How Microsoft built the city of the future, right at home

How Microsoft Quietly Built the City of the Future

A small, covert team of engineers at Microsoft cast aside suggestions that the company spend US$60 million to turn its 500-acre headquarters into a smart campus to achieve energy savings and other efficiency gains. Instead, applying an œInternet of Things meets Big Data” approach, the team invented a data-driven software solution that is slashing the cost of operating the campus™ 125 buildings. The software, which is saving Microsoft millions of dollars, has been so successful that the company and its partners are now helping building managers across the world deploy the same solution. And with commercial buildings consuming an estimated 40 percent of the world™s total energy, the potential is huge.

By Jennifer Warnick

1: The Visionary

“Give me a little data and I™ll tell you a little. Give me a lot of data and I™ll save the world.”

– Darrell Smith , Director of Facilities and Energy


œThis is my office,” says the sticker on Darrell Smith™s laptop, and it is.

With his œoffice” tucked under his arm, Microsoft™s director of facilities and energy is constantly shuttling between meetings all over the company™s 500-acre, wooded campus in Redmond, Washington.

But Smith always returns to one unique place.

The Redmond Operations Center (often called œthe ROC”) is located in a drab, nondescript office park. Inside is something unique “ a new state-of-the-art œbrain” that is transforming Microsoft™s 125-building, 41,664-employee headquarters into one of the smartest corporate campuses in the world.

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Smith and his team have been working for more than three years to unify an incongruent network of sensors from different eras (think several decades of different sensor technology and dozens of manufacturers). The software that he and his team built strings together thousands of building sensors that track things like heaters, air conditioners, fans, and lights “ harvesting billions of data points per week. That data has given the team deep insights, enabled better diagnostics, and has allowed for far more intelligent decision making. A test run of the program in 13 Microsoft buildings has provided staggering results “ not only has Microsoft saved energy and millions in maintenance and utility costs, but the company now is hyper-aware of the way its buildings perform.

It™s no small thing “ whether a damper is stuck in Building 75 or a valve is leaky in Studio H “ that engineers can now detect (and often fix with a few clicks) even the tiniest issues from their high-tech dashboard at their desks in the ROC rather than having to jump into a truck to go find and fix the problem in person.

If the facility management world were Saturday morning cartoons, Smith and his team have effectively flipped the channel from œThe Flintstones” to œThe Jetsons.” Instead of using stone-age rocks and hammers to keep out the cold, Smith™s team invented a solution that relies on data to find and fix problems instantly and remotely.

SLIDESHOW: Building the Microsoft Campus

œGive me a little data and I™ll tell you a little,” he says. œGive me a lot of data and I™ll save the world.”

Smith joined Microsoft in December of 2008. His previous work managing data centers for Cisco had given him big ideas about how buildings could be smarter and more efficient, but until he came to Microsoft he lacked the technical resources to bring them to life. What he found at Microsoft was support for these ideas on all sides “ from his boss to a handful of savvy facilities engineers. They all knew buildings could be smarter, and together they were going to find a way to make it so.

Smith has a finger-tapping restlessness that prevents him from sitting through an entire movie. His intensity comes paired with the enthusiastic, genial demeanor of a favorite bartender or a softball buddy (and indeed, he does play first base for a company softball team, the Microsoft Misfits).

Ever punctual and an early riser, Smith lives near Microsoft headquarters and has taken to spending a few quiet hours at his desk on Sundays.

œI call it my den because I live a mile away. I come here, I make coffee, I have the building to myself,” Smith says.

His family and the people who know him best understand. Smart buildings are his passion, and everything in his life has been moving toward finding ways for companies the world over to get smarter about managing their buildings (which will help them save money and reduce their energy use).

œSmart buildings will become smart cities,” Smith says. œAnd smart cities will change everything.”

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Meet the Minecraft Education team at Bett 2019 Jan. 23-26 in London

The Minecraft: Education Edition team will be travelling to the UK next week for Bett 2019! Bett is the first industry expo of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together 800 leading companies, 100 startups and more than 30,000 attendees from the global education community.

We will be running hands-on workshops and demos at the new Minecraft Classroom (stand F280), an immersive space next to the Microsoft stand where attendees can learn how to teach and code with Minecraft: Education Edition, speak with members of our team for customer support and take fun photos with Minecraft mobs. Sign up for workshops here. Read this Education blog to learn what’s offered at the Microsoft stand (E300).

