Start Your Engineering Business in Minutes

How to Start a Profitable Engineering Business [11+ Steps]

Ever dreamt of turning your passion for engineering into a lucrative business? Well, buckle up, because we're about to embark on a thrilling journey of transforming that dream into a profitable reality, one step at a time!

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Our Shortlist Steps to Start a Profitable Engineering Business:

  • Draft a engineering business plan.
  • Pick a business name & business entity that works best for you.
  • Find ways to finance your engineering startup.
  • Open a professional business bank account.
  • Set up your accounting & tax reporting.
  • Obatin the necessary licenses & permits for your engineering business.
  • Purchase the equipment, software, & tools needed.

Startup Costs for a Engineering Business:

Initiating a engineering business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $73000 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your engineering business.

  • Engineering Startup Expenses

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11 steps to start a profitable engineering business with little to no money:, 1. engineering business plan..

Creating a business plan for an Engineering business is essential for success. A business plan is a blueprint for the development of a company, outlining its goals and objectives, as well as how it will achieve them. It is important to consider the financial, operational and marketing aspects of your business when creating a business plan. Additionally, it should include a strategy for identifying and managing potential risks. Here are some of the key elements that need to be included in a business plan for an Engineering business:

  • Business mission and goals
  • Description of the engineering services provided
  • Marketing strategy and competitive analysis
  • Organizational and management structure
  • Financial plan and budget
  • Risk management plan
  • Check out our entire small business plan directory

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2. Form the Legal Business Entity.

Are you looking for ways to start your own engineering business? You'll want to consider officially registering your business with local and federal governments. There are four different types of entities you can choose from, each with their own pros and cons. 

Sole proprietorship : 

  • The simplest type of business to set up 
  • Offers no personal liability protection 

Corporate organization : 

  • Shareholders elect board members to run things 
  • Requires an annual meeting with stockholders' meetings every three months 

Limited Liability Company : 

  • Provides extra protection for investors by limiting their liability exposure 
  • Allows flexibility in operating their businesses 

Partnership : 

  • Business owner plus partners 
  • Can offer personal liability protection 

When deciding what type of business entity is right for your engineering company, it's important to consider what kind of liability exposure you want and what your goals are for the business. If you're just starting out and selling to family and friends, a sole proprietorship may be enough. But if you're looking for more protection or to grow the business, a corporate organization or LLC may be a better choice. 

No matter what type of business entity you choose for your engineering business, be sure to register it with the state in which you'll be doing business. This will give you the legal protections you need to operate your business and protect your personal assets. To register your business, you'll need to file the appropriate paperwork with your state's Secretary of State office . You can find more information on how to do this on their website. 

Once you've registered your engineering business, you'll need to get a business license from your local city or county. This will allow you to legally operate your business in your area. To get a business license, you'll need to fill out an application and submit it to your local licensing authority. They will then review your application and decide whether or not to issue you a license. 

Now that you know how to register your engineering business, it's time to get started! Follow the steps above to get started on the right foot and be sure to consult with an attorney if you have any questions. Good luck!

  • Check out our U.S. Registered Agent Directory
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3. Source Financing for Your Engineering Business.

There are several different ways to go about sourcing financing options for your engineering business, but it’s extremely important to think through each and every method because each decision may have financial implications on you and your business in the long term.

Some new founders may find themselves in a situation where your engineering startup costs are actually only a few hundred dollars to get started, but we thought it was important to share the below methods in case you’re thinking of ideas down the road.

Here are 5 financing options for your engineering business:

  • Raising money from friends and family
  • Bootstrapping by tapping into your own savings account
  • Sourcing investment from outside investors
  • Obtaining a bank loan
  • Getting money from a hard money lender

Now, there are of course many other alternatives to financing your business, but these 5 options are just a few that come to mind.

It’s also important to stress the importance of decisions and only make the decision you believe is the best fit for your current situation. There is no right answer when deciding how much money should go into starting up your own company, but there may be some guidance from below regarding what type of financing would work best for someone like yourself - so take note before making any final decisions about which path will suit both yourself and your engineering business best! We definitely recommend advising your accountant before making any final decisions.

4. Open a Business Bank Account.

Opening a  business bank account for your engineering company can be a daunting task, especially if you're not sure what you're doing. But it doesn't have to be! There are different types of accounts that you can open for your engineering business, depending on what you need and how much money you're looking to deposit.

We'll go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of account, so you know what to expect from each one.

Checking Account:  The most common type of business bank account is a checking account. Checking accounts are easy to open and offers a variety of features and benefits that can be helpful for businesses. One of the biggest advantages of a checking account is that it allows you to easily deposit and withdraw money as you need it. You can also write checks from your checking account, which can be helpful for paying bills or suppliers.

Savings Account:  Another popular type of business bank account is a savings account. Savings accounts earn interest on the money that you deposit, so they can be a great way to grow your engineering business's cash reserve. However, savings accounts typically have lower interest rates than checking accounts and may have withdrawal limits.

Business Card Card:  If you're looking for a more robust bank account for your business, you may want to consider opening a business credit card. Business credit cards can be very helpful for businesses that need to make large purchases or need to build up their credit history. However, business credit cards typically have high-interest rates and may have annual fees.

No matter what  type of business bank account you choose, be sure to shop around and compare features and fees before making a decision. Once you've found the right account for your business, you'll be on your way to the next step in building your engineering business! As always, be sure you advise your certified professional accountant before making any final financial decisions.

5. Set up Your Accounting and Taxes.

As a new engineering business owner, you have a lot on your plate. There are so many things to think about and so much to do in order to get your business off the ground.

But one of the most important things you need to do is set up a proper accounting system. This will help you  track your expenses , revenue, receipts, taxes owed, and much more.

There are a couple of different ways that you can set up your engineering accounting system.

  • You can use an online accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero
  • Hire an accountant to do it for you.

If you decide to do it yourself, make sure you choose a system that is easy to use and understand.

Once you have your  accounting system set up, start tracking your income and expenses. This will help you see where your money is going and where you need to cut back. It will also help you budget for the future.

Make sure you keep up with your accounting regularly. This means setting aside time each month to reconcile your accounts and update your records. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

If you have any questions about setting up your accounting system, talk to your accountant or  financial advisor . They can help you choose the right system for your business and make sure you are using it correctly.

  • Find account software for your business

6. Obtain Engineering Business Permits and Licenses.

Starting a new engineering business can be a daunting task, but there are some important things to keep in mind that can make the process a bit smoother. One of the most important things to do when starting a new business is to  obtain the proper licenses and permits from the appropriate government agencies.

There are a number of different business licenses and permits that may be required, depending on the type of engineering business you are starting and where it will be located. The best way to find out which licenses and permits you need is to contact your local business licensing office or chamber of commerce. They will be able to provide you with information on which licenses and permits are required in your area.

Once you have obtained the necessary engineering licenses and permits, you will be able to officially open your business and start operating. Congratulations! You are now on your way to becoming a successful business owner.

7. Purchase Equipment, Software, Supplies & Tools Needed.

There's a lot to think about when starting a engineering business. One of the most important elements is equipment, tools, and supplies. 

Here's a few tips to help you:

  • Determine what equipment, tools, and supplies you need.  This will depend on the type of business you're starting and the products or services you'll be offering. Make a list of everything you need, including both big-ticket items (like office furniture) and smaller items (like paper clips).
  • Research different suppliers. Once you know what you need, it's time to start shopping around. Compare prices and quality between different suppliers to find the best deal.
  • Consider equipment rental or leasing.  If you're on a tight budget, you may want to consider renting or leasing equipment instead of purchasing it outright. This can be a good option for expensive items that you won't need to use on a regular basis.
  • Get everything in writing.  Once you've decided on a supplier, make sure to get all the details in writing before making a purchase. This will help avoid any misunderstandings later on.
  • Stay organized and keep track of your inventory. It's important to stay organized when running a business. Keep track of your equipment, tools, and supplies so you know what you have and what needs to be replenished.

By following this process will help ensure that you have the equipment, tools, and supplies you need to run your business smoothly.

  • Check out our small business software & tools review directory

8. Create a Brand Identity for Your Engineering Company.

Creating a brand identity for your engineering company can be very difficult. There are so many factors to consider, from the logo design to the colors you use. But if you take the time to plan and focus on what you want your customers to feel, you can create a brand identity that will set your business apart from the rest.

Here's how to get started:

1.  Define your engineering company's purpose and values.

What do you want to achieve with your business? What kind of feeling do you want your customers to have when they think of your engineering brand? These are important questions to answer before you start creating any visuals for your brand.

2. Choose a color scheme that reflects your company's personality.

Colors can communicate a lot about a brand, so it's important to choose wisely. If you're not sure where to start, try looking at  other brands in your industry and see what colors they use.

3. Develop a unique logo that represents your engineering brand.

This is often the first thing people will think of when they hear your company name, so it's important to make it memorable. Work with a professional designer to  create a logo that's both visually appealing and reflective of your brand values.

4. Create consistent branding across all channels.

Once you have your logo and color scheme, make sure you use them consistently across all of your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards. This will help reinforce your brand identity and make it easier for customers to recognize your company.

Creating a strong brand identity is essential for any engineering business, but it doesn't have to be complicated. By focusing on your company's purpose and values, you can develop a brand that will resonate with your target audience. With a little planning and some creativity, you can create a brand identity that will make your engineering company stand out from the rest.

9. Build a Beautiful Website.

In today's world, and no matter what type of business you're in, it's always best to have a beautifully designed website to share with your customers. For your engineering business, you may not need one right away, but it's best to plan for this!

There are a few key steps to building a beautiful website for your new engineering business:

  • Hiring a professional website designer or working with a freelancer - make sure to look at their portfolio and get recommendations from others in the industry.
  • Planning out your  website's structure and hierarchy - this includes deciding what pages and baby clothing content will be included on the website, and how it will all be organized.
  • Creating  stunning visuals and graphics - images, videos, and other visual elements should be high-quality and reflect your brand identity.
  • Writing compelling website copy - the text on your website should be well-written, informative, and persuasive.
  • Testing the website before launch - it's important to test all the website's features and functionality to ensure everything works correctly.

Following these steps will help you create a website that is both visually appealing and effective in promoting your engineering business. If you have any questions or need help getting started, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to assist you.

10. Create a Company Email Address & Phone Number.

With a company phone number and email address, you'll be able to give your business a more professional appearance and stay in touch with customers more easily.

Here's how to set them up:

  • Purchase a business phone number . You can do this through a telecom provider like Twilio or Grasshopper.
  • Register the phone number by creating an account with the telecom provider.
  • Set up a professional email address using a service like  Google Workspace or  Microsoft 365 .
  • Configure your email account to forward messages to your business phone number.

Note: When you're first starting out your engineering business, you can definitely use your personal phone number and email address, but as it grows, be sure to look into other communication options!

Once you're all set up, you'll now be able to more easily communicate with customers more professionally!

11. Make a Go-To Market Launch Strategy.

You’ve done all of the hard work up until this point and prepared your engineering business for launch – Now, it’s time to get your engineering business name out there and start generating customers!

You’ll likely already have worked on a bit of your marketing plan during the build out of your business plan, but now you’ll take a magnifying glass to your strategy and plan out how you’ll obtain your first few customers.

To get things started, below are a few marketing strategies you can steal from:

  • Reach out to local newspapers about your launch
  • Identify social media influencers your customers follow
  • Host a business launch event at your office, storefront
  • Run a business launch sale to attract first time customers
  • Run a few ads online to attract customers
  • Get your friends and family to share your products on social media
  • Partner up with other local businesses in the area to share your business

Again, remember, marketing is never a “said it and forget” method. You must always be iterating on your strategy and doubling down on what worked and what your customers love most. Also, always be sure you’re never overspending in this area so that it doesn’t cut into your margins.

  • Check out all of our small business marketing ideas

You have questions, we have answers.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Below, based on our research are some of the most common questions entrepreneurs have when thinking about starting a business.

What does it cost to start a Engineering business?

Are engineering businesses profitable, how to come up with a name for your engineering business, what do you need to do to define your target audience for your engineering business, how does a engineering business make money, list of software, tools and supplies needed to start a engineering business:, what licenses and permits are needed to run a engineering business.

Helpful content

More business resources to help you get started:

External resources:.

  • Small Business Administration: Choose the Right Structure for Your Business
  • 10 Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Engineering Business
  • Gartner: Market Research and Insights for IT Leaders
  • GrowthHackers: Articles and Insights for Growth Professionals
  • StartupNation: Engineering Resources
  • TechRepublic: Engineering Solutions
  • Entrepreneur Magazine: Engineering

Internal resources:

  • Engineering Business Names
  • Engineering Business Plan Template & Guidebook
  • Best Professional Services Business Ideas & Examples in 2023
  • Our List of 10+ Best Engineering Business Ideas:
  • 75+ Unique, Creative & Funny Engineering Business Slogans
  • List of the Best Marketing Ideas For Your Engineering Business:

I'm Nick, co-founder of, dedicated to helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. As a small business owner with over five years of experience, I have garnered valuable knowledge and insights across a diverse range of industries. My passion for entrepreneurship drives me to share my expertise with aspiring entrepreneurs, empowering them to turn their business dreams into reality.

Through meticulous research and firsthand experience, I uncover the essential steps, software, tools, and costs associated with launching and maintaining a successful business. By demystifying the complexities of entrepreneurship, I provide the guidance and support needed for others to embark on their journey with confidence.

From assessing market viability and formulating business plans to selecting the right technology and navigating the financial landscape, I am dedicated to helping fellow entrepreneurs overcome challenges and unlock their full potential. As a steadfast advocate for small business success, my mission is to pave the way for a new generation of innovative and driven entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world.

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How to build a successful maintenance engineering strategy

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A maintenance engineering strategy sets out the guiding principles that will enable an organisation to meet its objectives. The challenge is to create one that reflects reality over optimism.

Planning is crucial in any business and a good strategy lays a strong foundation for success. For maintenance engineers, there may be a sense that 'keeping the wheels turning' is the main objective, but an effective strategy involves so much more.

Paul Adams, former Maintenance Strategy Manager at Glaxo SmithKline , who now advises companies on their maintenance engineering approach, says a good strategy is one that achieves high uptime with low maintenance costs.

Writing in Maintenance and Engineering Journal , Adams cautions that what works in one industry may not work in another, but identifies the following as key considerations for those drafting a maintenance engineering strategy:

1. Maintenance maturity – how well developed are your maintenance processes and to what degree do they deliver value for the wider operation? 2. Performance – what levels of availability do you achieve with your assets? Measures such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and achievement of service level obligations are good ways to measure this. 3. Asset care approach – are you running to failure, applying preventative maintenance or using predictive maintenance and why have you chosen your approach? 4. Team – it’s vital to involve the whole team in creating the strategy or you will miss out on what may turn out to be crucial insights from individuals. 5. Capability – make sure you have the right competencies in place throughout your strategy. 6. Culture – any change in business impacts the culture of the organisation. You need to ensure that you don’t perpetuate problems by rewarding the wrong behaviours. 7. Communication – use the appropriate language. Selling your strategy to the board means speaking the language of business, but you will need a more practical approach when talking to your teams.

“Defining an effective maintenance strategy for an organisation is a wider task than simply deciding how to maintain each individual asset,” writes Adams.

“Although the reliability and safety requirements of the organisation’s assets should be at the core, a robust strategy also defines what capabilities the maintenance team needs, and aligns all the efforts of the equipment designers, users and maintainers towards a proactive maintenance culture.”

While reducing cost will be part of most maintenance engineering strategies, it should not be the sole focus. The cost of maintenance should be proportionate to the needs and the type of the business. The wider strategy should be more focused on continuously managing technical risks.

Different approaches Consultants McKinsey agree with Adams’ view that different types of organisations may need differing strategies. But they say any maintenance engineering strategy must focus on the same three goals : maximising availability; minimising cost; and minimising system redundancy.

They say an approach led by sensor-based condition monitoring will be the first choice in most situations. “Advanced analytics algorithms, based on information like historical sensor data, maintenance records, or failure mode analyses help define thresholds per asset or component that act as decision criteria in day-to-day monitoring,” adds McKinsey.

Equally, the priorities for any strategy will vary depending on the type of asset being maintained. For example, maximising availability should be the watchword for infrastructure like railways, pipelines and wind farms. But, in the case of service functions like escalators and white goods, minimising cost may be the dominant goal.

The location of assets will also play a part in determining the correct monitoring approach. For assets in remote locations – like wind farms and railway lines – external monitoring by drones, thermographic cameras, smart pipeline inspection gauges, or measuring trains could help improve inspection frequency.

Living document Whichever approach you choose, it’s important to remember that what you are creating must be a living document that will evolve over time as organisational circumstances change. Ian Bell, Vice President of Engineering and Facilities at RS Group likes to think of it in terms of military battle planning, where he says, no strategy survives first contact with the enemy.

"We think about the engineers during military conflicts. It's muck and bullets, even though you may have a strategy, our job is to build a pontoon wherever we need it and make sure it works."

"Ask yourself how the maintenance engineering team contributes to the overall corporate strategic objectives and how can you generate value?" Dr Moray Kidd, Maintenance Engineering Academic

Dr Moray Kidd, a Maintenance Engineering Academic has some advice to get you started: “Begin by thinking about the corporate objectives,” he says. “Ask yourself how the maintenance engineering team contributes to the overall corporate strategic objectives and how can you generate value?”

A great strategy is a flexible one RS Group’s Ian Bell agrees that an effective engineering strategy is crucial to business success, but it must not restrict the organisation’s ability to change direction.

“Of course we should have a strategy. I've always had a strategy for my engineering functions. Do I truly believe in them 100%? No, and neither should you, at least in the sense that they are not set in stone. Instead, they should be seen as living documents that flex as internal and external influences on the business evolve.”

"Engineers must have an eye on the future and stay aligned with the business. Engineering strategies can change very quickly" Ian Bell, Vice President of Engineering and Facilities, RS Group

Bell says it’s important for maintenance engineers to recognise they are operating at the heart of their organisation’s engineering strategy, with its execution as a primary function of the role. “Engineers must have an eye on the future and stay aligned with the business. Engineering strategies can change very quickly,” he says.

“The engineering function needs to be flexible, responsive and ready to give the business what it needs at short notice. We can still have the characteristic moan about ‘poor old us’, but then we have to get in there and execute, make it happen and get it over the mountain.”

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Seven steps to maintenance strategy

Paul Adams, Maintenance Strategy Manager, GlaxoSmithKline

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ABSTRACT Many businesses try to survive without a good strategy to provide the direction for the maintenance function of the business – even though such functions take care of assets that are vital to the business and expensive to replace. This article outlines a dual factor approach: maintenance strategy involves determining the optimal asset care policies to deliver high reliability plant, and extended equipment life. However, to be successful, it also involves consideration of the various non-technical inputs into the maintenance operations model such as involving all the players in the maintenance team in a deliberate way, managing the funding needed for the improvement effort, benchmarking maintenance performance with your peer operations, and managing the prevailing culture.


Many companies have tried to improve the efficiency of maintenance in their plants. Some are successful, but many initiatives do not achieve their expected benefits. One reason for this could be that the company’s maintenance strategy is too poorly defined or that the company operates without any kind of formal maintenance strategy at all.

In fact, there is no clear, universally agreed definition about what exactly constitutes a maintenance strategy across industry bodies, and the guidance about what makes a good one is quite hard to find.

The British and European standard for maintenance management is BS EN 13306:2017, and it makes two key definitions:

Maintenance Objective – The targets assigned and accepted for maintenance activities. Maintenance Strategy – The management method used to achieve the maintenance objectives.

Although these rather broad definitions leave their actual meanings open to interpretation, they do indicate the broader view of maintenance it is necessary to take to create a robust strategy. While many, if not all, maintenance operations will have documented and business-aligned objectives, it is rare to find a maintenance strategy that goes beyond the substance of the task list and task frequency and perhaps necessary spare parts.

A robust maintenance strategy creates a focus for the maintenance operation and creates a consistent ambition for the maintenance team, aligned to the needs of the parent organisation.

It is useful to consider maintenance strategy from a dual perspective:

  • Asset Care Strategy Defining what the operation’s key physical assets are, and what maintenance regimes they need to function correctly – this covers the maintenance plan tasks, and frequency of performing them.
  • Operational Strategy What the maintenance function needs to do to provide the required level of service to the operation. This is much broader, and covers spare parts provision, maintenance planning tasks, funding, training, business processes and procedures.

This model puts, quite properly, the asset at the heart of the maintenance strategy – defining what is needed to achieve its optimum performance; and then around it is defined all the management tasks needed to provide the asset care strategy at the core.

A good maintenance strategy is one that achieves high uptime for key equipment at low maintenance costs. But what works in one industry may not work in another.

In this article, we’ll define seven steps that will underpin a winning maintenance strategy.

1: Understanding current maturity

The first step in developing a robust maintenance strategy is to understand how mature the operation currently is. The term maintenance maturity describes how well developed an operation’s maintenance processes and systems are, and to what degree they deliver value for the wider operation.

The maturity model shown in Figure 2 shows the generalised progression of a maintenance operation as it gains more and more capabilities. Capabilities are demonstrated by the beneficial use of maintenance best practices, and the overall maintenance strategy able to be employed by the maintenance operation significantly changes with the development of more capabilities.

The first strategy that is often employed in a lower capability maintenance operation is to seek to be good at fixing things. Then, as the realisation sets in that this will take the organisation only so far in downtime reduction and efficient resource allocation, more planned activities take place, with the emphasis more on job and workforce planning but still dealing with breakdowns in a rather reactive way.

Adopting a more active strategy demands a higher level of technical capability in reliability engineering, maintenance management and equipment knowledge, so it often develops later in an operation’s progression.

Predictive maintenance, where the intention is to avoid any downtime at all by constantly watching for earliest signs of failure, needs a higher order skill again.

How far does the operation exploit known best maintenance practices, and how does it compare against others along the maturity curve?

An honest assessment of current maturity can be carried out by simply gaining an understanding of maintenance best practices and observing whether the operation uses them routinely or not. Most of the specialist consultancies also have structured frameworks which can be assessed against, at a cost.

As individuals in the organisation learn to do a wider range of things, better results should follow.

2: Know your current performance in detail

In terms of performance of the maintenance operation, the most fundamental measure of success is the availability of the equipment the operation is responsible for. Equipment availability can be translated directly into the key objectives for the business. So, for manufacturing operations, high equipment availability allows more products to be made for sale; and for service operations, high equipment availability allows the continuity of service. A good maintenance operation commonly uses measures such as overall equipment effectiveness and service level.

To really understand performance, however, it is also necessary to grasp its flipside – how efficiently the inputs into the operation, such as money and hours of human effort, are being translated into these output measures.

Some data collection is necessary:

  • Understanding equipment availability – When there is downtime, where does the time go, and what causes it? What are the real, underlying or root causes for failure?
  • Understanding the inputs – Where does the money go? How much time do people use doing activities that don’t add any value to the goal of achieving the best results?

3: Deploy the right asset strategy

From the perspective of the wider operation, the cost of corrective maintenance usually far exceeds the costs of any realistic preventive maintenance effort. The exact cost ratio differs from industry to industry but when the full cost of service interruptions, lost orders, loss of reputation or government fines or other losses are considered, prevention of failures is frequently more cost-effective than waiting for the failure to occur.

Selecting the right approach to each asset’s maintenance regime is therefore fundamental. On key equipment, the goal should be to deliberately select the right maintenance approach for each type of equipment failure that minimises the overall cost of the failure to the organisation.

There are generally thought to be only three broad approaches:

  • Let the equipment fail and then fix it (corrective or “run to failure” maintenance).
  • Replace or recondition parts at intervals known to approximate the lifespan of failing components (planned preventive maintenance).
  • Detect when the equipment is starting to degrade and replace or recondition at a time convenient to the operation (predictive maintenance).

To be cost-effective , the corrective maintenance approach should be selected only when the cost of “fixing” is less than the cost of proactive prevention. Such a case may be where the spare part, or indeed the equipment itself, can be replaced very cheaply, or where the operation can function adequately for a while without the use of the asset. (Air-conditioning equipment for administrative offices is sometimes used as an example needing this approach).

Even then, a true proactive approach for corrective maintenance will already have the right spare parts, access equipment, training and clear responsibilities in place to get the asset back into working order as quickly as possible.

The most proactive approach should be selected for the asset to reduce long term costs by focusing primarily on the wider cost of equipment failure.

The maintenance manager will be only too familiar with the increasing need to maintain equipment in a cost-effective manner. For some organisations, at budget review time, maintenance spending is the first item on the list of cost areas to be culled.

In the long run, it is more sustainable to build reliable processes and then let the previously high cost of corrective work reduce naturally than to undermine a good maintenance regime by cutting maintenance costs without regard to the impact.

4: Involve the full team

Recognise that although the technician and reliability engineer are on the front line of equipment maintenance, a much wider team of people are involved in determining the success of the maintenance operation. Each role has a specific job to do in reducing breakdowns and achieving high reliability.

  • Front line maintenance staff can provide vital data about continuing equipment issues, such as type of fault, duration of downtime, and remedy. In conjunction with a good maintenance management system that can classify, track and provide data reports this can be an important tool for the reliability engineer to use to improve equipment performance.
  • Equipment users have an underrated role in the maintenance team. Keeping the asset clean and ensuring that the equipment they use is running within proper settings are the first steps in good asset management. Later, further along the maturity curve, they can acquire the technical knowledge to be able to detect some types of faults and the skills to fix the simple ones.
  • It must be remembered that by the time equipment is in use, the inherent reliability of the equipment has been established. An important number of failures stem from design deficiencies in some way, and the ability to influence reliability is greatest at the early stages of a project. The role of production/reliability engineering, therefore, is to maintain this inherent level of performance, but they cannot often remediate design flaws that may create reliability issues.
  • It follows then that the equipment supplier’s own engineers and designers play a vital role. They influence reliability at the design stage through selection of components, layout and configuration of equipment, and can be called on to work with customers to improve reliability issues. A good working relationship with the supplier of equipment is an important determinant of success in any reliability programme.

5: Communicating maintenance strategy in the language of economics

When it’s time to present the strategy to the board, using the right language helps the maintenance manager to build a credible case for change. Engineers frequently find themselves justifying maintenance programmes to non-engineers at senior levels using technical justifications. That approach frequently misses the point that all maintenance strategy often involves essentially economic decisions.

A different approach is needed. Nearly all technical problems at their heart are trying to solve a business issue. So instead of stating what the technical benefits of any proposal will be, start with the business benefits. The technical overview can follow once the economic considerations are accepted.

This is not as difficult as it may sound. It helps to think about “What financial contribution does maintenance make to the operation?” – see figure 4. Examples include

  • Avoiding equipment downtime or interruption of service.
  • Extending the life of expensive capital assets
  • Reducing the number of hours required to complete the same level of maintenance.
  • Avoiding risk to safety, product quality or business reputation.

All these contributions can be quantified in hard cash terms. Extending the life of a capital asset, for example, avoids or delays capital expenditure, which has a favourable effect on the business’s return on capital employed. Similarly, efficient maintenance labour planning can lead to a lower requirement for manpower, and therefore reduce the business’s cost of goods sold (COGS). These are key management ratios at the heart of every business and should be used as the basis for justifying any maintenance programme changes.

6: Build Capability

The maintenance operation will always achieve the results that it is designed for. For example, an organisation that predominantly focuses the efforts of its maintenance technicians on repairing equipment will never have the time to take the broader tasks that good reliability engineering needs – collecting and analysing data and performing equipment modifications. Similarly, if there are no maintenance planners, don’t expect well planned and efficiently executed maintenance.

Using a broad capability model helps guide the maintenance manager to know where to focus the improvement programme. Linked to the maintenance maturity, the capability model indicates where best practices are used to accomplish tasks within the maintenance management remit. Best practices are defined as professional practices that are prescribed as being correct or most effective. These may vary among industry sectors and may need the external view of a specialist consultant to help define them.

The assessment begins with defining the main sub-functions within the operation that it needs to perform in order to provide maximum value to the organisation: planning and executing maintenance, managing spare parts and managing maintenance budgets will be general to all maintenance operations but others may be specific to an industry.

Once the main sub-functions themselves are defined, the current level of capability in each of the areas can be assessed by looking at best practices that would be expected to be seen in use to accomplish these tasks. So a high level of capability is shown by observing best practices in place and in full use within the operation. Where there is an absence of best practices, that would indicate a lower level of capability.

One version of this model is shown in Figure 5, where 12 maintenance management tasks are defined, and the operation’s current level of capability is plotted against a level of performance that this organisation defined as what it needed to bring most value to the operation.

It is important to be clear about what capabilities are required for the accomplishment of the maintenance objectives. Best practices are only useful where they contribute to the performance of low downtime of key assets or allow the work to be done more efficiently. For example, a best practice of detailed failure analysis used in the petrochemical industry may not be appropriate in low profit margin operation.

The actions required to close the gaps then form one part of the operational maintenance strategy.

7: Understand the culture change

There is a vital cultural element to any type of improvement activity and ignoring it can often be the reason improvement initiatives unexplainedly fail.

Cultural change can be difficult to grasp unless you break it down into pragmatic steps. Figure 6 shows the relationship between culture and maintenance maturity (developed by Ledet and others [2]).

There are some easy-to-grasp elements, however:

  • Motivators – What does the organisation want the culture to be, and how does that fit with the behaviour that the people in the maintenance operation see? This is described as the motivators of the maintenance operation, and it is clearly bound up in the behaviour of the operation’s leadership. The importance of short-term budget adherence is played against the longer-term results of a proactive operation. People can easily see when there is a mismatch between the real motivators and the stated objectives of the company. It is clearly not effective for an organisation to say that high equipment reliability is important and yet not give people the time and resources to do what is necessary to prevent equipment failing.
  • Rewards – What does the maintenance operation visibly reward? Constantly rewarding people for returning broken equipment into use but ignoring the engineer who diligently works at preventing breakdown will not result in a proactive maintenance organisation – it just causes frustration. Proactive operations are those that visibly and loudly “applaud” when a long-term reliability issue is prevented from recurring, and are seen to divert resources to tackling the key reliability issues rather than short term cost cutting.
  • Behaviour – What is the resulting behaviour of the operation? As capabilities are acquired, and better results seen, this spurs on the reinforcement of a proactive culture. This generally results in more people being dedicated to conducting preventive maintenance tasks, and eventually the creation of the space to test, experiment and learn from mistakes that brings true innovative improvement.

The maintenance maturity of an operation and its culture are directly linked, simply because it is not normally possible to develop the range of capabilities necessary to be a high performing maintenance operation without the supporting cultural focus, rewards and recognition.

By choosing the right rewards, and the right motivators, an organisation can promote the organisational culture that it wants to see.

Conclusion: Becoming the proactive maintenance operation

Defining an effective maintenance strategy for an organisation is a wider task than simply deciding how to maintain each individual asset.

Although the reliability and safety requirements of the organisation’s assets should be at the core, a robust strategy also defines what capabilities the maintenance team needs, and aligns all the efforts of the equipment designers, users and maintainers towards a proactive maintenance culture.

When strategy, capability and culture come together the results can be a proactive maintenance operation that provides strategic advantage in the marketplace and adds real financial value to the parent organisation.

[1] Figure 2 – taken from slides from IMaintain Conference 22 March 2012 from Accenture – Marc Hoppenbrouwers (Accenture) and Marc Couturier (SAS) titled Analytics opens a new dimension for maintenance (Breakfast Masterclass)

[2] Figure 6 – adapted from Ledet, W.J., Making the move toward a learning organisation – a classic journey of change. 2002

engineering maintenance business plan

Paul Adams Maintenance Strategy Manager, GlaxoSmithKline

  • Predictive and Preventive Maintenance

Five strategies to consider when building a maintenance management plan

Developing a maintenance management plan requires careful attention and knowledge to a company’s specific needs and requirements for improving overall productivity and safety..

engineering maintenance business plan

Every business depends on material assets to deliver on its promise to customers. These assets include machinery, equipment, tools and other physical devices that may be simple or complex. Of these assets, a few are critical to a business as they provide the core product or service that a customer purchases. It could be a production machine, a printer, or even a simple scanning device. Keep in mind that a critical asset may not be the most expensive asset in an organization. However, any disruption can impact the entire value chain and bring operations to a halt, which is why maintenance management is so important.

Compared to France, more companies in the U.K. suffer from machine downtime due to maintenance issues. This has implications not only for U.K. companies, but also the U.K. economy’s overall competitiveness compared to other countries in the region. All businesses should take steps to build an effective maintenance management plan for their critical assets.

Why it’s important having a maintenance management plan

The best way to ensure critical assets remain in optimum working condition is to implement a maintenance management plan that works. This can help ensure the critical assets continue to perform according to standards so they break down less frequently, produce fewer errors or quality issues and require minimal supervision or monitoring. The right maintenance plan ensures that assets continue to work as they are supposed to. When organizations have a maintenance plan in place, they benefit from it in many ways. A good plan leads to:

  • Minimal disruptions to normal productivity
  • Fewer lost operating hours and idle staff time
  • Lower repair costs, e.g., cost of ordering and replacing parts, tools and supplies, and labor costs
  • Higher client satisfaction
  • Regular order completion and timely deliveries.

Five Maintenance Management Plans to Consider

Asset maintenance involves several activities like monitoring, reporting, repairing, and cleaning. These activities require dedicated staff, time, and capital. Most importantly, when an asset is in maintenance mode, it cannot be used for operational work during that period. Businesses usually follow five different types of maintenance plans based on their specific needs.

1. Reactive maintenance management

A reactive maintenance plan is quite commonly used by smaller operations. The maintenance team jumps into action only when there is a machine or equipment failure or breakdown. There might not be any costs involved if the machine is running smoothly, but in case of a breakdown, the cost of lost production can be quite high. To make sure a reactive maintenance plan works, companies must have detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs), tools, and well-trained staff ready for action so minimal time is spent in resolving the maintenance issue and normal operations can resume. One study estimates that in the long-term, reactive maintenance costs 2 to 5 times more than proactive maintenance. Another shows teams spend 35 to 45% of their time on reactive maintenance, compared to the industry rule-of-thumb of 20%.

2. Preventive maintenance management

Preventive maintenance management can be considered the opposite of reactive maintenance. Instead of waiting for an incident to occur, maintenance teams take a proactive approach and regularly check assets so any emerging problems can be detected and resolved before they get out of hand and cause the equipment to break down.

Preventive maintenance involves drawing up a maintenance schedule for each asset. The schedule can be monthly, weekly or daily, depending on the usage and required uptime for the machine. This requires more frequent inspections by the maintenance staff, regardless of whether any complaints or issues about the asset have been reported, and regular downtime costs.

For example, a 2016 study by IBM reported 30% of preventive maintenance efforts are performed when they are not required. However, these costs are offset by the ability to avoid expensive disruptions that are common in reactive maintenance.

3. Conditional maintenance management

Conditional maintenance is an approach in which a company installs monitoring devices to monitor, track, and report the performance of the asset to the maintenance team.

Thresholds for normal performance are defined for each asset and at any time when the performance deviates from the normal range, the monitoring system alerts the maintenance team to investigate and resolve the issue.

Normal metrics monitored include noise levels, vibrations, temperature and everything that indicates a machine is not operating normally. This strategy entails the costs of purchasing and installing monitoring tools, training staff to use them and interpret the reports and the costs of constant monitoring.

For many businesses that implement a conditional maintenance management plan, the benefits of avoiding costly disruptions and not having to perform maintenance when the machine is performing normally, are enough to invest in performance monitoring systems.

4. Predictive maintenance management

Predictive maintenance is a relatively recent approach to maintenance management as it involves the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and data science. The principle behind predictive maintenance is installing a system that uses all the specifications of the asset as well as historical data about the maintenance issues and performance of the asset to predict when the asset might develop a performance issue and require maintenance.

The basic idea is to forecast based on historical data when the next asset failure is likely to occur. This system gives maintenance teams more time to prepare for an issue without having to constantly monitor the system or start gather the tools and personnel right when the incident takes place.

5. Prescriptive maintenance management

Lastly, prescriptive maintenance management is like a decision support system or an executive system which not only predicts when an issue might occur but also prescribes the steps to be taken by the maintenance team to address the issue.

Such a system is fed with data about a machine’s specifications, its performance history, the possible issues and problem areas, and the recommended solution for each possibility. One study suggests prescriptive maintenance management helps to support a dynamic production system with minimal disruptions.

A prescriptive maintenance system is the most advanced type of maintenance management system as it takes off a lot of the tasks relating to asset maintenance. However, it can be costly and take a lot of time to enter the data and set it up in working conditions.

Selecting the best maintenance plan

Nothing mentioned above suggests one plan is better than the other. Each organization has its own budget, risk profile, and operational requirements that might make one of these approaches more suitable than the others.

It all boils down to whether the performance risks can be predicted and the costs of any complications or disruptions in the asset. Some organizations can absorb the costs of disruption more than others. For them, a reactive maintenance management plan can be quite effective. Other organizations already have the infrastructure in place to support a predictive or prescriptive maintenance plan might opt for that without spending a lot of extra money.

Benefits of using CMMS software to build a maintenance plan

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) consists of a central repository of all maintenance data. That includes information about each critical asset, machine, equipment and device within the organization.

Apart from this, a CMMS allows maintenance managers to monitor the data in real-time while using historical data to analyze and improve their maintenance effort. Optimizing inventory and procurement systems are additional benefits from using CMMS software. It also includes features that managers can use to schedule maintenance activities, order supplies, issue requests and prepare reports.

Do you have experience and expertise with the topics mentioned in this content? You should consider contributing to our CFE Media editorial team and getting the recognition you and your company deserve. Click here to start this process.

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Constructing an Effective Maintenance Plan

Constructing an Effective Maintenance Plan

Creating a maintenance plan is generally not difficult to do. But creating a comprehensive maintenance program that is effective poses some interesting challenges. It would be difficult to appreciate the subtleties of what makes a maintenance plan effective without understanding how the plan forms part of the total maintenance environment.

This article explains what makes the difference between an ordinary maintenance plan and a good, effective maintenance program.

Defining the Terms

engineering maintenance business plan

Maintenance practitioners across industry use many maintenance terms to mean different things. So to level the playing field, it is necessary to explain the way in which a few of these terms have been utilized throughout this document to ensure common understanding by all who read it. It must be emphasized, however, that this is the author’s preferred interpretation of these terms, and should not necessarily be taken as gospel truth.

In sporting parlance, the maintenance policy defines the “rules of the game”, whereas the maintenance strategy defines the “game plan” for that game or season.

Maintenance policy – Highest-level document, typically applies to the entire site.

Maintenance strategy – Next level down, typically reviewed and updated every 1 to 2 years.

Maintenance program – Applies to an equipment system or work center, describes the total package of all maintenance requirements to care for that system.

Maintenance checklist – List of maintenance tasks (preventive or predictive) typically derived through some form of analysis, generated automatically as work orders at a predetermined frequency.

Short-term maintenance plan (sometimes called a “schedule of work”) – Selection of checklists and other ad-hoc work orders grouped together to be issued to a workshop team for completion during a defined maintenance period, typically spanning one week or one shift.

The Maintenance Information Loop

Figure 1 below describes the flow of maintenance information and how the various aspects fit together.

The large square block indicates the steps that take place within the computerized maintenance management system, or CMMS .

It is good practice to conduct some form of analysis to identify the appropriate maintenance tasks to care for your equipment. RCM2 is probably the most celebrated methodology, but there are many variations.

The analysis will result in a list of tasks that need to be sorted and grouped into sensible chunks, which each form the content of a checklist . Sometimes it may be necessary to do some smoothing and streamlining of these groups of tasks in an iterative manner.

The most obvious next step is to schedule the work orders generated by the system into a plan of work for the workshop teams.

Less common, however, is to use this checklist data to create a long-range plan of forecasted maintenance work. This maintenance plan serves two purposes:

The results can be used to determine future labour requirements, and

They feed into the production plan.

The schedule of planned jobs is issued to the workshop and the work is completed. Feedback from these work orders, together with details of any equipment failures, is captured in the CMMS for historical reporting purposes.

A logical response to this shop floor feedback is that the content of the checklists should be refined to improve the quality of the preventive maintenance , especially to prevent the recurrence of failures.

A common mistake however, is to jump straight from the work order feedback and immediately change the words on the checklists. When this happens, the integrity of the preventive maintenance programme is immediately compromised because the revised words on the checklist have no defendable scientific basis. This should be avoided wherever possible.

The far better approach to avoid this guessing game is to route all the checklist amendments through the same analysis as was used originally to create the initial checklists. This means that the integrity of the maintenance program is sustained over the long term. Implicit in this approach, however, is the need to have a robust system in which the content of the analysis can be captured and updated easily.

Finally, all the information that gets captured into the CMMS must be put to good use otherwise it is a waste of time. This is the value of management reports that can be created from maintenance information.

In the RCM Analysis

Without describing the complete RCM analytical process, it is instructive at this stage to point out a few details that are important to the content of such an analysis because of the way they can impact the overall maintenance plan.

Table 1 – Information captured in the RCM-style analysis

The center column is what will be found in any typical RCM-style analysis.

In addition to that, there is value in constructing a hierarchy of the equipment system showing assemblies, subassemblies and individual components. This helps to keep track of which section of the system is being considered at any time, and the list of components also helps to identify the spare parts requirements for the system.

Of vital importance is the clear identification of the root cause of each failure, as this will affect the selection of a suitable maintenance task. To illustrate this point, consider for example, a seized gearbox. “Seized” is an effect. There could be several root causes of this failure mode that can be addressed in different ways through the maintenance plan. There is usually no value in aiming maintenance at the effect of a failure.

Also important from a planning perspective is to identify the time it will take to carry out each task independently. The sum total of these task times gives a good indication of how long the total work order will take.

All of the above depends on the production process and the site’s operating context, so these comments should be taken simply as a guideline.

The following are a few points to consider when constructing a preventive maintenance program:

Preventive maintenance tasks must:

  • aim at the failure process
  • be specific
  • include specifications or tolerances

Wherever possible, aim for predictive rather than preventive tasks

  • measure or check for conditions against a standard
  • report the results
  • create a follow-on task to repair or replace at the next opportunity

“Check and replace, if necessary” tasks destroy planned times

Frequencies and estimated times for each task must be accurate and meaningful

Try wherever possible to only plan shutdown time for “non-running” tasks. Keep “running” tasks to be done during periods of normal production. Structure the maintenance program to allow for this.

Sorting and Grouping of Maintenance Plan Checklists

After analysing all the maintenance requirements for the equipment system, these individual tasks would be grouped together to create the checklists, based on common criteria for:

  • Safety / Non-safety tasks
  • Running / Non-running checks and sensible
  • Timing, etc. …

Smoothing the PM Workload

In order to smooth the PM workload, a robust approach is to base the spread of PM activities on the checklists arising from the RCM-style analysis. This assumes that the analysis has been conducted thoroughly and that it is in a format that can be amended easily.

