October 23, 2019

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    We were thrilled to take part in Microsoft’s Future Decoded. A festival of tech, AI and Microsoft partners spread over two days filled with inspiring ideas, exciting insights and practical advice. We left the event proud to be part of a conscientious network of businesses and enjoyed sharing this experience with over 12,000 attendees.

    This event was special to us for another reason too. After lots of hard work we had the privilege of unveiling our new name, branding and report – Specialist Legal Advice: The key to higher profits – to the rest of the Microsoft Partner Network. As a specialist law firm founded to help partners navigate the everchanging and growing landscape, we wanted to connect with as many companies as we could to see where we could help along the journey.

    In light of that, we wanted to share some of the many exciting insights into how Microsoft and some of our fellow partners have, are and will harness the power of AI for the betterment of Earth and its inhabitants.

    Microsoft’s AI for Good

    Microsoft’s ‘AI for Good’ initiative, made up of four separate programs, provides partners with financial grants, together with the power of the cloud and AI technologies, to help solve different issues affecting the world.

    AI for Earth

    Founded in 2017, this $50 million, cross-company effort is dedicated to finding innovations that deliver technology-enabled solutions to global environmental challenges.

    One grantee, Ocean Mind, teamed up with Microsoft to combat overfishing. When fish are caught faster than stocks can replenish, the deficit plays a significant role in the demise of ocean wildlife populations. This creates a food security and poverty crisis for us, while damaging the ecosystem and putting species at risk of extinction.

    Ocean Mind’s system can track millions of boats across the globe, by pooling information from several sources, like satellite imagery, mobile phone signals and radar images. They pass this onto authorities who go ahead and enforce the law. Before the grant and partnership with Microsoft, this could have taken days. After moving its data analytics to the Azure cloud, they can apply AI in near real-time, which allows for much better enforcement, and a more sustainable ocean. 

    AI for Accessibility

    The AI for Accessibility program concentrates on creating accessible and inclusive technology for people with disabilities, focusing on three main factors: employment, daily life and communication and connection.

    WeWalk secured a position as one of the 11 companies selected to receive support from AI for Good, by the Microsoft for Start-Ups and Social Tech Trust.

    With over 253 million visually impaired people in the world, of which almost 89% live on low incomes with only one in three employed. Inclusion into society and simply making money is a struggle.

    WeWalk created Smart Cane to mitigate the problems suffered by the visually impaired.  Their ergonomic device can attach to any white cane and uses an inbuilt ultrasonic sensor to detect above the body obstacles. The device pairs with their phone and integrates with apps such as Google Maps and Voice Assistant. This allows users to control apps, like they would with their phone, from their device – leaving one hand free. 

    AI for Humanitarian Action 

    This initiative helps partners create tools and services to help humanity – focusing on refugees and displaced people, the needs of children, disaster response and human rights.

    Microsoft & Bing Maps partnered with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to improve the reach of humanitarian action through the open mapping of vulnerable areas. One project helps communities of on the ground volunteers map areas out after natural disasters strike, so responders can use the app to reach those in need. The innovators are currently building an AI-assisted workflow into their mapping platform to enhance mapper experience.

    AI for Cultural Heritage

    This initiative concentrates on four core areas – people, places, languages and historical artefacts, empowering people and organisations to preserve and enrich cultural heritage with AI.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) partnered with Microsoft to take their Open Access platform to the next level. With over 2 million works of art and 7.3 million physical visitors every year, AI is being used to digitise, classify, and tag each work in a scalable way. Normally a labour intensive and time-consuming task, Microsoft’s Cognitive Search is picking up the slack. Once the artworks have been organised into a searchable index, visitors can unlock insights, uncover relationships between pieces in the collection, and be inspired like never before. 

    AI for the better

    We were excited to discover what the future of tech and AI holds for the partner network and the world and we were not let down. AI’s role in business and its influence over our everyday lives makes for an exciting prospect. And who knows what the future looks like for Law 365? Watch this space!

    We couldn’t have hoped for a better event to unveil our new name, branding and report. We spoke to as many people as we could but, if we didn’t manage to connect, then we look forward to speaking with you in the future.

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