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We’re opening a flagship store in the UK because London is hard to beat, says top Microsoft executive Chris Capossela

Microsoft chose to open its first European flagship store in London because the city is “hard to beat,” one of the company’s top executives has revealed.

Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer, visited the store with UK CEO Cindy Rose ahead of its launch on July 11, and he said there were “very few locations in the world” that are as appealing as the UK capital.

The first physical retail store for Microsoft in the UK is located on Oxford Circus and covers 22,000 square feet over three floors.

Capossela (above) said it contains many one-of-a-kind features, including a full-sized McLaren Senna sports car that doubles as a Forza Motorsport 7 experience, a Gaming Lounge, a Community Theatre featuring free workshops all-year-round and an entire floor dedicated to helping businesses and organisations use technology.

“Around 86 million people pass through Oxford Circus every year,” he said. “That’s hard to beat. London is also an incredibly diverse city, so we can serve lots of different customers here; it’s a very pan-European city.

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A girl uses a Microsoft Surface device in the Flagship London Store

” data-medium-file=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-3.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela.jpg” class=”size-full wp-image-75143″ src=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela.jpg” alt=”A girl uses a Microsoft Surface device in the Flagship London Store” width=”5578″ height=”3719″ srcset=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela.jpg 5578w, http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-3.jpg 300w, http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-4.jpg 768w, http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-5.jpg 960w” sizes=”(max-width: 5578px) 100vw, 5578px”>

A girl uses a Microsoft Surface device in the Flagship London Store

“There are very few locations in the world that feature all the different parts that make up what Microsoft is. The early adoption of technology in the UK has been very impressive. That’s important when the company is thinking about what investments to make and where to make them. This flagship would not be in London if we didn’t have a very strong commercial business in this country. We thought very deeply about this.”

The central London flagship store has a modern feel, with lots of space and wood and glass surfaces. Visitors will be greeted on the ground floor by a large video wall and Surface devices on tables, with the McLaren on their right and the HoloLens mixed-reality headset to their left. A wooden spiral staircase or lifts will take them to the Gaming Lounge on the first floor, where they can play the latest Xbox and PC titles in high-quality gaming chairs and professional pods, purchase third-party laptops and accessories and get tech support, trainings, repairs and advice from the Answer Desk. All visitors can create their own personalised Surface Type Cover with Surface Design Lab, featuring a range of designs that can be etched directly onto the cover. They can also take photos in the Selfie Area.

The enterprise area on the second floor is a place to support, train and grow businesses no matter where they are on their digital transformation journey. From small companies and educational institutions to enterprise customers, the Product Advisors and Cloud Technical Experts will help customers discover, deploy and use Microsoft 365 and other resources to solve business challenges such as AI, data security, collaboration and workplace efficiencies. This floor also contains an area for hosting events, as well as meeting rooms and a Showcase space for demonstrating how customers, including Carlsberg and Toyota, are digitally transforming.

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Surface devices in Microsoft’s London Store

” data-medium-file=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-6.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-1.jpg” class=”size-full wp-image-75146″ src=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-1.jpg” alt=”Surface devices in Microsoft’s London Store” width=”5682″ height=”3646″ srcset=”http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-1.jpg 5682w, http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-6.jpg 300w, http://www.sickgaming.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/were-opening-a-flagship-store-in-the-uk-because-london-is-hard-to-beat-says-top-microsoft-executive-chris-capossela-7.jpg 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 5682px) 100vw, 5682px”>

Anyone buying a Surface at the Store can get a designed etched onto the cover

It is also the most accessible store Microsoft has ever opened, with buttons to open doors, lower desks to help those in wheelchairs and Xbox Adaptive Controllers available for gamers with restricted movement.

The 150 Store Associates welcoming visitors speak a total of 45 languages, and selected members of the team can also communicate in British Sign Language. John Carter, Senior Store Manager at the store, said the staff are a mix of ages, genders, ethnicities and abilities, and had all gone through six weeks of training to “deliver our customer-obsessed culture” from when the doors open at 11am on July 11.

Rose also announced that Microsoft is donating £1 million to three charities – UK Youth, Raspberry Pi Foundation and The London Community Foundation – to help them continue to teach digital skills to disadvantaged young people and to support grass-roots community groups in Westminster with digital and employability skills.

“I’m excited about this donation because it’s going to give these charities the opportunity to have even more of an impact across the UK. We are also auctioning 10 limited edition Surface devices designed by British retailer Liberty London, with all proceeds going to gaming charity SpecialEffect, which helped develop the Xbox Adaptive Controller.”

Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK CEO, with gamer Vivek Gohil
Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK CEO, with gamer Vivek Gohil

Talking about the journey to this week’s opening, she added: This has been a three-year labour of love for me. During my Microsoft job interview [in 2016] I remember discussing the need for a Microsoft retail store in London. That’s how long I’ve been thinking about this and planning it. I feel like that part of the jigsaw is now complete.

“What I love most about this flagship is that it’s so much more than just a shopping experience. It is a destination where we can engage with local community to bring our mission to life. Whether it’s teaching kids to code, training educators on how to use tech in the classroom, or showing small businesses and large enterprises how we can help digitally transform their organisation, this store will be the best place to experience all that’s possible with Microsoft.”

Capossela, who said it is “really important for us to have a place that people can walk into and experience Microsoft,” agreed that the store will appeal to every type of customer.

“I want all our stores to have a Microsoft vibe, be very colourful, human and approachable,” he said. “These are the things we want our brand to stand for. The London flagship has some special experiences. I feel very lucky that we have found a space as good as Oxford Circus in London.”

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Forwarded Headers Middleware Updates in .NET Core 3.0 preview 6

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With the ASP.NET Core 2.1 release, we included UseHsts and UseHttpRedirection by default. These methods put a site into an infinite loop if deployed to an Azure Linux App Service, Azure Linux virtual machine (VM), or behind any other reverse proxy besides IIS. TLS is terminated by the reverse proxy, and Kestrel isn’t made aware of the correct request scheme.

OAuth and OIDC also fail in this configuration because they generate incorrect redirects. Calls to UseIISIntegration add and configure forwarded headers middleware when running behind IIS, but there’s no matching automatic configuration for Linux (Apache or Nginx integration). The fix for this issue is discussed in more detail in the doc article Forward the scheme for Linux and non-IIS reverse proxies.

Configuration-only Wire-up in Preview 6

With the updates in .NET Core 3 preview 6, you no longer need to call the middleware explicitly, as the host logic has been pre-wired to enable the Forwarded Headers Middleware by default as long as the ASPNETCORE_FORWARDEDHEADERS_ENABLED environment variable has been set to true. Turning on the Forwarded Headers Middleware is as simple as setting the ASPNETCORE_FORWARDEDHEADERS_ENABLED setting in the Azure Portal’s configuration blade for any App Service running on Linux or in a container.

Enabling the Forwarded Headers Middleware via config

Once this setting is set to true, the middleware starts working, and features dependent on Request.IsHttps resulting to true begin to function as expected.

Resolving the issue with ASP.NET Core 2.x Apps Today

If you’re currently building an ASP.NET Core 2.x app and want to run it on App Service for Linux now, there’s a workaround that will be future-proof when the updates come out for 3.0.

To forward the scheme from the proxy in non-IIS scenarios, add and configure Forwarded Headers Middleware. In Startup.cs, use the following code:

// using Microsoft.AspNetCore.HttpOverrides; public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{ if (string.Equals( Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("ASPNETCORE_FORWARDEDHEADERS_ENABLED"), "true", StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase)) { services.Configure<forwardedheadersoptions>(options => { options.ForwardedHeaders = ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedFor | ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedProto; // Only loopback proxies are allowed by default. // Clear that restriction because forwarders are enabled by explicit // configuration. options.KnownNetworks.Clear(); options.KnownProxies.Clear(); }); }
} public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IWebHostEnvironment env)
{ app.UseForwardedHeaders();
}

If you enable your ASP.NET Core 2.x apps with this workaround today, when you’re ready to upgrade to 3.0, you’ll already have the right configuration setting in place.

Base Image Update

The base images used by the App Service team to streamline the creation of ASP.NET Core apps will soon be updated so that the ASPNETCORE_FORWARDEDHEADERS_ENABLED environment variable will be set to true. Once they’re updated, you won’t even need to explicitly set the environment variable; it’ll be enabled by default.

Try it Out

If you’re new to building ASP.NET Core apps using containers, the App Service options for Linux and Container-based hosting offer a great place to get started. The docs are loaded with guidance and examples, from how to Run a .NET Core app in App Service on Linux to accessing a SQL Server Database from an ASP.NET Core app running in App Service Linux.

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Brady Gaster

Senior Program Manager, ASP.NET Core

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Microsoft at MWC Barcelona: Introducing Microsoft HoloLens 2

This evening at a press event to kickoff MWC Barcelona, I had the pleasure of joining CEO Satya Nadella and Technical Fellow Alex Kipman onstage to talk in depth about Microsoft’s worldview for the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

As part of today’s press event, we also introduced the world to HoloLens 2.