The graph in Figure 2 below illustrates how it is possible to arrange the occurrence of the PM work orders in such a way to create the smoothest possible flow of regular preventive maintenance work, while still leaving enough time to carry out those “follow-on” corrective maintenance tasks that were identified from conducting the preventive/predictive checks during the last maintenance stop.

It is important to notice that just because two checklists may have the same frequency, it is not necessary to schedule them to be done at the same time. Sometimes, of course, it does make practical sense to schedule PMs for the same day, but don’t assume that this is always true. As a general rule, in an automated or continuous process production environment, the total amount of work on one checklist or work planned for one maintenance period should not exceed 80 percent of the total time available.

In order to achieve this smoothed workload pattern, it may be necessary to return to the timings, frequencies, groupings, start dates, etc., that were specified in the original analysis and rework some of the data. This is the iterative approach that was mentioned earlier in the description of Figure 1.

Short-term Scheduling of Planned Maintenance Work

It is well-recognized in modern maintenance circles that there is great value in planning the maintenance workload at a macro level over a long-term horizon as well as at a detailed level over a short horizon. These two activities serve significantly different purposes.

Regular work orders are created automatically in Maximo every night from the work order templates in the PM Master table. These fresh work orders are generated typically 30 days prior to the Target Start date specified on the PM. Other work orders are also created manually by the system users, such as craftsmen and engineers.

All these work orders need to be prioritized according to the importance and urgency of the tasks, and they need to be planned into the weekly workload of the maintenance crews to ensure that a well-balanced selection of work is assigned to each crew without them becoming overloaded.

An example layout of the weekly maintenance work schedule is shown in Figure 3 below.

Most often, a CMMS will only produce report data in text or numerical format. Because engineers like to see things in a graphical or pictorial representation, however, it may be necessary to combine the use of the CMMS with another package that has graphics capability, such as a spreadsheet. The following descriptions rely on the ability of the CMMS to produce a “flat file” from a report, which can then be imported into a spreadsheet and manipulated further.

If possible, it would be preferable to retain all the raw data within the CMMS and simply produce all the graphs and reports from that environment. There are two obstacles to this approach, however:

Very few CMMS packages have graphical capability;

Very few CMMS packages will capture or provide the full spectrum of data that may be required to construct the desired selection of graphs.

The alternative solution, therefore, is to copy the required selection of data from the CMMS to the spreadsheet environment where it can be manipulated further.

Long-range Maintenance Planning

Some sites enjoy the luxury of having regular, fixed maintenance windows built into the production plans. For example, it could be agreed that every Tuesday morning Production Unit 1 will stop production and the equipment will be made available to the maintenance crew for six hours. During this six-hour window, the maintenance crew has the opportunity to assign as many people as required to complete all the planned maintenance activities in that work center. Thereafter, the system is handed back to the production team until the next week.

In many cases however, there is no such regular routine in place. Opportunities for the maintenance teams to conduct planned maintenance need to be negotiated and agreed with the production teams on an “as-needed” basis. Unfortunately, this is very often reduced to the maintenance department begging for access to the equipment. Furthermore, this plea is often met with the unsympathetic response from the production teams that they have to run the equipment in order to meet their targets and they therefore cannot afford to release it for maintenance. This is a very short-sighted view in my opinion.

The generation of a long-range maintenance plan that shows the number of hours of preventive maintenance work to be done in each work center over an 18- to 24-month horizon is a valuable tool. It gives the production schedulers visibility of the amount of time that is required for this preventive maintenance so that they can proactively plan to release the equipment for those periods. This makes the job of planning the maintenance activities so much simpler.

The nature of the production environment at the author’s site makes it difficult to implement a regular, fixed pattern of maintenance windows as described above. For this reason a long-range maintenance plan is produced to give the production teams as much advance warning as possible of the anticipated maintenance requirements. This plan shows the forecasted maintenance hours for each operating unit, by craft type, in weekly chunks over a 24-month horizon.

Table 2 below illustrates what the structure of a long-range maintenance plan might look like. A flat file is created from the master data table in Maximo which contains details of all the maintenance tasks and checklists with their corresponding equipment details, duration, frequencies, crafts, next due dates, etc. This information is imported into a spreadsheet, which uses a series of filters and formulae to produce the long-range plan.

Based on this report, the production planners make the necessary allowances in the production calendars so that the equipment will be made available for maintenance. This allowance is initially made at a macro level. The exact dates and times for maintenance will be agreed in the week or two before it is due.

This arrangement of the numbers can also be used to help smooth the workload across the weeks by adjusting the due dates of the maintenance tasks in the CMMS as described earlier.

Long-range Labor Plan

The above explanations describe how to identify the anticipated number of maintenance hours in a production area. This next section covers the approach to verifying that there is sufficient manpower available to carry out all the work.

In order to ensure that each team on site has adequate craftsman resources available to cover all the work that will arise in their areas, a long-range workload vs. manpower forecast can be produced. This amounts to a graph that compares the hours of work to be done each month with the corresponding man-hours of labor available. A graph is constructed for each craft group within each workshop team, spanning the next 18- to 24-month horizon.

If the long-term prediction shows that the level of maintenance activity is about to increase beyond the level that can be accomplished with the existing resources, this advance warning will ensure that there will be sufficient time to recruit and train additional resources before the situation goes out of control. Similarly, a decrease in the predicted level of maintenance activity will give sufficient advance visibility of the opportunity to reassign craftsman resources to other teams or activities. This proactive approach will lead to improved manpower utilization and less panic.

Listed below are some of the categories of data that are used to construct the graphs:

Workload (i.e. everything that will occupy the craftspeople’s time)

  • preventive maintenance hours from the CMMS
  • breakdown allowance
  • corrective / follow-on work / results-based tasks
  • project work (ad-hoc hours for each forthcoming project activity independently)
  • allowances for meetings / training, etc.

Manpower (i.e. net man-hours available)

  • gross man-hours available in the crew
  • allowances for leave and sickness
  • additional allowance for overtime

The sum of the workload hours for each month draws the workload line. The sum of the manpower hours draws the labor capacity line. Where the workload exceeds the labor capacity, the load must be smoothed, or additional resources may be required.

The preventive maintenance hours from the CMMS are obtained from the totals from the long-range maintenance plan described in the previous section. The allowances for breakdowns, corrective work, etc., are calculated as a rolling 12-month average of the demonstrated actual data from the CMMS. Data for other allowances may be sourced from elsewhere if not contained in the CMMS.

Manpower is basically the effective number of man-hours available for each craft in the crew.

Some example graphs are shown in Figure 4 below.

Where the manpower exceeds the workload, everything is in control. Where the workload exceeds the manpower, it will be necessary to reduce some of the non-essential activities at that time, or increase the people availability.

Feedback and Reporting

Feedback information returning from the shop floor, either by way of the planned work order responses, or from equipment failures will be captured in the CMMS. This information can be summarized on a report such as shown in Figure 5 below. The key recipients of these reports are the reliability engineers who look after each equipment system.

Ideally, the engineer should look at every work order that was raised in his area, but this is not always feasible, so a summary report such as this is useful. The reliability engineer must then decide on the appropriate course of action in response to each failure or observation.

The algorithm shown in Figure 6 below describes the thought process that should be going through the minds of the reliability professionals every time they review the failure work orders as shown on the summary report in Figure 5 above.

It must be remembered, however, that every time the “Amend Checklists” option is selected, this amendment should be routed through the original RCM analysis to ensure the integrity of the maintenance program is not violated. Amending the checklists without running through the method and structure of the original analysis is a mistake. Regardless of the approach that has been used to record the original analysis, it is worth it in the long run to force the reliability engineers to route every amendment through the analysis and record the results for future reference.

If a spreadsheet has been identified as the most appropriate option, then it should be structured in a robust and user-friendly fashion. If it is clumsy to update, it will fall into disrepair, and the integrity of the program is lost. A database system is a far better option for this purpose, if a suitable one is available.

The Results

The purpose of maintenance measures should be to monitor the health of the maintenance organisation. Where everything is in control, the metrics will reflect the success that has been achieved. Conversely, they should also be used to highlight problem areas and irregularities in order to drive the desired behaviours or areas for improvement.

The graphs in Figure 7 below illustrate some of the benefits that have been realized on the author’s site as a result of having a well-functioning maintenance organisation. These graphs form just part of the regular reporting metrics by which the maintenance activities are managed.

The first graph shows the conformance to the weekly planned maintenance schedule. The target is set at 95 percent and is consistently being exceeding across all of the engineering teams.

Graphs 2 and 3 show how the number of failures has been decreasing month-on-month in one particular work center over the past 12 months, and correspondingly, the mean time between failures has been increasing over the same period.

The last 2 graphs show machine availability in two of the key work centers where a full re-analysis of all the maintenance requirements was recently conducted using an adapted RCM2 approach. It is clear to see how, in both cases, the equipment availability was far out of control and from the time the improvement activity was started, the availability stabilized and is now still tracking consistently above 90 percent. This has been the result of a few things: one is improving the quality of the preventive maintenance routines, and another is good maintenance planning

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Creating an Effective Maintenance Plan: What should you include?

Effective maintenance planning is essential to the overall maintenance environment. The maintenance plan's contents, which include the actual work, instructions, schedule, workers, spare parts, and contractors, guide all the maintenance work activities. Read on to learn what you need to include in the plan and how to make it efficient.

  • Maintenance planning ensures sustaining the proper working condition of the equipment.
  • Essential contents of any effective program are exhaustive inventory of assets , identification of the specific maintenance tasks , their alignment to specific assets , reasonable maintenance schedule , indication of the appropriate skill set for each maintenance task, prediction regarding spare parts consumption and specification of the work that contractors will do .
  • Omitting any of above mentioned essential contents is likely to result in a weakened plan.
(Plant Engineering, 2020)

What is a maintenance plan?

A maintenance plan is a document that defines work done to maintain assets in a facility proactively. The contents of the document help you facilitate the continued use of an asset at optimum performance. Your facility can avoid significant breakdowns or unforeseen renewal if you stick to the guidelines provided here.

The idea behind maintenance planning is to ensure that you can sustain the proper working condition of your equipment. While an ordinary plan will get the job done, any facility requires an effective program to enjoy the full benefits of your maintenance policy.

What makes a maintenance plan effective?

An effective plan needs to cover all the features of your facility's maintenance policy. The program should contain an exhaustive inventory of assets that you need to maintain. The list which includes numerous items like boilers, pumps, and roofs, ensures that you don't leave out any vital asset.

You'll also need to identify the specific maintenance tasks you intend to perform. Where possible, align these tasks to individual assets. A reasonable maintenance schedule should also suffice in guiding the whole maintenance program.

For the efficient maintenance of your assets, you need to demonstrate the skills-set required for each maintenance task. You don't want to hire an inadequately skilled individual to handle the maintenance. The different levels of maintenance could help you as you prepare this section.

Exactly what do we need to plan?

Effective maintenance plan

The work itself

As you create your maintenance plan, you have to be clear on what exactly you need to do. Decide the priority areas as well as the sequence of activities once the maintenance work begins.


Proper instructions limit the dependency on specific workers. The maintenance work also needs to meet particular quality standards. You'll only be able to achieve such standards if you include explicit instructions in the plan. While at it, consider including job observations that you can perform to guarantee the efficiency of the maintenance tasks.

The purpose of the schedule is to do the work as often as needed – not over-maintaining by doing the work too often – not under-maintaining so that you experience downtime and breakdowns. While weekend maintenance hardly stands in the way of your operations, there is a chance that you may fail to find suppliers.

It is always wise to set aside the maintenance window when you begin your year. Ensure that production is well aware of this window. You'll need this team's utmost cooperation during this period. As the year wears on, make necessary changes to the plan to increase its efficiency.

Webinar: Demystifying Preventive Maintenance

The plan has to indicate the appropriate skill set for each maintenance task. This information will inform your choice of the best contractors for the work. Depending on your organizational arrangements, assign each member of the maintenance team to specific areas.

While at it, indicate the tasks that you will reserve for outside contractors. Ensure that the plan also limits access to areas that pose high risks to the facility's employees.

Spare parts

In this phase, you can predict your spare part consumption. Once you indicate the parts that you'll need, the worker knows exactly what to pick from the store – before he goes to do the actual maintenance work. With this section, the maintenance manager gets insight into parts used in the previous period as well as future part consumption. They'll have an easier time preparing a budget for the next twelve months.


Some maintenance tasks may require outside contractors. They include external specialists who come on-site to do specialist work. Most of them bring special equipment like mobile cranes and metering equipment tools to service assets.

The effective maintenance plan specifies the work that you'll request contractors to do. With this section, you won't have to count on one specific contractor for all your maintenance tasks. You could use these specifications to request quotes and tenders from different contractors to do a particular type of work.

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Steps to creating an effective maintenance plan

  • Detail the work that you'll need to do on each asset. While at it, write a procedure that workers will understand. 
  • Schedule the work – Use a dating frequency, running hours, or measures that will provide insight into the condition of an asset. The schedule allows you to do predictive maintenance.
  • Add workers or contractors – including the estimated working hours.
  • Add spare parts. You can add stock quantities now, or later as you do the work and get insight into how many pieces you need for the job.

steps to create effective maintennace plan

What happens if we remove one/many topics from the plan?

All the contents mentioned above join together to create an efficient maintenance plan. Any omission is likely to result in a weakened plan. If you leave out the work, there is a chance that you may do more than is necessary and spend unwarranted resources.  

Once in a while, you may have to work with less-experienced personnel. Failing to include instructions in your plan will give them a hard time. Maintenance plans without a schedule often place facilities in 'firefighting' mode. You won't be in a position to maximize the performance of your assets throughout the year.

Without a section indicating the spare parts needed for maintenance tasks, you will have a hard time budgeting for your maintenance program. The absence of sections touching on workers and contractors from your plan predisposes your assets to shoddy maintenance.

Make the most of preventive maintenance

Any organization looking to maximize its returns on investment should have a maintenance plan. As you create one, ensure that you don't leave out any of the essential contents of an effective program – you run the risk of weakening the plan.

The idea of having a maintenance plan is to make the most of preventive maintenance while reducing downtime. You don't always have to be on firefighting mode.

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engineering maintenance business plan

  • Business Plans Handbook
  • Business Plans - Volume 04
  • Engineering/Management Consultant Business Plan

Engineering/Management Consultant



3053 Harbor Drive, Ste. 206 Los Angeles, CA 90041

HLC's business plan contains informative financials for anyone considering entering the engineering/management consulting business. One interesting aspect of the plan is HLC's plan of networking with other similar businesses to work together and create more opportunities.


Description of business opportunity, description of the market, location of business, description of the competition, management & key personnel, milestone schedule, financial data.

Herman Livingston Consultants (HLC) seeks to raise equity capital of $28,000.00 principal equity for start-up costs involved with an engineering/management consulting firm. This includes the purchase of furniture, equipment and inventory; renovations and improvements at Los Angeles, California office site, and maintenance of sufficient cash reserves. This plan provides a description of the business opportunity and an outline and time line of the start-up period for HLC.

During his eight year involvement with the architecture, engineering and construction (A/E/C) industry, Herman Livingston realized unresolved obstacles existed in many organizations. Despite the lack of qualified management to correct the problems, most A/E/C owners hesitate to seek outside managerial assistance. Mainly this is due to the justifiable belief that an MBA management consultant would not have the technical knowledge to develop applied solutions to A/E/C firms in transition.

This gap in the market place inspired Herman Livingston to establish Herman Livingston Consultants (HLC), a professional service company specializing in providing engineering and management consulting (E/MC) services along with software sales to A/E/C companies and public works departments to enhance and strengthen their organizations and to meet the needs of their clients. In conjunction with established E/MC and software firms, HLC will provide the essential technical knowledge and products to develop goal oriented solutions that address the client's strengths and weaknesses.

The nature of selling consulting services is difficult since the sold product is unique and varies according to the needs of the client. The management of HLC plans to offer, but not be limited to, the following services:

  • Civil, structural, and electrical engineering design
  • Project management and assessment
  • Quality assurance and quality control
  • Computer software and hardware advisement
  • Business development assistance
  • Executive search
  • Operations analysis
  • Personnel manuals
  • Competition and client analysis
  • Company valuation
  • Business plan preparation (Start-ups)
  • Performance management systems
  • Customer service bench marking (internal and external)
  • Expert testimony

Because HLC will be able to chose temporary partnerships with all types of engineering companies and/or management consulting firms based on the job at hand, the flexibility of the company is virtually unlimited. HLC can provide cost effective services for small and large companies, from the public and private sectors. The flexibility to create any size group is further enhanced by Herman Livingston's project management background and strong industry understanding.

In addition to providing professional services, HLC will assess the client's computer needs, if requested, and recommend alternate courses of action. Ultimately, HLC will work to implement both installation and training of new software that will greatly benefit the client. The approach will involve both a thorough understanding of the available software tools and the ability to provide cost/benefit proposals for the client to take action. HLC plans to arrange for a percentage-of-sale fee paid by the software supplier along with a technical service fee paid by the client. The goal here is to leave the client with a product that will greatly enhance their company.

In June 1996, HLC plans to commence business at 3035 Harbor Drive, Ste.206, Los Angeles, CA.

HLC will provide engineering and management consulting services to A/E/C companies and public works departments to enhance and strengthen their organizations and to meet the needs of their clients. As many private companies and public agencies have recently trimmed their staffs, HLC will seek to provide the services that they can no longer provide internally. Initially, HLC will target 80% engineering/20% management consulting strategy and shift to 30% engineering/70% management consulting as the company grows. The firm will continue to provide engineering services in order to stay in touch with clients.

The goal of HLC is to be the management consultant company that the A/E/C industry and public works departments in Southern California ("target region") look to when they are faced with unique situations. Presently, the value of total construction in Southern California stands at $9.3 billion, which includes heavy construction, non-residential, and multi-unit residential. The demand for architecture and engineering companies is driven by construction activity. There are presently 20,560 A/E/C companies located in the target region of which a majority are headquartered here. Below is the list of top A/E/C companies based in the target region; Adwell Corporation, Hinsworth Corporation, and JAX Group are the top 3 A/E/C firms in the world.

Engineering/Management Consultant: Herman Livingston Consultants

Although the potential for finding a niche with large A/E/C organizations is the greatest, HLC will also target public agencies. There are hundreds of public agencies in the target region, including cities, counties, transportation boards and state agencies. Often public agencies are not equipped to provide adequate community services, due to both the lack of staff and knowledge specific to each project. HLC can provide public officials with technology support to complete each complex, varied project with the greatest efficiency.

In addition to providing consulting for private companies and public agencies, HLC will strive to both assist and partner with other management consulting firms. There will be several A/E/C company assignments that a small firm cannot physically handle. In these situations, HLC will position itself as the industry specialist working with the project team. There are less than a hundred management consulting firms that provide services to the target market and work in the target region.

HLC has the potential of over 30,000 public and private clients—the "target market" as described above. These customers will be attracted by:

  • Direct approach to all management levels of the target market, including cold calls, letters and "at work" presentations. This presentation will involve meeting the prospective client at his/her office to discuss concerns and projects and to find common ground in which HLC can help. Typically, reference material will include a laptop computer with various Powerpoint presentations, work portfolio, referral lists, business cards, brochures and a calendar of upcoming events.
  • Networking events where business cards and brochures can be exchanged.
  • Published papers in professional A/E/C journals related to HLC's line of business.
  • Referrals from other professional companies and public agencies.
  • HLC's strategic location near major freeways and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The competition consists of engineering firms, management consultants, and employees at the client's office. Even though other firms have more people and experience, HLC will win business by understanding the interaction of technical personnel and management. The key to beating the competition is by strategically balancing price, efficiency, and differentiation. We will provide work above the client's expectations and the competition's ability (i.e. early completion, less cost, future paradigm analysis). Finally, in order to best understand the competition, HLC will analyze other company's successes and failures on a regular basis.

HLC plans on capturing only a small portion of the market. Fortunately, the market is not very competitive because most engineers become managers within engineering companies and management consulting firms don't understand the cultures of A/E/C companies enough to quickly root out problems. A complete market analysis will be provided in the Marketing Plan.

HLC is currently utilizing approx. 500 square feet on the first floor of a two-story masonry building with cement floor at 3035 Harbor Drive, Ste. 206, Los Angeles, CA. HLC plans to perform leasehold improvements, including the addition of a conference room, small kitchen, and interior redecoration. The building is divided into (1) a mechanical/electrical engineering shop; (2) a multipurpose office, including one restroom with separate entry; (3) conference room with kitchenette and storage; and (4) upstairs office space presently being leased by Sullivan mechanical engineers. HLC will occupy 64 sq. ft. of the multipurpose office and the entire 210 sq. ft. of the remodeled conference room.

The current building owner, Caldwell Livingston, has generously offered to provide an equity contribution to the business for the first year. The area is zoned for commercial use. Harbor Drive is a heavily traveled, east-west commercial/residential route with most nearby businesses either dining establishments or repair (service) shops. Within a few blocks, there is convenient access to many of Southern California's freeways. Also nearby, the SC transit station provides rail service throughout the South Bay cities.

There are four consulting firms providing services similar to those contemplated by HLC:

Schwimmer & Associates— an independent, management consulting firm run by Calvin Schwimmer, a registered civil engineer and college professor. Mr. Schwimmer is a project management consultant assisting engineering firms and public agencies in proposal preparation, cost estimating, project scheduling, and project management activities. Many of Mr. Schwimmer's clients are also present engineering clients of Herman Livingston. His previous employer was the Alexander Co., where Mr. Schwimmer worked as a project manager. Since Schwimmer & Associates is small and focuses on project management, HLC has confidence that the two firms will have several opportunities to work together rather than compete.

The Coleman Group— a twenty-four year old management consulting firm that caters strictly to the A/E/C industry. According to President Aaron Coleman, The Coleman Group has worked with more than 1,000 clients (less than 0.1% of the market) and is headquartered in San Antonio. The firm has only 13 consultants (6 architects, 4 engineers, and 3 behavioral scientists) that respond proactively to clients by understanding the market and by writing and speaking to professional organizations. Consultants are not salaried, but rather rely on assignment fees. The Coleman Group will be used as a model for HLC both in business development and proactivity, but their limited size minimizes The Coleman Group as a competitive threat.

As with Schwimmer & Associates, HLC will meet with The Coleman Group to discuss partnering opportunities for large consulting assignments. The benefits to The Coleman Group are those in the business description outlined above.

Piedmont & Co. — with 80,000 people in offices worldwide, Piedmont claims to have broad experience in serving the global engineering and construction industry by providing a variety of consulting, audit and tax related services. Piedmont's services include business process reengineering, performance measures, strategic planning, organizational design, customer satisfaction, ISO 9000, project management, global best practices, human resource management, materials and costs management, business systems, and litigation. Piedmont's engineering and construction industry group is headed by Ms. Connie Hall and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

HLC learned during a year of competitive research that Piedmont was not able respond to a request of an engineering manager seeking assistance. After several calls to reach the right person, HLC finally received a generic brochure package addressed to the wrong company. This was the extent of Piedmont's pursuit of potential work. HLC can much more successfully reach the A/E/C market in southern California.

Fowler Reynolds (A Subsidiary of the Hinsworth Corp.)— has 16 quality centers throughout the United States claiming to provide new and innovative quality methods, systems and technologies that are providing radical improvements to their clients. Fowler Reynolds states that they provide "the leading edge in changing the Architectural/Engineering and Construction Community and directly affecting the bottom line." Their intent is to help companies and agencies that the Hinsworth Corp. works with (which is extensive) in providing higher quality, ISO 9000 certification, and executive management support.

In July 1995, HLC met with Mr. Steve Jenkins, Director of Quality Assurance, to discuss both Fowler Reynolds' business and potential partnering opportunities. First impressions of Fowler Reynolds were that this business unit was being driven by one man, Shawn Reynolds, who had good intentions, but a flawed business philosophy. The problem is that A/E/C companies do not want a competitor knowing what is wrong with their business. Also, Fowler Reynolds has the same bureaucratic structure that potential clients deal with in their own businesses. By meeting's end, Mr. Jenkin's almost desperately asked that HLC come back with ideas to help them build their business. Since this meeting, no mention within the industry has been made about Fowler Reynolds.

Indirect competition exists from internal staffs at HLC client offices. If clients have the options, they will and should have their staff provide the service. HLC will direct the client to use their internal staff if it is determined prudent to do so. However, from an objectivity standpoint, an outside consultant will often be the best solution.

Herman Livingston is a native Californian and has resided in Southern California all his life. After graduating valedictorian from South High School, he attended the University of Southern California (USC) and received his BS in Building Science in 1987. He began his professional engineering career with the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), working in both construction and project planning. Then, Mr. Livingston worked for Trudell Engineering Company focusing on engineering design, business development, and research. Finally, he worked as a project and office manager for Johnson Associates Infrastructure, Inc. (JAI).

While at JAI, Mr. Livingston received his professional engineering registration from the States of California (1993) and Florida (1995). He completed his MS in Engineering Management in 1994 learning about proven management techniques used in all engineering industries.

Karen Livingston, wife of Herman Livingston, is also a native Californian. After graduating in the top 5% of her class at Beachside High school, Ms. Livingston moved to Los Angeles to pursue a BFA at the prestigious California College of Design. Ms. Livingston worked seven years at Nouveau Fashion Industries as technical designer and import manager where her responsibilities included developing and updating procedural manuals for the fitting and import departments. During this time, she also wrote two novels and had several short stories published. In 1995, Ms. Livingston started her own business and has worked with such companies as Nostalgic Antiques, developing a computerized inventory system, designing marketing campaigns and product displays and creating an updated business plan.

Both Mr. and Ms. Livingston believe their complementary knowledge and goals will make HLC a success. In particular, Mr. Livingston understands the A/E/C industry and is a highly regarded member of the community while Ms. Livingston is a proven quality assurance and report writing expert. Since Mr. Livingston has industry track record and management experience, he will be responsible for business development and project control. Ms. Livingston will be primarily responsible for proposal preparation, research and product quality assurance and control. Together they will set all business policies and personnel decisions.

The Livingston's will draw a combined salary of $5,000/month based upon a minimum 40% billing utilization. Ms. Livingston will retain outside business activities earning approximately $500/month and expected to increase. The Livingston's personal expenditures total approximately $4,500/month, including housing, automobiles, insurance, etc.

In order to augment their skills, HLC has enlisted an advisory board consisting of John Commons, founder and president of Capital Management; Dean White, office manager of Dunstable, Goody & Company; Alice Reed, senior associate of Corbin Consulting; Darin Johnson, project manager of Parkway Co.; Trent Silman, vice president of XRS Group, Inc.; and Calvin Schwimmer, founder and principal of Schwimmer & Associates. This board along with several other professional associates will provide on-going management review.

Initially, HLC will not hire any outside office administrative help. HLC will strive to grow the business quickly in order to maximize profits, but only two additional employees have been planned during the first two years. Employees will be chosen based upon their superior knowledge and understanding of their business and will be compensated accordingly.

Preliminary Business Plan June 2, 1996 Work in progress using "The Business Planning Source" by Duke Binman

Send Out Business Plan for Review June 3, 1996 Confidential review by advisory board, family, friends, and professional associates

Meet with Attorneys Week of June 3, 1996 Referrals presently sought

Gather Required Service Information Week of June 10, 1996 Medical, dental, professional insurance, supplies, retirement plan, equipment

Cease Present Employment June 14, 1996 8-week phase-down period through August 9, 1996

HLC Opens to Business June 17, 1996 Hard work & commitment

Finalize Business Plan June 30, 1996 Send to advisory board, family, friends, professional associates, and handouts for HLC Open House

Begin Construction of Office July 6, 1996 Contingent upon Perform Engineering Company clearance office area

Finish Construction of Office December 15, 1996 Finish before the Holidays

Start All Required Services Week of August 5, 1996 Begin services on Sept. 16, 1996

HLC Open House - Xmas Party January 1997 Existing and potential clients, friends, partners, associates

Sources of Funding

Engineering/Management Consultant: Herman Livingston Consultants

Capital Equipment List

Engineering/Management Consultant: Herman Livingston Consultants

Balance Sheet

Engineering/Management Consultant: Herman Livingston Consultants

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Mechanical Engineering Business Plan [Sample Template]

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business Plans » Construction & Engineering

Are you about starting a mechanical engineering firm? If YES, here is a complete sample mechanical engineering business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE .

Starting a mechanical engineering business is different from your average business, as expertise in this industry is required especially if you intend to be able to meet some of the expectations of your clients. The mechanical engineering industry is one with several niches such as kinematics, mechanics; robotics; drafting and structural analysis and most firms usually offer to stick to one or two niches rather than attempt to offer all the services.

Starting this business can be a bit difficult as you will also need to employ or partner with a host of mechanical engineering professionals, and also employ other proficient staff to help you run your firm and achieve your intended corporate goals and objectives.

Another thing that would be required is a business plan. While writing a business plan might look complex, it is for this reason that a sample mechanical engineering firm business plan has been prepared below for you;

A Sample Mechanical Engineering Firm Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

The engineering industry isn’t doing so well as demand fell due to the fall of oil prices in 2015. This action caused the industry to not only slow down but to cancel on major projects in the case of the crunch. Asides cancellation of projects, most firms in the industry also reduced its capital spending which led to a stall in the industry.

The oil price was not responsible alone for the fall of the industry as economic activities in other countries such as China which had seen a decline also contributed to the global downturn.  China has been a chief player globally as regards economic activity and infrastructure projects for at least the past ten years.

According to analysts, 2016 will still not be a good year for the engineering industry as revenues will continue to fall especially as global economy is virtually still unstable. This action will lead to a stagnation process for the industry that was previously recovering from the previous collapse it experienced in the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis.

According to a study by Commerzbank, the mechanical engineering industry in Germany was on the positive outlook as there was a slight increase of about 3% in demand for the country’s products by other nations in Europe. This means that the mechanical engineering sector in the engineering industry is growing when compared to other sectors in the industry.

China has seen stiff competition in its mechanical engineering industry from other Asian countries as more providers are also entering the market in order to showcase what they are able to offer.

According to the united states Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of mechanical engineers will grow by 5% between the periods of 2014 to 2024. This percentage is averagely what other occupations in other industries are expected to pull.

It is however not all gloom in the industry as the sector saw a slight increase in the year 2015 and has been projected to grow another 6% in the year 2016. According to analysts, a global growth and economic stability will see an annual growth in the industry to more than 100% what it is currently is.

2. Executive Summary

Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm is a standard mechanical engineering firm that will be based in Detroit – Michigan, USA and will cover all our corporate and individual clients. We are in the mechanical engineering sector to offer production of products as well as consultancy and advisory services to our various clients.

Our vision as a company is to ensure that we get at least three major clients by the end of our second year in business and that we meet the expectations of our customers so as to ensure that they stick with our firm and also refer us to others. To achieve this, we will build excellent relationships with our clients and also build the best business structure.

Our location in Detroit – Michigan is very strategic as it is one of the mechanical engineering hubs in the country, which means that we are near to the kind of strategic clients that will give our business the boosts we need. We are also in a very conspicuous location that makes it very easy for our customers and even employees to access us.

The machineries we use in our mechanical engineering firm are those that are designed to give us optimum satisfaction by lasting for a long time and causing us to spend less on buying new machines and equipment as replacements. This means that our customers have no need to fear that their demands will not be met on time due to poor machineries.

We have the best management team as they are not only the best we could source for in relation to the size and scale of our firm but they are also determined individuals that understand our core values and are willing and committed to ensure that we attain our desired goals and objectives.

We have built the best business structure for our firm as we sourced for and recruited the best hands to help us achieve our vision. Our workers understand that we are in business to make a profit and that the closer we are to achieving our goals, the better it gets for all those involved and so they are willing to remained dedicated to our true goals.

Our facility is one that is conducive for our employees because we understand that a conducive environment breeds productivity and efficiency in the workplace. We also run a standard facility and our work ethics are of the highest standard and as transparent as possible.

Finally, our Chief Executive Officer Mr. Don Perrine is a talented entrepreneur and businessman who have the finesse and expertise required to ensure that our mechanical engineering firm attain its intended goals and objectives. He has a B.Sc. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Oxford as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He is also a certified project manager and has many projects under his belt

3. Our Products and Services

Motown Mechanical engineering Firm is established with the intention of dealing in all sorts of services to its various clients not only here in Detroit – Michigan but all over the United States of America as well. In our bid to ensure that we build a bottom line that will sustain our business and allow us grow, we intend to offer several services in addition to our core service in order to create multiple sources of income.

We intend to make our profit legally and under the permissible laws of the United States of America. Therefore some of the services we intend to offer to our clients are;

  • Mechanical designs
  • Structural analysis
  • Other services such as assistance on code compliance, litigation support, safety inspections, and operational procedures
  • Consultancy and advisory services

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to ensure that we get at least three major clients by the end of our second year in business and also to ensure that we meet the expectations of our customers so as to ensure that they stick with our firm and also refer us to others.
  • To achieve our vision, we will ensure that we build effective long-term relationships with our clients and also offer excellent and efficient services that will be delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Our Business Structure

Having a solid business structure is very important to us and so we have set forth processes and structures that would ensure that we start off on a solid foundation and run with as less hitches as possible. This is why we are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that we get the right hands to work with us in all the available positions in our mechanical engineering firm here in Detroit – Michigan.

We are going all out to ensure that we build a professional team that are not only committed but understand our vision and where we are going to and are willing to ensure that we attain our corporate goals and objectives. Our management staffs for instance are some of the best professionals in the whole industry and have the expertise on how to ensure that we become a reckoning force nationally.

Due to the fact that we intend to offer more services than we ordinarily should, we would be employing more hands to handle the new tasks that would arise from our more services here at Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm Inc. Below is the business structure that we will build at Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm;

Chief Executive Officer

General Manager

Chief Financial Officer

Plant Manager

Human Resources and Admin Manager

Marketing Executives

Customer Service Executives

Business Development Officer

Security Guard

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

  • Drafts policies and strategies that will set the path for the organization’s future
  • Meets with high level clients on behalf of the organization
  • Reviews policies and modifies ineffective policies whilst ensuring that effective policies are duly implemented
  • Coordinate all the departments and ensures that management staff duly understands the policies of the organization
  • Takes certain important decisions on behalf the chief executive officer
  • Handles all financial transactions and ensures that all transactions are in accordance to financial rules
  • Monitors the revenue of the organization in order to ensure that the loan collected is fully repaid
  • Prepares tax documents accurately and ensures that they are submitted to the tax authorities as at when due
  • In charge of all machineries and employees working in the plant
  • Ensures that machineries in plant are functioning fine
  • Carries out light maintenance and repairs when necessary on behalf of management
  • Conducts recruitment and carries out orientation of new employees on behalf of the organization
  • In charge of employee welfare and incentive packages
  • Carries out regular performance appraisals in order to rev up the productivity of the employees for the benefit of the firm
  • Conducts market research in order to determine new markets for the firm
  • Drafts effective marketing objectives to be used to attract clients for the firm
  • Meets physically with clients on behalf of the firm
  • Answers enquiries from clients with the aim of giving back accurate information about the company
  • Ensures that they are updated not only on company policies but also on industry trends
  • Keeps an updated and accurate database of clients on behalf of the firm
  • Looks into developing new businesses in order to generate new streams of income for the firm
  • Works with the marketing executives in order to understand the target market
  • Carries out any other duties that might crop up
  • Drives supplies and materials to and from the firm
  • Ensures that materials gotten are accurate and in line with documentation
  • Carries out light maintenance and repairs on the vehicle when necessary
  • Ensures that the premises and properties is always secured at all times
  • Monitors all activities both incoming and outgoing on behalf of the organization
  • Provides beneficial security tips on behalf of the organization
  • Ensures that the premises is kept clean at all times
  • Ensures that cleaning supplies are always in stock
  • Carries out all duties as might be determined by the human resources

6. SWOT Analysis

Due to our desire for excellence, we know how important it is for us to start and run a standard mechanical engineering firm and so we have had to engage one of the finest business consultant here in Michigan who has a deep knowledge of the business we intend going into as well as the environment from where we intend to operate from.

After looking through our business concept, the business consultant used an analysis that would allow him know how we were likely to fare in the mechanical engineering industry.

In carrying out an evaluation as we asked for, the business consultant was able to use our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to determine what we are likely to be exposed to here in Detroit – Michigan, here in the United States of America. Below is the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm;

There are several strengths available to us as a new start-up and it starts from the services that we are offering our various customers. We fully intend to employ highly competent and professional employees who not only understand what our firm stands for but also what trends in the industry and how our firm could benefit from it.

We have a team that would b able to meet up with demands of our clients as our motto is to be able to deliver our projects in a timely manner to all our clients. We know how valuable our clients are and so we intend to ensure that we go all out to make them keep coming back to patronize us and also refer others to us as well.

Finally, our management staff and our chief executive officer have the necessary experience and qualifications that would ensure that we are able to achieve our corporate goals and objectives.

The mechanical engineering industry is a complex one and so as a start-up we would not be able to fully compete with already established mechanical engineering firms because we are limited in finances and employees. We intend to work seriously though and change our weaknesses to our strengths as soon as we can.

  • Opportunities

Several opportunities are available to us in this industry and we are set to ensure that we fully tap into the opportunities available. We intend adding the robotics niche because we know that the future lies in robotics, which is another opportunity for us.

Every business faces threats at every point in time and our business is no different. We would likely be facing threats from the economy especially if it experiences a downturn which would mean that there would be fewer clients for the firm.

Also, if there is an arrival of a competitor offering same services in our same location, it will definitely affect our overall revenue. Facing threats aren’t new, but we have strategies in place to handle any threat that are likely to occur.


  • Market Trends

Even though mechanical engineering firms can service a broad client base by offering several services, most mechanical engineering firms choose instead to specialize in a niche, whilst forming strategic partnerships with other mechanical engineering firms offering other services in order to be able to fully deliver to their customers.

Whilst this might seem counterproductive, a niche market offering is actually wise especially for a start-up who might not have all the necessary resources in which to offer a full scale of activities to its customers. Recruiting the right employees for a mechanical engineering firm can be very difficult because of the need to recruit an array of engineering professionals amongst other kinds of workers.

Most clients will only patronize the services of a mechanical engineering firm, if they know that the staffs in the firm have the necessary experience and expertise. This does not however mean that you cannot start your mechanical engineering firm with some core staff whilst partnering with another firm for staffs you might need whenever a job comes up.

Most mechanical engineering firms usually end up expanding their business models in order to offer support services such as safety inspections, litigation support, operational procedures as well as assistance with code compliance. This is often to create multiple sources of income for the firm in order to sustain and grow the company.

8. Our Target Market

Even though mechanical engineering firms offer services to a wide array of clients, restriction of the target market to just a set of clients for our firm cannot be done, which is why we have conducted a market research on the market we intend entering.

The reason for the market research is so that w would have an idea on what the clients expect from us, which would allow us know how best we can offer our services. We therefore are in business to offer our services to the following group of people;

  • Government agencies
  • Corporate organizations
  • Other engineering firms
  • Construction companies
  • Aviation industry
  • Transportation and auto industries
  • Other mechanical engineering firms
  • And other related industries

Our competitive advantage

We are a business established because of our passion for the engineering industry and the desire to bring forth standard practices through our ethical practices. We are also a firm that intends to make profit via our services and also be able to compete favorably against our competitors in the same industry globally and nationally.

To achieve all that we intend, we have laid down competitive strategies that we intend to deploy as a means of standing out in the industry.

Our intention is to be amongst the top three mechanical engineering firms not only here in Detroit – Michigan but also all around the United States of America. We will ensure that we deploy effective promotional strategies to entrench our brand in the mind of our customers.

We have the best technologies and also use the best machineries which mean that clients who place orders always get it done within time with as few hitches as possible. All our machineries and equipment all undergo intense inspection before and after use to be able to forestall any problems that might likely crop up.

We have highly trained and competent staff in our employ as we understand that having experienced and competent staff gives us an edge over our competitors because not only do they understand what our company stands for, they know how best to help us achieve our goals.

We also offer our employees a great welfare package, better than what they are most likely to get if they were working for our competitors. We also ensure that our employees get periodical trainings that will enhance not only their skills but also increase the productivity and efficiency rate for our firm.

Finally, we understand how valuable customers are to any business and so we treat all our clients with the utmost respect that they deserve. All complaints are promptly treated and all feedbacks duly appreciated. We also reward customers who are loyal to us as well as those who refer us to others.


  • Sources of Income

Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm is a reputable firm that is based in Detroit – Michigan and intends to offer certain services to its intended customers from in and around its intended location.

Asides our core service, we will be adding other services as well in order to boost our bottom line and help sustain and grow our company. Therefore the several ways by which we intend to generate income for our mechanical engineering firm include;

10. Sales Forecast

Mechanical engineering firms are ones that are very vital to the economy and as such cannot be done without. Our strategic location in Detroit – Michigan is one that has us optimistic of not only generating and reaching our revenue goals but also allow us grow and expand our business in as little time as possible.

Our arrival at the sales forecast for a three year period was borne from the fact that we conducted a critical analysis of the industry and how we intended to achieve our set goals based on certain data and assumptions from the similar start-ups such as ours especially those who were located in the same location with us.

Below therefore are the sales projections that we arrived at for Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm using several assumptions;

  • First Fiscal Year-: $2,000,000
  • Second Fiscal Year-: $4,000,000
  • Third Fiscal Year-: $8,000,000

N.B : It should be noted that the above sales projections were carried out based on the fact that certain assumptions would not change, such as there would not be a downturn in the economy or the arrival of any major competitor. Should any of these assumptions change, it would have an impact on the sales projection, which might increase or decrease depending on the positivity or otherwise of the assumptions stated.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

Marketing is a very essential part of any business because not only does it generate awareness about the brand but it also serves to generate income for the brand. Not carefully drafting and deploying effective marketing strategies has seen to the collapse of businesses.

Since this is basically the major way to generate revenue for our firm, we have conducted a marketing research in order to identify our best to attract our target market.

We know how importance technology has come to be in the marketing process and we fully intend to use this to our advantage in our marketing strategies by creating apps and also using the internet to ensure that we create awareness for our mechanical engineering firms.

We have hired a marketing consultant who is well versed in the industry and who understands the environment we will be operating in to help us draft effective marketing strategies that will allow us be able to compete favorably against our competitors.

We would also be empowering our marketing staff in order to modify or remove ineffective marketing strategies and decide what is best for our firm overall based on our corporate core values and philosophies, whilst also positively communicating our brand to our potential and existing clients.