We hope you will follow along on social media @playcraftlearn #MinecraftEdu #Bett2019.

Here is a breakdown below of the Minecraft team’s Bett schedule, and what we will be covering during our workshops and demos:

Workshop – Code with Minecraft
Minecraft Classroom, Stand F280

Wednesday, January 23, at 11AM and 3PM GMT
Thursday, January 24, at 1PM GMT
Friday, January 25, at 11AM and 3PM GMT

Minecraft: Education Edition offers educators all you need to get started teaching computer science. In this interactive workshop, learn the basics of using Code Builder, the new in-game coding feature, and explore new lessons and standards-aligned curriculum that you can put to use in your school. Devices will be provided. Register here.

Workshop – How to Teach with Minecraft
Minecraft Classroom, Stand F280

Wednesday, January 23, at 1PM GMT
Thursday, January 24, at 11AM and 3PM GMT
Friday, January 25, at 1PM GMT
Saturday, January 26, and 11AM GMT

Attendees will be immersed in a hands-on experience to learn how to use Minecraft: Education Edition, from login to game-play. In addition to learning how to play the game, we’ll show you how to navigate our lesson library to find classroom activities that fit into your curriculum. Devices will be provided. Register here.

Stage Demo – Building STEM skills with Minecraft: Education Edition
Location: Learn Live Theater, Stand E300
Times: 1PM daily

In this 30-minute demo on the Learn Live Theater stage in the Microsoft stand, see how you can engage your students in STEM subjects using special features in Minecraft: Education Edition, from Code Builder to the Chemistry Resource Pack.

Customer Support

Stop by the Minecraft Classroom (stand F280) to have your questions answered. Learn how to deploy licenses, empower educators to get started with Minecraft in their classrooms and discover professional development resources available online. We’re here to help!

Not at #Bett2019? You can always visit the Help Center for technical support.

Introducing New Computer Science Curriculum!

We just launched a CSTA-aligned computer science curriculum to accompany Code Builder. This flexible, 30-hour curriculum includes downloadable lessons, worlds and teaching resources to help students ages 11-16 learn fundamental coding concepts.

Code Builder is the in-game feature that allows you to code in familiar learn-to-code environments including Microsoft MakeCode and Tynker. Once you are in the Minecraft: Education Edition world, simply press letter ‘C’ on the keyboard to launch Code Builder or press the Agent if using touch controls on a tablet. (The Agent is a character who can be programmed to run different coding commands, from mining to building and farming in Minecraft.)

Check out the Computer Science lessons for easy activities and standards-aligned lessons across STEM subjects. Minecraft: Education Edition also offers two MEC training courses to help educators learn how to teach CS with Minecraft.

New Digital Badging Program

We have also re-launched our digital badging to engage more educators in the global Minecraft community. Earn badges to access exclusive learning content, provide early feedback on new features and support other educators using Minecraft: Education Edition. Visit our Community page learn more.

We can’t wait to meet educators from around the world and share the transformational power of Minecraft in education. Come learn with us and explore the future of education technology. See you in London!

The post Meet the Minecraft Education Team at Bett 2019! appeared first on Minecraft: Education Edition.

This post was originally published on this site.


Security researchers: Bug bounty program for Azure DevOps added

It is my pleasure to announce another exciting expansion of the Microsoft Bounty Programs. Today, we are adding a security bug bounty program for Azure DevOps in partnership with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) to our suite of Bounty programs.

Our Bounty program rewards independent security researchers who find flaws and report them to us responsibly. We’ll publicly recognize the researchers who report these security issues, and for high-severity bugs we’ll present payments of up to $20,000 USD.

These rewards help motivate researchers to find security vulnerabilities in our services and let us correct them before they’re exploited by attackers. You can find the details of our Bug Bounty program with MSRC.

Security has always been a passion of mine, and I see this program as a natural complement to our existing security framework. We’ll continue to employ careful code reviews and examine the security of our infrastructure. We’ll still run our security scanning and monitoring tools. And we’ll keep assembling a red team on a regular basis to attack our own systems to identify weaknesses.