YouTube Video

This is a tremendously exciting time for Microsoft, our partners, our customers, the computing industry and indeed the world. The virtually limitless computing power and capability of the cloud combined with increasingly intelligent and perceptive edge devices embedded throughout the physical world create experiences we could only imagine a few short years ago.

When intelligent cloud and intelligent edge experiences are infused with mixed reality, we have a framework for achieving amazing things and empowering even more people.

Today represents an important milestone for Microsoft. This moment captures the very best efforts and passion of numerous teams spanning Azure, HoloLens, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Devices — this truly is a moment where the sum is greater than the parts. From cutting-edge hardware design to mixed reality-infused cloud services, today’s announcements represent the collective work of many teams. And none of this would be possible without our passionate community of customers, partners and developers.

On behalf of everyone on the team, it is my privilege to introduce you to HoloLens 2 and all the announcements we made today to kick off MWC Barcelona.

Introducing HoloLens 2

Side view of sleek black HoloLens 2

Since the release of HoloLens in 2016 we have seen mixed reality transform the way work gets done. We have unlocked super-powers for hundreds of thousands of people who go to work every day. From construction sites to factory floors, from operating rooms to classrooms, HoloLens is changing how we work, learn, communicate and get things done.

We are entering a new era of computing, one in which the digital world goes beyond two-dimensional screens and enters the three-dimensional world. This new collaborative computing era will empower us all to achieve more, break boundaries and work together with greater ease and immediacy in 3D.

Today, we are proud to introduce the world to Microsoft HoloLens 2.

Our customers asked us to focus on three key areas to make HoloLens even better. They wanted HoloLens 2 to be even more immersive and more comfortable, and to accelerate the time-to-value.

Immersion is greatly enhanced by advancements across the board, including in the visual display system, making holograms even more vibrant and realistic. We have more than doubled the field of view in HoloLens 2, while maintaining the industry-leading holographic density of 47 pixels per degree of sight. HoloLens 2 contains a new display system that enables us to achieve these significant advances in performance at low power. We have also completely refreshed the way you interact with holograms in HoloLens 2. Taking advantage of our new time-of-flight depth sensor, combined with built-in AI and semantic understanding, HoloLens 2 enables direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world. In addition to the improvements in the display engine and direct manipulation of holograms, HoloLens 2 contains eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms even more natural. You can log in with Windows Hello enterprise-grade authentication through iris recognition, making it easy for multiple people to quickly and securely share the device.

Comfort is enhanced by a more balanced center of gravity, the use of light carbon-fiber material and a new mechanism for donning the device without readjusting. We’ve improved the thermal management with new vapor chamber technology and accounted for the wide physiological variability in the size and shape of human heads by designing HoloLens 2 to comfortably adjust and fit almost anyone. The new dial-in fit system makes it comfortable to wear for hours on end, and you can keep your glasses on because HoloLens 2 adapts to you by sliding right over them. When it’s time to step out of mixed reality, flip the visor up and switch tasks in seconds. Together, these enhancements have more than tripled the measured comfort and ergonomics of the device.

Time-to-value is accelerated by Microsoft mixed reality applications like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, Dynamics 365 Layout and the new Dynamics 365 Guides applications. In addition to the in-box value, our ecosystem of mixed reality partners provides a broad range of offerings built on HoloLens that deliver value across a range of industries and use cases. This partner ecosystem is being supplemented by a new wave of mixed reality entrepreneurs who are realizing the potential of devices like HoloLens 2 and the Azure services that give them the spatial, speech and vision intelligence needed for mixed reality, plus battle-tested cloud services for storage, security and application insights.

Building on the unique capabilities of the original HoloLens, HoloLens 2 is the ultimate intelligent edge device. And when coupled with existing and new Azure services, HoloLens 2 becomes even more capable, right out of the box.

HoloLens 2 will be available this year at a price of $3,500. Bundles including Dynamics 365 Remote Assist start at $125/month. HoloLens 2 will be initially available in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. Customers can preorder HoloLens 2 starting today at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/buy.

In addition to HoloLens 2, we were also excited to make the following announcements at MWC Barcelona.