Therefore, the marketing and sales strategies we intend to adopt for Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm are;

  • Ensure that we formally introduce our mechanical engineering firm to our potential and existing clients as well as industry stakeholders
  • Throw a grand opening party to launch our mechanical engineering firm in a way to boost awareness for our firm
  • Engage in direct marketing
  • Place advert for our mechanical engineering firm in local newspapers, and on radio and television stations
  • Ensure that we use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, and Twitter to advertise our business
  • Ensure that we are listed in local (yellow pages) and online directories

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

No matter how large scale our business might be, having the right publicity is very vital to the business as it would ensure that not only is our brand positively communicated to all our clients but that we are able to effectively compete against our competitors in the marketplace.

We have for this purpose hired a brand consultant who has knowledge about our kind of business and the environment we intend to start off in to help draft effective publicity and advertising strategies that would help create a positive awareness in the eyes of our clients not only here in Michigan but all over the United States of America.

The platforms that we intend to use in promoting and advertising Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm here in Detroit – Michigan are;

  • Sponsoring projects in the local community in which we are based
  • Use corporate social media platforms like LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter to generate the right awareness for our mechanical engineering firm
  • Placing of adverts in local newspapers as well as on radio and television stations
  • Install our bill boards in strategic locations all around Detroit – Michigan in order to raise awareness locally about our services
  • Distribute our handbills and fliers in target locations
  • Promote our activities vi our official website as well as on other related blogs and websites

12. Our Pricing Strategy

Setting the right rates for our services will depend on a whole lot of factors such as what our overhead costs and operational costs are, what our competitors are offering and what is fair to our customers while allowing us make a profit as we should.

Setting the right rates for our services will mean we employing the right strategy that will allow us get the detailed rates that we will eventually come to charge our customers. In view of this, we intend to charge rates much lower than what is ordinarily obtainable in the industry for at least three months.

The idea behind this is that we will be able to attract the customers we would need for our business, which would allow them see what we have to offer. We however will not offer ridiculous prices in such a way as to cause a price war between us and our competitors.

Having looked critically at the rates we will be offering during this period, we would however like to point out that even though we would be running on a low profit margin for this period, we would not be incurring any loss whatsoever for our firm.

  • Payment Options

Due to the diverse offerings that we intend to offer at Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm, it will allow us to have attract different customers to our firm who will have diverse preferences for how they which to pay for the services we would be offering.

This has enabled us to come up with different payment options. The payment options that we therefore intend to offer all our various customers are;

  • Payment via check
  • Payment via bank draft
  • Payment via online payment portal

The above payment options which we came up with were carefully chosen by us after considering what will be good for our clients and for us eventually. The platforms will be without any hitches whatsoever.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

Mechanical engineering firms are complex businesses because it not only require professionals but also need strategic partnerships with other firms, which is why in generating capital for the firm, there are a lot of things that need to be put under consideration.

Therefore, after generating our capital, it should be noted that the bulk of the capital will definitely go into procuring equipment, paying employee salary and leasing a facility. Therefore, the key areas where we intend to spend our start-up capital on are;

  • Total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750
  • Obtaining of licenses, permits and accounting and customer management software – $5,250
  • Cost of hiring several reputable business consultants and payment for a business plan – $20,000
  • Insurance coverage (general liability, asset insurance, equipment insurance and workers’ compensation) – $5,000
  • Cost of purchasing several equipment and machinery – $500,000
  • Operational cost for the first 6 months (payments of employee salaries and utility payments) – $300,000
  • Cost of leasing a facility for use at six years and carrying out renovations – $300,000
  • Marketing promotion expenses (grand opening party promotion and general marketing) – $20,000
  • Other start-up expenses (furniture, stationeries, computers, printers, and phones) – $9,000
  • Cost of purchasing one transport truck – $55,000
  • Cost of launching a website – $1,000
  • Cost of throwing a launching party – $5,000
  • Miscellaneous – $10,000

From the above analysis, we would need the sum of $1,231,000 if we intend to not only start but successfully run our mechanical engineering firm here in Detroit – Michigan.

Even though the amount is quite average, it should be noted that the bulk of the capital will go into buying heavy machineries and equipment for use; leasing and renovating a facility and furnishing it, purchasing a truck as well as payment of employee salaries utility bills.

Generating Funding / Startup Capital for Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm

Motown Mechanical Engineering Firm is owned by a foremost mechanical engineer and businessman, Mr. Don Perrine, who has over 20 years experience in the engineering industry as well as in the business sector. Don intends to source for funds from various sources in order to be able to generate the needed capital for his business.

Some of the sources where he intends to generate the required funds for his business are;

  • 30% of the total capital from sale of personal stock
  • 70% of the total capital from the commercial bank

N/B : From the sale of his personal stock, he was able to generate the sum of $369,300. The bank which Mr. Don Perrine has approached has agreed to lend him the sum of $861,700 after looking through his business plan. The bank loan will be repaid after 7 years with a 2.5% interest rate.

All the loan documents have been signed and approved, and the money would soon be credited to the company account before the end of the work week.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

Sustaining a business in order to grow and expand it is very vital and as such we have carried out measures to ensure that our mechanical engineering firm is effectively sustained. The measures we intend to deploy in implementing our sustainability are business structure, customer loyalty and re-investment strategy.

Building a solid business structure is very important to us because we would like to do away with any hitches whatsoever in the bid to offer our services to our clients, and to this effect, we are sourcing for and hiring professional and competent employees.

Our employees are not only professionals; they also understand our corporate values and objectives and are willing to work to ensure that we are able to achieve them. We would be offering our employees the best welfare packages better than what similar mechanical engineering firms are offering their own employees.

Also, we would ensure that we conduct periodical trainings for our employees in order to not only enhance their skills but also to ensure that that productivity rate for our firm is increased.

Having loyal customers is very important to our business knowing our customers can make or mar a business, and so we would ensure that we treat our customers very well and give them the attention that they deserve. All our staffs understand this and have been trained to ensure that all our customers are satisfied with our every service.

Finally, we intend to re-invest 30% of our profit back into the business as we know that this will help us have a strong bottom line that will be highly beneficial to our business and allow us suitably expand our services which will in turn bring in more earnings.

Check List / Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check: Completed
  • Business Registration: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
  • Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
  • Opening Mobile Money Accounts: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Conducting feasibility studies: Completed
  • Generating capital from family members: Completed
  • Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
  • Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging Marketing / Promotional Materials: In Progress
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
  • Opening party / launching party planning: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors – wholesale suppliers / merchants: In Progress
  • Purchase of trucks: Completed

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Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service Coursework

Executive summary.

The business plan is for Classic Engineering and Technical consultancy service to be located in a fast growing and developing town of Sunderland. The service is a sole trade kind of business which will employ professionals from the field of Engineering and construction. The consultancy office will emphasize on a variety of Technical Engineering services including detail design and drafting civil and structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and instrumentation. The office will in addition, offer specification of a project with their data sheets and bill of material as requested by a customer. In the procurement section, the manager assigned by the consultancy office will evaluate, select and purchase a bid after an extensive research and consultation procedures. It is also in the interest of the manager to expeditiously evaluate the cost of a bid and exercise necessary cost controls. The office established will among its construction service offer administration of a contract while taking note of quality assurance. The personnel assigned from the consultancy office are under obligation to ensure inspection and testing of any installation made to the construction work. On the final step of project management operations and maintenance manuals are provided from the start up business venture. These services will be offered from the consultancy office.

Classic Engineering and consultancy service will target business men who want to establish rental buildings in the centre of the town and its outskirts. The market niche will also include international investors in various locations of the world for example road construction companies located in various national governmfast-growinged in the target are persons who want to establish their own buildings. In a study by a Gill (2005), business venture must offer real time solution to contractors and this will be among the objectives of the business. A strategy to be used in winning more customers is providing prompt services which as requested by the customers. Since the service to be provided appreciates scientific invention and innovations, projection on customer base is that demand curve will shift to the left an indication of increase in quantity demanded.

The business will be managed by a strong team of professional personnel who hold a first degree in civil and structural Engineering from a reputable educational institution. The team will be headed by Paul Simon who has served as a general manager in a non-governmental organization for 26 years. His track record shows a clean service marked by successful execution of projects undertaken. Finance and accounting department will be under strict surveillance of Ruth Johnsons who has a well established background of internal control system necessary for an engineering firm and in this case a consultancy service firm. The success of start up business relies on strict financial controls instituted by financial manager. Since the business considers the needs of the customers as the top priority, then the management has to establish a very efficient team of customer service representative who will be sensitive to the target group and who will be prompt in delivery of services (Gibson, 2006). It is in the policy framework of the business that a continuous training schedule is appropriate for any manager in office. This is in recognition of the fact that principles of management are diverse in nature and it assumes development criteria. Therefore classic investment regards the management as the source of instructions and directions for the junior staff.

The objective of the new start up consultancy service is diverse in nature and will cover both the aspiration of the customers and those of the organization. One of its objectives is to avail prompt services to the customers at any place in the world. This will go a long way in ensuring that construction work carried out around the world is safe as human habitat. While doing so, the organization will end up decreasing the number of accidents brought about by shoddy work done by some firms. To build a healthy society free of accidents there is need to streamline the engineering and construction department so that it becomes responsive to the people of the land. It also wants to demonstrate new developments in the construction industry by designing bridges, locomotives and buildings which are regular with the increasing population around the world. Its internal objective is to establish subsidiary companies in the Arab world and ultimately sharpen their quality of services through experimental scientific research. This is in line with developing infrastructure network which will withstand natural catastrophe like tsunami wave, earthquake and floods. While fulfilling the objectives, profit level will automatically exceed expectations (Rae, 2007).

The purpose of the new start up business is to avail consultancy service to the increasing number of Engineering and Construction companies around the world. This will have an effect of standardised construction fit for human habitation and usage. This will be achievable by the use of highly skilled and professional team working together while putting into practise the practical knowledge.

The Market and the Marketing Plan

The market for this investment is an integrated system of both corporate world and personal agencies. Classic investment through an advanced service promotion (via internet and investment website) will reach clients across the globe and will be working n a full time basis. Through recognition of the development through globalization, the market for the service is bound to take a new phase of fast growth pace. There is need to research on the new industry. This means collecting solid information regarding: the goals of the business venture, the target market group, the strength and weakness of the business, the profit margin to be realized from the business and finally the possibility of employing other business strategies. The marketing plan will focus on the objectives of the marketing and ways of achieving the objectives. In this scenario, the general purpose of the small business establishment is to maximize profits while availing special services to the customers (Wickham, 2006). It is also in its objectives to infiltrate other market segments of the world.

The target customer comprises various companies contracted by governments to build roads and bridges in their countries. It also includes private investors who want to build rental buildings, business buildings or rather commercial buildings in their business operation areas. Individuals who want to establish private houses of residence will be targeted in this business plan.

To be able to achieve the objectives it is important to lay emphasis on the benefits of the service rendered by the business. The consultancy firm through their engineers is able to design buildings tailored to customer’s satisfactions and needs. It is also able to avoid accidents brought about by collapse of buildings and any other poor construction works through design work. Another point illustrating the unique selling point of the business is its ability to conduct an intensive research in the field requested by the customers (Shane, 2004). The capital base of the business is such that it is able to handle any amount of workload. This is also supported by the team of professional employees and the continuous practical training offered to new graduates. The long run effect is a workforce able to deliver to the expectations of the customers.

To succeed in the market plan the business will put into use a differentiation strategy simply because of its unique selling point. This has the final result of translating the profits of the business into great margins. A reflection on closely related operational strategy will identify the pricing technique as one of the major tools in achieving a breakthrough in the market (Timmons, 2008). The low prices to be charged in the market will ensure a market penetration. The incomes from the business will be used to expand the business into other market segments around the world. In essence there will be no need for the company to run for profits, instead the company will be better of trying to increase its market niche by employing penetrating prices and later employ psychological prices that will maintain the customer while providing added value services to them. Anther pricing technique to be considered is that of the association of engineers and construction consultancy which has been standardized. The objective of this price level is to guard customers from exploitation.

Service promotion

To effectively win more customer base, advertisements and promotions must be done via various media. Pull strategy to be employed in the business require a direct interface with the customer. This is an aspect of public relations entailing use of topics of public interest to build rapport with the customers. The benefits of the service offered by the consultancy firm will be compiled printed in the media for customers’ attention. Budgets need to be effectively forecasted by determining the breakeven point. Projection of the results of the advertisement program determines the media to be exploited at all time. Considering the fact that the business has to offer a variety of services then corporate advertising is an excellent approach to reach more customers (Barrow, 2001). It entails promoting the identity of the business instead of the specific service.


To distribute the business offering, subsidiary channels will be used. These are the outlet in full contact with the customers. Agents and other technical bench will be sent upon requisition by the customers. The team will be available at any time and place convenient to the customer. Factors discussed in this section form a basis for success in the business and therefore must be reviewed and monitored at all times in the progress of the media. These variables of prices, promotion, distribution and service are employed by the management to satisfy the customers (Hisrich, 2008). The diagram below will illustrate how they can be integrated for maximum output.

This diagram is relevant in illustrating the factors contributing to the state of market targeted by the business. The prices, services, distribution network, and distribution are fully responsible for setting a market for the business investment. Therefore an intensive research and review of the mentioned factors goes along way in making the business a success.


The new establishments will scrutinize the market to know the new competitors and therefore derive ways of managing them through handling the strengths and weakness. It essence, the SWOT analysis of the competitor and some of the strategies that the competitor uses will provide adequate and reliable information for establishing new strategies of edging out the competitor. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as defined by the SWOT analysis will be of great use in regard to competitor analysis. The experience of the competitor and their major market niche will be analyzed with the possibility of taking over some of the customers. Financial power of the competitor and the description of the service rendered are of great importance when deciding on the possibility of quitting the market (Kirby, 2003). It is also important to note that consumer behavior analysis is the greatest weapon to use against your competitor. In this case, it is imperative to analyze the trends in terms of the consumer preference and taste, more so the changing technologies may play an important role in the analysis of a consumer changing trends. A business that is consumer oriented will definitely concentrate on the needs and the expectations of the consumer. This way is definitely the most efficient and ethical way of showing your companies competitors the way out of your market niche.


This factor has a direct impact on the business and its services rendered. Some of these environmental factors include the actions of the government with regard to taxes and safety requirement. The government of UK is more concerned with standards of services and the safety of it citizens. Obtaining a license requires an assurance of fair play from the party concerned. This has been achieved by the business though a rigorous training and recruitment procedures. It is a rule that any candidate recruited must have documentation and certificates from the training institution. The cost involved in the Engineering and construction field is enormous and requires specialized skills; government control on the price of the service will be minimized (Burns, 2007). As an environmental factor, demographics are a detailed description of a population. Aspects to examine includes; educational level, age income and geographical location. They merely determine the ability of a customer to demand a product or a service. While addressing environmental issues, it is important to note the value of technological change in the society. With information technology, it is possible to improve on design work and be able to serve clients efficiently. Communication between the client and the business is also improved by the use of electronic mails in communication. Cultural trends also form the basis of the business. The consultancy firm will embrace new design which is regular with the change in culture.

Operation and Production Plan

The business offers all manner of consultancy services including; planning and scheduling, detailed design drafting, procurement, bid solicitation and construction management of any project as advised by the customers. The business will offer new and innovative designs of economic value and which suits the clients. It is also in line with maintaining the technology and the arts. With the project management, the service to render to the client can be detailed as first defining the needs of a client, then preparing the bid documents after which the tendering process ensues. What follows is bid analysis, review of the construction and on a final note, contract administration and inspection of the warranty is completed (Deakins, 2006).

Settlement of disputes will also be available to the clients. These services include arbitration, and compiling of experts reports for litigation process. Since engineers will be concerned with examining construction work for mistakes and failures, the report made will be relevant for detailing on the options available for remedial action. The technical team will offer an estimate of budgets and they can be met easily. In the project consulting service, clients will use the expertise to develop their plans and put them into actions. Billing will be done as per project basis. In a residential building, inspection will be done as per client’s request. The parts to be inspected include the design of the building, its foundations, the mechanical systems, electrical networks, and the safety of the building like installation of fire extinguishers and availability of escape route (Baker, 2008).

Comparison with the competitors

A classic Engineering and construction consultant is capable of high level design work while maintaining the art technology. Visualization in three dimensions which aims at reducing conflicts with other design works will be highly regarded by the new start business. This aspect of visualizing will not only increase on the efficiency of the construction process but also increase the art and the architectural design which will in the end provide the end user the best possible solution for its business enterprise. Comparison with competitors shows that they dwell most on two dimensional views which reduce on their explicit view (Scott, 2003). Another competitive edge for the business is the quality assurance and control services it will offer its clients. This means that focus will be on maintaining standards of any projects through measurement.

It is also in the plans of the business to establish an integrated database and avail to its clients. The database will contain an organised system of sorting and layering of structural designs with the help of quick access tools. The system also includes the filing system which will enhance faster access to information. This is a strong indicator of business to customer relationship which will be boosted by this implementation. The competitors do not have an integrated system thus is an added advantage on the business.

Control systems

The business will operate under strict documentation and filling of procedures followed in design and installation process. The time for delivery will be highly dependent on the project and other related technicalities. Engineering and construction standards as stipulated in the laws will be highly regarded. This will ensure delivery of quality work within the shortest time period. The use of new technology and sophisticated tools in fulfilling task has an end result of quality work (Pfeffer, 2000).

Human Resources Plan

A highly responsive and competent human resource department is a basic requirement for the consultancy firm (Miles, 2003). This is because of its sensitive nature and the amounts of funds attached to the engineering works. There is need to recruit highly qualified professional engineers into the firm. A minimum of five years experience will be a requirement for the applicants. New graduates from recognized higher educational institutions will be considered for on-job training and a subsequent absorption. Personnel to be employed will serve on a permanent basis thus will benefit from the pension schemes. It is important to use rigorous recruitment procedures where a candidate is subjected into a written examination and the successful ones will go through a practical skill evaluation. Ethical standards and professionalism will be highly regarded. The following estimates are relevant for the human resource department during the First two years.

The estimates above will cover a period of two years.

Plan for capital resources

This refers to the ownership of capital resources of the business establishment. The starts up capital meet the following initial expenses: legal expenses fee, licence, stationary, office equipment and furniture, and fee for operation permits. The remaining cash will be placed in the business cash accounts to take care of recurrent expenditures. The premise for the new business will be on a rental building located in the major town of Sunderland. The measurement of the premise is 50 meters squire. At this place there will be a need for fax machine and internet connection. The cost will be factored on the estimates budgets. Its website will be and the email address is [email protected] . The website to be developed will be an interactive one to be used for marketing and other promotions.

The following cost estimates breakdown is relevant as capital base for the establishment.

Financial plan

To be able to have a good financial forecast, it is necessary to make a few assumptions. Among the assumptions is that the economy of United Kingdom is operating under a low inflation levels (Laermer, 2007). The amounts of recession are minimal and would not affect the operation of the business. It is important to apply ceteris paribus with regard to delivery of engineering services. This means that under the establishment of the consultancy firm then the operation of other related companies will not be affected. In the line we will assume that the interest rates, tax rates, bank’s long term interest rates are maintained at constant rate. The assumptions above are quantified as demonstrated below.

The key indicators financial position of the business is the difference between operating expenses and the sales. The gross margin for the first two years is positive.

Projection on profits

For this service based business establishment, we will examine the efficiency of services provided by the business. The basis of the estimates will be on market trends, past performance, and the potential revenue of the new business. For the first years the profits are perceived to be less because of initial cost incurred when establishing the business. There is likelihood that client base increases with time and since the business is new start then profits are projected be less but increase with time.

The table projecting profits is absolutely clear on the amount of profits to be realised before taxation. In this case a gross profit of 70,000 pound in the first year will translate to a net profit of 11,000 after taxation and expenses is subtracted. During the second year, it is expected that gross profits will read a value of 80,000 pound and translate to net value of 23,000 pounds. This is an increase in the net profit margin a clear indication that the new project will be beneficial with a higher rate of returns.

Projected cash flows

The business expects to have good cash inflows and outflows in the future periods. If need arises then more funds will be injected into the business to supplement on various business undertaking.

The chart illustrates a cash inflow of 102,000 pounds for the first year and an outflow of 55,000 pounds. In the second year, more cash inflows and outflows are expected. In this year an inflow of 420,000 pounds and an outflow of 75,000 pounds are absolute. This is a faire state of business considering the fact that the investment will have performed for only two years. The cash flow assumes the principle of continuity into the foreseeable future.

Projected balance sheet

The balance sheet for the two years shows that the businesses is able pay its recurrent liabilities and therefore settle its creditors. To be explicit on this, it is necessary to have a projection for the two years of the analysis.

From the financial analysis it is evident that the business has enough funds to pursue its business endeavours. Liabilities which are either short term or long term will be met by the business investment. Owner’s equity of 50,000 pounds can finance the business during the first year. The capital base is bound to increase to a level of 80,500 pounds in the second year following a loan disbursement of 30,500 pounds.

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IvyPanda. (2022, March 12). Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service.

"Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service." IvyPanda , 12 Mar. 2022,

IvyPanda . (2022) 'Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service'. 12 March.

IvyPanda . 2022. "Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service." March 12, 2022.

1. IvyPanda . "Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service." March 12, 2022.


IvyPanda . "Business Plan For an Engineering and Technical Consultancy Service." March 12, 2022.

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Increasing complex waste management and housekeeping needs make cleaning, maintenance, and repair businesses lucrative for new entrepreneurs.

Whether you plan to start a waste management or commercial cleaning company, you need a clear roadmap to drive your business to success.

This library of cleaning and maintenance business plan examples here can inspire and guide you as you begin to plan your business. So, don’t worry; we got you covered on that part.

Let’s learn more about these repair and cleaning business plan samples, starting with their benefits.

Benefits of using an industry-specific business plan example

Believe it or not, using an industry-specific business plan example is the best and probably the quickest way of writing a business plan.

Doubt it? Hold, this may change your perception; an extended list of the benefits of using an industry-specific business plan template.

  • Inspiration : Reading a business-specific template can be incredibly helpful in getting content inspiration. Furthermore, it helps you gain insights into how to present your business idea, products, vision, and mission.
  • Risk-free method : You are taking a reference from a real-life, let’s say, auto repair shop business plan—so you know this plan has worked in the past or uses a method subscribed by experts.
  • Deep market understanding : Analyzing and reading such examples can provide clarity and develop a deeper market understanding of complex industry trends and issues you may not know but relate directly to the realities of your business landscape.
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  • Realistic financial projections : Financial forecasting being a critical aspect of your plan, this real-life example can help you better understand how they project their financials—ultimately helping you set realistic projections for your business.

These were the benefits; let’s briefly discuss choosing a maintenance, repair, and cleaning business plan sample that best suits your business niche.

Choosing a Maintenance or Repair Business Plan

This category itself has 18+ business plan templates for various cleaning and maintenance businesses. With many similar business types and templates, you may not find the most suitable one through manual scrolling.

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Identify your business type

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Powered by Microsoft Translator, the Book of News now has translations available to assist in reading content in languages other than English. Microsoft Translator relies on data and technology to provide its translation. Because translations are generated by Azure AI-powered machine translation they may not always be perfect or exact and should be used as an approximation of the original English language content.

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November 15 - 17, 2023, introduction.

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Foreword from Frank X. Shaw

Welcome once again to Microsoft Ignite and this year’s edition of the Book of News. It’s an action-packed version that features more than 100 announcements in a wide range of topics, including infrastructure, Microsoft Copilot, the relationship between data and AI, new tools for developers and security.

At this year’s Microsoft Ignite, our flagship event for IT developers and business decision makers, we are expecting 4,500 in-person attendees in Seattle and more than 175,000 registrants who are participating digitally. Everyone will learn about new products and updates launching today and hear from senior leaders and subject matter experts about what’s on the horizon.

The Book of News is designed to be your guide to all our announcements, making it easy for you to navigate the latest information and provide key details on the topics in which you are most interested. We are excited to share some groundbreaking new products and critical updates that help make work and life easier and more productive.

The overarching theme for this year’s Ignite is how we are working to empower our customers, partners and developers to thrive in the era of AI. In 2023, we witnessed entirely new ways of working via technological advances. Organizations count on their partners to provide innovative, efficient and safe solutions that lead to meaningful business outcomes, and we at Microsoft are proud to deliver those results.

We have a great lineup of news and exciting moments planned for this year’s Microsoft Ignite. I hope that you can join us.

As usual, we eagerly want your feedback. Please let us know how we can do better. We want to make sure you receive the information and context you need from this event. What can we do to make the experience even better next time?

What is the Book of News?

The Microsoft Ignite Book of News is your guide to key news items that we are announcing at Microsoft Ignite. The interactive Table of Contents gives you the option to select the items you are interested in, and the translation capabilities make the Book of News more accessible globally. (Just click the Translate button below the Table of Contents to enable translations.)

We pulled together a folder of imagery related to a few of the news items.  Please take a look at the imagery here . To watch keynotes and sessions related to news items, we have links below the news to get you quick access to upcoming sessions and on-demand videos.

We hope the Book of News provides all the information, executive insight and context you need. If you have any questions or feedback regarding content in the Book of News, please email  [email protected] .

If you are interested in speaking with an industry analyst about news announcements at Microsoft Ignite or Microsoft’s broader strategy and product offerings, please contact [email protected] .

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1. Azure 1.1. Azure AI Services

1.1.1. azure machine learning updates streamline and operationalize ai.

Azure Machine Learning continues to improve user experiences with new enhancements, including the general availability of prompt flow and model catalog and the preview of an integration with OneLake in Microsoft Fabric, empowering developers and machine learning professionals to streamline the development of AI-powered applications and operationalize responsible generative AI solutions across all stages of the generative AI development lifecycle.

Updates to Azure Machine Learning include:

  • Prompt flow streamlines the entire development lifecycle of applications powered by large language models (LLMs). It enables developers to design, construct, evaluate and deploy LLM workflows, connecting to a variety of foundation models, vector databases, prompts and Python tools through both visualized graphs and code-first experiences in CLI, SDK and Visual Studio Code extension. Prompt flow is now generally available in Azure Machine Learning and in preview in Azure AI Studio.
  • Model catalog will empower users to discover, evaluate, fine-tune and deploy foundation models from renowned providers, such as Hugging Face, Meta and OpenAI, facilitating developers in selecting the optimal foundation models for their specific use cases. Within the model catalog, users can find a comprehensive comparison view for benchmarking metrics of multiple foundation models, allowing users to self-educate and make informed decisions about the suitability of models and datasets for their specific use cases. Model catalog has expanded to include new models like Code Llama, Stable Diffusion and OpenAI’s CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pretraining) models. Model catalog will be generally available soon and is available in preview in Azure AI Studio, broadening its availability and applicability.
  • Model-as-a-Service through inference APIs and hosted-fine-tuning , coming soon in preview, will enable developers and machine learning professionals to easily integrate foundation models such as Llama 2 from Meta, upcoming premium models from Mistral, and Jais from G42 as an API endpoint to their applications and fine-tune models without having to manage the underlying GPU infrastructure.
  • OneLake is now available in preview as a datastore in Azure Machine Learning, facilitating a seamless transition between Microsoft Fabric and Azure Machine Learning. This integration allows data engineers to share machine learning-ready data assets developed in Fabric, enabling machine learning professionals to directly utilize them for model training in Azure Machine Learning. Additionally, machine learning professionals can write model predictions back to OneLake for further processing in Fabric or to surface insights through Power BI.

Additional resources :

  • Blog: Ignite 2023: What’s new in Azure AI Platforms – Charting the Future with Innovative AI and ML
  • Keynote: Microsoft Cloud in the era of AI
  • Breakout: End-to-End AI App Development: Prompt Engineering to LLMOps
  • Breakout: Evaluating and Designing Responsible AI Systems for The Real World
  • Demo: Llama 2 inference APIs & hosted fine-tuning in Azure AI model catalog 
  • Demo: Monitor ML and GenAI apps for safety and quality in production
  • Demo: Operationalize ML Lifecycle with managed feature store
  • Demo: Transform your AI workflows with RAG in prompt flow

1.1.2. Microsoft launching AI platform Azure AI Studio

Microsoft is launching the preview of its unified AI platform, Azure AI Studio , which will empower all organizations and professional developers to innovate and shape the future with AI.

The platform, accessibly and responsibly designed, will equip organizations with a one-stop shop to seamlessly explore, build, test and deploy AI solutions using state-of-the-art AI tools and machine learning models, all grounded in responsible AI practices. Developers will be able to build generative AI applications, including copilot experiences, using out-of-the-box and customizable tooling and models.

Users can choose the data source, including Microsoft Fabric OneLake and Azure AI Search, for vector embeddings, select models from a comprehensive catalog of frontier and open-source models, orchestrate prompt flows, evaluate model responses, identify fine-tuning opportunities and scale proof of concepts into full production with continuous monitoring and refinement.

  • Blog: Unleashing the Power of Generative AI: Azure AI Studio Leads the Way
  • Blog: Driving inclusive AI innovation with Azure AI Studio .
  • Blog: Driving AI Innovation Across Digital Landscapes – Azure AI and Microsoft Fabric Integration.
  • Demo: AI-powered Search: From Prototypes to Production with Azure AI Studio
  • Discussion: Building Copilots for Enterprise Experiences Q&A
  • Discussion: Empowering Inclusive Innovation with Azure AI Studio Q&A
  • Breakout: Build your own Copilot with Azure AI Studio
  • Breakout: What’s New in Generative AI?

1.1.3. New capabilities for developers to build generative AI solutions safely, responsibly

Microsoft leads the industry in the safe and responsible use of AI. The company has set the standard with an industry-leading commitment to defend and indemnify commercial customers from lawsuits for copyright infringement with the Copilot Copyright Commitment (CCC). Today, Microsoft takes its commitment one step further by announcing the expansion of the CCC to customers using Azure OpenAI Service. The new benefit will be called the Customer Copyright Commitment. As part of this expansion, Microsoft has published new documentation to help Azure OpenAI Service customers implement technical measures to mitigate the risk of infringing content. Customers will need to comply with the documentation to take advantage of the benefit.

And Azure AI Content Safety, now generally available, helps organizations detect and mitigate harmful content and create better online experiences. Customers can use Azure AI Content Safety as a built-in-safety system within Azure OpenAI Service, for open-source models as part of their prompt engineering in Azure Machine Learning or as a standalone API service.

  • Download: Visual assets
  • Blog: Microsoft Azure AI, data, and application innovations help turn your AI ambitions into reality
  • Learn: Customer Copyright Commitment Required Mitigations
  • Keynote: Microsoft Ignite opening

1.1.4. New features for Azure AI Vision

Azure AI Vision offers innovative computer vision capabilities to empower developers to analyze images, read text and detect faces with pre-built image tagging, text extraction with optical character recognition (OCR) and responsible facial recognition.

Several new updates to the solution, including:

Liveness functionality and Vision SDK: Liveness functionality will help prevent face recognition spoofing attacks and conforms to ISO 30107-3 PAD Level 2. Vision SDK for Face will enable developers to easily add face recognition and liveness to mobile applications. Both features are in preview.

Image Analysis 4.0: This API introduces cutting-edge Image Analysis models, encompassing image captioning, OCR, object detection and more, all accessible through a single, synchronous API endpoint. Notably, the enhanced OCR model boasts improved accuracy for both typed and handwritten text in images. Image Analysis 4.0 is generally available.

Florence foundation model: Trained with billions of text-image pairs and integrated as cost-effective, production-ready computer vision services in Azure AI Vision, this improved feature enables developers to create cutting-edge, market-ready, responsible computer vision applications across various industries. Florence foundation model is generally available.

  • Blog: Are You Alive: Enhancing Azure AI Vision Face API with Liveness Detection
  • Blog: Announcing general availability of Azure AI Vision Image Analysis 4.0 API
  • Lab: Implement a Computer Vision Solution with Azure AI Vision

1.1.5. New multimodal AI capabilities now available in Azure OpenAI Service

Azure OpenAI Service has unveiled several multimodal AI capabilities to empower businesses to build generative AI experiences with image, text and video. They include:

  • DALL·E 3 : Imagine an AI model that can generate images from text descriptions. DALL·E 3 is a remarkable AI model that does just that. Users describe an image, and DALL·E 3 will be able to create it. DALL·E 3 is in preview.
  • GPT-3.5 Turbo model with a 16k token prompt length and GPT-4 Turbo: The latest models in Azure OpenAI Service will enable customers to extend prompt length and bring even more control and efficiency to their generative AI applications. Both models will be available in preview at the end of November 2023.
  • GPT-4 Turbo with Vision (GPT-4V): When integrated with Azure AI Vision, GPT-4V will enhance experiences by allowing the inclusion of images or videos along with text for generating text output, benefiting from Azure AI Vision enhancement like video analysis. GPT-4V will be in preview by the end of 2023.
  • GPT-4 updates: Azure OpenAI Service has also rolled out updates to GPT-4, including the ability for fine-tuning. Fine-tuning will allow organizations to customize the AI model to better suit their specific needs. It’s akin to tailoring a suit to fit perfectly, but in the world of AI. Updates to GPT-4 are in preview.

These advancements in Azure OpenAI Service open new possibilities for businesses and users alike. With DALL·E 3  and GPT-4 Turbo for Vision, creativity knows no bounds, and communication with machines becomes more intuitive. The availability of GPT-3.5 Turbo with a 16K token prompt length, and GPT-4 Turbo, along with updates to GPT-4, will enable improved adaptability and efficiency, making it even more useful across various industries.

  • Blog: GPT-4 Turbo with Vision on Azure OpenAI Service

1.1.6. New summarization and translation capabilities in Azure AI

Several new features in Azure AI will aid developers when summarizing and translating language for app usage. Updates, now in preview, include:

  • A new task-optimization summarization capability in Azure AI Language, powered by large language models (GPT-3.5-Turbo, GPT-4, Z-Code++ and more).
  • A new machine translation model capable of translating from one language to another without translating in English as an intermediary. In addition, it can be customized using customer data to better align translations to the industry’s context.
  • Named entity recognition , document translation and summarization in containers will allow government agencies and industries, such as financial services and healthcare, with strict data residency requirements to run AI services on their own infrastructure.
  • Personal voice , a new custom neural voice feature that will enable businesses to create custom neural voices with 60 seconds of audio samples for their users. Personal voice is a limited access feature .
  • Text-to-speech avatar , a new text-to-speech capability that will generate a realistic facsimile of a person speaking based on input text and video data of a real person speaking. Both prebuilt and custom avatars are now in preview, however, custom avatar is a limited access feature.
  • Blog: Empowering developers to use natural language capabilities using containers
  • Blog: Azure AI Speech launches Personal Voice in preview
  • Blog: Azure AI Speech announces public preview of text to speech avatar
  • Demo: Next-gen summarization powered by generative AI
  • Demo: Building brands with Azure OpenAI Service and Azure AI Speech

1.1.7. Unlock video insights with updates in Azure OpenAI

The powerful integration of Azure AI Video Indexer, Azure AI Search and Azure OpenAI Service offers users a comprehensive solution for capturing essential insights from video content and enables natural language question-answering, video summarization and efficient content search. These new features, now in preview, include:

  • Video-to-text summary: Users will be able to extract the essence of video content and generate concise and informative text summaries. The advanced algorithm segments videos into coherent chapters, leveraging visual, audio and text cues to create sections that are easily accommodated in large language model (LLM) prompt windows. Each section contains essential content, including transcripts, audio events and visual elements. This is ideal for creating video recaps, training materials or knowledge-sharing.
  • Efficient Video Content Search: Users will be able to transform video content into a searchable format using LLMs and Video Indexer’s insights. By converting video insights into LLM-friendly prompts, the main highlights are accessible for effective searching. Scene segmentation, audio events and visual details further enhance content division, allowing users to swiftly locate specific topics, moments or details within extensive video.

Additional resources:

  • Email: Contact the Microsoft Media and Analyst Events Team for more information

1.1.8. Vector search and semantic ranker now generally available in Azure AI Search

Azure AI Search (formerly known as Azure Cognitive Search) is an information search and retrieval platform that enables organizations to deliver highly personalized experiences in their generative AI applications.

Updates to Azure AI Search include:

  • Vector search : Large language models (LLMs) traverse large volumes of documents and information to generate responses to user queries. This is expensive and can result in slow response times. Given computers are faster and more efficient when working with numerical data compared to documents, techniques have been developed that turn documents and data into a numerical format, called a vector — a long floating point. Vector search indexes allow for faster, more efficient retrieval. Having great vector support is as important to getting a good answer out of an LLM as the LLM itself. Vector search is generally available.
  • Semantic ranker (formally known as semantic search): With multilingual, deep learning models adapted from Microsoft Bing, semantic ranker prioritizes and ensures the most relevant search results are delivered first. Semantic ranker is generally available.
  • Availability in Azure AI Studio: Azure AI Search is now available in Azure AI Studio, a new unified AI platform, currently in preview. A robust search and retrieval system is a critical component of the generative AI systems’ development lifecycle. Therefore, making Azure AI Search available in Azure AI Studio will enable support for the full value chain, streamlining workflow for the app developer by putting everything they need in one place.
  • Blog: Announcing general availability of vector search and semantic ranker in Azure AI Search
  • Discussion: Vector Search: Retrieval Augmented Generation and Generative AI Apps
  • Demo: Revolutionizing Search Relevance with Semantic Ranking
  • Breakout: Vector search and state of the art retrieval for Generative AI apps

1.2. Azure Compute

1.2.1. new amd-based azure virtual machines now in preview.

Azure is introducing the latest AMD-based virtual machines (VMs) built on the 4th Generation AMD EPYC™ Genoa processor. Now in preview for the D, E and F family VMs, these new VMs introduce even greater performance and reliability than the previous AMD v5 VMs based on the 3rd Generation AMD EPYC™ Milan processor. The new Genoa-based VMs will have different memory-to-core ratios spread across the three VM series – the general purpose Dav6 and Dalv6 series, the memory-optimized Eav6 series and the compute-optimized Fav6, Falv6 and Famv6 series.

The Dav6 VM series provides a good balance between memory-to-core ratio, while the Dalv6 series is meant to provide a more cost-effective option for applications that require less memory. The Eav6 VM series is built for applications demanding higher memory-to-core ratios. The Fav6, Falv6 and Famv6 series all have increased CPU performance in comparison to the D and E series AMD VMs and are different only in their memory-to-core ratio.

These new VMs will significantly expand the VM options available for AMD customers, spanning a multitude of popular VM series of varying memory sizes and budget.

  • Blog: Public Preview: New AMD-based VMs with Increased Performance, Azure Boost, and NVMe Support
  • Breakout: What’s new and what’s next with Azure IaaS

1.2.2. Running SAP HANA on Azure with new and powerful infrastructure options

The Azure M-series Mv3 family , the next generation of memory optimized virtual machines (VMs), gives customers faster insights, more uptime, lower total cost of ownership and improved price-performance for running SAP HANA workloads with direct Azure IaaS deployments and SAP RISE on Azure. The Mv3 VMs are powered by the 4th-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and Azure Boost, Microsoft’s system for offloading virtualization. The Mv3 family will scale for SAP workloads, ranging from less than 1 TB to 32 TB.

The Mv3 platform offers improved resilience against common failures in memory, storage and networking, resulting in minimal interruptions to mission-critical workloads. Mv3 delivers up to 30 percent faster SAP HANA ( Hi gh-performance  AN alytic  A ppliance) data load times for SAP OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) workloads compared to the previous generation Mv2, and up to 15 percent higher performance per core for SAP OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) workloads over Mv2.

Powered by Azure Boost, Mv3 delivers up to two times throughput to Azure premium solid-state drive (SSD) disk storage and up to 25 percent improvement in network throughput over Mv2. Azure Boost is a new system that offloads virtualization processes traditionally performed by the hypervisor and host OS, such as networking, storage and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software. Azure Boost achieves several benefits for Mv3 VMs, including enhanced network and storage performance at scale, improved security through an additional layer of logical isolation and reduced maintenance impact during future Azure software and hardware upgrades.

Updates to the Mv3 family include:

  • The Mv3 medium memory offering, with VM sizes up to 4 TB of memory, is now generally available.
  • The Mv3 very high memory offering, with 32 TB of memory, is now in preview.
  • See also: 1.5.1. AI infrastructure updates for more info on Azure Boost
  • Blog: Announcing public preview of new Mv3 Medium Memory Virtual Machines
  • Breakout: How Microsoft IT uses Azure to run a modern SAP environment

1.3. Azure Confidential Computing

1.3.1. confidential containers on azure kubernetes service in preview.

Confidential containers on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is the first cloud service offering pod-level isolation and memory encryption in a managed Kubernetes service based on the open-source Kata containers project and powered by AMD SEV-SNP. Organizations will be able to migrate their most sensitive container workloads to the cloud without any code changes, while protecting their data in memory from external and internal threats. Confidential containers on AKS is now in preview.

  • Blog: Learn more about this update .
  • Product Roundtable: Using confidential VMs and containers to enable new use cases

1.3.2. Microsoft Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework in preview

Microsoft Azure Managed Confidential Consortium Framework , now in preview, is a new Azure service that will offer execution of the Microsoft Confidential Consortium Framework (CCF) open-source SDKs as a managed service, eliminating the need for developers to stand up their own infrastructure to support a CCF API endpoint. Developers will be able to more easily build and manage confidential multi-party applications with decentralized trust on a secured and governed network of trusted execution environments.

  • Keynote: Cloud Native Innovations with Mark Russinovich

1.3.3. New confidential virtual machine option for Azure Databricks

The confidential virtual machine (VM) option for Azure Databricks is now generally available.

Customers seeking to better ensure privacy of personally identifiable information (PII) or other sensitive data while analyzing that data in Azure Databricks can now do so by specifying AMD-based confidential VMs when creating an Azure Databricks cluster. Running a customer’s Azure Databricks cluster on Azure confidential VMs enables Azure Databricks customers to confidently analyze their sensitive data in Azure.

1.3.4. New confidential virtual machines with Intel processors in preview

The DCesv5-series and ECesv5-series confidential virtual machines (VMs) are now in preview. Featuring 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, these VMs are backed by an all-new hardware-based trusted execution environment called Intel® Trust Domain Extensions (TDX). Organizations will be able to use these VMs to seamlessly bring confidential workloads to the cloud without any code changes to their applications.

1.3.5. New features and services for Azure confidential virtual machines

New features and services for Azure confidential virtual machines (VMs) include Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9.3 support, Disk Integrity Tool, temporary disk encryption, new region support and trusted launch as default in PowerShell for all Azure Gen 2 VMs.

RHEL 9.3 support for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs will allow Azure customers to specify the RHEL 9.3 image as the guest operating system (OS) for AMD-based confidential VMs. This will ensure any sensitive data processed by their RHEL guest OS is protected in use, in memory. Azure AMD-based confidential VMs provide a strong, hardware-enforced boundary that hardens the protection of the guest OS against host operator access and other Azure tenants. These VMs are designed to help ensure that data in use, in memory, is protected from unauthorized users using encryption keys generated by the underlying chipset and inaccessible to Azure operators. RHEL 9.3 support for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs is in preview.

