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Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event
but used for 3G / WiFi versions only … while for LTE versions Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core SoCs at 2.3 GHz are used (probably the same one used in Xiaomi Mi3).
See also the The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post for another aspect of the advancement of the state-of-the-art, as well as the innovations in the Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post.
– SoC (System-on-Chip) [core information page on ‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 28, 2013] for understanding the internal structure of a multi-core SoC with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute as one of the most complex SoCs of 2013
– Eight-core MT6592 for superphones and big.LITTLE MT8135 for tablets implemented in 28nm HKMG are coming from MediaTek to further disrupt the operations of Qualcomm and Samsung [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 20-29, 2013] for understanding a similar SoC from the competition, as well with “What is new vs. my earlier The state of big.LITTLE processing [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 7, 2013] report” section in the end of it
– 20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 2, 2013] for understanding the whole Samsung phenomenon as well as for having a look at the quite similar ‘Samsung PREMIERE 2013’ event
What are the new Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (Exynos 5420) technological benefits over the competition?
Warren East, then CEO, ARM (before his July 2013 retirement) as quoted in my earlier post on Exynos 5 Octa [Exynos 5410], flexible display enhanced with Microsoft vision et al. from Samsung Components: the only valid future selling at CES 2013 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 10, 2013]:
It is providing roughly twice the performance of today’s leading edge smartphones at half the power consumption when running common workloads.
Taehoon Kim, VP of marketing, System LSI Business, Device Solutions Division, Samsung Electronics in:
- Samsung Announces the Availability of Exynos 5 Octa [Exynos 5410] for New Generation of Mobile Devices [press release, March 15, 2013]:
High processing performance based on multi-cores has become an essential factor for advanced mobile devices, and what users expect more is how long and seamlessly they can enjoy smart mobile computing experiences.
- Adoption of ARM big.Little Technology Accelerates [ARM press release, Feb 26, 2013]
In an era when smartphones and tablets are evolving into the user’s primary compute device, Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa [Exynos 5410], as the industry-first big.LITTLE enabled application processor, will drive innovation to bring outstanding user experience by handling diverse mobile workloads while also being optimized for power consumption
Simon Segars, then president, ARM (CEO from July 2013) in the same ARM press release:
big.LITTLE processor technology builds on ARM low-power leadership and sets a new standard for high performance and energy-efficient processing. By reducing processor energy consumption by up to 70 percent on common workloads, big.LITTLE technology enables users to do more with their smartphones for longer. As smartphones and tablets continue to evolve into users’ primary compute device, our partners are increasingly looking to ARM for innovations to help them deliver performance as well as the always-on, always-connected service their customers expect.
Noel Hurley, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Processor Division, ARM in Samsung Primes [the new] Exynos 5 Octa [Exynos 5420] for ARM big.LITTLE Technology with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Capability [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
We welcome Samsung’s continued commitment to deploying the leading-edge technology on their latest chips featuring the ARM Cortex™-A series of processors, ARM Mali™ GPUs and ARM Artisan™ physical IP.
Jem Davies, VP of Technology for ARM’s Media Processor Division (see in the details section later on):
Samsung is setting the way in terms of trend-setting devices, the new form factors like the phablets and the tablets that they’ve been producing. The Mali partners here want to see Mali being used in these really trend-setting devices, the things that are approaching new markets, and knowing that they can buy with confidence that there’s a whole variety of market segments now being addressed by our partners.
ARM Holdings work: big.LITTLE Optimization case #1
When the ARM Cortex-A7 cores are enough for an application: ARM® big.LITTLE™ Processing with Angry Birds game [ARMflix YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
ARM Holdings work: big.LITTLE Optimization case #2
When both types of the cores are needed for an application, depending on the situation: ARM® big.LITTLE™ Processing with QuickOffice [ARMflix YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
Samsung Exynos Evolved messages:
- The new Exynos 5 Octa’s Mobile Image Compression lowers total system power used for photo transfer
- The ARM Mali™-T628 GPU in the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) enhances graphics performance
- The new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) has twice the 3D graphics processing capabilities of its predecessor
- GPU Compute (GPGPU) in the new Exynos 5 Octa accelerates intensive operations, traditionally processed by the CPU
- Exynos 5420 runs on 1.8GHz Cortex™-A15 & 1.3GHz A7 cores in big.LITTLE tech for 20% improved CPU processing over Exynos 5410
- The Exynos 5 Octa (5420) has a memory bandwidth of 14.9 GB/sec for extremely fast data processing
- The Exynos 5 Octa series with ARM big.LITTLE™ tech now supports Heterogeneous Multi-Processing!
- Support for OpenGL® ES 3.0 & Full-Profile OpenCL 1.1 help the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) run complex gaming graphics
- With the industry’s widest memory bandwidth, the new Exynos 5 Octa supports a Full-HD 30fps WiFi display
GPU Compute Offload Balances Performance, Power, and Cost [ARMflix YouTube channel, July 15, 2013]
Epic Citadel Benchmark on New Exynos 5 Octa (5420) Reference Platform [SamsungExynos YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]
Samsung Exynos blog (see in the details section later on):
- In combination with big.LITTLE architecture, GPU Computing significantly increases power efficiency for noticeably better battery life.
- By combining GPU Compute technology with ARM® big.LITTLE™ processing architecture, the new Exynos 5 Octa benefits from two layers of energy efficiency.
ARM Holdings work: big.LITTLE Optimization case #3
When in addition to the both types of the cores the GPU Compute is also needed for an for an application: ARM® big.LITTLE™ Processing with ARM® Mali GPUs Demonstrating GPU Compute [ARMflix YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
The New Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Delivers Unparalleled Tablet Viewing, Productivity and Mobility [press release, Sept 4, 2013]
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a global leader in digital media and convergence technologies, today unveiled the GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, an original approach to balancing productivity, powerful content creation and consumption in one portable tablet device. Equipped with WQXGA Super clear LCD (2560×1600) resolution in a stunning 10-inch display, 1.9 GHz [Samsung Exynos] Octa Core processor (for 3G / WiFi only version) and 3GB RAM, the GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) demonstrates Samsung’s innovation leadership by delivering ultimate productivity capabilities while remaining extremely thin and light.
“The new GALAXY Note 10.1 is the most progressive 10-inch tablet, delivering the best viewing and multitasking experiences. It is the most recent demonstration of Samsung Mobile’s focus on constant product innovation to stay aligned with shifting consumer interests,” said JK Shin, CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics. “The GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) unites a range of features that will consistently surprise consumers as they realize how much easier and more enjoyable it makes their everyday lives.”
The new GALAXY Note 10.1 expands on the advanced productivity and creativity leadership delivered by the original Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1. In addition to enabling productivity, the device has been redesigned with a sleek, light, slim frame that is both fashionable and portable.
The GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) will come in three connectivity options: WiFi Only, WiFi and 3G, WiFi and LTE, available in 16/32/64GB ＋ Micro SD. Comes with two color options, Jet Black and Classic White, the GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) will be offered globally and will be available starting from Q3, 2013.
GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) will be on display at the Samsung booth # 20 at IFA 2013, September 6 through September 11, 2013. Full details and product images are available at www.samsungmobilepress.com or m.samsungmobilepress.com
[GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition): Related articles – Gallery – Videos – Features – Tech Specs]
Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2 livestream (full length) [SAMSUNGmobile YouTube channel, Sept 7, 2013], the event starts at [8:20]
[0:19:55]: GALAXY Note 3 and GALAXY Gear will be launched starting from September 25th in more than 140 countries. And all of these products will be promotionally available in October worldwide.
See also: Exclusive: List of countries receiving Galaxy Note III’s Exynos 5420 or Snapdragon 800 variant, SM-N9005 specs confirmation [SamMobile, Aug 15, 2013]
The other product launched at IFA 2013 with 1.9 GHz Samsung Exynos Octa Core processor (for 3G only version): GALAXY Note 3
Introducing Samsung GALAXY Note 3 [SAMSUNGmobile YouTube channel, Sept 4, 2013]
Hardware & Design
The GALAXY Note 3 comes with a wider (5.7″) Full HD Super AMOLED display, yet slimmer (8.3mm) and lighter (168g) hardware design, and is powered by a 2.3 GHz Quad-Core [Qualcomm Snapdragon] processor [for LTE version, and Samsung Exynos 5 Octa for 3G only version], 3GB of RAM, 32/64 GB or user memory, 3,200 mAh battery and runs on Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. Also, equipped with a 13MP rear camera with Smart Stabilization and high CRI LED flash, you can take crisp photos, even in low light and active situations. Plus, it can record and play in full HD (1080p), and record in UHD (*may differ by market).
The GALAXY Note 3 also features a textured back cover and delicate stitching that delivers a premium look and feel.
Everyday Made Easier with S Pen
Air Command, a palette of features and commands which you can activate on any screen simply by hovering and clicking the S Pen button, lets you access useful features for everyday tasks such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, and S Finder.
Smarter Large Screen Experience
With a larger Super AMOLED screen, the GALAXY Note 3 not only provides a stunning and defined viewing experience but also enables multitasking capabilities that allow users to fully utilize the larger screen. The enhanced new Multi Window allows you to easily move content between applications in one quick step with the Drag and Drop mode.
A technical discussion about ARM big.LITTLE processing technology from some of ARM’s experts.
Robin Randhawa, Principal Software Engineer, ARM
Charles Garcia-Tobin, Advanced Product Design Group, ARM
Brian Jeff, Senior Product Manager, ARM
Ian Smythe, Director of Marketing, ARM (Moderator)
Discussion questions with timecodes:
- What is big.LITTLE? 1:25
- How can the system switch between cores? 5:51
- How does big.LITTLE save energy, compared to running one set of cores? 8:40
- Why even use the big.LITTLE configuration? 13:03
- How does the Software work? 14:58 (Software models 22:15)
- How does this effect applications programmers? 25:46
- What are the performance benefits of big.LITTLE? 28:47
- Where can silicon partners get code for this? 34:48 (Software links 36:45)
- Does this run on Android? 37:25
Samsung Primes Exynos 5 Octa for ARM big.LITTLE Technology with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Capability [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
Samsung Electronics announced its Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) solution for the Exynos 5 Octa to fully maximize the benefits of the ARM® big.LITTLE™ technology. The HMP capability gives system-level designers the ability to develop solutions that deliver the right combination of high-performance and low-power to carry out tasks such as 3D gaming, complex augmented reality and advanced web browsing.
Samsung Exynos OCTA-pella: Performance + Efficiency in Perfect Harmony [SamsungExynos YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2013]Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa series of mobile processors with ARM© big.LITTLE™ technology now supports heterogeneous multi-processing (HMP)! This advanced technology allows the Exynos 5 Octa processors to provide exceptional performance and increased power efficiency. In the OCTA-pella video, you’ll see how the Exynos 5 Octa uses ARM big.LITTLE processing to balance workloads across CPU cores, using the right core for the right task. Find out what else Exynos has in store on our Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/SamsungExynos and on Twitter:https://twitter.com/SamsungExynos If you want to learn more about the Exynos 5 Octa series of processors, visit our website:http://www.samsung.com/global/busines… Discover the advantages of ARM© big.LITTLE™ processing:http://www.thinkbiglittle.com/
“It’s usually assumed that the big CPU will do all the performance-critical work, however, power-efficient little cores can handle many significant workloads all on their own, so the workload is balanced within the system,” said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics.
“We welcome Samsung’s continued commitment to deploying the leading-edge technology on their latest chips featuring the ARM Cortex™-A series of processors, ARM Mali™ GPUs and ARM Artisan™ physical IP.” said Noel Hurley, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Processor Division, ARM.
HMP is the most powerful use model for ARM big.LITTLE technology, as it enables the use of all physical cores at the same time. Software threads with high priority or high computational intensity can be allocated to the ‘big’ Cortex-A15 cores while threads with less priority or are less computationally intensive, can be performed by the ‘LITTLE’ Cortex-A7 cores, enabling a highly responsive, low-energy system to be built.
Software implementation is essential to maximizing the benefits of big.LITTLE technology. Multi-processing software controls the scheduling of threads of execution to the appropriate core. In earlier versions of the big.LITTLE software, the whole processor context is moved up to the ‘big’ core or down to the ‘LITTLE’ core based on the measured work load. In-depth study and analysis of diverse use case scenarios enable Samsung to achieve efficiency and high-performance, while managing power levels to deliver optimal user environments.
The HMP solution for Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa application processors will be available to customers in 4Q of 2013.
Exynos 5 Octa: Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Capability [Samsung Exynos blog, Sept 10, 2013]
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that the Exynos 5 Octa packs a serious punch when it comes to processing power and energy efficiency. Now, the team at Samsung has made the Exynos 5 Octa even better with the introduction of a new Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) solution.
Overview of big.LITTLE Technology
Before we jump into the benefits of HMP, let’s take a step back and go over the basics ofARM® big.LITTLE technology. In the Exynos 5 Octa, eight CPU cores are responsible for everything from browsing the web to playing your favorite game on your 5 Octa-powered mobile device. Four “big” 1.8GHz ARM®Cortex™-A15 cores handle intensive tasks like graphically rich gaming or HD video playback. Less intensive tasks like e-mail or text functions are tackled by four “LITTLE” 1.3GHz Cortex™-A7 cores. By dividing and conquering tasks and assigning them to the proper CPU cores, big.LITTLE technology maximizes performance while minimizing power loss.
HMP Makes big.LITTLE Technology Even Better
Now this is where HMP comes into play. Like a sports team, big.LITTLE technology relies on a software “coach” to call the plays and assign tasks to each core. In a basic implementation of big.LITTLE technology, this “coach” would alternate between using “big” and “LITTLE” CPU cores based on the computational intensity of any given task, and one core or cluster of cores would remain inactive while its counterpart was engaged.
With HMP, all eight of the CPU cores in the Exynos 5 Octa can be utilized at the same time. This provides users with an unlimited mobile experience in the current mobile environment and also paves the way for more advanced and complex functionality in the future. HMP is extremely versatile. Using a global load balancing scheduler, HMP can assign a single core to handle a task with low computational intensity in order to maximize power efficiency. On the flipside, HMP can also simultaneously utilize each of the eight individual cores in the 5 Octa to run multiple tasks in real time. The global load balancing scheduler pays attention to user workloads and will pull in the necessary available resources for the system to run flexibly and efficiently. By analyzing and assigning tasks,this highly complex software system maximizes efficiency by balancing CPU workload.
The result is the most advanced use of big.LITTLE technology to date and a huge leap forward for multi-processing capability in mobile devices. By allowing for the simultaneous operation of both “big” and “LITTLE” cores in the Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung offers an optimized HMP solution to the balancing act of maximizing mobile device capability while minimizing power loss.
Samsung has always been a leader in big.LITTLE technology, and this new Octa-core HMP solution is an industry first. HMP sets the stage for the future as mobile devices are increasingly called upon to handle complex and graphically rich tasks. Through this innovative solution, the benefits of big.LITTLE technology are maximized to their full potential. Get ready, because the future of mobile processing is evolving, and the Exynos 5 Octa with HMP is leading the way.
Samsung Brings Enhanced Mobile Graphics Performance Capabilities to New Exynos 5 Octa Processor [press release, July 23, 2013]
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor solutions, today introduced the latest addition to the Exynos product family with top level of graphic performance driven by a six-core ARM® Mali™-T628 GPU processor for the first time in the industry. With mobile use case scenarios becoming increasingly complex, Samsung’s newest eight-core ARM Cortex™ application processor gives designers a powerful, energy efficient tool to build multifaceted user interface capabilities directly into the system architecture. Samsung will demonstrate the new Exynos 5 family at SIGGRAPH 2013 in the ARM booth, #357; Exhibit Hall C at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Samsung’s new Exynos 5 Octa (product code: Exynos 5420), based on ARM Mali™-T628 MP6 cores, boosts 3D graphic processing capabilities that are over two times greater than the Exynos 5 Octa predecessor. The newest member of the Exynos family is able to perform General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU) accelerating complex and computationally intensive algorithms or operations, traditionally processed by the CPU. This product also supports OpenGL® ES 3.0 and Full Profile Open CL 1.1, which enables the horsepower needed in multi-layer rendering of high-end, complex gaming scenarios, post-processing and sharing of photos and video, as well as general high-function multi-tasking operations.
“ARM welcomes the latest addition to the successful Exynos Octa 5 series, which uses ARM’s Mali GPU solution to dramatically improve graphics performance,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president & general manager, Media Processing Division, ARM. “ARM big.LITTLE™ and ARM Artisan® Physical IP technologies continue to be at the heart of the Octa series and now complement the new functionality brought by ARM GPU Compute. This combination enables unprecedented capabilities in areas such as facial detection and gesture control, and brings desktop-quality editing of images and video to mobile devices.”
“Demand for richer graphic experiences is growing rapidly nowadays,” said Taehoon Kim, vice president of System LSI marketing, Samsung Electronics. “In order to meet that demand from both OEMs and end users, we developed this processor which enables superb graphical performance without compromising power consumption.”
The newest Exynos processor is powered by four ARM Cortex®-A15™ processors at 1.8GHz with four additional Cortex-A7™cores at 1.3 GHz in a big.LITTLE processing implementation. This improves the CPU processing capability by 20 percent over the predecessor by optimizing the power-saving design.
In addition, the mobile image compression (MIC) IP block inside this System-on-Chip successfully lowers the total system power when bringing pictures or multimedia from memory to display panel. This feature results in maximizing the usage hours of mobile devices with a high-resolution display such as WQXGA (2500×1600), in particular when browsing the web or doing multimedia application requiring the frequent screen refresh.
The new Exynos 5 Octa processor also features a memory bandwidth of 14.9 gigabytes per second paired with a dual-channel LPDDR3 at 933MHz, enabling an industry-leading fast data processing and support for full HD Wifi display. This new processor also incorporates a variety of full HD 60 frames per second video hardware codec engines for 1080p video recording and playback.
The new family of Exynos 5 Octa is currently sampling to customers and is scheduled for mass-production in August.
- For Further information :
Transforming your mobile and TV experience with GPU Compute [Trina Watt on Multimedia blog of ARM, July 22, 2013]
As a mother of three young children I am very aware of their approach to technology, and how unaccepting they are of the established ways of interacting with devices that anyone over the age of 18 is used to. The first time I gave my 5 year old daughter a mouse she looked at me as if I was mad – why use this when you can touch the screen? Gesture, touch and voice are much more natural not only to elementary kids but to us all.
ARM has been working with our partners for several years on how GPUs can improve user experience, initially through bringing improved graphics to a wider range of devices, but more recently, improving interaction with your devices through GPU Compute support in the Mali-T600 series of GPUs. ARM have just created a video that gives more background on the potential use cases for GPU Compute and how we can expect them to change the way we interact with even more of our electronic devices.
ARM brings GPU Compute to mobile devices [ARMflix YouTube channel, July 22, 2013]GPU Compute is becoming reality. Its advanced computational abilities and energy efficiencies are inspiring innovation in the mobile industry, innovation which will drive novel, exciting and intuitive user experiences for consumers. In this video ARM explains the key features of GPU Compute and sets out a vision of what GPU Compute will enable for consumers. Discover GPU Compute with the ARM® Mali™-T600 series http://www.arm.com/products/multimedia/mali-graphics-plus-gpu-compute/index.php
Gesture control is becoming increasingly popular in premium devices. What GPU Compute does is bring those features to a wider range of devices – you can expect to see it being built into more DTVs, tablets, and smartphones. GPU Compute enables smaller gestures to be supported even in low lighting, so searching for the remote down the back of the sofa will become a thing of the past! I am interested to see how we solve the “who is in control” issue once there is no longer a remote control to fight over…
Facial detection can also benefit from GPU Compute. Facial detection brings features like “smile detection” when taking photos, or having a camera only take the picture when everyone is looking in the same direction and has their eyes open. These types of services can link to and enhance other features, such as your tablet or DTV being aware of who is looking at a screen so it can make sure the content is suitable to the audience, or powering down when no one is watching.