If you’re interested in the way our team approaches security and how we continue to evolve our thinking and practices, then I’d encourage you to watch the video of my talk “Mindset shift to a DevSecOps culture.”

This program will help us provide the highest level of security for our customers, protect customer data, and ensure the availability of Azure DevOps. I’m looking forward to seeing what we learn from working more closely with the security community.


Teaming up to help journalism thrive in the digital age

Three women receiving ICFJ training
ICFJ training in the field.

As part of our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft recognizes not just the fundamental need for a free press, but also the fundamental need for the free press to adapt to how people seek information.

Technology has empowered citizens to find, create and share information in unprecedented ways. How can we help journalists around the world tell stories, from sports updates to watchdog investigations, in ways that promote transparency, understanding and engagement?

Today, we’re proud to announce the Microsoft Modern Journalism grant program in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). Based in Washington, D.C., ICFJ has a track record of fostering news innovation, building investigative networks, running exchange programs and promoting diverse voices. Its global mission — to build the expertise and digital skills that journalists need to deliver trustworthy news essential for vibrant societies — has so far created a community 100,000-journalists strong in 180 countries.

Sharon Moshavi, ICJF’s senior vice president of new initiatives, shares their view and vision about our new partnership this way:

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Microsoft Modern Journalism Initiative to support reporting projects focused on data analysis and immersive storytelling. Through these projects, we aim to highlight innovative ways that journalists can enhance news coverage and connect more deeply with audiences.”

The grant program will operate in two phases: The first will award funding and hands-on data journalism training to two alumni of ICFJ programs. Data journalism grounds stories in fact, makes the information transparent to its audiences, and distills the essential pertinent narrative from what could otherwise be an overwhelming swamp of information. By honing the journalist’s digital skills, we’re addressing what ICFJ has defined as a “perilous” gap in newsrooms.

The second phase will award grants for funding and training journalists need to pioneer storytelling using immersive technologies like livestreaming and mixed reality. While data invites fact-based exploration on a large scale, immersive storytelling can be remarkably intimate. It is in these shared experiences where knowledge may become understanding, observation may engender empathy, and learning may translate into action.

We look forward to announcing our winners in March. In the meantime, we encourage you to see, support and join in the kind of work that ICFJ does, be it a sobering virtual tour of the largest slum in Karachi, Pakistan, the fifth most populous city in the world, or a heartening partnership of a global conglomerate and environmental and social nonprofits to safeguard water quality in Nairobi. These stories the world over remind us of the challenges that face all of us, and how much we depend on sharing stories in ways that touch us, educate us and, most importantly, inspire us to act for the best.

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By devs, for devs: Meet new Garage projects XAML Studio and Team Retrospectives

Today, we announce two new Garage projects built by developers, for developers. Two teams, inspired by their roles building developer tools, worked on ideas to enhance the developer experience during Microsoft’s annual Hackathon. XAML Studio, a Microsoft Garage project, makes iterative prototyping easy with real-time UI module changes. Team Retrospectives, a Microsoft Garage project, closes the loop on continuous iteration, enabling an Agile retrospectives experience within Azure DevOps. Whether devs are starting a new project or reflecting on how to work more efficiently as a team, they can use these projects to get a little more productive.

From Design to Development

XAML Studio enables developers to rapidly prototype UWP XAML by previewing and adjusting XAML in real-time before easily copying it over into Visual Studio.
Having spent the better part of a decade listening to developers around the world and as a developer himself, Michael Hawker has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make dev tools even more useful. Michael is a Senior Software Engineer working on the Partner, Analytics, and Essential Experiences, or PAX, team and contributes to the Windows Community Toolkit. He found himself wanting a faster way to edit XAML UI and set out to build a project that could do so in Microsoft’s 2017 Hackathon. The annual event gives Microsoft employees the opportunity to explore and build new ideas. Several teams continue working on the projects beyond the week-long experience to make their way into the hands of customers via Garage projects.
Xaml Studio projectMichael created an interactive XAML sandbox to test out small code changes without having to compile or rebuild projects first, much like what WPF developers had access to for years. “When you’re in Visual Studio, you have a variety of tools available to make coding and laying out your UI easy, but it’s not always straightforward to visualize the final result. So, I thought to myself, ‘What could I do to add to this experience?’” shared Michael, the creator of the project. “XAML Studio is about that quick prototyping loop. Using this tool, I can type my XAML and see how it renders right away. Then, I can interact with it and explore how it behaves before it goes in my app.”
XAML Studio follows a number of Garage projects that facilitate rapid prototyping. Launched in the January 2018, Garage intern project Ink to Code, enables developers to sketch wire frames and kickstart their app in Visual Studio. Both Ink to Code and XAML Studio help developers transition from design to code by creating concrete development assets that can be used in Visual Studio. Where Ink to Code provides a way to create several prototypes very quickly, reducing repitive steps across multiple UI sketches, XAML Studio accelerates prototyping through easy-to-see iteration. Developers can now quickly fine-tune their prototypes, aided by an interactive preview window.
XAML Studio also hosts a variety of tools, including a binding debugger that can illustrate how UI is going to use the data behind it and if problems arise, where those might be occurring. Check out the full set of features.