Disk Integrity Tool for Intel TDX confidential VMs will allow customers to measure and attest to a disk in their confidential VM. The tooling comes as an Azure CLI extension that a user can install in their own trusted environment to run a few simple commands to protect the disk. When such integrity protected disks are used for confidential VM deployments, after the VM boots, users will be able to cryptographically attest that OS disk’s root/system partition contents are secure and as expected before processing any confidential workloads. Disk Integrity Tool for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs is in preview.

Temporary disk encryption for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs will allow Azure customers to encrypt the temporary disk attached to their AMD-based confidential VMs using customer-managed keys. This ensures any sensitive data on those disks is protected at rest. Temporary disk encryption for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs is in preview.

New region support for AMD SEV-SNP confidential VMs is now generally available in the following new regions: Southeast Asia, Central India, East Asia, Italy North, Switzerland North, Japan East, Germany West Central and UAE North.

Trusted launch as default in PowerShell for all Azure Gen 2 VMs, now generally available, hardens Azure Virtual Machines with security features that allow administrators to deploy virtual machines with verified and signed bootloaders, OS kernels and a boot policy. This is accomplished via such trusted launch features as secure boot, vTPM and boot integrity monitoring that protect against boot kits, rootkits and kernel-level malware.

1.3.6. New NCCv5 series confidential virtual machines with NVIDIA H100 GPUs in preview

The NCCv5 series confidential virtual machines with NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs, in preview, will be the first and only cloud offering of its kind that will allow AI developers to deploy their GPU-powered applications confidentially. This will ensure data in both CPU and GPU memory is always encrypted by using keys generated by hardware and is protected from unauthorized alteration. Data scientists needing to train their models and gain insights from multiple third-party data sources will be able do so while ensuring personal data and AI models are kept private and provide evidence of their confidentiality through attestation reports.

  • Keynote: Inside Microsoft AI innovations with Mark Russinovich
  • Product Roundtable: Use cases for confidential ML including those using Azure Confidential VMs with NVIDIA H100 GPUs

1.4. Azure Data

1.4.1. amazon s3 shortcuts now generally available.

Amazon S3 shortcuts, now generally available, allow organizations to unify their data in Amazon S3 with their data in OneLake. With this update, data engineers can create a single virtualized data lake for their entire organization across Amazon S3 buckets and OneLake – without the latency of copying data from S3 and without changing overall data ownership.

Data lakes in S3 buckets can continue to exist and be managed externally to Microsoft Fabric. Data is mapped to the same unified namespace and can be accessed using the same Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 APIs even when the data is coming from S3. Fabric experiences and analytical engines can directly connect to virtualized S3 data in OneLake.

This enables organizations to accelerate the overall value of their data estate with Fabric across clouds, empowering them to leverage generative AI capabilities like Copilot in Microsoft Fabric or build tailor-made large language models grounded on their data with Azure AI Studio.

  • Blog: Learn more about this update.
  • Breakout: Unify your data across domains, clouds and engines in OneLake

1.4.2. Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 shortcuts now available

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 (ADLS Gen2) shortcuts are now generally available, empowering data engineers to connect to data from external data lakes in ADLS Gen2 into OneLake through a live connection with target data.

With this update, data from ADLS Gen2 can be reused without copying it, eliminating data duplication and lowering integration cost across an enterprise. By creating an ADLS Gen2 shortcut, data is made ready for consumption through custom large language models (LLMs) or Power BI visuals. ADLS Gen2 shortcuts also accelerate the overall value of the data estate by enabling interoperability with Azure Databricks.

Through an ADLS Gen2 shortcut, customers can now receive fast performance through Power BI Direct Lake Mode with Azure Databricks. Since OneLake uses the same APIs as ADLS Gen2 and supports the same Delta Parquet format for data storage, Azure Databricks notebooks can be easily updated to use the OneLake endpoints for data stored in OneLake.

  • Breakout: Make your data AI ready with Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks

1.4.3. Azure SQL updates offer better cost optimization, deeper integration

Several new features and updates for Azure SQL will make the offering more cost-efficient, reliable and secure. These updates include:

Lower pricing for Azure SQL Database Hyperscale compute

New pricing on Azure SQL Database Hyperscale offers cloud-native workloads the performance and security of Azure SQL at the price of commercial open-source databases. Hyperscale customers can save up to 35 percent on the compute resources they need to build scalable, AI-ready cloud applications of any size and I/O requirement. The new pricing will be generally available in mid-December 2023.

Azure SQL Managed Instance free trial offer , in preview soon, will allow customers to discover, use and explore Azure SQL Managed Instance free of charge for 12 months. Customers will be able to run proof of concepts, test applications or simply learn more about the operational benefits of a fully managed database-as-a-service.

The free trial offer will provide substantial compute and storage to test applications, including:

  • 4 vCores or 8 vCores of compute, limited to 720 vCore hours per month.
  • 64 GB of storage, plus 64 GB of backup storage.
  • Start and stop instance compute resources on demand.

Azure SQL Managed Instance feature wave , now generally available, introduces a bundle of features that work together to make SQL Managed Instance even more performant, reliable and secure, while enabling even deeper integration with on-premises SQL Server and the broader Azure service platform. Features included in the bundle:

  • Instance start/stop , which allows customers to start and stop their instance at their discretion to save on billing costs for vCores and SQL licensing.
  • Zone redundancy , which lets customers deploy their managed instance across multiple availability zones and improve the availability of their service.
  • Distributed Transaction Coordinator , which lets customers run transactions across multiple database types while keeping the databases in sync.

Additional resources: 

  • Blog: Power what’s next with limitless relational databases from Azure
  • Breakout: Get superior price and performance with Azure cloud-scale databases
  • Demo: Migrate to innovate: Modernize your data on Azure SQL Managed Instance
  • Demo: Scale up your SQL workloads with Azure SQL Database

1.4.4. Microsoft 365 data in Fabric with native OneLake integration

Microsoft 365 data is now able to natively integrate to OneLake in the Delta Parquet format, the optimal format for data analysis. Microsoft 365 data was previously offered only in JSON format. With this new integration, Microsoft 365 data will be seamlessly joined with other data sources in OneLake, enabling access to a suite of analytical experiences for organizations to transform and gain insight from their data. This also means that AI capabilities built using Microsoft Fabric notebooks will now directly access Microsoft 365 data within OneLake. This update is in preview.

1.4.5. Microsoft Fabric now generally available

Microsoft Fabric, an integrated and simplified experience for a data estate on an enterprise-grade data foundation, is now generally available. Fabric enables persistent data governance and a single capacity pricing model that scales with growth, and it’s open at every layer with no proprietary lock-ins. Fabric integrates Power BI, Data Factory and the next generation of Synapse to offer customers a price-effective and easy-to-manage modern analytics solution for the era of AI.

Fabric is for the entire enterprise, complete with role-tailored tools and deep integrations with Microsoft 365, Teams and AI copilots to accelerate analytics capabilities and help scale data value creation for everyone from data professionals to non-technical business users.

1.4.6. Microsoft Fabric, now part of Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, empowers ISVs

Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform (MIDP) is a set of tightly integrated data services that includes Microsoft Fabric, a unified analytics service that is now generally available. The intelligent data platform empowers organizations to invest more time creating value rather than integrating and managing their data estate.

Built as an easy-to-use software as a service (SaaS), Fabric is open and extensible, providing a rich set of capabilities for independent software vendors (ISVs) to further enrich the platform with industry leading applications. At Ignite, Microsoft will showcase how industry leading partners like London Stock Exchange, Esri, Informatica, Teradata and SAS are bringing their product experiences as workloads into Fabric. This will help partners widen their reach, and expand the breadth of capabilities that our mutual customers can access seamlessly with Microsoft Fabric.

  • Breakout: Build ISV apps with Microsoft Fabric in the Intelligent Data Platform

1.4.7. New features in Azure Cosmos DB increase developer productivity, cost efficiency

Several new features in Azure Cosmos DB will help developers deliver apps in a more efficient manner while also reducing production cost. These updates include:

Dynamic scaling per partition/region, now in preview for new Azure Cosmos DB accounts, will allow customers to optimize for scale and cost in situations where partitioning is used to scale individual containers in a database to meet the performance needs of applications, or where multi-region configuration of Azure Cosmos DB is used for global distribution of data.

Dynamic scaling provides developers with added flexibility to save costs by scaling up and down their database needs on a more granular level, either by region or by partition of their data. This is cost-friendly for customers who run into hot partitions in their databases or have operations around the globe.

Microsoft Copilot for Azure integration in Azure Cosmos DB, now in preview, will bring AI into the Azure Cosmos DB developer experience. Specifically, this release enables developers to turn natural language questions into Azure Cosmos DB NoSQL queries in the query editor of Azure Cosmos DB Data Explorer. This new feature will increase developer productivity by generating queries and written explanations of the query operations as they ask questions about their data.

Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore , now generally available, allows developers to build intelligent applications in Azure with MongoDB compatibility. With Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore, developers can enjoy the benefits of native Azure integrations, low total cost of ownership and the familiar vCore architecture when migrating existing applications or building new ones. Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore is also introducing a free tier, which is a developer-friendly way to explore the platform’s capabilities without any cost. Learn more about the free tier .

In addition, a new Azure AI Advantage offer will help customers realize the value of Azure Cosmos DB and Azure AI together. Benefits include:

  • Savings up to 40,000 RU/s for three months on Azure Cosmos DB when using GitHub Copilot or Azure AI, including Azure OpenAI Service.
  • World-class infrastructure and security to grow business and safeguard data.
  • Enhanced reliability of generative AI applications by leveraging the speed of Azure Cosmos DB to retrieve and process data.

Vector search in Azure Cosmos DB MongoDB vCore , now generally available, allows developers to seamlessly integrate their AI-based applications with the data stored in Azure Cosmos DB. Vector search enables users to efficiently store, index and query high-dimensional vector data, eliminating the need to transfer the data to more-expensive alternatives for vector search capabilities, such as vector databases.

  • Blog: Learn more about dynamic scaling.
  • Blog: Learn more about Microsoft Copilot for Azure integration in Azure Cosmos DB..
  • Breakout: Data for the era of AI: build intelligent apps with Azure Cosmos DB
  • Demo: Optimizing workloads with Azure Cosmos DB’s newest Autoscale features
  • Demo: Build AI-powered apps with Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vector search
  • Discussion: Creating your own ChatGPT experience with enterprise data: Q&A

1.4.8. New manageability and security features for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc

Enhancements to SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc offer additional management capabilities to SQL Server running outside Azure, including monitoring, high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR) management and Extended Security Updates.

Monitoring for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc , now in preview, will allow customers to gain critical insights into their entire SQL Server estate across on-premises datacenter and cloud, optimize for database performance and diagnose problems faster. With this monitoring tool, customers will be empowered to switch from a reactive operation mode to a proactive one, further improving database uptime while reducing routine workloads.

Enhanced high availability and disaster recovery (HA/DR) management for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc is now in preview. With Azure Arc, customers can now improve SQL Server business continuity and consistency by viewing and managing Always On availability groups, failover cluster instances and backups directly from the Azure portal. This new capability will provide customers with better visibility and a much easier and more flexible way to configure critical database operations.

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc is now generally available. Extended Security Updates for SQL Server, which provide critical security updates for up to three years after the end of extended support, are now available as a service through Azure Arc. With the Extended Security Update service, customers running older SQL Server versions on-premises or in multicloud environments can manage security patches from the Azure portal. Extended Security Updates enabled by Azure Arc give financial flexibility with a pay-as-you-go subscription model.

  • Breakout: Do More with Windows Server and SQL Server on Azure
  • Breakout: Design cloud to edge architecture patterns with Azure Arc
  • Demo: Bring automated data manageability to SQL Server anywhere
  • Discussion: Bring cloud-native automated data manageability to SQL Server: Q&A

1.4.9. New performance enhancements in Azure Database for MySQL Business Critical

New performance enhancements in Azure Database for MySQL Business Critical service tier make it ideal for high-performance transactional or analytical applications. With the preview of Accelerated Logs, organizations may see an out-of-the-box improvement in performance of up to two times or more at no additional cost, based on internal testing by Microsoft.

A recent performance benchmark study by Principled Technologies shows that Azure Database for MySQL Business Critical service tier is up to 50 percent faster than MySQL on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Relational Data Service and up to 2.6 times faster than Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Cloud SQL for MySQL. These enhancements help make Azure Database for MySQL Business Critical ideal for mission-critical, Tier 1 MySQL workloads.

  • Demo: Explore new business-critical features of Azure Database for MySQL

1.4.10. Performance enhancements and new AI capabilities for Azure Database for PostgreSQL

Azure Database for PostgreSQL is a database service built on Microsoft’s scalable cloud infrastructure for application developers. Updates to the service include:

Enhanced performance and scalability for Azure Database for PostgreSQL. This update provides advanced storage and compute capabilities that enable optimal price-performance for enterprise production workloads. Features include:

  • Premium SSD v2 , in preview, will offer sub-millisecond disk latencies plus up to 64 TB storage and 80K input/output operations (IOPS) for demanding IO-intensive workloads at a low cost, providing great flexibility for managing performance and cost for Tier-1 production environments.
  • IOPS scaling , in preview, will enable customers to scale up IOPS up to 20K to perform transient operations such as migrations or data loads more quickly, and then scale it back down when not required, to save cost.
  • Online, dynamic compute and storage scaling , now generally available, adjusts the amount of compute and storage resources based on current demand via a seamless experience with near-zero downtime.

Azure Database for PostgreSQL extension for Azure AI will allow developers to leverage large language models (LLMs) and build rich PostgreSQL generative AI applications, meaning PostgreSQL queries on Azure can now power Azure AI applications. Now in preview, the extension will enable:

  • Calling into Azure OpenAI Service to generate LLM-based vector embeddings that allow efficient similarity searches, which is particularly powerful for recommendation systems.
  • Calling into Azure AI Language for a wide range of scenarios such as sentiment analysis, language detection, entity recognition and more.
  • Demo: Best performance and scalability with PostgreSQL in Azure
  • Demo: Build AI solutions with Azure Database for PostgreSQL

1.5. Azure Infrastructure

1.5.1. ai infrastructure updates.

Azure is the world’s computer, powering a range of solutions from cloud services to running the most sophisticated AI models. With insights from workloads and customer requirements, Microsoft is optimizing and innovating across every layer of the hardware and software stack.

Microsoft’s ecosystem approach includes longstanding partnerships with industry leaders to provide customers with choice in performance, efficiency and cost for AI inferencing, training and general compute.

Azure infrastructure is adding choice in price and performance across the Azure infrastructure technology stack, from the datacenter and its racks to servers and the silicon that powers them, including:

Custom-built silicon for AI and enterprise workloads in the Microsoft Cloud Today, Microsoft is announcing new custom silicon that complements Microsoft’s offerings with industry partners. The two new chips, Microsoft Azure Maia and Microsoft Azure Cobalt, were built with a holistic view of hardware and software systems to optimize performance and price.

Microsoft Azure Maia is an AI Accelerator chip designed to run cloud-based training and inferencing for AI workloads, such as OpenAI models, Bing, GitHub Copilot and ChatGPT.

Microsoft Azure Cobalt is a cloud-native chip based on Arm architecture optimized for performance, power efficiency and cost-effectiveness for general purpose workloads.

Azure Boost is now generally available One of Microsoft Azure’s latest and most significant infrastructure improvements, Azure Boost, is now generally available. Azure Boost enables greater network and storage performance at scale, improves security, and reduces servicing impact by moving virtualization processes traditionally performed by the host servers, such as networking, storage and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software optimized for these processes. This innovation allows Microsoft to achieve the fastest remote and local storage performances in the market today, with a remote storage performance of 12.5 Gbps (gigabits per second) throughput and 650K IOPS (input/output operations per second) and a local storage performance of 17.3 Gbps throughput and 3.8M IOPS.

N D MI300 v5 virtual machines with AMD chips optimized for generative AI workloads The ND MI300 v5 virtual machines are designed to accelerate the processing of AI workloads for high range AI model training and generative inferencing, and will feature AMD’s latest GPU, the AMD Instinct MI300X.

NC H100 v5 virtual machines with latest NVIDIA GPUs The new NC H100 v5 Virtual Machine (VM) Series, in preview, is built on the latest NVL variant of the NVIDIA Hopper 100 (H100), which will offer greater memory per GPU. The new VM series will provide customers with greater performance, reliability and efficiency for mid-range AI training and generative AI inferencing. By maintaining more memory per GPU in the VM, customers increase data processing efficiency and enhance overall workload performance.

  • Blog: Learn more on Microsoft Source.
  • Blog: Learn more about Azure Boost.
  • Breakout: Unlock AI innovation with Azure AI Infrastructure

1.5.2. Azure Monitor and Azure Migrate updates

Azure Monitor System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Managed Instance brings SCOM monitoring capabilities and configurable health models to Azure Monitor. A capability within Azure Monitor, SCOM Managed Instance provides a cloud-based alternative for SCOM customers, providing monitoring continuity for cloud and on-premises environments across the cloud adoption journey.

SCOM Managed Instance is now generally available. Since preview, SCOM Managed Instance has added multiple capabilities such as the integration of SCOM alerts with that of Azure Monitor, the ability to send integrated alerts to IT service management tools, the ability to view service health from the Azure portal and an enhanced onboarding experience.

Azure Migrate , the service used to migrate to and modernize in Azure, is introducing discovery, business case analysis and assessment support for new workloads. This allows customers to analyze their configuration and compatibility for new use cases so they can determine appropriately sized Azure instances at optimal cost and without blockers.

Specific features, in preview, include Spring apps assessment, business case with management costs, business case and assessment with security and Windows and SQL ESU in business case and Web apps assessment, which is generally available.

  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Azure Monitor System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Managed Instance .
  • Blog: Learn more about new Azure Migrate updates .
  • Breakout: Migrate to Innovate: Be AI-ready, secure and optimize operations
  • Demo: Next-gen monitoring with Azure Monitor

1.5.3. Introducing Azure IoT Operations

Azure IoT Operations is a new addition to the Azure IoT portfolio that will offer a unified, end-to-end Microsoft solution that digitally transforms physical operations seamlessly from the cloud to the edge.

This offering, now in preview, will feature a “One Microsoft” approach from cloud to edge to digitally transform physical operations. Microsoft is standardizing cloud-to-edge architecture for digital solutions in physical operations with industry standards and open-source approaches.

This unifying approach for customers’ digital ecosystems will remove technical hurdles for the next level of digital transformation, enable technical collaboration across IT and operational technology and bring interoperability and scalability to digital solutions.

That unified approach consists of the following:

  • Management plane: One control plane to secure and govern assets and workloads across cloud to edge with Azure Arc.
  • Application development: Consistently build and deploy apps anywhere, in the cloud or at the edge.
  • Cloud-to-edge data plane: Seamless integration at the data level from asset to cloud and back again.
  • Common infrastructure: Customers can connect investments in the cloud with their on-premises resources.
  • Breakout: The AI-era of Industrial Transformation
  • Discussion: Evolving IoT for physical operations

1.5.4. Microsoft and Oracle announce general availability of Oracle Database@Azure

Microsoft and Oracle announce the general availability of Oracle Database@Azure , which will become available in the US East Azure region starting in December 2023, with expansions planned in the additional regions in the first quarter of 2024 and beyond. Customers will have direct access to Oracle database services running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) deployed in Microsoft Azure datacenters, starting with the Oracle Exadata Database Service, combined with the security, flexibility and best-in-class services of Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is the only other hyperscaler to offer OCI Database Services to simplify cloud migration, multicloud deployment and management.

  • Microsite: Learn more about this update .
  • Demo: OracleDatabase@Azure Demo
  • Discussion: Multicloud with OCI and Azure – Oracle Database@Azure
  • Breakout: Migrate Oracle workloads to Azure

1.5.5. Updates across Azure Arc

Azure Arc simplifies governance and management by delivering a consistent multicloud and on-premises management platform to help organizations control and govern their environments. Updates to Azure Arc features and infrastructure capabilities include:

VMware vSphere enabled by Azure Arc , now generally available, will help users simplify management of hybrid IT estate distributed across VMware vSphere and Azure. It does so with the enablement of Azure Arc, which extends the Azure control plane to VMware vSphere infrastructure and enables the use of Azure security, governance and management capabilities consistently across VMware vSphere and Azure.

Customers can start with connecting Azure Arc to the resources in the VMware vSphere deployments, install agents at scale and enable Azure management, observability and security solutions, while benefitting from the existing lifecycle management capabilities. This feature is now generally available.

The latest Azure Stack HCI feature update , in preview, will bring innovative capabilities that continue to simplify the day-to-day life of IT pros by making the deployment and management of Azure Stack HCI simpler and more automated when coupled with the newly released turnkey solutions. For example, a new cluster deployment capability will automatically provision virtual machines (VMs) and the ability to manage Azure Stack HCI updates from the Azure portal at scale. Additionally, this feature update also expands VM extensions support that include Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Azure Monitor and Azure Update Manager.

Other updates, in preview, include:

  • Site manager , a new feature as part of the Azure Stack HCI update that will help customers organize all Arc resources per location, which saves time.
  • A new tool that will leverage Azure Migrate to enable customers to migrate their Hyper-V virtual machines directly to Azure Stack HCI nodes . This simplifies customer migration to a new infrastructure, which is especially useful during their hardware refresh cycle.

In addition to Azure Stack HCI news, AKS on VMware , in preview, will give customers who have used Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in the cloud or AKS on-premises on Windows Server or Azure Stack HCI the same experience for their VMware environment. With this new member of the AKS family, Microsoft will have a holistic suite of Kubernetes offerings for customers in the cloud and on-premises.

System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) self-service capabilities are now generally available in Azure with Azure Arc. Once connected with Azure Arc, customers can manage and control their System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) environments on Azure and perform VM self-service operations from the Azure portal. Customers get a consistent management experience across Azure for the cloud and hybrid environments. For Azure Pack customers, this solution is intended as an alternative to performing VM self-service operations.

  • Blog: Bring Azure to your VMware environment: Announcing GA of VMware vSphere enabled by Azure Arc
  • Blog: Accelerate edge deployments with cloud-managed infrastructure and Azure Stack HCI version 23H2
  • Learn: What’s new in System Center Virtual Machine Manager

1.5.6. Updates to Azure Storage services

Several new features and performance enhancements for storage on Microsoft Azure are designed to simplify data management, enhance performance and facilitate a smoother migration to the cloud. These updates include:

Azure Ultra Disk Storage: The maximum provisioned input/output operations (IOPS) per second and provisioned throughput on Azure Ultra Disk Storage is increased to 400,000 IOPS and 10,000 MB/s per disk. A single Ultra Disk can achieve the maximum IOPS and throughput of the largest Azure virtual machines, reducing the complexity of managing multiple disks striped together. The increased performance can also be leveraged by multiple Azure Virtual Machines when the Ultra Disk is configured as a shared disk. This update is generally available.

Azure Storage Mover: Azure Storage Mover is a Microsoft service that enables Azure storage customers to migrate their on-premises file shares to Azure file shares and Azure Blob Storage. Updates include:

  • The Server Message Block (SMB) share to Azure file share migration path is now generally available.
  • A Storage Mover agent image for VMware is now generally available.
  • Storage accounts with the blob storage Hierarchical Namespace Service feature are now supported in preview.

New file system performance and economics with Azure Native Qumulo Scalable File Service: Azure Native Qumulo (ANQ) V2 Scalable File Service transforms the cloud file service by combining the performance and elasticity of the cloud with enterprise features and universal compatibility of on-premises file systems.

New and enhanced capabilities, generally available, include:

  • Unbeatable economics: ANQ offers pay-as-you-go pricing, enabling reductions in cost as data volume grows.
  • Cloud scale: ANQ separates performance from capacity, allowing throughput and capacity to scale independently, elastically and seamlessly.
  • Cloud simplicity: ANQ’s rapid deployment gets customers running in just 12 minutes directly in the Azure portal. With ANQ V2’s global namespaces, all workloads can be pointed to a single namespace regardless of the data residing on ANQ or in on-premises Qumulo environments.
  • Blog: Learn more about Azure Native Qumulo Scalable File Service.
  • Blog: Learn more about Azure Storage updates .
  • Product roundtable: Streamline storage data management with Azure Storage Actions
  • Discussion: Ask our migration experts about migrating data to Azure Storage

1.6. Azure Management & Operations

1.6.1. azure business continuity center helps manage, protect and govern resources at scale, now in preview.

Azure Business Continuity Center is a tool that will give IT admins comprehensive, resilient protection capabilities to address complex security requirements and rapidly evolving threats. The new Azure Business Continuity Center, now in preview, will provide IT admins with these benefits:

  • Simplified management: A one-stop solution for ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) by providing customers with the ability to manage solutions across first-party Azure services, such as Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery, and eventually third-party solutions.
  • Rich insights : Users can view a security summary of the entire BCDR estate and receive guidance on individual security properties with actionable insights to improve security posture.
  • Protection across the continuum: Helps ensure efficient ransomware protection and mitigation for the infrastructure, data and application layers with simplified monitoring to validate current protection state and configuration drift.

1.6.2. Azure Chaos Studio now generally available

Azure Chaos Studio , now generally available, provides a fully managed experimentation platform for discovering challenging issues through experiment templates, dynamic targets and a more guided user interface.

Chaos Studio offers customers the opportunity to intentionally disrupt their applications to uncover reliability issues and strategize for issue prevention before they impact users. For example, Chaos Studio enables users to assess how applications respond to real-world disruptions like network delays, unexpected storage failures, expired secrets or even complete datacenter outages. Templates in Chaos Studio allow customers, in a matter of minutes, to test the resilience of their Azure resources by providing a set of pre-filled experiments based on common outage scenarios. Dynamic targets functionality allows users to select experiment targets by using Keyword Query Language (KQL) queries, rather than static list selection, allowing more sophisticated fault injection scenarios to be created.

Customers acquire the ability to boost their resilience against faults and failures by gaining a better understanding of application resiliency, conducting experiments with a wide variety of agent- and service-based faults and maintaining production quality through continuous validation.

  • Blog: Announcing General Availability: Microsoft Azure Chaos Studio
  • Discussion: Optimize app reliability with automated Load and Chaos testing, Q&A

Two people sit in a room working on a laptop.

2. Developer 2.1. Developer Community

2.1.1. new ai microsoft applied skills credentials now available.

Microsoft is releasing new Microsoft Applied Skills credentials critical to AI transformation to help users:

  • Develop generative AI with Azure OpenAI Service.
  • Create an intelligent document processing solution with Azure AI Document Intelligence.
  • Build a natural language processing solution with Azure AI Language.
  • Build an Azure AI Vision solution.

Microsoft previously announced Microsoft Applied Skills, a new credential that allows individuals to prove they have specific skills needed to implement projects aligned to business scenarios.

Including the new set available at Microsoft Ignite, 15 Microsoft Applied Skills credentials have been released and with at least five more coming by the end of December 2023. The new credentials align to projects, like developing generative AI solutions or configuring secure access using Azure networking, which are key as organizations adopt cloud and AI technologies.

Microsoft Certifications and Microsoft Applied Skills are complementary and verified by Microsoft, offering a signal of trust to organizations and helping them efficiently pinpoint talent with the technical skills they need to implement highly technical solutions and take on projects critical to organizational success.

The process to earn a Microsoft Applied Skills credential is designed to be straightforward and flexible and includes:

  • Optional training, including free self-paced learning paths available on Microsoft Learn, with instructor-led training coming soon.
  • Passing an interactive, lab-based assessment that takes candidates through a series of scenario-based tasks in products like Microsoft Azure or Power Platform. The lab assessment is accessible on-demand directly from Microsoft Learn.
  • Receiving a credential, verified by Microsoft, which can be easily shared to LinkedIn profiles, providing the opportunity to showcase new skills on a professional network.
  • Discussion: Boost your profile with the new Microsoft Applied Skills credential
  • Demo:  Navigating Microsoft Credentials

2.2. Developer Tools & DevOps

2.2.1. azure migrate application and code assessment now generally available.

The Azure Migrate application and code assessment , now generally available, complements the Azure Migrate assessment and migration tool to help modernize and re-platform large-scale .NET and Java applications through detailed code and application scanning and dependencies detections. The tool offers a comprehensive report with recommended code changes for customers to apply a broad range of code transformations with different use cases and code patterns.

  • Breakout: Unlock innovation with AI by migrating enterprise apps to App Service
  • Discussion: Easy app migration with production grade landing zones & app patterns
  • Demo: Move to the cloud faster with Azure Migrate app and code assessmen

2.2.2. Azure Container Apps makes it easier to deploy apps, run AI workloads

Azure Container Apps is adding new features to make it easier to deploy code to the cloud and run AI workloads.

  • Dedicated GPU workload profiles: Users will be able to run machine learning models with Azure Container Apps as a target compute platform to build event driven intelligent applications to train models or derive data-driven insights. This feature is in preview.
  • Azure Container Apps landing zone accelerator: Simplifies building of a production-grade secured infrastructure at an enterprise scale to deploy fully managed, cloud-native apps and microservices. This feature is generally available.
  • Azure Container Apps code to cloud: Users will be able to focus on code and quickly take an application from source to cloud without the need to understand containers or how to package application code for deployment. This feature is in preview.
  • Vector database add-ins: Three of the most popular open-source vector database variants, Qdrant, Milvus and Weaviate, are now available in preview as add-ins for developers to get started in a fast and affordable way.
  • Blog: Build Intelligent Apps and Microservices with Azure Container Apps
  • Breakout: AI and Kubernetes: A winning combination for Modern App Development
  • Discussion: All about Intelligent apps: What are they and how to build them Q&A
  • Demo: Move to the cloud faster with Azure Migrate app and code assessment

2.2.3. Azure Deployment Environments adds new capabilities

Azure Deployment Environments is adding new capabilities to increase Azure service integration and expand configuration options. These features, now in preview, will make it easier to set up and delete application infrastructure with the Azure Developer CLI tool and the schedule auto-expiry feature and include:

  • Azure Developer CLI (azd) integration: Enterprise developers will be able to leverage azd to provision application infrastructure using Azure Deployment Environments and more easily deploy code onto their provisioned infrastructure.
  • Schedule auto-expiry: Development teams will be able to configure environments to auto-expire so that the resources are deleted once an environment is no longer needed.
  • Breakout: Develop in the cloud with Dev Box and Azure Deployment Environments

2.2.4. Azure Functions announces support for .NET 8, new hosting plan

Azure Functions now supports .NET 8 for applications using the isolated worker model. Support is now available for Windows and Linux on the consumption, elastic premium and application service plan hosting options. This update is generally available.

Flex Consumption Plan is a new Azure Functions hosting plan that will build on the consumption, pay-for-what’s-used, serverless billing model. It will provide more flexibility and customizability without compromising on available features. New capabilities will include fast and large elastic scale, instance size selection, private networking, availability zones and high concurrency control. Users can request access to the private preview .

2.2.5. Azure Kubernetes Service offers new capabilities for AI and machine learning workloads

Customers can now run specialized machine learning workloads like large language models (LLMs) on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) more cost effectively and with less manual configuration. The release of Kubernetes AI toolchain operator automates LLM model deployment on AKS across available CPU and GPU resources by selecting optimally sized infrastructure for the model. It makes it possible to easily split inferencing across multiple lower-GPU-count VMs, increasing the number of Azure regions where workloads can run, eliminating wait times for higher-GPU-count VMs and lowering overall cost. Customers can also choose from preset models with images hosted by AKS, significantly reducing overall inference service setup time.

Additionally, Azure Kubernetes Fleet Manager enables multi-cluster and at-scale scenarios for AKS clusters. Platform admins who are managing Kubernetes fleets with many clusters often face challenges staging their updates in a safe and predictable way. This allows admins to orchestrate updates across multiple clusters by using update runs, stages and groups. This is now generally available.

  • Breakout: Master Platform Engineering: Architecting Scalable & Resilient Systems
  • Demo: Dev-centric automation, AI-Assisted Ops and Cost Optimization in AKS

2.2.6. Azure Native Services update to optimize performance and scale

Azure Native ISV Services enables organizations to access and utilize specialized software and services on Microsoft Azure. These services offer features tailored for cloud performance, seamless integration and operational efficiency between independent software vendor (ISV) software and services native on Azure.

Apache Airflow™ on Astro – an Azure Native ISV Service now in preview – will enable organizations to place Airflow at the core of their data operations, providing ease of use, scalability and enterprise-grade security to help ensure the reliable delivery of mission-critical data pipelines. With the Azure Native ISV Services integration, Astro will be easily available within the Azure portal as a managed service. Instead of managing complex data pipelines, developers will be able to focus on data, code, security and billing across third-party entities. Developers may opt for the pay-as-you-go option based on their usage with billing via the Azure Marketplace.

2.2.7. Microsoft Dev Box introducing new capabilities for customization and setup

Microsoft Dev Box is introducing new capabilities to support greater customization and simplify Dev Box setup for development teams. These new features, now in preview, focus on increasing developer productivity and satisfaction:

  • Dev box limits: Developer teams will be able to directly limit the number of dev boxes each developer can create within a project to help manage costs and ensure efficient use of resources.

Additionally, Dev Boxes will connect to new Microsoft hosted networks to simplify network setup by eliminating the need to create, configure and secure a virtual network. IT admins and development teams can also use the new quick create template for a complete, step-by-step guide from initial admin configuration through Dev Box deployment.

Docker, in collaboration with Microsoft, now provides Dev Box-compatible preconfigured images on the Azure Marketplace that have everything needed to build containers with Visual Studio and Docker Desktop.

  • Demo: Use customization to personalize Dev Box for you and your team
  • Discussion: The ins and outs of deploying Microsoft Dev Box inside Microsoft, Q&A

2.2.8. Microsoft offering guidance to help organizations establish Platform engineering

Platform engineering is an approach that builds on DevOps best practices through tools for automation, tracking, governance and observability to accelerate modern software application delivery.

Organizations need developers to get started and deploy code quickly while also ensuring their software processes are secure, compliant and cost-controlled. Platform engineering capabilities empower developers with more self-service, automated experiences, and operations teams with more standardized, secure and efficient application development infrastructure to ultimately improve developer productivity, governance and time to business value.

Microsoft provides a core set of technology building blocks and learning modules to help organizations get started on their journey to establish a platform engineering practice.

  • Breakout: Build a productive and secure AI-powered experience for dev teams
  • Discussion: Platform engineering Q&A with the Microsoft platform engineering team

2.2.9. MQTT broker feature, publish-subscribe capabilities now available for Azure Event Grid

Azure Event Grid now supports additional capabilities to help customers capitalize on growing industry scenarios. A key part of this new functionality is the ability to deliver publish-subscribe messaging at scale, which enables flexible consumption patterns for data over HTTP and MQTT protocols. This capability is now generally available.

Reflecting the growing demand for connectivity, integration and analytics between Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cloud-based services, Azure Event Grid’s new MQTT broker feature enables bi-directional communication between MQTT clients at scale, enabling one-to-many, many-to-one and one-to-one messaging patterns using MQTT v3.1.1 and MQTT v5 protocols. This feature is now generally available.

These capabilities allow IoT devices from manufacturing plants, automobiles, retail stores and more to send data to – and receive data from – Azure services and third-party services. To process the data further, users can route IoT data to Azure services, such as Azure Event Hubs, Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps. Data can also be routed to third-party services via webhooks.

Other new features include:

  • Pull delivery for event-driven architectures: This allows customers to process events from highly secure environments without configuring a public end point, controlling the rate and volume of messages consumed, while supporting much larger throughput. This feature is generally available.
  • Push delivery to Azure Event Hubs: Event Grid namespaces will support the ability to push events to Azure Event Hubs at high scale through a namespace topic subscription. This enables the development of more distributed applications to send discrete events to ingestion pipelines. This feature is in preview.
  • Increased throughput units: To help customers scale to meet the demands of these new scenarios, Event Grid has also increased the number of throughput units available in an Event Grid namespace to 40, meeting the needs of more data-intensive scenarios by providing more capacity. This feature is generally available.

2.2.10. New AI and orchestration capabilities from Azure Communication Services

Azure AI Speech integration into Azure Communication Services Call Automation workflows, generally available in November, will enable AI-assisted experiences for customers calling into a business. By recognizing specific phrases as well as free-form sentences spoken by a customer, businesses will be able to adapt to changing customer needs and help shorten the time customers spend navigating Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus.

Azure Communication Services   job router , generally available in early December, will simplify the development of routing capabilities for inbound customer communications and steering customers to the most suitable point of contact in a business. Whether it’s an agent in a contact center with a specific skill set or an automated service designed to manage routine inquiries, job router will ensure that every customer inquiry is pointed to the most appropriate resource available.

  • Pre-recorded: Transform customer experiences with AI-assisted voice, video and chat

2.2.11.New capabilities simplify app migration to Azure App Service for Linux, Windows

Azure App Service is quickly becoming the preferred cloud destination for migrating millions of .NET and Java workloads still running on-premises. New capabilities that simplify app migration for Linux and Windows include:

  • Single subnet support for multiple App Service plans is now generally available. Network administrators gain substantial reduction in management overhead thanks to the new capability enabling multiple service plans to connect to a single subnet in a customer’s virtual network.
  • WebJobs on Linux is now in preview. WebJobs is a popular feature of Azure App Service that enables users to run background tasks in the Azure App Service without any additional cost. Previously available on Windows, it will extend to Linux, enabling customers to run background or recurring tasks and do things like send email reports or perform image or file processing.
  • Extensibility support on Linux is now in preview. Previously available on Windows, it will allow Linux web apps to take advantage of third-party software services on Azure and connect to Azure Native ISV services more easily.
  • gRPC, a high-performance, open-source universal RPC framework that now provides full bi-directional streaming support and increased messaging performance over HTTP/2 for web apps running on App Service for Linux is generally available.

2.2.12. New updates for integration of applications, data and processes in Azure

Several new updates have been made throughout Azure offerings, giving users the ability to better integrate their applications, data and processes.

API Management’s Credential Manager , now generally available, simplifies the management of authentication and authorization for both professional developers and citizen developers.

Defender for APIs , a new offering as part of Microsoft Defender for Cloud – a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP), is now generally available. Natively integrating with Azure API Management, security admins gain visibility into the Azure business-critical APIs, understand and improve their security posture, prioritize vulnerability fixes and detect and respond to active runtime threats within minutes using machine learning-powered anomalous and suspicious API usage detections.

Azure Integration Environment , in preview, is a new Azure Service that will offer a unified and streamlined experience for Azure Integration Services, presenting users with a single-pane view of the various components of Azure Integration Services used to build the integration solution. With a unified interface, it will empower users to effortlessly orchestrate and manage diverse components of the Azure Integration Services portfolio tailored to their unique needs.​

Other updates include:

  • .NET Framework Custom Code Extensibility for Azure Logic Apps is generally available.
  • Application Insights enhancements for Azure Logic Apps are generally available.
  • Business process tracking is in preview.
  • Discussion: Accelerate innovation with Azure Integration Services Q&A
  • Demo: Effective API Management: A Deep Dive on OpenAI + Azure API Management
  • Demo: Enhance API Data security with Defender for APIs

A woman sits in an office holding a Surface tablet.

3. Edge 3.1. Edge

3.1.1. shared links in edge will provide inbox for links.

Shared links in Microsoft Edge for Business will bring links that have been shared in Microsoft Outlook and Teams to helpful locations, such as the address bar, new tab page and the Edge sidebar. The experience will also be available in the Edge mobile app. Instead of having to hunt through emails and chats or ask a colleague for a link again, users will be able to easily find and open these links within the Edge browser.

Users will easily see recent links shared with them from Outlook and Teams by typing in the address bar or opening a new tab. They can also open a new Shared links pane in the Edge sidebar or in the Edge mobile app to see even more links. From there, they can filter by person, date, link type or the app it came from. Edge will be like an inbox to find and open shared links –providing a quick reference home for links that colleagues have shared.

Shared links in Microsoft Edge for Business is available as prepopulated results in the Edge address bar, is in preview in the Edge new tab page and in Edge mobile and will be coming soon to the sidebar.

A woman stands at a kitchen island working on a laptop.

4. Microsoft 365 4.1. Microsoft 365 Apps & Services

4.1.1. introducing microsoft sharepoint premium.

As the volume of content grows across every organization in this era of digital transformation and AI, Microsoft is expanding its content management portfolio beyond SharePoint, the market leader in content platforms.

SharePoint Premium , Microsoft’s new AI-powered solution to transform content management, content experiences and get content ready for Microsoft Copilot, a set of tools that help people achieve more using AI, is now in preview and will be generally available early next year. SharePoint Premium will build structure, security and governance to ground an organization’s content, so Copilot has better information to leverage. New features will include:

  • Content experiences to help information workers in their flow of work, allowing them to seamlessly discover, interact and collaborate with hundreds of file types , while providing fresh content using AI analytics with branded document packaging.
  • Content solutions that optimize critical business processes with AI, security and automated workflows.

SharePoint Premium also includes content processing and content governance services and solutions, with both new and existing capabilities from Microsoft Syntex and Microsoft SharePoint Advanced Management.

SharePoint Premium will expand content management in Microsoft 365 to help organizations get more value from their content throughout the lifecycle and bring content into the flow of work for information workers, IT pros, developers and more. Availability of services included in SharePoint Premium will roll out between now and the first half of 2024.

  • Blog: Introducing SharePoint Premium – the future of AI powered content management and experiences
  • Breakout: Transform your cloud content experiences: Introducing Microsoft SharePoint Premium

4.1.2. Microsoft Clipchamp and app integrations for Microsoft Designer now available

Microsoft 365 is enabling a new era of visual content creation for commercial customers. With Microsoft Clipchamp and Microsoft Designer , Microsoft 365 is democratizing video and image creation. Intuitive user experiences enhanced by AI make it simple for anyone to create compelling visuals – no experience required.

Microsoft Clipchamp Clipchamp is now generally available for commercial customers and can be accessed by users licensed for Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3 and E5) and Business (Standard and Premium) suites.

Additionally, Clipchamp Premium features and licensing will become available in December 2023. These features will include 4K exports, organization brand kit capabilities and premium stock content (audio, video and graphics), with more premium features being added in the coming months, including AI-powered features. Customers will also be able to purchase Clipchamp independently of Microsoft 365 as a standalone license.

Microsoft Designer Designer is first coming to commercial customers through integrations in various Microsoft 365 apps, so users can create images within the flow of work. Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3 and E5) and Business (Standard and Premium) users can now use Designer in Edge. Designer in Teams for creating announcement banners will become available in the coming weeks, and Copilot in Microsoft Designer for use in Word, PowerPoint and Whiteboard will be available by the end of 2023. A preview of the Designer app will become available to commercial customers in the coming months, followed by general availability later next year.

