You get a Copilot, and you get a Copilot – Microsoft now the Copilot company

Bing Chat is now known as – you can guess. Plus more AI bits and pieces coming to Teams, Office, etc

Ignite Microsoft continues to push its Copilot concept onto users and shoehorn the technology into every crevice of the Windows giant line-up and others via Copilot Studio.

Whereas Copilot for Microsoft 365 works from an enterprise's data already lurking in the Microsoft Graph, the plan for Copilot Studio is to extend the technology's tentacles into other business areas, such as CRM and ERP.

As with everything else branded Copilot, the idea is you converse with Microsoft's AI-powered software in natural language, and from those conversations and prompts the tools attempt to figure out what you want or need and produce stuff or perform actions accordingly.

Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, Modern Work & Business Applications at Microsoft, gushed: "We anticipate an AI-powered business process reengineering wave that will sweep over every organization and every industry."

The plan is to allow administrators to customize Copilot for Microsoft 365 for specific enterprise scenarios and connect the service to external sources, such as SAP or ServiceNow. Copilot can be extended via a graphical interface - yes, the term "Low Code" was mentioned - or via natural language to make the tool fit particular business needs.

It wasn't so long ago that Microsoft was hailing Cortana as a user's personal productivity assistant, but now, according to CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is the Copilot company. Whether you like it or not.

While Cortana was a relic of another time, Microsoft has invested time and serious money in its Copilot technology. The plan is for one Copilot over all its surfaces, which understands a user's context on the web, PC, and at work.

As well as Copilot Studio, Microsoft has turned the rebrandogun onto Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise. Both will be known henceforth as "Copilot." Should one be signed in with one's Entra ID, Microsoft promises that chat data won't be saved and your data won't be used to train the models.

Back in the office, Microsoft has continued to spread the reach of the technology with Copilot for Service, designed to "help organizations deliver compelling service experiences by modernizing their existing contact centers with generative AI."

Thankfully, this does not mean adding to the proliferation of chatbots out there with their relentlessly perky offers to help guide users through a website; instead, it is also intended to improve productivity for agents through improvements in corporate processes. Examples would be the generation of summaries or the creation of draft emails.

And, of course, you can extend the service via Copilot Studio.

Sadly, the fun comes at a price. It includes Copilot for Microsoft 365, which has already attracted ire for its pricing and minimum seat count and ups the ante - according to Microsoft, pricing will be $50 per user per month.

Microsoft also used its Ignite event this week to tease other places where Copilot will be turning up, including its collaboration service, Teams.

From December, intelligent recap - aimed at helping latecomers or absentees catch up on missed meetings - will be integrated into Copilot, and a "new Copilot in Teams experiences will give Copilot a seat at the meeting table."

It sounds like the plan is for Copilot to be a scribe and take notes. "You can even instruct Copilot to capture specific content - for instance, ask it to 'Quote Ben,' and Copilot will transcribe Ben's remark for everyone to see."

Poor Ben.

You can also expect Copilot to show up in Outlook before long, as well as in Word and PowerPoint. The latter will leverage Microsoft Designer to reimagine corporate assets using AI-generated visuals. More grist to The Register's LogoWatch mill, say we.

Microsoft is determined to make a go of Copilot, having enjoyed some early success with the technology in GitHub. The tech is still very much at the clever query engine phase of its existence, leveraging natural language to give users a helping hand and surface enterprise data that might otherwise be a pain to find.

However, the advent of Copilot Studio is a clear statement of intent. While Microsoft might have trumpeted its low code and no code platforms in the past, stirring in a dash of Copilot should ensure the technology has the staying power its predecessors lacked. ®

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