By Developers, For Developers

The team behind Team Retrospectives also got their start at the One Week Hackathon, inspired by their roles in the Azure Production Infrastructure Engineering organization, or Azure PIE, where they focus on ways to improve the Azure developer experience. “We knew we wanted to work on something that would help devs and tackle something that we could actually create a working prototype for during the timeframe of the Hackathon,” shared Andy Stumpp, Senior Software Engineering Lead in Azure PIE and the development lead on the project.
Photo of the Team Retrospectives team at the Microsoft Hackathon
True to the “One Week” name, the team landed on a simple idea that could make their own projects more productive and could be created in the space of a few days: building an experience that integrated Agile retrospectives into Azure DevOps.
Many Microsoft developer teams use Agile methods to build, deploy, and continuously improve upon their products, as well as create tools that empower developers to do the same. Azure DevOps is a set of modern development services that make it easier to plan, collaborate, and ship faster, and many of its features support Agile. “I love Azure DevOps. It’s a one-stop shop,” shares Perth Charernwattanagul, a Senior Software Engineer in Azure PIE and the technical lead for Team Retrospectives. “It has everything I need from starting a project to releasing it; I don’t need 5 or 10 different products, I can just use Azure DevOps, and everything is streamlined and coordinated.”

Closing the Agile Loop

The team loved using Azure DevOps to organize their iterations, the first phase of Agile in which developer teams determine and execute work items, but they found that they also wanted to integrate retrospectives, the closing step in Agile, designed to fuel improvement and upcoming work items in the next iteration. “Retrospectives are a key part of the Agile process,” adds Andy. “They help you figure out what you can do better and the next steps in your new sprint.”

Team Retrospectives Screenshot

The Team Retrospective hackers created a project in Microsoft’s internal Hackathon tool and quickly attracted other developers around the company who shared a similar problem. They achieved their goal of creating a working prototype during the hackathon and immediately began testing it during their everyday roles. The team found that not only did Team Retrospectives streamline work items within Azure DevOps, it also made collaboration more efficient. “I’m based in Vancouver, and the rest of our team sits in our headquarters in Redmond,” Perth explains. “Our tool made it easy to collaborate digitally, and with the option to add our feedback in advance, we didn’t have to reschedule our meeting if someone couldn’t make it.”

Increased Collaboration and Reflection

Team Retrospectives is an Azure DevOps extension that enhances collaboration and productivity within the Azure Boards service:
  • Collect – Create a board, connect from any device and start submitting positive or negative feedback. The interface makes it easy to manage boards and feedback cards.
  • Group – Organize similar items into categories to facilitate discussion.
  • Vote – Prioritize feedback when team members vote on the items that are most important to them.
  • Act – Create follow-up action items in your team’s Azure DevOps project. Track previous work items and view roll-up status to ensure your team is progressing.
Since building and using Team Retrospectives, the team has found themselves becoming more effective. For example, shares Perth, “Having this extension baked right into Azure DevOps makes it effortless to have these retrospective conversations, and we’re simply prioritizing it more. We’ve become faster, more impactful, and more observant. We were able to hit a difficult deadline by quickly noticing that we were distributing too many work items to one person.”
“Team Retrospectives makes sure that we’re not just shipping features, but always learning from them.” –Jeff Braunstein, Senior Program Manager, Azure PIE and PM, Team Retrospectives
The team also rolled the project out to other Microsoft groups for feedback and testing, both within their own organization as well as to several teams working on the Microsoft Store. With this release, the team is eager to get feedback from developers beyond Microsoft, especially around how the team can support different Agile styles and methods. “Every team conducts retrospectives their own way; we want to know what customizable features can help teams perform at their best,” continues Perth.

