Inspire 2018: Microsoft 365 and The Modern Workplace

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft 365 Microsoft Inspire Microsoft Teams

One year ago, Microsoft decided to combine its most popular business applications — Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security — into one complete, intelligent, secure solution: Microsoft 365.

On the pre-day at Inspire 2018, the Microsoft partner event taking place in Las Vegas, Microsoft introduced four new ways that Microsoft 365 can connect people across their organisation and improve collaboration habits, including extending the power of Microsoft Teams and new AI-infused capabilities in Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Teams is now available in a free version

Microsoft Teams is a powerful hub for teamwork that brings together chat, meetings, calling, files, and apps into a shared workspace in Microsoft 365.

SMBs represent 95 percent of all firms worldwide and 63 percent of all employment. Teams in Microsoft 365 includes everything in the free version plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance, and it can be used for your whole organisation, regardless of size.

The good news is that Teams is now available in a free version worldwide in 40 languages, providing a powerful introduction to Microsoft 365 for new users. The free version includes the following for up to 300 people:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups
  • 10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage
  • Integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from—including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organisation, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.

New intelligent event capabilities in Microsoft 365

Microsoft has also announced new capabilities that allow anyone in your business to create live and on-demand events in Microsoft 365. Events can be viewed in real-time or on-demand, with high-definition video and interactive discussion.

AI-powered services enhance the on-demand experience with:

  • A speaker timeline, which uses facial detection to identify who is talking, so you can easily jump to a particular speaker in the event
  • Speech-to-text transcription, timecoding, and transcript search, so you can quickly find moments that matter in a recording
  • Closed captions to make the event more accessible to all
  • Events can be as simple or as sophisticated as you prefer. You can use webcams, content, and screen sharing for informal presentations, or stream a studio-quality production for more formal events

Analytics for better collaboration habits

In addition, Microsoft is releasing a preview of a new Workplace Analytics solution, which it says uses collaboration insights from the Microsoft Graph, to help teams run efficient meetings, create time for focused work, and respect work/life boundaries.

Organisations can use aggregate data in Workplace Analytics to identify opportunities for improving collaboration, then share insights and suggest habits to specific teams using MyAnalytics.

It is also rolling out nudges, powered by MyAnalytics in Microsoft 365, which deliver ‘habit-changing’ tips in Outlook, such as flagging that you’re emailing co-workers after hours or suggesting you book focused work time for yourself.

Work with others on a shared digital canvas with Microsoft Whiteboard

Finally, Microsoft Whiteboard is now generally available for Windows 10, coming soon to iOS, and preview on the web.

Whether meeting in person or virtually, people need the ability to collaborate in real-time. The new Whiteboard application enables people to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, across multiple devices. Using pen, touch, and keyboard, you can jot down notes, create tables and shapes, freeform drawings, and search and insert images from the web. 

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