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Gain a new perspective with Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces

If you look around at your physical and digital environments, data is everywhere. Despite this abundance, organizations have struggled to capture and scale observational data, leading to less visibility into their physical footprint than their digital channels. Powered by the intelligent edge and the intelligent cloud, AI and computer vision are transforming the way we…

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If you look around at your physical and digital environments, data is everywhere. Despite this abundance, organizations have struggled to capture and scale observational data, leading to less visibility into their physical footprint than their digital channels. Powered by the intelligent edge and the intelligent cloud, AI and computer vision are transforming the way we observe, understand, and act on data in our physical environments. Looking into the future, we will continue to unlock new data sources like cameras and sensors, to better understand the way we shape our customer and employee experiences. Microsoft is helping break down barriers between the physical and digital worlds to help organizations keep up with today’s competitive and fast-paced landscape.

We are excited to announce the preview version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, previously Dynamics 365 Connected Store, signaling our expansion from retail scenarios to all spaces. Now, with Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, your organization can harness observational data with ease, use AI-powered models to unlock insights about your environment, and respond in real-time to trends and patterns. As an out-of-the-box solution, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces is built to be extensible, customizable, and seamlessly work with your existing hardware. The preview will be available in early December 2021.

Set up existing cameras and unlock data with AI-powered skills

Observational data, or the data we generate as we move throughout the world, has been historically difficult to scale and derive insights from, but with Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, the process for collecting insights is made easy. With a simple set-up experience, add existing hardware and unlock new data with a turnkey software as a service (SaaS) application. With the power of your existing cameras, harness computer vision and observational data to help complete the picture—giving a new perspective into people, places, and things. Following deployment, simply turn on AI-powered models, known as skills, to help understand specific scenarios such as customer behavior at a promotional display, traffic patterns, and insights unique to your space. With the power of your existing cameras, harness computer vision and pre-built skills to help complete the picture—giving a new perspective into people, places, and things.

Pre-built skills help generate actionable insights

As a part of this announcement, the following skills will be available for preview:

Shopper analytics—using cameras pointed at entry and exit locations, receive counts and trends for footfall in the store, and how they change by the hour and by day. You can also identify the busiest day of the week and use that to plan shifts.

Display effectiveness—measure the effectiveness of displays (end caps in your store) to get an understanding of how many people walked past the display, and how many have actively engaged with it. Use this data to do A/B testing to determine the best locations to put your promotional content or to simply understand how the display is doing.

Queue management—measure the customer wait time experienced in queues, use the data to plan to open additional queues, and achieve a better understanding of business lost due to queue abandonment.

At the core of this solution is responsible AI. These scenarios are powered by computer vision technology for people counting and dwell time measurement without individual shoppers being identified or having their facial characteristics analyzed.

Empower your employees and improve in-store customer experiences

Coupled with innovative skills scenarios, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces comes with built-in alerts for each scenario, enabling managers and employees to respond to important interactions with ease. Triggered by real-time activity, alerts are sent to Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Teams when a threshold is met such as maximum wait time, maximum store occupancy, maximum display dwell time, and more. Gone are the days when you had to rely on counting shoppers with a clicker—employees can now spend time on activities that drive real business value.

Additionally, the Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces dashboard provides a one-stop for employees to quickly tap into new perspectives. With charts, graphs, heat maps, and alerts, employees can adapt to pinpoint trouble areas, improve the customer experience, and better visualize patterns that impact operations.

Looking forward

Built to be extensible, the pre-built retail skills are just the starting point. Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces will continue to expand with skills in a variety of industries and key scenarios to help improve visibility, enhance employee and customer experiences, and drive operational efficiencies. Here are a few use cases we are excited to see come to life in the future:

  • Anomaly detection in manufacturing: Detect errors in real-time to help improve accuracy and avoid unnecessary waste.
  • Tools and materials: Ensure that tools, materials, and items are in the right place for important workflows, reducing inefficiencies.

Ease of use is at the center of our product experience and we’re excited for the potential to use low-code capabilities to enhance pre-built skills to accommodate your business use cases and account for the unique nature of your spaces. Looking forward, employees will be able to easily adapt, train, and improve skill accuracy. Using simple box and labeling features, employees will be able to guide skills to capture only what’s most important, and ultimately, be more proactive.

Over time, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces becomes the partner at your side, providing intelligent insights and enhancing real-time understanding. From retail to manufacturing, we’re excited to empower organizations to transform their operations and customer experiences with improved visibility in your spaces. The benefits to unlocking the power of observational data are immense and with a turnkey, easy-to configure solution, organizations can begin to bridge the physical and digital and gain a new perspective.

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Facebook: How Meta Is Preparing for Brazil’s 2022 Elections

Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms. Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity…

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Today, we want to share our work to protect the integrity of presidential elections taking place in Brazil in October 2022. In recent years, we’ve increased our efforts to combat misinformation by investing in teams, technology and partnerships to ensure the safety of people using Meta’s platforms.