More of our daily lives are being captured through smartphones and tablets. I have numerous nearly unusable videos that have been shot in motion – having video stabilization built into my mobile devices will help me capture more of the dynamic moments in my kids’ early years, and being able to edit those videos on my tablet (to crop out the inevitable shot of my feet before posting on Facebook for the grandparents to see!) is just another one of the benefits to come.
So next time I fall asleep in front of the television watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, GPU Compute will help me, a tired parent, know how far I got through the last episode – then pick up where I left off! Got to love technology.
Trina Watt, Director of Channel Marketing, Media Processing Division, ARM.
I like to think of myself as a “geek in marketers clothing”. Gadgets and technology have been a passion for me as long I can remember – from dismantling my first radio when I was about 8 to now running around regularly with 3 phones, a tablet and laptop to feed my tech thirst. I started in the tech industry nearly 20 years ago in Motorola and I have never ventured far from it. I am currently focused on promoting the visually exciting Mali graphics processors. I get to work with a wide range of partners who are creating the innovative devices of the future. For a geek it doesn’t get much better than that!
Spotlight on the New Exynos 5 Octa [Samsung Exynos blog, Aug 8, 2013]
Meet the new and improved Exynos 5 Octa processor, designed to bring enhanced graphics performance and energy efficiency to the next generation of high-end smartphones and tablets. Advanced ARM® GPU Compute technology and a suite of power-saving features allow our latest processor to run complex applications while conserving battery life – because a mobile device isn’t really mobile if you have to worry about charging it all of the time. We’ll fill you in on the most important specs for this new SoC and give you an idea of what to expect from future devices that run on it.
Enhanced Graphics with New ARM® Mali™-T628 GPU
The new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) packs an ARM® Mali™-T628 GPU, which is powerful enough to support 3D graphics processing that’s more than twice as fast as the Exynos 5410, for smoother rendering and diminished lag times. The Mali-T628 is also capable of GPU Compute functionality, meaning it can perform general-purpose computing and intensive tasks to help alleviate the CPU’s workload and speed up processing times. In combination with big.LITTLE architecture, GPU Computing significantly increases power efficiency for noticeably better battery life. OpenGL® ES 3.0 and Full profile OpenCL™ 1.1 support provide the additional power that’s needed to render high-quality, complex gaming scenarios and handle comprehensive photo and video editing.
Making Advanced Applications Possible
GPU Compute technology was once limited to PCs and other desktop devices, but ARM Mali GPUs are bringing this functionality to mobile. There are a lot of advantages associated with GPU Computing that will open up opportunities for innovative applications on mobile devices that use the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420).
- Video and image stabilization and editing – Get creative! Edit photos right after you take them or apply filters to live video directly on your smartphone.
- Facial detection – Refined facial recognition allows for enhanced security features and content restrictions for children.
- “Open eye” detection – You won’t have to retake nearly as many photos if your smartphone’s camera only captures an image when everyone is looking at the camera.
Increased Power Efficiency for Extended Use
The new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) features four 1.8GHz ARM® Cortex™-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex™-A7 cores in an optimized big.LITTLE™ configuration. This power-saving design provides 20% increased CPU performance over the previous version of the processor, but with 70 percent greater energy efficiency than Cortex-A15 cores alone. The system switches amongst eight cores of Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors depending on workload, selecting the right core for the right task and saving power in the process.
If you’re an avid mobile gamer who’s into FPS games with complex graphics or fast-paced, high-frame-rate racing games, the “big” Cortex-A15 cores are there to do the heavy lifting. Even if gaming isn’t your thing, you’ll notice faster page loading times and better graphics quality when browsing websites with high-quality media. Big.LITTLE technology is all about balance, so the “LITTLE” Cortex-A7 cores step in to take care of lighter workloads, like pulling up work emails, playing music and texting. The Cortex-A7 series is the most energy-efficient processor that ARM has to offer, helping your device go longer between charges so you can stay connected while you’re busy living life.
All of you Photoshoppers and Instagram addicts will be happy to hear that the Exynos 5 Octa (5420 ) also features Mobile Image Compression (MIC), which lowers the system power required to bring photos from memory to your screen for processing. This means photo-editing doesn’t unduly impact battery life, and you can get the maximum use out of your mobile devices with high-resolution displays.
To learn more about the flexibility that GPU Compute technology brings to the new Exynos 5 Octa, check out this guest blog post by Trina Watt, Director of Channel Marketing for ARM.
More specs and details can also be found on the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) product page.
New Exynos 5 Octa with GPU Compute Enables Cool New Applications [Samsung Exynos blog, Aug 1, 2013]
Recently Samsung announced their latest addition to the Exynos 5 Octa family. With the ARM® Mali™-T628 as its GPU, this is the first silicon to reach the market which contains a second generation processor from the ARM Mali-T600 series. Improved GPU support is the key differentiating focus of this version of the Exynos Octa. In the past GPU support was solely about graphics performance; however, with the inclusion of the ARM Mali-T628 in Exynos 5 Octa, Samsung have brought market-leading GPU Compute support to mobile devices.
The ARM Mali-T628 comes with support for a wide range of APIs including OpenGL® ES 3.0 and 2.0, OpenCL™ andRenderscript™. This breadth of API support opens up a wider range of use cases for consumers. ARM has been spearheading activities for OpenGL ES 3.0 since its launch and this momentum continued with the ARM Mali-T600 series becoming one of the first to gain conformance. ARM’s continuous market driving is now expanding to the GPU Compute area. Previously, GPU Compute has only been in PC- or desktop-style devices. Now, ARM Mali GPUs are enabling GPU Compute within the mobile power boundary. Samsung started shipping the ARM Mali-T604 GPU back in back in October 2012 and since that point the ecosystem around GPU Compute has been growing with more and more partners seeing the advantages that GPU Compute can bring.
These advantages include video and image stabilization and editing (meaning users don’t have to wait to get home until they edit and upload), facial detection (enabling enhanced security, access to suitable content and smile detection) and “eyes open” detection (so that the photo is taken only when everyone is looking at the camera or smiling.)
GPU Compute also enables the application of filters to images and live video, opening up new forms of creativity. To see more of what GPU Compute can provide across smartphones, tablets and DTVs, watch this video.
ARM brings GPU Compute to mobile devices [ARMflix YouTube channel, July 22, 2013]
Since this is the second generation of the ARM Mali-T600 series, additional architectural refinements have been made which mean that the ARM Mali-T628, when at the same performance point as an ARM Mali-T604, provides a 50% energy-efficiency improvement, alternatively, when consuming the same level of power, offers substantial increased performance. GPU Compute is about making current use cases more efficient. The combination of GPU Compute and ARM’s big.LITTLE™ technology in one SoC opens up new opportunities for task management. Certain tasks can be handled more quickly and using less energy on a GPU then on a CPU – math-intensive activities in particular often run better on the parallelized GPU architecture. This means you get twice the energy efficiency benefit when you combine GPU Compute and big.LITTLE, as Samsung have done in the Exynos 5 Octa. The GPU takes suitable tasks off the CPU, allowing the CPU to work more often in LITTLE mode and ultimately increases energy efficiency on the GPU and energy savings on the CPU. It also frees up the CPU to run other, more latency-sensitive tasks.
At the end of the day, GPU Compute provides more flexibility in what consumers are able to do with their devices – meaning more end devices will be available which are both energy efficient and enablers of cool new applications, so consumers will no longer have to sacrifice one feature for the other.
Trina Watt, Director of Channel Marketing, Media Processing Division, ARM.
I like to think of myself as a “geek in marketers clothing”. Gadgets and technology have been a passion for me as long I can remember – from dismantling my first radio when I was about 8 to now running around regularly with 3 phones, a tablet and laptop to feed my tech thirst. I started in the tech industry nearly 20 years ago in Motorola and I have never ventured far from it. I am currently focused on promoting the visually exciting Mali graphics processors. I get to work with a wide range of partners who are creating the innovative devices of the future. For a geek it doesn’t get much better than that!
GPU Compute Technology: Benefits in the New Exynos 5 Octa [Samsung Exynos blog, Aug 19, 2013]
Mobile processors have advanced rapidly over the past several years due to the development of new technologies and manufacturing processes that allow for significantly increased performance and power efficiency. A more recent development from ARM®, GPU Compute technology harnesses the power of a component that was traditionally reserved for graphical processing and uses it to improve system-level performance and workload distribution. We’ll review the advantages and applications of this technology in the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420) to give you a better understanding of its importance.
What is GPU Compute Technology?
Over time, the market has come to expect higher and higher resolution displays, which has been a key driver in GPU advancements. Both resolution and power increasingly dominate processing requirements for the next generation of smartphones and tablets. As we demand more and more of our mobile devices, we have to find ways to meet these evolving needs without sacrificing power efficiency. Enter ARM’s general-purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU), also known as GPU Compute technology.GPU computing is best defined by the ARM experts who developed it:
“…The computational performance of the GPU, historically used for graphics, is harnessed to augment the main processor (CPU) for certain applications where the GPU architecture will be more effective. The result is improved performance and energy-efficiency and a more efficient use of the system as a whole, making computational photography, computer vision, advanced imaging, point-of-interest extraction and augmented reality possible because of the extended processing capacity.”
Long story short, GPU Compute allows a system to match workloads to specific compute devices for optimal performance and power savings. ARM GPUs with GPU Compute are more efficient and better suited than the CPU when it comes to executing certain tasks such as math-intensive operations. By taking on these tasks, the GPU alleviates some of the CPU’s workload and lowers overall power consumption.
Advantages of GPU Compute
GPU Compute technology comes with a host of benefits, from increased performance and energy savings to ramped-up application support. Our most recent processor, the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420), packs an ARM® Mali™-T628 with GPU Compute that significantly enhances graphics performance. Compared to the Mali-T604 GPU in the Exynos 5 Dual, the Mali-T628 can reach the same performance levels while providing a 50% improvement in energy efficiency. The newer generation of the Mali-T600 series also shows increased performance levels when consuming the same amount of power. By combining GPU Compute technology with ARM® big.LITTLE™ processing architecture, the new Exynos 5 Octa benefits from two layers of energy efficiency.
Trina Watt, Director of Channel Marketing at ARM, recently wrote a guest blog post on the advantages associated with GPU Compute functionality. Depending on the mobile device, GPU Compute enables video and image stabilization and editing, advanced facial detection, “eyes open” detection for photo-taking and filter application to images and live video. All of these capabilities open up a wide range of possibilities for advanced apps and features that aren’t currently supported on many phones and tablets. Better still, overall optimization of system workload means you can run those cutting-edge apps without unduly draining battery power – a win-win outcome for any mobile system.
GPU Compute in Action
GPU Compute has already made its way into mobile devices through Exynos 5 Dual -equipped products like the Google Nexus 10. You’ll see the benefits of this technology in action once you experience this tablet’s super high-resolution display. With a 2560×1600 (WQXGA) screen resolution, text is sharper and colors are more vivid than anything you’ve experienced on mobile.
You’ll also find this functionality on advanced development boards like the Exynos 5 Dual-powered Arndale board, which includes a number of common peripherals. With this full-fledged prototyping platform, developers can get a handle on working with GPU Compute-equipped systems in preparation for the first round of mobile devices to implement the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420).
By pulling together high-end ARM CPUs, ARM Mali graphics with GPU Compute and advanced technologies like ARM big.LITTLE processing, Samsung Exynos has fully realized the ideal GPU Compute system. Stay tuned for news about upcoming devices that will run on the new Exynos 5 Octa (5420)!
Need to know more? Head over to ARM’s blog to find out how GPU Compute technology can transform your mobile and TV experience.
Up close and personal with the latest Mali demos [Trina Watt on Multimedia blog of ARM, Aug 27, 2013]
The buzz at this year’s SIGGRAPH was fantastic and you have already heard from a number of my colleagues including Jem Davies with “Back from SIGGRAPH 2013 – Mali Rocks” and Akshay Agarwal with “From Advanced Graphics to Casual Gaming in the Cali Summer – Mali Everywhere.” But would you like to see more for yourself? Well now you can!
Check out our latest demos on ARMFlix and hear from our partners including Samsung, Unity and GameStick. I particularly recommend the ARM Trollheim demo as a great place to start, with Phill Smith explaining how OpenCL™ can vastly improve procedural terrain generation.
ARM Mali Trollheim demo: in-depth overview [ARMflix YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]Phill Smith, Demo Manager at ARM, compares two methods of texture generation with the Trollheim demo. The first demonstration, on Exynos 5 Octa hardware with an ARM® Mali™-T628 GPU, generates terrain using GPU Shaders; the second, on the Arndale Development Board with an ARM Mali-T604 GPU, uses OpenCL™.
An immediate hardware comparison (call it obvious if you will, but we could hardly start with anything else) is first on our list to share with you. Jae-Uck Ahn, Marketing Manager for Samsung and representative for the new Exynos 5 Octa processor, analyzes the performance of our first and second generation ARM® Mali™-T600 series GPUs and clearly points out the advantages which the ARM Mali-T628 has over its predecessor, the ARM Mali-T604; to name but a few these include brighter colours, sharper images, higher frame rates – and that’s not even mentioning the massive increase in performance efficiency.
Samsung Exynos 5 Octa on ARM Mali – Siggraph 2013 [ARMflix YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]Jaeuck Ahn, Marketing Manager, Samsung Electronics, describes the features and benefits of the recently announced Samsung Exynos 5 Octa based on ARM Mali-T628 MP6 GPUs, 4 ARM Cortex-A15 processors and 4 ARM Cortex-A7 processors with ARM big.LITTLE technology. Jaeuck then demos the Exynos 5420 platform versus the Exynos 5 Dual based on the Mali-T604 GPU based Nexus 10 platform showing a 2x improvement in graphics performance
And it’s not just regular mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, which Mali is involved in. Our vision is to bring stunning visual computing to all mobile and consumer devices and the GameStick provides a fantastic example of Mali powering alternative gadgets. John Vega, Games Relationship Manager for GameStick, explains here how simply converting mobile games, which are now frequently designed for touch screens, to a new format can generate a hugely different, more interactive and responsive user experience – all still centred around great graphics supplied by the Mali-400 GPU.
Improving the mobile gaming experience with GameStick [ARMflix YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]John Vega, Games Relationship Manager at GameStick, demonstrates the touch-based iOS mobile application The Other Brothers running on a big screen with the GameStick.
The extent of API support in GPUs is a critical factor on the quality of graphics of the resultant product. As APIs evolve each generation is enabling more and better features. Android™’s recent upgrade to 4.3and its inclusion of support for OpenGL® ES 3.0 will go a long way in enhancing the look and experience of Android games (and as we’re in >50% of Android tablets and >20% of Android smartphones this is a big deal for the Mali ecosystem – especially as our GPUs already had support for all the latest APIs). A direct comparison of the capabilities of two different APIs is an excellent way of showing this and here Unity demonstrates the differences between OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0 on a Nexus 10.
Unity discuss the benefits of OpenGL® ES 3.0 [ARMflix YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]Renaldas Zioma of Unity discusses the experience of employing OpenGL ES 3.0 in the latest version of Unity Chase. Includes a visual comparison with the OpenGL ES 2.0 version.
One final video to share with you is not of a demo, but is a great wrap up to this blog and to the first half of ARM Mali’s year as a whole. Jem Davies, VP of Mali Technology, gives an overview of where Mali is and where he sees Mali GPUs going in the future. The general conclusion that can be made is that many more first-rate demos showing off new technological advancements can be expected from the Mali team in the very near future.
Interview with ARM’s VP of Mali Technology [ARMflix YouTube channel, Aug 27, 2013]Jem Davies, VP of Technology for ARM’s Media Processor Division, discusses the growth in ARM® Mali™ GPU popularity and the opportunities for innovation that the ARM Mali-T600 series with GPU Compute is opening up. [1:34 Samsung is setting the way in terms of trend-setting devices 1:38 the new form factors like the phablets and 1:41 the tablets that they’ve been producing and the 1:44 the Mali partners here want to see Mali being used in these really 1:48 trend-setting devices, the things that are 1:52 approaching new markets, and knowing that they can buy with confidence that 1:56 there’s a 1:57 whole variety of market segments now being addressed ny our partners.]
ARM’s predictions for the future electronic media & entertainment industry [Matt Spencer on Multimedia blog of ARM, Sept 5, 2013]
The International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is rapidly approaching. This is one of the leading conferences in the electronic media and entertainment sectors. It is a great place to find out about the future trends in media for the broadcast and mobile markets.
In this blog post, I am going to make a few predictions on what will be big at IBC, and as a result will be coming to your living room in the near future.
A Natural UI (NUI) is a man-machine interface that should be imperceptible to the user. A simple gesture with your hand, a smile, a conversation – “Hey TV, what’s on now… Have I seen that one before? OK, let’s watch it then.” Creating a more seamless interaction between man and machine is going to be one of the next big driving factors in consumer electronics. However, saying that, nobody has yet managed to create one that is a brand USP – has anyone bought a TV because you can wave at it?
At IBC, we will be seeing a raft of new improvements in the fields of gesture detection, face and speech recognition plus many others. All of these can be used to improve the realisation of NUI, and all of which can benefit from use of OpenCL™ in the ARM® Mali™ T6xx GPUs.Great examples of this can be found with some of our Mali partners such as eyeSight™, SoftKinetic™, CrunchFish and Ittiam®, all of whom are making great use of OpenCL to improve performance in both speed and energy consumption whilst performing what would traditionally be a highly CPU compute intensive task.
But what does this mean in terms of an actual on-screen UI? An implementation of a NUI is going to have to be as subtle as the interaction model that is driving it. This is the part of the NUI story that I believe will be in its infancy on the show floor at IBC.
To implement a UI that feels natural requires a lot of visual processing and this is where an ARM Mali GPU comes in. Imagine the use case where we want to show the results of the query “What’s on TV tonight”. The current trend in the UI space would be to de-focus the full screen video by either shrinking it to allow room for the results to be shown or overlaying the results over the video with a simple alpha effect. This is neither a natural nor unobtrusive way of pulling my focus to the results of the query. To do this unobtrusively required changing my physical focus point to the new information whilst not taking it fully away from the video. A simple way of achieving this would use a full screen Gaussian Blur effect to the video and overlaying the results in sharp focus over the top. This kind of process requires use of a GPU.
So, even though the NUI principles require that the UI is mostly invisible, we can see that the harder we try to achieve this, the harder the GPU is going to have to work.
Having seen UltraHD content for the first time last year at IBC, I have to say that the impact is immediate. There is no need to wear glasses as with current 3D technologies, the pictures seem to come alive with huge levels of detail and vibrant colours. There will be a lot of technology at IBC to help deliver broadcast UltraHD content to consumers from cameras and HEVC encoders through to STBs and TVs.
In terms of hardware accelerating HEVC content, the current generation of hardware does not have native capability to decode this content. So a traditional approach would be to use the CPU to decode the video, which would be a battery and CPU intensive task. ARM has recently been working with Ittiam to offload this compute intensive task to the GPU to improve decode performance for frame rate and battery consumption.
