Microsoft Build 2023: The Biggest News On Copilots, AI, Windows, Security

‘It’s not an autopilot approach, but rather a design ethos that we call copilot,’ Microsoft executive Rajesh Jha says in a blog post.

More access to generative artificial intelligence “copilots” across the Microsoft product suite. Embracing plugins to give developers more generative AI options. And more AI-powered security offerings.

These are among the biggest announcements during the vendor’s Build 2023 conference. Microsoft is holding its annual developer-focused conference online Tuesday and Wednesday and in Seattle until Thursday.

The investments in generative AI come as the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor positions the technology as the next popular user interface, with natural language interactions by users as revolutionary as graphical user interfaces.

“It’s not an autopilot approach, but rather a design ethos that we call copilot to tackle the growing volume of digital debt that is taking attention away from innovation and sapping our productivity,” Rajesh Jha, Microsoft executive vice president of experiences and devices, said in a blog post.

[RELATED: Microsoft 365 Copilot Brings Generative AI To Teams, Word And More]

Microsoft AI News At Build 2023

The generative AI race has mostly focused on Microsoft and Google’s efforts, with vendors including Salesforce, IBM and Palo Alto Networks all incorporating the technology in various offerings to speed up data analysis and boost security, among other use cases.

Solution providers have also experimented with the new technology to find more ways to optimize their business and find new ways to bring in revenue.

In an example of generative AI’s popularity, Azure OpenAI Service is still in preview but has been used by more than 4,500 companies, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft Executive Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said on the vendor’s quarterly earnings call in April that Microsoft is already seeing new customers and new money-making opportunities from generative AI.

“Some of the work we’ve done in AI even in the last couple of quarters, we are now seeing conversations we never had,” he told analysts on the call. “Whether it’s coming through even just OpenAI’s APIs, right—if you think about the consumer tech companies … they have gone to OpenAI and are using their API. These are not customers of Azure at all.”

He continued: “Even Azure OpenAI API customers are all new. And the workload conversations, whether it’s B2C conversations in financial services, or drug discovery … these are all new workloads that we really were not in the game in the past, whereas we now are.”

Other news made by Microsoft at Build 2023 includes:

*Updates To Azure development operations (DevOps) tools

*Advancements in Azure Database offerings

*Upgrades to Azure Infrastructure

Read on for Microsoft’s other major announcements during Build 2023.

More Copilots

Microsoft has a host of previews available and coming, allowing more access to its Copilot generative AI software across the Microsoft product suite.

Previews are now available for Copilot in Power BI, Power Automate and Power Pages. A Copilot in the new Microsoft Fabric offering will come “soon,” according to the vendor. In June, Microsoft will launch a preview of Windows Copilot, according to Microsoft.

Power BI Copilot aims to help users with narrative summaries and data analysis through conversational language, according to Microsoft. Users can tailor tone, scope and stype within reports.

The Power Pages Copilot feature promises generative AI for website building, according to Microsoft. Copilot can help with digital copy editing, data form building, web page layout creation and image creation.

Users can also add Power Virtual Agents chatbots to websites to answer questions with generative AI, according to Microsoft. Copilot in Power Virtual Agents is generally available (GA).

Windows Copilot provides users personalized answers and actions within Windows 11. Users can dock Windows Copilot in a side panel to stay next to apps through user actions, according to the vendor.

The news builds upon Copilot access launched by Microsoft this year for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Viva and Microsoft Security.

The Copilot wave started about two years ago with the GitHub Copilot paired programmer tool that aims to help developers write code.

Copilot Plugins

Microsoft has adopted the same open plugin standard OpenAI introduced for ChatGPT, giving users one platform to extend copilot capabilities to other software and services.

Developers can use one platform to build plugins across ChatGPT, Bing, Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot and Windows Copilot. Bing is adding plugins for Instacart, Kayak, Klarna, Redfin, Zillow and other apps.

M365 includes popular Microsoft products such as Teams and Outlook. The M365 Copilot leverages large language models (LLMs) and data in the Microsoft Graph and M365 apps to generate content in applications and across them.

Plugins include ChatGPT, Bing, Teams and Power Platform. Developers can build plugins with Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio, according to Microsoft.

M365 Copilot Early Access Program users will have more than 50 plugins available from Atlassian, Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks, Mural and others. Microsoft plans to add thousands of line-of-business and third-party plugins over the coming months., according to the vendor.

In June, Microsoft will launch a preview for a Syntex plugin for M365 Copilot. The plugin promises content management capabilities that give users answers to suggested or user-generated questions about the information in files across M365. Users can also assemble and classify content.

This news follows on the ChatGPT plugins OpenAI—creator of the text-generator and financially backed by Microsoft— introduced in March. Microsoft introduced Bing plugins earlier in May.