Since 2016, we’ve quadrupled our security and integrity workforce to more than 40,000 people globally. Last year alone, we invested nearly $5 billion in both areas.

We know that local knowledge is essential for this work to be effective, so we also have a large team of specialists based in Brazil who have a deep understanding of the situation. These efforts are intensified as the election approaches, and our work to protect the integrity of our platforms will continue after the vote.

Preventing and Stopping Election Interference

Removing content that violates our policies on voter suppression, such as posts that discourage people from voting, is among our many responses to potential interference in the electoral process. We take many actions to prevent hate speech or the incitement of violence on our platforms.

Currently, 99.7% of the fake accounts we remove from Facebook are deleted by artificial intelligence, before they are reported by users. We also investigate and disrupt networks that use fake accounts in a coordinated way to influence public debate.

Closer to October, we will activate an Elections Operations Center focused on Brazil, an initiative we’ve implemented since 2018, to bring together experts from across the company – including intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, public policy and legal teams. They work together to identify potential threats on our platforms in real time, accelerating our response time.

Collaborating With Authorities

In partnership with Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), in December 2021 we started adding a label to posts about political elections on Facebook and Instagram, directing people to reliable information on the Electoral Justice website. In the first two months after its launch, the label led to a 10-fold increase in visits to the Electoral Justice portal.

Between the end of April and the beginning of May, we posted reminders on Facebook for users to request or update their voter cards. The content was seen by the majority of adults using Facebook in Brazil and more than three  million people clicked to see more information. Closer to the upcoming election, we will again display reminders on Facebook and Instagram about voting day to raise awareness among voters and reduce abstention rates.

For the first time, the TSE will be able to report content directly on Facebook and Instagram that may violate our policies. We will analyze the reports once they are received.

WhatsApp launched an extrajudicial channel of communication in the 2020 municipal election to receive complaints from the TSE. The focus is on quick response to potential cases of bulk messaging, which is forbidden by local electoral law and by the app’s terms of service.

We also developed a virtual assistant on WhatsApp with the TSE, as we did during Brazil’s 2020 municipal election. The chatbot is accessible through the number +55 61 9637-1078. It allows voters to interact directly with the electoral authority and receive relevant information about the vote.

Meta has hosted training sessions for electoral officials all over Brazil to explain our actions to curb misinformation, share details on how Facebook and Instagram work, and detail our content rules, which we call our Community Standards and Community Guidelines. We also offer workshops to candidates and their campaign teams.

The partnership with the TSE also includes booklets with information for the electoral community and a guide to combating online violence against women in politics, also supported by the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) – Brazil Chapter.

Fighting Misinformation

We remove content on Facebook and Instagram that discourages voting or interferes with voting, such as incorrect information about the election date or candidates’ numbers.

We also work with independent fact-checking organizations to verify the veracity of reported posts that don’t violate our Community Standards. When fact-checkers mark a post as false, we reduce its reach on Facebook and Instagram.

People who still see this content in their feeds will see it covered with a label and a link directing them to more information from the fact-checker. In July, we increased the number of partners in our fact-checking initiative in Brazil from four to six including: Agência Lupa, AFP, Aos Fatos, Estadão Verifica, Reuters Fact Check and UOL Confere.

Since messages on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, we fight misinformation on WhatsApp through measures to reduce message virality.

Messages forwarded on WhatsApp are identified with a tag. Since 2020, messages with five or more forwards can be resent to just one conversation, which has led to a 70% global reduction in the number of frequently forwarded messages. This year, we implemented a new forwarding limit on WhatsApp: now, any forwarded message can only be forwarded again to one WhatsApp group at a time.

Advertising Transparency

In 2018, we launched our transparency tools for ads about politics and elections on Facebook and Instagram in Brazil. In 2020, we began requiring advertisers who wish to run ads about elections or politics to complete an authorization process and include “Paid for by” disclaimers on these ads. This year, we’ve expanded that requirement to ads about social issues such as economics, security and education.

All posts with the “Paid for by” disclaimer go to the Ad Library, where they are stored for seven years. The tool is open and provides anyone with detailed information about political ads including  the ad source account, audience demographics and estimated spending range, among other data.

Protecting the integrity of the Brazilian election in 2022 on our apps is a priority for Meta. We will continue to share updates on how we move forward with this work.

See more information about our work on elections.

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Microsoft is a Leader in The Forrester Wave: CRM Suites, Q3 2022

We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022. A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems…

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We are honored to announce that Microsoft Dynamics 365 was identified as a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022.

