Microsoft has announced yesterday the launch of 'AI Digital Labs' in collaboration with 10 higher educational institutions in the country and with this Microsoft aims to skill nearly 150,000 students for a future-ready workforce. first reported about this initiative in January this year.

These AI Labs will conduct a 3-year program in which Microsoft will support the selected institutions with best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, access to cloud and AI services as well as developer support.

Microsoft will facilitate setting up of core AI infrastructure and IoT Hub as well as provide access to a wide range of AI developmental tools and Azure AI Services such as Microsoft Cognitive Services, Azure Machine Learning and Bot Services. Training programs for faculty will include workshops on cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT.

In addition, the faculty of these institutes will receive assistance in strategizing content and syllabus for project-based and experiential learning.

The educational institutes covered under this program include BITS Pilani, BML Munjal University, ISB, Kalpataru Institute of Technology, KL University, Periyar University, Karunya University, SRM Institute of Science & Technology, SVKM (NMIMS) and Trident Academy of Technology.

With the edge of the Intelligent Cloud Hub program, these institutions will emerge as learning centers of intelligent technologies and innovation hubs of path-breaking solutions.

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent technologies are becoming all-pervasive today, driving change across businesses and communities. The evolution of AI and other emerging technologies is expected to create new jobs. Workers at all levels of organizations will need to be skilled for these jobs. These shifts in the talent landscape will require new ways of thinking about skills and training to ensure that the new workforce is prepared for the future and there is sufficient talent available for critical jobs," said the company announcement.

A recent Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific study named ‘Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI’ said that lack of skills, resources and continuous learning programs emerged as one of the top challenges faced by Indian organizations in adopting AI to accelerate their businesses.

[caption id="attachment_131208" align="aligncenter" width="300"]AI digital labs From left to right: Dr. Nandeeshaiah, Principal, Kalpataru Institute of Technology; Dr. R.N. Satpathy, Executive Director, Trident Academy of Technology; Joyjit Roy Ghatak Choudhury, Director- Information Technology & Knowledge Management, SRM Institute of Science and Technology; Krishnan Subramanian, Director, Digital Learning, BITS Pilani; Dr. Manoj K. Arora, Vice-Chancellor, BML Munjal University; Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India; Dr. P. Mannar Jawahar, Vice-Chancellor, Karunya University; Abhay Karhade, Advisor to President, SVKM & Chancellor NMIMS University for IT Services; Dr. Hari Kiran Vege, Head of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and Associate Dean Academics, KL University and Dr. V. Natarajan Head, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Periyar University[/caption]

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said in a statement, "As AI becomes mainstream, organizations will require talent with skillsets that are very different from what exist now. Educators and institutions are integral to the skilling revolution taking root in the country. With the right technology infrastructure, curriculum and training, we can empower today’s students to build the India of tomorrow."

Microsoft and its entities in India have over 9,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

Last month, Microsoft held a 5-day specially curated online Artificial Intelligence (AI) program, which was aimed at enabling the developer community and workforce across organizations in India to harness the power of AI.

Last October, Microsoft collaborated with Spektacom Technologies, a tech startup founded by former Indian national cricket team captain Anil Kumble, to launch an AI & IoT-enabled ‘Power Bat’, a cricket bat that provides players, coaches, commentators, fans and viewers with a new and unique way to engage with the sport and help improve their game. The bat is powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform using AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

In 2016, Microsoft opened one of its eight Cybersecurity Engagement Centers in the country, to address security needs of both public and private sectors.

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