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Babylon.js 5.0: Key Engine Advancements – Part 3

Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences. Unlimited Morph Targets No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds…

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Our mission is to create it one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple web rendering engines in the world. The latest Babylon.js 5.0 engine packs a ton of new improvements to help you create stunning experiences.

Unlimited Morph Targets

No matter what you call them, Blend Shapes, Shape Keys, or Morph Targets, Babylon.js 5.0 adds rocket fuel to your ability to use influenced vertex positions. This new feature now gives you literally unlimited amounts of Morph Targets. Want to have a complex animated face with thousands of Morph Targets to get that perfect expression? Now you can, all in the web, all for free!

See it in action here: Unlimited Morph Targets Demo

Learn more: Unlimited Morph Targets Documentation

YouTube Series: Tech Artist’s Journey YouTube Playlist

Order Independent Transparency

Rendering transparent objects is complicated! The Babylon.js Platform has always strived to make it as easy as possible to help you inform the system of rendering order, alpha index, run depth-prepasses, and much more, so your scene can look correct. With Babylon.js 5.0 we’ve wrapped a bow on it all. All of the complexity of rendering transparent objects can now disappear with one single, simple line of code:

Try it out: Order Independent Transparency Demo

Learn More: Order Independent Transparency Documentation

WebXR Advancements

WebXR is an incredible web standard allowing web developers to create amazing cross-browser XR experiences. Using WebXR to add a mobile AR component to your web site can be a simple and fun way to engage your readers/users even further. While the technology to render world-locked 3D objects has existed in Babylon.js for some time, Babylon.js 5.0 steps the beauty-factor up several notches with the introduction of Light Estimation. This powerful yet easy-to-use new feature allows your Babylon.js scenes to estimate the light in your real-world location and automatically match the lighting and shadows of your virtual world-locked object. This creates a cutting-edge level of immersion between the physical and digital worlds…and it’s all here in Babylon.js…all for free! Babylon.js 5.0 also adds support for WebXR image tracking and WebXR Layers!!!

Check it out on your Android Phone: Light Estimation Demo, Image Tracking Demo

Learn More: Light Estimation Documentation

glTF Updates

The Babylon.js Platform prioritizes support for the absolute latest and greatest advancements to the glTF file format. This means every new version of Babylon.js unlocks new beautiful advancements in rendering capabilities, and Babylon.js 5.0 turns up the heat! With full support for KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, and KHR_materials_ior, you can now render some absolutely STUNNING visuals!

Check it out: KHR_materials_volume Demo

Learn More: KHR_materials_volume, KHR_materials_transmission, KHR_materials_ior

Mixed Reality Toolkit for Babylon.js

Babylon.js 5.0 also adds updated support for the world’s most advanced 3D interface component library, Mixed Reality Toolkit. This advanced library makes it incredibly easy to add advanced XR UX elements into your Babylon.js scenes such as: holographic slates, 3D Sliders, Touch Holographic Buttons, Touch Mesh Buttons, and much much more!

Check it out: MRTK Demo

Learn More: MRTK Documentation

Material Plugin Manager

When it comes to creating real-time shaders power, performance, and flexibility are critical! Babylon.js 5.0 brings introduces a brand new feature that doubles down on all of three. The Material Plugin Manager gives you the ability to add custom code to any Babylon.js shader. This means that you can fully customize any advanced shader, such as PBR, to go even further. The Material Plugin Manager provides developers with the flexibility to fully customize the power, performance, and look of any shader!

Check it out: Material Plugin Manager Demo

Learn More: Material Plugin Manager Documentation

Much Much More

Wow that’s a lot, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! Improved Shadow Performance, Vertex Animation Textures, a brand-new Build System, there’s more to Babylon.js 5.0 than you can imagine! Want a full view of everything that’s new? For a full list of features, enhancements, and fixes you can head on over here.

Babylon.js 5.0 launches the Babylon.js platform to incredible new heights and we cannot wait to see you reach for the stars with it!