A few weeks ago, during his Microsoft Inspire keynote, Satya Nadella reminded us of the distinct value that Microsoft provides to organizations by leading the way in digital transformation and supercharging their systems of record. “Dynamics 365 is purpose-built for this new world of business process. Our intelligent business applications connect data, process, and teams, ushering in a new era of hyper connected business and offering unparalleled value.” And over this past year we have been proud to see our customers take Dynamics 365 and show that there are really no limits to what can be done when you unite data silos with industry-leading AI and integrate collaboration tools throughout.

From the Campari Group’s ability to deploy bespoke personalization to their event attendees with real-time customer journey orchestration, to Dextra Group’s saving a whopping 60 percent on their customer relationship management (CRM) cost while also increasing seller productivity and lead quality, and to the city of Richmond, Virginia transformation of their non-emergency case management capabilities to deliver omnichannel engagement for improved efficiency and also becoming benchmark for how governments nationwide can utilize digital tools to better serve their communities.

What makes our CRM and connected products stand out for our customers? Here are seven key insights we have heard over the past year.

  1. Dynamics 365 provides an end-to-end, full-funnel solution. Dynamics 365 is the only portfolio of intelligent business applications that accelerates revenue outcomes by transforming selling experiences with a single intelligent, digital, customizable solution.
  2. Robust AI insights at your fingertips. Dynamics 365 enables everyone, across every team, to make better and more impactful decisions by converting data into insights with the intelligence of Microsoft AI allowing teams to be more efficient and productive.
  3. Breakdown the barriers between people. We offer the leading workplace collaboration, video conferencing, and meeting software in the world with Microsoft Teams, which can connect seamlessly with our out-of-the-box CRM or be personalized to fit an organization’s needs with custom features.
  4. Personalize every experience. Dynamics 365 Marketing assists companies in more deeply understanding their customers and drives intent with AI-powered insights to deliver connected experiences—all the way from acquisition to retention.
  5. Streamlined, proactive, scalable sales. Dynamics 365 helps sales teams uplevel forecasting and revenue operations with built-in AI and machine learning and enhance seller performance with recommended next best actions, productivity tools, and real-time coaching.
  6. Breakthrough service capabilities. Dynamics 365 Customer Service helps organizations meet the evolving needs of every customer across every channel and increases customer satisfaction, while boosting frontline employee productivity regardless of location.
  7. Low-code transformation. With Microsoft Power Platform, organizations can provide anyone with the ability for low-code transformation with low-code, intuitive, extensible tools that seamlessly connect to Dynamics 365. 

It’s an honor for us that so many organizations look to us for help modernizing sales, marketing, and service operations. As Forrester states in its report, “Microsoft’s strong vision, the breadth of its suite, and its partner ecosystem and industry solutions drive its 40% year-over-year growth, especially in industries such as financial services, healthcare, and retail.” We genuinely believe that with connected data, underpinned by industry leading AI and insights, there are no limits to what organizations can do. From upleveling employee experiences, to improving team productivity, and building deeper relationships with customers. It is all available with Dynamics 365.

Learn more

To learn more about how Microsoft compared with the other eight selected providers, please navigate to The Forrester WaveTM: CRM Suites, Q3 2022 website and get your copy.

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Exchange Online Basic authentication is going away: What you need to know

Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change. How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics…

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Effective October 1, 2022, you will no longer be able to use Basic authentication to connect to Microsoft Exchange Online. If your organization uses server-side synchronization or the deprecated Dynamics 365 Email Router, you should find out now whether you need to prepare for the change.

How will removing Exchange Online Basic authentication affect Dynamics 365 and Power Apps?

After October 1, 2022, any connection to Exchange Online that uses server-side sync or the Dynamics 365 Email Router with Basic authentication (username and password) will quit working. Dynamics 365 mailboxes that use these connections will no longer be able to:

  • Send email from Dynamics 365 through Exchange Online
  • Retrieve email from Exchange Online
  • Synchronize appointments, contacts, or tasks between Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online

This change doesn’t affect connections that use Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization).

How can I find out if I need to prepare?

If your company is using server-side sync or the Email Router to connect to Exchange Online using a username and password, you need to act. There are a couple of ways to find out whether your organization is affected and what you need to do if it is.

Review your Message Center Posts (recommended)

The fastest and most reliable way to know if you need to prepare and what to do is to look in the Microsoft 365 Message Center. (You must have admin rights to sign in to the Message Center.) The Exchange Online team has been sending monthly Message Center posts to all affected customers with the following title format: “Basic Authentication – Monthly Usage Report – 2022.”

If your organization is using server-side sync with Basic authentication, you may also have received Message Center posts from the Dynamics 365 or Power Apps services. Look for posts with the following title: “Impact due to Exchange Online disabling Basic Authentication.”

The posts provide detailed information about the change and actions you need to take before October 1.

Check your Dynamics 365 email settings

If you don’t find any posts in the Message Center, read our guide on how to check whether your organization is affected and if it is, what you need to do before October 1.

Learn more

You can find more information, including FAQs, in the documentation:

Use of Basic authentication with Exchange Online | Microsoft Docs

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