Microsoft has just wrapped up its Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida. It’s an event attended by over 30,000 guests each year–and it’s where Microsoft shares some of its most exciting news and updates. This year, Microsoft had so much news to share that they posted a booklet about it, and we’re breaking down the highlights for you.
Key themes this year
There are 3 key themes behind all of Microsoft’s news this year:
- AI & Data
- IoT & Edge Computing
Many of Microsoft’s updates discussed at the Conference are designed to bolster security, improve productivity and efficiency, and harness the power of AI to solve problems and grow businesses. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but we’ve selected the 10 most important announcements made at Ignite this week to bring you up to speed.
1: Threat Protection
The news: Microsoft Threat Protection–an end-to-end security package based in Microsoft 365.
Microsoft’s new security solution is their most advanced security offering to date. It unites security processes from across email, documents, and infrastructure to detect anomalies, remedy them, and protect your business from the newest threats. Now, everything you need to secure your data and hardware will be in the one place.
This promises to save organisations time and money by streamlining their security processes and making it easier to identify where there’s room for improvement.
2: Run Windows 10 From the Cloud
The news: The new Virtual Desktop lets you “rent” a virtual desktop if you use the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD).
For the first time from Microsoft, you can now get a multi-user, virtual desktop right from the Cloud. Since employees often work across machines and share devices, this solution lets them access a full virtual desktop, complete with Microsoft apps, wherever they are. Now, businesses can save money on the cost of running so many physical machines.
3: Go Password-Free
The news: Azure connected apps can utilise multi-factor sign-in features to eliminate the need for passwords.
Passwords are relatively easily violated by hackers, or obtained by unauthorised personnel. With this new multi-faceted sign-in procedure, you can combine methods such as PIN and facial recognition to instantly increase security. Businesses can utilise any combination of methods to instantly make their business infrastructure less appealing to hackers. This solution is sure to protect businesses from infiltration by password theft.
4: Microsoft Teams to Rival Slack
The news: Microsoft Teams automatically generates transcripts of your meeting in the background.
Microsoft Teams is set to rival Slack for improving productivity and streamlining processes. Now, the program will complete transcripts of your video meetings so you don’t have to. This is one of many productivity tools launching from Microsoft to respond to competitor innovations. You can customise your display to have the transcript run alongside your video call in real time.
5: Microsoft 365 Unified Search
The news: Microsoft Search will let you access data from across your entire network from your search bar.
Powered by AI, this unique search engine pulls together content across Windows, Office, apps, OneDrive, and third-party systems to help you find what you need, when you need it. Microsoft Search gives you personalised, intelligent results to all your searches, saving you time and resources. If the information is anywhere within your organisation, Microsoft Search will help you find it.
6: Surface Hub 2 Whiteboards
The news: Surface Hub 2 Whiteboards can be expected in Q2 2019.
Surface 2, the next generation in the Surface Hub product line, will launch sometime in Q2 2019. It’s lighter and thinner, with a 50-inch touchscreen display. Some of the most impressive features, such as tiling and rotation, won’t be available until 2020, however.
7: AI for Humanitarian Action
The news: Microsoft introduces a 5-year US$40 million program to develop AI for use in disaster relief efforts.
AI for Humanitarian Action is part of a global initiative to solve worldwide problems by empowering people and organisations through AI and educational opportunities. This program will help governments and other bodies develop technology, expertise, and processes to support relief efforts across the globe.
8: Microsoft Ideas
The news: Ideas, a new Office feature, supports creators with intelligent suggestions and help features.
Embracing the ever-growing powers of AI, Ideas supports you from the moment you create a document until its completion. It offers you everything from advice on PowerPoint slide layout to Word document formatting. It charts trends and anomalies in Excel, and offers suggestions tailored to exactly what you’re doing. Ideas serves as a learning tool to improve the user experience as much as it bolsters productivity.
9: Excel Enhancements
The news: Data Types for Excel is now widely available.
Data Types for Excel allows creators to turn stock and entities spreadsheets into data-rich documents users can interact with. For example, users can get accurate stock pricing and company information, and they can even convert a data table picture into an Excel file to manipulate and use.
10: Azure Digital Twins
The news: Use this new IoT platform to build digital models of any physical environment, anywhere.
One of Microsoft’s most innovative announcements is the Azure Digital Twins platform. Harnessing the most advanced AI capabilities, developers can build digital representations of the world to devise effective solutions based on the unique challenges in the area. This truly revolutionary tool brings together people, devices, and places to enable developers and designers to build custom solutions more sensitive than ever before.
At Productiv, our IT experts and technicians can talk you through these developments and how they affect your business. As a specialist Managed IT Services provider, we can work with you to devise the perfect IT solution to your business problems–including ways to improve your productivity, and your bottom line. We provide installation, auditing, and training services to suit all of your business needs.
For more information and advice on how you can adopt the latest technological changes to benefit your business, contact us here to speak to one of our friendly advisers now.