft discharged a live-streaming video tool that lets staff ask their chief executives questions during presentations from anyplace in the world. CEOs can create a high-definition live event in Microsoft Stream, Teams or Yammer, invite people to join in and act with them on mobile or desktop inclination. viewing audience can ask questions, raise concerns or suggest ideas exploitation the comment section, and the CEO can respond in time period. All messages are mechanically translated into mere languages exploitation artificial intelligence.


In September, the UK News Centre according that a team of students in the UK created a way to turn written equations into computer code, which could help mathematics experts solve their most complex problems. Dominik Henjes, Paul Popa and Aleksandr Jermakov came up with their algorithmic rule during a hackathon – which used Microsoft Azure – that challenged people to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve lives.

Scientist exploitation touch screen in lab

Microsoft teamed up with some of the leading education organisations in the UK to create an online guide that lets people spot the gaps in their digital skills, and then points them to applicable courses. The free tool is designed to create a generation of digital leadership who will thrive in workplaces that are progressively relying on technology.


Artificial intelligence is ever-changing the UK so fast that nearly half of bosses believe their business model won’t exist by 2023, a Microsoft report discovered. The research – entitled maximizing the AI chance – found that this country has a unique chance to lead the world in the development and use of AI but only if companies act quickly to embrace it.

woman turning on a Surface laptop

In October, Microsoft sponsored a BBC film that takes viewing audience on a 3D journey through the Earth’s oceans. Oceans: Our Blue Planet goes below the waves to meet creatures including dolphins, whales and sharks, giving young people the chance deepen their understanding and cognition of the sea.


Last month, Abbey Road Studios, the world-famous studio that was home to The Beatles and Pink Floyd, ran a hackathon exploitation Microsoft technology to try to shape the future of music creation. The London studio’s audio technology brooder, Abbey Road RED, invited around 100 developers, technologists, designers and music producers to find new shipway of capturing sound and revolutionising the engineering process. Microsoft provided artificial intelligence technology and experts for the event, which gathered feedback on how the music industry could use its cognitive employment.

External view of Abbey Road Studios

During the second day of Future Decoded, on November 1, Microsoft discovered it had formed a strategic partnership with Centrica. The aim was to transform the way the British Gas owner’s 12,000-strong team of engineers serve customers crosswise the UK. Centrica employees will be provided with real time and unjust insight, ensuring customers can be unbroken up to date with accurate and timely information. The new system is underpinned by the latest artificial intelligence technology from the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and Microsoft 365 applications so much as Power BI, Logic App, Flow and PowerApps.


Microsoft won an award for ensuring its products can be used by as galore people as possible. The company took home the Technology Initiative of the Year prize at the Disability-Smart Awards in London. The event “recognises individuals and organisations around the world that have made an outstanding contribution to disabled people”.

Hector Minto, right, and Michael Vermeersch collect the award

A Scottish company is exploitation Microsoft’s AI technology to help everyone deliver the perfect speech. Estendio has been one-handed an AI for Accessibility grant by the technology firm to add more features to their app, Present Pal, which aims to improve how people give presentations. The company was awarded free acknowledgment for Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.

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