  • Pre-recorded: Visual Content Creation for Everyone: Clipchamp and Designer
  • Product roundtable: Microsoft Stream and Clipchamp

4.1.3. Microsoft Loop now generally available with updated features

The Microsoft Loop app is now generally available for the web and mobile (iOS and Android) for commercial customers. The Loop mobile app (iOS and Android) is generally available for consumer customers as well. Full functionality is available to business customers as part of their Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business Standard and Business Premium Licenses.

Recent improvements and new capabilities for the Loop app include:

  • Workspace status: Currently in private preview, Workspace status will provide information such as upcoming deadlines and status changes to provide a simple overview and help people know where to direct their attention.
  • Workspace descriptions: When a workspace is created, Loop will intelligently surface files and documents that may be related to the project. A more descriptive prompt can be included with the workspace title to return more refined results and kick off a workspace with everything that’s needed. This capability is in preview.
  • Power Automate: Loop will integrate Power Automate to help simplify task tracking and project management. A new rule can be created in a Loop table enabling automatic notifications to be sent when the table is updated. This automation will help teams stay on track while saving time to focus on what matters. This capability is in preview.
  • Start a workspace from Teams: After a Teams meeting, a Loop workspace will be able to be created and will be automatically populated with the related documents and notes from the meeting, helping a team get started on their project easily. This capability will be in preview by the end of 2023.
  • See also: 5.8.1. New capabilities in Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365
  • Demo: More effective meetings and collaboration with Loop + Teams
  • Pre-recorded: Microsoft Loop: Transforming the way we work together
  • Product roundtable: Microsoft Loop: help transform the future of co-creation
  • Product roundtable: Microsoft Loop integrations with apps outside of Microsoft 365
  • Product roundtable: Microsoft Loop: compliance and admin controls

4.1.4. New updates to Microsoft 365 for frontline workers

Microsoft 365 for frontline workers helps support employee experiences in communications and operational efficiency. New updates to the tool include:

Copilot (formerly Bing Chat Enterprise) with commercial data protection will be available to all Microsoft Entra ID users starting with F3 licenses in December. This new tool will bring AI-powered web searches, answers and content generation for frontline workers. And with commercial data protection, frontline workers will be able to make smart requests, like looking up inventory or summarizing large internal documents, without worrying they are sharing company data.

Shifts plugin for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365: Frontline managers will be able to quickly get a list of important items, specific to their team and location, to speed up time-consuming tasks such as covering shifts and onboarding new employees. Shifts plugin for Copilot for Microsoft 365 will use prompts to retrieve insights for frontline managers, leveraging data from the Shifts app, in addition to user and company data it has access to, like Teams chat history, SharePoint, emails and more. This feature will be generally available in December 2023.

Deploy and manage frontline teams with dynamic membership capabilities: Generally available in December, admins will be able to better deploy their frontline by provisioning frontline worker accounts and their teams with group membership in the Teams admin center. Using dynamic groups from Microsoft Entra ID, admins will automatically be kept up to date as people enter, move within or leave the organization. This dynamic membership makes it easy to set up a consistent Teams channel structure to optimize strong frontline collaboration from day one.

Deploy Shifts at scale: A new deployment tool to deploy and manage shifts for frontline workforce across multiple locations in the Teams admin center will be in preview in December. Users will be able to standardize time-off reasons, schedule groups and shift settings across all frontline teams.

Simple authorization with domain-less sign-in: Frontline workers will be able to sign in to Teams faster using only their employee ID, without having to type long domain names. This will be simple for frontline workers to use and easy to manage and deploy to reduce distribution and management overhead for IT admins. This feature will be available in preview in early 2024.

  • Breakout: Reimagine the frontline with next-generation AI and fast deployment
  • Breakout: Transforming service organizations with generative AI

4.1.5. The new Microsoft Planner brings together to-dos, tasks, plans and projects

Microsoft is bringing together Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project for the web into a single, unified experience called Microsoft Planner . This experience will first be available in the Planner app in Microsoft Teams in spring 2024, followed by web experiences later in 2024. Powerful, collaborative, scalable and assisted by next-generation AI, the new Planner will help everyone effectively manage their work and achieve their goals.

The new Planner experience will scale easily from collaborative task management to robust project management, empowering everyone, from information workers to frontline workers to project managers, so they can manage their work in one place and accelerate business outcomes with AI-enabled capabilities. Benefits will include:

  • The ability to easily find tasks, so users can focus on the tasks they need to get done today.
  • Helping users work the way they want. Whether for individual tasks or team initiatives, Planner will enable them to choose the approach that’s best for their needs.
  • Creating project plans with powerful scheduling and resourcing tools. As plans evolve, Planner will offer a menu of capabilities to meet unique business needs.
  • Copilot in Planner will help users get started with a plan faster with simple prompts and as the plan evolves, it will add goals and intelligently suggest new tasks to help keep users informed on progress.

In addition, the Tasks by Planner and To Do app in Microsoft Teams is being renamed Planner. Microsoft Project for the web will also be renamed over the coming months. Users of Project for the web can continue to use and enjoy the features they know, under the new name Planner.

The new Planner app in Microsoft Teams with premium work management capabilities and AI-powered experiences will be generally available in spring 2024, with the web experience coming later.

  • Discussion: The future of AI-enabled work management with Microsoft Planner
  • Demo: Using Copilot in Microsoft Planner for simple and advanced projects
  • Pre-recorded: The new Microsoft Planner: Bring together to-dos, plans and projects

4.2. Microsoft Teams

4.2.1. immersive spaces in teams generally available in january.

Immersive spaces in Microsoft Teams, currently in preview, will be generally available in January 2024. Immersive spaces in Teams will bring the power of Mesh into the place where people work every day – Microsoft Teams. From the View menu in a Teams meeting, users can easily transform a 2D meeting into an immersive 3D experience.

Key capabilities in immersive spaces in Teams will include:

  • Avatars: Choose an avatar previously built for standard 2D Teams meetings or create a new one. Avatars are easy to customize to reflect a person’s appearance, style or mood for the day.
  • 3D environments: Choose from one of the ready-made 3D environments based on meeting needs, whether it’s a big team, social gathering or a small round-table discussion.
  • Seat assignments: Select where to sit in a meeting or event to drive connections with others.
  • Spatial audio and audio zones: Have multiple, simultaneous conversations and communicate effectively in subgroups without talking over each other.
  • Interactive activities: Play built-in interactive games within immersive spaces. Designated areas include spaces to roast marshmallows, throw beanbags, answer icebreaker questions and more.
  • Live reactions : Use live reactions, such as hearts, thumbs up or clap, during discussions.
  • Blog: Learn more about what’s new in Microsoft Teams.
  • Breakout: Get ready for the future of work with Microsoft Teams

4.2.2. Microsoft Mesh generally available in January

Microsoft Mesh , currently in preview, will be generally available in January 2024. With Mesh, users will be able to create custom immersive spaces tailored to specific business needs, such as employee events, trainings, guided tours and internal product showcases. Using a no-code editor, customers will be able to easily customize an immersive event or the Mesh toolkit to leverage the power of Unity for fully customizable experience.

With the Mesh editor, users will be able to customize immersive experiences to address the unique needs of the event without writing a line of code. Event creators will be able to select from a set of ready-to-use immersive spaces, customize them by adding images, videos and screen share in a shared 3D canvas, and have them show up in an event in an orchestrated way. Once these objects are added, change the size and position, or put the video on loop so it fits right into the event. These customizations can then be saved as a template for anyone in the organization to reuse.

At general availability, additional capabilities will make it easier for speakers to interact with attendees when hosting immersive events in Mesh. Event organizers will be able to facilitate a Q&A session by enabling attendees to raise hands. Organizers will see the list of hands raised, in order, and will be able to call on participants, engaging them directly. When called on, attendees will be effectively seen and heard by everyone in the event. This makes immersive events more effective and engaging, and brings elements of real-life town hall experiences where organizers can facilitate a Q&A during an event.

The ability to customize immersive spaces in Mesh will be available in Teams Premium.

4.2.3. New features and enhancements in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams enables effective collaboration and communication for more than 320 million users around the world. New features in Teams bring a smarter, more personalized and simpler experience.

New Teams meeting features include:

  • Voice isolation in Teams meetings and calls: This AI-driven feature is an advanced noise suppression capability that leverages user’s voice profiles and suppresses other people’s voices in the background during a Teams meeting or call. AI in Teams will recognize an individual’s voice and filter only their voice in Teams meetings and calls. This feature rollout has begun and will be generally available in early 2024.
  • Decorate your background: Meeting participants will be able to use generative background effects in Teams to show up at their best – even when the space they’re working from isn’t at its best. With Decorate your background, meeting participants can use the power of AI to generate a background that decorates and enhances their real-world room, by cleaning up clutter or adding plants to a wall. This feature will be available early next year in Teams Premium.

Teams chat and channels enhancements, which are rolling out now through January 2024 include:

  • Customize default reactions: Users will have the flexibility to change and select their default emoji reactions in Teams chat, as well as reduce the number of reactions in their interface.
  • Forward chat: Users will be able to easily share a message received with another colleague by simply clicking on the message and selecting forward from the menu.
  • Group chat profile picture: Users will have a better way to reflect their team and group chat topic with custom pictures. Group chat members can upload an image or use pre-selected illustrations and emojis.
  • Loop components in channels: When composing a post in a channel, users will be able to easily co-create and collaborate on Loop components such as tables, lists, progress trackers and more.
  • Channel announcement background: Users will be able to create a personalized announcement background that harnesses creativity and engages teams in new ways. Users will be able to add images, type a description or use the power of AI to generate a personalized background. Creating an image using generative AI will be available in Teams Premium and Copilot.

New Teams Phone features include:

  • Private line: Now in general availability, users can have a private second phone number for a select set of callers so they can make calls directly to a specified contact, bypassing delegates, admins or assistants. Inbound calls to the private line will be distinguished by a unique ringtone and notification.
  • Protected voicemail: To ensure users don’t miss important voicemails with sensitive information, users will now receive notifications for protected voicemails in the Calls app in Teams with a link to access the voicemail securely in the Outlook web app. This is now generally available.
  • New Teams Phone offers in India: For customers who have employees based in India, Microsoft is working with local operators – Airtel, Tata Communications Limited and Tata Tele Business Services – which will be launching their Teams Phone-powered solutions in compliance with regulatory requirements in the market. These solutions will provide employees with greater calling flexibility and will support work-from-home scenarios as well.

Updates to create a simpler and easier Teams experience include:

  • Microsoft Teams web experience: Microsoft recently released the new Teams app for Windows and Mac, and now, the new Teams web experience is generally available for web customers who use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, providing a faster and simpler Teams experience to help users save time and collaborate more efficiently. New Teams is reimagined from the ground up to deliver up to two times faster performance while using 50 percent less memory. From redesigning channels and simplifying notifications to enhancing personalization options, the new Teams web experience offers a simpler and responsive user experience that’s easier to navigate and accomplish with fewer clicks.
  • New Teams keyboard shortcuts: New keyboard shortcuts in Teams will save users time when composing a message, navigating in the app, taking an action in a chat and channels or changing a setting. New shortcuts include Alt+Shift+D to set status to Do not disturb and Alt+Shift+R to reply quickly to the latest message received. The full list of keyboard shortcuts is available, and new shortcuts will be generally available by January 2024.
  • Code block enhancements: New enhancements to code blocks will make it easier for users to send code in Teams. Users will be able to start a code block using the entry point in format options or by using markdown. Users can pick/change the code language for syntax highlighting when pasting or writing code. This update will be generally available by January 2024.
  • Simplified notifications: Users will be able to clear notifications with a single click in activity, chat and channels and customize Teams notification settings to quickly identify what matters most. This update will be generally available in January 2024.
  • Manage your teams and channels: Users can easily manage the channels list in Teams to focus on what matters most. When starting a new collaboration space, users will be prompted to create a channel,  and when joining a new team users can choose only the channels they would like to show in the channel list. When a channel is no longer active or relevant, a user can archive the channel, and it will be hidden and closed for further action, but the information can still be accessed. This update will be generally available in January 2024.
  • Private team discovery: Admins will be able to make private teams discoverable in their organization. Users can view and search for these private teams through the “Join team gallery” in their client. This update will be generally available in January 2024.
  • Shared channels enhancements: To make it easier to collaborate with external stakeholders, admins are able to set up a form that captures the user’s request to add an external member who is not from an approved organization. Team members can also create shared channels , if the channel owner permits it. Users can share direct links to a channel, post or reply . This update will be generally available in January 2024.
  • Teams AI library: Teams AI library, a new feature for app developers, is now generally available for JavaScript and .NET. The Teams AI library simplifies building engaging conversational apps in Microsoft 365. The library helps app developers build intelligent bots and message extensions powered by AI and large language models.
  • Blog: Learn more about what’s new in Microsoft Teams .

4.2.4. New features streamline IT management for Teams experiences

Several new features have been developed for Microsoft Teams to help streamline processes for IT admins and organizations and include:

Teams Rooms low-friction deployment: Teams Rooms can now be deployed using Windows Autopilot , in private preview, reducing deployment times from days to just a few hours. For devices that can’t use Autopilot, Microsoft is introducing a simplified deployment option with one-time passwords (OTPs), 16-digit codes that will eliminate the risk of sharing access credentials. OTP will be generally available in November. Remote Access is coming to the Teams Rooms Pro Management portal and will allow remote troubleshooting and proactive maintenance, monitoring device health and preventing issues before they affect meetings.

Simplifying Teams Phone deployment with shared calling: Shared calling allows admins to enable groups of users to make and receive public switched telephone network (PSTN) calls using a shared phone number and calling plan. With shared calling, a single phone number and calling plan can be shared across a team of users whether that’s a team of 10 people in a small office or 10,000 users in an enterprise department – they just need to have a Teams Phone license through either Microsoft 365 E5 or Teams Phone Standard. This feature is generally available.

Advanced Collaboration Tools: Advanced Collaboration Tools in Teams Premium empower IT admins to provide a more secure and self-regulated environment. Priority account chat controls , in preview, empower users to manage unwanted internal communications via policies setting. Users are notified about chats from new contacts, giving them a choice to accept or block the conversations.  Advanced collaboration analytics , now generally available, offers deep insights into external collaboration behaviors. It empowers Teams admins to facilitate successful collaboration and mitigate potential risks of external collaboration.

  • Blog: Learn more about Advanced Collaboration Tools.
  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Teams Phone.
  • Pre-recorded: Microsoft Teams Phone: the smart calling solution for Teams

4.3. Microsoft Viva

4.3.1. updates to viva engage and viva amplify.

Viva Engage and Viva Amplify are tools to allow organizations to connect everyone through employee communities and conversations to build meaningful relationships and give company messages needed volume. Updates to both platforms include:

  • Multi-tenant organization (MTO) communication: Viva Engage supports MTO cross-tenant communication to make it easier for leaders to communicate and engage at scale to build community across the organization. Leaders can send a storyline announcement across tenants to share the same story to all stakeholders. Responding, reacting and analytics will be supported for cross-tent posts. This update is now generally available.
  • Publish from Viva Amplify to Viva Engage: This integration will allow for publishing from Viva Amplify to Viva Engage communities and storylines. It will also incorporate content shared to Engage within reports in Viva Amplify. This update will be available in private preview early next year.
  • Viva Goals and Viva Engage integration: The integration will bring mission, alignment and results into communities and conversation by helping customers build communities around goals, view goal progress from Viva Goals directly in Viva Engage and create divisional communities within Viva Engage designed to help leaders better communicate top-down interactions and initiatives, including delivering praise based on goal progress and achievement. This update will be generally available in the first half of 2024.
  • Seeded and AI-connected knowledge in Answers: This update will allow users to use AI to generate questions and answers from existing files and import them into Answers . Also, AI will automatically route open questions to people who might have the answer. Users can identify the right topics for a question, see top similar responses before publishing, and aid in routing to experts. This update will start rolling out later this year.
  • Viva Amplify updates: Viva Amplify will include publication templates for campaigns, adds localization in more than 50 languages and will include better reporting from system data to incorporate custom data from HR tools into filtering and reports. This update will be generally available in December.
  • Discussion: AI in Viva Engage

A man sits in front of a colorful mural working on a tablet.

5. Microsoft Copilot 5.1. Azure Data

5.1.1. introducing copilot in microsoft fabric.

Microsoft Fabric is being infused with  Azure OpenAI Service  at every layer to help customers unlock the full potential of their data, enabling developers to leverage the power of generative AI against their data and assisting business users to find insights in their data.

With Copilot in Microsoft Fabric in every data experience, customers will be able to use conversational language to create dataflows and data pipelines, generate code and entire functions, build machine learning models or visualize results. Customers will even be able to create their own conversational language experiences that combine Azure OpenAI Service models and their data, and publish them as plugins.

Copilot in Fabric, now in preview, will build on Microsoft’s existing commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise. Copilot inherits an organization’s security, compliance and privacy policies. Microsoft does not use an organization’s tenant data to train the base language models that power Copilot.

  • Keynote: AI transformation for your organization with the Microsoft Cloud
  • Breakout: Build powerful AI apps with Copilot in Microsoft Fabric

5.2. Azure Management & Operations

5.2.1. microsoft copilot for azure boosts productivity with generative ai.

Microsoft Copilot for Azure, now in preview, is an AI companion that will simplify how users design, operate, optimize and troubleshoot applications and infrastructure from cloud to edge.

With Copilot for Azure, customers will gain new insights into their workloads, unlock untapped Azure functionality and orchestrate tasks across both cloud and edge. Copilot will leverage large language models (LLMs), the Azure control plane and insights about a user’s Azure and Arc-enabled assets. All of this is carried out within the framework of Azure’s steadfast commitment to safeguarding the customer’s data security and privacy.

  • Blog: Simplify IT management with Microsoft Copilot for Azure – save time and get answers fast
  • Breakout: Simplifying cloud operations with the Azure Portal
  • Discussion: Leveraging AI to manage your workloads with new Azure management tools

5.3.1. Bringing Copilot to everyone

The efforts to simplify the user experience and make Copilot more accessible to everyone starts with Bing, Microsoft’s leading experience for the web. Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise will now simply become Copilot. For Microsoft Entra customers, Copilot in Bing, Edge and Windows adds commercial data protection. Copilot will be out of preview and become generally available starting December 1. Over time, Microsoft will also expand eligibility of Copilot with commercial data protection to even more Entra ID (formerly Azure Active Directory) users at no additional cost.

5.4. Copilot for Sales and Copilot for Service

5.4.1. introducing microsoft copilot for service.

The power of generative AI is being extended to business user workflows with the introduction of Microsoft Copilot for Sales and Microsoft Copilot for Service. These copilots are designed to help organizational functions reinvent business processes with AI and stay in the flow of work. Both Copilots will include a license for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, allowing for generative AI support across all workflows to surface business insights, accelerate decision-making and create materials, such as briefs or customer communications, all with context rooted in data from existing CRM systems of records, knowledge repositories, third-party applications and Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Copilot for Service is a new business copilot that will help extend existing contact centers with generative AI to boost agent productivity. Copilot for Service will include Copilot for Microsoft 365 and will integrate with third-party CRM and contact center solutions. Organizations will be able to simply point to their data, such as trusted websites, knowledgebase articles, files and, more importantly, data sources from their existing contact center, and in a few minutes unlock generative AI-powered conversations across all their data. Copilot for Service will include out-of-the-box integrations with Salesforce, ServiceNow and Zendesk, and will be extended to other systems with more than 1,000 pre-built and custom connectors.

During customer interactions, agents will be able to ask Copilot for Service questions in natural language and receive relevant insights pulled from customer and product data sourced from knowledge repositories. This will improve the speed at which agents can meaningfully assist and resolve cases, providing better experiences for both agents and customers. And since Copilot for Service will include Copilot for Microsoft 365, these productivity resources will be delivered in the tools agents already use every day, such as Outlook and Teams, as well as third-party agent desktops of choice like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Zendesk and others.

  • Demo: Discover how Dynamics 365 Copilot empowers service teams
  • Discussion: Learn how Dynamics 365 Copilot unlocks modern service experiences

5.4.2. Microsoft Copilot for Sales will boost enhancements and integration partnerships

Microsoft Sales Copilot ,  already generally available and being used by 15,000 organizations including Rockwell Automation, Netlogic and Avanade, helps sellers create more personalized customer engagements and increase productivity. Building off this success, Microsoft is today announcing the new Microsoft Copilot for Sales, which will include licenses for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. Copilot for Sales will help sellers by leveraging the power of generative AI across Microsoft 365 apps, CRM systems of record and other relevant third-party data sources via Power Platform connectors.

Copilot for Sales capabilities will include access to Copilot for Microsoft 365 that will bring the power of both Copilots to allow sellers to harness the benefits of generative AI across all workflows and productivity surfaces, such as Microsoft Teams and Word in a newly integrated experience.

  • Meeting recaps in Teams will combine insights from Copilot for Sales and Copilot for Microsoft 365 to surface action items, task creation and conversation KPIs.
  • Copilot for Sales will be able to create a meeting preparation brief by pulling relevant information into a Word document, including a summary of the account and opportunity, names and titles of meeting participants, open tasks related to the opportunity, relevant highlights from recent meetings, relevant email threads and more.
  • Blog: Introducing new Copilot experiences to boost productivity and elevate customer experiences across the organization 
  • Breakout: Transform customer experience with Dynamics 365 and next-generation AI
  • Discussion: Discuss the extensible architecture of copilots in sales and marketing
  • Demo: See the latest enhancements with Copilot in sales and marketing

5.5. Dynamics 365

5.5.1. new capabilities and integrated offerings for copilot in dynamics 365 field service.

Dynamics 365 Field Service, which helps businesses transform their service operations and improve customer experiences through AI, mixed reality and the Internet of Things (IoT), has several new Copilot capabilities and integrated offerings. They include:

Improved technician productivity with next-generation AI In preview beginning December 2023, frontline workers will be able to access key work order information by asking Copilot questions within Microsoft Teams. Using natural language, they will be able to simply state what they need to receive specific information related to work orders in Dynamics 365 Field Service, including status updates, parts needed or instructions to help them get the job done.

Additionally with the Dynamics 365 Field Service app in Teams , generally available in December, frontline workers will be able to view and edit their work orders in the flow of work in Teams. Copilot will also become generally available to assist frontline managers with work order scheduling in Microsoft Teams, saving time and effort to find the right worker for the job.

With the preview of new Copilot capabilities in Dynamics 365 Field Service mobile in December, frontline technicians will be able to quickly get a summary of key points in a work order without having to navigate through a series of tabs. They will be able to swiftly make progress updates by simply speaking to Copilot and describing what they did. Copilot will provide suggestions to efficiently check off service tasks, add notes and update product quantities as well as statuses, accelerating data-entry so technicians can focus on providing great customer service.

Streamlined manager workflows with next-generation AI Introduced in preview earlier this year and becoming generally available in December, Copilot capabilities in the Dynamics 365 Field Service Outlook add-in for frontline managers will streamline work order creation with relevant details pre-populated from emails, as well as optimize technician scheduling with data-driven recommendations based on factors such as travel time, availability and skillset, without switching apps. Relevant work orders are surfaced within this experience for managers to review before creating new work orders, and these can be easily rescheduled or updated as customer needs change.

Introduced in preview earlier this year and now generally available, a redesigned Dynamics 365 Field Service work order management experience brings important information front and center – reducing the number of clicks for key tasks by more than a third. Additionally, Copilot is available in preview within this experience to provide frontline managers intelligent recaps so they can stay up to date without having to navigate through all the information in a work order.

Efficiencies with more integrated offerings Seamless financial and inventory data flow between Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management will help ensure the frontline and back-office operations stay in sync. By syncing real-time price and cost information from work orders, and automatically updating financial and inventory data as work orders are executed, this integration, in preview, will reduce the effort required to connect these Dynamics 365 apps.

Beginning December 2023, Dynamics 365 Field Service customers can get access to Dynamics 365 Guides and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist at no additional cost. Users will be able to create guides to provide technicians with step-by-step instructions for key tasks and enable real-time collaboration with remote experts via mobile or HoloLens 2 devices when additional assistance is needed. Also, customers can purchase Dynamics 365 Field Service Contractor to provide essential work order management functionality to vendors as they scale field service operations to meet demand.

  • Blog: Learn more about these updates .

5.5.2. New Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales features

Two new Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales experiences will allow sellers to interact with their data using natural language and include:

  • The ability for sellers to use natural language with Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales to get contextual insights and recommendations for leads and opportunities, in addition to using pre-built prompts previously announced. This feature is in preview.
  • A full-screen view for Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales where sellers will be able to use natural language or pre-built prompts to gain a quick understanding of customers, deals, meetings, forecasts and more. This experience will roll out starting in November in Asia and Europe and will continue into other markets at later dates.
  • While Copilot in Dynamics 365 Sales already integrates with popular seller tools like, Copilot now takes that a step further with extensibility for independent software vendors (ISVs) who can leverage Power Platform Connectors to integrate into Opportunity Summary view in Outlook . These are already being used by DocuSign and PROS to bring relevant contract details, and pricing and quotes, respectively, into Outlook .

5.5.3. New features, enhancements and partnerships for Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, which uses real-time data and next-generation AI to help marketers understand their customers and create personalized experiences, has several new features and updates, all in preview over the next month and include:

Deeper customer understanding and connected marketing and sales capabilities . Marketers will be able to now qualify their leads using metrics, such as engagement scores, and easily hand off to their sellers to help ensure marketing and sales teams maximize the opportunity pipeline and increase win rates.

Sellers will benefit from AI-generated customer profile summaries from their customer data platform application that summarize key components of customer profiles, including demographic, transactional, behavioral and analytics data, to generate key insights for quick customer understanding.

Integration partnerships with Optimizely . Organizations will be able to leverage segments and journeys built in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights in Optimizely to create campaigns that can be personalized in real-time without writing any code. With bi-directional integrations, organizations will be able to provide hyper-personalized omnichannel experiences to their customers across web, social, email and offline channels.

5.6.1. Simplify management of Edge for Business with Copilot in Microsoft 365 admin center

Copilot will be coming to the Edge management service via Copilot in Microsoft 365 admin center to provide an intelligent management experience for Edge for Business. Copilot in Microsoft 365 admin center will provide a shared experience across other Microsoft 365 admin centers as well, including SharePoint, Teams and more, to create a cohesive Copilot experience across Microsoft 365 management services for IT admins.

Currently available in private preview, Copilot in the Edge management service will give guidance to IT admins on recommended policies and extensions for their users. More capabilities will be added in the future.

  • Product roundtable: Shaping the future of admin experiences in Copilot

5.7. Industry Cloud

5.7.1. copilot in dynamics 365 guides brings mixed reality and ai to real-world operations.

Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides is a new capability that will bring the power of mixed reality and generative AI to real-world operations, enabling frontline workers to address issues faster with the combined power of AI, mixed reality and the Microsoft Cloud.

Copilot will enable field service technicians and operators in manufacturing and service industries to converse with AI using natural language. The AI, powered by Azure OpenAI Service, will pull from a curated set of documentation to serve up relevant information based on the task at hand. That information could include things like help with troubleshooting, step-by-step procedural guidance, detailed information, service work history, current device readings or completion of work order forms. Holographic overlays will allow workers to accomplish tasks seamlessly without breaking the flow of work.

With Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides, organizations will be able to:

  • Improve operational efficiency by enabling workers with the right information at the right time within the flow of work. With the ability to point and ask, frontline workers will be able to point at a component on a machine that needs service or repairs, ask questions and receive intelligent answers that help them resolve issues faster and reduce on-the-job frustration.
  • Accelerate the onboarding of new workers and upskill existing workforce effectively with an immersive and intelligent learning platform in mixed reality, which improves confidence in executing a task while reducing cognitive overload. The capability will help create personalized, role-based training to accelerate onboarding time and reduce the need for retraining.
  • Seamlessly capture, integrate and democratize institutional knowledge into existing workflows and access detailed repair guidance, historical service data and best practices in real time, helping to ensure consistent, high-quality maintenance while minimizing errors.
  • Enable frontline workers to access and update forms and systems of record associated with their work and the equipment they’re working on, without leaving the flow of work.

Copilot in Dynamics 365 Guides is currently in private preview on HoloLens 2.

5.8. Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365

5.8.1. new capabilities in microsoft copilot for microsoft 365.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI assistant at work. It automatically inherits an organization’s security, compliance and privacy policies for Microsoft 365. Data is managed in line with Microsoft’s current commitments. I t’s integrated into the Microsoft 365 apps millions of people use every day —Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and more. Copilot for Microsoft 365 is already used by tens of thousands of enterprise users in the Early Access Program, including customers at companies like Visa and KPMG and is now generally available for enterprise customers.

New capabilities for Copilots include:

Microsoft Copilot Dashboard As organizations invest in AI productivity tools, leaders need clear visibility into how employees are leveraging AI and how is it transforming their organization’s productivity. They need to ensure these tools are being used to their full potential. Microsoft Copilot Dashboard, powered by Microsoft Viva, will help leaders answer how copilot is affecting their organization and changing the way people work. This dashboard will enable leaders and organizations to plan their copilot readiness, drive adoption and measure the impact of Copilot for Microsoft 365. It’s available as part of Microsoft 365 subscriptions starting today and coming to the Viva Insights app in Teams and on the web in December 2023.

Copilot in Microsoft Teams With the combined power of Copilot in Microsoft Whiteboard and Copilot in Teams, meeting participants will be able to visualize meeting discussions. In addition to live summarization and notes during a Teams meeting, coming next year, Copilot will be able to visualize spoken discussion points and organize them in Whiteboard .  Copilot will be able to turn meeting participants’ spoken ideas and topics into a visual collaboration space in Whiteboard that can be shared across all meeting participants. Copilot will be able to suggest more ideas to add to Whiteboard as the meeting conversation happens. The captured content on Whiteboard will be saved as a Microsoft Whiteboard file, accessible via Teams, OneDrive for Business and directly via the Whiteboard app. For Copilot licensed users, a Copilot-generated summary of the Whiteboard will be able to be shared as a Loop component in Outlook, Word, Teams and more.

Copilot in Teams meetings will be able to take notes throughout a meeting and share with all participants during a Teams meeting. Users will be able to add shared meeting notes and agenda items in Collaborative notes. Collaborative notes are Loop components which stay in sync across all the places they’ve been shared. When enabled before the meeting, Copilot will automatically take live notes within Collaborative notes, so attendees can focus on the discussion. These notes will be shared with meeting participants and Copilot users will be able to ask for more specific notes like “Capture what Beth said as a quote.” Only one meeting participant will be required to have the Copilot license for the notes to be viewable and editable to all meeting participants. This capability will roll out next year in the Teams desktop and web app.

Copilot in Teams can be used during Teams meetings without retaining transcription. In the Teams admin center, admins can now assign a policy to enable Copilot with or without transcription, and meeting organizers can set their preference before the meeting starts. When enabled without transcription, Copilot can be used during the meeting to ask any question about the meeting, and after the meeting ends no transcript or Copilot interactions will be retained. Since no transcript is retained after the meeting, neither intelligent recap nor Copilot will be available after the meeting when this policy is enabled. This capability is generally available.

Copilot in Microsoft Teams channels, now generally available, enables users to quickly synthesize key information from a past conversation and have it summarized, with organized key discussion points. The summary of information includes citations, to keep users aware of the source.

The new Copilot compose box in Teams chat and channels, now generally available, serves as a writing assistant to help edit messages. Copilot can help rewrite messages, adapt the tone and modify length of the message before the user sends it.

In July, Copilot in Teams Phone was announced, allowing users to get real-time summarization and insights during calls. Users will soon be able to access Copilot from the Calls app in Teams to generate summaries, action items or ask any specific questions about the conversation after a call has wrapped up. The Copilot post-call experience in the Calls app will be supported for both VoIP and PSTN calls.

Copilot in Microsoft Outlook Copilot in Microsoft Outlook will make it possible to do more in less time and with less effort. The new Copilot features help will help users prepare and schedule meetings.

Here is how it will work:

  • Preparing for meetings : Copilot will be able to generate a detailed summary of upcoming meetings based on the invite, related emails and attached files, making it easier to get ready for the meeting in minutes.
  • Scheduling meetings : Copilot will make it easy to schedule a follow-up meeting or any other meeting from an email summary. Either click the suggested action or chat with Copilot to set up a meeting. Copilot will be able to create an agenda, a title, a list of attendees and a context for the meeting. It will also be able to find the best available times for everyone.

Copilot in Outlook will begin to roll out in early 2024.

Copilot in Microsoft Loop Copilot in Loop will be able to use information from a document linked in the prompt to generate even more relevant responses. This capability is currently rolling out for customers with a Copilot license and will be available for the web. It will also be able to intelligently adapt previous Loop pages to new projects, creating custom templates. This capability will roll out next year for customers with a Copilot license, and the updates are in preview.

Copilot in Microsoft Word Catchup and comments in Copilot in Word will help users comprehend what has changed in a document by asking questions like, “How do I see what has changed in this document?” to reveal changes and revisions made by anyone who has accessed the document. It will also use information from Microsoft Graph to create more personalization by considering user preferences, interests and other information. These updates will be available early 2024.

  • Blog: Introducing Microsoft Copilot Studio and new features in Copilot for Microsoft 365
  • Blog: Microsoft Loop: built for the new way of work, generally available to Microsoft 365 work accounts
  • Keynote: Unlock Productivity with Microsoft Copilot
  • Breakout: Transform copilot development
  • Demo: Build conversational experiences with generative AI

5.8.2. Extend and enrich Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 with plugins and connectors

With Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, users will be able to expand skills and knowledge of Copilot via plugins and Microsoft Graph connectors, now in preview. Users will be able to install and enable plugins to extend the game-changing abilities of Copilot for Microsoft 365 with internal and third-party applications they use every day.

Microsoft 365 admins will be able to deploy Microsoft Graph connectors and have their data semantically surfaced by Copilot in response to user prompts. Users will benefit from fast, semantic retrieval of relevant data that is managed within the data governance boundaries of their Microsoft 365 tenant.

Copilot-generated responses will provide the right citations and attributions that will help users trace and access the source content. Several plugins and Graph connectors, including Web search powered by Bing, Microsoft Dataverse, Jira, Trello, Mural, Confluence, Freshworks and Priority Matrix and more are now available. Also, customers like KPMG, Air India and Avanade, among others, are developing custom plugins for their business needs, providing them with the benefits of Copilot for Microsoft 365 with their line-of-business applications for their users.

Plugins can be installed by users via the app store in Teams, Outlook and, and Graph connectors can be installed by IT from Microsoft 365 admin center.

New controls in Microsoft 365 admin center, now generally available, enable admins to discover and manage plugins for Microsoft Copilot, a set of tools that people help achieve more using AI . Microsoft 365 admins can also now quickly and easily identify available plugins for Microsoft Copilot, enabled for users in the tenant, and set appropriate access policies for user activation. Independent software vendor (ISV) and internally developed apps with plugin capabilities are automatically highlighted for admin review. Plugin access controls are centrally managed and can be set by user, group and tenant wide.

Developers will be able to build plugins for Microsoft Copilot via Teams message extensions to extend Copilot for Microsoft 365. Developers will be able to build or enhance Teams Message Extensions with Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code and get plugins to extend Copilot for Microsoft 365. Message extensions must use manifest version 1.13 or above. Additionally, developers will be able to build Teams message extensions directly from APIs. API-based message extensions will extend Copilot in the future. This capability is in preview.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 developer sandbox is now available in private preview. Copilot for Microsoft 365 developer sandbox SKU will enable developers to build and test plugins and Graph connectors in a non-production tenant environment. The SKU is in private preview and available for purchase by independent software vendors (ISVs) in the Microsoft 365 TAP program and Copilot for Microsoft 365 customers .

Microsoft 365 and Copilot program to publish apps and plugins for Microsoft 365 is available in preview in Partner Center. Independent software vendors (ISVs) will be able to submit apps that include Copilot plugins and Graph connectors for Teams, Outlook and more to the new Microsoft 365 and Copilot program. Developers will be able to package plugins and Graph connectors into the same unified app manifest and publish their app to Partner Center. Upon app validation, these apps will be made available in Microsoft 365 admin center, where administrators can discover and enable for their users. Users can discover the apps and plugins through the app store in Teams, Outlook and

  • Blog: Learn more about Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 plugins and connectors
  • Blog: Learn more on the Microsoft 365 Developer blog .
  • Breakout: Extend Microsoft 365 Copilot with your line of business apps and data
  • Discussion: Ask early adopters: Building LOB plug-ins for Microsoft 365 Copilot

5.8.3. Introducing Copilot for Microsoft 365 admin in private preview

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 admin is a set of experiences that will harness the value of generative AI to boost Microsoft 365 admins’ productivity by streamlining daily work, so admins are empowered to focus on their strategic priorities, make faster decisions and maximize the value of their investments.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 admin is designed to help IT admins simplify their admin tasks, generate insights faster and get more out of Microsoft 365. Copilot can help admins navigate the vast array of tools, controls and configurations to quickly guide an admin to exactly where they need to go, offer up suggestions and guidance and simplify reporting and querying by surfacing information through natural language prompts – all in a seamless experience across Microsoft 365 admin center, specialized admin centers and more to meet admins where they are in the flow of work.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 admin for enterprise customers in the Microsoft 365 admin center, including Edge and Windows Update management service, Teams admin center, Exchange admin center and SharePoint admin center, is in private preview.

  • Blog: Ignite 2023 – What’s New for Copilot and Microsoft 365 admins
  • Demo: Empowering Microsoft 365 admins with new AI-powered experiences
  • Pre-recorded: What’s new for Microsoft 365 admins

5.8.4. Introducing Microsoft Copilot Studio

Microsoft Copilot Studio is an end-to-end conversational AI platform that empowers users to create and customize copilots using natural language or a graphical interface. Copilot Studio is the perfect companion for Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365, putting IT in control, while ensuring predictability of responses for key topics.

With Copilot Studio, users will be able to easily design, test and publish copilots that suit specific needs and preferences. Users will be able to leverage the power of generative AI to dynamically create multi-turn answers over data and dialogues that are engaging and relevant for users, and to add specific conversations for predictable scenarios that require authored responses and workflows, such as expense management, HR onboarding or IT services.

Copilot Studio will also enable users to link copilots with the broader Microsoft Conversational AI stack through integrations with Azure AI Studio and additional Azure services. This will allow users to access advanced features, like speech recognition, sentiment analysis, entity extraction and more, while having full visibility and control with built-in governance.

Copilot Studio will provide an intuitive and integrated design studio experience for makers. With plugin builder, makers will be able to create, manage and test plugins, including Power Platform connectors and Power Automate flows. With prompt builder, makers will be able to create custom prompts, including ones that leverage generative AI.

Copilot Studio will enable users to create impactful conversational AI experiences and drive business outcomes. Users can now leverage Copilot Studio to customize Copilot for Microsoft 365, included in the Copilot for Microsoft 365 license.

  • Blog: Learn more about Microsoft Copilot Studio .
  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Microsoft 365 .

5.9. Microsoft Viva

5.9.1. viva and microsoft 365 chat integration, and copilot in viva updates.

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 enhanced with Microsoft Viva will provide AI-powered assistance for employee experience. Copilot will work across Viva data and applications as a single interface to guide employees, managers and HR leaders with self-service insights and experiences such as understanding team health, setting new priorities with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) or upskilling for career growth.

This new integration will be available for customers who have deployed both Copilot for Microsoft 365 and the Viva suite and will be in private preview early next year.

Additionally, updates to Copilot experiences in Viva apps will help organizations better understand and engage with their workforce to improve performance and include:

  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva Insights will enable leaders and their delegates to use natural language prompts to generate personalized, dynamic reports that answer questions about their teams and organization, and will simplify the query building process for analysts. This Copilot will be in preview early next year.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva Goals will enable users to easily generate and refine goals with conversational AI and from existing strategy documents, as well as summarize goal progress to share with and across teams. This Copilot will be in preview in December 2023.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva Engage will help inspire leaders and employees to post using AI-created conversation starters, prompts and images. It will also give leaders insight into employee sentiment, cultivate an environment of trust by tailoring and refining message tone and enhance the quality of questions being asked with suggested prompts. This Copilot will be in preview in January 2024.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva Learning will allow users to easily create structured learning collections, find the right learning resources and summarize learning content using conversational AI. This Copilot will be in private preview for joint Viva and SAP SuccessFactors customers by the end of 2023.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Viva Glint will enable leaders to summarize and analyze thousands of employee comments from employee engagement surveys and provide a fresh way to explore feedback by asking questions through natural language. This Copilot will be available for private preview in January 2024.

Additionally, see here for details around a new dashboard from Viva Insights that provides leaders and organizations visibility into Microsoft Copilot adoption and impact.

  • See also: 5.8.3. Introducing Copilot for Microsoft 365 admin in private preview
  • Breakout: Drive engagement and performance with Microsoft Viva

5.10. Power Platform

5.10.1. new experiences for copilot in power automate.

Microsoft is announcing new Copilot experiences in Power Automate for developers and orchestrators. With these new releases, Copilot in Microsoft Power Automate will span process mining, API automation, robotic process automation (RPA) and orchestration.

These new experiences, in preview, will enable users to discover and create UI and API automation faster, while streamlining productivity and insights into how they are run and managed and include:

  • Using Copilot to assist with desktop flows: Copilot will be integrated into the Console and the Designer of Power Automate for desktop. Copilot will assist with desktop flows (RPA) by typing questions and getting relevant information and step-by-step instructions from documentation. Additionally, users will be able to generate scripts by describing what to do, and code will be automatically generated.
  • Using Copilot to analyze automation activity: Admins, Center of Excellence (CoE) teams and business users and makers with access to flow run histories will be able to query past runs in natural language across their environment.
  • Breakout: Improve Efficiency with Power Automate Process Mining and RPA
  • Demo: Drive process optimization with Copilot in process mining
  • Demo: New features in Power Automate desktop designer
  • Discussion: Enabling your Automation CoE to Modernize with Power Automate Q&A
  • Discussion: How Process Mining can drive business efficiency in various industries Q&A

5.10.2. Power Apps continues to advance IT governance, Copilot and modern experiences in app development

Power Apps gives developers tools to rapidly build modern, high-performing AI-powered apps for enterprise. AI implementation through Copilot, prebuilt templates and drag-and-drop simplicity allow everyone to do more with less. Extensibility through integrations enables professional developers to build without limits. As part of Microsoft Power Platform, Power Apps benefits from advanced security and governance in place, making it easy to deploy and govern at massive scale.

New features and updates for Power Platform include:

Advanced governance features in Managed Environments for Power Platform

  • Groups and rules will empower IT admins to control their Power Platform environments at enterprise scale. Environment groups will allow admins to categorize their environments into group, and rule sets will allow admins to define a dedicated configuration for each of their environment groups. With groups and rules, admins will get more control with less effort. This feature is in limited preview, with preview planned for the end of the first quarter of 2024.
  • Advisor in Managed Environments for Power Platform will provide IT with proactive recommendations and inline actions to govern and secure the platform more easily. This will include recommendations to clean up unused apps, lock down over-shared apps and add owners to abandoned apps. This feature is in preview.