 Azure Kinect Developer Kit (DK)

Front and side view of compact silver Azure Kinect DK device

The Azure Kinect DK is a developer kit that combines our industry-leading AI sensors in a single device. At its core is the time-of-flight depth sensor we developed for HoloLens 2, high-def RGB camera and a 7-microphone circular array that will enable development of advanced computer vision and speech solutions with Azure. It enables solutions that don’t just sense but understand the world — people, places, things around it. A good example of such a solution in the healthcare space is Ocuvera, which is using this technology to prevent patients from falling in hospitals. Every year in the U.S. alone, over 1 million hospital patients fall each year, and 11,000 of those falls are fatal. With Azure Kinect, the environmental precursors to a fall can be determined and a nurse notified to get to patients before they fall. Initially available in the U.S. and China, the Azure Kinect DK is available for preorder today at $399. Visit Azure.com/Kinect for more info.

Dynamics 365 Guides

When we announced Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout on October 1, we talked about them as the “first” of our mixed reality applications for HoloLens.

Today, we are proud to announce our latest offering: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides.

Dynamics 365 Guides is a new mixed reality app that empowers employees to learn by doing. Guides enhances learning with step-by-step instructions that guide employees to the tools and parts they need and how to use them in real work situations. In addition to the experience of using Guides on HoloLens, a Guides PC app makes it easy to create interactive content, attach photos and videos, import 3D models and customize training to turn institutional knowledge into a repeatable learning tool.

This application will help minimize downtime and increase efficiency for mission-critical equipment and processes and becomes the third Dynamics 365 application that will work on both the previous generation of HoloLens and the new HoloLens 2.

Dynamics 365 Guides is available in preview starting today.

Man wearing HoloLens 2 consults a hologram of a guide as he works on machinery

Azure Mixed Reality Services

Today we also announced two new Azure mixed reality services. These services are designed to help every developer and every business build cross-platform, contextual and enterprise-grade mixed reality applications.

 Azure Spatial Anchors enables businesses and developers to create mixed reality apps that map, designate and recall precise points of interest that are accessible across HoloLens, iOS and Android devices. These precise points of interest enable a range of scenarios, from shared mixed reality experiences to wayfinding across connected places. We’re already seeing this service help our customers work and learn with greater speed and ease in manufacturing, architecture, medical education and more.

Azure Remote Rendering helps people experience 3D without compromise to fuel better, faster decisions. Today, to interact with high-quality 3D models on mobile devices and mixed reality headsets, you often need to “decimate,” or simplify, 3D models to run on target hardware. But in scenarios like design reviews and medical planning, every detail matters, and simplifying assets can result in a loss of important detail that is needed for key decisions. This service will render high-quality 3D content in the cloud and stream it to edge devices, all in real time, with every detail intact.

Azure Spatial Anchors is in public preview as of today. Azure Remote Rendering is now in private preview in advance of its public preview.

Microsoft HoloLens Customization Program

HoloLens is being used in a variety of challenging environments, from construction sites and operating rooms to the International Space Station. HoloLens has passed the basic impact tests from several protective eyewear standards used in North America and Europe. It has been tested and found to conform to the basic impact protection requirements of ANSI Z87.1, CSA Z94.3 and EN 166. With HoloLens 2 we’re introducing the Microsoft HoloLens Customization Program to enable customers and partners to customize HoloLens 2 to fit their environmental needs.

The first to take advantage of the HoloLens Customization Program is our long-standing HoloLens partner Trimble, which last year announced Trimble Connect for HoloLens along with a new hard hat solution that improves the utility of mixed reality for practical field applications. Today it announced the Trimble XR10 with Microsoft HoloLens 2, a new wearable hard hat device that enables workers in safety-controlled environments to access holographic information on the worksite.

Hard hat incorporates HoloLens 2

Open principles

Finally, as we closed things out, Alex Kipman articulated a set of principles around our open approach with the mixed reality ecosystem.

We believe that for an ecosystem to truly thrive there should be no barriers to innovation or customer choice.

To that end, Alex described how HoloLens embraces the principles of open stores, open browsers and open developer platforms.

To illustrate our dedication to these principles, we announced that our friends at Mozilla are bringing a prototype of the Firefox Reality browser to HoloLens 2, demonstrating our commitment to openness and the immersive web. Alex was also joined by Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, who announced that Unreal Engine 4 support is coming to HoloLens.

In the coming months we will have more announcements and details to share. We look forward to continuing this journey with you all.

Julia

Microsoft unveils details of London flagship store

This first physical retail store for Microsoft in the U.K. will open to the general public on July 11, joining other world-class Microsoft Store locations all over the world, including flagships in New York and Sydney and stores across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico and online in more than 190 countries.

This store is the latest step in our almost 40-year investment in the U.K., including recently doubling the size of Microsoft’s Azure regions to help more organizations digitally transform. We’re also committed to supporting the growth of digital skills in the U.K. in partnership with computing education and youth communities.

