• September 18, 2018
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Microsoft Launches AI and Mixed Reality Apps for Dynamics 365

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Microsoft today introduced three Dynamics 365 applications for sales, marketing, and customer service enhanced with artificial intelligence and two other Dynamics 365 applications enhanced with mixed reality technologies.

"Two years ago, when we introduced Dynamics 365, we started a journey to tear down the traditional silos of CRM and ERP. We set out to reimagine business applications as modern, unified, intelligent, and adaptable solutions that are integrated with Office 365 and natively built on Microsoft Azure," said Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president of business applications and industry at Microsoft, during a media and analyst web conference in advance of next week's Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla. "With the release of our new AI and mixed reality applications, we are taking another step forward on our journey to help empower every organization on the planet to achieve more through the accelerant of business applications."

The Dynamics 365 AI-enhanced applications are the following:

  • Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, using artificial intelligence to help salespeople prioritize their time to focus on deals that matter most, to provide answers to the most common questions regarding the performance of sales teams, to offer a detailed analysis of sales pipelines, and surface insights that enable smarter coaching of sales teams. The application, Taylor said, provides "greater insight into prospects" as well as next-best action recommendations.
  • Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service, which uses AI and natural language understanding to turn customer service data into automated insights that help guide employees to take action. The application can also leverage virtual agents, according to Taylor.
  • Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights for marketing, social media, and market research teams. Marketers can improve customer relationships with actionable web and social insights to engage in relevant conversations and respond faster to trends, Taylor explained.

Taylor called the Dynamics 365 AI offerings "a new class of AI applications that will deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions." The power of these insights, she added, can be extended through Microsoft Power BI, Azure, and the Common Data Service.

The mixed reality-based applications for Dynamics 365 are Remote Assist and Layout. Both use the HoloLens technology that Microsoft introduced about two years ago.

Remote Assist enables field service workers to diagnose and correct problems, conduct inspections, and collaborate with area experts. The application lets technicians "solve problems in minutes that could have taken hours or days before" said Lorraine Bardeen, general manager of Microsoft Mixed Reality.

Layout is a special 3-D planning application that can be used to help with facility design, retail store layouts, traffic patterns, and more.

All of these applications are built on a foundation of Dynamics 365 and Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, according to Taylor. They are all designed to be modern, unified, extensible, and adaptable, she added.

Additionally, Microsoft announced today that the October 2018 releases of Dynamics 365 and the Power platform will be generally available Oct. 1. "The wave of innovation this represents across the entire product family is significant, with hundreds of new capabilities and features," Taylor said.

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