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AT&T integrating 5G with Microsoft cloud to enable next-generation solutions on the edge

DALLAS and REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 26, 2019 — Microsoft and AT&T are ramping up innovation in the early days of their strategic alliance announced in July. One area of focus is aimed at enabling new 5G, cloud and edge computing solutions to drive enterprise capabilities for companies around the world.

The companies are opening select preview availability for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology, which weaves Microsoft Azure cloud services into AT&T network edge locations closer to customers. This means AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core – what the company calls the Network Cloud – is now capable of delivering Azure services. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.

From making the world’s first 5G millimeter wave browsing session on a commercial 5G device to groundbreaking commercial installations in healthcare, manufacturing and entertainment, AT&T has proved itself to be a leader in 5G. The company recently activated an industry-first 400-gigabit connection between Dallas and Atlanta to support video, gaming and other 5G needs. AT&T serves parts of 21 cities with its 5G network using millimeter wave spectrum (5G+) and plans to offer nationwide 5G in the first half of 2020.

“The first smartphones on 3G networks introduced the idea of mobile apps over a decade ago. A few years later, 4G LTE made it feasible to connect those devices faster to cloud applications to stream videos, hail rides, and broadcast content to the world,” said Mo Katibeh, EVP and chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “With our 5G and edge computing, AT&T is collaborating uniquely with Microsoft to marry their cloud capabilities with our network to create lower latency between the device and the cloud that will unlock new, future scenarios for consumers and businesses. We’ve said all year developers and businesses will be the early 5G adopters, and this puts both at the forefront of this revolution.”

This innovation points to a future where high-end augmented reality glasses are as thin and stylish as a standard pair of eyeglasses, lightweight drones can track themselves and thousands of nearby companions in near-real time, and autonomous cars have access to nearly-instant data processing capabilities without having to install a mini data center in the trunk.

“We are helping AT&T light up a wide range of unique solutions powered by Microsoft’s cloud, both for its business and our mutual customers in a secure and trusted way,” said Corey Sanders, corporate vice president, Microsoft Solutions. “The collaboration reaches across AT&T, bringing the hyperscale of Microsoft Azure together with AT&T’s network to innovate with 5G and edge computing across every industry.”

 5G and edge for gaming, drones, and more

One example of how edge computing can unlock new scenarios and experiences is in mobile gaming, where gaming company Game Cloud Network has created a unique 5G game that’s hosted on the network edge with Microsoft Azure. Game Cloud Network is a pioneer in developing game-based brand engagement and a customer of AT&T. The company is now showcasing its new “Tap & Field” game, which utilizes Microsoft’s Azure PlayFab services. In the game, users race each other in near-real time via this track-and-field-style game, enabled by the speed of 5G-connected devices.

“5G gaming provides consumers with the best of both worlds: highly-immersive experiences on lightweight mobile devices,” said Aaron Baker, chief executive officer, Game Cloud Network. “AT&T and Microsoft are building the perfect environment for game developers to create amazing new possibilities for gamers. 5G and edge computing have the potential to radically change how we play together and launch new business opportunities for brands and game publishers.”

Through AT&T Foundry, AT&T and Microsoft are exploring proofs-of-concept including augmented and virtual reality scenarios and drones. For example, both companies continue to work with Israeli startup Vorpal, helping its VigilAir product track drones in commercial zones, airports, and other areas with near-instant positioning. The companies also recently demoed using Microsoft HoloLens to provide 3D schematic overlays for technicians making repairs to airplanes and other industrial equipment.

Progress toward a “public-cloud first company” and more

Microsoft is also helping AT&T Communications become a “public-cloud first” company by migrating most non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024, and this migration to Azure is already underway. Another important part of AT&T’s strategy is to empower much of its workforce with Microsoft 365. This includes cloud-connected Office apps on Windows 10, and modern collaboration with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive. AT&T has begun rolling out these solutions to tens of thousands of employees to help drive a culture of modern work.

