Earlier this month, Microsoft came together with other industry leaders and professionals at two of the year’s biggest technology events: CES and NRF 2022. Across a hybrid environment, we joined with key ISV and GSI partners to announce several new innovations that empower hybrid work, security, industries, and more.

Many of these new developments are made possible through the power of Microsoft Azure, which is driving digital transformation faster than ever. We are also proud to be moving forward with our industry-specific cloud offerings such as Microsoft Cloud for Retail—a major highlight at NRF that we shared with our launch partners who contribute powerful specialized capabilities.

The most exciting announcements are outlined below, with links to more detail on what they mean for partners:

CES: January 5 – 8, 2022

We unveiled several cutting-edge automotive innovations at CES, all powered by the Azure cloud platform:

  • Accelerating the in-vehicle digital experience: Together with the car manufacturers, Microsoft is creating new driving experiences with speech based on the text-to-speech and speech-to-text capabilities within Azure Cognitive Services for speech. The solution provides the industry with a fresh take on text-to-speech and expressive voice, global languages, speaker fidelity, and self-service customization. 
  • Microsoft helps unlock metaverse experiences: “As virtual and physical environments merge, Microsoft is bringing people, places and things together with the digital world. Across the Microsoft Cloud, from Azure IoT to Azure Digital Twins, Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces and Microsoft Mesh, we’re building a metaverse platform for organizations, enabling a new perspective on the way how people move and interact in physical spaces like factories,” said Ulrich Homann, Corporate Vice President and Distinguished Architect Cloud+AI at Microsoft. 
  • Annata Expands Microsoft Collaboration to Drive Data and Mobility Services: Annata, developer of Annata 365, a global cloud platform built natively with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Azure for the automotive and industrial equipment industries, announced it is expanding its collaboration with Microsoft to drive the transformation of distribution and retail, and to enable new mobility services. 
  • Expanding cloud hosting options: Tekion, innovator of the first and fastest cloud-native automotive retail SaaS platform, announced a collaboration with Microsoft to enable new capabilities for automotive manufacturers using Microsoft Azure. Tekion’s cloud-based platform modernizes the end-to-end automotive retail journey and transforms sales and service experiences to suit today’s tech-savvy customer needs.  
  • Added value for autonomous driving, vehicle connectivity, and global supply chain management: ZF enters the next phase of digitalization by expanding its strategic collaboration with Microsoft. The mobility technology company will create a holistic data and integration platform, the ZF Cloud, to digitalize all of ZF's industrial and operational production and business processes on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. 

NRF: January 16 – 18, 2022 

Microsoft Cloud for Retail is now generally available, making it easier for partners in the retail industry to tailor their solutions to their unique experiences. At NRF, we highlighted the benefits of having specialized partners onboard, such as:

  • Accenture Avanade: Avanade’s retail experts are helping organizations answer key questions and unlock the Industry Cloud potential. 
  • Dunnhumby: Collaboration combines dunnhumby’s data science expertise with the global reach and power of cutting-edge cloud technology, Microsoft Azure, to help retailers and brands make quicker, smarter business decisions. 
  • Fareye: FarEye joins the Microsoft Cloud for Retail ecosystem to advance the end-to-end commerce experience. The strategic collaboration empowers and transforms how retailers orchestrate, track, and optimize the movement of goods.  
  • Hanshow: Microsoft cloud technology supports Hanshow’s retail solutions, opening a vast new range of digitalization opportunities that make retail more efficient, engaging, and sustainable.  
  • KPMG: KPMG solutions built on the Microsoft Cloud are specifically designed to support greater customer-centricity, including digital transformation, data analytics, security, supply chain management, and growth and new business models. 
  • SAS: With SAS Cloud for Intelligent Planning, retailers and consumer goods manufacturers can anticipate shopper needs and shipping disruptions more effectively.  

As consumers’ buying behaviors have changed, so have the technology needs of the retail industry. In addition to those listed above, Microsoft partners such as Newmine and RETHINK Retail are helping reinvent and recognize retail innovations. With the full support of Microsoft’s partner ecosystem, retail customers can tailor their solutions to address industry-specific challenges and stay agile during this time of disruption. 

Partners are instrumental in driving innovation and transforming the way we all stay connected. These announcements, as well as other solutions being developed every day, represent our joint commitment to empowering every person and organization to achieve more. Together, we will continue to drive progress and share new developments over the course of the year. 


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