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Business

How to build a modern field service organization

Field service organizations have traditionally operated under the break-fix model—that is, responding to a device failure after the customer reports an issue. This operating model has grown antiquated due to rising costs and inefficiencies in labor and operations. It is also proving less than effective in satisfying the customer’s growing expectations. The field service industry…

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Field service organizations have traditionally operated under the break-fix model—that is, responding to a device failure after the customer reports an issue. This operating model has grown antiquated due to rising costs and inefficiencies in labor and operations. It is also proving less than effective in satisfying the customer’s growing expectations.

The field service industry is evolving quickly in new and exciting directions with cutting-edge technology continuing to enter the arena. These innovations in technology and workflows are helping to transform field service by providing customers optimal device uptime, along with greater visibility, efficiency, and profitability. The evolution of field service includes automation, AI, new learning tools, and mixed reality to help technicians achieve success.  

The ability to capture, digest, and derive actionable insights from data is critical in modernizing a field service organization. Intelligent, predictive systems driven by AI can automate time-consuming manual tasks like collecting data, diagnosing problems, and identifying the best solution to resolve an issue. AI can optimize resource management, empower field teams through mixed reality and mobilization, and can improve customer service with proactive and predictive service. In short, AI is providing organizations the ability to optimize the delivery of field service.

While service organizations lay frameworks of sensors and solutions to capture data across every facet of their organization, AI and machine learning represent the next steps that organizations are taking to leverage the value of the captured information. The ultimate goal is to transition from a reactive, break-fix service model to one that is proactive and predictive, achieving a near constant uptime. 

One organization leveraging mixed reality and field service is Burckhardt Compression. The leading global compressor company adopted Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Field Service so that engineers can quickly collaborate with ship technicians in remote locations and provide specialized mechanical expertise. They successfully reduced costs, decreased its carbon footprint, and can now respond to customer needs in mere minutes instead of days.

Improve the customer experience

Field service customers need stability and reliability in their businesses. They want visibility into their assets and need to minimize downtime when breakdowns occur.

Prior to AI-empowered systems, the customer would have to actively reach out to report that the device had failed. Depending on the type of failure, work using the device could be slowed or blocked for days or weeks until a technician could complete the repairs. Without intelligent support, the technician may need to return for follow-up visits, unnecessarily wasting both time and money.

AI allows for automated, remote self-healing and predictive forecasting, monitoring, and analyzing connected devices for potential issues. If one is identified, the system can remotely attempt to resolve problems through self-healing processes, like having the device restart itself during an off-time to mitigate an overheating failure. Using historical device data and predictive analytics, the system might make a recommendation to schedule a technician site visit to head off future problems, notifying the customer of the work order. The customer could then plan around the scheduled downtime and even track the technician’s arrival to the appointment in real-time.

During the visit, using recommendations from the system, the technician would be able to discuss additional products and services with the customer that meet their specific usage and operating needs. Ultimately, the customer gains more control over their assets, and the field service organization is empowered to provide improved service delivery capabilities.

Increase technician productivity

To be the most effective and prevent costly return visits, technicians must have complete access to the information and real-time guidance they need. The technician could utilize a digital twin of the device to learn about its status and operating condition, and to train on the particular problem that requires repair. AI’s cognitive capabilities can even help optimize repairs before a technician arrives, taking care of routine diagnostics and testing for common or similar issues. These capabilities ensure the technician is better prepared for the work and that their time—and the customer’s—is used efficiently.

The technician’s mobile service app empowers the technician to better manage appointment schedules and access turn-by-turn driving directions to the customer site. Onsite, this app can highlight the top two to three possibilities that might be wrong with the device. Chatbots can assist in locating customer, product, and work order information. Mixed reality tools, like Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, can create 3D renderings overlaid directly onto the device, highlighting missing or broken parts and allowing the technician to view performance data. AI can use data from predictive analytics to make just-in-time recommendations. A headset can be worn to identify irregularities and help maintain focus on the right issues without having to stop and troubleshoot, ensuring work is completed correctly the first time. And the technician can obtain assistance from a more experienced technician through Microsoft Teams if the issue is beyond their current skill set.