The flagship Microsoft Store in London will be located on Oxford Circus and covers 21,932 square feet over three floors. It will feature an Answer Desk, offering a dedicated area for customers to get tech support, trainings, repairs and advice from trusted advisors on Microsoft products and services, no matter where the device was purchased, the brand or operating system. A community theater, a space for tech, coding and STEM learning, will run free, year-round workshops and programs for customers. So if you are a business owner looking for the latest tech to grow your business, a gamer who wants to join a community or show your skills in a tournament, a student wanting to brush up on coding or a teacher looking to bring Minecraft alive in the classroom, customers of all ages and abilities will be able to learn and develop their digital skills.

Those who work, live, shop in or visit the U.K. will also be able to test and experience the latest technology, products and services from Microsoft and its partners. Interactive zones, surrounded by immersive video walls running throughout the store will make this the best place to get hands-on with Surface, Windows, Office, Xbox and PC gaming, HoloLens mixed-reality and more.

The site also adds to the growing list of innovative facilities Microsoft runs in the region, including three gaming studios, the start-up hub Reactor London and the global center of excellence for the development of artificial intelligence and other computing disciplines in the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge.

Designed to build connections with the local community, customers and businesses, this store represents a unique way to deliver on our mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. A flagship store in London has long been part of our vision for our physical and digital store presence, and this opening represents another step in our journey to meet our customers – from consumers to businesses – wherever they are and deepen our connection with them. London is one of the world’s most exciting shopping destinations, and we look forward to empowering customers to explore all that is possible with Microsoft.

For more information and to keep up to date with the latest information on the U.K. store opening, please follow us @MicrosoftStoreUK on Instagram and Facebook and visit us online at www.microsoft.com.

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Web and Azure Tool Updates in Visual Studio 2019

Angelos Petropoulos

Angelos

Hopefully by now you’ve seen that Visual Studio 2019 is now generally available. As you would expect, we’ve added improvements for web and Azure development. As a starting point, Visual Studio 2019 comes with a new experience for getting started with your code and we updated the experience for creating ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects to match:

If you are publishing your application to Azure, you can now configure Azure App Service to use Azure Storage and Azure SQL Database instances, right from the publish profile summary page, without leaving Visual Studio. This means that for any existing web application running in App Service, you can add SQL and Storage, it is no longer limited to creation time only.

By clicking the “Add” button you get to select between Azure Storage and Azure SQL Database (more Azure services to be supported in the future):

and then you get to choose between using an existing instance of Azure Storage that you provisioned in the past or provisioning a new one right then and there:

When you configure your Azure App Service through the publish profile as demonstrated above, Visual Studio will update the Azure App Service application settings to include the connection strings you have configured (e.g. in this case azgist). It will also apply hidden tags to the instances in Azure about how they are configured to work together so that this information is not lost and can be re-discovered later by other instances of Visual Studio.

For a 30 minute overview of developing with Azure in Visual Studio, check out the session we gave as part of the launch:

As always, we welcome your feedback. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like, tell us which features you are missing and which parts of the workflow work or don’t work for you. You can do this by submitting issues to Developer Community or contacting us via Twitter.

Angelos Petropoulos

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The future of manufacturing is open

With the expansion of IoT across all industries data is becoming the currency of innovation. Organizations have both an opportunity and a business imperative to adopt technologies quickly, build digital competencies, and offer new value-added services that will serve their broader ecosystem.

Manufacturing is an industry where IoT is having a transformational impact, yet which also requires many companies to come together for IoT to be effective. We see several challenges that slow down innovation in manufacturing, such as proprietary data structures from legacy industrial assets and closed industrial solutions. These closed structures foster data silos and limit productivity, hindering production and profitability. It takes more than new software to drive transformation—it takes a new approach to open standards, an ecosystem mindset, the ability to break out of the “walled garden” for data as well as new technology.

This is why Microsoft has invested heavily in making Azure work seamlessly with OPC UA. In fact, we are the leading contributor of open source software to the OPC Foundation. To further this open platform approach, we have collaborated with world-leading manufacturers to accelerate innovation in industrial IoT to shorten time to value. But we feel we need to do more, not just directly between Microsoft and our partners but across the industry and between the partners themselves. It’s not about what any one company can deliver within their operations – it’s about what they can share with others across the sector to help everyone achieve at new levels. It’s clearly a much bigger task than any one organization can take on, and today, I’m pleased to share more about the investments we are making to advance innovation in the manufacturing space by enabling open platforms.

