Microsoft Ignite has returned for another year. And what a year it’s been, with a seismic shift towards digital transformation and hybrid working. Here’s our roundup of the key announcements from this year’s event.
“The case for transformation has never been more urgent”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella kicked off his introductory Ignite keynote by reviewing how the digital landscape has changed over the past 18 months, across all industries. His prediction is that the world will see more digitisation over the next 10 years than it has seen in the last four decades.
The following trends have transformed business as whole in a post-pandemic landscape:
- The shift towards hybrid working
- Building hyper-connected businesses
- Increasing digital capabilities within business
- Increased cyber security risks for businesses in the digital age
So, what new technologies is Microsoft introducing to keep up with these trends?
Updates to Microsoft Teams
Teams users will soon be able to work in partnership with people outside of their business, increasing productivity for teams whose work requires cross-organisational collaboration.
Microsoft is integrating new collaboration apps within Teams from partners such as Atlassian, SAP, and ServiceNow. This will increase flexibility and efficiency for employees. Dynamics 365 will also have increased capabilities within Teams, allowing for seamless collaboration.
Teams meeting rooms will be also be receiving some key improvements:
- Users will be able to hide their own videos while still appearing on screen for other meeting attendees
- When scheduling a meeting, users will be able to assign roles to attendees
- Raised hands will be numbered so that speakers can address questions in order of who asked first
- A new swipe-up overflow menu will provide contextual information and increased functionality for mobile users
Microsoft Loop is a new document collaboration app which was announced at Ignite 2021. It combines a flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and sync with other Microsoft technologies. Loop comprises three core elements:
- Loop components: productivity units allowing users to collaborate in the flow of work
- Loop pages: flexible canvases allowing users to organise components with the ability to pull in files, data, and links
- Loop workspaces: shared workspaces where teams can organise content ad keep track of projects
Announcing Microsoft Mesh and the metaverse
Microsoft Mesh uses mixed reality to foster virtual collaboration between users in immersive spaces, as if they were in the same room. Mesh will be integrated directly into Teams. The new service enables users to virtually engage with their colleagues through avatars and holoportation, detecting eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures. Users will be able to collaborate from anywhere and also see content in 3D. Mesh will play a large part in the metaverse being created by Microsoft, intrinsically linking computing and real life.
Microsoft launches Viva Learning
Viva Learning can be accessed directly through Teams. The module allows businesses to empower their people with knowledge and training. Viva Learning links to Microsoft Learn, Microsoft 365 Training, LinkedIn Learning, and other training providers. Businesses can also integrate their own learning content and leaders can track the progress of their teams’ training.
Microsoft security announcements
To combat the increased cyber risks associated with hybrid working, Microsoft is focussed on increasing its users’ security.
It was announced during Microsoft Ignite that Azure Security Centre and Azure Defender are now unified as Microsoft Defender for Cloud. The newly integrated platform strengthens the security posture of business’ cloud resources and protects workloads running in Azure.
Microsoft also introduced Defender for Business. The new endpoint security solution is purpose-built for the security needs of small and medium-sized businesses, protecting them from ransomware, extortion, and disruption.
All images are courtesy of Microsoft