AT&T and Microsoft will have more to share over the coming months and years as this unique alliance continues to evolve and expand. The two companies will both create and adopt new technologies to develop tools, commercial services and consumer applications that benefit everyone.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It executes in the market under four operating units. WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. AT&T Communications provides more than 100 million U.S. consumers with entertainment and communications experiences across TV, mobile and broadband services. Plus, it serves nearly 3 million business customers with high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions. AT&T Latin America provides pay-TV services across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is the fastest growing wireless provider in Mexico, serving consumers and businesses. Xandr provides marketers with innovative and relevant advertising solutions for consumers around premium video content and digital advertising through its AppNexus platform.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information is available at about.att.com. © 2019 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

 Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

This news release may contain certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations between the non-GAAP financial measures and the GAAP financial measures are available on the company’s website at https://investors.att.com.

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.

For more information, contact:

Clay Owen
AT&T Corporate Communications
Phone: (404) 538-0124
Email: clay.owen@att.com

Microsoft Media Relations
WE Communications for Microsoft
Phone: (425) 638-7777
Email: rrt@we-worldwide.com

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Microsoft and Nokia collaborate to accelerate digital transformation and Industry 4.0 for communications service providers and enterprises

Companies announce their first joint solutions combining Microsoft cloud, AI and machine learning expertise with Nokia’s leadership across mission-critical networking and communications

REDMOND, Wash., and ESPOO, Finland Nov. 5, 2019 Microsoft and Nokia today announced a strategic collaboration to accelerate transformation and innovation across industries with cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). By bringing together Microsoft cloud solutions and Nokia’s expertise in mission-critical networking, the companies are uniquely positioned to help enterprises and communications service providers (CSPs) transform their businesses. As Microsoft’s Azure, Azure IoT, Azure AI and Machine Learning solutions combine with Nokia’s LTE/5G-ready private wireless solutions, IP, SD-WAN, and IoT connectivity offerings, the companies will drive industrial digitalization and automation across enterprises, and enable CSPs to offer new services to enterprise customers.

BT is the first global communications service provider to offer its enterprise customers a managed service that integrates Microsoft Azure cloud and Nokia SD-WAN solutions. BT customers can access this through a customer automated delegated rights service, which enables BT to manage both the customer Azure vWAN and the unique Agile Connect SD-WAN, based on Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0.

“Bringing together Microsoft’s expertise in intelligent cloud solutions and Nokia’s strength in building business and mission-critical networks will unlock new connectivity and automation scenarios,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president, Microsoft Azure. “We’re excited about the opportunities this will create for our joint customers across industries.”

“We are thrilled to unite Nokia’s mission-critical networks with Microsoft’s cloud solutions,” said Kathrin Buvac, President of Nokia Enterprise and Chief Strategy Officer. “Together, we will accelerate the digital transformation journey towards Industry 4.0, driving economic growth and productivity for both enterprises and service providers.”

The cloud and IoT have ushered in the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, wherein enterprises are embracing data to automate and streamline processes across all aspects of their businesses. By joining forces, the two companies are bringing solutions to market that will simplify and accelerate this journey for enterprises, as well as enable CSPs to play a key role in helping their customers realize the potential of industrial digitalization and automation while also optimizing and better differentiating their own businesses.

Accelerating digital transformation for enterprises

Microsoft and Nokia are partnering to help accelerate digital transformation for enterprises by offering connectivity and Azure IoT solutions that unlock connected scenarios across multiple industries including digital factories, smart cities, warehouses, healthcare settings, and transportation hubs such as ports, airports and more.

The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (Nokia DAC) 5G-ready industrial-grade private wireless broadband solution with on-premise Azure elements will enable a wide variety of secure industrial automation solutions that require more reliable connectivity, efficient coverage and better mobility than traditional Wi-Fi networks provide. For example, connected smart tools and machines on manufacturing floors that enable increased productivity, flexibility and safety for workers, or autonomous vehicles and robots in industrial environments that improve automation, efficiency and overall safety.

Enabling new enterprise services offered by service providers

Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN 2.0 solution now enables service providers to offer integration with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN for branch to cloud connectivity, with the companies planning to offer more options for branch internet connectivity in 2020. By automating branch and hybrid WAN connectivity, enterprises will have simplified, faster access to cloud applications such as Office 365, integrated security from branch-to-branch and branch-to-Azure and reduced risk of configuration errors causing security or connectivity issues.

Furthermore, the companies are integrating Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) with Azure IoT Central to make the onboarding, deployment, management and servicing of IoT solutions seamless. This integration provides CSPs with the opportunity to offer their enterprises a single platform including vertical solutions to enable secure connected IoT services, such as asset tracking and machine monitoring on a national or global scale. Enterprises will be able to use Azure IoT Central and partner solutions for faster and easier enablement and implementation of their IoT applications together with Nokia’s IoT connectivity solutions.

