Each year at Microsoft Inspire we have the opportunity to connect with our partner community and share the latest product innovations across Microsoft. It’s also a chance to recognize their extraordinary achievements. This year, as we mark the third anniversaries of both Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, we celebrate the many ways our partners have stepped up to help customers through the pandemic and beyond. (To learn more about some of their outstanding achievements, check out the winners of our Microsoft 2020 Partner of the Year awards.)
Together with our partners, we are also so inspired by the resilience our customers around the world have shown throughout these challenging times. It reinforces our belief that humans have unlimited potential, and that it is our job to enable that potential with technology that supports their creativity and innovation. Today we are announcing features and experiences designed to streamline workflow and automate process right within Teams, ensure great meetings experiences in a hybrid work environment, enable Firstline Workers, protect data and mitigate threats, and more. And this is just the beginning. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing so many more innovations across the product to help our customers thrive in a more fluid world of work, school, and life.
Read on for all the Microsoft 365 news from Inspire.
Making Teams a more powerful hub for teamwork and business process transformation
Teams as a platform
Teams is a platform for work, school, and life. Earlier this month, we unveiled new Teams features that reimagine virtual meetings to make them more engaging, more productive, and ultimately more human. Today, we’re introducing new ways to build low-code solutions, for partners to extend the Teams meeting experience with their apps and services, and for IT to manage Teams meetings.
Build apps and chatbots and visualize data without leaving Teams—Enhancements to the Power Platform experience in Teams make it easier to create, deploy, and manage apps, as well as visualize data, without ever leaving Teams. Apps, flows, and bots built with Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agent can now access data that resides in Project Oakdale, Power Platform’s low code data platform that’s built into Teams. The new Project Oakdale, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents functionalities in Teams are coming soon to select Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users for no additional cost.
In addition, the new Power BI app for Teams will provide a more streamlined experience for accessing Power BI reports in Teams, making it easier to collaborate with data. The app also provides new ways to connect insight into action with sample reports, automation, and easy sharing experiences.
Enrich Teams meeting experiences with 3rd party apps and services—Developers and independent software vendors will now be able to integrate their apps and services with Teams meetings, giving users more options to host collaborative and interactive meetings. Partners will be able to bring their apps directly within the Teams meeting experience. For example, a third-party Agenda app could add a tab with an agenda in the pre-meeting window, a button to open agenda items on the meeting control bar, or a summary file or other type of object in the post-meeting chat window. Polly, Open Agora, Miro, iCIMS, and HireVue will be among the first partners to deliver integrations with Teams meetings, later this year.
Teams Meeting Rooms management
Today, we’re announcing new device management and monitoring options for Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard and Premium to deliver high-quality calling and meeting experiences.
Manage Teams Room devices directly from the admin center—Today, it’s critical to maintain high-fidelity meeting experiences, whether participants are at the worksite, working remotely, or some combination of the two. As a part of Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard, we’ve enhanced management capabilities for Teams meeting devices to make it easier for partners and IT admins to deploy and manage a fleet of devices, including improvements across device set-up, bulk management tasks, and health monitoring.
Or leave Teams Rooms management to our experts—We’re also excited to announce the new Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium offering. Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium includes a remote management offering that enables customers to shift the operational responsibility of managing and monitoring Microsoft Teams Rooms to Microsoft. It gives you access to intelligent software, dedicated experts, and enhanced insights. This proactive and real-time management service relies on Microsoft technology experts to handle room system operations remotely, enabling you to free up IT and enhance meeting productivity.
You can read more about these new Teams Meeting Rooms management options in our Microsoft 365 blog today.
Track information and organize your work—A couple of months ago we announced Microsoft Lists, a Microsoft 365 app that helps you track issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory, and more using customizable views, rules, and comments to keep everyone in sync. Microsoft Lists Home (web app) is beginning to rollout with eight ready-made templates. It will also be available in Microsoft Teams next month along with three additional industry templates. A Lists mobile app for iOS is expected later this year.
Firstline Worker experiences
Now more than ever, organizations need tools for Firstline Workers to connect with the broader team and access digitized processes to keep the business moving forward. This month, we’re releasing updates to help Firstline Workers refocus their efforts through improved virtual engagement, digital tools to augment physical interactions and improve operations.
Customers like Alcoa Corporation are using Teams to connect their Firstline Workers at its facility in Iceland. Using Shifts in Teams, this company’s Icelandic employees were able to rapidly respond to changes needed to maintain business continuity.
Easily manage schedules and start your shift from anywhere—Coming later this year, Shift schedule assistance will make it easier for managers to create team schedules while alerting them to potential schedule conflicts so they can be avoided. And Time Clock is now available for Teams on the web and in the desktop app, enabling Firstline Workers to clock in and clock out wherever they are, whether now working remote or at the job location, all with the geofencing capabilities.