But what about the UI? Rendering a flowing, responsive UI at UltraHD resolutions is not an easy task. There are many more pixels that will need to be flung around the screen and the desire for browsers and UIs to hit a jank-free 60fps requires a top-of-the-range GPU combined with sufficient memory with high bandwidth. When the subtle complexities of NUI are added to the equation, the next generation of performance-efficient GPUs will be earning their keep in the consumer TV and set-top box (STB) space.
So the prediction for IBC in the UltraHD arena is that there will be a lot of new hardware, both consumer and professional, but the user experiences on these devices will be in their early stages. We will start to see chipsets designed with the specific GPU needs of UltraHD resolutions, but implementations of User Interfaces on this new class of devices will not be very mature.
Rise of the Companion
The use of a companion device to augment live and recorded content will also be a big part of the show. This will partly be delivered by APIs that allow the synchronization of the content on the main screen and the application running on the companion device. From a UI perspective, I would expect to see a drive towards cross platform application frameworks.
I see HTML everywhere
HTML5 will be the de-facto standard for implementing User Interfaces at the show. The problem with HTML5, however, is that a lot of UI implementations end up looking very similar. You can often tell an HTML5 UI just by looking at it.
Now that HTML5 is the standard for UIs I would expect to see more differentiation in the implementations. Vendors will be more experimental and start to push the bounds of standard web design when approaching their interfaces. More animation, more effects… more pazazz! It will no longer be acceptable to put a few buttons on the screen with a simple highlight and expect consumers to accept this as a good UI design.
It is an exciting time to be in the market, with a lot of great new technologies maturing and filtering through to consumer products. ARM is in a great position at the heart of this process, and Mali technology is going to be key to the success of some of these initiatives with its adoption of technologies such as OpenGL® ES 3.0, OpenCL 1.1 and its work with key technology partners.
We are already seeing great performance from next generation Mali-based devices and the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Mali-T628 MP6 shows class-leading performance. I see a bright future for Mali-based devices in this exciting and fast paced industry.
Windows [inc. Phone] 8.x chances of becoming the alternative platform to iOS and Android: VERY SLIM as it is even more difficult for Microsoft now than any time before
First recent findings about The hierarchy of developer needs: Creativeness, not money is the top motivator [VisionMobile blog, Aug 12, 2013] are showing quite clearly how much Microsoft is in disadvantage in the global developers community not only vs. iOS and Android, but even vs. HTML5 in general, which is already a real third platform for developers. Regarding that read UPDATE: HTML5 Vs. Native Mobile Apps — HTML5 Is Down But Not Out [Business Insider Australia, Aug 14, 2013], HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
It is even more so as a much better HTML5 platform (than the corresponding Windows 8 subset, so called WinJS) came now to the market with FireFox OS:
– as its “first two devices hitting the market – the Alcatel OneTouch Fire and ZTE Open – the latter just launched in Spain from Telefonica for €69 ($90) contract-free including €30 ($39) of airtime for prepaid” according to p. 12 of the free Developer Economics Q3 2013 [VisionMobile, July 29, 2013] report
– and “In just a short space of time, Firefox OS has managed to amass a respectable Developer Intent share, even before devices hit the market, and while competing for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and BlackBerry 10 all of which are much older platforms, with devices in market and billions of market dollars behind them.” as per p. 24 of the same report.
Now the quite important findings from The hierarchy of developer needs: Creativeness, not money is the top motivator [VisionMobile blog, Aug 12, 2013]
What motivates developers? Is it fame or fortune? Our new Developer Segmentation 2013 report [starting from £1,495.00] addresses this questions, presenting a needs-bases segmentation model that focuses on developer goals, not just demographics. Based on data from our latest Developer Economics survey (6,000 respondents from 115 countries [FREE to download from here: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED]), this article gives you some insights from the report, discussing how the sense of achievement, not money is the prime motivator for developers.
Most business are resorting to traditional, textbook marketing techniques to segment developers – by technology (web, Java, Windows, Android, Apple), job function (coders, designers, architects, team leads, IT managers, CxOs), by company size, app category (games vs enterprise developers), by audience (B2C vs B2B) or by demographics (age, income, education or location).
Yet all these segmentation models are bound to fail, as they fundamentally neglect to address how developers make investment decisions in a new platform, API or SDK. In other words, it’s not age, job function, audience or technology background that influences how a developer chooses between Apple, Google, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Tizen.
To understand the complex mosaic of developer personas we segment developers in terms of their outcomes, or what developers are trying to achieve. This is based on the Jobs to Be Done methodology, popularized by Harvard Professor Clay Christensen and which constitutes today’s cutting edge in segmentation techniques. We have backed this model with unprecedented statistical rigor and hard data, from the largest-ever mobile developer survey of 6,000+ developers.
Building on our earlier Developer Economics 2012 research work, we extracted hard data on thousands of developers in terms of their aspirations, motivations, challenges and plans in app development. We produced a unique model of eight developer segments – the Hobbyists, the Explorers, the Hunters, the Guns for Hire, the Product Extenders, the Digital Content Publishers, the Gold Seekers and the enterprise IT developers.
How do these eight segments and three clusters contribute to the app economy? More importantly, when do these segments interact with platforms?
We find that Explorers and Hobbyists, those seeking to learn, have fun and self-improve, make up 33% of the mobile developer population but only 13% of the app economy revenues. These segments prefer – more than average – BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone as a platform, as these are more often associated with experimentation and learning.
The Hunters and Guns for Hire, those seeking revenues from the app economy, make up 42% of the developer population and 48% of the app economy revenues. These segments prefer – more than average – iOS as a platform, due to the consistent revenue-generating opportunities of the platform.
Product Extenders, Enterprise IT developers, Digital Content Publishers and Gold Seekers, aiming at extending a [non-mobile] business [with apps], make up 29% of the developer population, and a whopping 39% of app economy revenues. These segments prefer – more than average – Android and HTML5 as a platform – due to the reach that these platforms offer across the entire smartphone and feature phone installed base.
… <goes to “The Hierarchy of Developer Motivations” chart, not relevant to this post, so omitted> …
Then Microsoft should take into account The evolution of handset business models: From source of profits to distribution channel [VisionMobile blog, Aug 5, 2013]
The evolution of the PC and mobile handset industry have been mirror images of each other, as both saw two distinct disruptions: a new market disruption, followed by a low-end disruption. Guest author Sameer Singh discusses how the shift from integrated companies to modular competitors will pressure hardware profit margins across the industry, leading to the emergence of a new business model, i.e. hardware-as-distribution.
The mobile handset industry has already seen two waves of disruption: A “new market disruption”, led by Apple, and a “low-cost disruption”, driven by Google and its Android platform. Each wave created distinctly different business models that completely realigned competitive dynamics in the industry. Where do we go from here?
We believe that the coming, third wave of disruption will again reshuffle the deck for all industry players. We will see growth in a new class of business models, where handset hardware is no longer seen as a source of profits, but is treated as a distribution channel for digital products and services.
… <two long sections about “Dual Disruption Patterns in Computing” and “Impact of Value Chain Integration on Business Model Evolution” which are quite important to prove the author’s prediction about the inevitability of the third wave of mobile handset industry disuption, but for us here it is sufficient for our subject to include his “Third Disruption” discussion> …
The Third Disruption: Hardware as a Distribution Channel
As there will be fewer profits left in the handset industry, a third wave of disruption is a certainty.
In the PC industry, once the dominance of modular architectures led to deep commoditization, hardware just became a distribution channel for software (the operating system and applications). The evolution of the mobile handset industry works out slightly differently. Google essentially destroyed the software licensing business model by giving the Android operating system away for free. Consequently, the cost of owning a proprietary operating system became unviable for most players (like Motorola, Sony Ericsson or Nokia) because hardware margins became severely pressured. This ensured that industry focus and profitability would accrue to the next layer of the value chain that was underserved, i.e. Google’s core business – online services.
In the PC industry, OEMs like Dell and Sony used the “hardware as distribution” approach to charge software vendors to pre-install applications on their devices and boost margins. In the mobile industry, we have seen already numerous companies follow this model to create a competitive advantage by leveraging established ecosystems. Many service companies like Baidu, Dropbox, Opera, Facebook and Whatsapp have attempted this strategy by partnering with OEMs to pre-install or use their services by default.
Another variation of this strategy, followed by services and content companies, is selling relatively high-end hardware at cost, in order to enable deeper penetration of the company’s core services. Companies like Amazon and Xiaomi compete asymmetrically with true hardware vendors in order to expand their consumer base. Both strategies have been quite successful – Amazon has expanded Kindle Fire availability to numerous countries based on strong sales and Xiaomi expects to double its handset sales
to 15 millionthis year [to 20 million, see p. 25 of my The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower mini e-book]. Many more services companies like Evernote and Spotify are contemplating the low-cost, “hardware as distribution” strategy in the future. We have already seen a smartphone called SmartNamo dedicated to an Indian politician, Narendra Modi. Will we see a “Justin Bieber phone”, “Shah Rukh Khan phone” or even a “Real Madrid phone”?
Rapid commoditization will only make it easier for companies to convert hardware into a distribution channel. The tablet industry has seen more price competition than the smartphone market in the absence of carrier-driven price distortions. As a result, commoditization has been much more rapid and the “hardware as distribution” model has come to the forefront in a very narrow time frame. Low-cost tablet hardware has allowed companies like Newscorp to enter the industry with preloaded, education-focused content. We have seen similar models emerge in South Africa, India, China and many more countries. As price competition increases, commoditization pressure in the smartphone industry, variations of “hardware as distribution”, could become one of the primary drivers of profitability.
The expected shift in handset business models will reshuffle the deck once again. Companies that catch the trend early will find plenty of opportunities to create competitive advantages and thrive in the new environment. Those who miss it will be destined to fight the losing battle of “competition to the best”, which Prof. Porter calls “the granddaddy of all strategy mistakes”.
On pp. 32-33 of my The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower mini e-book [Aug 14, 2013] it was further noted that:
China Daily reported not less than 14 months ago that Xiaomi, China’s Apple success story?
The broader vision of Xiaomi, Lei [Jun, chairman and chief executive officer of Xiaomi Corp] pointed out, is to ship more than 100 million smartphones annually for one model by 2016.
“I know it (the vision) is crazy, but we would like to have a try,” said Lei. Cupertino-based Apple managed to sell more than 90 million iPhone devices last year. It is widely believed that Apple will break the 100 million unit mark this year, although it has been less than five years since the first iPhone launched in 2007.
This shows very well how the above mentioned third disruption could fundamentally alter the current state of mobile intelligent devices market. As far as our subject is concerned my three other posts are giving further clues about growing Microsoft difficulties:
With Android and forked Android smartphones as the industry standard Nokia relegated to a niche market status while Apple should radically alter its previous premium strategy for long term [Aug 17, 2013] from which I include here this major chart (from myself) as well:
Watch also a recent video report closely related to that: In China smartphone market, cheap rules – and Apple suffers [Reuters TV YouTube channel, Aug 19, 2013]
Android to overtake the overall PC market? [Aug 20, 2013] from which I include here this major chart (from IDC) as well:
Consider also Apple and Samsung Losing Share to Chinese Smartphone Makers [China Internet Watch, Aug 7, 2013]
The high-end players like Apple and Samsung are losing share to Chinese manufacturers like ZTE, Huawei, and Lenovo, and no-name brands which are willing to make extremely cheap smartphones. As you can see in the picture, Samsung’s Q2 share in 2013 is 1% lesser than that of 2012, and Apple decreases 3.6% share, while Chinese manufacturers grow 3.5%.
Almost a year ago, when –among others– the Windows Azure Mobile Services Preview came out, it became evident that Microsoft has a quite old heritage in cloud computing as it is the case that The cloud experience vision of .NET by Microsoft 12 years ago and its delivery now with Windows Azure, Windows 8/RT, Windows Phone, iOS and Android among others [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 16-20, 2012]. Next, with Windows Azure Media Services, an interesting question came up: Windows Azure Media Services OR Intel & Microsoft going together in the consumer space (again)? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 13, 2013]. Then just in the beginning of this month it was possible to conclude that “Cloud first” from Microsoft is ready to change enterprise computing in all of its facets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 4, 2013]. The understanding of importance of the cloud for the company was further enhanced by finding a few days later that Windows Embedded is an enterprise business now, like the whole Windows business, with Handheld and Compact versions to lead in the overall Internet of Things market as well [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 8, 2013]. Finally we had a quite vivid example of the fact that Windows Azure is a huge ecosystem effort as well with: Proper Oracle Java, Database and WebLogic support in Windows Azure including pay-per-use licensing via Microsoft + the same Oracle software supported on Microsoft Hyper-V as well [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 20, 2013].
Now we have general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services, Windows Azure Web Sites, as well as previews of improved auto-scaling, alerting and notifications, and tooling support for Windows Azure through Visual Studio. This made me conclude that Windows Azure is becoming an unbeatable offering on the cloud computing market.
Let’s see now the details which I will base not only on the Microsoft materials but on the first media reactions (also in order to have consistency with my post of yesterday on Windows 8.1: Mind boggling opportunities, finally some appreciation by the media [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 27, 2013]) as well:
Media reactions in the first 15 hours:
Windows Azure Mobile Services, Windows Azure Web Sites – general availability:
- Microsoft makes Windows Azure services generally available [by Mary Jo Foley on CNET, June 27, 2013 at 1:13 PM PDT, also on the ZDNET] “Microsoft is moving more of its Windows Azure products from preview to general availability. The latest: Azure Mobile Services and Azure Web Sites.”
- Windows Azure Web Sites, Mobile Services Now Generally Available [TechCrunch, June 27, 2013]
- Windows Azure Mobile Services and Web Sites now generally available [Neowin.net, June 27, 2013]
- Microsoft’s Azure Mobile Services & Azure Web Sites hit general availability [VentureBeat, June 27, 2013 9:45 AM]
- Microsoft Build 2013: Azure Mobile Services and Azure Web Sites become generally available [Computing News, June 27, 2013]
- Microsoft Launches Azure Mobile Services and Azure Web Sites [Virtualization Review, June 27, 2013]
Using Azure Mobile Services and Web Sites for a Mobile Contest pt. 1 [windowsazure YouTube channel, June 27, 2013]
Using Azure Mobile Services and Web Sites for a Mobile Contest pt. 2 [windowsazure YouTube channel, June 27, 2013]
- Microsoft Adds Engine Yard to its Azure Cloud [SiliconANGLE, June 27, 2013]
- Windows Azure: Microsoft Receives Support From RightScale, EngineYard [Talkin’ Cloud, June 27, 2013]
- Box releasing new SDK that enable developers to integrate Box into their Windows Phone apps with ease [WPSuperfanboy, June 27, 2013 at 20:56]
Building a Comprehensive Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem [Windows Azure blog, June 20, 2013]
Over the past two decades, Microsoft has worked with OEMs, Systems Integrators, ISVs, CSVs, Distributors and VARs to build one of the largest enterprise partner ecosystems in the world. We’ve done this because customers – and the industry – need solutions that just work together. With our partners we built the most comprehensive enterprise technology ecosystem – and, now, we’re focused on the enterprise cloud.
That’s why you’ve seen us work with Amazon, to bring Windows Server, SQL Server and the entire Microsoft stack to Amazon Web Services, and with EMC who owns VMware and Pivotal – key competitors in their respective areas. We also work with innovative companies like Emotive, with Systems Integrators like Accenture and Capgemini and a host of other partners – large, small and non-commercial – around the world and across the industry.
The need for diverse technologies and companies to work together is clear – and that means competitors are often partners. To many in the industry that is a given – and it really should be. The need for technologies to work together is particularly clear in cloud computing – where platforms and services are so incredibly connected they must work together to deliver cloud computing benefits when and how customers want it.
So, it should not be a surprise when we partner with technology leaders who are also competitors. We partner with these companies (and plan to partner with more) to bring our products & services to as many customers as possible. We will continue to work across the industry to ensure our products & services work with the many platforms, business apps, services and clouds our customers use.
As you may have heard me say, it’s been an exciting year for Windows Azure – and we are just 6 months in. Stay tuned – there’s more to come!
- Microsoft Adds Auto Scaling To Windows Azure [TechCrunch, June 27, 2013]
- Microsoft Tweaks Windows Azure With Autoscaling, More [eWeek, June 27, 2013]
- Microsoft adds mobile services, auto-scaling to Azure [iTnews.com.au, June 28, 2013 at 6:31 AM]
- Microsoft Gives Virtual Machines in Windows Azure a Security Boost [Virtualization Review, June 27, 2013]
- Windows Azure To Gain Auto-Scaling, Single Sign-On Improvements [Virtualization Review, June 27, 2013]
Windows Azure Now Stores 8.5 Trillion Data Objects, Manages 900K Transactions Per Second [TechCrunch, June 27, 2013]
Microsoft announced at the Build conference today that Windows Azure now has 8.5 trillion objects stored on its infrastructure.
The company also announced the following:
- Customers do 900,000 storage transactions per second.
- The service is doubling its compute and storage every six months.
- 3.2 million organizations have Active Directory accounts with 68 million users.
- More than 50 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 companies are using Windows Azure.
In comparison, Amazon Web Services said at its AWS Summit in New York earlier this year that its S3 storage service now holds more than 2 trillion objects. According to a post by Frederic Lardinois, that’s up from 1 trillion last June and 1.3 trillion in November, when the company last updated these numbers at its re:Invent conference.
So what accounts for the differene between Azure and AWS? It all has to do with how each company counts the objects it stores. With that in consideration, it’s likely Azure’s numbers are far different if the same metrics were used as AWS.
Nevertheless, the news highlights the importance of Windows Azure for Microsoft, especially as the enterprise moves its infrastructure, shedding data centers to consolidate and reduce their costs.
- Microsoft Beefs Up Azure Cloud Platform at Build [PCMag.com, June 27, 2013 02:09pm EST]
- Microsoft exec on the Valley’s bias against Azure: It’s ‘running out of excuses’ [VentureBeat, June 27, 2013 6:13 PM]
- Microsoft boosts mobile app development and brings Unity3D to Xbox One [Ars Technica, June 27 2013, 11:41pm CEDT] “Build iOS, Android, and Windows Phone apps (and websites) on Windows Azure.”
- Microsoft tunes Windows Azure cloud for developers [InfoWorld, June 28, 2013] “At Build conference, company debuts Azure Mobile Services for mobile back-end app capabilities, Azure Web Sites for ‘business-grade’ Web apps”
- Microsoft server unit shows off full plate of results [The Seattle Times, June 28, 2013 at 03:30 a.m.]
- Microsoft adds 1,000 businesses to its Azure cloud daily – expands focus on mobile apps [Siliconrepublic.com]
Build 2013 Keynote Day 2 Highlights [InfoQ, June 27, 2013]
Server & Tools Business President Satya Nadella opened the keynote this morning with some statistics about Windows Azure and the major Microsoft cloud services.
– 50% of Fortune 500 companies are using Windows Azure
– 3.2 Million organizations with active directory accounts
– 2 X compute + storage every 6 months
– 100+ major service releases since Build 2012 to Windows Azure
Major Microsoft Cloud Services
– XBox Live 48 million subscribers
– Skype 299 Million connected users
– Outlook.com 1 million users gained in 24 hours
– Office 365 Nearly 50 million Office web apps users
– SkyDriver 250 million accounts
– Bing 1 billion mobile notifications a month
– XBox Live 1.5 Billion games of Halo
Nadella noted the wide variety of first party cloud services that Microsoft supports, and says it is important that they support them as well as provides good learning experience. In his words, “We build for the first party and make available for the third party.”
