All the good bits from day one of Microsoft’s Build conference

Microsoft’s Build conference kicked off overnight. Unlike other vendor conferences Build has keynotes on the first two days of the three day conference. The first focuses on cloud services (Azure) and AI, while tomorrow’s is focused on all things Windows.

The most interesting tidbits to come out of day one cover a range of topics from drones to smart assistants and the resurrection of hardware in virtual form.

DJI and Microsoft have partnered in the creation of a new SDK to interface with the company’s drones via the Windows platform. The partnership plans to bring deeper Azure integration to the system and allow for things such as heavy AI based cloud solutions interpreting data sent from a drone’s array of sensors. In the demo shown a DJI Mavic drone was shown autonomously flying at a factory site and automatically identifying a crack in an external pipe.

One of the most advanced pieces of hardware that was never really used the Microsoft Kinect is being brought back to life in the Azure cloud. The new Project Kinect for Azure will allow real world depth-cameras to be more precise with less power consumption utilising the new service for heavy lift processing of the raw data.

Microsoft’s smart assistant Cortana is coming to an Alexa device near you. While the company announced they were working on integrating the two last year the project has been relatively silent since with today’s demonstration being the first hands on we’ve seen. Cortana can be summoned on a skill installed Alexa by saying “Alexa, open Cortana” bringing the MS assistant for use. Likewise Alexa can be requested from Cortana on a Windows 10 desktop bringing Alexa to the computer.

Lastly, a new app called “Your Phone” will go into testing as a part of an upcoming Windows Insider build of Windows 10. The new app is designed to mirror your phone and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. More details are expected to come tomorrow in the Windows keynote however it’s understood the app will be far more deeply integrated with Android devices (as I’d expect) and will mirror your phone’s text messages, photos and notifications.

If you’re so inclined, the full 3.5 hour keynote from Day 1 below.