Microsoft Build 2023, the annual conference aimed at engineers and developers using Windows, Microsoft Azure, and other Microsoft technologies, kicked off this morning and there have been several announcements made.

An expansion of the AI plugin ecosystem

Microsoft’s Copilot ecosystem has been expanded to include Copilot in Power BI and Copilot in Power Pages in preview; Copilot in Microsoft Fabric, which is set to become available in preview soon; and Windows Copilot, which will start to become available for preview in June.

Additionally, new features were introduced that are geared at helping developers construct their own copilots and next-gen AI applications. Among these capabilities are plugins that help to get the most value out of copilots by allowing them to interact with other software and services.

Plugins for Microsoft 365 Copilot

This release is intended to increase extensibility and allow every developer to integrate their apps and services into Microsoft 365 Copilot. This allows users to have a wider reach and meet customers where they work.

The three plugins included in this release are: ChatGPT plugins, Teams message extensions, and Microsoft Power Platform connectors. This allows developers to utilize the existing software, tooling, investments, and skills. 

“Customers in the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program will have access to more than 50 plugins from partners including Atlassian, Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks, and Mural,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post. “Thousands of additional line-of-business and third-party plugins will be enabled in the coming months as we integrate existing Teams message extensions and Microsoft Power Platform connectors with Microsoft 365 Copilot.”

Microsoft Fabric introduced to provide data analytics for AI

Microsoft Fabric is an end-to-end unified analytics platform that combines all of the data and analytics tools necessary for organizations through an integration with technologies such as Azure Data Factory, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI.

The company stated that bringing these together into a unified product enables both data and business professionals to access the full value of their data and be better prepared for the era of AI.

Fabric is lake-centric and open, powered by AI, available for every business user, and has the potential to cut down on costs with unified capacities.

Microsoft Dev Box general availability coming in July 

Microsoft Dev Box is a self-serve, ready-to-code, cloud-based developer workstation that can work for teams of any size. The tool has already been deployed internally to over 9000 engineers in the Developer Division, Azure, Office, Bing, and Windows teams.

According to Microsoft, they have been working with users like General Motors, National Instruments, and their own internal platform engineering team 1ES throughout the private and public previews. 

“Last year we partnered with General Motors to help move their software development to the cloud. Listen to how Microsoft Dev Box has helped General Motors, where the need for speed is critical, get their products to market faster,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

AI is being included in Windows 11

With this, Windows Copilot has been introduced, offering centralized AI assistance with Windows 11. The company stated that this is geared at helping users more easily take action and get things done.

Bing Chat plugins has also been extended to Windows, allowing developers to integrate their applications with Windows Copilot in order to gain more engagement on native Windows applications.

Microsoft introduced Hybrid AI loop to support AI development across the platform, and across Azure to clients with new silicon support. Lastly, with Dev Home developers can access heightened productivity on Windows with features such as WinGet configuration. 

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