Make vital messages and live events more discoverable—Having a direct line of communication with your Firstline Workers during uncertain times is critical to ensuring they feel included, engaged, and informed. We’ve added Yammer Communities to the Microsoft Teams mobile apps, so employees can access critical messages, safety alerts, and live events in one place.
Enable Firstline Workers to communicate safely and efficiently—Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie, now in public preview, is a new push-to-talk experience that turns employee or company-owned Android devices into walkie-talkies for instant and secure voice communication over the cloud using cellular network or WiFi. Key launch partners include BlueParrott with newly announced C300-XT MSand B450-XT MS wireless headsets, Klein Electronics with updated models of their Triumph and Valor wired headsets, as well as Samsung, which recently unveiled the Galaxy XCover Pro.
Also now in public preview, Microsoft Teams on RealWear provides Firstline Workers with hands-free access to calls, chats, and live remote collaboration all through integration with HMT-1 and intrinsically safe HMT-1Z1.
Manage your Firstline Workforce more easily— Staying on top of employees clocking in and out and making edits to shifts is critical to ensuring smooth and compliant operations. Now generally available, Firstline Worker and manager policy packages for Teams provides IT administrators with predefined policies and policy settings tailored for their entire Firstline Workforce. Policy packages simplify, centralize, and help provide consistency when managing policies for Firstline Workers and managers across your organization. Audit logs for Shifts, also now generally available, provide IT admins, a unified view, and search functionality to help monitor and keep track of activities.
Protecting data and mitigating insider threats
The shift to hybrid work models has increased the need for organizations to re-evaluate their security and risk management practices. With employees accessing corporate data on home computers or sharing and collaborating in new ways, organizations could be at greater risk for data leaks or other risks. This month we’re releasing new solutions and features to better protect your devices and users, mitigate insider threats, and help ensure seamless and secure deployments. Alym Rayani shares more details in today’s Security blog, but here’s a quick overview of what’s new:
Extend data loss prevention to the endpoint—We’re excited to announce the public preview of the new Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which extends data loss prevention to devices. Building on Microsoft Information Protection, Endpoint DLP extends the existing DLP capabilities in Microsoft 365 to your devices, helping you to meet compliance requirements and protect sensitive information.
Quickly identify, detect, and act on insider threats—Earlier this year, we announced the general availability of our toolset for managing insider threats and code of conduct policy violations in your organization. Today, we’re significantly expanding the quality of signals that Insider Risk Management and Communication Compliance in Microsoft 365 reason over to intelligently flag potentially risky behavior. We’re also adding new policy templates to customize thresholds to better meet organizational needs, and we’re enabling more effective remediation workflows to push alerts to other systems like Microsoft Azure Sentinel.
Bring more security signals to Azure Sentinel—Using data sources within Microsoft Azure Sentinel, you can build a more complete picture of the threats that your organization faces, conduct deep threat hunts across your environment, and use the power of automation and orchestration in the cloud to help free up your security analysts to focus on their highest-value tasks. Today, we’re announcing several new third-party connectors across Microsoft Azure Sentinel to simplify getting security insights across many leading solutions and partners, including networks, firewalls, endpoint protection and vulnerability management.
Discovering people and information more easily
New updates to Microsoft 365 make it easier than ever to find the information and people you’re looking for.
Connect and engage your workforce with the new Yammer—With the newly designed Yammer, now generally available, you can connect your entire organization. With a reimagined user experience for both web and mobile, the new Yammer is loaded with features and integrations that power communities, engagement, and knowledge across Microsoft 365.
Make finding people easier with enriched profile cards—Finding the right people in a timely manner isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re looking for more than just a name and face, maybe it’s a skill, location, or something else. Now, you can configure your tenant settings through the Microsoft Graph to enrich an individual’s profile card by adding attributes from Azure Active Directory—including their alias, employee ID, or a custom property. This feature is now available. Follow our documentation to get started.
Simplify your print infrastructure with a cloud-based print solution—Universal Print, a cloud-based print infrastructure that creates a simple, secure print experience for Microsoft 365 customers, is now in public preview. With Universal Print, organizations no longer need to maintain on-premises print servers or install printer drivers, reducing the time and effort needed by IT to maintain the print environment. And end-users get a straightforward print experience that makes it easy to discover and print to nearby printers without the hassle of installing drivers. The service is currently rolling out in public preview.
As we all navigate a new hybrid mode of work, school, and life, Microsoft is committed to investing in technologies to help organizations unleash the unlimited potential of their people. From new Teams platform tools to risk management improvements, all of the features we announced today are aimed at enabling people to collaborate securely and be productive from anywhere—whether they’re in the office, working from home, or connecting to teammates from the factory floor. We invite you to stay tuned as we share so many more exciting announcements in the days to come.