Windows 11 Developer News

Along with Windows Copilot and Bing Chat plugins for Windows, Microsoft introduced a hybrid AI loop for development across platforms and Azure with support from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm.

Later this year, silicon partners will bring more Windows devices with neural processing units (NPUs) to market. Windows 11 has more than 100 million AI-capable discrete GPUs, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft introduced a preview of the Dev Home experience for Windows 11 during Build 2023. Dev Home features include WinGet configuration for quicker setup and Dev Drive for file system performance and workflow and task tracking.

WinGet is an unattended, reliable, repeatable mechanism to automate new machine setup and new project on-boarding, according to Microsoft.

Dev Drive promises up to 30 percent file system improvement in build times for file input and output scenarios, according to Microsoft.

Dev Home uses Dev Box and GitHub Codespaces to configure coding environments in the cloud. Users can also add system widgets to track CPU and GPU performance plus GitHub widgets for coding tasks.

Teams Toolkit, Graph Upgrades

Microsoft has some upgrades in private preview for Teams Toolkit, including the ability to create, test and debug copilot plugins.

The vendor promises developers the ability to bring any API described by the OpenAPI specification to Microsoft 365 Copilot with the new Teams Toolkit plugin creation capability.

Developers will use adaptive cards to control and customize the plugin experience for users. Teams Toolkit uses OpenAPI spec metadata to scaffold a plugin with a manifest and declarative adaptive cards that define the experience.

Teams AI libraries are in preview for the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio, according to Microsoft. The new libraries bring a Teams interface to large language models and user intent engines.

Now GA are Microsoft Graph connectors, which allow developers to bring data to the Microsoft Graph for more personalized, actionable responses.

Rolling out to Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program members is a capability to use M365 Copilot to access structured Dynamics 365 and Power Platform data stored in Microsoft Dataverse to ground copilot responses in business and user data.

Developers can import data into Dataverse through Power Platform connectors, according to the vendor.

## Teams, VR Updates

Microsoft made a Live Share SDK generally available for developers to build those live-interaction capabilities into apps.

The vendor has made Microsoft Teams avatars GA for all Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses in Teams desktop app for Windows and Mac. This gives Teams users another option when they don’t want to appear on camera.

A private preview for immersive spaces in Teams promises users the ability to walk to a group or wave at others in a room. These spaces are available through PC or virtual reality (VR) headset.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Mesh is now in private preview. Mesh, a platform for building immersive workplace experiences, allows for town halls, employee training, employee on-boarding, virtual tours and other scenarios, according to the vendor.

Power Platform Innovations

Microsoft launched a preview of a way to author Microsoft Teams helpdesk bots with natural language using Power Virtual Agents (PVA).

A new authoring canvas is generally available for PVA, giving users event extensibility, a new variable system using Power Fx and a code-like view.

Microsoft launched a limited preview for allowing PVAs to generate dialogue and complete actions by chaining together user-provided tools without manually authoring conversational logic, according to the vendor.

It launched a preview of an Azure conversational language understanding (CLU) integration with PVA, giving users the options for slot filling, dialogue triggering, interruptions and “did you mean,” according to Microsoft.

For Power BI, Microsoft launched a preview of Power BI Direct Lake, a storage mode for looking at data without replication, according to the vendor. Microsoft also launched a preview of Power BI Desktop Developer Mode.

Advancing Security AI

Microsoft has made a new source code classifier generally available, with the goal of helping users quickly identify and protect sensitive digital estate data.

The classifier can detect intellectual property, trade secrets, material nonpublic information, sensitive health files, business sensitive financial information, personally identifiable information for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance and other critical sensitive content, according to Microsoft.

The new classifier supports 70-plus file extensions and 23 programming languages. It detects embedded and partial source code, according to the vendor.

In preview are Audit Search API and an eDiscovery Export API offering. Users can leverage these offerings to automate tasks, reduce security risks and costs and minimize the data needed to export outside secure compliance boundaries, according to Microsoft.

Coming this summer as a preview is Microsoft Entra External ID, according to the vendor. Users can use this customer identity and access management tool to protect external identities, control accessible resources and accelerate secure and compliant app development.

In June, Microsoft will make a Microsoft Entra Verified ID Wallet SDK library GA. The library should allow users to build verifiable credentials wallets into apps, with verified IDs customized to match brands, according to Microsoft.

Changes To Microsoft Store On Windows

Becoming GA soon is a dedicated section of the Microsoft Store on Windows called AI Hub for developer-made offerings and AI-generated review summaries to make scanning app reviews easier for users.

Developers will receive access to AI-generated keyword suggestions to help with search engine rankings, according to Microsoft.

And in preview is a “restore apps” feature. The restore apps feature allows users to transfer to new Windows 11 devices with app icons automatically pinned in the same location.