Announcing the Open Manufacturing Platform

Today at Hannover Messe 2019, we are launching the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) together with the BMW Group, our partner on this initiative. Built on the Microsoft Azure Industrial IoT cloud platform, the OMP will provide a reference architecture and open data model framework for community members who will both contribute to and learn from others around industrial IoT projects. We’ve set up an initial approach and are actively working to bring new community members on board. BMW has an initial use case focused on their IoT platform, built on Microsoft Azure, in the second generation of autonomous transport systems in one of their sites, greatly simplifying their logistics processes and creating greater efficiency. More information about this and the partnership can be found here.

The OMP provides a single open platform architecture that liberates data from legacy industrial assets, standardizes data models for more efficient data correlation, and most importantly, enables manufacturers to share their data with ecosystem partners in a controlled and secure way, allowing others to benefit from their insights. With pre-built industrial use cases and reference designs, community members will work together to address common industrial challenges while maintaining ownership over their own data. Our news release, shared jointly with the BMW Group this morning, can be found here.

A rising tide that lifts all boats

The recognition of the need for an open approach is taking hold across the industry, as evidenced by SAP’s announcement today of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. This alliance – focused on factories, plants and warehouses – between SAP and a number of European manufacturing leaders will help create an open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories.

OMP and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance are complementary visions. Both recognize the need for an open platform for the cloud and intelligent edge on the ground in the factory. Both highlight an open data model and standards-based data exchange mechanisms that allow for cross-company collaboration.

We’ve been working closely with SAP on efforts like the Open Data Initiative and across the industry on a wide range of initiatives including the Industrial Internet Consortium, the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the OPC Foundation. We look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership and working to align OMP and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. Collaboration is the lifeblood of future manufacturing and the more we work together, the more we can accomplish.

Read more here.

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Transforming manufacturing with intelligent business applications

Manufacturing has been a driving force for industrial and societal transformation for centuries. Next week, at Hannover Messe—the world’s leading trade show for industrial technology—decades of industrial technology innovation at Microsoft is intersecting with Industry 4.0. As Industry 4.0 ushers in new technological advances to improve operations, competition and customer demands are keeping pace. Customers expect exceptional products and services, without exception, driving a need for greater innovation.

We are joined at the event by dozens of global manufacturers representing industries from automotive to consumer electronics and construction equipment, all using Microsoft Business Applications as a competitive differentiator; intelligent technologies that help transform the entire connected manufacturing ecosystem.

Optimize manufacturing operations and deliver new services

At Hannover Messe, we are showcasing how we empower manufacturers to connect Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on key business-critical assets to business transactions in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. It’s a transformative solution to manage production and stock in real-time and proactively resolve issues, optimize manufacturing operations, maximize the value of assets, and take business performance and customer satisfaction to new heights. Read more about the solution here.

Annata, a leading Microsoft Partner for automotive, heavy equipment, and industrial machinery industries, helped Iceland’s largest vehicle importer and distributor, Brimborg, rapidly expand into the commercial fleet rental market in response to the 2008-11 Icelandic financial crisis. Booth visitors will learn how Annata first unified Brimborg’s business of importing, distributing, selling and servicing cars and construction equipment, with a solution that could cover their entire business with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations along with the Annata 365 solution.

When the crises hit, Brimborg deployed the extensive Rental module that enabled them to manage this new part of their business. Brimborg is using IoT data flowing from its rental cars with the service scheduling capabilities of the Annata solution to optimize and ensure timely servicing of the fleet. All rental cars are automatically called in for service and inspections, which is highly important for keeping the fleet healthy. Brimborg is continuing to automate and innovate using IoT, Dynamics 365, and the Annata solution to run its business more efficiently, but also to open new business models and opportunities with customers in other areas of its business. Targeting four-minute car deliveries and 30-second customer returns—and planning new innovative business models based on Microsoft and Annata solutions.

Make the leap to intelligent, connected field service

Attendees at Hannover Messe are getting a glimpse into the future of field service for manufacturers, powered by Microsoft IoT Central, Dynamics 365 for Field Service, and Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality for HoloLens and mobile devices.

Dynamics 365 Connected Field Service transforms field service organizations with solutions to detect and resolve issues remotely before the customer knows of an issue, and drive efficiency and cut costs in the business cost center. The solution leverages connected devices and machine learning capabilities to combine remote monitoring, digital services, and predictive maintenance.

As recently announced, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist for mobile devices brings the HoloLens experience to mobile devices, allowing floor operators and field technicians to collaborate with remote experts and troubleshoot issues in context, without leaving the job site.  Dynamics 365 Guides is a new mixed reality tool that allows employees to learn by doing, with interactive, step-by-step guidance presented on heads-up, hands-free displays in real work situations.

