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Cloud trends show customers increasing investments in hybrid and multicloud

Across every industry and geography, companies are working hard to keep pace with evolving business needs and build on their existing digital investments. In my role leading the product team for the core of Azure, I spend a lot of time with customers learning what they need to be successful as they integrate cloud technologies…

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Across every industry and geography, companies are working hard to keep pace with evolving business needs and build on their existing digital investments. In my role leading the product team for the core of Azure, I spend a lot of time with customers learning what they need to be successful as they integrate cloud technologies into their business strategy to digitally transform.

As many have experienced firsthand, the pandemic has pushed more businesses to adopt wider use of cloud computing technology. A new survey finds it’s also driving more companies to deploy a hybrid (mix of on-premises and one or more public clouds) or multicloud (multiple public clouds) approach. The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll and sponsored by Microsoft, found 86% of all respondents plan to increase investment in hybrid or multicloud environments, and 95% say those technologies have already been critical to their success.

Results from the survey of business decisions makers, IT professionals and IT decision makers in medium to large U.S. companies demonstrate the opportunity in 2022 for cloud technology to solve complex business needs.

Hybrid and multicloud fuel business outcomes

The survey and our own observations both underscore how companies are emphasizing remote work, increasing demands for efficiency and ever-present competitive pressures to reduce costs. While the pandemic has already accelerated use of cloud technology, respondents shared they will continue to proactively and strategically invest in cloud, specifically hybrid and multicloud, in the next few years.

It comes down to the bottom line: these technologies are critical to business success, enabling new scenarios, improving resource efficiency and increasing business agility. Companies that use these technologies were more likely to report increases in revenue over the past 12 months, with 83% of those who operate in both hybrid cloud and multicloud environments reporting revenue growth compared to just 58% of non-hybrid and non-multicloud users. In fact, nearly all professionals in organizations that use hybrid or multicloud said these solutions drove direct business outcomes.

While some companies may arrive at hybrid or multicloud organically, the survey shows most organizations are choosing these technologies with strategic intent. Companies are deploying additional clouds for specific purposes, such as a cloud just for AI.

Flexibility and choice emerged as clear needs from businesses that aren’t just adopting a single cloud, but rather the right mix of clouds and the tools that go with them. Nearly all survey respondents agreed they need to be able to adopt cloud in some areas of business while retaining other business information on premises, primarily for regulatory reasons. Nearly nine in 10 say they will increase spending on hybrid or multicloud in the next three years.

Why? To address business demands including scalability, risk management and the ability to govern data and digital sovereignty. The majority of Fortune 500 business respondents say they’re likely to make changes to their cloud infrastructure in the next year, including half who plan to increase the number of cloud providers they are using.

Empowering customers with flexibility

We are committed to customers’ need for flexibility, which is why we built Azure to be hybrid by design and continue to invest in enabling the use of cloud-native technologies anywhere. As part of our ongoing investment, in 2019 we delivered Azure Arc – the foundation of our current approach to hybrid and multicloud. Azure Arc provides a centralized way for customers to manage, govern and secure their entire digital landscape across datacenters, edge and multiple clouds. We also encourage customers to choose familiar cloud-native tools or use Azure services to build and deploy their applications to on-premises, edge and multicloud environments. And that flexibility is resonating – with thousands of new customers signing up, including KPMG, Nokia, Royal Bank of Canada and Siemens Healthineers. In fact, 78% of the Fortune 500 companies now use Microsoft hybrid cloud offerings.

For example, worldwide telecommunications company Nokia uses Azure to serve customers and keep data secure and compliant in every geography where it operates. We worked with the Nokia team to develop an approach that gives it a standard way to deploy, operate and monitor its cloud-native applications in whichever environment customers choose, including Azure, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, private clouds or on-premises environments.

We also understand readiness and enablement are critical to customer success with hybrid and multicloud, and we continue to invest in this area. Today, we’re announcing the new Landing Zone Accelerator for Azure Arc-enabled servers, making deployments easier and faster with guidance and automated reference implementations based on our experience with thousands of customers.

As The Harris Poll survey underscored, recent years have challenged many enterprises to evolve their approach to cloud, including renewing their focus on hybrid and multicloud. At Microsoft, we expect this trend to continue and are committed to delivering the solutions customers need across the cloud environment continuum. We encourage you to learn more about how customers are using Azure Arc and our approach to hybrid and multicloud.

Tags: Azure, Azure Arc, Cloud

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Facebook: Recognizing Global Accessibility Awareness Day

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page…

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As an avid outdoor enthusiast and firefighter, Carly P. has always loved being active. After a life-changing injury paralyzed her from the waist down, she felt lost. Carly recaptured her passion for being outside and found a community of people like her through the nonprofit organization Catalyst Sports. Now, she uses Catalyst Sports’ Facebook page to spread awareness and share local recreational opportunities for people with physical disabilities.

In addition to providing community to people with disabilities, we’re also working to make the digital world more accessible. 

We will demonstrate our latest accessibility features today at our annual Accessibility Summit. Join us at 10:00AM PT for this livestream on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page. In addition to product demos and updates, we will host an interview with Molly Burke, a digital creator and blind advocate.

Through a video series on the Meta Accessibility Facebook Page, we’re highlighting how people with disabilities connect and build communities through our technologies, much like Carly. We’ve created both the captioned and audio described versions of these stories.

Today, we’re recapping advances we’ve made over the past year to make our technologies more inclusive. 

Meta Quest

  • Audio Accessibility
    • Audio balance: This option enables you to adjust the balance of the left and right audio channels for comfort, and to better match your ability to hear in each ear. 
    • Mono Audio enables you to hear the same audio from both the left and right speakers on your headset. 
    • You’ll find both features under the Accessibility tab in your headset’s Settings menu.

