Microsoft’s Azure Sphere IoT Security Service Leaves Preview


As promised, Microsoft has launched its Azure Sphere hardware and service solution. The tool is designed to enhance security around Internet of Things (IoT) devices and has now left preview to general availability.

Azure Sphere is comprised of Microsoft microcontrollers alongside Sphere Linux-based OS and a Sphere cloud security service. Microcontrollers (MCUs) are small computers made of a single chip that have IoT capabilities with CPUs, storage, and memory.

Microsoft announced Sphere in 2018 and last October said the service would leave preview in February. Redmond has stuck to that launch schedule and confirmed the release today.
“IoT is in the science-fair stage. Every enterprise is doing at least one experiment here. But security is really keeping them from going to scale,” said Galen Hunt, a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and managing director of Azure Sphere.
In October 2018, Microsoft announced the MediaTek MT3620 as its first Azure Sphere chip. This chip is called Pluton and has a customized Linux kernel and secured app containers. With Pluton, Sphere provides a secure comms link between the device and a cloud platform backend.
IoT Security
Microsoft is helping to address one of the biggest concerns regarding IoT. Specifically, in a world of connected devices, how can they all be kept secure? Cars, household goods, electronics, lights, heaters, and even cities will be connected even though they all run MCUs. Azure Sphere provides a secure boot system with firmware and hardware protection.
“For IoT innovations to be reliable, they must be built on a foundation of security. Qualcomm Technologies will allow partners to innovate with the assurance that their products, customers, and brands are secured,” explained Hunt at the time.
Microsoft says the preview has been successful with customers leveraging Sphere in their products.

Source Winbuzzer

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Microsoft Launches DarkModeKit to Bring Dark Mode to iOS Apps

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Microsoft’s Dark Mode has permeated throughout many of the company’s services. On Windows and mobile devices, apps have been given the dark treatment. Outlook for iOS is perhaps the most obvious example. Now, Microsoft has open sourced its solution for making apps like Outlook dark, and its called DarkModeKit.

Dark Mode came to Outlook in August 2019 as part of Microsoft’s wider overhaul of the app. Later, the company brought it to iOS. With DarkModeKit, developers have an open source access to the method for implementing Dark Mode on iOS apps.

In other words, the kit allows developers to introduce Dark Mode on their own apps.
Microsoft says DarkModeKit was “designed and developed before Apple‘s official dark mode release”. With the open source kit, developers can build support for dark mode directly into their iOS 11 or later applications.
Furthermore, dev’s can also allow their apps to be switched between light and dark modes without needing to restart the app. According to Microsoft’s, there’s no need to make major code changes to an app as the dark mode is a simply API design.
Dark Mode in iOS 13
As Microsoft noted, Apple has its own dark mode feature available in iOS 13. However, this is for the general theme of the device and not for individual third-party apps. Microsoft’s DarkModeKit will help developers implement dark mode for apps to align with the general look of iOS 13 in its dark mode.
“For more complex scenarios, DarkModeKit is similar to what Apple does in iOS 13 (some slight differences). It maintains a global DMTraitCollection which can be accessed through DMTraitCollection.current during custom layout.”

Source Winbuzzer

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Dynamics 365 Commerce to Lead Microsoft’s Busy NRF 2020


Yesterday, we discussed Microsoft’s plans to have a big presence at the NRF 2020 Vision retail trade show next week. That includes CEO Satya Nadella delivering the keynote at the New York City event, which is the biggest retail trade show in the world. Now, Microsoft has said Dynamics 365 Commerce will underpin its NRF 2020.

As well as discussing upcoming retail-focused tools in Dynamics 365, Microsoft will also reveal when those solutions will launch.

We already know Dynamics 365 Commerce will launch on February 3 as a replacement for Dyanmics 365 Retail. At NRF, Microsoft will expand on the details of the service. It aims to unify back office, in-store, call center, and digital experiences.
By doing so, Microsoft hopes to empower better decision making, tying in the AI insights needed to build brand loyalty and create a more efficient supply chain.
“Existing Dynamics 365 Retail customers will automatically transition to Dynamics 365 Commerce once it becomes generally available,” a company spokesperson told ZDNet.
“Customers seeking to maintain existing functionality from Dynamics 365 Retail will not see a change in pricing. Customers will have the option of opting in for the new e-commerce add-on capabilities at an additional cost. We will share more of those pricing details as we get closer to GA,” the spokesperson said in response to a question about pricing.”
Fraud Protection
Sticking with Dynamics 365, Microsoft will announce two features for the Fraud Protection tool. Called Account Protection and Loss Prevention, the pair will land in public preview from January 11.
Retailers can use Account Protection to look for patterns in account activity, including suspicious login attempts. As for Loss Prevention, it’s a tool that focuses on protecting against discount fraud.

Source – Winbuzzer

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Dynamics 365 Customer Service Users Can Now Chat with Users via Facebook Messenger


Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Customer Service offering just got vital support for Messenger. Numerous businesses use Facebook’s social media and messaging platform to interact with customers and this ensures they can do it in the same place.

“The similarity of Facebook Messenger to live chat, an already popular channel for customer support, and the familiarity of more than a billion consumers with the social platform makes Facebook Messenger an ideal addition to our digital messaging offering,” said Dynamics 365 product marketing manager Erin Amstrup in a blog post. “While large numbers of consumers are using social messaging channels like Facebook Messenger for their personal communication needs, they are also using mobile messaging channels to engage with businesses.”

One advantage of Facebook chat for consumers is the ability to reply when they want. They can send a message, close the chat, and come back to see the representatives answer. This means they don’t have to worry about their live chat session being lost to a connection switch.

The integration with Dynamics 365 means that agents now have access to their tools while chatting. They can use scripts, make use of contextual interface prompts, and quickly search for cases and timeline updates. If Facebook’s plans for integration don’t get blocked, this functionality could eventually give customer service reps reach into WhatsApp and Instagram chats.

“It provides contextual customer identification, real-time notifications, integrated communications, and agent productivity tools, including knowledgebase integration, search, and case creation,” expands Armstrup.

The feature is available via Microsoft’s digital messaging offer, which adds a Dynamics 365-powered chat, SMS support, and Microsoft Bot Framework integration. Facebook Messenger support was previously available in preview, and its general availability suggests any critical bugs have been ironed out.


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