Optimize resource management

And finally, effectively managing resources, such as inventory and technician time, is at the heart of the challenge for any field service organization, creating a powerful competitive advantage when performed well. 

In a traditional field service organization, technicians are often dispatched based on availability, not proximity to the customer or experience with a specified device. A technician may arrive on-site with limited access to customer information and device history, impacting the ability to complete the repair on a first visit and driving up overall costs for the customer and the field service organization.

As an example, let’s look at a manufacturing customer experiencing a device failure. When a work order is scheduled in an intelligent system, assignments are optimized using multiple factors, such as a technician’s experience in handling the specific failure, the customer’s preferred technician, or the proximity to the site. Leveraging machine learning, this intelligent system can automatically assign the work order to the closest, best available technician matching specific criteria.

If the device were outfitted with an Internet of Things (IoT)-connected sensor, a real-time alert would be sent, triggering an automatic service request. The system would attempt to self-heal the issue first, and if unsuccessful, a technician would then analyze the data and commit a repair remotely, often without the customer ever knowing there was a problem. Sending the technician for an onsite visit would be the last option if the device could not be repaired remotely.

As more requests come in, the system would then optimize the technician’s schedule to create the most efficient path to navigate, allowing the technician more time to perform additional calls per day and driving greater revenue.

Real-time inventory management ensures that the replacement part is available on the scheduled date and that the technician has access to the tools needed to complete the repair. The system can identify the best parts to replace, where they should be purchased, and provide more accurate lead time predictions for the organization. Field service managers and technicians alike can synchronize and track inventory down to the truck level with real-time visibility to increase first time fix rates.

Get started today

AI enables field service organizations to evolve from the break-fix model by empowering technicians, optimizing resources, and improving customer experiences.

Microsoft offers a unique combination of world-class IoT, intelligence, scalability, and end-to-end field service capabilities. 

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Field Service and how it can transform your service organization.

Get started today with a live demo or a free trial today.

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Microsoft

Update to Windows Subsystem for Android™ on Windows 11 (July 2022)

Hello Windows Insiders, Today we are shipping an update for Windows Subsystem for Android™ on Windows 11 to all Windows Insider channels (U.S. only). This update (version 2205.40000.14.0) includes several new updates as well as routine improvements to the platform and reliability. What’s New Advanced Networking We’ve made a huge change to networking! We’re now…

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Hello Windows Insiders,

Today we are shipping an update for Windows Subsystem for Android™ on Windows 11 to all Windows Insider channels (U.S. only). This update (version 2205.40000.14.0) includes several new updates as well as routine improvements to the platform and reliability.

What’s New

Advanced Networking

We’ve made a huge change to networking! We’re now introducing advanced networking, which enables app access to local network devices for ARM computers, allowing apps to take advantage of this functionality. We’ve also enabled IPv6 and VPN connectivity, enhancing the networking functionalities of the subsystem.

Settings App Update

We’ve updated the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app to now account for advanced networking. This means the IP address has been removed from the Developer section in the Settings app as the subsystem no longer has a different IP from your computer.

Full Changelog

  • Enabled Advanced Networking functionality, including app access to local network devices for ARM
  • VM IP address removed from Settings app. With Advanced Networking, now the IP address of the VM is the same as the host/computer IP.
  • Fixes for non-resizable app content on maximize or resizing
  • Fixes for scrolling with mouse and trackpad in apps
  • Android May Kernel patches
  • Android windows marked secure can no longer be screenshotted
  • Improve web browser launching
  • Enable doze and app standby while charging for improved power saving
  • ADB debug prompts redirected to Windows for improved security
  • Updated to Chromium WebView 101
  • Fixes for graphics including app flickering and graphics corruption
  • Fixes for video playback
  • AV1 Codec support
  • Enabled IPv6 and VPN Connectivity
  • Increased the performance and reliability connecting to virtual WIFI in the container
  • Video playback apps can now prevent the screen from turning off in Windows

Known Issues

  • Some VPNs may not work with Advanced Networking. If you use a VPN and find Android apps do not have network connectivity, please disable Advanced Networking in the Windows Subsystem for Android Settings app

Giving feedback

If you are having issues with Windows Subsystem for Android™ – please file feedback via Feedback Hub under Apps > Windows Subsystem for Android™. For more information about troubleshooting and submitting feedback: Troubleshooting and FAQ for mobile apps on Windows.