Scott Hanselman arrived on stage to discuss the latest for ASP.NET on VS2013. A big change is the simplification of starting an ASP.NET application in VS2013. The project types have been reduced to one, “ASP.NET”, and from there the new project wizard lets developers customize their project based on what they would like to create: web forms, MVC, etc.
VS2013 will ship with Twitter’s open source project Bootstrap, and it will be Microsoft supported just like jQuery is now.
An important debugging achievement was demonstrated where browsers can be associated with Visual Studio, allowing for real-time debugging and developing. Edit code in VS2013, and the browser(s) will reflect the updates. In this case the demo showed Hanselman editing cshtml, and via SignalR the updates were shown on the his selected web browsers of IE and Chorme.
In another example, Hanselman went to www.bootswatch.com to obtain a new CSS template which he used to overwrite his current file. Pressing CTRL-ENTER, the browsers reflected this update.
Then Hansleman opened a CSS file to show some new editor tricks. Hovering over CSS statements, VS has a hover window appear that indicates which browser a particular statement applies to. Another ability allows VS to trace and view live streaming trace logs from Azure.
Then Hanselman demonstrated his sample website producing a QR Code of a deep link. He then scanned this on his phone which allowed him to jump into his existing authenticated session, moving from his desktop session to the same screen on his phone.
Satya returned to the stage to announce the general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, which habe been in preview since Build 2012. Now it is available with full SLA and enterprise support.
Josh Twist from Microsoft’s Mobile Services came on stage to demonstrate using a Mac to add Azure support to an iOS app. Twist noted that developers looking to explore Azure can now create a free 20 meg SQL database which in addition to the 10 free web services allowed.
VS2013 has a new Server Explorer, which is used to browse all of the Mobile Services on Windows Azure for your site/installation. A new wizard has been added which simplifies adding Push Notification for Windows Store based applications.
Satya Returns to Introduce Scott Guthrie.
The big news is the new auto-scaling on Windows Azure for billing. Developers can manage the instance count, target CPU, VMs, No billing when a machine is stopped (only pay when the machine is working.)
Per minute billing has been added, for greater granularity. Preview of Windows Azure AutoScale is now live
– Active Directory for the Cloud
– Integrate with on-premises Active Directory
– Enable single sign-on within your cloud Apps
– Supports SAML, WS-Fed, and OAuth 2.0
Applications tab shows all apps registered with the current Active directory. Manage Application to integrate (external) app with Active Directory. For example, developers can Use Windows Azure AD to enable user access to Amazon Web Services.
Satya describes Office 365 as “…a programmable surface area”
Jay Schmelzer to demonstrated the changes being made to allow/promote Office 365 as a platform.
– Rich Office Model
– Use Web APIs to access
– Extend with Azure
– First class tools support in VS2013
– Office 365 Apps + Windows Azure
Increasing promotion of Windows Azure, MSDN subscribers receive greater discounts and incentives to use the Azure platform.
1. Use your MSDN Dev/Test licenses on Windows Azure
2. Reduced rates for Dev/test licenses up to 97% discounts
3. No Credit card required for MSDN members
Microsoft showcases developer opportunity on Windows Azure, Windows devices [press release, June 27, 2013]
Increasing importance of cloud services
Developers today are building multidevice, multiscreen, cloud-connected experiences. Windows Azure spans infrastructure and platform capabilities to provide them with a comprehensive set of services to easily and quickly build modern applications, using the tools and languages familiar to them.
“Developers are increasingly demanding a flexible, comprehensive platform that helps them build and manage apps in a cloud- and mobile-driven world,” [Satya] Nadella [, president, Server and Tools Business] said. “To meet these demands, Microsoft has been doubling down on Windows Azure. Nearly 1,000 new businesses are betting on Windows Azure daily, and as momentum for Azure grows, so too does the developer opportunity to build applications that power modern businesses.”
Delivering on its commitment to provide developers with the most comprehensive cloud platform, Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services. Mobile Services enables developers building Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android apps to store data in the cloud, authenticate users and send push notifications. TalkTalk Business, a leading business telecommunications provider in the United Kingdom, chose Windows Azure Mobile Services to create new ways to engage with its customers and serve demand for mobile access.
Microsoft also announced the general availability of Windows Azure Web Sites, which allows developers to create websites on a flexible, secure and scalable platform to reach new customers. With the investments Microsoft has made in ASP.NET and Web tools, Web developers can now create scalable experiences easier than ever. Dutch brewer Heineken is using Windows Azure to power a social pinball game for the UEFA Champions League Road to the Final campaign, with the expectations of millions of interactions scaled on Windows Azure. Heineken exceeded its usage metrics by a wide margin yet experienced no scalability issues with Windows Azure.
[Scott] Guthrie[, Corporate Vice President, Windows Azure] also highlighted Microsoft’s continued enterprise cloud momentum by demonstrating several platform advancements, including previews of improved auto-scaling, alerting and notifications, and tooling support for Windows Azure through Visual Studio. In addition, he previewed how Windows Azure Active Directory provides organizations and ISVs, such as Box, with a single sign-on experience to access cloud-based applications.
Developers can go to the Windows Azure site today for a free trial:http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/?WT.mc_id=AE37323DE.
Windows Azure: General Availability of Web Sites + Mobile Services, New AutoScale + Alerts Support, No Credit Card Needed for MSDN [ScottGu’s Blog, June 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM]
This morning we released a major set of updates to Windows Azure. These updates included:
- Web Sites: General Availability Release of Windows Azure Web Sites with SLA
- Mobile Services: General Availability Release of Windows Azure Mobile Services with SLA
- Auto-Scale: New automatic scaling support for Web Sites, Cloud Services and Virtual Machines
- Alerts/Notifications: New email alerting support for all Compute Services (Web Sites, Mobile Services, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines)
- MSDN: No more credit card requirement for sign-up
All of these improvements are now available to use immediately (note: some are still in preview). Below are more details about them.
Windows Azure: Major Updates for Mobile Backend Development [ScottGu’s Blog, June 14, 2013]
This week we released some great updates to Windows Azure that make it significantly easier to develop mobile applications that use the cloud. These new capabilities include:
– Mobile Services: Custom API support
– Mobile Services: Git Source Control support
– Mobile Services: Node.js NPM Module support
– Mobile Services: A .NET API via NuGet
– Mobile Services and Web Sites: Free 20MB SQL Database Option for Mobile Services and Web Sites
– Mobile Notification Hubs: Android Broadcast Push Notification Support
All of these improvements are now available to use immediately (note: some are still in preview). Below are more details about them.
This morning we released some fantastic enhancements to Windows Azure:
- Dev/Test in the Cloud: MSDN Use Rights, Unbeatable MSDN Discount Rates, MSDN Monetary Credits
- BizTalk Services: Great new service for Windows Azure that enables EDI and EAI integration in the cloud
- Per-Minute Billing and No Charge for Stopped VMs: Now only get charged for the exact minutes of compute you use, no compute charges for stopped VMs
- SSL Support with Web Sites: Support for both IP Address and SNI based SSL bindings on custom web-site domains
- Active Directory: Updated directory sync utility, ability to manage Office 365 directory tenants from Windows Azure Management Portal
- Free Trial: More flexible Free Trial offer
There are so many improvements that I’m going to have to write multiple blog posts to cover all of them! Below is a quick summary of today’s updates at a high-level:
From Announcing LightSwitch in Visual Studio 2013 Preview [Visual Studio LightSwitch Team Blog, June 27, 2013]
Sneak Peek into the Future
At this point, I’d like to shift focus and provide a glimpse of a key part of our future roadmap. During this morning’s Build 2013 Day 2 keynote in San Francisco, an early preview was provided into how Visual Studio will enable the next generation of line-of-business applications in the cloud (you can check out the recording via Channel 9). A sample app was built during the keynote that highlighted some of the capabilities of what it means to be a modern business application; applications that run in the cloud, that are available to a myriad of devices, that aggregate data and services from in and out of an enterprise, that integrate user identities and social graphs, that are powered by a breadth of collaboration capabilities, and that continuously integrate with operations.
Folks familiar with LightSwitch will quickly notice that the demo was deeply anchored in LightSwitch’s unique RAD experience and took advantage of the rich platform capabilities exposed by Windows Azure and Office 365. We believe this platform+tools combination will take productivity to a whole new level and will best help developers meet the rising challenges and expectations for building and managing modern business applications. If you’re using LightSwitch today, you will be well positioned to take advantage of these future enhancements and leverage your existing skills to quickly create the next generation of business applications across Office 365 and Windows Azure. You can read more about this on Soma’s blog.
– Announcing the General Availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services, Web Sites and continued Service innovation [Windows Azure blog, June 27, 2013]
– 50 Percent of Fortune 500 Using Windows Azure [Windows Azure blog, June 14, 2013]
– Azure WebSites is now Generally Available [Enabling Digital Society blog of Microsoft, June 27, 2013]
– New features for Windows Azure Mobile Services [Enabling Digital Society blog of Microsoft, June 14, 2013]
– Lots of Azure Goodness Revealed [Enabling Digital Society blog of Microsoft, June 3, 2013]
– BizTalk Services is LIVE! [To BizTalk and Beyond! blog of Microsoft, June 3, 2013]
– Hello Windows Azure BizTalk Services! [BizTalk Server Team Blog, June 4, 2013]
– Windows Azure BizTalk Services – Preview [The Enterprise Integration Space blog of Microsoft, June 4, 2013]
– Business Apps, Cloud Apps, and More at Build 2013 [Somasegar’s blog, June 27, 2013]
Day 2 Keynote [Channel 9 video, June 27, 2013] Windows Azure related part up to [01:31:12], click on the link or the image to watch the video
Speech transcript: Satya Nadella and Scott Guthrie: Build 2013 Keynote
Remarks by Satya Nadella, President, Server & Tools Business; and Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, Windows Azure; San Francisco, Calif., June 27, 2013
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President, Server and Tools Business, Satya Nadella. (Applause.)
SATYA NADELLA: Good morning. Good morning, and welcome back to day two of Build. Hope all of you had a fantastic time yesterday. From what I gather, there were half a trillion megabytes of downloads as far as the show goes in terms of show net, so we really saturated the show net with all the downloads of Windows 8.1. So that’s just tremendous to see that all of you took Steve’s guidance and said, “Let’s just download it now and play with it.” Hopefully you had fun with it, also had a chance to get Visual Studio and maybe hack some of those Bing controls last night after the party.
But welcome back today, and we have some fantastic stuff to show. There’s going to be a lot more code onscreen as part of this keynote.
Yesterday, we talked about our devices, and we’re going to switch gears this morning to talk about the backend.
The context for the backend is the apps, the technology, as well as the devices, experiences that all of us collectively are building. We’re for sure well and truly into the world of devices and services. There is not an embedded system, not a sensor, not a device experience that’s not connected back to our cloud service. And that’s what we’re going to talk about.
And we see this momentum today in how we are seeing the backend evolve. If you look at Windows Azure, we have over 50 percent of the Fortune 500 companies already using Windows Azure. We have over 250,000 customers. We’re adding 1,000 customers a day.
We have 3.2 million distinct organizations inside of Azure AD representing something like 65 million users active. That’s a fantastic opportunity, and we’ll come back to that a couple of different times during this keynote.
Our storage and compute resources are doubling every six months. Our storage, in fact, is 8.5 trillion storage objects today, doing around 900K transactions per second. Something like 2 trillion transactions a month.
The last point, which is around the hypervisor growth, where we’re seeing tremendous hypervisor share growth is interesting. Because we are unique in that we not only are building an at-scale public cloud service, but we’re also taking all of the software technology that is underneath our public cloud service and making it available as part of our server products for service providers and enterprises to stand up their own cloud. That’s something pretty unique to us.
Given that, we’re seeing tremendous growth for the high-end servers that people are buying and the high-end server software people are buying from us to deploy their own cloud infrastructure in support of the applications that you all are building.
Now, of course at the end of the day, all that momentum has to be backed up by some product. And in that case, Steve talked a lot about our cadence and increased cadence across our devices. But when it comes to Windows Azure and our public cloud service, that cadence takes on a different hyper drive, if you will, because we are every day, every week, every month doing major updates. We’ve done over 100-plus major updates to our services from the last Build to now.
In fact, this is even translating into a much faster cadence for our server. We now have the R2 updates to our 2012 that were made available yesterday. So all around, when it comes to server technology and cloud technology, we have some of the fastest cadences, but very targeted on the new scenarios and applications and technologies that you’re building to run these cloud services.
Now, one of the other things that drives us and is at play for us on a daily basis is the feedback cycle of our first-party workloads. We have perhaps the most diverse set of first-party workloads at Microsoft. You know, these are SaaS applications that we run ourselves.
Now, these applications keep us honest, especially if you’re in the infrastructure business, you’ve got to live this live site availability day in and day out. And the diversity also keeps us honest because you build out your storage compute network, the application containers, to meet the needs of the diversity these applications represent.
Take Xbox. When they started Xbox Live in 2002, they had around 500 servers. Now, they use something like 300,000 servers, which are all part of our public cloud to be able to really drive their experiences. Halo itself has had over a billion games played, and something like 270 million hours of gameplay. And Halo uses the cloud in very interesting ways for pre-production, rendering support, gameplay, post-production analytics, the amount of real-time analytics that’s driving the continuous programming of Halo is pretty stunning.
Take SkyDrive. We have over 250 million accounts. You combine SkyDrive with the usage of Office Web Apps, where we have more than 50 million users of Office Web Apps, you can see a very different set of things that are happening with storage, collaboration, productivity.
Skype is re-architecting their core architecture to take advantage of the cloud for their 190-plus million users.
Bing apps that you saw many of them yesterday as part of Windows 8.1 are using the Azure backend to do a lot of things like notifications, which is one of the core scenarios for any mobile apps. And it’s going to send something like a billion notifications a month.
So all of these diverse needs that we have been building infrastructure for, we have this one simple mantra where “first party equals third party.” That means we build for our first party and make all of that available for our third party. And that feedback cycle is a fantastic cycle for us.
Now, when you put it all together, you put what we’re building, what you’re building, we see the activity on Azure, we listen to our customers, and you sort of distill it and say, “What are the key patterns of the modern business for cloud? What are the applications people are building?”
Three things emerge: People are building Web-centric applications. People are building mobile-centric applications. And what we call cloud-scale and enterprise-grade applications. So the rest of the presentation is all about getting into the depth of each of these patterns.
Now, in support of these applications, we’re building a very robust Windows Azure app model. Now, of course, at the bottom of the app model is our infrastructure. We run 18-plus datacenters on our own, 100-plus co-locations. We have an edge network. And so that is the physical plant. But the key thing is it’s the fabric, the operating system that we build to manage all of those resources.
At the compute-storage-network level, at the datacenter scale and multi-datacenter scale. And that really is the operating system that is Windows at the backend, at this point, which in fact shipped even in Windows Server for a different scale unit.
But that infrastructure management or resource management is one part of the operating system.
Then about that, you have all the application containers. And we’re unique in providing a complete IaaS plus PaaS, which is infrastructure as a service and platform as a service capability when it comes to application containers. Everything from virtual machines with full persistence to websites to mobile to media services to cloud services. So that capability is what allows you to build these rich applications and very capable applications.
Now, beyond that, we also believe that we can completely change the economics of what complex applications have needed in the past. We can take both productivity around development and continuous deployment and cycling through your code of any complex application and reduce it by orders of magnitude.
Take identity. We are going to change the nature of how people set up your applications to be able to accept multiple identities, have strong authentication and authorization, how to have a directory with rich people schema underneath it that you can use for authorization.
Integration, take all of the complex business-to-business or EI type of project that you have to write a lot of setup before you even write the core logic; we want to change the very nature of how you go about that with our integration services.
And when it comes to data, there is not a single application now that doesn’t have a diverse set of needs when it comes to the data from everything from SQL to NoSQL, all types of processing from transactional to streaming to interactive BI to MapReduce. And we have a full portfolio of storage technologies all provided as platform services so that your application development can be that much richer and that much easier.
Now, obviously, the story will not be complete without great tooling and great programming model. What we are doing with Visual Studio, we will see a lot of it throughout the demos. .NET, as well as our support for some of the cloud services around continuous development — everything from source code control, project management, build, monitoring — all of that technology pulled together, really take everything underneath it to a next level from an application development perspective.
But also supporting all the other frameworks. In fact, just this week we announced with Oracle that we will have even more first-class support for Java on Windows Azure. And so we have support for node, we have support for PHP and so on. So we have a fantastic set of language bindings to all of our platform support and a first-class support for Visual Studio .NET, as well as TFS with Git when it comes to application development.
So that’s really the app model. And the rest of the presentation is really for us to see a lot of this in action.
Let me just start with our IaaS and PaaS and virtual machines. We launched our IaaS service just in April. In fact, we have tremendous momentum. Something like 20 percent of all of Azure compute already is IaaS capacity. So that’s tremendous growth.
The gallery of images is constantly improving and increasing in size, in depth, breadth, and variety. In fact, if you want to spin up Windows Server 2012 R2, I would encourage you to go off to the Azure gallery and spin it up because it’s available as of yesterday there, and so that will be a fantastic use of the Azure IaaS, and test that out.
So what I want to talk about is websites. We’ve made a lot of investments in websites. And when we say “websites” we mean enterprise-grade Web infrastructure for your most mission-critical applications. Because if you think about it, your website is your front door to your business. It could be a SaaS business, it could be an enterprise business, but it’s the front door to your business. And you want the most robust enterprise-scale infrastructure for it. And we’ve invested to build the best Web stack with the best performance, load balancing built in, elasticity built in, and from a development perspective, integrated all the way into Visual Studio.
So we think that what we have in our website technology is the best-in-class Web for the enterprise-grade applications you want to build.
Now, you can also start up for free, and you can scale up. So maybe even the starting process with our Web, very, very easy.
Now, of course having Web technology is one, but it’s also very important for us to have a lot of framework support. And we have a lot of frameworks. But the one framework that we hold close and dear to our heart is ASP.NET. This is something that we have continued to innovate in significant ways. One of the things that we’ve done with the new version of ASP.NET, which is in preview as part of .NET 4.5.1. is the one ASP.NET. Which means that you can have one project where you can bring all of the technologies from Web forms to MVCs to Web APIs to signal all together.
We also improved our tooling from a scaffolding perspective across all of these frameworks.
You’re all building even these rich Web applications. So these single-page Web applications. And for that, you need new frameworks. We have Bootstrap. You also want to be able to call into the server side, we made that easy with OLAP support, we made it easy with Web APIs. So this makes it much easier for you now to be able to build these rich Web apps.
And Entity Framework. We’ve now plumbed async all the way back into the server. So now, you can imagine if you’re building one of those social media applications with lots of operations on the client, as well as needing the same async capabilities on the backend, you now have async end to end.
So a lot of this innovation is, I think, in combination with our Web is going to completely change how you could go about building your Web applications and your Web technologies.
To show you some of this in action, I wanted to invite up onstage Scott Hanselman from our Web team. Scott? (Applause.)
SCOTT HANSELMAN: Hello, friends. I’m going to show you some of the great, new stuff that we’ve got in ASP.NET and Visual Studio 2013.
I’m going to go here and hit file, new, project. And you’ll notice right off the bat that we’ve got just one ASP.NET Web application choice. This is delivering on that promise of one ASP.NET. (Applause.)