Driving digital transformation for CSPs

Microsoft and Nokia are collaborating to host Nokia’s Analytics, Virtualization and Automation (AVA) cognitive services solutions on Azure. These AI solutions will enable CSPs to move out of private data centers and into the Azure cloud to realize cost savings and transform operations for 5G. Predictive Video Analytics is an example of a joint solution that will ensure optimal video experiences for CSP subscribers, improving reliability by up to 60 percent.

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.

About Nokia

We create the technology to connect the world. We develop and deliver the industry’s only end-to-end portfolio of network equipment, software, services and licensing that is available globally. Our customers include communications service providers whose combined networks support 6.1 billion subscriptions, as well as enterprises in the private and public sector that use our network portfolio to increase productivity and enrich lives.

Through our research teams, including the world-renowned Nokia Bell Labs, we are leading the world to adopt end-to-end 5G networks that are faster, more secure and capable of revolutionizing lives, economies and societies. Nokia adheres to the highest ethical business standards as we create technology with social purpose, quality and integrity. www.nokia.com

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Nokia Communications, +358 10 448 4900, press.services@nokia.com

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Caesars Entertainment bets on the Microsoft cloud

Today’s post was written by Les Ottolenghi, executive vice president and chief information officer at Caesars Entertainment.

The gaming and entertainment industry is at a pivotal moment in its history, as traditional forms of entertainment face wholesale disruption in a hyper-connected world. I joined Caesars Entertainment in January 2016 to help navigate our way to becoming a purely digital business so that we can enhance the guest experience across our enterprise, which includes 55 destinations. Customers—habituated to mobile devices and omnichannel experiences—now expect their entertainment to be digital, real-time, and reliable. Caesars is using Microsoft cloud technologies, from the Office 365 suite of products to Azure and Dynamics 365, as a key part of its strategy to apply digital technology to the casino gaming industry.

Microsoft cloud technologies accelerate our business, from delivering new entertainment options to mobilizing and taking care of customers and our team members. Agility is a key benefit as we strive to stay ahead in a connected world that’s always evolving. With Office 365, we gained a modern workplace that improves efficiency in intelligent ways that map to our business strategies. For example, the dissemination of information and real-time connections among employees who are using Office 365 facilitates the teamwork that’s required to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our IT team can also use Microsoft technologies to deploy these capabilities to the enterprise more seamlessly than ever. As part of our Microsoft cloud rollout, we deployed a text message bot that was built on the Microsoft Azure Bot Service framework to answer users’ questions about the rollout to aid in change management. Thanks to the pilot, the IT team not only gained experience in the design and development of the bots, but overall, the rollout was more successful across the enterprise.

Office 365 business productivity tools are exceptional, up to date, compliant, highly secure, and resilient so that IT can invest in exploring new technology opportunities. With built-in security services and other integrations, IT is free to focus on customer-facing initiatives—more than 60 percent of IT projects are now aimed at delivering value for customers and our team members, which is a huge increase from past years. And as we build digital technology into everything we do, we transform from a brick and mortar to a platform business that delivers what our customers want—before our competitors.

Recently, Caesars launched an interactive and immersive gaming and entertainment environment inside The LINQ Hotel + Experience on the Las Vegas Strip. At the RE:MATCH bar inside The LINQ screens around the bar offer interactive digital experiences, including games on the bar top and one-of-a-kind, immersive digital art installations. Across the casino floor at The Book, customers can fire up an Xbox and play casual games, and they can compete in e-sports events next door. All this translates into a unique experience for our guests that is available all day, every day. To facilitate coordination among the more than 200 people who worked on the project, we used Office 365 to connect the teams and share the information they needed to deliver the experience. It’s a great example of how we’re taking advantage of Microsoft technology to optimize our resources and focus on the customer engagement model.

We are also testing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in Azure to explore real-time, machine learning–based content creation and a deployment model to help us provide customers with what they need, when they need it, whether that be on a screen on a wall or in the palm of their hands. In the future, if a problem at a Los Angeles airport delays a guest’s arrival, we could proactively alleviate their anxiety by sending them an email to reassure them about their reservations or to confirm that we’ll hold their tickets for a big headliner show.

