Microsoft’s latest Dynamics 365 applications bring AI and Hololens to workplaces

Alfred Osborne
September 21, 2018

The announcements signal Microsoft's increasing confidence in its competitive fightback against Salesforce, which today celebrates the two-year anniversary of the launch of its own Einstein AI tools.

In a blog post Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president for business applications and industry, wrote that these new applications will "deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organisations to take informed actions".

These insights are easily extensible through the Microsoft's business analytics service - Power BI, Azure and the Common Data Service, that could enable organizations to address complex scenarios specific to their business.

At Build developer conference, Microsoft demonstrated two new mixed reality apps that will help its customers in many ways.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service combines Microsoft's AI and natural language technology to give customer service staff smarter access to customer data and the ability to leverage bots to deal with lower level queries.

With its focus on the enterprise segment and customer relationship management, Dynamics 365 isn't always the most glamorous Microsoft offering to talk about. The boost to Dynamics may be felt first by its existing customer base - it seems far-fetched that large companies would quickly change their calculus about a CRM tool based on such announcements alone.

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Chevron's adoption of HoloLens in production wasn't a direct outcome of its wider-ranging cloud partnership with Microsoft, the company says, but did help accelerate adoption through the sharing of engineering expertise and Chevron's familiarity with Azure and Dynamics 365, both of which are used by HoloLens' apps.

Meanwhile the HoloLens goggles offerings for businesses includes Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, which essentially lets field service workers use the HoloLens goggles to fix equipment or take other actions guided by a remote expert who can watch the process and draw instructions in the workers' fields of view.

Microsoft cited the example of the oil company Chevron that previously had to fly in an inspector from Houston to a facility in Singapore once a month to inspect equipment but now has in-time inspection using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to identify issues or provide approvals immediately.

Microsoft will be releasing these apps to Dynamics 365 users in October as part of their Ignite event. That bodes well for future iterations of the product set.

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