Awesome, I’m glad you dig that. And this is not the final dialog, but there is no MVC project or Web forms project anymore. I can go and say I want MVC with Web API or I want Web forms plus MVC. But there is, at its core, just one ASP.NET.
We’ve got an all-new authentication system. I can go in here and pick organizational accounts, use Active Directory or Azure Active Directory, do Windows auth.
For this application, I’m going to use an individual user account. I’m going to make a geek trivia app. So I’ll hit create project.
Now, of course when you’re targeting for the Web, it’s not realistic to target just one browser. We’re not going to use just Internet Explorer; we’re going to use every browser and try to make this have as much reach as possible.
So up here, I’m going to click “browse with” and then pick both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome and set them both as the default browser. (Applause.)
Now, we’ll go ahead and run our application. And I’ll snap Visual Studio off to the side here. You notice Visual Studio just launched IE and Chrome.
You can see that we’re using Twitter Bootstrap. We’re shipping Bootstrap with ASP.NET; you get a nice, responsive template. We’ve got the great icons, grid system, works on mobile. And that’s going to ship just like we shipped jQuery, as a fully supported item within ASP.NET, even though it’s open source.
I’m going to open up my index.cs HTML over here. You can see we’ve got ASP.NET as my H1. Notice next to multiple browsers, we’ve got a new present for you. You see this button right here? We’re running SignalR in process inside of Visual Studio, and there’s now a real-time connection between Visual Studio and any number of browsers that are running.
So now I can type in the new geek quiz application and hit this button. And using Web standards and Web sockets, we’ve just talked to any number of browsers. (Applause.)
Now, this is just scratching the surface of what we’re going to be able to do. What’s important isn’t the live reload example I’ve just shown you, but rather the idea that there’s a fundamental two-directional link now between any browser, including mobile browsers or browser simulators and Visual Studio.
Now, this is using the Bootstrap default template, which is kind of default. So I’m going to go up to Bootswatch, which is a great website that saves us from the tyranny of the default template.
And I’m going to pick — this looks appropriately garish. I’m going to pick this one here. And I’m going to just right click and say “save target as” and then download a different CSS, and I’m going to save that right over the top of the one that came with ASP.NET.
And then I’ll come back over here and use the hotkey control/alt/enter and update the linked browsers. And you’ll see that right there, the hotdog theme is back today, and this is the kind of high-quality design and attention to — I can’t do that with a straight face — attention to detail and design that you’ve come to expect from us at Microsoft. That’s beautiful, isn’t it? You’ve got to feel good about that, everybody.
I’m going to head over into Azure. And I’m going to say “new website.” You know, creating websites is really, really easy from within the portal. I’ll say geek quiz. Blah, blah, blah, and I’m going to make a new website.
And this is going to fire up in the cloud right now. You can see it’s going and creating that. And that’s going to be ready and waiting to go when it’s time for me to publish from Visual Studio.
Now, I’m going to fast forward in time here and close down this application and then do a little Julia Child action and switch into an application that’s a little bit farther along.
So we’re going to write a geek quiz or a geek trivia app. And it’s going to have Model View Controller and Web API on the server. And it’s going to send JSON across the wire over to the client side. This trivia controller, which is ASP.NET, Web API is going to be feeding that.
This is code that I’m not really familiar with. I can spend a lot of time scrolling around, or I could right click on the scroll bar, hit scroll bar options, and some of you fans may remember this guy. It’s back. And now you’ve got map mode inside of the scroll bar. I can move around, find my code really, really easily. Here is the GET method. Notice that this GET method is going to return the trivia questions into my application here. And it’s marked as async. We’ve got async and await all the way through. So this asynchronous Web API method is then going to call this service call, next question async.
Now, I could right click and say “go to definition.” But I could also say “peek definition.” And without actually opening the source code, see what’s going on in that file. (Applause.)
I could promote that if I wanted to. You notice, of course, I’m using Entity Framework 6, I’ve got async and await from clients to servers to services all the way down into the database non-blocking I/O, async and await all the way down. I just hit escape to drop out of there. So it makes it really, really easy to move around my code.
So this is going to serve the trivial questions. I’m just going to hit control comma, go get my index.cs HTML.
Now, in this HTML editor that’s been completely rewritten in Visual Studio 2013, you notice that I’ve got a couple of things you may not have seen before in an ASP.NET app. I’ve got Handlebars, which is a templating engine, and I’ve got Ember. So we’ve got model view controller on the server and model view controller on the client. So we can start making those rich, single-page applications.
Here, I’ve got the Handlebars. This is a client-side template. You can see right off the bat that I’ve got syntax highlighting for my Handlebars or my Moustache templating. And I’m going to go ahead and fire this up, and I’ll put IE off to the side there, and I’ll put VS over here.
And I’m going to log into my geek quiz app. See if I can type my own name a few times here, friends. There we go. And this is going to go and fetch a trivia question. See, it said, “loading question.” And then it says, “How many Scotts work on the Azure team?” Which is a lot, believe me.
You’ll see that that’s coming from this bound question tile. So we’ve got client-side data binding right there.
Now, I need to figure out what the buttons are going to look like. I’ve got the question, but I don’t have the buttons. I could start typing the HTML; that’s kind of boring. But I could use Visual Studio Web Essentials, which takes the extensibility points in Visual Studio and extends them even further.
And I could say something like hash fu dot bar and hit tab. And now I’ve got Zen Coding, also known as Emmet, built in with Web Essentials.
So that means I could go and say, you know, I need a button. And button has a button trivia class, but I need four of those buttons.
And then, again, I hit — you like that, kids? (Applause.) Then I hit refresh, and you’ll notice that my browser is updating as I’m going.
But that’s not really good. I need more information. I really want the text there that says “answer,” and I want to have answer one, answer two, answer three. So I’ll go like that. And then hit refresh, and then we’re seeing it automatically update.
So that looks like what I want it to look like. But I want to do that client-side data binding. So I’m going to take this here, and I’m going to spin through that JSON that came across the wire. So I’m going to go open Moustache, and I’m going to say for each, and again, syntax highlighting, great experience for the client-side developer.
I’m going to say for each option, and then we’ll close up each here. And answer one, just like question title is going to be bound. So I’m going to open that up, and I’m going to say option.title. And then when a user clicks on that button, we’re going to have an Ember action. I’m going to say the action is call that send answer passing in the question and then passing in the option that the user chose.
I just did an update with the hotkey, how many Scotts work on Azure? 42. How old is Guthrie? He is zero XFF because he’s quite old. What color is his favorite polo? Goldenrod, in fact, is my — no? I’m sorry, Goldenrod is the next version of Windows, Windows Goldenrod. So my mistake there.
So that’s pretty hot. I’m going to go ahead and right click and hit publish. And because I’ve got the Azure SDK installed, I can do my publish directly from Visual Studio. We’re going to go and load our Azure website. Hit OK. It brings the publish settings right down into Visual Studio. And I can go and publish directly from here.
So now I’m doing a live publish out to Azure directly from Visual Studio. It goes and launches the browser for me.
And I can click over here on the Server Explorer, and Windows Azure actually appears on the side now. I can start and stop virtual machines, start and stop websites; they’re all integrated inside of the Server Explorer.
That’s my website. I can double click on it, and again, while I can go to the management portal, I can change my settings, my .NET version and my application logging without having to enter the portal.
So back over into my app, when I sign in, I know that people are going to be pushing buttons and answering questions backstage. I want to see that. I put in some tracing. So what I’m going to do is right click and say view streaming logs in the output window.
This is the Visual Studio output window. And I’m just going to pin that off to the side. And then as I’m answering questions, and it looks like someone backstage is answering questions as well. I’m getting live streaming trace logs from Azure fed directly into Visual Studio. (Applause.)
Now, you know that we’ve also rewritten the entire authentication infrastructure and made it based on OWIN, which is the Open Web Interface for .NET. It’s an open source framework that lets you have pluggable middleware. So identity and authorization has been rewritten in a really, really clean way. And it allows us to do stuff that we really couldn’t do before and extend it in a pretty funny way.
And I think that every good sample involves a QR code, right? Don’t you think? This will bring the number of times that you’ve seen a QR code scanned in public to three. (Laughter.)
So what I want to do is I want to install this QR sample because I know people are going and checking out these trivia stats. And I’ve got SVG and SignalR giving me real-time updates as people are answering trivia questions.
I’m logged in right now as CHanselman. I want to take this session and I want to deep link into an authenticated session on a phone and then view these samples and take them with me.
So I’ve gone and used NuGet to bring in the QR sample. And now I’m going to go and publish that again to the same site. This is an incremental publish now. So this is going to go and send that new stuff up to Azure.
And then I’ll bring up my phone here. I’ve got my phone. And my camera guy, he follows me around. And I’m going to click on trivia stats. And here are the real-time trivia stats.
And then I’m going to click on transfer to mobile up here in the auth area. And we’re going to do is we’re going to generate a QR code. I’m going to then scan that code, and we get a deep link that pops up generated by ASP.NET that’s then going to bring me in IE, and now I’ve got SingnalR, SVG, and Flot all running inside of my browser and I’ve jumped into my authenticated session using OWIN, ASP.NET, and HTML5. It’s pretty fabulous stuff. (Applause.)
So we’ve got the promise of one ASP.NET; we’ve got browser link, bringing all of those browsers together with Web standards using SignalR. You saw Web Essentials as our playground that we’re adding new features to Visual Studio 2013. We can make Azure websites easily in the portal, publish directly from VS, logging, SignalR everywhere. Thanks very much, I hope you guys have fun. (Applause.)
SATYA NADELLA: So I hope you got a great feel for how we’re going to completely change or revolutionize Web development by innovation in tools, in the framework, and in the Web server in Windows Azure. And round-tripping across all three such that you can really do unimaginable things in a much more productive way.
We have over 130,000 active websites or Web applications today using Azure websites. Some big-name brands — Heineken, 3M, Toyota, Trek Bicycle — doing some very, very cool stuff using some of this technology.
I’m very, very pleased that we’re using all of that feedback to announce the general availability of Windows Azure Websites. This has been in preview now since last Build, and we’ve had some tremendous amount of feedback from all of the customers who have been using it. Many of them, obviously, in production. But now you can start using it for full SLA and enterprise support from us. So we’re really, really pleased to reach this milestone. Hope you get a chance to start using it as well. (Applause.)
I’m also pleased to announce the preview of Visual Studio 2013. You got to see it yesterday, today, and you’ll see a lot more of it. It’s just pretty stunning improvements in the tool itself. And combined with the .NET 4.5.1 framework update, you now have the previews of both the framework and the tools, and we really encourage you to give us feedback like you did the last time in your app development, and we’ll be watching for that.
So now I want to switch to mobile. Now, when you think about mobile-centric application development, the key consideration perhaps more than anything else is how do you build these mobile apps fast? And since there’s not a single mobile experience or application you’re building which doesn’t have a cloud backend, then the natural question is: What can we do to really speed up the building of these cloud backends?
And that’s exactly what Azure Mobile Services does, which is we provide a very easy way for you to build out a backend for your mobile experiences and applications. We provide a rich set of services from identity to data to push notification, as well as background scripting.
To show you this in action, I wanted to invite up onstage Josh Twist from our Windows Azure Mobile Services team. Josh? (Applause, music.)
JOSH TWIST: Thanks. We launched Windows Azure Mobile Services into preview in August last year. And in case you weren’t familiar, mobile services makes it incredibly easy to add the power of Windows Azure to your Windows Store, Windows Phone, IOS, Android, and even Web and HTML applications.
To prove this to you, I’m going to give you a demo now of how easy it is to add the cloud services you need to an IOS application using this map.
Here we are in the gorgeous Azure portal, and creating a new mobile service couldn’t be easier. I click, new, compute, mobile service, create. I enter the name of my mobile service, and then I choose a database option.
And I want to point out, look at this new option we have here. You can now create a free 20-megabyte SQL database. Which means it’s now completely free for developers to work against Mobile Services with the 10 free services and that free 20-megabyte SQL database.
Now, I’ve already created a service we have here today that we’re going to use called My Lists. If I click on the name, I’m greeted by our quick start, which is a short tutorial that shows me how to build a to-do list application.
Now, I selected IOS, but this same mobile service could simultaneously power all of these platforms.
We’re going to create a new IOS application. And since it’s a to-do list app, I need a table to hold my to-do list items.
And then I’m going to download a personalized starter project. So here it comes. That’s a little zip file. And inside that zip file I’m downloading from the portal is an Xcode project. So if I double click this, it’ll open up in Xcode, and then we’re going to take a look at the source. Because what we’ve done is we’ve pre-bootstrapped the application to be ready to talk to Mobile Services. You’ll see it already contains the URL for my new mobile service.
So what I’m going to do is launch this in the simulator. And what we’ll see here is a little to-do list application that inserts, updates, and reads data from Windows Azure with each operation being a single line of code, even in Objective-C.
So I’m going to create a little to-do list item here to add to my tasks. Let’s just save that. So now that’s saved in Windows Azure. To prove that to you, I’m going to switch over to the portal. We take a look at the data tabs, and you’ll see I can drill into the table, view all of my data right here, and there’s the item I just added saved safely into a SQL database in Windows Azure.
Now, we have so many cool features in Mobile Services. Here’s another one. I can actually add a script that executes securely on the server and intercepts those CRUD operations.
So what I’m going to do here, just to give you a quick example, is I’m going to add a time stamp to items that are being inserted. So I simply say item dot created equals new date. I’m going to save that. And right here from the portal, that’s going to go live into Windows Azure and be updated in just a few seconds. So it’s done.
Switch back to the app. Let’s insert a new item. That’s now saved. So if I switch back to browse, we’ll see that data again, but notice how we’ve automatically created a new column, and we’ve got that extra piece of data in there that executed on the server.
Now, we have this amazing script editing experience here in the browser, but not everybody wants to edit code in the portal. And so we’ve added a new feature to Windows Azure Mobile Services that allows you to manage all of your source assets using Git Source Control.
So I’m going to show you how to enable that. We go to the dashboard. Just down here under quick glance, we’ll get an option to set up source controls. So I’m going to click on that and kick it off.
Now, this can take a minute or two. So while that’s running, I’m going to give you a tour of some of the other new features we’ve added to Mobile Services recently.
One of our most-requested features was the ability to have service scripts for execute on the server but not in conjunction with HTTP CRUD operations where I can create an arbitrary REST API.
We’ve added that feature, and it’s called Custom API. So I can now create a completely arbitrary REST API in a matter of minutes with Mobile Services.
We also have a scheduler that allows me to execute scripts on a scheduled basis. So I can execute these every 15 minutes, every night at 2 a.m., whatever I prefer. And we also make it incredibly easy for you to authenticate your users with Microsoft Accounts, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It’s just a single line of code in your applications.
Now, our source control’s still running here. So what I’m going to do actually is switch to another service, not make you guys wait.
So we have one here where I pre-configured Git. So if we go to the configure tab, you’ll see what we have here is a Git URL. So I’m going to copy this to the clipboard and then switch the terminal. And we’re now going to pull all of the source files down from the server repo onto my local machine.
That’s going to take just a few seconds. It’s going to pull those files down so I can now work on them locally with my favorite tools.
So I’m going to just drive into this directory here and show you what the tree looks like. So you can see we can see all of the API files, the scheduler files, and my table files including that insert script that we just edited in the portal.
Let’s take a look at that in Sublime. And you can see there’s that change. Now, we can make more changes here. I’m just going to comment this out and save it. And then I’m going to do a Git push to push that back up. So let’s commit it to the tree. And then Git push, and in a matter of seconds, that change will go live into Windows Azure.
So enough with the Mac. Let’s talk about what’s happened since preview. We’re now supporting tens of thousands of services in production on Mobile Services to all kinds of scenarios from games to business applications and consumer engagement applications.
I want to talk to you today about one of my favorite applications that we have in the store. And it’s from a company called TalkTalk Business. TalkTalk Business are one of the U.K.’s leading telephony providers for businesses. And these guys have a serious focus on customer service. So they’ve created a Windows Phone app and a Windows Store app.
Let me show you the phone application now. So here’s the app on my Start screen. If we launch it, you’ll see we get an instant at-a-glance view of my billing activity, my account balance. I can see all of the services I can use with TalkTalk Business, and I get real-time delivery of up-to-the-minute service alerts.
Now, it should come as no surprise that best-in-class applications like this need best-in-class services. And this is actually built using Mobile Services and is live in the U.K. stores today.
Now, they also have a Windows Store application. And I actually have a replica of that project here on my Windows machine.
And you can see the project’s open in the next version of Visual Studio 2013. One of the capabilities this app has is it lets me manage my user profile.
Now, let me show you some of the code that does that. So over here in this file, you can see where we upload the user profile when we make a save. Notice how that’s just a single line of code to write that data all the way through to my database.
And here we load a user profile into the UI, again, with a single line of code.
Now, these guys also have tables and scripts. And I want to show you those, but instead of switching out to the portal, let’s do it using the new Server Explorer in Visual Studio 2013.
So I can open up the Server Explorer here, dive into Windows Azure, notice the new Mobile Services tab, expand that, and we’ll see enumerated all of our Mobile Services.
There’s my TalkTalk service. And if we open this, we’ll see all of the tables that are backing that service, including my user profiles table down here.
If we look in that, we’ll be able to see all of my scripts. The best thing is I can now edit them here in Visual Studio.
So I launched the script editor. I can make a change. And then when I hit save, this is going to deploy live to Windows Azure directly from Visual Studio in a matter of seconds. It’s done. (Applause.)
So the next thing I want to do is app push notifications for this application.
Now, setting up push traditionally is quite a few steps. I have to register my application with the Windows Store. I have to configure Mobile Services with my credentials to call Windows Notification Services. I have to require a channel URI on my client and upload that to Mobile Services so it’s ready to send the push.
Let me show you just how easy we’ve made this in the next version of Visual Studio.
I simply right click, add push notification, and this wizard is going to guide me through all of the steps necessary. So I’m just entering my credentials there for the Windows Store. And then it’s going to ask me to choose which application I want to associate. So I’m going to choose this one.
The next step, I’ll be asked to choose which mobile service I want to configure. I’m going to choose TalkTalk, and we’re done.
What’s going to happen now is this is going to make some changes to my mobile service and to my client application. In fact, it’s going to prewire a test notification so I can be superbly confident that everything is wired correctly and going to work. And to try that out, all I have to do is launch the application.
Let’s try that now. It’s going to take a second to deploy. And then what we should see is a push notification arrive in the top-right corner. And there we go. So that’s how easy we’ve made it now to add a push notification to your application with Mobile Services and Visual Studio 2013. (Applause.)
The next thing I want to do is create an ability for the administrators at TalkTalk Business to actually send these service alerts. And these guys use a Web portal. So let’s switch over to their Web project.
So here it is in Visual Studio. And you’ll see we have an index HTML file. Let’s open that up.
We’ve already added the client. So all I need to do now is add the code to invoke the service API that sends those messages. So let’s try that. So I start client dot invoke API. I need the name of the API I’m calling, which is send alert, in this case. And then since I’m doing a post, I need to specify the body. Body is service alert. And we’re done.
So I’m going to save that and launch it in the local browser. Now, since we’ve already pre-configured the client to receive push notifications, we can actually test this whole scenario end to end right here on this machine.
So what I’m going to do is send out a service alert for email in the midlands and western region that says SMTP upgrade complete. And when I hit send notification I should get a push notification in the top-right corner that was initiated from a website. And there we go. (Applause.) Thank you.
You can see just how easy it is to add some incredible capabilities to your apps using Windows Azure Mobile Services. I really can’t wait to see what you guys do with this. I’ll see you at 2:00. (Applause.)