Thanks,
Windows Insider Program Team

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Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22621.290 and 22622.290

Hello Windows Insiders, Starting today, we are releasing updates to the Beta Channel that put Windows Insiders into one of two groups similar to what we did back in 2019: A group of Insiders in the Beta Channel will receive Build 22622.xxx updates that will have new features getting rolled out or turned on via…

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Hello Windows Insiders,

Starting today, we are releasing updates to the Beta Channel that put Windows Insiders into one of two groups similar to what we did back in 2019:

  • A group of Insiders in the Beta Channel will receive Build 22622.xxx updates that will have new features getting rolled out or turned on via an enablement package like how we release updates for Windows 10 today.
  • A group of Insiders in the Beta Channel will receive Build 22621.xxx updates that will have new features turned off by default.

This approach will help us validate our ability to release updates with features turned off by default. It will also allow us to have greater insight into the impact of enabling new features. By comparing feedback and usage data between Insiders in these two groups, we will get to see if a feature is causing issues with reliability, for example. Based on this insight, it will help us make decisions on whether to make new features available for more Insiders by increasing their rollout or, in some cases, disable a feature to address bugs. The goal is to use the comparison data to ensure the best possible experience as we try out new features and experience with Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel.

The majority of Insiders in the Beta Channel will automatically get the update (Build 22622.xxx). It is important to note that not all features will be immediately turned on with this update as we plan to roll them out and monitor feedback and see how they land before pushing them out to more Insiders.

We realize that Insiders in the Beta Channel will want to choose which update they get. Insiders who land in the group with new features turned off by default (Build 22621.xxxx) can check for updates and choose to install the update that will have features rolling out (Build 22622.xxx).

As part of this transition to using the enablement package, some Insiders who had previous features rolled out to them may see them disappear. If this happens to you, please install the enablement package and they should return shortly. We realize this isn’t ideal, and we are learning how to best adjust our rollouts going forward to minimize disruption in previewing experiences.

This approach is being used for the Beta Channel only and is not indicative of any changes or plans for final feature rollouts. The enablement package artificially increments the build number for the update with new features getting rolled out and turned on to make it easier to differentiate from devices with the update with features off by default . As a reminder, features we try out with Windows Insiders will ship when they are ready and not every feature that we try out in the Beta Channel will ship to general customers.

Today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22621.290 and Build 22622.290 (KB5014959) to the Beta Channel.

  • Build 22622.290 = New features rolling out.
  • Build 22621.290 = New features off by default.

What’s new in Build 22622.290

Suggested Actions

Windows Insiders can try out a new feature in this build for making everyday tasks quicker in Windows 11 through inline suggested actions. When you copy a date, time, or phone number, Windows will suggest actions relevant to you such as creating calendar events or making phone calls with your favorite apps. This feature is currently only available to Windows Insiders in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

  • On copying a phone number, Windows will pop up an inline light dismissible UI that suggests ways to call the phone number using Teams or other installed apps that offer click-to-dial call functions.

Inline suggested actions after copying a phone number.

  • On copying a future date and/or time, Windows will pop up an inline light dismissible UI that suggests creating the event using supported calendar apps. Upon user selection of preference, the app is launched with its corresponding calendar event creation page with auto filled date and/or time.

Inline suggested actions after copying a date or time.

FEEDBACK: Please file feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Desktop Environment  > Suggested actions on copy.

Bringing OneDrive storage alert and subscription management in Settings 

In March, we enhanced the Microsoft 365 subscription management experience in Windows 11 Settings and added the ability to view your payment method on your Microsoft 365 subscription in Accounts within Settings.

The OneDrive Standalone 100GB subscription management experience is live on Accounts page in Settings.