Dynamics 365 Connected Field Service.

Toyota’s North America Production Engineering team uses Dynamics 365 Layout and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on Microsoft HoloLens in their North America manufacturing centers. Dynamics 365 Layout can improve business processes in valuable ways, such as the layout of digital twins of equipment on the manufacturing floor for safety and process verification, and creating innovative AR training practices through the use of holographic equipment instead of physical equipment in space. Dynamics 365 Remote Assist is in the early phases of being used to improve safety and reduce costs through the use of remote experts for equipment verification and incident response.

At Hannover Messe, Microsoft Partner Hitachi Solutions will showcase how they are helping global organizations create outcome-driven, connected field services with IoT and mixed reality to support maintenance work by field workers to increase uptime and service continuity.

Empower Your Changing Workforce

Start a conversation about Industry 4.0, and inevitably the topic lands on the workforce problem.

As a generation of highly-skilled, specialized workers eye retirement, manufacturers are in a bind to recruit young engineers and operators with the right skillset while adjusting to a new workforce, challenging traditional work culture.

Dynamics 365 for Talent helps HR teams at manufacturing organizations to solve the skills gap, offering intelligent tools to find, attract, and onboard skilled candidates. By automating many manual, time-consuming HR processes, Dynamics 365 for Talent lets HR professionals spend less time on the mundane, and more time on strategic initiatives that grow the business.

New this month, Dynamics 365 Guides allows employees to learn by doing with step-by-step instructions that guide employees to the tools and parts they need and how to use them in real work situations. Guides represents a new way to improve workflow efficiency. Now employees can learn while staying hands-on with their work. With the accompanying PC app, it’s possible for managers and frontline workers to create interactive training content by attaching photos, videos, and 3D models to information cards that stay with them while they work. When employees use Guides, information is collected to help managers understand how they’re doing and where they need help, further allowing people to improve the process.

Check out the video below to learn how PACCAR is exploring Guides and HoloLens to improve productivity and employee onboarding.

Get the full story at Hannover Messe

These solutions and customer stories are just a peek at how Microsoft Business Applications are helping transform manufacturing. If you are attending Hannover Messe, visit our booth to experience Dynamics 365 and Mixed Reality solutions firsthand, as well as chat with customers and partners.

Find more information about our location and sessions in this schedule, and be sure to check out the resources below.

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Closing the skills gap in manufacturing with Microsoft 365

The manufacturing industry is being transformed by the rise in new digital industrial technology, known as Industry 4.0. New technologies are changing every stage of production, increasing productivity, optimizing operations, and unlocking new areas of growth. In order for manufacturers to capture the value this technology unlocks, they’ll need to ensure their workforce has the right skills and the right tools.

This is especially true as it relates to an organization’s Firstline Workforce. In manufacturing, Firstline Workers are the employees who deliver products and materials, drive product quality, and keep critical equipment running. To help manufacturers with their digital transformation, we’re enabling new ways to work with Microsoft 365 for Firstline Workers to learn, communicate, and collaborate more effectively.

Upskilling and equipping the Firstline Workforce

With the rise of Industry 4.0, manufacturers must reimagine the roles, skills, and tools to transform work throughout their organization. This means providing digital and soft skills, empowering workers with modern tools, and blurring the boundaries of technology with new immersive experiences. In an increasingly digital and complex landscape, the types of skills that employees need are rapidly evolving, and it is increasingly difficult for the workforce to keep pace.

Solutions in Microsoft 365 that enable Firstline Workers to learn, communicate, and collaborate include:

  • Using Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online, manufacturers can securely centralize training efforts, easily distribute onboarding and training materials, and connect all levels of the organization to find and share best practices.

  • Using Microsoft Stream, organizations can deliver dynamic, role-based content and video to increase engagement and retention of training programs and support peer-to-peer information sharing.

To help equip workers to operate in a digitally-enabled manufacturing environment, Teams provides a single hub for teamwork to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate production from the engineering rooms to the factory floor.

  • Earlier this year, we announced new capabilities—including urgent messaging, location sharing, and image annotations—which organizations can use to create a safer and more efficient workplace. For example, these features can help workers identify, communicate, and share the location of hazardous spills to help reduce operational disruptions.

Image of three phones displaying urgent messaging, location sharing, and image annotations in Teams.

  • Additionally, Microsoft Teams is extensible and allows companies to transform business processes using Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. These services help to digitize everyday activities—such as documentation during quality assurance, data capture, and inventory management—helping reduce costs and free up time for Firstline Workers to focus on higher value activities.