Caesars Entertainment is in the early stages of a global Windows 10 deployment. The continuous release cycles with Windows 10 will satisfy employees who have come to expect constant upgrades on their digital platforms. We’re also focused on making sure that we deliver the right technology into our team members’ hands. Surface Pro has been such a strong product that it has become the device of choice for our executives. And this is where employee satisfaction, which is so important to our culture, comes in. Our team members are more engaged and satisfied with work because they have modern, cloud-powered tools to create connections and improve their productivity. And in a networked world where individuals are vulnerable to cyberattacks and fake information, they know they can still get their work done safely. This is because we use Office 365 with services such as Azure Active Directory and other Microsoft security services, in concert with our security platform and controls, allowing us to geofence sign-in alerts, for example.

As Caesars progresses with its digital transformation, we’re poised to embrace new opportunities in the gaming and hospitality business. Ensuring that our team members are happy and productive with a modern workplace and Microsoft cloud technology is our best bet on getting there.

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Full session catalog for June 10-11 Microsoft Business Applications Summit now available

Time to get excited – the full session catalog for Microsoft Business Applications Summit is here. Explore every breakout session and workshop coming to the conference, taking place in Atlanta, Georgia June 10 – 11, 2019. Get ready to flex your skills – and build new ones – with all things Power BI and beyond.

This is the place for more data wow – we’ll be covering data with cloud collaboration, modern data visualizations, and the power of the Power Platform. You can also expand your toolset in sessions covering Dynamics 365, mixed reality, and more. Meet the engineers, hang out with our vibrant community, and explore the latest innovations. Registration is open – secure your spot today.

Just launched, the complete session catalog – check it out.

The session catalog is live – we’re talking 150+ expert-led sessions and workshops (plus 16 pre-days!) filled with hints and hacks to ramp up your skills and generate better data to transform your business.

Turn your data into insights and action through customized real-time reports, and connect with Microsoft engineers who know the ins-and-outs of data connectors, DAX, and more. Plus, learn about the latest trends and product roadmaps before anyone else.

Here’s a sample of what’s in store this year, and be sure to check out the session catalog for the full rundown and latest updates:

Microsoft Power BI: AI powered analytics

Learn how AI can empower you to solve your toughest business problems.

Microsoft Power BI: Building connectors

Learn everything you need to know to leverage Power Query and take your data to the next level.

Microsoft Power BI: Common Data Model and Azure Data Services

Discover how the Common Data Model is bringing powerful semantic consistency to Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 with CDM folders, allowing organizations to tap into Azure Data Lake, SQL DW, Azure Databricks, Azure ML, and more.

Microsoft Power BI: Connect and transform data from hundreds of data sources using Power Query

Learn how Power Query and M are providing a best-in-market experience for importing, reshaping, and combining data from a wide range of data sources, from File and Enterprise-grade sources, to Azure and more.

Microsoft Power BI: Democratizing self-service data prep with dataflows

Everything you need to know about dataflows and beyond – learn how to easily prep your data with ease, leverage Microsoft’s Common Data Model, improve time-to-value, and create one source of truth for your organizational insights.

Microsoft Power BI: The future of modern BI – roadmap and vision

Meet Microsoft’s BI leadership team as they share the Power BI vision and strategy, and learn how to harness the insights deep within your data.

Special guest keynote with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, aka “Mayor of the Internet”

Also just announced, Alexis Ohanian will deliver our special guest keynote! Dubbed “Mayor of the Internet” by Forbes, Ohanian co-founded Reddit in 2005. Since then, the site has grown into one of the Internet’s most powerful community gathering spaces, and is currently the 6th largest website in the world.

Ohanian has invested in and advised more than 200 tech startups, was a partner at Y Combinator, and co-founded Initialized Capital, an early stage venture capital firm, where he now serves as managing partner. He also created and hosted two seasons of Small Empires, a series profiling tech startups and their communities. Named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list two years in a row, Ohanian is the bestselling author of Without Their Permission, a guidebook for harnessing the power of the Internet for good.

You won’t want to miss this visionary keynote, sure to inspire you to take your organization to the next level with innovative new solutions.