Features to further accelerate building of Copilot-enabled apps

  • Copilot for app users as sidecar is now ready for every user in the web player canvas app backed by Dataverse. Copilot will automatically work with the data in the app and provide users with insights and answers, without needing to set up from app makers. This is the easiest way to give the power of generative AI to users. This feature is coming to limited preview in mid-December and preview end of the first quarter of 2024.
  • Makers can now also greatly extend and customize Copilot for app users embedded in apps through Copilot control. Microsoft Copilot Studio interoperability enables extensive customization that brings capabilities of Copilot Studio into every Copilot-embedded app. This feature will be in preview in the first half of 2024.
  • For existing apps that are in managed environments and are missing their description, AI-generated app descriptions will be added automatically. For any new apps, when the makers are publishing, a draft of the app description will be presented for them. App descriptions will help end users find useful apps and IT admins understand their app landscape. This feature is in preview.

Making the creation of high-performing modern apps even easier

  • Mobile native UI/UX: Mobile Power Apps will have native UI/UXwith smoother animations, faster performance and modern mobile interaction patterns. The improved performance and modern functionality will bring efficiency gains to everyone running apps on mobile devices, especially those executing high-volume actions. This update is in preview.
  • With modern controls generally available and theming in canvas apps, makers will be able to easily create elegant, accessible, fast and reliable apps. This will cut down the need to write complicated files for usual scenarios and will accelerate development. This update is in preview.
  • See also: 5.8.4. Introducing Microsoft Copilot Studio
  • Breakout: Operating Power Platform at Enterprise scale
  • Discussion: Generative AI for low code development Q&A

5.10.3. Power Virtual Agents is now part of Microsoft Copilot Studio

Introducing Microsoft Copilot Studio, built on the foundations of Power Virtual Agents and the broader Microsoft conversational AI ecosystem. Copilot Studio provides new ways to build copilots and extend Microsoft Copilot with the latest generative AI capabilities. With Power Virtual Agents capabilities joining Copilot Studio, the Power Virtual Agents name will no longer be used. Existing PVA customers will access the same capabilities, all within Microsoft Copilot Studio.

  • Breakout: Revolutionize the way you develop conversational AI
  • Demo: How to build your own copilot with Microsoft Copilot Studio

5.11. Security Copilot

5.11.1. microsoft purview capabilities in microsoft security copilot and embedding the security copilot experience in microsoft purview solutions.

Microsoft Security Copilot will be embedded into Microsoft Purview. Data security admins receive an average of more than 50 alerts per day and can only get to fewer than 60 to 70 percent of them . Likewise, compliance admins spend 60 percent of their time reviewing evidence collected in review sets. Additionally, there is also a steep learning curve from entry-level analysts to expert-level analysts to assess and remediate risks.

With Security Copilot embedded in Purview, customers will be able to quickly generate a comprehensive summary of alerts and information to accelerate investigation and response, upskill talent via guided responses to navigate through information efficiently and use natural language to define search queries in eDiscovery to enable faster and more accurate search iterations by eliminating the need to use keyword query language. Embedded scenarios will be surfaced in Data Loss Prevention, Insider Risk Management and eDiscovery and Communication Compliance.

  • Breakout: Secure and govern your data with Microsoft Purview
  • Breakout: Beyond traditional DLP: Comprehensive and AI-powered data security
  • Demo: Microsoft Security Copilot: Going Beyond Security Operations
  • Pre-recorded: Accelerate risk assessment and incident investigation with AI

5.11.2. Microsoft Security Copilot embedded experience in private preview

The Microsoft Security Copilot embedded experience, available in private preview, will allow IT admins and security analysts to use Microsoft Security Copilot within the Microsoft Intune admin center. Integrating insights and data from security and management tools, Security Copilot provides customized guidance through generative AI to address an organization’s specific requirements, like intelligent policy creation and deployment and faster, easier troubleshooting.

These new endpoint management and security capabilities will be available in Intune, joining the existing security incidence investigation and device security posture improvement experiences currently available in the Early Access Program for Security Copilot capabilities.

  • Breakout: Fortified security and simplicity come together with Microsoft Intune
  • Breakout: Modern management innovation shaping endpoint security
  • Breakout: Scaling AI across your business with Windows and Windows 365

5.11.3. New auditing capabilities within Microsoft Purview Audit for Copilot interactions

With this new feature, in preview, Microsoft Purview Audit consumers will be able to measure and track when users request assistance from Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 and see the list of assets that were affected when responding to the request. These signals will enable security investigators to determine when content, such as files with sensitive data, were touched during a Copilot for Microsoft 365 interaction.

5.11.4. Security Copilot coming to Microsoft Entra to assist in investigating risks, troubleshooting

Microsoft Security Copilot will also be embedded in Microsoft Entra to assist in investigating identity risks and helping with troubleshooting daily identity tasks, such as why a sign-in required multi-factor authentication. IT admins can ask about users, groups, sign-ins and permissions and instantly get a risk summary, steps to remediate and recommended guidance for each identity at risk, in natural language. Additionally, in Microsoft Entra ID Governance, admins can use Security Copilot to guide in the creation of a lifecycle workflow to streamline the process of creating and issuing user credentials and access rights.

  • Breakout: Secure access in the AI era: What’s new in Microsoft Entra
  • Breakout: Accelerate your Zero Trust journey with unified access controls

5.11.5. Security Copilot will deliver unified solutions across services, data

Security has always been a notoriously siloed and fragmented function – both from a technological and organizational point of view. Microsoft Security Copilot will help transcend technological and talent boundaries by delivering a unified, efficient and intuitive experience for all professionals that secure organizations, including identity management, device management, data security and compliance professionals.

With the addition of these new scenarios, all in private preview, Microsoft’s customers who rely on our industry-leading Microsoft Entra, Purview, Intune and Sentinel solutions will be able to integrate Security Copilot into their routine tasks and workflows and use Security Copilot to assist in many ways, including:

Identity management (Microsoft Entra): Entra skills are now available in Security Copilot to enable security analysts to discover high-risk users, overprivileged access and suspicious sign-ins that aid in a security incident investigation and assess potential risk.

Device management (Microsoft Intune): New features enable IT admins to generate device policies and simulate their outcomes, gather device information for forensics and configure devices with best practices from similar deployments.

Data protection and compliance (Microsoft Purview): New skills for data protection, compliance and risk management identify data impacted by incidents, generate a summary of data and user risks, analyze documents and surface risks of collusion, fraud and sabotage.

Cloud security posture management (Microsoft Defender EASM and Defender for Cloud): New skills for posture management simplify external attack surface risk assessment and enable security admins to manage cloud security posture more efficiently. Security admins can quickly discover potential attack paths using natural language queries, get mitigation guidance for proactive prevention of threats and receive automatic notification for resource owners.

Embedded experience in the unified SIEM+XDR UX (Microsoft Defender XDR and Microsoft Sentinel): For the first time, the generative AI capabilities of Security Copilot are available in Microsoft’s unified experience across the award-winning Microsoft Defender XDR and Sentinel solutions, accelerating incident response with guided investigation, rapid aggregation of evidence across numerous data sources and advanced capabilities such as malware analysis.

  • Keynote: The Future of Security with AI
  • Breakout: Microsoft Sentinel: A modern approach to security operations
  • Breakout: Security for AI: Discover, protect, and prepare in the AI era
  • Breakout: Unifying XDR + SIEM: A new era in SecOps

A woman sits on a couch working on a laptop.

6. Power Platform 6.1. Power Platform

6.1.1. payment processing in power pages in preview.

Payment processing integration , now in preview in Microsoft Power Pages, will enable makers to easily embed payment processing directly into their websites.

Payment processing platforms power online payment processing and commerce solutions. This unlocks a new use case for Power Pages – building websites that support payment processing – as makers will be able to use Power Pages to develop websites that accept payment from customers. For example, state and local governments will be able to process licensing fees, application fees and permitting fee payments through their Power Pages websites.

  • Breakout: Build secure web apps and connect data faster with Power Pages

Two people work in an office, with one person working on a laptop with two external monitors.

7. Security 7.1. Defender

7.1.1. microsoft updates help evolve the security operations center experience.

Several key updates across Microsoft’s suite of security solutions are designed to help Security Operations Center (SOC) professionals operate more efficiently and better protect their assets and data. These updates include:

Announcing Microsoft Defender XDR: Microsoft Defender 365 is now Microsoft Defender XDR. The new name best represents Microsoft’s extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities that span beyond products included in the Microsoft 365 suite. The native security solutions protect devices across Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS, as well as multicloud environments spanning Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). This update is generally available.

Microsoft Defender XDR and Microsoft Sentinel combine as a unified security operations platform: The unification of Defender XDR and Sentinel into a single, powerful user experience along with the addition of Microsoft Security Copilot generative AI will change how customers manage their security operations and protect their assets and data. Customers will have a high level of efficiency and ease of use with a single experience for their security operations tools. This will mean less clicking, less context switching and less training for more robust insights. With the integration of cutting-edge AI and automation technologies, defenders will be able to level up their skills with guided response across first- and third-party data sets. This update is in private preview.

Embedded Microsoft Security Copilot: Customers using the unified SOC platform will be able to access the benefits of an embedded generative AI tool that will help analysts to level up their security information and event management (SIEM) and XDR skills. Security Copilot will help by using natural language to write keyword query language (KQL) queries, understand malicious scripts, create incident summaries and provide support throughout the investigation and remediation process. This update is in early access.

Optimize data in the SIEM with SOC optimizations: This new feature will support SOCs in ensuring they are maximizing the value of the data they are ingesting into Sentinel with recommendations that will help them to save money, improve coverage and better secure themselves against specific threats. This feature is in private preview.

Improved response to user assets and cloud workloads: Integration of cloud workload alerts, signals and asset information from Microsoft Defender Cloud into the industry-leading XDR platform will help security teams combat cross-domain attacks more effectively. This powerful integration will provide SOC analysts with a holistic view, spanning workspace and cloud infrastructure, plus rich contextual insights to uncover the entire attack story in a single incident. This will protect organizations against advanced attacks with efficiency and speed. This update is in preview.

Auto-deployed decoys: Will provide early-stage, high-fidelity signals that force adversaries to be correct 100 percent of the time with built-in deception techniques harnessing Microsoft Defender for Endpoint’s unique visibility into organizations and OpenAI’s GPT-4 generative AI model. Users will be able to automatically generate and disperse decoys and lures at scale that resemble real users and assets in the organization. This will allow SOC teams to detect and focus on attacks even more effectively. This update is in preview.

Protection of AI apps within an organization: A set of new capabilities across Microsoft Defender and Microsoft Purview will help defenders securely prepare for the new wave of AI and empower their organizations, while keeping their data and other assets secure. Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps will extend its discovery capabilities to support over 400 large language model apps. Additionally, Purview Data Loss Prevention will help organizations create policies that prevent their users from pasting sensitive data to specific websites. This update is in preview.

  • Blog: Learn more about the unification of Microsoft Defender XDR and Microsoft Sentinel .
  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Microsoft Defender XDR .
  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Microsoft Sentinel .
  • Blog: Learn more about updates to Microsoft Security .
  • Breakout: Hello unification: A new era in SecOps
  • Breakout: Security for AI: Prepare, protect, and defend in the AI era
  • Demo: Getting started with Microsoft Sentinel
  • Demo: Protect more with Microsoft Sentinel and 365 Defender together

7.1.2. New features for Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Microsoft Defender for Cloud helps organizations protect multicloud and hybrid environments with comprehensive security across the full lifecycle, from development to runtime. Several key updates will help security admins adopt a comprehensive cloud-native application protection strategy and improve security posture across multicloud environments and DevOps platforms and include:

  • Unify identity and access permissions insights to improve cloud security posture through integration with Microsoft Entra Permissions Management : Security admins will get a centralized view of Permissions Creep Index, drive least privilege access controls for cloud resources and get proactive attack path analysis that connect the dots between access permissions to other potential vulnerabilities across Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. This update is in preview.
  • DevOps security insights across GitHub, Azure DevOps and GitLab : Security admins will get deep visibility into their application security posture across GitHub, Azure DevOps and GitLab within Defender for Cloud now in preview. In addition to GitHub Advanced Security and GitHub Advanced Security for Azure DevOps, with the preview of the GitLab Ultimate integration, Defender for Cloud will now support the three major developer platforms.
  • Improved container security across multicloud environments : Security admins will be able to get ahead of containerized application risks and prioritize misconfigurations and exposures in their Kubernetes deployments with the expansion of Defender Cloud Security Posture Management’s (CSPM) contextual graph-based capabilities to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) clusters. This update will be in preview soon.
  • Enable proactive attack path analysis across clouds and faster risk mitigation : Security admins will be able to reduce recommendation fatigue and efficiently remediate critical risks with a risk-based recommendation enhanced attack path analysis engine to identify and prioritize remediation of more complex risks such as cross-cloud attack paths. New code-to-cloud mapping will also enable security admins to rapidly accelerate the time and effort to address critical security flaws right in the code itself. Additionally, the new ServiceNow integration will enable admins to use their existing system to automate or drive mitigation of risks. This update is in preview.
  • Improved API security posture: With the general availability of Defender for APIs plan in Defender for Cloud, security admins can gain visibility of business-critical APIs, prioritize vulnerability fixes and quickly detect active real-time threats for APIs published in Azure API Management. New preview capabilities targeting sensitive data classification powered by Microsoft Purview and curated attack paths will help security admins further safeguard data from API risks.
  • Microsoft Security Copilot in Defender for Cloud : Security admins will be able to gain efficiency in discovering and remediating risks with the power of AI-generated guidance. Security admins will be able to easily identify risks and vulnerabilities across their cloud environment using natural language questions. This feature is in private preview.
  • Blog: Announcing new CNAPP capabilities in Defender for Cloud
  • Breakout: Boost multicloud security with a comprehensive code to cloud strategy
  • Demo: Protecting multicloud resources with code-to-cloud CNAPP

7.2.1. Microsoft Entra Permissions Management adding more integrations

The integration of Microsoft Entra Permissions Management with Microsoft Defender for Cloud (MDC), now in preview, will provide an efficient way to consolidate insights into other cloud security posture information on a single interface. Customers will receive actionable recommendations for addressing permissions risks in the MDC dashboard and gain a centralized view of the Permissions Creep Index, facilitating the enforcement of least privilege access for cloud resources across Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Another integration is with ServiceNow, one of the most popular IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions. Through this integration, customers can request time-bound, on-demand permissions for multicloud environments, such as Azure, AWS and GCP, via the ServiceNow portal. This integration helps organizations enhance their Zero Trust posture by enforcing the principle of least privilege for multicloud permissions and streamlines access permission requests within existing approval workflows.

These updates are now generally available.

  • Blog: Identity at Microsoft Ignite: Securing access in the era of AI .
  • Product roundtable: Build the Future of your Multicloud Access with Microsoft Entra

7.2.2. Microsoft’s Security Service Edge expands Internet Access and Private Access preview

Microsoft’s Security Service Edge (SSE) solution secures access to any app or resource from anywhere and includes Microsoft Entra Internet Access (Internet Access) and Microsoft Entra Private Access (Private Access). Internet Access will expand its preview to include context-aware Secure Web Gateway (SWG) capabilities for all internet apps and resources. The extended preview of capabilities for Private Access will help make Private Access fully ready for traditional VPN replacement.

Internet Access capabilities, coming soon to preview, include:

  • Universal Conditional Access for any internet endpoint from managed devices and networks. By managing all access policies in one place, users will be able to extend adaptive access controls universally to rely on Conditional Access to any network destination, like an external website or non-federated SaaS applications – without the need to change these applications.
  • Token theft protection for Entra ID apps through compliant network check-in Conditional Access. With this control, users will be able to protect Entra-integrated cloud applications against token theft and ensure users do not bypass network security policies specific to their tenant while accessing critical cloud services.
  • Source IP restoration in Identity Protection and Conditional Access location policies. Internet Access will offer differentiated backward compatibility of trusted location checks in Conditional Access and continuous access evaluation, identity risk detection and logging, by ensuring the users’ original source IP is maintained.
  • Context aware SWG will restrict user access to unsafe and non-compliant content with web content filtering (URL, FQDN, web category) and make internet filtering policies more succinct, readable and comprehensive by leveraging the rich user, device and location awareness of Conditional Access.
  • Improved security, visibility and user experience for Microsoft 365 will include data exfiltration protection through universal tenant restriction and prevents anonymous access for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. This capability will provide great performance and resiliency for Microsoft 365 applications and flexible deployment options for Microsoft 365 scenarios with third-party SSE vendors.

Private Access capabilities, in preview, include:

  • VPN replacement: Extended protocol support for private app access and, in addition to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP) support along with private Domain Name System (DNS) support will be provided. These enhancements will enable customers to seamlessly transition from their traditional Virtual Private Network (VPN) deployments to a fully ready, identity-centric Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution.
  • Multifactor authentication ( MFA) to all on-premises apps: Private Access will provide Conditional Access controls and modern authentication methods, such as MFA, to secure access to all private applications and resources. This will apply to any application, located anywhere, for both remote and on-premises users.

Both Internet Access and Private Access have cross-OS clients (Windows, Android, MacOS, iOS) and increased global presence with more points of presence (POPs).

  • Blog: Identity at Microsoft Ignite: Securing access in the era of AI
  • Discussion: Microsoft’s Security Service Edge (SSE) solution Q&A
  • Demo: Microsoft’s Security Service Edge (SSE) Solution in action
  • Product roundtable: Share your feedback on Microsoft’s Security Service Edge solution

7.2.3. Updates for Microsoft Entra ID now generally available

Microsoft Entra ID is an identity and access management solution that connects employees, customers and partners to their apps, devices and data for hybrid and multicloud environments. The following updates are now generally available.

Microsoft managed Conditional Access policies : Microsoft will begin to automatically enroll customers into Conditional Access policies based on their risk signals, current usage and licensing. The policies will enhance the security posture and reduce the complexity of managing Conditional Access.

Microsoft Entra Certificate-Based Authentication (CBA): Microsoft Entra CBA now offers several new features to improve the security posture of customers. These enhancements enable customers to customize authentication policies based on certificates, resource type and user group. Customers now have more control and flexibility to choose certificate strength for different users, combine CBA with other methods for multifactor or step-up authentication and configure authentication strength either tenant wide or by user group.

In addition, in early 2024, Microsoft Entra ID users will be able to sign in with passkeys managed by the Microsoft Authenticator app . By using passkeys, customers will have an additional phishing-resistant credential based on open standards and will ensure access to the latest security enhancements that will be added to the FIDO standard in the coming years.

7.3. Purview

7.3.1. enriched, high-fidelity security alerts to empower data security teams in preview.

Several key updates, now in preview, will help data security teams manage critical insider risks and include:

Enrich DLP incident management with insider risk insights: Traditional Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions generate alerts when certain conditions are met, such as when a user copies confidential files to a USB device. However, these alerts typically only highlight the specific incident and files impacted, without providing context about where the files originated or what other actions the user took.

With a new feature powered by Insider Risk Management, DLP alerts will be enriched with user context, allowing DLP analysts and security operations center (SOC) analysts, with appropriate permissions, to see a summary of past user activities that may have led to potential data security incidents. This is all part of the incident management experience in Microsoft Purview and Microsoft Defender.

For example, with this feature, the abovementioned DLP alert will now contain a summary of the critical sequence of actions taken by the user, showing that they downloaded confidential files from SharePoint, downgraded the sensitivity label and compressed the files into a zip file before exfiltrating them to the USB device. With this context, analysts will be able to better understand the user’s intent and determine whether they were trying to exfiltrate sensitive data while evading detection. This feature will help analysts gain a better understanding of a DLP incident and make faster, more informed decisions on how to respond to potential incidents.

Support administrative units in Insider Risk Management: Different departments or geographic locations may have varying policies or preferences for managing insider risks. Regional regulations may also necessitate distinct designs or processes for implementing insider risk programs. To accommodate these needs, Insider Risk Management will support administrative units. This feature will allow admins with the appropriate permissions to subdivide the organization into smaller units and assign specific admins or role groups to manage only the members of those units. For instance, German insider risk admins can create and manage policies exclusively for German users, while German insider risk investigators can investigate alerts and activities solely from German users.

Get more high-fidelity alerts with recommended policy tuning: When instruments are finely tuned, music can be played smoothly. Similarly, data security solutions can be more effective and powerful when policy configurations are optimized. However, reaching an optimal stage can be time-consuming, as admins may need to experiment with different configurations, and each iteration can take several days to yield results. To address this challenge, Insider Risk Management will provide recommendations and sensitivity analysis to help admins set policy thresholds for certain user activities based on real-time analytics. This feature will save security teams time in fine-tuning policies and enable them to receive an optimal volume of high-fidelity alerts more quickly.

  • Blog: Empower data security teams to proactively manage critical insider risks across diverse digital esta

7.3.2. Incident investigation, eDiscovery capabilities added to Microsoft Purview

With Microsoft Purview eDiscovery incident investigation experience , users can accelerate incident investigations by harnessing incident parameters to know where to look for the exact evidence required to assess and mitigate incident risk.

Users will be able to explore incident insights to further understand blast radius and risk levels, mitigate incidents with comprehensive actions to expand the investigation, invite collaboration with investigation stakeholders and manage the evidence to resolve the investigation. This feature is in preview.

With the integration of Microsoft Security Copilot into eDiscovery, users will be able to set natural, language-based queries to find and collect potentially relevant content for investigations. This will ease the burden of using complex queries to search and find content, help identify the relevant source locations and simplify the time-consuming validation of search criteria and results. The power of Copilot will be used to summarize threads, files and content sets within an investigation. Users will be able to act based on the extracted insights to further accelerate the pace of investigation and review. This feature is in preview.

  • Blog: The Next Era of eDiscovery: Embracing Advanced Capabilities for a Comprehensive Digital Landscape

7.3.3. New capabilities in Purview Data Loss Prevention

Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a cloud-native solution that proactively prevents accidental or unauthorized loss of sensitive data across apps, services and devices.

Several new capabilities in Purview DLP will help organizations comprehensively protect sensitive data loss, including expanding protections across Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms, providing additional protection capabilities, as well as additional features that can help DLP and Security Operations Center (SOC) admins be efficient in their day-to-day tasks.

These updates fall under several categories:

Expanding the breadth of protection

  • DLP support for Windows on Arm will let customers extend Microsoft Endpoint DLP policies and actions to endpoints running Windows on Arm. This will allow them to detect and protect sensitive data in files within their digital ecosystem. This update is in preview.
  • Enhancement of DLP capabilities on macOS endpoints , including the ability to create groups of printers, USBs, network shares and sensitive service domains and apply different restrictions to each group, with the ability to apply the most restrictive action against multiple DLP rules. This update is generally available.

Expanding the depth of protection

  • Just-in-time protection for endpoint DLP that restricts activity at the time of egress is generally available.
  • Performance improvements for enforcing restrictions on sensitive content shared over Microsoft Teams Chat are generally available.

Empowering admins to be efficient

  • Enriching DLP alerts with user insights from Purview Insider Risk Management will bring in the user context within the DLP alert for efficient investigations. This update is in preview.
  • The ability to store original files, resulting in a DLP policy match as evidence for investigations. This update is in preview.
  • Richer filter for DLP alerts in Microsoft 365 Defender, including file name, file path and latency, helping admins get more out of the alerts. This update is in preview.
  • Simulation mode for DLP policies to enable admins to try a Microsoft Purview DLP policy, assess its impact and fine-tune the policy as required in an isolated environment. This will help admins build confidence in the configuration of the policy and reduce the policy enforcement time. This update is in preview.
  • DLP recommendations for highlighting current risks in the organization’s environment, quick policy setup to mitigate the risk and policy fine-tuning to make existing policies better and reduce noise. This update is generally available.
  • Support for admin units for DLP alerts in Microsoft 365 Defender is generally available.
  • Blog: Gain comprehensive data protection and efficient investigation with Microsoft Purview DLP

7.3.4. New features for Microsoft Communication Compliance

Microsoft is introducing cutting-edge AI and Microsoft Security Copilot capabilities to bolster Microsoft Communication Compliance. These advanced features will leverage AI and Security Copilot technology to improve the detection and management of compliance issues in communication. This marks a significant step forward in ensuring organizations can harness the power of AI to maintain secure, productive and accountable communication while staying compliant with regulations. These updates include:

  • Communication Compliance document and alert summaries with Security Copilot : This embedded Copilot experience will simplify communication policy matches, offering contextual summaries, conversation evaluation, risk network identification and intelligent triage. This combination will enhance data security and compliance measures for organizations. This update is in private preview.
  • Microsoft Teams compliant meetings: Users can leverage voice-to-text machine learning to convert Teams meeting recordings to text, analyze transcripts for potential risky content and display video snippets of policy matches to facilitate triage. This update is generally available.
  • Microsoft Viva Engage message reporting : Microsoft Viva Engage users are empowered to report inappropriate or concerning posts and comments within Viva Engage conversations. Reported messages then get triaged within Communication Compliance. This update is generally available.
  • Next-generation business conduct detection: Using Azure AI Content Safety, new detections are being added to Communication Compliance that will enable teams to build safer online environments by detecting potential violence, hate, sexual and self-harm content, then assigning severity scores to unsafe text across languages. These classifiers are built using large language models. This update is in preview.
  • Blog: Unleash the Future of Communication Compliance at Microsoft Ignite 2023

7.3.5. New features in Purview Information Protection now generally available

Microsoft Purview Information Protection helps organizations understand what data is sensitive and business critical and then how manage and protect it. New features that are now generally available include:

New contextual predicates in service-side auto-labeling: This is a novel way of auto-classification based on document properties, such as the type of file (file extension), size, who the document was created by and if the document name contains certain words or phrases. This enables organizations to intelligently discover and label groups of documents which, according to these contextual predicates, may contain sensitive data.

Auto labeling (for files at rest in SharePoint Online) can now label PDF files: Auto labeling for files at rest in SharePoint Online will automatically start labeling PDF files, a widely used file type, in addition to currently supported Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Application of a default sensitivity label for a SharePoint document library: With this update, all newly uploaded documents to a document library can inherit the configured label for the document library (if not already labeled). All documents, either newly created or modified, in that library will be automatically assigned with that library’s label. Site default labels allow users to protect all documents because the library itself is sensitive – without needing to define classification policies.

Secure collaboration on labeled and encrypted documents with user-defined permissions: With user-defined permissions, document owners no longer need admins to create special labels for their highly confidential documents. Instead, they can specify the permissions themselves by applying user-defined permissions (UDP) labels on files. UDP-labeled files in SharePoint support co-authoring. This capability is very popular with C-Suite users and users working on tented projects who need to limit access to highly confidential documents to a small set of explicitly authorized individuals that they select.

Sensitivity labels to protect Microsoft Teams shared channels: This release is about safeguarding the confidentiality of Teams channels by enabling users to discover private teams that they weren’t able to previously view and/or join. Shared channel access controls enable users to apply settings, such as internal only, same team only or private team only on shared channels to better secure confidential information.

Microsoft Fabric support for sensitivity labels: Fabric support for sensitivity labels follow the data automatically as it flows from the lakehouse to Power BI reports, Microsoft 365 files and other assets business users rely on every day, for end-to-end, comprehensive protection.

Configure policy tips as popups for labeled emails and attachments: Admins can now configure data loss protection (DLP) rules that display warnings in pop-up dialogs before users send emails. This makes it more difficult for users to inadvertently overshare or send emails to external users who aren’t authorized according to their organization’s policies. Admins can set up rules to provide warnings only, block actions entirely, require business justification or request explicit acknowledgements before sending emails.

Double-key encryption to protect sensitive files and emails in Microsoft 365 apps on Windows: To protect the most sensitive content, users of Microsoft 365 apps can now use Double Key Encryption (DKE) for files and emails with built-in labeling in Office. With DKE, Microsoft stores one key in Microsoft Azure and the user holds the other key, so that only the user can ever decrypt protected content. Sensitivity labels configured with DKE in Purview Compliance portal are now available for users in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook to publish or consume content protected with DKE.

Tracking and revocation in Compliance portal: The tracking and revocation feature enables users to check who has tried accessing their sensitivity labeled and encrypted Office files and revoke access when needed.

In addition, users will be able to e xtend sensitivity labels to assets in Azure , now in gated preview. With Purview, users will be able to extend the reach of Information Protection sensitivity labels and the value from built-in sensitive information types to a much broader set of data locations and data types. Users will be able to work with existing sensitivity labels or create new ones via the Purview compliance portal to extend security and compliance intent to data assets in Azure.

  • Blog: Insightful and intelligent classification and protection are key to data security
  • Pre-recorded: How Microsoft Purview helps you protect your data
  • Product roundtable: Understand your risk and protect your most sensitive data

7.3.6. Secure data in the AI era with Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Purview can help secure data in AI and help organizations adopt AI, including Microsoft Copilots and non-Microsoft AI applications. These capabilities can provide organizations:

  • Visibility into the risks associated with sensitive data usage and user activity context in AI applications in their environment.
  • Comprehensive protection with ready-to-use policies to prevent sensitive data loss in AI.
  • Compliance controls to help easily meet business and regulatory requirements and detect code of conduct and business violations.

Purview capabilities will be integrated with Microsoft Copilots, starting with Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 integrations, which are now generally available. With Copilot for Microsoft 365 customers will be able to:

  • Discover data security risks, including sensitive data shared with Copilot and risky use of Copilot.
  • See Copilot honoring Purview Information Protection sensitivity label access restrictions, inheriting sensitivity labels from referenced files and citing sensitivity labels in responses.
  • Capture Copilot prompts and responses as evidence in Purview Audit.
  • Run content search in Purview eDiscovery.
  • Manage retention and deletion policies for Copilot prompts and responses in Purview Data Lifecycle Management.
  • Detect business and code of conduct violation in Copilot prompts and responses in Purview Communication Compliance.
  • Blog: Securing data in an AI-first world with Microsoft Purview

7.3.7. Unified Microsoft Purview portal expands sphere of protection

Organizations must manage multiple solutions to help discover, protect and detect risks surrounding their most sensitive data. To help change the way organizations secure their data, Microsoft Purview is providing one unified Microsoft Purview portal, now in private preview, with these additional features:

Data visibility across all environments: Purview is expanding horizons and enabling visibility of sensitive data beyond Microsoft and into other clouds and applications, making it easier to track and store in a safe place.

Lifecycle protection: Organizations will be able to apply labels on sensitive data – just like they do for applications like Microsoft Outlook or Teams – but will be able to do so in databases, like SQL or other clouds like Amazon S3. This ensures the labels and sensitive information types can transfer across environments, ensuring a unified layer of protection.

Multicloud detection in Insider Risk Management: Data doesn’t move itself, it’s people who move and interact with data, and that’s where the majority of data security risks stem from. As users within organizations use multiple applications and cloud services in their day-to-day work, security teams must comprehend the risks associated with these user activities that may lead to potential data security incidents. Insider Risk Management will add detections in clouds like Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as in applications like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and GitHub. Admins will be able to incorporate these multicloud detections in their data leak and data theft playbooks, making the insights more comprehensive.

  • Pre-recorded: Protect your entire data estate across multiple clouds

A woman sits outside by a wooden fence working on a Surface tablet.

8. Windows 8.1. Windows Commercial & Enterprise

8.1.1. new features coming to windows 365 and azure virtual desktop.

A host of new features for Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop include:

  • Windows App , in preview, will be the place to connect to any devices or applications across Windows 365, Azure Virtual Desktop, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, Microsoft Dev Box and more.
  • Windows 365 GPU support , in preview, will make it ideal for workloads, such as graphic design, image and video rendering, 3D modeling, data processing and visualization applications.
  • Windows 365 AI capabilities will help customers reduce costs, increase efficiency and further simplify security and management of Windows 365 Cloud PCs. One example will be applying AI to assess Cloud PC deployment and utilization to provide recommendations to help organizations better forecast and right-size their Cloud PC investment. This capability will be in preview in the coming months.
  • Azure Virtual Desktop Autoscale for personal desktops is the Azure Virtual Desktop native scaling solution that automatically starts session host virtual machines (VMs) according to schedule or using Start VM on Connect. It then deallocates or hibernates session host VMs based on the user session state (log off/disconnect). The deallocating capability is now generally available, and hibernating session host VMs is in preview.
  • Single-sign on (SSO) and passwordless authentication support for both Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop is now generally available for Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365, along with third-party identity provider (IDP) support. Microsoft is also actively working on enabling the same capabilities for Azure Virtual Desktop approved providers.
  • Windows 365 Customer Lockbox , in preview, will ensure that Microsoft support engineers can’t access content to do service operations without explicit approval.
  • Windows 365 Custom Managed Keys will allow organizations to encrypt their Windows 365 Cloud PC disks utilizing their own encryption keys. This feature will be in preview soon.
  • Watermarking, screen capture protection and tamper protection support for both Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop are now generally available, protecting against unauthorized access and manipulation of data, keeping sensitive information protected and maintaining organizational data integrity.
  • Blog: Learn more about these updates
  • Breakout: Scaling AI to every aspect of your business with Windows
  • Demo: Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop: when, where, why, and how
  • Discussion: Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop Q&A
  • OnDemand: The Windows Cloud experience

8.1.2. Universal Print moves function to the cloud

The last workload to move to the cloud is print. Universal Print delivers a complete service integrated with all of Microsoft 365 and Windows 365 to simplify print for employees and IT professionals.

With the added support for MacOS endpoints and an easy-to-use pull print functionality, in preview, employees will be able to securely and conveniently print on any corporate printer from anywhere and from any device. Now in preview, MacOS devices are fully supported through Universal Print. Users can print from any device or walk up to any corporate printer and securely release their print job, without having to choose the printer.

8.1.3. Windows Autopatch simplifies and automates update management for Windows

Microsoft is extending Windows Autopatch to PCs for frontline workers by adding Autopatch to the Microsoft 365 F3+ subscription. This long-awaited extension of the update management service is now generally available.

In addition, Windows Autopatch will become the unifying Windows update management solution for enterprise customers. The single solution for enterprise update management can be used as a fully automated managed service to deliver the highest cost savings, allowing customers to reallocate resources to higher-value areas. Used from within Microsoft Intune, Windows Autopatch becomes a do-it-yourself, partially automated service that delivers a high level of control. Windows Autopatch is the solution to update and upgrade Windows devices, Microsoft 365 apps, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Edge. Over time, Windows Update for Business deployment service will merge into the single service for enterprise customers.

Finally, Microsoft is adding firmware and driver update management granular controls to Windows Autopatch. This feature is now in private preview.

  • Discussion: Windows 11, Windows 365, & Microsoft Intune Q&A

8.2. Windows Developer

8.2.1. introducing windows ai studio and new features for dev home and wsl.

Windows AI Studio for developers will simplify generative AI application development, bringing together cutting-edge AI tools and a model catalog. This will enable developers to fine-tune, customize and deploy small language models (SLMs) for local use in their Windows applications – all in one place.

Windows AI Studio , available in the coming weeks, will give developers greater choice to either run their models on the cloud on Azure or on the edge locally on Windows to meet their needs. And soon, Windows AI Studio will include prompt flow capabilities for prompt orchestration.

Dev Home with Azure Dev Ops (ADO) integration is now available in preview. Dev Home in Windows is a new feature that will help customers onboard new team members and projects faster through WinGet Configuration, in addition to managing projects and daily tasks with a customizable dashboard. An ADO extension , now available for Dev Home, helps enterprise developers easily clone their Azure repositories in Dev Home, manage ADO projects and stay on top of queries and relevant tasks from Dev Home.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) has three new features targeted at enterprise-use cases that are generally available and include:

  • A new plugin for WSL , released by Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, which enables security teams to continuously monitor for events in all running distributions – delivering clear visibility into systems once considered a critical blind spot.
  • New integrations with Microsoft Intune , which lets admins control access to WSL and its key security settings.
  • Networking improvements that add additional security by enforcing the firewall rules on Windows to affect the WSL distributions and improved compatibility with VPNs and proxies in a corporate environment.
  • Blog: Learn more about Windows Subsystem for Linux .
  • Demo: Dev Home: Your new companion for productivity

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engineering maintenance business plan

Billions of investment for British manufacturing to boost economic growth

The government has today announced £4.5 billion in funding for British manufacturing to increase investment in eight sectors across the UK. The funding will be available from 2025 for five years, providing industry with longer term certainty about their investments.

engineering maintenance business plan

  • £4.5 billion for strategic manufacturing sectors including £960 million earmarked for clean energy
  • Funding will be delivered to eight sectors key to economic growth, energy security, and levelling-up
  • Part of wider government support to ensure UK is the best place to start, grow, and invest in manufacturing

Over £2 billion has been earmarked for the automotive industry and £975 million for aerospace, supporting the manufacturing, supply chain and development of zero emission vehicles, and investment in energy efficient and zero-carbon aircraft equipment. 

Alongside this, the government has committed to £960 million for a Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support clean energy manufacturing, and £520 million for life sciences manufacturing to build resilience for future health emergencies and capitalise on the UK’s world-leading research and development.

With the entire manufacturing sector making up over 43% of all UK exports and employing around 2.6 million people, this funding is targeted at the UK’s strongest, world leading sectors; including where the industry is undergoing fundamental changes to remain at the forefront of the global transition to net zero, like the move to zero emission vehicles in the automotive industry.

The Green Industries Growth Accelerator investment will support the expansion of strong, home-grown, clean energy supply chains across the UK, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage, electricity networks, hydrogen, nuclear and offshore wind. This will enable the UK to seize growth opportunities through the transition to net zero, building on our world-leading decarbonisation track record and strong deployment offer.

The funding forms part of the Prime Minister’s pledge to grow the economy, and his focus on making decisions for the long-term, ensuring this funding doesn’t just focus on the most successful sectors today but looks ahead to how we keep pace internationally and build the UK’s expertise for the industries of the future.

Together with our existing manufacturing support and plans for net zero transition, this package will help unlock private investment, provide certainty to investors, boost energy security, and protect and create jobs. This approach has already mobilised £198 billion in public and private investment in low carbon energy deployment since 2010.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of the second Global Investment Summit later this month, which will showcase innovative companies from across the UK, with significant investment opportunities in sectors such as technology, sustainability, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and creative industries.

It will also help ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of the global transition to net zero and can seize growth opportunities in the new green economy. The UK remains a world-leader in cutting emissions, having decarbonised faster than any G7 country since 1990 and set out clear plans to meet all our climate targets and deliver energy security.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said:

“Britain is now the 8th largest manufacturer in the world, recently overtaking France. To build on this success, we are targeting funding to support the sectors where the UK is or could be world-leading.

“Our £4.5 billion of funding will leverage many times that from the private sector, and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higher-paid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:

“The UK is a global hub for advanced manufacturing, with world-leading automotive, aerospace and maritime sectors. This package builds on recent investment wins, such as the £4 billion gigafactory, and the £600m invested to build the next generation of electric Minis, and ensures that the government can continue to help create jobs, grow the economy, and secure the future of great British manufacturing.”

Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho said:

“Today we are announcing nearly £1bn to back our green industries. While we’ve already attracted £200 billion in low carbon investment since 2010, with another £100 billion expected by 2030, this will unlock even more. We have long been energy pioneers in advanced manufacturing, and this will allow us to carry on that great British tradition.”

Today, the government has also published its response to Professor Dame Angela McLean’s review of the role that regulation and standards can play in driving innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing.

The government accepts all 14 recommendations in the industry expert-backed report which builds on the UK’s role as a global leader in setting industrial standards and sets out how, with the right regulations, advanced manufacturing processes can enhance safety and support the drive to net zero and a more sustainable economy.

Among the recommendations accepted is to accelerate the deployment of digital twins, which enables companies to create accurate digital replicas of the full manufacturing process. Used across a range of sectors, digital twins have seen significant uptake in the automotive sector including car production where they offer a transformative approach to product development, manufacturing and maintenance, helping firms test how to fix problems or make processes more efficient.

To boost growth in small and medium sized manufacturing businesses more widely, it has also been announced today that the government will expand the Made Smarter Adoption programme, offering the scheme to all English regions in 2025-26 before working with the Devolved Administrations to explore making the programme UK-wide from 2026-27.

The programme helps small and medium sized manufacturing companies to use advanced digital technologies which can reduce carbon emissions and drive-up productivity, and its expansion will also involve inclusion of digital internships.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers’ organisation said: 

“Make UK has long campaigned for Made Smarter to be a fully national scheme so that all SME manufacturers can benefit from the expertise the programme delivers and we are delighted at today’s decision from government to commit to a national rollout. 

“Made Smarter has already transformed thousands of companies in the North East, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber and now it can help turbo-charge industrial digitalisation in SMEs across the whole of the country. The end-to-end specialist support the programme delivers has successfully helped smaller businesses dramatically boost productivity, improve energy efficiency, drive growth, upskill roles and deliver new jobs in digital skills to create workforces of the future which will allow Britain’s smaller manufacturers to continue to grow and remain globally competitive.” 

Additionally, the government has today committed to extend the Connected and Automated Mobility Research and Development programme with up to £150 million of funding between 2025-26 and 2029-30. This will help the UK secure first-mover advantage in the deployment of self-driving vehicles and services.

The UK’s first Battery Strategy is also expected to be published next week, which will outline the Government’s activity to achieve a globally competitive battery supply chain in the UK by 2030 that supports economic prosperity and the Net Zero transition. 

We have also set out our plan to launch a Hydrogen industry taskforce, delivered in partnership with the Hydrogen Innovation Initiative and Innovate UK, supporting our ambition to maximise investment opportunities for UK manufacturing of hydrogen propulsion systems. 

The government will set out more about its offer to the manufacturing sector next week with the publication of the Advanced Manufacturing Plan.

Further information

  • Further information, including on the application processes, will be made available by the government in due course. 
  • Life sciences
  • Clean energy (carbon capture, utilisation and storage, electricity networks, hydrogen, nuclear, and offshore wind)
  • the British Industry Supercharger ensuring energy costs for key industries like steel, metals, chemicals, and paper producers are in line with other major economies around the world 
  • the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund supporting the deployment of technologies that is enabling hundreds of businesses with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future 
  • the lowest corporation tax in the G7 
  • The UK also has a world-leading track record on green deployment, and comprehensive, clear, and considered plans for our net zero transition.
  • In Powering Up Britain, we have set out detailed deployment plans for every sector of the economy through the net zero transition. These include long-term frameworks to provide investors with certainty, from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to the Contracts for Difference Scheme. These are supported by public spending, with £30 billion for the green industrial revolution confirmed at Spending Review 2021, and a further £6 billion for energy efficiency and up to £20 billion for Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) announced since then.

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  • Black Friday 2023
  • Deals and sales

Live updates

The 175+ Best Black Friday Deals of the Thousands We’ve Reviewed (So Far)

A collage of three Black Friday deals.