As Industry 4.0 reshapes the manufacturing industry, finding new innovations to help workers learn, communicate, and collaborate remains a top priority. Microsoft is addressing these challenges through breakthroughs in hardware design, artificial intelligence (AI) experiences, mixed reality with HoloLens 2, and through business-ready solutions with Dynamics 365 and industry partners.

  • Using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, technicians can solve problems faster by calling in remote experts via Microsoft Teams to help walk through repairs using mixed reality annotations, sharing diagrams and schematics. And with Dynamics 365 Guides, employees can learn new skills with step-by-step instructions that guide employees to the tools they need and how to use them in real work situations.

Helping our customers succeed

Leading manufacturers choose Microsoft 365 to prepare, equip, and empower their employees at all levels:

To accelerate productivity and information flow, Cummins replaced its existing productivity and collaboration tools with Microsoft 365, introducing a modern knowledge management and collaboration framework to reduce skills gaps and anchor a new culture of work.

Our modern, tech-driven workplaces give employees the tools they need to innovate, so we can introduce new energy products and technology solutions to the market. It’s also a key strategy in attracting top talent.”
—Sherry Aaholm, VP and CIO for Cummins

Goodyear is using the integrated and adaptive tools in Microsoft 365 to help accelerate innovation and enable new capabilities inside the company. For example, Goodyear is connecting its workforce via tools like Teams, which is driving productivity and generating efficiencies to deliver the right products to the right place at the right time.

“Enhancing collaboration is crucial to us for improved decision making and to drive innovation, both in tires and beyond tires… Our multigenerational and multicultural global workforce is now sharing perspectives and ideas more quickly and easily than ever.”
—Sherry Neubert, CIO for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

We’re incredibly excited about our opportunity to help manufacturers transform and we are just getting started!

Join us at Hannover Messe and learn more

Next week, members of the Microsoft team will be at Hannover Messe, the annual manufacturing conference. Visit us at Microsoft stand C40 and learn how Microsoft is enabling Intelligent Manufacturing.

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Re-reading ASP.Net Core request bodies with EnableBuffering()

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Jeremy

In some scenarios there’s a need to read the request body multiple times. Some examples include

  • Logging the raw requests to replay in load test environment
  • Middleware that read the request body multiple times to process it

Usually Request.Body does not support rewinding, so it can only be read once. A straightforward solution is to save a copy of the stream in another stream that supports seeking so the content can be read multiple times from the copy.

In ASP.NET framework it was possible to read the body of an HTTP request multiple times using HttpRequest.GetBufferedInputStream method. However, in ASP.NET Core a different approach must be used.

In ASP.NET Core 2.1 we added an extension method EnableBuffering() for HttpRequest. This is the suggested way to enable request body for multiple reads. Here is an example usage in the InvokeAsync() method of a custom ASP.NET middleware:

public async Task InvokeAsync(HttpContext context, RequestDelegate next)
{ context.Request.EnableBuffering(); // Leave the body open so the next middleware can read it. using (var reader = new StreamReader( context.Request.Body, encoding: Encoding.UTF8, detectEncodingFromByteOrderMarks: false, bufferSize: bufferSize, leaveOpen: true)) { var body = await reader.ReadToEndAsync(); // Do some processing with body… // Reset the request body stream position so the next middleware can read it context.Request.Body.Position = 0; } // Call the next delegate/middleware in the pipeline await next(context);
}

The backing FileBufferingReadStream uses memory stream of a certain size first then falls back to a temporary file stream. By default the size of the memory stream is 30KB. There are also other EnableBuffering() overloads that allow specifying a different threshold, and/or a limit for the total size:

public static void EnableBuffering(this HttpRequest request, int bufferThreshold) public static void EnableBuffering(this HttpRequest request, long bufferLimit) public static void EnableBuffering(this HttpRequest request, int bufferThreshold, long bufferLimit)

For example, a call of

context.Request.EnableBuffering(bufferThreshold: 1024 * 45, bufferLimit: 1024 * 100);

enables a read buffer with limit of 100KB. Data is buffered in memory until the content exceeds 45KB, then it’s moved to a temporary file. By default there’s no limit on the buffer size but if there’s one specified and the content of request body exceeds the limit, an System.IOException will be thrown.

These overloads offer flexibility if there’s a need to fine-tune the buffering behaviors. Just keep in mind that:

  • Even though the memory stream is rented from a pool, it still has memory cost associated with it.
  • After the read is over the bufferThreshold the performance will be slower since a file stream will be used.
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Jeremy Meng

Software Development Engineer

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