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Bengaluru: As the world enters the second wave of digital transformation, we need to foundationally transform how cloud can drive the next level of economic growth, Microsoft Corp. chief executive Satya Nadella said.

Nadella was speaking at the Microsoft Ignite 2021, the annual flagship event virtually attended by more than 100,000 global participants, including IT decision makers, developers, data professionals, security professionals and other technology enthusiasts.

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“The true test of technology has always been whether organizations can improve their time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs…but as the world recovers, it will require much more from technology and the cloud in particular to help address our most pressing challenges," Nadella said.

Five key attributes will drive the next-generation of innovation in the cloud, Nadella said. “These are ubiquitous and decentralized computing, sovereign data and ambient intelligence, empowered creators and communities, expanded economic opportunity for global workforce, and trust by design," he said.

As businesses have accelerated their digital journeys over the past one year, the demand for technology has significantly picked up to enable various use-cases like telehealth, remote manufacturing, and new ways of working from home. Microsoft believes cloud has been the foundation to enable all of these.

Microsoft announced ‘Microsoft Mesh’, a new mixed reality platform built on Azure, which enables geographically distributed teams to interact holographically with each other.

“With mixed reality technology, the digital and physical worlds have come together," Nadella said.

“This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning," said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. “You can actually feel like you are in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together."

Microsoft also announced a new semantic search capability in Azure Cognitive Search, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cloud search service for mobile and web app development. This capability enables developers to deliver results based on user intent as opposed to a keyword-based search, which is the industry norm. Semantic search leverages some of the most advanced natural language models to improve relevance and ranking of search results.

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