Cortana now gets business data from Microsoft’s Power BI service

Microsoft is bringing the Cortana virtual assistant deeper into the business world by combining its capabilities with those of Power BI, the company’s business intelligence and analytics service.

With the new integration, Power BI users running the latest version of Windows 10 can ask their computers questions about information stored with the business intelligence service and get answers back in the form of simple numbers, charts and even complex reports, depending on how they have the system set up. 

To get started, administrators select a data source in Power BI (such as a SQL Server database), and allow Cortana to access the data set. Once that’s done, the assistant will be able to pull information from the data for any user who has access to it in Power BI.

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Online shoppers hit Cyber Monday — hard

Come on, admit it. How much work did you get done yesterday? Not much? Well, you’re not alone.

Bosses across the country may not be happy to hear that people hit the big Cyber Monday sales hard.

Yesterday’s Cyber Monday drew in record sales, with numbers jumping 17.8 percent over the same day last year, according to IBM Watson analytics.

IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which uses artificial intelligence, is the machine that took on Jeopardy’s game show champions. One area where IBM is using it is to track online traffic, like online shopping data.

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A privacy standard for Internet of Things suppliers

The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to generate the next economic big bang. But the expected boom will go bust if people worry about losing their privacy in the IoT ecosystem. The time is right for the stakeholders who stand to gain billions from the IoT to rally behind a common privacy standard that earns user trust.

IoT gold rush

Industry analysts agree on one thing: An explosion of Internet-enabled consumer products, connected cars, smart homes and wearables will generate a global economic boom over the next five years. One third of enterprise respondents to Computerworld’s Forecast Study 2015 last November said they were initiating IoT initiatives this year. Forbes reported in July that the pace had dramatically accelerated, with over three-quarters now jumping onto the IoT bandwagon.

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Microsoft and HP reveal more details about cloud partnership

Hewlett Packard Enterprise outlined new details about its hybrid cloud partnership with Microsoft in an announcement Tuesday, saying it will provide a new hardware product that integrates with the Azure cloud platform and build its software to take advantage of Microsoft’s offerings.

Companies interested in integrating Microsoft’s Azure cloud with HPE’s on-premises systems can now purchase the new Hyper-Converged 250 for Microsoft Cloud Platform System Standard, an appliance that brings together HPE ProLiant technology and Microsoft’s Azure services. 

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