MicrosoftNews

What did we learn about Microsoft in May?

By 30th May 2019 No Comments

We don’t talk the talk, we walk the walk…

Michelle Obama inspired our learning this month with two fabulously apt quotes that can be applied to technology change management:

  1. “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”; and,
  2. “Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence”.

We think we’ll be using these quotes when we’re helping our client’s employees through the technology change curve! And, as confident trailblazers, with an aversion to sticking to their comfort zone, what new things did Microsoft announce this month?

  • Last month, whiteboarding in Teams was announced. In short, you can use your camera to capture, resize and refocus whiteboard images in real-time, so it’s easier for people who are working remotely to see them. Now we’ve learnt that whiteboarding also blocks out people in the room, whilst something is being highlighted on the board.
  • Video chat in Teams now lets up to nine people join in, making it easier to collaborate with colleagues who work remotely from you.
  • We’d previously relayed that functionality in Teams was being introduced to manage conflicts of interest and ethical walls, particularly to support the financial services industry. Known as ‘Information Barriers’ we’ve since learnt the capability is now in preview with general availability expected in the coming weeks.
  • This month, a Praise feature will go live in Teams. Managers and co-workers will be able to send employees a GIF to show their appreciation. There’s going to be a ‘Kind heart’ and ‘Awesome badge’, for example!
  • There’s now a new tool in Office 365 called ‘My Focus Time’, which helps you to set up time each week to focus on getting your work done. It’s linked to Teams and will alert your colleagues when you’re on ‘focus time’ so they don’t disturb you. Microsoft is also planning on bringing out collaboration, networking and wellbeing plans.
  • MyAnalytics has been turned on its head, literally! It will no longer count how much time you’ve spent working, but will track how many days you managed to unplug from work and didn’t check your emails or work on a document at night…
  • The big announcement at Microsoft Build 2019 was Ideas in Word. An AI-powered grammar and style checker is being developed in Word that uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) and machine learning to help improve your content. Additional features will include: Word Designer, Time-to-Read and Highlight Extraction; meaning we’ll have the ability to pull highlighted text into a separate document. Ideas in Word will be available in the Autumn.  
  • Microsoft proved they’re not beyond learning from others, even if that other is their biggest competitor! Their Edge web-browser keeps on failing to hit the mark, so they’ve engaged with Chromium engineers at Google to help them out. Now, that’s taking collaboration to a new level…
  • A new web platform for Office 365 – called Fluid Framework – is being designed to make content creation more collaborative and fluid across multiple users and multiple platforms i.e. Google, Amazon.
  • Windows Hello, which is aiming for password-less authentication, has gained FIDO2 certification. Having proved it meets a set of security specifications, any website, app or browser can use the fingerprint sensor or IR camera on the Windows 10 laptop for authentication.
  • The Windows 10 May update included some great new stuff from a speedier search function to an updated emoji keyboard. But, the showstopper was the Windows Sandbox. A virtual ‘Windows PC’ within your actual PC, Sandbox lets you open a suspicious app or website (for example) within it. If it’s malware, it will stay trapped in your Sandbox virtual environment, so it doesn’t infect the rest of your system. When you close Sandbox, everything disappears permanently.

Want to keep learning about Microsoft Office 365? Jim Naroski covers what’s new every month in his YouTube Microsoft update. And, if you want to watch highlights of what’s happening in Teams, watch this Microsoft Ignite video.

That’s a wrap for May. Get in touch if you’d like us to feature specific Microsoft news in our monthly Microsoft blog posts.