Most Black Friday deals don’t merit your time, consideration, or money.

But among the overhyped duds, we’ve found some real gems. And we’ve rounded up all the best deals on our expert-recommended picks below.

You can also check out the Wirecutter Deals page for the latest discounts on more Wirecutter picks that meet our rigorous testing and pricing standards .

The research

Deal spotlight: coyuchi pebbled handstitched organic quilt, deal spotlight: shokz openrun headphones, deal spotlight: google pixel 7a (unlocked, 128 gb), laptop and computer deals, phone and smartwatch deals, tablet deals, gaming deals, apple deals, headphone and speaker deals, kitchen deals, smart home deals, appliance deals, vacuum deals, sleep and mattress deals, fitness deals, travel deals, baby and kid deals, health deals, beauty deals, style and clothing deals, camera and photo deals, outdoor deals, other great early black friday deals, which retailers don’t have black friday sales.

The Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic Quilt in grey with white stitching.

Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic Quilt — Our Pick Coyuchi deal price: $261 ; street price: $320

What we like: Our pick for an heirloom quality quilt, from our guide to the best blankets. Embroidered by hand in a centuries-old tradition. Warm and soft, and made with organic cotton.

Other things to know: Bulkier—though not necessarily heavier—than a regular cotton blanket. The thick embroidery thread on the surface can snag, but it didn't tear or break in our wear tests. First deal we've posted for this quilt.

Read our review of the best blankets .

A pair of Shokz OpenRun earphones.

Shokz OpenRun Headphones — Our Pick Walmart deal price: $90 ; street price: $130

What we like: Our pick for the best headphones for runners who don’t like earbuds. Bone-conduction headphones transmit music directly to the inner ear, leaving the ear canal open. Solid, lightweight build with IP67 waterproof rating. Easy-to-access controls. Clear vocal range.

Other things to know: Must crank up the volume high to hear lots of bass or deep tones, which causes the temple pads to vibrate and tickle. Two-year warranty. Proprietary charging cable. While we've seen it at this price before, we've never seen it drop any lower. Select colors available.

Read our review of the best headphones for running .

A hand holding a Google Pixel 7a in Coral showing the back with camera and logo.

Google Pixel 7a (Unlocked, 128 GB) — Budget Pick Best Buy deal price: $374 ; street price: $470

What we like: Our budget pick for the best Android phone. Powered by Google’s latest processor. Improved 64-megapixel camera sensor, wireless charging, Face Unlock, and an upgraded 1080p display with a smoother 90 Hz refresh rate.

Other things to know: Pricier than Google's typical budget phones. Made of recycled plastic body, an aluminum frame, and a dual camera setup on the rear. Android 13 operating system with five years of security updates. Target RedCard users (free to join) get an additional 5% off.

Read our review of the best Android phones .

The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 sitting, opened and displaying an orange screensaver.

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-2W-56B2) — Upgrade Pick Best Buy deal price: $470 ; street price: $640

What we like: Our upgrade Chromebook pick. Faster than our main pick and has more storage. Offers longer battery life and a 1440p webcam.

Other things to know: A bit heavier than our main pick and its display isn't as bright. Has an i5 1335U processor on-board, along with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD.

Read our review of the best Chromebook .

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus — Top Pick Best Buy deal price: $380 ; street price: $500

What we like: Our top pick for the best Chromebook. Offers the best combination of features and price of all the models we’ve tested. Fast enough for everyday tasks. Battery will last a full day of work or classes. Has a tall, spacious display and surprisingly good speakers.

Other things to know: Portable size but heavy and cumbersome to use as a tablet. The webcam produces a dim image even with Google’s new Improve Lighting feature enabled. Specs include Intel Core i3-1315U processor, 8 GB memory, and 128 GB eMMC storage.

Asus ProArt Display PA278CV 27-Inch Monitor — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $259 ; street price: $285

What we like: Our top pick for the best 27-inch monitor. Great-looking and color-accurate enough for most people. Good combination of quality, price, and ports. 75 Hz refresh rate. Adjustable stand can tilt, swivel, and pivot the screen, plus raise and lower its height.

Other things to know: Will need to calibrate to get most accurate display. Not as sharp as a 4K screen, but far cheaper than comparable 4K options. Three-year warranty. Matches the lowest price we've seen.

Read our review of the best 27-inch monitor .

Dell S2722QC 27-Inch Monitor — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $280 ; street price: $370

What we like: Our budget pick for the best 4K monitor. Great image quality with color-accurate display. Balances high-end features with competitive price. One-year Dell warranty (typically reserved for higher-end models).

Other things to know: Includes USB hub with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, two HDMI ports, and one USB-C port. Refresh rate not ideal for gaming.

Read our review of the best 4K monitors .

EcoFlow Delta Max 2000 Portable Power Station — Another Good Option Walmart deal price: $1,100 ; street price: $1,400

What we like: Another good portable power station if you want twice the capacity, output, and ports of our top pick, and you can live with a heavier and pricier unit. Powerful 2,016 Wh capacity. Has six AC outlets, two USB-C PD ports, four USB-A ports, and a pure sine-wave inverter.

Other things to know: Heavy 48 pound unit. Pair it with an EcoFlow Delta Max Smart Extra Battery to add even more capacity.

Read our review of the best portable power station .

Looking for more Laptop and computer deals? Check out the Black Friday Computer and Laptop Deals page.

The Google Pixel 8 smartphone.

Google Pixel 8 (128 GB) — Top Pick Best Buy deal price: $550 ; street price: $700

What we like: Our new top pick for the best Android smartphone offers the best version of Android with guaranteed security updates through fall 2030. One of the best smartphone cameras we've tested. Excellent build quality. 128 GB internal storage with crisp 6.2-inch OLED display and solid wrap-around aluminum frame.

Other things to know:   More expensive than previous models. Videos can often look a little grainy, but good color reproduction. First deal we've seen so far.

Google Pixel 8 Pro (128 GB) — Upgrade Pick Best Buy deal price: $800 ; street price: $1,000

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best Android phone. Has a larger OLED screen than the our top pick, with a higher resolution and refresh rate, as well as a 5x telephoto camera. Excellent software and seven years of update support. The best battery life of any Pixel phone.

Other things to know: More expensive than previous Pro models. The new temperature sensor feature is a gimmick. First-time deal.

OnePlus Nord N30 5G Android Phone — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $230 ; street price: $285

What we like: Our top pick for the best budget Android phone. Delivers solid performance and has a bright, fast LCD screen with a high refresh rate. Comes with a side-mounted fingerprint reader and Verizon 5G support. Guaranteed to support one software update to Android 14 and security updates until June 2026.

Other things to know: Camera quality isn’t the best, even in good lighting. Plastic body makes it feel like a budget phone. New low price.

Read our review of the best budget Android phones .

Other things to know:  Pricier than Google's typical budget phones. Made of recycled plastic body, an aluminum frame, and a dual camera setup on the rear. Android 13 operating system with five years of security updates. Target RedCard users (free to join) get an additional 5% off.

Samsung Galaxy Watch6 (40 mm) and two fast chargers — Top Pick Deal price: $220 with Costco membership ; street price: $300

What we like: Our top Android smartwatch pick runs the latest version of Google Wear OS. Speedy performance, bright 40 mm OLED screen, and a well-organized interface. Ample app support and a more durable build than competing watches.

Other things to know: Works best with Samsung devices, but still the best choice overall if you use Android. Bixby voice assistant is changeable but annoying to do so. Not a significant upgrade over the Watch5. Deal comes with two fast chargers. Costco membership required.

Read our review of the best smartwatch for Android phones .

Belkin Boost Charge Pro Portable Wireless Charger Pad with MagSafe — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $20 ; street price: $30

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best Qi wireless charger. Offers the fastest wireless charging we’ve ever measured and easy magnetic alignment. A stand-style charger.

Other things to know: Best suited for iPhone 12 or later models. Doesn’t come with the 20 W USB-C wall adapter you need to power it.

Read our review of the best Wi wireless chargers.

The Google Pixel Tablet docked to its stand sitting against a red background showing an abstract locked wallpaper.

Google Pixel Tablet (128 GB) — Top Pick Best Buy deal price: $400 ; street price: $500

What we like: Our top Android tablet pick. Excellent 11-inch tablet with a bright, sharp, and vibrant widescreen display. Powered by the same Tensor G2 processor inside of Google’s Pixel smartphones. Can handle multiple tasks and high-end gaming with ease. 5,000 mAh battery lasts days on a charge.

Other things to know: Scheduled to receive system updates through 2026 and security updates through 2028. Stylus support is limited. All three colors on sale.

Read our review of the best Android tablets .

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 (11-inch, 256 GB) Tablet + $100 Best Buy Gift Card Bundle — Upgrade Pick Best Buy deal price: $800 ; street price: $930

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best Android tablet provides the best Android experience at a hefty price. 11-inch OLED screen is sharper and brighter than our top pick. Fast Qualcomm processor gives speedy performance and supports the best multitasking features we've seen so far. Water resistant.

Other things to know: 256 GB internal storage with microSD slot for additional storage. Promised updates through 2028. Charger not included in box. Includes $100 gift card from Best Buy, 1 month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, and three months of YouTube Premium for new subscribers.

Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $82 ; street price: $115

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best iPad stylus. Wireless charging. Has a tap system for toggling settings and pressure sensitivity for artists.

Other things to know: Only compatible with iPads that have USC-C ports (and not the most recent 10th generation iPad); doesn’t work with older iPads.

Read our review of the best stylus for iPads .

A screenshot from the game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, featuring the main character in front of a deserted town.

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (PS5 & Xbox) — Staff Favorite Target deal price: $30 ; street price: $65 (with store pickup)

What we like: One of our favorite video games of 2023 so far. Emphasizes exploration, puzzle solving, and a steady supply of new items and abilities that allow access to more and more areas on planets around the galaxy.

Other things to know: Follow-up to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Physical copy. Opt for store pickup to avoid shipping fees. Target RedCard holders get free shipping (plus an extra 5% off).

Read our review of Star Wars Jedi and other video games we love. 

Sony PlayStation 5 + Spider-Man 2 Game Bundle — Our Pick Walmart deal price: $500 ; street price: $570

What we like: Our PlayStation game console pick, plus the new Spider-man 2 game we loved in our recent review. Has a disc drive so you can watch UHD Blu-ray movies, as well as play new or used PS5 and PS4 game discs.

Other things to know: Playstation 5 consoles are often bundled with extraneous accessories that are rarely worth the combined price. However, this is a rare exception where we recommend the game included and we haven't seen a deal on it yet.

Read our review of the best game consoles .

HTC Vive Pro 2 VR Headset — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $575 ; street price: $775

What we like: Our upgrade VR headset pick. Features a crisp 5K resolution screen, with detailed position and motion tracking in a whole room. 120 degree field of view. 120 Hz refresh rate. Offers access to enormous library of VR’s best games. Comes with on-ear headphones.

Other things to know: Heavy and may be uncomfortable to wear for long periods. You’ll need a high-end computer to make the most of it.

Read our review of the best VR headset .

Looking for more gaming deals? Check out the Black Friday Gaming Deals page.

A photo of the yellow 10th-generation iPad is shown on a table next to a wireless keyboard.

Apple iPad (10th-generation, 64 GB) — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $350 ; street price: $420

What we like: Our upgrade iPad tablet pick. Offers four color options and more processing power than previous models. Bigger, higher resolution screen and improved cameras. Wi-Fi 6 support. USB-C charging capability. 10-hour battery life. Available with delayed shipping.

Other things to know: No headphone jack or home button. Swaps out Lightning port for USB-C. Comes with 64 GB of storage.

Read about why the iPad is the best tablet .

Apple iPad (9th Generation, 64 GB) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $230 ; street price: $270

What we like: Our top pick for the best tablet for kids. Best combination of ease of use, performance, app selection, and price. The 64 GB version is a good buy if you don't plan to download many high-end games or 4K video. The robust app selection makes this model worth it.

Other things to know: Previous generation model, but still fast enough for all but the most demanding tasks. Lacks 120 Hz refresh rate screen. Select colors available. Now down to the lowest price we've seen.

Read our review of the best tablet for kids .

Apple Watch Series 9 (41 mm) — Top Pick Target deal price: $330 ; street price: $400

What we like: Our new top pick for the best smartwatch for iPhone owners. Offers the best combination of style, health and fitness features, app selection, battery life, and price of any smartwatch for any platform. Large active screen area and more premium features than previous models.

Other things to know: Battery easily lasts for a day on a charge, but if you’re doing anything demanding you may find your watch in Power Reserve mode by the end of the day. Deal for the 41 mm body size in Aluminum finish with Sport Band. Two different band sizes available. Select colors available from Amazon.

Read our review the best Apple watches.

Apple Watch Series 9 (41 mm) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $330 ; street price: $400

Read our review of why the Apple watch is the best smartwatch for iPhone owners .

Apple Watch Ultra 2 — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $740 ; street price: $780

What we like: Our upgrade smartwatch pick for iPhone owners. Best for triathletes, hikers, and divers who need a smartwatch. Multi-day battery. Large, bright screen. Ultra-loud built-in siren. High precision dual-frequency GPS. Depth app automatically launches when submerged.

Other things to know: Too much smartwatch for most people. Some find it chunky or unattractive. Rugged 49 mm titanium case. GPS and cellular enabled. Available with in three Loop Band colors and sizes.

Read our review of  Apple watches.

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2023, 15-Inch, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $1,050 ; street price: $1,200

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best MacBook. Same general design features we love in the smaller version, but with a larger, beautiful screen, better sound, and slightly cooler temperatures.

Other things to know:  Comes with M2 processor, 8 GB RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. You'll need more RAM if you plan on lots of photo and video editing, coding, or other intensive tasks.

Read our review of the best MacBooks .

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $750 ; street price: $850

What we like: Our budget MacBook pick. Enough memory and storage for most day-to-day work. Approximately 14-hour battery life. Lightweight with solid construction, a comfy keyboard, and industry-leading customer support.

Other things to know: Apple's M1 processor is still good enough for most people, but not as fast as the newer M2 and M3 chips. Comes with 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 13.3-inch Retina display, one 3.5mm jack, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Only available in Gold and Silver via Amazon.

Apple MagSafe Duo Charger — Also Great Woot deal price: $80 ; street price: $115

What we like: Our Apple wireless charging station pick that's best for frequent travelers. Compact and portable, ideal for traveling or those with limited nightstand space. Charges at a full 15W with MagSafe, also compatible with older, Qi-compatible iPhones.

Other things to know: Only two charging spots, one for an iPhone or AirPods case, and one for an Apple Watch. Doesn't come with a 20-watt power adapter. Still quite pricey, even on sale. Comes with 1-year limited Apple warranty. Free shipping for Amazon Prime members.

Read our review of the best Apple wireless charging stations .

Apple AirTag Bluetooth Tracker — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $24 ; street price: $29

What we like: Our pick for the best Bluetooth tracker for iOS users. Broad search network for precision locating. Replaceable coin battery. Can help find lost wallets, keys, and more.

Other things to know: Doesn’t have any way to ring your phone if it’s nearby. No built-in method of attaching to anything. Solid deal for an individual tracker. If you're interested in stocking up, deals for multi-packs typically offer a better price per tracker.

Read our review of the best Bluetooth tracker .

Apple AirTag Bluetooth Tracker (4-Pack) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $80 ; street price: $100 🥈Second Retailer - Walmart deal price: $80 ; street price: $100

What we like: The best Bluetooth tracker for iPhone users. Impressively accurate in pinpointing an item’s precise location. Leverages Apple’s extensive Find My network. Can swap in a new battery as needed. Water-resistant.

Other things to know: Doesn’t have any way to ring your phone. Cannot attach to your stuff directly. Cannot share an AirTag with another person.

Apple MacBook Pro (14 inch, M3 Pro, 2023) — Another Good Option B&H deal price: $1,800 ; street price: $2,000

What we like: Another good option from our guide on which MacBook to buy. A higher-powered alternative to our MacBook pick, best suited for those who need the extra processing power. Comes with Apple's fantastic pro-level XDR Display (1,600-nit peak brightness).

Other things to know: About a pound heavier than the MacBook Air and quite a bit thicker. The 16-inch model offers more screen real estate for professional work. Comes with Apple M3 Pro processor, 18 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD; additional upgrades available for purchase. First deal we've seen. Available in black and silver.

Read our article Which MacBook Should I Buy? .

Looking for more deals? Check out the Apple Black Friday deals page.

Our pick for best LCD TV overall, the TCL QM8 Series, displaying an aerial image of forested mountains.

TCL QM8 Series LED TV (65-Inch) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $900 ; street price: $1,150 Walmart deal price: $900 ; street price: $1,150

What we like: Our top pick for the best LCD/LED TV. Employs a mini-LED backlight for improved contrast, quantum dots for more vibrant color, and a 120 Hz refresh rate for cleaner, smoother motion. A solid choice for gamers. Offers built-in Google TV.

Other things to know: Only available in larger screen sizes. Loses some image fidelity when you sit off-center. Isn’t equipped with an ATSC 3.0 tuner, so over-the-air broadcasts are limited to a maximum resolution of 1080p. Sale for the 65-inch size.

Read our review of the best LCD/LED TV .

Hisense U6K Series Google TV (55-inch) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $350 ; street price: $450

What we like: Our top pick for the best 4K TV on a budget. We can already tell that the U6K is one of 2023's better 4K TV values. Same picture-enhancing hardware as our favorite premium LCD/LED TVs. Very solid performance.

Other things to know: Foregoes extremely high brightness and skips some of the fancier trimmings (like Wi-Fi 6E compatibility) to keep costs low. Limited to a 60 Hz refresh rate (sorry, gamers). Doesn't have HDMI 2.1 inputs. Deal is for the 55-inch size. Matches low.

Read our review of the best 4K TV on a budget .

Hisense U8K Series 4K QLED TV (75-Inch) — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $1,300 ; street price: $1,500

What we like: The runner-up pick in our guide to the best LCD/LED TVs. A premium model with Google TV smart platform. Has mini-LED backlighting and quantum color dot. Stellar HDR TV with high contrast and rich colors. Good in a bright room with no light control.

Other things to know: Native 120 Hz refresh rates, 4k resolution, plus Wi-Fi 6E capabilities. Audio performance isn’t top-notch. Available in the smaller, 55-inch screen size, which our top pick is not. Deal for the 75-inch size.

Google Chromecast with Google TV — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $38 ; street price: $45

What we like: Our top pick for a media streaming device has an intuitive interface, useful remote, voice search capabilities, and 4K HDR video support (including Dolby Vision). Instead of presenting a home screen with a bunch of separate streaming services, it groups all your recently watched shows and movies together along with your watchlist of preferred content.

Other things to know: Downsides are that the menu isn’t very customizable and this device can’t draw power from your TV’s USB port as many competitors can.

Read our review of the best media streaming devices .

Sony X90L 4K TV (75-inch) — Another Good Option Best Buy deal price: $1,500 ; street price: $1,700

What we like: Another good option for PS5 users in our guide to the best gaming TV. Ideal for use with Sony’s cinematic first-party exclusives. Automatically syncs with the PS5 to calibrate HDR.

Other things to know: X90L is a bit on the expensive side. A mid-range TV in Sony's line, but offers surprising color accuracy.

Read our review of the best gaming TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X .

EchoGear EGLF2 TV Wall Mount — Also Great Amazon deal price: $88 ; street price: $105

What we like: Our pick for an affordably priced full-motion TV wall mount. Stands out for its 22-inch extension, smooth arm movements, and nice-looking mounting bars. Compatible with 42- to 90-inch TVs weighing up to 125 pounds.

Other things to know: Doesn’t measure up to our upgrade full-motion mount pick on any metric, but is typically around a third of the price.

Read our review of the best TV wall mount .

Samsung QN90B Neo QLED 4K TV (43-Inch) — Runner-Up Woot deal price: $800 ; street price: $1,050 (Free shipping for Prime members)

What we like: A 43-inch version of our runner-up pick for the best gaming TV. Considerably brighter than any OLED TV. Better viewing angle than the average LCD TV. Low input lag. Built-in cloud gaming. Four gamer-friendly HDMI 2.1 inputs. Game Bar is helpful for quickly assessing stats.

Other things to know: Solid choice as a gaming monitor. 120 Hz refresh rate. Not compatible with the Dolby Vision HDR format. One-year warranty. Prime members get free shipping.

Read our review of the best gaming TV for PS5 & Xbox Series X .

Looking for more TV deals? Check out the Black Friday TV Deals page.

Our pick for best soundbar that is closer to a surround-sound speaker system, the LG S95QR Atmos soundbar.

LG S95QR Soundbar — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $997 ; street price: $1,300

What we like: Our upgrade pick for best soundbar. As close as you can get to a surround-sound system with an AV receiver without the hassle. Very immersive and loud sound with a couch-shaking subwoofer.

Other things to know: Compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Stream audio via Chromecast, Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2, or Bluetooth. Includes powerful subwoofer, surround speakers, and five upward-firing Atmos speakers.

Read our review of the best soundbar .

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $60 (select colors) ; street price: $80

What we like: Our top pick for the best portable Bluetooth speaker. Longer Bluetooth range (130 feet) than previous generations. 11 hours of battery life in our tests. IP67 water-resistance rating. Dust-proof, can survive a 5-foot drop onto concrete, and it floats.

Other things to know: Still uses a Micro-USB for charging. Only minor upgrades from the version 2 Wonderboom, and is visually much the same. Can pair speakers together for stereo sound. Only the black and blue colors are down to $60.

Read our review of the best portable Bluetooth speaker .

Pioneer DJ DM-50D-BT Computer Speakers — Top Pick Guitar Center deal price: $180 ; street price: $220

What we like: Our top pick computer speakers. Sound great yet compact enough to fit on desk. Built-in Bluetooth and signal-sensing inputs to connect to a smart speaker.

Other things to know: Two sound modes: Production mode, for audio production; DJ mode, for movies and bass-heavy music. Lowest price we’ve seen.

Read our review of the best computer speakers .

Soundcore Motion 300 Bluetooth Speaker — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $64 (in select colors) ; street price: $80

What we like: Our runner-up Bluetooth speaker pick, the Soundcore Motion 300 is a great alternative because of its slim, suitcase-friendly styling, USB-C charging, and (usually) lower price. Plays a few decibels louder with an emphasis on instruments (rather than vocals).

Other things to know: Larger than our top pick, but slimmer. Not as ruggedly-built as our top pick.

Marshall Woburn II Bluetooth Speaker — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $300 with delayed shipping ; street price: $500

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best home Bluetooth speaker. Has dual woofers that produce powerful bass and a sound that’s more robust than our other picks. Convenient, top-mounted volume, bass, and treble controls that make it easy to adjust the sound.

Other things to know: Much pricier and about three times the size of our top pick. The speaker’s guitar-amp styling may turn off some people, but the fit and finish of the product are excellent Available in black.

Read our review of the best home Bluetooth speaker .

FiiO FH5s Wired Earbuds — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $180 ; street price: $230

What we like: Upgrade pick wired earbuds offering the best sonic performance under $250. Look, feel, and sound like high-end earbuds. Semi-open design with rear vents that relieve pressure build up in the ear canal, with minimal sound leakage.

Other things to know:  Larger design may be uncomfortable for people with sensitive ears. Detachable cable doesn't have a mic.

Read our review of the best wired earbuds .

Loop Experience Earplugs — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $28 ; street price: $33

What we like: Our top pick for the best earplugs for concerts. Offers the best noise protection of any non-custom ear plugs we tested. Comfortable to wear for an extended time. Comes with four pairs of tips to provide a secure fit for nearly every ear shape. Blocks out noise without muffling sound. Discreet design.

Other things to know: No universal earplug will reduce different sounds as evenly as a custom design. Street price has risen in recent months. Available in many colors.

Read our review of the best earplugs for concerts .

The buttons on the Cuisinart CPT-122 4-Slice Toaster.

Cuisinart CPT-142 4-Slice Compact Plastic Toaster — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $40 ; street price: $50

What we like: Our longtime top pick for the best four-slot toaster. Consistently produces four slices of perfect, golden brown toast. Offers a wide range of settings and easy-to-use controls. Housing remains cool to the touch, even after multiple batches.

Other things to know:  Heating element wires of modern toasters are subject to corrosion over time. Three-year warranty. Only available in white.

Read our review of the best toaster .

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $320 ; street price: $400 Best Buy deal price: $320 ; street price: $400

What we like: Our pick for the best air fryer toaster oven. Performs just as well as an air fryer as it does a toaster oven. Specific settings for dehydrating, proofing, and slow cooking. Crisps up food faster than traditional toaster ovens. Large two-rack capacity. Multiple fan speeds.

Other things to know: Significantly more expensive than our runner-up pick.

Read our review of the best air fryer toaster oven .

Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo — Also Great Best Buy deal price: $800 ; street price: $1,000 Amazon deal price: $800 ; street price: $1,000

What we like: Our pick for the best indoor countertop pizza oven. Preheats up to 750 °F in 15 minutes and can cook a pizza in just over 90 seconds. Comes with preset functions, precise temperature control, a timer, and pizza peel and pan.

Other things to know: A costly, specific-use appliance. Almost twice the price of our top outdoor pizza oven pick when not on sale. Doesn't get as hot as our outdoor oven picks. Deal matches previous low.

Read our review of the best pizza oven .

Fellow Stagg EKG Electric Gooseneck Kettle — Another Good Option Amazon deal price: $132 ; street price: $160

What we like: Another electric gooseneck kettle we like. Good looks and performance, but expensive. Aesthetically-pleasing silhouette. Small 0.9-liter capacity is best for single servings.

Other things to know: Small capacity and high price compared to our main gooseneck pick. Lowest price is for black and white colors, but other colors are also discounted.

Read our review of the best electric kettle .

OHOM Ui Mug Warmer & Charger Set — Staff Favorite Ohom deal price: $62 ; street price: $88

What we like: A 2-in-1 mug warmer and wireless charger set we recommend for using at your desk. Uses magnetic induction to heat the mug. Qi wireless charging pad (not WPC certified) charges an iPhone to about 30% in 30 minutes.

Other things to know: Doesn't work with other mugs. Not portable like some of our other picks.

Read our review of the best mug warmers .

Duxtop 9100MC Induction Cooktop — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $65 in select colors ; street price: $78

What we like: Our budget pick for the best portable induction cooktop. Great, no-frills machine for a good price. Simple controls ideal for tech-averse cooks.

Other things to know: Does not maintain a set heat or temperature as well as our other picks (so you have to pay closer attention to cooking and adjust temperature more often). Sale price for black/silver color.

Read our review of the best portable induction cooktop .

GE Profile Opal 2.0 with Side Tank and 4 Filters — Also Great Costco deal price: $470 ; street price: $600

What we like: Nugget ice has a cult following because of its soft, chewable consistency. Our pick for the best nugget ice maker produced the highest-quality nugget ice of the models we tested. Has a sleek design, with a transparent, illuminated reservoir for the ice.

Other things to know: Expensive and large. Able to connect to Wi-Fi and can be programmed to respond to voice commands. Costco membership required. Comes with four additional filters, typically selling for about $20 each. We've seen this ice maker sell for less, but the addition of the filters makes this deal a better overall value.

Read our review of the best countertop ice maker .

KitchenAid 5.5-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer — Pick Variant Best Buy deal price: $250 ; street price: $400

What we like: A variant of our KitchenAid stand mixer picks that falls between the Artisan (our top pick) and the Pro 600 in bowl capacity and power. 500 watts means it is plenty powerful and should be more capable of handling bigger batches.

Other things to know: Available in 4 colors. We've yet to test this model, but we stand behind KitchenAid mixers as our experience with them has shown them to perform reliably and well. Model KSM55SXXXER.

Read our review of the best stand mixer .

LifeStraw Home Water Filter Dispenser — Also Great Amazon deal price: $48 ; street price: $60

What we like: Our well-tested and virtually clog-proof water filter dispenser pick. Good for those who have experienced clogging with other water filters or who have known rusty or otherwise sediment-rich tap water. Easy-to-use, high capacity, and kid-friendly operation.

Other things to know: Filters water more slowly than the carbon filters our other picks use. Has a few other design and filtration downsides. Four ANSI/NSF certifications. Deal is for the midnight blue color.

Read our review of the best water filter pitcher and dispenser .

Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Eighth Sheet — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $6 ; street price: $12

What we like: One of our sheet pan picks for cooking with kids. Easily fits in a toaster oven. Just as durable and versatile as the larger version (which is our top baking sheet pick). A multi-purpose pan that's good for everything from toasting a handful of nuts to baking a piece of fish.

Other things to know: Giving young bakers their own small pan to fill with cookies reduces the chance of any bickering over whose treats are whose. Dimensions are 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches. Deal matches previous lows.

Read our review of the best kids cooking tools.

Philips 3000 Series Airfryer L HD9252/91 — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $80 ; street price: $130

What we like: The touchscreen version of our new top pick air fryer. Cooks food faster and more evenly than any other machine we’ve tested in this price range. Just under 3 quart capacity. Basket is easy to insert, remove, and clean. Small footprint.

Other things to know: Touchscreen is cluttered with unhelpful preset programs. Comes with a two-year warranty. First-time deal.

Read our review of the best air fryer .

Thermapen ONE Thermometer — Upgrade Pick ThermoWorks deal price: $76 ; street price: $114

What we like: Our upgrade meat thermometer pick. The fastest and most accurate instant-read model we tested. Bright backlit rotating screen. Wide temperature range. Waterproof. Buttonless and completely automatic. Comes in a rainbow of colors.

Other things to know: Pricey, and street price has recently gone up. Few recipes demand instant, to-the-degree accuracy. The switch to change between Celsius and Fahrenheit is inconveniently located inside the battery compartment. Price includes $5 shipping.

Read our review of the best meat thermometers .

Hedley & Bennett Crossback Apron — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $79 ; street price: $100

What we like: Our top pick crossback apron. Favorite among testers for our kitchen apron guide. Comfortable, durable, and gender neutral. Highly adjustable, fits people of many different sizes and heights. Large pockets are perfect for stashing cooking tools or phone.

Other things to know: Expensive but lasts a long time. Currently available in select colors.

Read our review of our favorite kitchen aprons .

Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $120 ; street price: $150

What we like: Our pick for the best small toaster oven. Cooks food evenly and doesn’t generate hot spots that could cause inconsistent toasting. The fastest at making toast compared with all other models we’ve tested. Performs as well or better than competitors that cost significantly more.

Other things to know:  Recommended for those who want a toaster oven just for making toast and other small jobs. Best price we’ve seen in a few years.

Read our review of the best toaster oven .

Cuckoo CRP-P1009SW 10-Cup Electric Pressure Rice Cooker — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $197 ; street price: $260

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best rice cooker. High-quality construction. Lightning-fast and produces delicious results. Made the best sushi rice of all the models we tested.

Other things to know: Pressurized cooking is fast, but can make long-grain rice come out a bit mushy (we suggest high-heat mode). Large, 10-cup size is not as convenient if you’re cooking for one or two people. Comes with one-year limited warranty. On sale in black, clip the on-page coupon. Lowest price we’ve seen in years.

Read our review of the best rice cooker .

Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Cordless Electric Kettle — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $70 ; street price: $90

What we like: Our top pick for the best electric kettle. Has been our top pick since 2013 because of its consistent performance and easy-to-use interface. Little variation in the amount of time it takes to boil a full kettle of water (1.7 L). Great accuracy in holding water at a set temperature.

Other things to know: Three-year warranty is quite generous. Some reviews complain that the labels on the buttons wear off over time and that the kettle breaks within a year or two, but we don't think these are widespread problems.

Fly By Jing Shorty Spice Set — Gift Pick Target deal price: $16 ; street price: $20

What we love: A set of invigorating Sichuan spices and sauces we like. Recommended in multiple gift guides. Includes Sichuan Chili Crisp, Zhong Sauce, and Mala Spice Mix. We love Fly By Jing, a female-owned company that makes delicious condiments for every heat-seeking taste bud.

Other things to know: Goes well on stir fries, noodles, omelets, roasted veggies, and more. Vegan and MSG free. Contains soy and sesame. Save the Target Circle offer (free to join). Free shipping for Target RedCard holders or opt for store pickup to avoid shipping fees.

Read our suggestions of ways to celebrate AAPI heritage month with delicious asian snacks .

Fly By Jing Triple Threat Set — Gift Pick Amazon deal price: $28 ; street price: $45

What we love: A set of invigorating Sichuan spices and sauces we like. The same lineup as the Shorty Spice Set we recommend in multiple gift guides. Includes Sichuan Chili Crisp, Zhong Sauce, and Mala Spice Mix.

Other things to know: Goes well on stir fries, noodles, omelets, roasted veggies, and more. Vegan and MSG free. Contains soy and sesame.

Read our suggestions of ways to celebrate AAPI heritage month with these delicious asian snacks .

$100 Instacart Gift Card (Email Delivery) — Staff Favorite Amazon deal price: $85 with code T5INST ; street price: $100

What we like: Among the best options for grocery delivery. Instacart employs independent contractors to shop directly at your choice of stores. Essentially $15 free if you or someone you know already uses this delivery service.

Other things to know: Instacart charges a higher premium for delivery fees and won’t deliver to every zip code. Gift card is email delivery. Add a $100 gift card to your cart and use promo code T5INST.

Read our review of the best the best options for grocery delivery.

The large pale base of the Laurel Foundry lamp tapers up to it's off-white linen shade. It's sitting on a bedside table with a pale green wall behind it.

Joss & Main Alina Table Lamp — Our Pick Wayfair deal price: $86 ; street price: $130 (TAKE25, in select colors )

What we like:  Our pick for a neutral, shaded bedside lamp. Heavy concrete base with a striated, organic finish. Includes an off-white linen drum shade.

Other things to know: At 25 inches high and 15 inches in diameter, this is a pretty big lamp. Reviewers consistently note that the lamp’s color is more gray than the white/cream color in the photos. Use code TAKE25 at checkout.

Read our review of our favorite bedside lamps .

Puleo 7.5-foot Pre-Lit Aspen Fir Tree (277-APG-75C7) — Budget Pick Walmart deal price: $221 ; street price: $240

What we like: Our budget pick for the best artificial Christmas tree has 700 UL-listed warm-white incandescent lights—not LEDs— and 1,319 branch tips. Looks especially good once fluffed. Ornaments stand out better than on densely foliaged trees. Sturdily built.

Other things to know: You have to manually plug the light strings together, a fussier method than with the in-pole connections we favor. Finding the plugs among the foliage is a bit challenging.

Read our review of the best artificial Christmas tree .

Dreo HM311S Smart Humidifier — Upcoming Pick Amazon deal price: $42 ; street price: $50

What we like: Our upcoming budget pick for the best humidifier. Quiet, straightforward, easy to use, and doesn't over-humidify a room.

Other things to know:  Small tank but will still last most of a day. Useful features like built-in night-light and smart-home integration. 30-month warranty. Lacks a handle, but still portable.

Read our review of the best humidifier .

Husqvarna Power Axe 350i Chainsaw — Upgrade Pick Husqvarna deal price: $360 ; street price: $450

What we like:  Our upgrade pick for the best chainsaw. Has the longest run time of any saw we tested. Excellent cutting speed.

Other things to know: The 350i is one of the priciest chainsaws we tested. Battery and charger included.

Read our review of the best chainsaw .

Aura Carver Mat Digital Photo Frame — Pick Variant Aura Frames deal price: $139 ; street price: $180 Walmart deal price: $139 ; street price: $180

What we like: A variant of our top digital photo frame pick. Offers easy setup, vivid display, pleasing design and near-zero pillarboxing. Loading photos and videos remotely is a breeze. Features two frame layers that give the look of a mat picture frame.

Other things to know: The 16:10 aspect ratio isn’t our preferred 4:3. Free Aura app works with iOS and Android phones. Available in black color with the white mat. Use code BESTDEAL to get the deal price from Aura direct.

Read our review of the best digital photo frame .

Black+Decker Allure Professional Steam Iron D3030 — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $35 ; street price: $45

What we like: Our budget pick for the best clothing iron. Creates strong whooshes of steam. Stainless steel plate glides smoothly across a variety of fabrics. Handle is comfortable to hold and use. The company has strong customer service.

Other things to know: The heating element is prone to breaking. Two-year warranty. For the price and performance, we recommend this iron as long as you don’t mind the possibility of having to replace it sooner than our other picks.

Read our review of the best clothing iron .

The Onsen Bath Towel Bundle (6-Piece Set) — Also Great Huckberry deal price: $105 ; street price: $156

What we like: Our quick-drying lattice bath towel pick. Soft and smooth with minimalist waffle weave texture. Thin and lightweight. 100% American-grown Supima cotton. Extremely durable.

Other things to know: Jewelry clasps may snag on the lattice weave. Multitude of color options. Six towel set includes two bath towels, two hand towels, and two face towels. Use code WCBUNDLE. Select colors available.

Read our review of the best bath towel .

Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towel — Top Pick Coyuchi deal price: $74 ; street price: $98

What we like: Our pick for a quick-drying towel in our guide to the best beach and surf gear. Lightweight, quick-drying, and surprisingly absorbent. Beautifully made from soft, organic Turkish cotton.

Other things to know: Smaller than traditional beach towels. Colors fade after prolonged sun exposure.

Read our review of the best  beach and surf gear.

The Onsen Bath Towel (2-Piece Set) — Also Great Huckberry deal price: $74 (use code WCSET) ; street price: $100

What we like: Our lattice-weave bath towel pick. Lightweight and durable. Minimalist, upscale look. Wide range of color options. Made of 100% US-grown Supima cotton.

Other things to know: Softer, smoother, and faster-drying than any terry cloth option we tested. Jewelry clasps may snag on lattice weave. Use code WCSET.

Riley Spa Bath Towel — Upgrade Pick Riley Home deal price: $42 with code WC30 ; street price: $60

What we like: Our upgrade pick bath towel has a rich texture and modern design. Great if you prefer terry but don’t like thick, super-soft towels. Looks chic and feels fantastic on the skin. Absorbent and quick-drying.

Other things to know: One of the most expensive terry towels we've tested. Available in seven colors. Use code WC30.

The Onsen Bath Towel (2-Piece Set) — Also Great Huckberry deal price: $74 ; street price: $100

Tushy Ottoman Toilet Stool — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $41 ; street price: $65

What we like: Our stylish and sturdy toilet stool pick. Curves around the base of any standard toilet. Stays immobile during use. Aesthetically pleasing design with smooth, easy-to-clean surface.

Other things to know: Assembly required, but quick to build. Can be slick when wearing socks. Not intended for use by children under age 12. Not to be used as anything other than a footrest.

Read our review of the best Squatty Potty and other toilet stools .

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat with a light green digitally rendered arc displaying the temperature set to 70 degrees.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) with Nest Temperature Sensor — Runner-Up Deal price: $180 with Costco membership ; street price: $285

What we like: Our runner-up pick for the best smart thermostat is larger, crisper, and has a more useful display than its predecessors. Wide compatibility with HVAC systems. Learns heating and cooling preferences to create an optimized schedule.

Other things to know: Includes a Nest Temperature Sensor. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and SmartThings. Available in three colors. Comes with two-year manufacturer’s warranty. Costco membership required.

Read our review of the best smart thermostat .

SimpliSafe Home Security System Kit (5-Piece) — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $100 ; street price: $180 🥈Second Retailer - Walmart deal price: $100 ; street price: $180

What we like: Our runner-up pick for best home security system. Affordable and reliable system that's easy to install and use. Works with voice-control systems and offers a good selection of add-ons.

Other things to know: Optional monitoring plan is slightly cheaper than that of our top pick, but doesn’t provide video storage. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and August Smart Locks. Five-piece kit comes with base station, keypad, entry sensor, motion sensor, and keyfob.

Read our review of the best home security system .

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium (2 Sensor Bundle) — Top Pick Costco deal price: $200 ; street price: $265

What we like: Our top pick for the best smart thermostat. Ecobee’s top-tier model outperformed all other thermostats, and comes with the best remote sensor we’ve tested. It has an air-quality monitor, as well as a built-in microphone, speaker, and voice control.

Other things to know: Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings. A bit of a learning curve to get the most out of the settings. This bundles comes with two smart sensors, but it supports up to 32. Costco membership required.

Eufy SmartDrop Package Drop Box — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $160 ; street price: $350

What we like: A device we recommend for stopping package theft. Will send video verification of delivery. Can generate a unique PIN for courier pickup. Full metal construction. Allows for securing onto a porch via hard bolting options.

Other things to know: Weighs 44 pounds. Delivery services may not want to use system. We speak about this option in our piece on stopping package theft during the holiday season, but Wirecutter hasn't specifically reviewed/tested this item. Customer reviews are good.

Read our advice on how to stop package thefts this holiday season .

Echo Dot (5th Gen) with Clock — Also Great Best Buy deal price: $35 ; street price: $50

What we like: Our pick for a camera-free Amazon Alexa smart speaker for nightstands. Has the same features as the regular Amazon Echo Dot, but comes with a small built-in digital readout that can show the time, weather, and other useful information.

Other things to know: Doesn’t have a built-in light sensor, so its screen doesn’t dim when the lights are off, but the digital display readout can be turned off with Alexa if desired. Available in two colors.

Read our review of the best Alexa smart speakers .

Google Nest Cam (Indoor, Wired) — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $70 ; street price: $100

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best indoor security camera. Good choice if you need longer, more advanced recordings. Can shoot 1080p video clips up to 5 minutes, record 24/7 to the cloud (with a subscription), and distinguishes among people, pets, and vehicles.

Other things to know: Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Offers limited free cloud storage of recordings, though just for three hours after capturing motion.

Read our review of the best indoor security camera .

Google Nest Doorbell (Wired, 2nd Gen) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $130 ; street price: $180

What we like: Our top pick for the best smart doorbell camera. The most accurate at distinguishing types of motion. Sends fast alerts and captures clear audio and video. The only pick to offer free cloud storage (up to three hours).

Other things to know: Nest Aware subscription ($8 per month) required for storing recordings up to 30 days. Familiar Face Detection doesn't always identify faces accurately. Camera doesn't work with the old Nest app. Select colors available. Price matches previous low.

Read our review of the best smart doorbell camera .

Vornado 660 AE Large Air Circulator with Alexa — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $97 ; street price: $125

What we like: Our runner-up pick for the best fan. One of the most powerful room circulators we’ve ever tested. Can move air more than 20 feet away. Built-in Alexa connectivity. Quiet. Offers four speed settings with a forceful turbo mode. Five-year warranty.

Other things to know: Larger than other Vornado fan options. No visual indicator of the current setting. Would be able to achieve similar Alexa capabilities with a less expensive fan by using a smart plug.

Read our review of the best fan .

Our pick for best slide-in gas range that is top-of-the-line, the GE Profile PGS930, with the oven open with food inside.