All this, plus our vibrant community – register today

We’re bringing together an incredible community of power users, analysts, solution architects, developers, and more – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect and collaborate. Browse the session catalog and start planning your best conference. We hope you’ll join us for 2+ days of total immersion to drive better data, stronger solutions, and bigger transformation. Register today!

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Gap Inc. partners with Microsoft to create a more seamless shopping experience

Nearly 50 years ago, a real estate entrepreneur named Don Fisher had a problem: He couldn’t find a pair of jeans that fit, even after going to three stores. With his wife Doris, they decided to open their own store with jeans in many sizes and styles, a radical concept at the time. It was the first-ever Gap store.

Today, Gap Inc. is a global retailer with six brands, over 3,100 company-operated stores and product sold in more than 90 countries. Customers still come looking for the perfect pair of jeans, but now their expectations for where, when and how they shop have transformed. As the company looks to the future, it is continuing its growth and role as a retail leader with a new cloud strategy announced Friday.

With Microsoft as its primary cloud provider, the retailer will accelerate mobile and digital capabilities, modernize its supply chain, improve the in-store experience and deliver new ways to shop.

Store customer pays for clothing at a mobile checkout station with smiling employee
Mobile checkout at Old Navy.

“Gap Inc. is focused on using technology to transform how we provide a frictionless customer experience wherever and however our customer wants to shop,” says Sally Gilligan, chief information officer at Gap Inc. “Our journey and partnership with Microsoft will enable us to be more resilient and stable as a platform, scale more efficiently, and innovate and build solutions faster.”

Gilligan is leading the company’s technology evolution with Rathi Murthy, Gap Inc.’s chief technology officer. Their work will facilitate ongoing growth of the retailer’s active and value business, and support expansion of online and mobile services across its brands, including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.

The elasticity of Azure will help Gap Inc. quickly scale for future holiday seasons, as the company migrates hundreds of applications to Azure over the next several years, starting with critical inventory, store and site management systems.

Cloud capabilities will allow efficient, reliable scaling with all peaks and valleys of consumer demand – from holidays to back-to-school season – and streamline a supply chain that moves over 1.2 billion product units a year. Azure will also support the company’s DevOps model of rapid software builds, releases and tests.

“Azure is going to play a very, very big role for us to be able to scale our business seamlessly,” Murthy says.

People process packages in a large distribution center
Gap Inc. distribution center in Fishkill, New York.

Gap Inc. is also building a centralized data platform on Azure to enable personalized shopping experiences and faster responses to a changing retail landscape, with more consumers shopping digitally and researching products online before they head to a store. The company will be able to better understand customers’ tastes and preferences with advanced analytics, data visualization and machine learning. It will be able to deliver tailored merchandising and marketing, and win more omnichannel, cross-brand shoppers.

Such shoppers are valuable consumers and Gap Inc.’s most loyal customers. That’s why the company’s technology teams have made it easy to shop online across brands, with easy toggling between sites and universal checkout for customers to combine items from several brands, like Gap and Athleta, in a single cart that ships together.

“We’ve seen a huge transformation in the whole retail industry in shopping patterns,” Murthy says. “Our online business continues to grow, so we need to make sure our platform is fast, responsive and able to scale.”

Headquartered where it began – San Francisco – Gap Inc. is also empowering its now-global workforce with Microsoft 365 solutions. The modern tools will help employees collaborate across brands and channels, and enable them to work faster and more efficiently through the company’s transformation.

“You can’t be on your legacy platforms if you want to empower your best talent,” says Murthy. “You’ve got to be on the next-generation platform. That’s where Office 365 and Windows 10 come in.”

Three people working together with laptops and a hand-held device
Gap Inc. employees work on technology solutions.

Murthy and Gilligan also share a passion for creating a modern, diverse workplace. Whether it’s developing female talent, working with students and community, or fostering innovation for everyone, the work is all part of a comprehensive strategy to build a faster, better Gap Inc.

“For me, diversity is not just diversity in race and gender, but diversity in thoughts and action as well,” says Murthy, a longtime mentor for other women. “Our customers are 70 percent women and it’s important to have the same representation in-house, in technology, in all aspects. Then we are best able to serve our business.”

To learn more about Gap Inc.’s digital transformation, read the press release.  

Top photo: Rathi Murthy (left), Gap Inc. chief technology officer, and Sally Gilligan, Gap Inc. chief information officer. All photos courtesy of Gap Inc.