SATYA NADELLA: Thanks, Josh.
As Josh was saying, we’ve been in preview, and we’ve got some tremendous feedback. We’ve had over 20,000 active apps on Azure Mobile Services to date, and TalkTalk Business is something that Josh showed. There’s a cool app written by Aviva, which is an application that collects telematic data from a mobile app and gives you a real-time quote based on your driving habits for your car insurance, which is a fascinating application, and there are many, many applications like that, which are getting written on top of Azure Mobile Services.
So I’m really, really pleased to announce the general availability of Azure Mobile Services today. We think that this is going to really help in your mobile development efforts across all devices, and we look forward to seeing what kind of applications you go build.
So now to take you to the next section, which is all around cloud scale and enterprise grade, let me invite up onstage Scott Guthrie. Scott? (Applause.)
SCOTT GUTHRIE: Well, this morning we looked at how you can use Windows Azure to build Web and mobile applications and host them in the cloud.
I’m now going to walk through how we’re making it even easier to scale these apps, as well as integrate them within enterprise environments.
Let’s start by talking about scale. Specifically, I’m going to use a real-world example, which is Skype.
Now, Skype is one of the largest Internet services in the world. And over the last year, they’ve been working to migrate that service to run on top of Windows Azure.
One of the benefits they get from moving to Windows Azure is that they can avoid having to buy and provision their own servers, and instead leverage a dynamic cloud environment.
Like most apps, Skype sees fluctuations in terms of load throughout the day, the week, even different parts of the year. And in a traditional datacenter environment, they need to deploy a thick set of servers in order to handle their peak load.
The downside with this, though, is that you end up having a lot of expensive, unused compute capacity during non-peak times.
Moving to a cloud environment like Windows Azure allows them to, instead, dynamically scale their compute capacity based on just what their service needs at any given point in time. And this can yield enormous cost savings to both small and especially to very large services.
Now, with Windows Azure, you’ve always been able to dynamically scale up and scale down your apps, but you had to typically write custom scripts or use other tools in order to enable that. What we’re excited to announce today is that we’re going to make this a lot easier by baking in auto-scale capability directly into Windows Azure. And this is going to make it easy for anyone to start taking advantage of these kind of dynamic scale environments and yield the same cost savings.
I’d like to invite Charles Lemanna onstage to show it off in action. (Applause.)
CHARLES LEMANNA: I’ll be giving a quick demo of the brand-new autoscale feature that supports Windows Azure Compute Services.
First, I’ll cover the website autoscale, then the cloud services, and then the virtual machine.
So if I navigate to the website you saw earlier from Scott Hanselman’s demo, the geek quiz website, we see all the normal metric information that Windows Azure is collecting for his deployment. In this case, CPU time, response time, and network traffic.
But now there’s a new prompt to configure autoscale for this particular website. In the past, when the website would get lots of traffic, people would come in and take the quiz. Scott would have to go in and manually drag the slider to increase his capacity so his response time is not impacted.
However with autoscale, I’m able to now configure a basic set of rules that will manage the capacity from my website automatically.
I can configure an instance count range with a minimum value that we’ll always honor, as well as a maximum value. In this case, we’ll never go above six instances, so you can be sure you won’t get a giant bill.
Next, you can also configure a target CPU range. In this case, I say choose 40 to 54 percent, and what that means is the autoscale engine for Azure in the background we’ll be turning off and turning on website instances so your CPU always stays in that range. In other words, if you go below 40 percent, we’ll turn off the machine to save you money, and if you go above 54 percent, we’ll turn on a new machine so none of your users are impacted.
And just like that, I click save, and Windows Azure will manage my website, scale, and capacity entirely on its own. (Applause.)
Next, I’ll hop over to the cloud service autoscale. I just have a simple deployment here with a Web front end where my customers can come and, say, place T-shirt orders or other memorabilia. And this front end puts items into a queue, which I have a background worker role, which will go and pull items from this queue and process them for billing or shipping.
For the Web role, I’ve already configured autoscale based on CPU, just like you saw for websites with an instance range and a CPU range. But I also can configure a scale up button, which impacts the velocity by which I increase my capacity. I’ve chosen to scale up by two instances with only a five-minute cool down because I want to respond immediately and quickly to spikes in customer demand.
For my background worker role, it’s a little bit different. I don’t care as much about CPU; I care about how many items are waiting in the queue to be processed, how many orders I have to go through.
In this case, I’ve already configured autoscale based on queue depth by selecting a storage count and queue name, as well as the target number of items in that queue per machine.
In this case, as the queue gets bigger, we’ll add more machines. Imagine it’s the holidays and a bunch of new orders come in; we’ll make sure you have enough capacity to process it in real time.
And imagine it’s a Sunday night and not as many people are coming to your website and placing orders. We’ll go down to your minimum to save you even more money on your monthly Azure bill.
Lastly, I’ll hop over to virtual machines. Virtual machines are just like cloud services in that you configure autoscale for a set of virtual machines based on either CPU or queue.
For the virtual machines, you can choose minimum-maximum instances, and we’ll move you up and down within that range by turning on and turning off those machines. And with the recent announcement of no billing while the machine’s stopped, you don’t have to worry about being charged in this case.
As you can see, it just took a few minutes to configure autoscale across all these different compute resources. And that’s what the power of autoscale brings to Windows Azure. In just a few minutes, you can make sure your cloud application runs, stays up and running for the lowest possible cost. Thank you. (Applause.)
SCOTT GUTHRIE: So as Charles showed you, it’s super easy to configure autoscale and set it up so you can really take advantage of some great savings. He also mentioned, two of the improvements that we made earlier this month is the ability now to stop VMs without incurring any billing compute charge, as well as the ability to now bill per minute. This means that if you run your site or you run your VM for only 20 minutes, we’re only going to bill you for the 20 minutes that you actually run it instead of the full hour.
And when you combine all these features together, it really yields a massive cost savings over what you can do today in the cloud, but in particular, also over what you can do in an on-premises environment.
We’re really excited to announce that the preview of Windows Azure Autoscale is now live. And you can actually all try it out for free and start taking advantage of it today. (Applause.)
So let’s switch gears now and talk a little bit about enterprise integration and some of the things that we’re doing to make it even easier for you to build cloud apps and integrate them within your corporate or enterprise environment. Whether you’re an enterprise building your own apps or you also hear a little bit about how we’re enabling ISVs that are building SaaS-based solutions to sell into an enterprise environment and monetize even more effectively.
There are a whole bunch of services that we have built into Windows Azure in the identity space that makes it really easy to do this kind of enterprise identity integration so that you can define an Active Directory in the cloud using a service we call Windows Azure Active Directory.
You can basically have a cloud-only directory, meaning you only have one directory, and it’s in the cloud, and you put all your users in it.
What’s nice about Windows Azure Active Directory though is it also supports the ability where you can synchronize it with an on-premises Active Directory that you’re running on Windows Server. And this is great for enterprises or corporates that already have Active Directory installed. And it allows them to very easily synchronize all their users into the cloud and allow cloud-based applications to start using that directory very easily to authenticate and enable single sign-on for all their customers.
And what’s nice about Windows Azure Active Directory is it’s built using open standards. So we support SAML, OAuth, as well as WS Federation, which makes it really easy for you as developers to start authenticating and enabling single sign-on within all your apps using existing libraries and protocols that you already use.
So what I thought I’d do is actually walk through a simple example of how this week we’re making it even easier in order to take advantage of that.
So what I’m going to show here is just a simple example where we have a company called Contoso that has an Active Directory on premises. And they’re going to basically spin up an Azure Active Directory running inside Windows Azure. And they can synchronize their directory up into the cloud. That means all their users are now available there.
And what they can then do is they can start to build apps, whether they’re mobile apps, Web apps, or any other type of app, deploy them in the cloud, and now any of their employees when they go ahead and access that application can enable single sign-on using their existing enterprise credentials and be able to securely login and start using that app. Let’s go ahead and walk through some code on how we do that.
So what I’m standing in front of here is the Windows Azure Management Portal, which you already seen Scott and Josh and Charles walk through earlier today.
What I’m going to do is click on this Active Directory tab that’s within the portal, which allows me to control and configure my Windows Azure Active Directory.
And what you can see here is the Contoso directory has already been created. I’m creating directories inside Windows Azure; it’s actually free; it doesn’t cost anything. So every developer they want can create their own directory, and companies can very easily go ahead and populate their directory with their information.
You can see here this directory; I already have a number of users that are stored within it. If I want to, I could directly inside the admin tool create new users and manage them through the admin console.
I could also click that directory integration tab and then set up a sync relationship with my on-premises Active Directory. That means every time a user is added or updated inside my on-premises Active Directory, it’ll be automatically reflected inside Windows Azure as well.
So once I have this, I basically have a directory that I can use within my applications to authenticate users.
So let’s build a simple app using the new Visual Studio 2013 and the new ASP.NET release coming out this week and show how I could basically integrate that within a Web app.
So I’m going to use the same Web application template that Scott showed earlier. Call this Simple App.
I can choose whatever frameworks I want within it. I can also click this change authentication dialog box that Scott touched on briefly in his talk.
And what I’m going to do is I’m going to click this organizational accounts tab. And I can go ahead now and enter in the name of the domain of my company. You’ll notice inside this dropdown we’ve added support so that both for internal apps within an enterprise that want to target a single company, they can do it. We also support the ability if you want to develop a SaaS application and target multiple enterprise customers, you can go ahead and select that as well. (Applause.)
I can then go ahead and just enter the password here. What I’m doing here is just registering this application with Windows Azure. And I just hit create project, and what this is literally going to go ahead and do now is create for me an ASP.NET project using whatever framework that I wanted to specify as registering that application with Windows Azure. So it’s basically saying I’m going to do secure sign-on with it.
And now if I go ahead and run this application in the browser, it’s going to launch, and one of the first things you’ll see it do is because I’ve enabled Active Directory single sign-on, it’s just going to automatically show me a single sign-on screen. And right now, I’m on the Internet, so that’s why it’s going to prompt me with this in HTML. I can also set it up if I was in an intranet environment where I wouldn’t have to explicitly sign in.
But right now, I can sign in. And I’m just going to say Contoso Build.com. If I do this now, I’m logged into this ASP.NET. I’m logged in using my Active Directory account that the employee has. And I’ve literally in a matter of moments set this thing up where I’m actually now using the cloud in order to actually use a single sign-on provider.
What this means is not only can I run this thing locally, but I can now just right click and hit publish, and I can publish this as a website, I can publish this as a virtual machine or in a cloud service. And now any of the employees within my organization that access it are integrated with their existing enterprise security credentials and can do single sign-on within the application. (Applause.)
So this makes it really, really easy for you now to build your own custom applications, host them in the cloud, and enable enterprise security throughout.
What we’re also doing with Windows Azure Active Directory is making sure that not only can you host your own applications, but we also want to make it really easy for enterprises to be able to consume and integrate existing SaaS-based solutions and have the same type of single sign-on support with Active Directory as well.
This is great for enterprises because it suddenly means that they can go ahead and take advantage of all the great SaaS solutions that are out there, and they can start to integrate more and more apps with less friction into their enterprise environment. And it’s really great from an ISV and developer perspective because it now means that you can go ahead and build SaaS solutions and sell them to enterprises at a fraction of the friction that was required today. That makes it much easier to go ahead and show the value quickly, makes it much easier to onboard your enterprise customers, and at the end of the day, enables you to make a lot more money.
So what I’m going to do is walk through an example of how this works. So we’re going back to the Windows Azure portal. And we’ve got our users, like we had before here. I’m now going to click this applications tab as well. And what the applications tab does is it’s going to show me all of the apps that have been registered with this directory. So any of the custom apps that I would build would show up here.
You’ll notice also inside this list, we have a bunch of popular SaaS-based solutions that have already been registered with Contoso as well. So we’ve got Box, Basecamp, and many others.
What I can do now inside the Windows Azure portal if I’m an administrator of the directory is I can go ahead and just click add. Click this manage access to an application link. And what we’re integrating is SaaS-based directory of existing SaaS-based solutions that this organization can now seamlessly integrate as part of their Windows Azure Active Directory system.
So, for example, I could do popular ones like DocuSign or Dropbox or Evernote.
We’ve got ones you might not expect at a Microsoft conference. We’ve got Google Apps. We’ve got Salesforce.com. We even just for giggles enabled Amazon Web Services. (Laughter.) Some of these we’d like you to use more than others. (Laughter.) But regardless, you can add any of these, and basically once you just click add, they’ll show up in this list. And then all you need to do in order to integrate your single sign-on with one of these apps is drill into it.
So in this case here, I’m going to drill into Box. Basically, I can just hit configure. I can say I want to enable my users to authenticate the Box using my Windows Azure Active Directory. Just paste in my Box tenant URL, which is the URL I get from Box. And I just download and upload a cert in order to make sure that we have a secure connection.
And once I do that, I then basically have integrated my Active Directory with Box. I can then go ahead and hit configure user access. This will bring up my list of all the users within my Windows Azure Active Directory. I can then go ahead and click on any of them, click enable access.
You’ll notice we’ve even integrated if the SaaS provider has roles defined within their application, I cannot only give this user access to Box, but I can actually map which roles within the Box applications they should have access to. And then hit OK and then literally in a matter of seconds, that user is now provisioned on Box and they can now use their Active Directory credentials in order to do single sign-on to that SaaS application. (Applause.)
So I’m going to switch gears now and go to another machine. So I was showing you kind of the administrator experience for how an administrator would login or enable that. I’m now going to kind of show you the end-user experience of what this translates into. And once we set up that relationship with that particular employee, that employee can go ahead and just go to Box directly and use their Active Directory credentials to sign in.
Or one of the other things that we’ve done which we think is kind of cool is integrated the ability so that the company can expose the single dashboard of all the SaaS applications that they’ve configured that employees can just go ahead and bookmark.
So in this case here, going ahead and logging into this. So this is kind of an end-user experience. All of the apps, SaaS solutions, or custom apps that the administrator of Active Directory has gone ahead and said you have access to will show up in this list. So you can see the Box app that we’ve just provisioned shows up here now. And as more get added, we’ll just dynamically show up.
And then what the user can do is just go ahead and click on any of them in order to initiate a single sign-on relationship. And that’s how easy now our Contoso employee is now logged into Box. And they can now do all the standard Box operations now using their Active Directory against it. (Applause.)
The beauty about this model is not only is it super easy to set up, you saw both on the administrator side, as well as on the developer side, it’s really, really easy to integrate. But it also means from an enterprise perspective, they feel a lot more secure. It means that if the employee ever leaves the organization or their account is ever suspended, they basically lose all access to the SaaS applications that they’ve been using on the company’s behalf. So the company doesn’t have to worry about the data leaving or the employee still able to kind of login and make changes to their data. So it enables a very nice model there.
And I think from a developer perspective, you know, one of the things to think about in terms of what we’re enabling here is not only is it easy, but it’s going to enable you to reach a lot of customers. We have more than 3.2 million businesses that have already synced their on-premises Active Directory to the cloud and more than 68 million active users that login regularly using that system.
That basically means as a developer, as a company that wants to sell to enterprises, you’ve got an awesome market that you’re now able to go ahead and sell to and makes it real easy for you to monetize.
And what I thought I’d do is actually invite Aaron Levie, who is the co-founder and CEO of Box to actually come onstage and talk a little bit about what this means to Box and some of the kind of possibilities this opens up for them.
AARON LEVIE: Hey, how you doing? (Applause.) How’s it going? So I’m really excited to be here. At Box, we help businesses store, share, manage, and access information from anywhere. And we’re big supporters of Microsoft. We build for the Windows desktop, we build on Windows 8, build on Windows 8 Phone. We love to integrate our work with SharePoint. Unfortunately, they haven’t returned our email yet, but maybe spam filter, we don’t know what’s going on there.
But it’s really exciting to see sort of an all-new Microsoft. I think the amount of support for openness and heterogeneity is incredibly amazing. I think you normally wouldn’t have seen a development preview on top of a Mac or whatever. I was actually afraid that Bill Gates was going to drop down from the ceiling and rip it off. So that was really exciting to see.
So we’re really excited to be supporting Windows Azure Active Directory. It helps reduce the friction for customers to be able to deploy cloud solutions, and we think it’s going to be great for developers. We think that’s going to be great for startups and the ecosystem broadly.
SCOTT GUTHRIE: Yeah, we were talking a little bit earlier about some of the friction that it reduces. I don’t know maybe you could talk as an enterprise SaaS solution what that friction is like, and how does something like this help?
AARON LEVIE: Yeah, I mean, if you think about how the enterprise software industry for decades basically if you wanted to deploy software or technology in your enterprise, you had to build this sort of massive competency in managing infrastructure and managing services and managing new software that you want to deploy. And there was so much friction for implementing new solutions into your business. So any new problem that you wanted to solve, you had to have the exact same amount of technology that you had to implement per solution.
Even harder was getting things like the identity to integrate and getting the technology to actually talk to each other. The power of the cloud is that any business anywhere in the world — and we’re talking millions of businesses that now have access to these solutions — can instantly on-demand light up new tools.
And so what that means is when you have lower friction, when you have more openness, we’re going to see way more innovation. And that creates an environment where startups can be much more competitive, where we can build much better solutions, and I think the ecosystem broadly can actually expand. And the $290 billion that is spent every year on enterprise software today on-premises can massively move to the cloud, and we can actually expand the amount of market potential that there is between the ecosystem.
SCOTT GUTHRIE: That’s awesome. You know, we’re kind of excited on our side in terms of the opportunity both kind of to enable that kind of shift. How we can use Windows Azure, how we can use the cloud in order to provide sort of this great opportunity for developers to basically build solutions that really can reach everyone.
You know, I think one of the other things that’s just nice is sort of how we can actually interoperate and integrate with systems all over the place. And that’s across protocols, that’s across operating systems, that’s devices, that’s even across languages. And I think as Aaron mentioned, it’s going to open up a ton of possibilities. And at the end of the day, I think really provide a lot of economic opportunity out there, hopefully for everyone in the audience.
AARON LEVIE: Cool.
SCOTT GUTHRIE: So thanks so much, Aaron.
AARON LEVIE: Thanks a lot, appreciate it. See you. (Applause.)
SCOTT GUTHRIE: I’m really excited to say that everything that we just showed here from a developer API perspective, you can start plugging into and taking advantage of this week. We’ve got a lot of great sessions on Windows Azure Active Directory where you can learn more, and you can start taking advantage of all the tools that we are providing in ASP.NET and with the new version of .NET and VS to get started and make it really easy to do it.
We’re then going to go ahead and soon have a preview of the SaaS app management gallery that you can also start loading your applications into, and we’ll start taking advantage of as an enterprise. So we’re pretty excited about that, and we think, again, it’s going to offer a ton of opportunity.
So let’s switch gears now. We’ve talked a little bit about identity and how we’re trying to make it really easy for you to integrate that within an enterprise environment. I’m going to talk a little bit about the integration space more broadly, and in particular talk about how we’re also making it really easy to integrate data, as well as operations in a secure way into your enterprise environment as well.
And we’ve got a number of great services with Windows Azure that make it really easy to do so.
One of them is something that we first launched this month called Windows Azure BizTalk Services. And I’m pretty excited about this one in that it really allows me to dramatically simplify the integration process. For people that haven’t ever tried to integrate, say, an SAP system with one of their existing apps, or ever tried to integrate an SAP system with an existing SaaS-based solution, there’s an awful lot of work involved in terms of doing that both in terms of code, but also in terms of monitoring and making sure everything is secure. And these types of integration efforts can often go on for months or years as you integrate complex line-of-business systems across your enterprise.