Try XAML Studio & Team Retrospectives


New to Xbox Game Pass: ‘We Happy Few,’ ‘Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,’ ‘The LEGO Movie Videogame’ and more

Hi, Xbox Game Pass friends! Don’t want to freak you out, but we turned around today and suddenly there were even more games sitting on our desk. We’re going to need a bigger desk… and you’re going to need some free time, because there’s so many games on the way.

We’re dropping four awesome games in the next two weeks, and you can sign up to get your first month for just $1, so if your crew isn’t already on the Xbox Game Pass hype train, tell them to get on that ASAP.

Now let’s get to some details on our latest games:

We Happy Few (January 17) – Xbox One X Enhanced

A first-person action game set in a retro-futuristic alternate 1960s England. Conformity is key, and a drug called Joy makes everyone’s problems go away – unless, of course, you’re a rotten Downer. Play as a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial in the city of Wellington Wells. You’ll have to fight or blend in with the drug-addled inhabitants, most of whom don’t take kindly to people who won’t abide by their not-so-normal rules.

The LEGO Movie Videogame (January 17)

The LEGO Movie Videogame puts players in the role of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. Based on the humorous and action-packed events from the film, players guide him as he is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.  With unexpected moments and twists at every level, gamers will build their way through a uniquely LEGO adventure on their ultimate mission to bring creativity to their LEGO world.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (January 24)

Slain at the Black Gate along with your friends, family, and sworn brothers, the ancient Elven Wraith, Celebrimbor, offered you a chance for revenge. Now you must battle powerful Warchiefs who will gloat over past victories and bear grudges – and scars – from past defeats. Find unlikely allies, battle ferocious creatures, and experience a Middle-earth adventure like no other. Your story will grow and become uniquely your own after each battle, until you stand before the ultimate architect of your downfall – the Black Hand of Sauron himself.

Saints Row: The Third (January 24)

The open world, crazy mayhem, action adventure series returns as you now find yourself trying to protect the Third Street Saints brand name (and its turf). Enter the Syndicate, a global criminal empire who doesn’t take kindly to someone else grabbing all the headlines and attention. Now they expect the Saints to pay tribute and fall in line; that ain’t gonna happen. Take back Steelport – and the Saints’ reputation — by any means necessary.

And, don’t forget that we also dropped Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 last week.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (January 10)

Take the epic battle to all new heights in 3v3 matches featuring fan-favorite characters from the Marvel and Capcom Universes. This definitive version includes all DLC and modes that made the original a staple in the fighting game genre.

You better get your game on with these gems before we hit you with our next game drop!  Crackdown 3 hits Xbox Game Pass on the day and date of its worldwide release on February 15, plus a bunch more are coming atcha in February and beyond.

Aaaaannnddd finally, ICYMI, the Design Innovate Communicate Entertain (D.I.C.E) Awards nominations include two Xbox Game Pass games: Forza Horizon 4 was nominated for Best Racing Game, and Sea of Thieves was nominated for Online Game of the Year. Congratulations to all D.I.C.E Award nominees, and fire up that console stat to experience Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves, if you haven’t already.

Join Xbox Game Pass Today

With over 100 great games for one low monthly price, including highly-anticipated new Xbox One exclusives the day they’re released, including the highest-rated* Xbox exclusive of this generation Forza Horizon 4, plus more games added all the time, Xbox Game Pass gives you the ultimate freedom to play. If you haven’t tried Xbox Game Pass, join today and get your first month for $1, and discover your next favorite game.

For the latest Xbox Game Pass news, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, download the Xbox Game Pass app for Android and iOS and keep it tuned here to Xbox Wire. Until next month, game on!

*Source: Metacritic


Walgreens Boots Alliance and Microsoft to transform health care delivery

Companies aim to improve health outcomes and lower overall costs with enhanced digital and retail experiences and an R&D commitment to build health care solutions through seven-year agreement

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of WBA, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of WBA (left), and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

DEERFIELD, Ill., and REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 15, 2019 Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) and Microsoft Corp. have joined forces to develop new health care delivery models, technology and retail innovations to advance and improve the future of health care. The companies will combine the power of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and AI platform, health care investments, and new retail solutions with WBA’s customer reach, convenient locations, outpatient health care services and industry expertise to make health care delivery more personal, affordable and accessible for people around the world.

