Earlier this month, I attended the Microsoft Ignite conference, which is an annual event where Microsoft share announcements including product changes and exciting new releases.
This year was no exception- Microsoft had exciting news to share with us around introducing AI features to some of the core Microsoft 365 products. I am sure that this is just the beginning of an increasingly automated and intelligent product stack from Microsoft. For the short-term, the Microsoft roadmap is clearly defined and there is much to look forward to.
With so much to take in, I’ve summarised some of the main highlights.
Mesh Avatars are coming to teams
One of the exciting new features coming to Teams, is the release of Mesh avatars – now available in in private preview. This will allow users to create customisable avatars to represent themselves instead of turning on their webcam during a Teams meeting.
Anyone using Mesh avatars will be able to personalise their physical attributes and add accessories, and during a meeting, Mesh avatar users will be able to select from a range of gestures to react to topics discussed on the call.
Mesh avatars are perfect for:
- Being visually present without turning your camera on.
- Expressing yourself with a range of gestures and reactions.
- Making multiple versions to fit different meetings.
This proves Microsoft’s commitment to blurring the line between video conferencing software and metaverses, which some business leaders believe are the next big development in collaboration tools following the shift to hybrid working. Stay tuned for further updates!
The newly announced Microsoft Teams Premium add-on will make it easier to personalise and secure Teams meetings with the following features:
- Meeting guides: allowing organisers to choose the correct “template” for a meeting. They are created and managed by internal IT teams and will reduce the time needed to plan out how to get a meeting right. You could have a separate meeting guide for client calls, 1:1s, all-hands meetings and so on.
- Branded experiences: enabling organisations to add custom backgrounds and logos to the Teams Lobby. Custom scenes and backgrounds will be available for Together mode.
- Personalised highlights from missed meetings, allowing users to catch up on calls they weren’t able to attend. This will help them discover relevant content without having to go through the whole meeting.
- Tasks creation: tasks will automatically be created when actions are called out during a call so they are not missed, and saving time for someone have to manually write these out
- Teams meeting recordings will have automatically generated chapters so that you can easily navigate and understand the content.
- Meeting records will call out important events in the meeting, such as when a name is mentioned, a screen was shared, or when people were entering or leaving the meeting.
- Transcripts will feature intelligent search that will make looking for relevant content for the user much easier.
- AI-powered live translations will provide real-time support to 40 spoken languages so that attendees will be able to read captions in their own language. This creates a more inclusive experience, bridging language barriers across the world.
- Security: Teams meetings will be much more secure, adding Advanced meeting protection. This feature will protect confidential meetings with options such as watermarking, controlling who can record, and applying Microsoft Purview Information Protection sensitivity labels. These measures will help make sure sensitive content such as board meetings don’t get leaked.
Features will begin to roll out in December 2022 as a part of Teams Premium preview, with general availability of Teams Premium in February 2023. Intelligent recap features will begin rolling out in the first half of 2023.
Microsoft will soon be launching Microsoft Designer, an AI-powered graphic design app that is set to compete with Canva. You will be able to simply describe an image and the app will get to work, creating a unique design. Stay tuned for further details!
Windows LAPS is coming to Azure Active Directory, meaning that there is one less reason to stay on-prem. Windows Local Administrator Password Solution (Windows LAPS) automatically manages and backs up the password of a local administrator account on your Azure Active Directory-joined or Windows Server Active Directory-joined devices.
You also can use Windows LAPS to automatically manage and back up the Directory Services Repair Mode (DSRM) account password on your Windows Server Active Directory domain controllers.
Windows Update for Business will be getting a reporting feature using Azure Workbooks. This will make reports more modular and customisable. Available from November, this change will evolve Update Compliance with a simpler and more consistent approach to update reports, while the framework will allow for a tailored experience.
Windows Update for Business reports will now integrate with common Microsoft 365 tools such as Intune, Autopatch, M365 Admin Center and the Windows Update for Business deployment service.
With the flood of exciting news from this year’s Microsoft Ignite event, it can be a challenge to unpack all the upcoming changes. As a Solution Architect, I can help you navigate the world of Microsoft 365 and Azure, whether you need discovery, design, or implementation.
As a longstanding Microsoft Partner with an Infrastructure (Azure) Designation and an AVD Advanced Specialisation, Advanced are best placed to help your business make the most out of your technology investments and achieve your objectives.
Written by Greg Figuiere, Senior Solution Architect