What we’re trying to do with Windows Azure BizTalk Services is just dramatically lower that cost in a really quantum way. And basically with Windows Azure BizTalk services, you can stand up an integration hub in a matter of minutes inside the cloud. You can do full B2B EDI processing in the cloud so you can process orders and manage supply chains across your organization.
We’re also enabling enterprise application integration support so that you can very easily integrate lots of different disparate apps within your environment, as well as integrate them with cloud-based apps, both your own custom solutions, as well as SaaS-based apps that your enterprise wants to go ahead and take advantage of.
You know, we think the end result really is going to be a game-changer in the integration space and opens up a bunch of possibilities.
So what I thought I’d like to do is walk through just sort of a simple example of how you can use it. So I’m going to go back to our little Contoso company.
And they want to be able to consume and use a SaaS-based app that does travel management. We’ll call it Tailspin Travel. And they want to be able to do single sign-on with their employees so that their employees can login using their Active Directory credentials.
But to really make it useful, they also want to be able to tie in their travel information and policies with their existing ERP system on premises, and that poses a challenge, which is how do you securely open up your ERP system and enable a third party to have access to it? How do you monitor it? How do you make sure it’s really secure?
And so that’s where BizTalk services comes into play. So with BizTalk services, you can go to Windows Azure, you can very easily and very quickly stand up a Windows Azure BizTalk service. And then we have a number of adapters that you can go ahead and download and run on-premises to connect it up.
In particular, we have an SAP adapter. We also have Oracle adapters, Siebel adapters, JD Edwards adapters, and a whole bunch more. So, basically, without you having to write any code, you can actually just define what we call bridges, which make it really easy and secure for you to go ahead and expose just the functionality you want.
That SaaS app or your own custom app can then go ahead and call endpoints within Windows Azure BizTalk Services using just standard JSON or REST APIs, and then basically securely go through that bridge and execute and retrieve the appropriate data.
Again, it’s really simple to set this up. What I’d like to do is just walk through a simple example of how to do it in action.
So what I have here is kind of the end-user app that our Contoso employees will use. It’s a Web-based application. Again, our Tailspin Travel. You’ll notice that the users are already logged in using the Windows Azure Active Directory already within the app. So this app could be hosted anywhere on the Internet.
I could then create new trips as an employee, or I could go ahead and look at existing ones that I’ve already booked. So here’s one, this is the return trip from Build. Right now, I’m flying in economy. I don’t know, maybe it would be nice to get upgraded. So I can go ahead and try to enter that.
But you’ll notice here at the top when I do it, a few seconds later, I’ve got a policy violation that was surfaced directly inside the Tailspin Travel app. And basically it just was saying I can’t just do this myself; my manager actually has to go ahead and approve it. And it’s coming directly out of the SAP system of Contoso.
So how did this happen? Well, on the Tailspin Travel side, this is the SaaS app, they’re building it in .NET. This is basically a simple piece of code that they have, which allows them on the SaaS side to actually check whether or not this trip is in policy.
Basically, the way they’ve implemented it is they’re just making a standard REST call to some endpoint that’s configured for the Contoso tenant. And this doesn’t have to be implemented with Azure, doesn’t have to be implemented with .NET, it can be implemented anywhere. And it’s just making a standard REST call. And depending on that action, the SaaS app then goes ahead and does something.
So how do we implement this REST call? Well, we could implement it in a variety of different ways on Windows Azure. We could write our own custom REST endpoint and process the code and handle it that way. We have lots of great ways to do that. Now, the downside, though. The tricky part of this is not going to be so much implementing the REST API; it’s actually implementing all the logic to flow that call to an on-premises SAP system, get the information validated, and return it.
Again, that would typically require an awful lot of code if you needed to do that from scratch.
What I’m going to do here is switch here to the other machine. And walk through how we can use BizTalk services to dramatically simplify it.
So you can create a new BizTalk service. Go ahead and just say new app service, BizTalk service custom create. I could say Contoso endpoint. And literally just by walking through a couple wizards here and hitting OK, I can basically stand up my own BizTalk service inside the cloud hosted in a high-availability environment literally in a matter of minutes.
And for anyone who’s ever installed BizTalk Server or an integration hub themselves, they’ll know that typically that does not take a couple minutes. And the nice thing about the cloud is we can really kind of make this almost instantaneous.
Once the service is created, you get the same kind of nice dashboard view and quick start view that you saw Josh with Mobile Services. And so there are ways that you download the SDK. You can also monitor and scale up and scale down the service dynamically.
And then as a developer, I can just launch Visual Studio. I can say new project. I can say I want to create a new BizTalk service, which will define all the mapping rules and the bridge logic that I want to use.
This is one I’ve created earlier. You’ll notice here on the left in the Server Explorer we have a number of LOB adapters that are automatically loaded inside the Server Explorer, so I can connect through my SAP system directly and do that.
Add it to the design surface, and then I can create these bridges that I can either define declaratively; I can also write custom code using .NET in order to customize. Basically, I can just double-click it. This little WYSIWYG designer here lets me actually map the REST calls that I’m getting from that Tailspin Travel SaaS app, transform it, and then I can basically map it to my SAP system.
And you can see here in our schema designer, we basically allow you to do fairly complex mapping rules between any two formats. So here on the right-hand side, I have my SAP schema that’s stored in my on-premises environment; the left-hand side here, there’s that REST endpoint. This is a very simple example with a lot of these integration workflows. You might have literally thousands of fields that you’re mapping back and forth.
Once I do the mapping, though, all I need to do is just go ahead and hit deploy, and this will immediately upload it into my BizTalk Azure service and at that point, it’s live on the Web. I can then choose who do I want to give access to this bridge? And I can now securely start transferring just the information I want into and out of my enterprise.
For an IT professional, they can then go ahead and open up our admin tool. They can see all the bridges that have been defined. And then one of the things that we also build directly into Windows Azure BizTalk Services is automatic tracking support. And what this means is now the IT professional can actually see all of the calls that are going in and out of the enterprise. It’s all logged; it’s all audited so it’s fully compliant, and they can basically now keep track of exactly all the communication that’s going on to make sure that it’s in policy.
Literally, you saw all of this sort of a simple example here, but this really starts to open up tons of possibilities where you can integrate either with other SaaS out there that your organization wants to use, or as you want to start building your own custom business application and host within Windows Azure, you can now securely get access to your on-premises line-of-business capabilities and very securely manage it. (Applause.)
And I’m excited to announce that everything we just showed here, as well as everything I showed when I created that Active Directory app, is now available for you to start using. You can go to WindowsAzure.com, and you can start taking advantage of Windows Azure BizTalk Services today. (Applause.)
So I talked a little bit about how we’re making it easy to integrate enterprise systems with the cloud, both on the identity side as well as the integration side. The other side of enterprise grade services that we’re delivering fall into the data space. And here we’re really trying to make it easy for you to store any data you want in the cloud, any amount of data you want in the cloud, and be able to perform really rich analysis on top of it. And so with Windows Azure storage, we have a really powerful storage system that lets you store hundreds of terabytes, or even petabytes, of storage in any format that you want. We have NoSQL capabilities that are provided as part of that as well as raw block capability. With our SQL database support, we now have a relational engine in the cloud that you can use. You can very easily spin up relational databases literally in a matter of seconds and start using the same ADO.NET and SQL syntax features that you are familiar with today.
We also a few months ago launched a new service that we call HD Insight. This makes it really easy for you to spin up your own Hadoop cluster in the cloud, and that you can then go ahead and access any of this data that’s being stored and perform map reduce jobs on it. And what’s nice about how we’re doing HD Insight, like you’ve seen with a lot of the openness things that we’ve talked about throughout the day, is it’s built using the same Hadoop open source framework that you can download and use elsewhere. We’re actually contributors into the project now.
And with Windows Azure, it’s now trivially easy for you to spin up your own Hadoop cluster, be able to point at the data and immediately start getting insights from it, and starting to integrate it with your environment. And so I think in the next keynote later today, you’re actually going to see a demo of that in action. So I’ll save some of that for them.
But the key takeaway here is just sort of the combination of all these capabilities in identity integration and data space really we think are game-changers for the enterprise, really enable you to build modern business applications in the cloud. I think they’re going to be a lot of fun to use. So we look forward to seeing what you build.
Thank you very much.
SATYA NADELLA: Thanks, Scott.
So one last thing I want to talk about is Office and Office 365 as a programmable surface area. We talked a lot about building SaaS applications using services, Scott talked about it. But what if you were a large developer, line-of-business application developer, or a SaaS application developer and could use all of the power of Office as part of your application? And that’s what we’re enabling with the programming surface area of Office.
What that means is the rich object model of Office, everything from the social graph, the identity, presence information, document workflows, document libraries, all of that is available for you to use using modern Web APIs within your application. You can, in fact, have the chrome either in the Office client or in SharePoint, and you can have the full power of the backend in Azure. And, of course, the idea is here is to be able to do all of that with first-class tool support.
To show you some of this in action, I wanted to invite up onstage Jay Schmelzer from our Visual Studio team to show you some of the rapid application development in Office.
Jay, come on in.
JAY SCHMELZER: Thank you. The requirements and expectations and importance of business applications has never been greater than it is today. Modern business applications need to access data available inside and outside the organization. They need to enable individuals across the organization to connect and easily collaborate with each other in rich and interesting ways. And the applications themselves need to be available on multiple different types of devices and form factors.
As developers, we need a platform that provides a set of services that meet the core requirements of these applications. And we need a toolset that allows us to productively build those applications while also integrating in with our existing dev ops processes across the organization.
What I want to show you this morning is a quick look at some things we’re still working on inside of Visual Studio to enable developers to build these modern business applications that extend the Office 365 experience leveraging those services available both from Office 365 and the Windows Azure platform.
And, of course, doing it inside of a Visual Studio experience that allows the developer to focus on unique aspects of their business, and their application, not spending as much time in boilerplate code.
To do that, we’re going to focus on the human resources department at Contoso, who has been using Office 365 to manage the active job positions across the organization. And we want to create a new application that allows individuals in the company to submit potential candidates for open positions from within their Office 365 site using whichever device they happen to have available at the time.
To do that, we’ll switch over to Visual Studio, and we’ll see that we have a new Office 365 Cloud Business app project template available to us. This project goes and builds on the existing apps for Office and apps for SharePoint capabilities that are surfaced as part of that new cloud app model Satya was talking about. And it provides us a prescriptive solution structure for building a modern business application.
I mentioned data is a core part of this, and you see we’ve already started creating the definition for a new table that we’ll use to store our potential candidates. What Office 365 Cloud Business apps does for us is surface additional data types that provide access to these core capabilities of the Office 365 and Windows Azure platform.
Some examples of that we see here that the referred by is typed as a person, giving us access to all the capabilities in Office 365 associated with that Office 365 or Azure Active Directory user. The document, their resume, is stored as a typed document. So we can store it in a document library, and it leverages the rich content management and workflow capabilities associated with Office documents.
We also need to be able to go and pull in data from elsewhere. In our case, we want to go and grab data from that existing SharePoint list the human resources team is using to manage active positions, so that our users can choose a potential position they think those candidates are appropriate for. You see, I’ve already added that, so it’s in my project.
We’ll just go and connect it up between the candidate and our job postings, specify the relationship, and say OK. And now we have this virtual relationship between our Office 365 list and our SQL Azure Database.
OK, the next thing we want to do, though, is really enable that people interaction. If you notice, when I look over here at the candidate, if I select this, you’ll see right from here I have the ability to have the application interact with my corporate social network on my behalf as I’m doing interesting things in the application.
So we have the data model defined. The next thing we need to do is create the UI model. Users of business applications today expect a modern look and feel, a modern experience, but they also want it to be consistent. Visual Studio gives you great ways of doing this for providing a set of patterns that are going to be consistent across your applications. We’ll select a browse pattern, just choose, or the default pattern, choose the table we care about, and now let Visual Studio go and create for us a set of experiences for browsing, viewing, editing and updating that candidate information.
So we have our data model. We have our UI model. The last thing we want to do is go in and actually write some business logic. In this case, back on the entity designer, we’ll go in, and we’ll leverage the data pipeline where we can interact with data moving in and out of the application. In this case, we’ll use our validate. And what we’ll do is, we’ll just go in and make sure that the only folks that can go and actually set or modify the interview date are members of the HR department. And here’s another example where we see the power of surfacing those underlying platform capabilities. I’m able to reach in to the current user, into their Azure Active Directory settings, and grab the current department and validate it against the checks we want to make.
Let’s go ahead and set a breakpoint here. I think we’re probably in good shape. Anyway, so we’re going to launch the application, and Visual Studio is going to go package this up, send the manifest off to our remote Office 365 developer site, and then launch our application. We have no candidates yet, so we’ll create a new one. Last night when we were talking about this stuff, Scott seemed pretty excited about what we’re doing. So maybe he would be an interesting person for us to work with.
When I go in and actually start specifying who it is that’s going to refer this person, you see I’m by default getting the list of the users available on this Office 365 site because I typed that it’s a person. So we’ll select Jim there, one of our team members, go ahead and upload a document that is Scott’s resume. And we’ll specify an interview date, maybe we’ll go out here into September.
The last thing we want to do is go choose which of the positions we think is appropriate to Scott. He’s going to be new to the team, so we’ll maybe choose a little more junior role for him so that he can be successful. We hit save. If we’d actually set that breakpoint, we would see our business logic would have been executed, and we would be able to get that rich debugging experience you’ve come to know and expect from Visual Studio.
We now see we have our candidate. When I drill in and look at it, you see that we’re getting that consistency of experience. I’m getting presence information for the person. When I hover over it, we see the contact card. A little misplaced, but if I want to have a conversation with Jim right now, I can go ahead and do that right from within the application just because we’ve leveraged those underlying capabilities. Of course, in the document we can see the properties of the document. We can view it in the Web application right from the site, or we can follow it if we want to do that as well.
I noticed one thing here; I’ve got this extra ID showing up. So let me go flip over to Visual Studio, and we’ll look at the View Candidate page. And just like we can with any other Web development, we can just go in here and while the application is running we’ll just remove that. We’ll save those changes, flip back over here, just kind of do a little quick refresh, and now when I go in you’ll see that, hey, that extraneous value is no longer there.
The other thing you’ll notice is that in addition to the values we specified for our SQL data, we also have built in the ability to do the basic tracking of, hey, who was the last person who created or modified this record, just core requirements of a business application.
The last thing we’ll look at is on the newsfeed we’re going to click over to that, and you’ll see that the application has gone and interacted on my behalf, right, and entered things into our internal social network, letting people know that, hey, I just submitted somebody as a potential new candidate. So if you folks want to follow them, and so forth.
OK. Our application is looking good. It’s time to go get it integrated with our existing dev ops processes. To do that, we’ll just go over here to the solution explorer, we’ll right click on the solution, and we’ll start by adding this to source code control. In this case, we’ll add it to our Team Foundation Service instance. We’ll go right click; we’ll go check in all these changes that we just made, and while that’s happening I’m going to switch over and take a look at some of the build environments we have established in our Team Foundation Service.
In this case. we’ll see that we have an existing build definition for HR jobs. If I look at that definition, we’ll see that the things I can do is I can switch it to now be continuous, so that as we check in code we can go move on. The other interesting thing is here we’ve got a custom process template that understands how to take the output of the build and deploy it into our Office 365 test site. So this is all just basic power, and this is all built on the underlying technologies and capabilities inside of Visual Studio. That also means we can extend this beyond the SharePoint experience into the Office client experiences, as well.
So here I’ve also built a mail app that allows me to go and prepopulate information in the application from the content of the mail and shove it right into creating a new user, without having to go directly into the application. Hopefully with that, you got a really quick look at some things we’re still working on in Visual Studio, to enable developers to build modern business applications, extending the Office 365 experience, building on the capabilities of Office 365 and the Windows Azure platform.
Thank you very much.
SATYA NADELLA: Thanks, Jay. Thank you.
So hopefully, you got a feel for how you can rapidly build these Office applications, but more importantly, how you could compose these applications you build with, in fact, your full line of business application on Azure and enrich your SAS app, or your line of business enterprise app. I’m very, very pleased to announce that there is a subscription of my Office 365 Home Premium for 12 months that’s going to come to you via email later this afternoon. We hope you enjoy that subscription. (Applause.)
And I know everyone in the room is also perhaps an MSDN subscriber. So we are continuing to improve MSDN benefits. One of the things that we are doing with Windows Azure is to make it very, very easy for you to be able to do dev tests. So now you can use your dev test licenses on Windows Azure. In fact, the cost and the pricing for that is such that you can probably share something like 97 percent of your dev test expenses. We’re also going to give you credits based on your various levels of MSDN. So if you’re a premium subscriber, you get $100, which you can use across your VMs, databases, as well as doing things like load testing. So fantastic benefits I would encourage everyone to go take advantage of it. And also to reduce the friction even further, we have now made it possible for any MSDN subscriber to be able to sign up to Azure without any credit card. I know this is something that many of you have asked for. We’re really pleased to do that. (Applause.)
We had a whirlwind tour of the backend technologies. Really with Windows Azure, we think we now have a robust platform for you to be able to do your modern application development for a modern business. It could be Web, mobile, or this cloud scale and enterprise grade. So hope you get a chance to play with it. We welcome all the feedback, and have a great rest of the Build.
Thank you very, very much.
A highly recommended prerequisite reading: The Where Platform from Nokia: a company move to taking data as a raw material to build products [April 7, 2012]
So, while Microsoft was struggling today with Steven Sinofsky, ex Microsoft: The victim of an extremely complex web of the “western world” high-tech interests [this same blog, Nov 13, 2012] Nokia made a big leap forward on its 2 year’s to counter the lethal dangers of Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21, 2011] phenomenon it recognized earlier than every other high-tech company in the “western world”.
Below there is the collection of the information made public today which shows quite well that in mid-term they could even become the most successful “western” high-tech company to overcome the tide raising from China towards the legacy high-tech companies. Their strategic partnership with Mozilla for the FireFox OS is even showing that they are not stupid at all to put all their eggs in the Windows Phone bag (albeit it is publicly only to bring HERE to that OS). They have already a very well positioned Asha and Asha Touch product line in the lower end (see With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets [this same blog, Nov 1, 2012]), and now with FireFox OS they could have a 3d one positioned for what they called “taking advantage of future technology disruptions and trends” (see Nokia under transition (as reported by the company) [this same blog, March 11, 2012]).
Nokia redefines digital map landscape by introducing HERE as new brand for its location and mapping service [Nokia press release, Nov 13, 2012]
Nokia extends its service across devices and operating systems
Nokia announces new partnership with Mozilla and planned acquisition of 3D capture company, earthmine
San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere.
“People want great maps, and with HERE we can bring together Nokia’s location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world,” said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop. “Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service.”
Pushing location beyond Nokia
To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. Based on HTML5, it will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple’s App Store in the coming weeks.
Nokia further announced a strategic partnership with Mozilla to bring new location experiences to the Firefox OS. Nokia plans to debut a mobile Web version of HERE Maps for the new Firefox OS next year. The companies are working together to give people the best mapping experience on Firefox OS.
“Mozilla is a leader in HTML5, building the Web as a platform for developing compelling applications, and location is a key part of that platform,” said Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Vice President of Products. “We are excited to work with Nokia as the combination of Firefox OS and HERE’s location platform provides rich possibilities for mobile application developers to create amazing experiences for users.”