Logos for Walgreens Boots Alliance and Microsoft

Current health care systems are a complex combination of public- and private-sector organizations, providers, payors, pharmaceutical companies and other adjacent players. While there has been innovation in pockets of health care, there is both a need and an opportunity to fully integrate the system, ultimately making health care more convenient to people through data-driven insights. This is what brought WBA and Microsoft together. Through this strategic partnership, the companies will deliver innovative platforms that enable next-generation health networks, integrated digital-physical experiences and care management solutions.

“Improving health outcomes while lowering the cost of care is a complex challenge that requires broad collaboration and strong partnership between the health care and tech industries,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “Together with Walgreens Boots Alliance, we aim to deliver on this promise by putting people at the center of their health and wellness, combining the power of the Azure cloud and AI technology and Microsoft 365 with Walgreens Boots Alliance’s deep expertise and commitment to helping communities around the world lead healthier and happier lives.”

As part of the strategic partnership, the companies have committed to a multiyear research and development (R&D) investment to build health care solutions, improve health outcomes and lower the cost of care. This investment will include funding, subject-matter experts, technology and tools. The companies will also explore the potential to establish joint innovation centers in key markets. Additionally, in 2019 WBA will pilot up to 12 store-in-store “digital health corners” aimed at the merchandising and sale of select health care-related hardware and devices.

“Our strategic partnership with Microsoft demonstrates our strong commitment to creating integrated, next-generation, digitally enabled health care delivery solutions for our customers, transforming our stores into modern neighborhood health destinations and expanding customer offerings,” said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of WBA. “WBA will work with Microsoft to harness the information that exists between payors and health care providers to leverage, in the interest of patients and with their consent, our extraordinary network of accessible and convenient locations to deliver new innovations, greater value and better health outcomes in health care systems across the world.”

Connected, consumer-centric health care delivery and management platform

The companies will focus on connecting WBA stores and health information systems to people wherever they are through their digital devices. This will allow people to access health care services, such as virtual care — when, where and how they need it.

The integration of information will enable valuable insights based on data science and artificial intelligence (AI) that can allow for fundamental improvements such as supporting the transition of health care data into more community-based locations and sustainable transformation in health care delivery.

Working with patients’ health care providers, the companies will proactively engage their patients to improve medication adherence, reduce emergency room visits and decrease hospital readmissions. Core to this model is data privacy, security and consent, which will be fundamental design principles, underscored by Microsoft’s investments in building a trusted cloud platform.

By better connecting people, providers and the systems in which they work, the industry will be able to provide better quality patient care.

Personalized health care services

WBA and Microsoft will also focus on enabling more personalized health care experiences from preventative self-care to chronic disease management. WBA will pursue lifestyle management solutions in areas such as nutrition and wellness via customers’ delivery method of choice, including digital devices and digital applications or in-store expert advice.

Through a combination of dedicated R&D and external partnerships, a suite of chronic disease management and patient engagement applications are planned for development, alongside a portfolio of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices for nonacute chronic care management, delivered by Microsoft’s cloud, AI and IoT technologies.

Collaborating with payors, providers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to implement solutions to improve health outcomes at lower cost

Additionally, the companies will work to build a seamless ecosystem of participating organizations to better connect consumers, providers — including Walgreens and Boots pharmacists — pharmaceutical manufacturers and payors. Microsoft and WBA will leverage each other’s market research and identify the right partners to develop solutions.

For example, major health care delivery network participation will provide the opportunity for people to seamlessly engage in WBA health care solutions and acute care providers all within a single platform.

WBA to transition its IT platforms to Microsoft

Through this agreement, Microsoft becomes WBA’s strategic cloud provider, and WBA plans to migrate the majority of the company’s IT infrastructure onto Microsoft Azure. This will include new transformational platforms in retail, pharmacy and business services, new capability in data and analytics, as well as certain legacy applications and systems. The company also plans to roll out Microsoft 365 to more than 380,000 employees and stores globally, empowering them with the tools for increased productivity, advanced security, internal collaboration and customer engagement.

