18 Jan 2013
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Microsoft's Maori commitment during 2012

Microsoft New Zealand is continuing their look back at 2012, remembering their work during the past twelve months.

Aside from advancements in their work in education across the country, as well as the release of Windows 8, the Kiwi division talks about other notable highlights, such as their collaboration of technology and Maori, cloud computing solutions and reducing their carbon footprint.

Below is Microsoft's own take on the year just gone…

Weaving te reo Māori and technology together

Nearly a decade of collaboration between language experts to weave te reo into Microsoft products was recognised with an award at the Māori Language Awards 2012.

The free downloads for Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer (from Windows XP and Office 2003 onwards) let people use those products in te reo Māori.

People who install the free downloads will see that these products are immersed in the language. Waikato University Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, Dr Te Taka Keegan, says, "This work has laid a foundation for te reo Māori in the technology environment and highlighted how te reo Māori can be used in modern contexts.

The impact of Microsoft's work is far reaching, giving future generations of Māori language speakers the expectation that their computing and technology can, and more importantly should, be available in te reo Māori."

Microsoft already offers a free te reo Māori interface for its latest Windows 8 operating system, and our work to support the language is ongoing.

Foundations for service transformation and innovation

The technology that powers modern essentials like the Internet, apps, data analysis, and communications is invisible to most of us.

For those responsible to make things run smoothly – to deliver core services and new innovations to citizens and customers – it’s critical for these services to be secure, to function reliably, and to be run efficiently.

In 2012, we delivered important updates to our portfolio that organisations and IT professionals can use to improve core service delivery and offer new innovations.

Microsoft’s cloud computing solutions continue to evolve rapidly. The latest Windows Server 2012 was designed as a cloud operating system, which makes it easier for organisations to use cloud services dedicated to them right here in NZ.

The global product launch was kicked off in NZ with support from Kiwi businesses that are using it to save money on datacentre virtualisation and management for their customers.

Regular updates to Office365.com (cloud office productivity and communications services) and WindowsAzure.com (a cloud platform that can save on the costs of apps, data processing, and websites) have added many new features and capabilities that are automatically available to customers.

Internet-powered communications technology is transforming the way people work. The technology already exists for employees to work effectively and securely from anywhere.

As early adopters of our own technology, Microsoft employees can easily connect to the corporate Intranet and apps from home, and routinely make calls over the Internet that connect to people’s phones from anywhere in the world. Microsoft employees can work more flexibly, from home, or on the road.

This model allows for better work/life balance, it saves travel time, and it reduces costs for telephony, travel, and real estate.

Microsoft has refurbished and modernised our Wellington office to take this a step further. The new office space puts collaboration and creativity at the centre and allows our employees flexibility and diverse work styles.

We look forward to sharing our experience with a new style of work when the new office opens.

Working responsibly

Microsoft endorsed the United Nations Global Compact in 2006. The Compact continues to be an important guide for us, which advances our mission to help people and businesses around the world realize their full potential.

The Global Compact’s 10 principles related to human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption align with our company’s business strategies, practices, policies, and operations. Our global Citizenship Report details the company’s progress and new commitments.

In 2012, Microsoft committed to achieving carbon neutrality in our current financial year. A significant component of achieving this is the continual work to increase the efficiency of our cloud computing services. Microsoft datacentres use up to 50% less energy and consume only 1% of the water of traditional datacentres. Microsoft is one of the top three purchasers of green power in US, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

These practices help individuals and organisations reduce their own environmental impact by using Microsoft cloud services.

A study found that moving Microsoft business applications to the Microsoft cloud can help organisations reduce related energy use and carbon emissions by at least 30% per user.

2012 marked the tenth anniversary of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing initiative, which made privacy and data security our highest priorities in product development.

Windows 8 makes it simple for the average consumer to turn on the Do Not Track setting to enhance consumer privacy on the Internet, and smart anti-virus software and malware protection is included with Windows 8 to enhance everyone’s online safety.

Microsoft is pleased to support the fight against child sex abuse by making Microsoft PhotoDNA technology available at no charge to the Department of Internal Affairs.

The image-matching technology helps law enforcement officers more efficiently identify and rescue victims and bring abusers to justice.

Recognising the important work of NGOs in NZ, Microsoft offered technology training attended by around 350 charities, and software donations to NZ charities in 2012 were valued at $5 million.

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