Product mock of audio accessibility on Meta Quest

  • Adjust Height  
    • This feature allows you to experience VR from a “standing” vantage point even while reclining or seated. This can improve the VR experience for people who use wheelchairs, have limited mobility or are unable to use the Quest headset while standing. 
    • We first introduced this as an experimental feature (called Raise View) last June and have now made it permanent after receiving positive feedback from the disability community. 
    • You can find this feature in the Accessibility tab in Quest’s Settings menu.

Portal

  • Video relay service (VRS)
    • In December, we began supporting video relay service (VRS) applications on Portal  for people who use American Sign Language (ASL), through a collaboration with ZP Better Together.
    • Through the ZP apps on Portal and human interpreters, people who use American Sign Language can now easily communicate in both English and Spanish. 
    • Portal’s unique AI-powered camera always keeps you in frame and in focus, even when you’re moving, so your face and hands can always be seen.
  • Captions
    • We’ve also added customizable closed captions for streamed content on TV and Touch, as well as added support for live captions into integrated work productivity apps Zoom and Workplace Live.

Instagram

  • Auto-generated captions for Feed videos
    • In March, we introduced auto-generated captions for Feed videos on iOS and Android in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi and Japanese to start. 
    • More importantly, captions are automatically turned on by default when a creator uploads a video to their Feed. Over 140 million videos were created with auto-generated captions in the last 30 days.
    • Creators retain the ability to turn captions off when they choose and viewers can turn captions on or off using on-screen controls.

Product mock of Instagram auto-generated captions

Stickers on Facebook and Messenger

  • We added alt text descriptions to the more than 10,000 stickers available on Facebook and Messenger, making it possible for people who are blind and visually impaired to understand and use them. 

Avatars

  • Earlier this year, we introduced the ability to have your same avatar across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Quest. 
  • There are also new avatar options, including over-the-ear hearing aids and cochlear implants in addition to more face shapes, skin tones, expressions, and stickers. 
  • Wheelchairs are now available as stickers on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger so your avatar can better represent who you are or who you want to be.

Product mock of accessibility features of Avatars

Open Source

  • Lexical is a JavaScript framework built to improve text editing on Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace, with accessibility as a priority. 
  • In April, Lexical was released into open source to allow the rest of the world to benefit from these improvements. 
  • With this new framework, people can express their ideas in text via dictation, and readers can experience character-by-character navigation — a feature previously unavailable in similar editors.

Reality Labs Research

  • We’re exploring how improvements in audio quality can enable more realistic presence and perceptual superpowers in augmented and virtual reality— technological advancements that can also help us hear better in noisy environments. 
  • Our team of hearing scientists is also exploring how to reencode sound and present it through closed captioning.
  • While this is still early research, we are excited to learn more about how emerging audio technologies can improve the lives of people with hearing loss. 

Image showing audio research

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Facebook: Announcing New Products to Make Business Messaging Easier

The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural…

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The way people and businesses communicate is changing. One billion people message with a business each week on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — whether it’s DMing brands, browsing product catalogs, asking for support, or interacting with stories. This consumer behavior is accelerating and it’s changing how business gets done. Today at Conversations, our inaugural business messaging event, we discussed how messaging is transforming interactions between people and businesses, and announced new products to make conversations easier.

Introducing Cloud-based API on the WhatsApp Business Platform

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re opening up the new, cloud-based version of the WhatsApp Business Platform, hosted by Meta, to any business across the world. With this new API, we’re offering free, secure cloud hosting services so businesses and developers can easily access our service within minutes, build directly on top of WhatsApp to customize their experience and increase their response time for their customers. So now, whether a business wants to work with one of our 100+ partners or access our service directly, it will be much faster to get up and running on WhatsApp.

When growing a business, you need smart, robust and easy-to-use conversation tools. For smaller businesses using the WhatsApp Business app, we’re building tools so it’s easier to handle an influx of chats as they grow their customer base. 

Launching Recurring Notifications on Messenger

Today we’re announcing a new way for businesses to keep the conversation going with Recurring Notifications. As businesses acquire new customers and begin to scale operations, there’s incredible opportunity to build loyalty and trust — and we believe this is where the value of messaging really shines. This new capability makes it easy to re-engage people right in the messaging thread and deliver tailored messaging at the best time for customers, whether to hear about special promotions, new product drops or tips and tricks.

You can choose the topics you’d like to let people opt-in to, how often customers can hear from you and shape your content, so your messages are always on-brand and relevant. Recurring notifications will also be available for businesses on Instagram this fall.

We also highlighted our click-to-message ads to help customers immediately start conversations with businesses, our CRM platform Kustomer and Meta Business Suite for higher volumes of messages across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Read more about our product investments in business messaging on our Meta for Developers blog.

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Facebook: Introducing New Members of the Oversight Board

Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin. Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to…

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Today, Meta welcomes the newest members of the Oversight Board who have just been appointed — Paolo Carozza, Khaled Mansour, and Pamela San Martin.

Per the Oversight Board Bylaws, we worked together with the board to identify and select these members over the last few months. Over the next few months we will continue to support and work with the board to select additional members. The new members reflect a wide range of views and experiences, and will bring a variety of perspectives to the board’s existing expertise.

The Oversight Board represents a unique model for social media governance. From its inception, we knew its impact would come not just from its decisions on individual cases, but also from broader recommendations on how we can improve our policies and processes. In the time since they began hearing cases and issuing decisions and recommendations, they’ve been playing a bigger role in setting precedent and direction for our content policies and how we enforce them.  We look forward to welcoming the new board members into this process.

We will update this Newsroom Post as additional members are appointed. We are grateful to all board members for lending their expertise to our content moderation efforts.

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