WBA’s transition to Microsoft’s platform will enable WBA to accelerate its speed to market, gain deeper customer understanding and insights, and ultimately provide better and more personalized care, products and services to its customers and communities. In addition, the move to Microsoft Azure accelerates the modernization and cost effectiveness of technology across WBA.

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise and the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination across the U.S. and Europe. Walgreens Boots Alliance and the companies in which it has equity method investments together have a presence in more than 25 countries and employ more than 415,000 people.

The company’s portfolio of retail and business brands includes Walgreens, Duane Reade, Boots and Alliance Healthcare, as well as increasingly global health and beauty product brands, such as No7, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP and Botanics.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is proud to be a force for good, leveraging many decades of experience and its international scale, to care for people and the planet through numerous social responsibility and sustainability initiatives that have an impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of people.

More company information is available at

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

All statements in this release that are not historical are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those related to the timing and effectiveness of collaboration plans, the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the collaboration, competitive actions in the marketplace, and the ability to achieve anticipated financial and operating results in the amounts and at the times anticipated, as well as those described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.’s Form 10-K for its fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, Microsoft Corporation’s Form 10-K for its fiscal year ended June 30, 2018 and subsequent documents that Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Except to the extent required by law, each of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation does not undertake, and expressly disclaims, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777

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Microsoft gains strong customer, analyst momentum in cloud access security brokers market

After a strong year of product updates and innovations, we’re excited to so see that Microsoft jumped into the Challenger position in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) and solidified its leadership position in KuppingerCole’s 2018 Leadership Compass in the same product category, backed by strong customer adoption rates.

CASBs give organizations the ability to securely embrace the possibilities of their cloud apps and services and they can be crucial in driving a successful cloud security strategy.

While the market for CASB is still relatively young, analyst firm Gartner, Inc. predicts that 60 percent of large enterprises will be using CASB technologies by 2020, with independent forecasts expecting to reach a total addressable market of $7.5 billion in the same timeframe.

We have seen a steep increase in the adoption of Microsoft Cloud App Security across all customer segments, ranging from large enterprises such as global energy leader BP, to smaller organizations such as Affinity Workforce. Our internal estimates show that Microsoft Cloud App Security has a current market share of more than 30 percent in the CASB space. This provides us with insights from billions of signals every day—and direct input from the many organizations that we work with—allowing us to continuously improve the product and react to what we’re seeing in the market.

By integrating with leading security, identity, and productivity solutions across Microsoft 365, Microsoft Cloud App Security is uniquely positioned to drive innovation in the CASB space. Recent additions include our native integration with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and our consistent labeling experience via Azure Information Protection. Among many others, these help organizations gain visibility into their cloud apps and services, provide sophisticated analytics to identify and combat cyber threats, and control the travel of sensitive information to equally support Microsoft’s native cloud services, as well as numerous third-party cloud apps and services, such as Dropbox, Salesforce, and others.

Microsoft Cloud App Security’s portfolio of native product integrations.

2018 analyst momentum

In Gartner’s 2018 report, we significantly improved our positioning and moved along both axes, Completeness of Vision as well as Ability to Execute, up from a Niche Player to a Challenger position. We see the substantial improvement as a testimony to our strong ability to execute against our feature roadmap and the momentum we are gaining with customers.

Magic Quadrant for CASB. Source: Gartner (October 2018)*

In its 2018 report, analyst firm KuppingerCole positions Microsoft as a Leader for the second year in a row. This further emphasizes the strength of our native integrations across Microsoft 365, including Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Office 365, and Azure Security Center, and the significant customer base of Microsoft Cloud App Security.

Leadership Compass for CASB. Source: KuppingerCole (October 2018)

This year’s results confirm Microsoft’s strong commitment and rapid progress in this space—and with the progress of the overall market, the importance for organizations to start considering the use of a CASB continues to increase.

Learn more

We made both these 2018 analyst reports available for review. Download the Gartner Magic Quadrant 2018 for CASBs report and the KuppingerCole Leadership Compass 2018 report.

If you’re not using Microsoft Cloud App Security, start a free trial today and learn how to get started with our detailed technical documentation.

If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please visit us on our Tech Community page.

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*This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Microsoft.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.