Nokia also demonstrated an Android OS-based reference application and announced plans for the availability of a HERE SDK for Android OEMs in early 2013. This is aimed at enabling partners to create location-based applications for Android devices with Nokia’s leading content.
Innovating modern mapmaking
To advance the 3D capabilities of HERE, Nokia announced the planned acquisition of Berkeley, Calif. company earthmine. The company’s reality capture and processing technologies will become integral parts of HERE’s 3D map making capabilities.
Nokia expects the transaction to close by the end of 2012.
“Maps are hard to get right – but location is revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world,” said Michael Halbherr, Executive Vice President of Location & Commerce and responsible for the HERE brand. “That’s why we have been investing and will continue to invest in building the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today.”
Using LiveSight(TM) to see more of the real world
As part of its announcement, Nokia introduced LiveSight(TM), a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world. LiveSight(TM) provides the most precise and intuitive augmented reality experience and uses a phone’s camera viewfinder to make discovering the world as easy as lifting up a phone. Nokia City Lens, which was developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.
“Establishing a new brand is the right move for Nokia in the map and location business. Nokia’s assets in this space are world class. We believe mapping and location will be increasingly important to developing next generation devices and services across a wide array of segments,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President and Head of worldwide research at IDC.
iOS, Android, Firefox OS: HERE is available everywhere [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Today’s announcement means that we’re bringing HERE to all devices and operating systems to give more people, with any type of device the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world. And with HERE, location will set Nokia apart.
Introducing HERE Maps for iOS
We’re making HERE Maps available in the Apple App Store: iOS users can more easily access our rich mapping experience with a single tap on their home screen. The app has been developed with the same HTML5 technology that powers the mobile web and is therefore very versatile and optimized for mobile use.
With HERE Maps for iOS you can get smart directions to navigate your way around town, whether you’re driving, walking or taking public transportation, so let’s have a closer look at all the features available.
What is HERE Maps for iOS?
With HERE Maps for iOS you can save an area to your device, so you can explore even without data coverage. You can save an area in advance and use it later at up to 4 different zoom levels.
Since you don’t walk on the same routes you drive, HERE Maps for iOS gives you dedicated voice guided turn-by-turn walk navigation that guides you along the best route for walking there: pedestrian routes, through parks, down alleyways, and more. With voice navigation, you will spend less time looking at your phone and more time enjoying getting there.
Because HERE Maps for iOS has been designed for urban use, the voice navigation only works for journeys on foot. However, there’s also public transportation and driving directions in over 500 cities and you can make transfers easily with detailed public transport connections. With live traffic information and incident notices, you know where the traffic is, so you can spend less time driving there and more time being there.
With HERE Maps for iOS you can organize favourite places by categories such as “Hip Bars” or “Cheap Eats” and sync them withHERE.com so you can build your personal map on the go and easily find them again.
For instance, you can add a place to your favourites on your phone and post a review when you get home: wherever you are, you’re always in sync. This feature is very easy to use because you can sign-on with your Nokia or Facebook accounts.
On an iPad you can also see the top 25 places nearby at a glance: HERE Maps automatically displays up to 25 best places near you in a scroll window at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap a place and get all the details or scroll down and filter your results by category (shopping, going out, sights and more).
Whether you’re making plans for later or just want to share a great new find, HERE.com lets you share locations with just a tap, including how to get there, with a simple link sent over SMS, email, or social networks.
Introducing HERE Maps for Firefox OS
Because one of the main attributes of HERE is its openness, we’re also partnering with Mozilla to create new location experiences for Firefox OS. In the coming months, we will introduce HERE Maps for Firefox OS and we’ll continue working, together with Mozilla, to give people the best mapping experience on the OS.
One more thing… HERE Android API
HERE Maps for iOS and Firefox OS are not our only effort to give everyone the ability to use the best location platform in the world. Today, we’re also introducing HERE Maps API for Android, which will made available to partners in the next months.
In apps built with the HERE Android API, users will be able to interact with extruded 3D buildings, search for specific buildings and preview their routes in detail to more realistically show where they’re going.
To showcase what partners can offer when they build Android apps with our HERE API, we have prepared a reference app in the following video.Read more about HERE for iOS, Android and Firefox OS here:http://conversations.nokia.com/?p=103078 In apps built with the HERE Android API, users will be able to interact with extruded 3D buildings, search for specific buildings and preview their routes in detail to more realistically show where they’re going. To showcase what partners can offer when they build Android apps with our HERE API, we have prepared a reference app in this video.
Disclaimer: this is not an actual app that we are releasing in the Google Play Store, it is just a reference app we have developed to showcase which features we are offering to partners for their location-based Android apps.
Follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
HERE: the next generation of location services [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Mapping and location-based services are integral to Nokia’s future and a key way that we stand out from the crowd.
Nokia’s commitment to building the leading location offering is demonstrated every day around the world in its rich set of location-based apps like Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia Maps, Nokia Pulse and Nokia City Lens. Quite literally, Nokia helps people navigate their world. But this is only the tip of the iceberg: as a result of our acquisition of NAVTEQ and other mapping industry players, Nokia was the first to build the world’s most accurate and comprehensive global digital map by sending teams to verify every street in every city.
The next step forward – sensing our world
We can do more with our location heritage and mapping expertise, and go beyond a digital version of the paper map. Maps can be more than getting a person from point A to point B. They should bring places to life and inspire us to sense our world.
This is why today we are introducing HERE, the world’s first location cloud that delivers a location platform, location content and location apps across any screen and any operating system.
Just like digital cameras created possibilities that were unthinkable with analog photography, today’s digital mapping has amazing potential to grow into what we call computational cartography, the ability to produce maps on-demand and tailored to their actual use cases. Today’s digital maps are generic – i.e. always the same, irrespective of the content they visualize. We also believe that this game-changing evolution in mapmaking should be available to more businesses and more people around the world – it should expand beyond cars and beyond Nokia devices.
“Location based experiences need to evolve from an app-centric approach towards a holistic customer experience; consumers want services that are optimized for multi-mobile device use and available on demand, everywhere”, said Thilo Koslowski, VP and Lead Automotive Analyst, Gartner.
What does it mean?
Nokia Lumia and HERE are naturally made for each other, providing the best location experience on a smartphone, but we aren’t reserving HERE just for Windows Phone. Instead, we are opening it up to all devices and operating systems to give everyone, with any type of device, the possibility to recognize and the ability to use the best location platform in the world. This openness is what sets HERE apart from other digital maps in the world. And with HERE, location will be an even more powerful differentiation for Nokia.
We’re making HERE Maps available for iOS in the Apple App Store as a HTML5-based app and introducing HERE Maps API for Android. We will also introduce HERE Maps for Firefox OS and we’ll continue working, together with Mozilla, to give people the best mapping experience on the OS.
We are introducing LiveSight, a technology based on a highly accurate, 3D map of the world, which provides the most precise and intuitive augmented reality experience. Nokia City Lens, developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application using LiveSight.
Our industrial collection of data is about to leap a chasm with the planned acquisition of earthmine. earthmine offers a complete solution for collecting, processing, managing, and hosting 3D street level imagery.
So stay tuned. There is so much more to say in the coming hours and days and the long-term, and we’re looking forward to your continued feedback as we move ahead. You can also follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
LiveSight: immersive experiences you can act on [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Nokia City Lens, exclusively available for Nokia Lumia, is one of our most-talked-about apps and we’re very proud of it. Using the phone’s camera viewfinder, Nokia City Lens provides an augmented reality overlay view of buildings and instantly highlights places of interest. Nokia City Lens is basically turning sight into the next interface for searching the world around you. Although Nokia City Lens is powered by a complex system of collection technologies, it’s very easy to use. After all, what could be simpler to use than sight? It’s the most human sense for sensing and exploring the world.
After type pads, touchscreens and voice recognition, we want sight recognition to be another standard way to interact with the world around you. But it’s not only about sight recognition; it’s also aboutlive map information. In one word, it’s… LiveSight. Nokia City Lens, developed exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices, is the first application providing a LiveSight-enabled experience.
LiveSight is a collection of mechanisms:
3D sight interface: buildings are detected by our collection technologies with high accuracy and feeling of depth
Line of sight: with the line of sight view, only POIs in sight are displayed
Freeze frame: save a live view to inspect the city without having to hold the camera pointed at the target
Building directory: click on a building to see what is inside
This new technology is going to address everyday actions like finding a store indoor, finding your friends in a crowd or your parked car. Yes, with LiveSight you can create a place for your parked car.
“We’ve all been there — trying get to where we are going by following that dot on our phones; you take a few steps in one direction to see if the dot moves where it should; with LiveSight you can orient yourself by simply lifting up your phone and looking through the camera view finder and find your destination whether it is right in front of you or three blocks away” said Peter Skillman, head of UX Design for HERE.
You can also follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
Innovating modern map making with earthmine [Nokia Conversations, Nov 13, 2012]
Because we know that maps are hard to get right, we have been investing and will continue to invest time and money to build the world’s most powerful location offering, one that is unlike anything in the market today. Content creation in cartography is a continuous quest to make maps more precise and to map the whole world. We useinnovative collection technologies (e.g. LiDAR, cameras, etc.) and a team of local experts to create close to perfect digital copies of reality.
Innovating map making
Map makers today have a vast array of data at their disposal and digital technology has made the map accessible to everyone. But at their core today’s digital maps are little changed from paper maps: they are static because they represent the world at the moment the data is captured and they still require a lot of work and imagination to get the most out of them.
We believe, in fact, that location services are revolutionizing how we use technology to engage with the real world. This is why we are innovating every aspect of what a cartographer does: we use data that’s never been incorporated into maps and then make sense of it in a way that transforms the experience. We are innovating what we capture, the way we capture it, and how we model to give rise to a new generation of user experiences.
Today our industrial collection of data is about to leap a chasm with the planned acquisition of earthmine.
earthmine offers a complete solution for collecting, processing, managing, and hosting 3D street level imagery. This will add competitive advantages and increased differentiation to HERE‘s Location Content and Location Platform, sustaining competitiveness in B2B (e.g. data for in-car navigation systems) and driving highly engaging user experiences.
earthmine is going to be a major asset in our arsenal of collection tools in that it complements our internal technologies with capabilities that enhance what we are already doing. The most obvious is the sensor design and integration that can be seen on a earthmine car, which enables mobile mapping and is massively scalable. And when we collect with earthmine we get the same wealth of visual and other sensor data that enables us achieve our mapmaking automation goals. By next year, with earthmine we will expand the number of countries to 31 in which we are automatically collecting 3D information. Additionally, earthmine brings advanced image processing capability and geographic information system tools that make the processed imagery and data readily available enabling us to move faster than we otherwise could.
Follow us on Twitter: @heremaps.
Fueling the future of digital maps [Nokia Conversations, Oct 25, 2012]
At the heart of any location experience is the understanding of where you are and what’s around you, an awareness often achieved by using a map. While today’s digital maps are much more advanced than the maps of just 20 years ago, they will continue to get more accurate and comprehensive, simplifying how we navigate and interact with an ever-changing world.
So, how do we build a high quality map and keep it fresh? At the core of the process is our innovative collection technologies blended with a team of local experts.
Using their intimate knowledge of local road networks and surrounding areas, these experts, who drive millions of roadways each year, use specially equipped vehicles to collect and verify location data.
Depending on local conditions, product requirements and a variety of other factors, the local drivers use distinct collection technology, ranging from highly mobile pedestrian collection tools to the sophisticated NAVTEQ True technology.
NAVTEQ True is actually composed of four unique technologies:
360° LIDAR: Rotating lasers capture 1.3 million 3D digital data points every second, which generates a virtual 3D model of the world around the vehicle.
Position Sensors: GPS and military grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) sensors measure the vehicle’s speed, orientation and even gravitational forces to provide highly precise location references to every point within the virtual 3D model.
Panoramic Cameras: These cameras layer in a 360° images synchronized to the 3D LIDAR points—giving us the most true to life representation of the world
High Resolution Multi-View Cameras: High-resolution images give us the opportunity to increase automation so we can more quickly bring advanced location content to more people.
Worldwide, NAVTEQ True technology is gathering an immense amount of data.
For instance, in one single day, we might collect 12 million signage images, two million panoramic images, a trillion LIDAR points, and 65 million million (65,000,000,000,000!) colour pixels. We’re not just taking pictures of the world; we’re creating a new data model of the world.
With this level of high quality data, NAVTEQ True technology is capturing real world dimension, fueling more realistic and interactive experiences. With data collected by NAVTEQ True, you can explore the world more easily and in a whole new way – you can instantly see all the best places to eat and things to do and see it right on your phone’s camera display. It’s like having x-ray vision, revealing the hidden spots you might otherwise miss.
You can experience an implementation example of the collected data in 3D with Nokia City Lens for Nokia Lumia. Simply by following the instructions on the right.
I will add to that the following NAVTEQ video giving more explanation about the excellence of Nokia’s mapping technology:
Building the most accurate and fresh map [NAVTEQCompany YouTube channel, Oct 5, 2012]
Frequently Asked Questions: Maps on Windows Phone 8 [Nokia Conversations, Oct 31, 2012]
With Windows Phone 8 officially introduced last Monday and the first smartphones based on this platform being shipped or reviewed, it’s time to have a quick overview of its location-based apps and experiences.
As you may already know, Nokia is delivering the backbone for all location experiences on Windows Phone 8 and offering Nokia Drive to all Windows Phone 8 partners, empowering this new OS with voice guided turn-by-turn car navigation.
Since we made these announcements, some legitimate questions have been asked on Twitter, on this blog and in the first reviews of Windows Phone 8. I would therefore like to summarize them and provide some clarification.
What does it mean that the Nokia Location Platform is powering the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem?
It basically means that location-based apps for Windows Phone 8 developed by Nokia (e.g. Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia City Lens and Nokia Transport), apps developed by Microsoft (e.g. Bing Maps) and apps by any other developer make use of basic functionalities provided by Nokia.
It also means that some features like offline maps are now completely embedded into Windows Phone 8. You can find this option in your smartphone settings.
Is Nokia Maps on all Windows Phone 8 smartphones?
The Nokia Location Platform is powering the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem, not Nokia Maps, which is an app. On non-Nokia Windows Phone 8 smartphones, the default mapping application is Windows Phone Maps. This is running on top of our map data. It is using our geocoding, our traffic information and our routes, but it’s ultimately developed by Windows Phone, with a custom UI, search and POI database.
Where is turn-by-turn navigation?
Nokia Drive is the application that provides voice-guided turn-by-turn car navigation on Nokia smartphones and with Windows Phone 8 it’s also being made available to other manufacturers. Nokia Drive has been rewritten from the ground up specifically for Windows Phone 8, to leverage the power of this OS and offering new features.
We are currently testing it and a beta version will be made available very soon. On a Nokia smartphone like Nokia Lumia 920, you will find a tile on the start screen that will take you to the Windows Phone Store to download Nokia Drive Beta. Other manufacturers and Microsoft will decide in which countries and on which devices Nokia Drive will be offered to their customers.
You will be very pleased to know that some of the features you have requested the most, spoken street names and route planning options to avoid toll roads, ferries, etc., have been included in this release. However, while currently in beta, Nokia Drive for Windows Phone 8 won’t support My Commute just yet and we strongly suggest you to make use of the offline maps to enjoy your travels.
What’s new in Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8?
On Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8, the default mapping application is Nokia Maps. We’ve been working hard during the past few months to develop a great new release specifically for Windows Phone 8. In a previous blog post I’ve explained all the features we are including in Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 or currently working on.
While the first version of Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 was being preinstalled on our newest smartphones (v 2.9), we were already working on an update with even more features. This is why, when you first start your new Nokia smartphone with Windows Phone 8, we encourage you to immediately update Nokia Maps and enjoy all the latest features (v 3.0).
In a nutshell, you won’t only be able to use offline maps but also offline search and routing, also for public transport. You can use turn-by-turn walk navigation or start Nokia Drive to get voice-guided, turn-by-turn car navigation. Last but not least, you will also find your way indoors with the support of venue maps in almost 18,000 buildings in 40 countries (and counting).
‘Nokia Maps offers the most advanced mobile maps offering to consumers today with largest global coverage, highest quality mapping data and true offline availability’ said Francisco Jeronimo, Research Manager, European Mobile Devices, IDC.
What’s new in Nokia Transport for Windows Phone 8?
Nokia Transport (aka Nokia Transit in North America) has also been updated with great new features. Just like Nokia Maps, we started working on a new version of Nokia Transport immediately after preinstalling it on the Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8. This is why you will find an update in the Windows Phone Store in coming days.
With the new version of Nokia Transport for Windows Phone 8, automatic over-the-air updates help ensure you have the latest information on schedules and routes as well as on newly supported cities. You can now get a combined segment map and detail view to orient yourself at a glance: just tap or swipe a specific segment of your journey to expand an intuitive map and detail view that easily lets you see where you are and where you need to be.
New display settings will give you the options to select miles or kilometers, the time of departure or the time you have until the next departure and plan ahead by setting time and date of your journey. From Nokia Transport, you can now also launch the turn-by-turn walk navigation provided by Nokia Maps to get to the next stop or to your final destination. The search history has also been redesigned to be easier to use and to support entries management. For example, you can now manually delete previous searches and keep the history tidier.
What is Nokia City Lens?
Nokia City Lens turns sight into the next interface for searching the world around you. The app provides information about each building or landmark in the area, giving people an at-a-glance understanding of what restaurants, museums, shops and others places of interest are nearby. Seeing a place of interest through augmented reality provides a wealth of information not available with the naked eye, allowing you to see the world around you using your smartphone instead of having to perform web searches.
The technology powering Nokia City Lens is particularly advanced and accurate. We are capturing real world dimension, fueling more realistic and interactive experiences. It’s like having X-ray vision, revealing hidden spots you might otherwise miss.
Nokia City Lens comes preinstalled on Nokia smartphones with Windows Phone 8 and we are already busy working on the next release, which you can learn more in this previous blog post.
Image credit: Walt Stoneburner
With Windows 8 (and IE10) Microsoft is carrying out a future-proof web platform strategy as well. Below I’ve collected the standards-based adaptive layout technologies (as the most critical ones from a scaling point of view) implemented by the company for the current Windows 8 Consumer Preview released on Feb 29, 2012.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Making great Metro style apps [on WindowsVideos YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]
For this post watch at least the #2 Snap and Scale beautifully part between [2:42] and [3:20] !
The corresponding W3C specifications are indicated along, namely:
- CSS GRID LAYOUT: actively developed but still Exploring
– upcoming: Working Draft]
- CSS FLEXIBLE BOX LAYOUT: actively developed but already in Revising
– upcoming: Working Draft
- CSS MULTI-COLUMN LAYOUT: in Testing but the CSS3 test suite is still in development
– upcoming: Candidate Recommendation
- CSS EXCLUSIONS AND SHAPES: actively developed but still Exploring
– upcoming: Working Draft
- CSS REGIONS: actively developed but still Exploring
– upcoming: Working Draft
- CSS TEXT LEVEL 3 (with Hyphenation inside): actively developed but already in Revising
– upcoming: Working Draft
- For text layout CSS regions may be a better option than the multi-column in situations where a more varied page layout is called for, or where there is a possibility that the inline content of an element could overflow the element.
- All of the layout constructs available in HTML are available for XAML developers as well. In this way developers in the C++ and the managed (C# etc.) worlds are having the exactly same capabilities, particularly from the point of view of adaptive layout technologies described here from web standards point of view.