Innovation

Microsoft To Boost ‘Power Platform’ With AI, Blockchain

artificial intelligence

Microsoft is expected to announce Monday (June 10) enhancements to its Power Platform during its two-day Microsoft Business Applications Summit.

According to a report in GeekWire, the updates include tools that make it easy to add artificial intelligence (AI) code packages to PowerApps applications. Power Platform is a collection of tools the software giant sells that automate workflows. The report said AI is expected to be the main theme of the event, which draws 4,500 attendees. Microsoft is also expected to announce it will use blockchain as well. With the new tools, users will be able to choose from several code packages that inject AI into their applications. Microsoft also plans to make applications built using the tools available to outside companies via the PowerApps portal, according to the report.

On the blockchain front, the report said Microsoft will offer blockchain tools for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow customers. The aim is to find more use cases for blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrency.

Microsoft’s AI chops were on display last month when it announced it was teaming up with Starbucks to work on AI-powered projects ranging from gathering customer preferences to connecting coffeemakers. Predictive drive-thru ordering, for example, would give customers recommendations based on order history. While it’s unknown if the AI technology will evolve to include facial recognition software or license plate readers that can be used to recommend a customer’s favorite order, Microsoft did say customers will eventually be able to agree to more personalized drive-thru recommendations.

Also in May, Microsoft announced the launch of Azure Blockchain Service, which simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks. The news comes after the tech giant revealed Azure Blockchain Workbench last year, which gave developers a simple UI to model blockchain applications on a preconfigured Azure-supported network. “Azure Blockchain Service deploys a fully-managed consortium network and offers built-in governance for common management tasks such as adding new members, setting permissions and authenticating user applications,” the company explained in a press release.

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