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FedEx, Microsoft Launch FedEx Surround To Improve Supply Chain Visibility

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FedEx and Microsoft said they have entered into a multi-year collaboration that aims to improve the supply chain visibility for businesses by combining FedEx's logistics network and Microsoft's cloud service.

FedEx and Microsoft launched FedEx Surround, their first solution resulting from the collaboration. The two companies intend to provide multiple joint offerings powered by Azure and Dynamics 365 to their customers.

FedEx Surround will leverage data to provide near-real-time analytics into shipment tracking. This will provide commercial shipping customers more visibility into their supply chain and help drive logistics as well as inventory management.

According to the two companies, FedEx Surround will provide near-real-time insights - down to the level of ZIP code - to show the progress and movement of physical inventory. This will enable businesses, particularly those depend on highly time-sensitive deliveries, to gain control and insight into the global movement of goods.

FedEx Surround can collect data gathered through FedEx's IoT technology and analyze them using Microsoft's suite of AI, machine learning and analytics solutions.

This will provide participating businesses information about a package's location during its journey and also issues that could slow the package's delivery, such as severe weather or natural disasters, mechanical delays, clearance issues, and incorrect addresses.

The information will allow FedEx Surround customers to act early to avoid logistical slowdowns before they occur and help reduce costs. FedEx Surround will analyse past trends to identify future opportunities for streamlined shipping.

Microsoft and FedEx said more details regarding FedEx Surround availability will be shared beginning this summer, and customer access will be rolled out in the coming months.

The partnership between FedEx and Microsoft shows how the two companies are joining hands as they compete against Amazon.com.

In August 2019, FedEx said it will not renew its ground-delivery contract with Amazon when it expired at the end of that month. The company has now chosen Microsoft's cloud offering instead of Amazon Web Services or AWS, the cloud computing market leader.

On its part, Microsoft has been entering into deals with major companies to adopt Microsoft's Azure cloud service for their businesses.

Last year, telecom major AT&T chose Microsoft as the preferred cloud provider for non-network applications as part of its broader 'public cloud first' strategy.

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