Ignite your AI apps: A guide to Microsoft Ignite for startups and at-scale cloud companies
Published Nov 13 2023 10:48 AM 2,138 Views



Microsoft Ignite starts November 15th. Register now to attend virtually.


Microsoft Ignite, the annual conference where developers can dive deep with the latest Microsoft technologies including Azure, kicks off November 15th. Generative AI is impacting companies of every size and industry. The first ever OpenAI DevDay Conference on November 6th had great announcements focused on improving performance, expanding the use cases and making generative AI even more accessible to developers. Ignite promises to take it to the next level, with even more announcements, sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities.


The Ignite blueprint for startups and at-scale born-in-the-cloud companies

Building AI apps requires not just the latest AI services such as Azure OpenAI, but also scalable and secure data services, cloud native container services, and infrastructure. Then there’s also the task of managing your AI workflows and devops. At Ignite, you will be able to go deep with the full stack of Azure services required to build your AI apps and hear from other businesses on their experiences too.


Quick pro tip: This year, we’ve created a label called “born-in-the-cloud” and tagged all the relevant sessions with this label. If you go to the session scheduler and put “born-in-the-cloud” in the search bar, you will be able to see the full list of sessions, discussions, and demoes that we’ve tagged for you. The full list of sessions is available here.

The scheduling for some of the sessions might overlap, but they are all recorded and will be available on-demand. Here are the top keynotes, breakout sessions, and learning opportunities at Microsoft Ignite 2023:


Top 3 Keynotes:

  • Microsoft Ignite Opening (Nov 15, 9-9.45am PST): Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, will share how Microsoft is creating new opportunities in this new era of AI.
  • Microsoft Cloud in the era of AI (Nov 16, 9-10.15am PST): Scott Guthrie, EVP of Cloud and AI at Microsoft, will lead this keynote on how the Microsoft Cloud is uniquely positioned to help our customers transform by building AI solutions and unlocking data insights. Watch this for exciting AI-related announcements!
  • Inside Microsoft AI innovations with Mark Russinovich (Nov 17, 12.30-1.30pm PST): Join Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO and Technical Fellow, for an in-depth exploration of Microsoft's AI architecture. Afterall, Azure is the cloud that powers ChatGPT!


Top 10 Breakout Sessions:

  • What’s New in Generative AI (Nov 16, 4-4.45pm PST). Reason to watch: Azure OpenAI is the go-to service to build your generative AI apps on Azure and this session also brings it together with Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Search, and Azure AI Studio.
  • AI and Kubernetes: A winning combination for modern app development (Nov 16, 1.30-2.15pm PST). Reason to watch: Cloud-native services on Azure including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Functions, and Azure Container Apps help you scale your AI apps.
  • Data for the Era of AI: Build intelligent apps with Azure CosmosDB (Nov 15, 4-4.45pm PST). Reason to watch: Without data, there is no AI. Azure CosmosDB helps power AI apps from ChatGPT to the NBA and Mercedes-Benz.
  • Unlock AI innovation with Azure AI infrastructure (Nov 16, 5.15-6pm PST). Reason to watch: Learn how to build and orchestrate Azure clusters based on GPU accelerated VMs and dive deeper with Azure AI service integrations. Patrick Gates, CTO at Humane, and David Luan, CEO and co-founder at Adept, will also be presenting on how they use Azure AI infrastructure to create disruptive solutions.
  • Vector search and state of the art retrieval for Generative AI apps (Nov 16, 5.15-6pm PST). Reason to watch: Dive into the information retrieval elements of the Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG) pattern, and how vector searches, hybrid search, and reranking models improve relevance of your results.
  • Multimodal conversational interfaces with GPT and Vision AI (Nov 17, 11.30-12.15pm PST). Reason to watch: Having multimodel capabilities in your AI app that can process and understand inputs from multiple modes such as text, speech, and video can help differentiate your app.
  • End-to-end AI app development: Prompt engineering to LLMOps (Nov 17, 10.15-11am PST). Reason to watch: Streamlining your AI workloads can help you become more efficient and iterate faster, leading to better productivity and shorter time to market.
  • What’s new and what’s next with Azure IaaS (Nov 15, 11.45-12.30pm PST). Reason to watch: Learn about the latest Azure IaaS innovations across compute, storage, and networking.
  • GitHub Copilot and AI for developers: Potential and pitfalls with Scott Hanselman (Nov 15, 5.15-6pm PST). Reason to watch: Join Scott Hanselman, VP Developer Community at Microsoft, for a discussion on how GitHub Copilot can help you accelerate development.
  • Disrupt and grow with Azure AI (On Demand). Reason to watch: This session brings together an outline of the Azure AI portfolio and the programs that Microsoft offers for startups to build, deploy, and grow on Azure. Sanjay Mohan, Group CTO at MakeMyTrip, India's leading online travel platform, also shares how they used Azure OpenAI to make their travel booking service more accessible to customers. If you are new to Microsoft and Azure, this is a great place to start.


Additional Learning Opportunities:

There are Q&A sessions, hands-on labs, demos and many more learning opportunities at Ignite. You can participate in exciting Cloud Skills Challenges to earn learning badges starting Nov 15th or learn to build a minigame console app with GitHub Copilot. Don't miss the highlight - the Intelligent Apps Cloud Skills Challenge, that offers a captivating learning journey. We've also put together a comprehensive learning collection on "Essentials for building new intelligent apps" to help you kick off your learning journey on Azure.


Born in the cloud companies drive disruption with AI

Across healthcare, financial services, retail, and every vertical, startups are disrupting industries by harnessing the power of generative AI with Azure OpenAI to unlock new customer experiences. AltaML worked with the Government of Alberta to build an AI-powered tool to help firefighting duty officers become more confident in predicting and sustainably managing the risk of wildfires, creating the potential to save up to $3 million in annual operating costs. Commerce.AI delivers up to 50% increase in productivity by unearthing new kinds of customer feedback from unstructured video, audio, and photographic data. Pangaea Data helps improve patient outcomes and reduce costs by enabling early discovery of rare medical conditions. It’s still early days for generative AI and the possibilities are endless as startups use it to create even more compelling use cases that transform the way people live and work.


Don’t just build, partner with Microsoft

As we strive to provide best-in-class AI services and a reliable, secure, and scalable cloud-native platform, we also want to partner with you to help you thrive at every stage of your startup’s journey. Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, the Microsoft for Startups Pegasus program, and ISV Success are all designed to help you easily get started, scale your apps, and grow your business by providing credits, community access, technical support, and go-to-market support. We also recently announced a free Azure AI Infrastructure option in our startup program that offers high-end GPU virtual machine clusters for training and deploying LLM and other deep learning models. This option is now available to the Y-combinator startups in private preview. We believe that this will unlock startup-led AI innovation by helping startups quickly prototype and bring their solutions to the market.


Let’s learn and build!

This is truly the era of AI and born in the cloud companies are at the forefront of this wave. Join us at Microsoft Ignite 2023 and let’s build the future together!



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