GE Profile PGS930 Slide-in Gas Range — Upgrade Pick Home Depot deal price: $1,600 ; street price: $2,700

What we like: Best all-around specs we’ve seen for a gas slide-in range. Powerful—boils water faster than similar ranges. Three-ring design burner is good for holding temperatures. Glass control panel looks and feels upscale.

Other things to know: Five burners. 21,000 Btu power burner. Has a Wi-Fi feature you can sync with an app. Available in the fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish. Matches previous low price.

Read our review of the best slide-in gas ranges .

GE JGBS30 Electric Stove — Another Good Option Home Depot deal price: $580 ; street price: $675

What we like: An electric stove we like as a cheaper alternative to our budget pick. Similar specs, but has a bigger oven and self-cleaning mode.

Other things to know: Deal price only available for the black or white finishes. Price includes delivery, necessary parts and professional installation.

Read our review of the best gas stoves and ranges .

Our pick for best robot vacuum with a super smart mapping system, the Roborock Q5, in front of a red background.

Roborock Q5+ Robot Vacuum — Also Great Amazon deal price: $400 ; street price: $600

What we like: Our pick for a self-emptying, super-smart robot vacuum. Bests our top picks in battery life, app usability, mapping performance, and voice command response to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Large bin. Excels at cleaning hard floors and low- and medium-pile carpets.

Other things to know: Can’t clean rugs as well as our top picks. Not as durable or repairable as other robot vacuums. Comes with a charging station that empties debris into a disposable bag.

Read our review of the best robot vacuums .

Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner 1400B — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $89 ; street price: $120

What we like: Our top pick for the best portable carpet and upholstery cleaner. Great for small messes. Ideal for pet owners and parents of young kids. Completely removed wine and chocolate stains with handheld suction brush, hot tap water, and cleaning formula.

Other things to know: Designed to tackle small areas only. Water tank is difficult to clean. One-year warranty is shorter than competition.

Read our review of the best portable carpet and upholstery cleaner .

Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Stick Vacuum — Another Good Option Costco deal price: $510 with Costco membership ; street price: $700

What we like: Another good cordless stick vacuum that offers twice the dustbin capacity of current top pick. Cleans as well as any cordless vacuum we've tested. Decent battery life. Useful LCD screen. Auto mode automatically adjusts the suction level depending on surface type to preserve battery life.

Other things to know: Former upgrade pick. Doesn't clean significantly better than our top pick. Particle counter is effective, if a bit gimmicky and over-engineered. Expensive when compared to other options. Trigger-style power switch requires constant squeezing. Unwieldy as a handheld vacuum. Deal is for Costco members only. Shipping is included in the deal price.

Read our review of the best cordless stick vacuum .

The Capser Adjustable Base max, our pick for modern bed that works with other frames, in a bedroom with a mattress on top.

Casper Adjustable Base Max (Queen) — Our Pick Casper deal price: $1,248 ; street price: $2,200

What we like: Our pick for an adjustable bed frame base that allows you to customize your sleeping position. Fits inside most regular bed frames.

Other things to know: Usually pretty expensive, and, like most adjustable frames, will not work with an innerspring mattress.

Read our review of the best modern bed frames.

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Pro + Cooling Pillow (mid-density) — Upgrade Pick Home Depot deal price: $84 ; street price: $169

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best memory foam pillow. Made with some of the best foam we’ve tried—it feels dense and luxurious. Most of our side- and back-sleepers found this pillow very supportive. outer cover is made from high-quality fabric; it’s well stitched and taut, and the material stayed cooler than most others we tried.

Other things to know: Comes in three thicknesses, we recommend the mid-density for most people. Five-year limited warranty. The only one of our picks that’s sold widely in stores.

Read our review of the best memory foam pillows .

Brooklinen All-Season Down Comforter (Full/Queen) — Our Pick Brooklinen deal price: $284 ; street price: $369

What we like: Our warm, fluffy, and lightweight down comforter pick. Easy to wash. Keeps its loft, even after being in storage. 700-fill-power duck down. Baffle box construction.

Other things to know: One-year return policy. Two-year warranty. Use code BLACKFRIDAY. Deal price is for the full/queen size, but all sizes are discounted. Street price has risen over the past few months.

Read our review of the best comforters .

Brooklinen Pure Wool Throw Blanket — Our Pick Brooklinen deal price: $187 ; street price: $250

What we like: Our luxe wool throw blanket pick. Thick but softer than any other 100% wool blanket we’ve tested. Looks rustic but polished. Very warm.

Other things to know: Made from animal fibers, dry clean only. May not be the best choice for families with kids. Softer than other wool blankets, but still slightly scratchy. Use code BLACKFRIDAY to get the deal price.

Read our review of the best throw blankets .

Our also great pick for best adjustable dumbbell, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells — Also Great Amazon deal price: $300 ; street price: $400

What we like: Our pick for adjustable dumbbells with smaller weight increments. Adjusts smoothly from 5 to 52.5 pounds per dumbbell. Uses 2.5-pound increments for the first 25 pounds and 5 pounds thereafter. Holds up over years of use.

Other things to know: Not as quick or elegant to load and unload as our top pick. The 15.75-inch-long bars can make some exercises awkward, especially for smaller-framed people. Clip the on-page coupon for the deal price.

Read our review of the best adjustable dumbbells .

Fitbit Inspire 3 Fitness Tracker — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $70 ; street price: $100

What we like: Our top pick for the best fitness tracker. Most accurate tracker for step count and high performer for every other test. Lightweight, week-long battery life, and water-resistant down to 50 meters.

Other things to know:  Battery life is below manufacturer's 10-day claim. Small touchscreen, though still easy to navigate.

Read our review of the best fitness trackers .

Delta Cycle Michelangelo Two-Bike Gravity Stand — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $38 ; street price: $65

What we like: Our top bike rack pick for storing one or two bikes in a small apartment. Simple to set up. Lightweight yet sturdy. It only needs a single hole drilled in the wall. Has a couple of extra hooks for accessories.

Other things to know: While a single extra tall bike will fit, two taller bikes may not. Only requires a Phillips screwdriver and a drill to assemble in our testing.

Read our review of the best bike storage ideas .

Fitbit Charge 6 Fitness Tracker — Upcoming Pick Best Buy deal price: $100 ; street price: $140

What we like: Our upcoming runner-up fitness tracker pick has the same excellent activity tracking as the Charge 5. Performed well across our step count and heart rate tests.

Other things to know: Requires Google account integration. 40 sport modes (versus the 5's six modes).

Peloton Bike — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $1,095 ; street price: $1,445

What we like: One of our top picks for an exercise bike. Smooth and sturdy ride. Immersive experience. Community emphasis. Engaging instructors. Good alternative to a monthly spin class membership.

Other things to know: Expensive and requires a subscription ($44 a month) to function maximally. Smaller riders may struggle to find a perfect fit. Limited warranty covers the tablet, mechanics, parts, and service (from issues related to normal wear and tear for one year and the bike frame for five years).

Read our review of the Peloton bike .

Bodylastics Stackable Tube Resistance Bands (5-Band Set) — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $35 ; street price: $50

What we like: Our top pick resistance bands. Reinforced with rope to prevent over-stretching the bands. Set of five comes with door anchor, two grippy handles, and two padded ankle straps.

Other things to know: Detailed instruction manual. Links to free exercise demonstration videos. Ankle straps are longer than those in most other kits.

Read our review of the best resistance bands .

Garmin Forerunner 265 GPS Running Watch — Runner-Up Scheels deal price: $340 ; street price: $400

What we like: Our upgrade pick for best GPS running watch. Most comfortable model we tested. User-friendly interface with beautiful screen. Offers many features for athletes whose interests go beyond running. Dedicated button takes you directly into workouts. Offers training guidance. Includes storage for music.

Other things to know: Significantly shorter battery life than our top pick. Deal only available in grey heather color.

Read our review of the best GPS running watches .

Bowflex C6 Bike — Our Pick Bowflex deal price: $600 ; street price: $1,000

What we like: One of our favorite exercise bikes (and identical to the Schwinn IC4). LCD console displays a full suite of metrics. Bluetooth connectivity allows the bike to connect to eight different cycling apps and a heart-rate monitor. Adaptable, functional, and offers a smooth ride.

Other things to know:  Free shipping. Nautilus owns both Schwinn and Bowflex. Includes two 3-pound dumbbells. 10-year warranty for the frame, 3-years for the parts, and 1-year for any repairs requiring a technician.

Read our review of the best exercise bikes .

Saucony Guide 16 Running Shoes (men's) — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $65 ; street price: $140

What we like: Our favorite stability running shoes. This pair’s soft, foam midsole and thick insole create a comfortable, stable run. Our testers said this pair offers “an incredibly easy and smooth ride.”

Other things to know: These sneakers start out feeling a bit stiff, but they are more flexible than past versions. There are limited color options, particularly for wide sizes. Only the black color is on sale, in all sizes available.

Read our review of the best running shoes .

Our pick for most versatile toiletry bag, the State Bags Bensen Dopp Kit, shown upright on a bathroom countertop near a sink.

State Bags Bensen Toiletry Kit — Our Pick State Bags deal price: $58 ; street price: $74

What we like:  Versatile toiletry bag pick. Great for long and short trips. Unzips flat to pack larger items. Hangs readily thanks to sturdy hook. Removable translucent pouch makes for easy TSA passage.

Other things to know: Most expensive of our picks. Comes in 19 colors and patterns. The deal price is for any of the $65 kits. Other kits cost a few bucks more. Use code BF2023. Price includes shipping.

Read our review of the best toiletry bags .

Away The Carry-On Luggage — Also Great Away deal price: $220 ; street price: $275

What we like: Our pick for hard-sided carry-on luggage. Sleek, trendy design. Strong yet flexible polycarbonate shell. Top-of-the-line components include YKK zippers, smooth-rolling wheels, and a built-in portable charger. Lifetime warranty.

Other things to know: Less durable and more prone to showing wear than our soft-sided picks. Street price has risen, but still a rare deal. Only available in petal with USB charger. The Bigger Carry-On, Medium, and Large are also on sale.

Read our review of the best carry-on luggage .

Zojirushi SM-KHE Stainless Steel Mug (16 ounces) — Pick Variant Amazon deal price: $21 ; street price: $30

What we like: An older version of our top pick for the best travel mug. During testing, kept hot liquids just as warm as our top pick over the course of eight hours in the freezer. Well-constructed and durable. Has an electro-polished stainless steel interior.

Other things to know: The flip-top lid isn’t as compact and lightweight as that of the newer version we recommend. Deal price is for the 16-ounce size in blue.

Read our review of the best travel mug .

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle (20 ounces) — Pick Variant Amazon deal price: $16 ; street price: $30

What we like: A wider-mouth version of our favorite simple stainless steel water bottle. Bottle is insulated and simple to carry. Wide mouth makes it easy to add ice. During testing, it was completely leakproof and kept water cool for 17 hours.

Other things to know: Includes a detachable Flex Sip Lid. Deal available in stone.

Read our review of the best water bottles .

Stanley Adventure To-Go Bottle 1.1 QT — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $23 ; street price: $30

What we like: Our budget pick for best thermos. Cheaper and smaller than our top pick, and insulates almost as well. Easy to use and portable. Comes with a lifetime warranty, better than the other thermoses we tested.

Other things to know: Not dishwasher safe. No handle, but small enough that it doesn't really matter. Not as durable as our other picks. On sale in the black color.

Read our review of the best thermos .

Away The Medium Suitcase — Also Great Away deal price: $276 ; street price: $345

What we like: Our pick for hard-sided luggage for checking. Top-of-the-line components and a limited lifetime warranty. Great looking modern and minimalist style. Matches our hard-sided carry-on pick.   Other thing to know: Soft-sided luggage typically has a longer life span and offers such features as exterior pockets. Weighs 9.9 pounds and measures 26 by 18.5 by 11 inches—a fairly standard weight and size for checked luggage this size.

Read our review of the best suitcases for checking .

Wandrd Prvke Backpack — Our Pick Wandrd deal price: $158 ; street price: $219

What we like:  Our buy-it-for-life backpack pick that's best for photographers. Can protect your expensive gear in the toughest environments and weather. Works as a camera bag or a daily-carry backpack. Multiple packing layouts and options.

Other things to know: Fairly heavy. Lacks easy-to-access organizational space for items like notebooks and pens. Deal price is for the 21-liter backpack. Select colors on sale. Use code BFEXTRA5, additional savings in-cart.

Read our review of the best travel backpack .

Travelpro Maxlite Carry-On Luggage — Upcoming Pick Amazon deal price: $123 ; street price: $145

What we like: Our upcoming budget carry-on luggage pick. The best option we’ve found under $200, with almost all the benefits of luggage nearly twice the price. Ultralight (just over two pounds lighter than our top pick).

Other things to know: Comes with the pedigree of our top pick (Travelpro). Warranty isn't quite as strong as that of our top pick. Available in a variety of colors.

Aer Day Pack 2 Laptop Backpack — Another Good Option Aer deal price: $112 ; street price: $140

What we like: Another good option in our guide to laptop backpacks. Tons of pockets and organization. Large amount of storage capacity. Minimalist exterior.

Other things to know: High-sheen front panel is a polarizing look. Use code SAVE20 for deal price.

Read our review of the best laptop backpacks .

Aer Duffel Pack 3 Backpack — Our Pick Aer deal price: $143 ; street price: $179

What we like: Our laptop backpack pick for a large, ergonomic gym bag. Seamlessly transitions from office to gym, with ultra-comfortable straps and plenty of organization for gadgets and gear. Ventilated shoe compartment. Most protective of our picks.

Other things to know: 21.4-liter capacity not as generous as that of some of our other picks. Best on people with a bigger back. Use code SAVE20.

A person jogging in the park pushing a child in the Thuler Urban Glide 2, our pick for best jogging stroller overall.

Thule Urban Glide 2 Stroller — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $421 ; street price: $520

What we like: Our pick for the best jogging stroller. Lightweight and nimble, making it easy to maneuver and convenient for day-to-day use. Includes all of the desired safety features we looked for in a jogging stroller.

Other things to know: Better on pavements than on trails. Can be used from birth with an infant car seat with the appropriate adapter (neither are included). Only available in dark shadow gray. Lowest price we've seen in the past year, best price we've seen since 2020.

Read our review of the best jogging strollers .

JLab JBuddies Play Kids Headphones — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $35 ; street price: $40

What we like: Our pick for the best kids headphones for school and gaming. Retractable boom mic. Very good sound quality, especially for under-$50 headphones. 22 hours of battery life. Lightweight, flexible design. Sized to fit kids between the ages of 4 and 11.

Other things to know:  Doesn’t feel as substantial as our other picks do. Limited two-year warranty.

Read our review of the best kids headphones .

Amazon Echo Glow Night-Light — Staff Favorite Amazon deal price: $17 ; street price: $25

What we like: A staff-favorite smart night-light. From our guide to hosting even if you don’t have a guest room. Uses Echo devices to create routines and bedtime countdowns. Emits 16 different colors.

Other things to know: Too dim to use as a reading light. No physical controls (requires Alexa app or Echo device). Reoccurring price but rarely drops lower.

Read our article on  hosting essentials .

Graco Premier SnugRide SnugFit 35 XT Infant Car Seat — Another Good Option Amazon deal price: $224 ; street price: $320

What we like: Another good infant car seat if you want an upgrade to our top pick from Graco. Has an extendable sun canopy with a see-through peek-a-boo window.

Other things to know: Usually costs about $100 more than our top pick, but is currently about $30 more expensive.

Read our review of the best infant car seats .

Bentgo Kids Stainless Steel Lunch Box — Our Pick Bentgo deal price: $40 with code HOLIDAY20; street price: $50 Amazon deal price: $40 (lightning deal) ; street price: $50

What we like: Our pick for the best metal bento-style lunch box for kids. Compact but has a roomy and intuitive layout, plus a totally leakproof silicone seal. More durable than the plastic Bentgo Fresh.

Other things to know: Top rack dishwasher-safe. Comes with a five-year warranty. Use code HOLIDAY20 at checkout.

Read our review of the best kids lunch boxes .

Banana Bike GT Balance Bike — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $35 ; street price: $73

What we like: Our upcoming budget pick balance bike. Low stand-over height enables skittish youngsters to keep balanced. Handlebars and seat easily adjustable. Grippy, inflatable tires.

Other things to know:   Took an hour+ to build and adjust. Deal is for the yellow bike. Also available in blue and red for a few bucks more.

Read our review of the best balance bike .

Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $245 ; street price: $350

What we like: Our runner-up pick for best convertible car seat. Stylish. User-friendly. Easier to install than any other seat we tested. Looks and feels more plush than even our top pick.

Other things to know: Can only be used in rear-facing position for kids up to 40 pounds. (True of most convertible car seats.) Not the best for extended rear-facing use. No longer sold with anti-rebound bars. On sale in the blue contour color.

Read our review of the best convertible car seats .

Quip Kids Electric Toothbrush — Top Pick Quip deal price: $15 ; street price: $25

What we like:  Our top pick electric toothbrush for kids. Smaller brush head and handle makes it easier for young kids to reach molars. Two-minute timer. Light and quiet. Aesthetically pleasing.

Other things to know: AAA-battery-operated. Purchase triggers a $14 quarterly brush head subscription, cancel anytime. Comes with a free Large Anticavity Toothpaste. Available in pink, purple, or blue. Use code FRIDAY40.

Read our review of the best electric toothbrush for kids .

Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 Elite Infant Car Seat — Another Good Option Walmart deal price: $189 ; street price: $250

What we like: An upgraded version of our top pick for the best infant car seat. Simple to install with the base. High-end feel. Same padding as our top pick, plus fancier-looking fabric. Removable all-weather boot provides a little extra warmth.

Other things to know: Currently priced lower than our top pick. Seat-belt-only install is tricky without the base. Not as compatible with as many stroller brands as our other picks. Available from Amazon and Walmart.

Woom 3 Kids 16-Inch Pedal Bike — Upgrade Pick Woom deal price: $404 ; street price: $450

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best first pedal bike. Beautifully built and appointed. Super-light, super-zippy, and chock-full of kid-friendly features. The kid equivalent of a sports car.

Other things to know: Woom also offers a trade-up club ($59 membership). Return the bike (Woom pays for shipping) within two years, and Woom will put 40% of your returned bike’s purchase price toward the next size bike. Price reflects in-cart. Select colors.

Read our review of the best first pedal bike .

Plus-Plus Super Tube Building Blocks — Gift Pick Amazon deal price: $23 ; street price: $30

What we like: One of our favorite gifts for 6-year-olds. These unique, puzzle-shaped pieces are great for engaging creative young minds. Can be used to create flat works of art or 3D constructions. Contains 500 pieces.

Other things to know: Warning: small pieces could pose a choking hazard for very young children.

Read our review of the best gifts for 6-year-olds .

Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $1,102 ; street price: $1,500 Happiest Baby deal price: $1,102 ; street price: $1,500

What we like: Our pick for best smart bassinet. Can detect when a baby is crying and automatically rocks and generates white noise. Comes with three swaddles (small, medium, and large). Robust customer service.

Other things to know:  Still incredibly expensive, even on sale. 25-pound baby weight limit. Also available to rent. 30-day trial.

Read our review of the best bassinets and bedside sleepers .

Magna-Tiles (32-Piece Set) — Staff Favorite Amazon deal price: $35 ; street price: $50

What we like: A tried-and-true staff favorite from our guide to the best STEM toys. Vibrant colors and fun shapes help stimulate imagination. An endless possibility of shapes and designs to be made.

Other things to know: Deal is for the 32-piece set. Abstract and complicated shapes can be frustrating for early preschoolers. The 84-piece set is also on sale.

Read our review of the learning toys and STEM toys we love .

Happiest Baby Sleepea Baby Swaddle — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $15 in select colors ; street price: $30

What we like: Our pick for the best baby swaddle. The most effective swaddle we tested.  Safe, comfortable, and easy to use. Keeps babies snug and secure with a unique interior Velcro panel. Harder for babies to break out of than other swaddles.

Other things to know: Can be used with or without interior Velcro panel. In medium and large sizes, the shoulders unsnap to create optional armholes for arms-out transitional swaddling. Down to $15 for the graphite planets and ivory planets patterns in the medium and large sizes; other colors also on sale.

Read our review of the best baby swaddles .

The Oral-B Pro 1000, with white brush handle and white brush head.

Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $30 ; street price: $45

What we like: Our top pick for the best electric toothbrush. Has a two-minute timer with handy quadrant pacing and compatibility with the largest range of widely available replacement brush heads. Also has a pressure sensor and a long-lasting battery.

Other things to know: Compatible with the largest range of replacement heads. Oscillating brushing motion. Louder than others. Only the black color is down to $30 in the new design, while the old design is available in either color with a free my Best Buy membership or store pickup.

Read our review of the best electric toothbrush .

Headspace Meditation App — Top Pick Headspace deal price: $35 ; street price: $70

What we like: Our top pick for best meditation app. Offers the widest variety of meditations. Great for beginner meditators and those looking to maintain the habit. Content is easy to parse and the courses are comprehensive.

Other things to know: First deal we've seen in a year. 50% off for first year of annual subscription. Price reverts back up to $70 after the first year. For new and returning users.

Read our review of the best meditation apps .

Ekrin Athletics B37 Massage Gun — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $173 ; street price: $230

What we like: Our pick for a massage gun with an ergonomic, angled handle that makes reaching for the upper back or calves a little easier. Exceptionally long eight-hour battery life. Lifetime warranty. Solid value overall.

Other things to know: Includes four attachments, three made of plastic (bullet, flat, fork) and one made of a lighter, less-durable-feeling foam (ball).

Read our review of the best massage guns .

Therabody Theragun Mini 2nd Generation — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $150 ; street price: $185

What we like: Our pick for the best compact massage gun. Tackles the basics and is good for travel. Lightweight shape is easy to hold. Better for harder-to-reach spots than our other picks. Solid battery life, simple functionality, and not-too-loud sound.

Other things to know: Comes with three attachments, fewer than most models. Bluetooth enabled and connects to the Therabody app with access to guided programs. One-year limited warranty.

Therabody Theragun Prime Massage Gun — Our Pick Best Buy deal price: $190 ; street price: $250

What we like: Our pick for powerful massage gun with multi-grip handle. Upscale and well-designed. Powerful percussion in compact package. The triangular, multi-grip handle reduces hand strain. Bluetooth-enabled. Pairs with phones to offer guided programs via the companion app.

Other things to know:  Four different head attachments and five speeds. Can sound like a power tool. Doesn't come with a carrying case.

Verilux HappyLight Luxe Light Therapy Lamp — Budget Pick Amazon deal price: $56 ; street price: $70

What we like: Our budget pick for the best light therapy lamp. Compact and packs well for travel. Bright enough in multiple color temperatures. Timer with automated shutoff.

Other things to know: Significantly lower light output than our other picks. Fixed position can be slightly awkward. Three-year warranty does not cover bulbs and parts. Select colors.

Read our review of the best light therapy lamp .

Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $50 ; street price: $75

What we like:  Our runner-up pick for best water flosser is just as effective as our top pick and comes with similar three-year warranty. Easy to use and clean. Ten pressure settings, including a “massage” setting that emits pulses of water.

Other things to know: This is a corded model and requires a power outlet during use. Takes up more counter space than our top pick. Select colors available. Lowest price we’ve seen this year.

Read our review of the best water flossers .

The Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush 1.0 resting on a wooden surface.

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush 1.0 — Staff Favorite Amazon deal price: $30 ; street price: $40

What we like: A staff favorite hair styling tool that combines the power of a blow dryer and a round brush. All one piece, so no fumbling with attachments. Produces similar results as the Dyson Airwrap with brush attachment. A simple and affordable daily styling solution.

Other things to know: Our testers generally preferred the Airwrap’s user experience (but not its price). Available in black/pink and mint with store pickup at Ulta. Amazon deal is for black/pink. Not the lowest price we’ve seen on this 1.0 model—sales seem to be more infrequent, but with less substantial discounts.

Read our review comparing the dyson airwrap and the revlon one-step .

Simplehuman Adjustable Shower Caddy Plus — Upgrade Pick Amazon deal price: $56 ; street price: $80

What we like: Our upgrade pick shower caddy. More versatile than our top pick. Features adjustable-height shelves, multiple hooks, and more storage options. Perfect for fixed showerheads.

Other things to know: Installation requires screwdriver. Height of the caddy can be adjusted nearly a foot. Comes with 5-year limited warranty.

Read our review of the best shower caddy .

Starface Hydro-Stars Pimple Patches (32-pack) — Gift Pick Amazon deal price: $12 ; street price: $14

What we like: A small and affordable gift from our guide to stocking stuffers for adults. Pimples get a gold star with these stellar hydrocolloid stickers to heal and conceal. Each cheery yellow sticker is made from hydrocolloid, a polymer compound that’s used in serious wound healing.

Other things to know: Comes with 32 spot treatments.

Read our ideas for  stocking stuffers for adults .

Vacation Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen — Staff Favorite Urban Outfitters deal price: $16 price with store pickup (price reflects in cart) ; street price: $22

What we like: A gimmicky chemical sunscreen foam that the Wirecutter staff actually likes. Exceptionally easy to apply. Feels noticeably light and comfortable to wear. Has a delightful banana-coconut scent. Can use on both the face and body. Effectively delivers a dose of nostalgia.

Other things to know: Do not ingest. Typically pricier than our picks. Opt for store pickup to avoid shipping fees.

Read our review of  whipped cream sunscreen .

Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen (3 ounces) — Runner-Up Amazon deal price: $8 ; street price: $12

What we like: Our runner-up pick for the best reef-safe sunscreen. Formulated with ingredients considered safest for reefs, including non-nano zinc oxide. A thick, physical sunscreen that rubs in fairly easily and feels nice on skin. Affordable.

Other things to know: Not fragrance-free. May leave a white cast. Only the third deal we've seen this year.

Read our review of the best reef-safe sunscreen .

Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 50+ Sunscreen — Our Pick Dr. Jart deal price: $28 ; street price: $40

What we like: Our slightly splurgy mineral sunscreen pick from our guide to the best sunscreens for your face. Our testers liked its light citrus scent and ability to rub in easily without being sticky, oily, or drying.

Other things to know: One of our more expensive picks. Not overly-moisturizing. Sets with a matte-like finish.

Read our review of the best sunscreens for your face .

Someone wearing Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Leggings.

Girlfriend Collective Compressive High-Rise Legging — Our Pick Girlfriend Collective deal price: $56 ; street price: $85

What we like: Versatile and flattering. Structured fit, a substantial feel, and medium compression. Available in a wide variety of sizes (from XXS to 6XL), three lengths, and six standard colors plus some limited ones.

Other things to know: May feel warm in some scenarios due to thicker fabric. Waistband had less give than on other pairs we tested. Use code HONEY10 at checkout. Deal price includes shipping.

Read our review of the best leggings .

Hanes Men’s Full-Zip EcoSmart Hoodie — Gift Pick Amazon deal price: $13 ; street price: $18

What we like: An everyday hoodie recommended in our guide to great last-minute Christmas gifts. Inexpensive (especially on sale). An ideal extra layer—not too cold, warm, or fussy. Soft and cut generously. The 50/50 cotton/polyester blend holds color and texture better than 100% cotton but still feels breathable.

Other things to know: Comes in six sizes up to 3XL and 11 colors. Most colors and sizes on sale.

Read our review of the best great last-minute Christmas gifts .

Leatherology Uptown Vertical Tote — Our Pick Leatherology deal price: $148 with code HOLIDAY23; street price: $180

What we like: A laid-back leather tote pick from our guide to the best tote bags. Slouchy and minimalistic, this soft, full-grain leather bag straddles the line between polished and effortless. Plenty of internal organization.

Other things to know: It's an unstructured tote, so it won't stand upright on its own. No button or zipper at the top. Use code HOLIDAY23 to get the deal price. Select colors available, ships free.

Read our review of the best tote bags .

Bonobos Soft Everyday Tee — Our Pick Bonobos deal price:  $25 with code GAMEON ; street price: $35

What we like:  Our boxier, more relaxed white t-shirt pick. Extremely soft with some stretch and sturdily constructed. Especially loved by our XXL shirt-size testers. Offers a wide range of sizes, styles, and colors.

Other things to know: Generous fit may not work for people with smaller frames. Available in a variety of colors and sizes. Choose between a crew neck or v-neck, and a slim or standard cut. Use code GAMEON. Free shipping.

Read our review of the best men’s white T-shirts .

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers (low-top, unisex) — Gift Pick Converse deal price: $30 ; street price: $60

What we like: A pair of classic unisex sneakers we recommend in our gift guide for boyfriends. Cool, inexpensive, and effortlessly casual. Easy to clean and tough enough to last several years. A great everyday kicking-around shoe.

Other things to know: Narrow toe box. Not waterproof. No arch support. Use code CYBERWEEK. Free shipping for Converse members (free to join). Deal is for select colors.

Read our review of the best white sneakers .

Our pick for best action camera overall, GoPro Hero12 Black.

GoPro Hero12 Black Action Camera + Accessories Bundle — Top Pick Best Buy deal price: $350 ; street price: $450

What we like: Our new top pick for the best action camera has impressive image quality and super-steady stabilization, and it’s easy to use even for beginners. Waterproof to a depth of 10 meters (33 feet). Lens cover is 2-millimeter-thick Gorilla Glass. GoPro’s app is really good.

Other things to know: Action cameras have never had great battery life, but in our testing the Hero12 Black’s battery generally lasted about 15% longer than that of the Hero11 Black. Accessory bundle includes the Handler (Floating Hand Grip), Head Strap 2.0, two Enduro batteries, and a case.

Read our review of the best action camera .

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link 2 Instant Photo Printer — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $90 ; street price: $100 🥈Second Retailer - Best Buy deal price: $90 ; street price: $100

What we like: Our top pick for best instant photo printer. Ultra-portable and compact. Quickly delivers vibrant, credit-card-sized, film-like prints. Easy to set up and use with an intuitive app.

Other things to know: Printer body feels fragile. Prints take four to six minutes to fully develop and may lack fine detail and clarity. Uses the same film packs as Fujifilm’s Instax cameras. Recurring deal price, but has yet to drop lower.

Read our review of the best instant photo printer .

The Purist Mover water bottle, a great gift for people who have everything, shown in a deep blue color.

Purist Mover Water Bottle (18 ounces) — Upgrade Pick Purist deal price: $43 (price reflects at checkout) ; street price: $50

What we like: Our upgrade pick for the best water bottle. Non-breakable glass interior prevents flavors from lingering in the bottle. Holds hot and cold drinks. Sleek, durable, and long-lasting. Lifetime warranty.

Other things to know: Deal price varies depending on your lid of choice. A good option if you don't have an REI nearby, or don't want to wait for a 20% off in-person member event.

RTIC Soft Pack Cooler 20 Can — Our Pick RTIC deal price: $70 ; street price: $100

What we like:  Our pick for the best soft cooler. Simple lunch-box-style design. Coated nylon exterior. Lightweight and durable enough for daily carrying. Insulated with thick, closed-cell nylon foam.

Other things to know: Keeps up to 20 cans cold for hours on end. Won’t last forever—no soft cooler will. Available in select colors for $70 and other colors for $85.

Read our review of the best coolers .

The best easy-to-clean fire pit, the Tiki Fire Pit, shown lit outdoors with people surrounding it.

Tiki Fire Pit — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $275 ; street price: $350

What we like: Our pick for an easy-to-clean, relaxed-looking smokeless fire pit. Less industrial looking than most. Easy to clean, thanks to its ash-collection plate. Comes with a cover.

Other things to know: Like all smokeless fire pits, doesn’t radiate much heat. Ashtray feels flimsy. Comes with 2-year limited warranty. Has seen a recent increase in street price. Delayed shipping.

Read our review of the best smokeless fire pits .

Wick Portable Table Lamp — Gift Pick 2Modern deal price: $127 ; street price: $150 Lumens deal price: $127 ; street price: $150

What we like: An LED touch-sensor lamp we like in our guide to housewarming gifts. Modern version of a traditional chamber stick. Offers the romance of candlelight without an open flame. Four brightness settings. Charges via USB.

Other things to know: Stays “lit” for 12 to 115 hours between charges. Pulse mode mimics the flicker of candlelight.

Read our review of the best housewarming gifts .

Amazon Basics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder with Pullout Basket — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $63 ; street price: $70

What we like: Our top pick for the best paper shredder. Offers best balance of ease of use, sheet capacity, and price. Can run jam-free for nearly 10 minutes without overheating. Micro-cuts documents into shreds measuring around 5/32 by 15/32 inches.

Other things to know: Slightly bigger than eight-sheet shredders with lift-up tops. We recommend unplugging any shredder when not in use.

Read our review of the best paper shredders .

Cushion Lab Pressure Relief Seat Cushion — Our Pick Amazon deal price: $52 ; street price: $73

What we like: Our medium-firm pick for the best ergonomic seat cushion. Offers tailbone relief and increased seated height. Never goes flat.

Other things to know: Shaped coccyx cushion, meaning it has a cutout for your tailbone (can be good for people with tailbone pain). Larger than typical office chairs, so worth measuring your chair before purchasing. Deal price only available in gray.

Read our review of the best ergonomic seat cushions .

Cricut Explore 3 Electronic Cutting Machine — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $250 ; street price: $300

What we like: Our top pick from our guide to the best cutting machines from Cricut and Silhouette. Intuitive and easy-to-use software make it great for beginners. Superior selection of images and ready-to-make projects.

Other things to know: Faster than other cutting machines like the Maker 3, but significantly louder. Doesn't come with a cutting mat, but can only cut materials that are 6 inches or longer. First deal we've posted.

Read our review of the best electronic cutting machines from Cricut and Silhouette .

Fly By Jing By Jing Box — Our Pick Fly By Jing deal price: $65 ; street price: $100

What we like: One of our favorite gift baskets, the By Jing Box is a great gift for fans of heat and lovers of sichuan spice. A wide array of sauces and oils we love on just about everything.

Other things to know: Includes Fly By Jing’s signature Sichuan Chili Crisp, Xtra Spicy Chili Crisp, sweet-and-spicy Zhong Sauce, super-versatile Chili Crisp Vinaigrette, legume-studded Chengdu Crunch, and Sichuan Gold chili oil. Use code WIRECUTTER35.

Read our review of our favorite gift baskets .

Sonos Era 100 Wireless Speaker (2-Pack) — Top Pick Sonos deal price: $380 ; street price: $470

What we like: Our top pick speaker for the best multiroom wireless speaker system. Produces a full, well-balanced sound and fits nicely in any room. Offers support for more than 130 streaming services. Supports Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Alexa voice control.

Other things to know: Two-pack can be combined into a stereo pair. Sonos’s own voice-control compatibility is limited. Difficult to add external, non-AirPlay-enabled audio players to the system. Sonos app can be glitchy at times. Costco membership required.

Read our review of the best multiroom wireless speaker system .

Leesa Sapira Hybrid Mattress (Queen) — Our Pick Leesa deal price: $1,100 (use code WIRECUTTER) ; street price: $1,700

What we like: This longtime pick's hybrid tech combines the best components of memory foam and spring mattresses. Over 1,000 springs and four layers of CertiPUR-US-certified memory foam. Works well for stomach, back, and side-sleepers. 100-day trial period. 10-year warranty.

Other things to know: 11-inch mattress. The king and Cali king sizes are also available at a discount (to $1300), also with code WIRECUTTER. Comes with two free pillows.

Read our review of the best memory foam mattresses you can buy online .

Headspace Meditation App — Top Pick Headspace deal price: $35 (50% off your first year); street price: $70

Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 Fire Pit with Stand — Our Pick Solo Stove deal price: $220 ; street price: $345

What we like: Our lightweight smokeless fire pit pick for moving in and out of storage. Recommended in multiple Wirecutter gift guides. Simple and easy to load. Half the weight of our other picks. This model has a stand, removable base plate, and ash pan.

Other things to know: Plain aesthetic not appealing to everyone. Reduces smoke by 70% to 80%. Radiates less heat than other heavier models. Use code PARKS20.

Amazon Echo Show 5 Smart Display (3rd Gen) — Upcoming Pick Target deal price: $40 ; street price: $70

What we like:  The newest generation of our smaller Amazon Alexa smart display pick. Ideal for nightstands or bathroom counters. Use voice commands or touch to control it. Plays music, podcasts, weather and more. Communicates with other smart-home devices. Display auto-dims when you turn out the lights.

Other things to know: Currently being tested by our writers. Amazon says the 3rd Gen has improved audio performance and a faster chip. Small 5½-inch screen. Not as loud as our main picks. Has camera lens cover for privacy.

Read our review of the best smart display for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant .

Jabra Elite 8 Active Earbuds — Another Good Option Woot deal price: $140 ; street price: $200

What we like: Another good option from our guide to the best workout headphones. One of the most universally comfortable earbuds we've worn. Rugged, with water and dust resistance of IP68 for earbuds and IP54 for the case.

Other things to know: 14 hour battery life, 8 hours with active noise cancelling. Noise-cancellation is just ok, hear-through mode is a bit muffled. Two-year warranty. No dealbreakers, just slight imperfections that stopped it from becoming an official pick. Select colors available. Free shipping for Prime members

Read our review of the best workout headphones .

Saatva Classic Luxury Firm Mattress (Queen) — Our Pick Saatva deal price: $1,250 ; street price: $1,650

What we like: Our plush and bouncy innerspring mattress pick is the most affordable option we’ve found that still looks and feels luxurious. Appealing to those who want to nestle in, as opposed to feeling engulfed. Classic innerspring bounce paired with a cushy but understated three-inch Euro top.

Other things to know: Doesn’t have the best motion isolation. Comes in thicknesses of 11½ and 14½ inches, and you have 365 nights to try it. Discount available in all sizes but twin.

Read our review of the best innerspring mattresses .

Ampere Shower Power Bluetooth Speaker — Another Good Option Ampere deal price: $69 ; street price: $100

What we like: A Bluetooth shower speaker that's actually pretty good. Installs easily with an adjustable wrench. Built-in water turbine keeps internal battery charged, seriously! Sounds better than we expected. Big, top-mounted controls are easy to use and see.

Other things to know:  Adds 3¾ inches to the length of the shower arm, might make the shower head too low for taller people. Turbine may reduce water flow, but we didn't notice a difference when using the speaker with a 1.5-gallon-per-minute shower head.

Read our review of the best Bluetooth shower speaker. .

Embark Breed + Health Kit Dog DNA Test — Top Pick Chewy deal price: $127 ; street price: $160

What we like: Our top pick for dog DNA test. Comprehensive database of more than 350 breeds. Screens for more than 230 genetic health conditions and traits.

Other things to know: Breed results are 95% to 99% accurate. No government oversight of the industry, so tests aren’t independently verified. Matches lowest price we've seen.

Read our review of the best dog DNA test .

Nomad iPhone 14 Modern Leather Case — Another Good Option Nomad deal price: $17 ; street price: $50

What we like: An iPhone 14 leather case we like almost as much as Apple's. Ages well over time. Compatible with MagSafe.

Other things to know: A rubber case with a leather panel on the back. Currently only available in the natural leather color. Price includes shipping.

Read our review of the best iPhone cases.

Simply to Impress Holiday Photo Cards 35% Off — Top Pick Simply to Impress deal price: $50 ; street price: $81

What we like: Our top pick holiday photo cards. Quick and affordable way to spread holiday cheer. Aesthetically-pleasing templates. Easy-to-use website. Attractive packaging.

Other things to know:  35% off site-wide discount, plus $10 off orders over $50. Shipping varies based on time frame and selected items.

Read our review of the best holiday photo cards .

Segway Ninebot KickScooter Max G30LP — Top Pick Amazon deal price: $490 ; street price: $600

What we like: Our top electric scooter pick. 20-mile range per charge, longer than any other scooter we tested in its price range. 18.6 mph top speed. Fun to ride. Sturdy build. Meets our stringent safety and reliability criteria.

Other things to know: Weighs 39 pounds, which is heavier than some options. 220-pound max rider weight. Includes one-year manufacturer's warranty on most components.

Read our review of the best electric scooter .

DJI Air 2S Drone (Fly More Combo) — Top Pick Adorama deal price: $1,040 ; street price: $1,300

What we like: Our top photo and video drone pick. High-quality 5.4K camera. Stable even in moderate winds. Can sense and avoid obstacles approaching from front, back, top, and bottom. Smart flight modes greatly reduce risk of crashes. Easy to fold and stow away. Impressive 31-minute battery life.

Other things to know: Lacks the side sensors of our upgrade pick. Controller doesn't have a built-in screen. Two-year warranty. Bundle includes two extra batteries, three extra propellers, a filters set, battery charging hub, battery-to-power bank adapter and shoulder bag.

Read our review of the best drones for photos and video .

Sharpie Felt Tip Pen (12-Pack) — Another Good Option Amazon deal price: $13 ; street price: $17

What we like: Another good pen option if you like the feel of a marker but want a fine nib size. The only pen in our felt-tip and fineliners tests that didn’t smudge. Writes with a scratchy marker-like feel.

Other things to know: Twelve pack comes with a variety of colors. The black and colored pens are less vibrant than expected.

Read our review of the best pens .

Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal Edition 2 + Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Notebook Classic (A5) Bundle — Upcoming Pick Leuchtturm1917 deal price: $36 with code BFF23, shipping included ; street price: $54

What we like: The Bullet Journal is an upcoming pick in our guide to the best paper planners. Excellent paper quality. Includes instructions and tips at the front and back of the journal, which is great for buju first-timers. The paired notebook is our pick for the best medium-size hardcover notebook.

Other things to know: To get the bundle, add the Bullet Journal to your cart and use code BFF23, a dotted Hardcover Notebook Classic (A5) in white will be added to your cart automatically ($24 value). Deal price includes the cost of shipping.

Read our review of our favorite paper planners .

AncestryDNA + Traits Test Kit — Pick Variant Amazon deal price: $49 ; street price: $119

What we like: A variant of our top pick for the best DNA testing kit that includes the Traits add-on. Makes it easy to explore your ethnic roots. Largest family-matching database. Thorough reports and interface. Presents test results in a clear manner with useful historical context. Straightforward instructions.

Other things to know: The Traits add-on unlocks access to 40+ genetic traits, letting you explore how your genes might influence an array of personal characteristics. AncestryDNA may monetize your DNA data if you opt into its research program. All DNA testing kits have privacy risks that you should take into account. This is the first time we've seen Traits included at this deal price.

Read our review of the best DNA testing kit .

Nearly all retailers have Black Friday sales and promotions, but there are a few notable exceptions.

REI closes their doors on Black Friday and forgoes the post-Thanksgiving sales blitz, at least for a day.

Patagonia remains open, but won't be offering Black Friday sales.

We recommend checking out pre and post-Black Friday offerings from these retailers if you’re angling to find outdoor clothing and gear on sale.

This article was edited by Nathan Burrow and Dan Kim.

Meet your guide

Wirecutter Staff


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