Starting with today’s build, we have begun enabling OneDrive Standalone 100GB subscriptions in the Accounts page within Settings, similar to the Microsoft 365 subscriptions. This will allow you to view your recurring billing, payment method, and OneDrive storage usage within Windows 11. Additionally, if you are close to or above your OneDrive storage limit, you will be informed on the same page.

Banner shown on Account settings page alerting you about your storage usage.

[We are beginning to roll those features out, so the experience isn’t available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.]

FEEDBACK: Please file feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Settings > Settings Homepage.

Fixes in Build 22622.290

[File Explorer]

  • Middle clicking a folder in the body of File Explorer will now open it in a new tab.
  • The row of tabs should now be included in the keyboard focus cycle when pressing Tab or F6. Once focus is in the tab row, you can use left or right arrow keys to navigate through them.
  • Fixed an issue where the tab order when using CTRL + Tab would be wrong if you’d rearranged the tabs in File Explorer. Apologies – this issue isn’t yet fixed.
  • Made some adjustments for when “Display the full path in title bar” is enabled, to ensure that the folder name is always visible.
  • Fixed a scaling issue which could result in the tabs being unexpectedly large.
  • Right clicking a tab and then clicking somewhere else in File Explorer should dismiss the context menu more reliably now.

Fixes included for BOTH Build 22621.290 & Build 22622.290

This update includes the following improvements:

  • New! We added Server Message Block (SMB) redirector (RDR) specific public File System Control (FSCTL) code FSCTL_LMR_QUERY_INFO.
  • New! We added support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 in Windows client and server Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) implementations.
  • We updated the Remove-Item cmdlet to properly interact with Microsoft OneDrive folders
  • We enabled the InternetExplorerModeEnableSavePageAs Group Policy. For more information, see Microsoft Edge Browser Policy Documentation.
  • We fixed an issue that causes the Take Photo button to disappear when you use a common file dialog to open the camera.
  • We fixed an issue that prevents devices from receiving an offer from Windows Update for the same extension driver when that extension driver is already installed without the base driver.
  • We fixed an issue that causes install from media (IFM) creation for Active Directory to fail with the error, “2101 JET_errCallbackFailed”.
  • We fixed an issue that occurs when the Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service (LDS) resets the password for userProxy objects. The password reset fails with an error such as, “00000005: SvcErr: DSID-03380C23, problem 5003 (WILL_NOT_PERFORM), data 0”.
  • We enabled the InternetExplorerModeEnableSavePageAs Group Policy. For more information, see Microsoft Edge Browser Policy Documentation.
  • We fixed an issue that occurs when the Active Directory Lightweight Directory Service (AD LDS) resets the password for userProxy objects. When you try to reset someone else’s password and you are authenticated using a simple bind, the password reset fails. The error is like, “00000005: SvcErr: DSID-03380C23, problem 5003 (WILL_NOT_PERFORM), data 0”.
  • We fixed an issue that prevents Microsoft Edge from being available in Windows Sandbox.

Known issues

[General]

  • We’re working on the fix for an issue resulting in a small number of Insiders in the Beta Channel experiencing cyclical crashes in Windows UI components (like explorer.exe), making it appear that the screen is flashing. If you are impacted, running the following command from an elevated PowerShell window should resolve it: Add-AppxPackage -Register -Path C:WindowsSystemAppsMicrosoft.UI.Xaml.CBS_8wekyb3d8bbweAppxManifest.xml -DisableDevelopmentMode -ForceApplicationShutdown

[File Explorer]

  • The up arrow is misaligned in File Explorer tabs. This will be fixed in a future update.

About the Beta Channel

The Beta Channel will be the place we preview experiences that are closer to what we will ship to our general customers. Because the Dev and Beta Channels represent parallel development paths from our engineers, there may be cases where features and experiences show up in the Beta Channel first. However, this does not mean every feature we try out in the Beta Channel will ship. We encourage Insiders to read this blog post that outlines the ways we’ll try things out with Insiders in both the Dev and Beta Channels.

Important Insider Links

Thanks,
Amanda & Brandon

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