Modern Workplace Updates – Ignite 2021 News Summary


Ignite came in a different season this year, and maybe we’ll see two editions this year? Who knows… tech is moving fast and we’ll give you a peek at what was announced in the two most exciting areas: Modern Workplace and Power Platform.

Microsoft Teams

Meetings

Dynamic view

Dynamic view uses of Artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize the view of shared content and video participants. Users can also change the meeting view based on their needs. Presenters can place the gallery on top, so participants appear at the top of the meeting window, helping maintain more natural eye contact with the audience. In addition, the participant gallery automatically adjusts when the meeting window is resized.

Teams Dynamic View
Dynamic view will become generally available in the coming weeks

View switcher

The new view switcher feature in the top bar of Teams meetings allows you to control how you see the meeting content. You may prefer to interact naturally with your colleagues and without visual distractions using Together mode. With Gallery at top, all video feeds are included in the meeting window which allows for a natural contact with the other participants. Focus hides all video feeds and puts the attention fully on the shared content and Full screen can help remove other desktop distractions.

Teams View Switcher

View switcher will be available soon.

PowerPoint Live in Teams

This is a new update enabling presenters to deliver richer, more inclusive experiences and lead meetings more confidently with notes, slides, meeting chat and participants all in a single view. Attendees can personalize their experience by privately navigating the content at their own pace or using high-contrast mode to make content more accessible. PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams encourages attendees to interact with content like hyperlinks and videos. This redefines the way people engage with presentations. It not only helps keep viewers’ attention, but also allows attendees to consume the content at their own pace.

PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams
This feature is now generally available.

Presenter mode

Presenter mode empowers presenters to customize how their video feed and content appear for the audience. Seeing the speaker can reduce the cognitive overload for your audience since they can read your non-verbal cues and stay more focused with you as their visual guide. Presenter mode is a great companion to PowerPoint Live in Teams that makes your presentation immersive and engaging. It helps you feel like you’re in the room together. The new options are:

  • Standout – showing the speaker’s video feed in front of the shared content. This mode will become generally available this month.
  • Reporter – showing content as a visual aid above the speaker’s shoulder, just like a news story. Coming soon.
  • Side-by-side – showing the presenter’s video feed alongside their content as they present. Coming soon.Presenter Mode in Teams

Live Reactions

All attendees can now use emojis to react during a meeting. These reactions promote inclusivity in meetings and help for a good mood.

Notes:

  • Meeting organizers can turn off live reactions in participant settings.
  • Live reactions aren’t currently available in the web version of Teams.

Teams Live Reactions Menu

The list of for live reactions, now alongside the Raise hand option are:

  • Like
  • Love
  • Applause
  • Laugh

Live Reactions in Teams Meetings
Live Reactions in Microsoft Teams meetings is now available.

Webinare

Webinar attendee registration and email confirmations

This update was announced on the previous Ignite, but we could already see it in action and it’s going to be available soon. It lets you easily add a custom attendee registration page to your meeting or webinar to manage attendance before and after any engagement. Following registration, attendees automatically receive an email confirmation for a simple join experience.

Webinar Attendee Registration & Email Confirmations

Webinar attendee registration and email confirmations are going to be available soon.

1,000-person interactive webinars with moderation control

Microsoft Teams now supports interactive meetings and webinars for up to 1,000 attendees, including rich presentation options, live reactions, and moderation controls to disable chat, audio, and video for the attendees of the event.

Teams 1000 Attendee Webinar
This limit is increased since the beginning of this month

20,000-person view-only broadcasts

Once your webinar grows to over 1,000 attendees, Teams will seamlessly scale to accommodate a 10,000-person view-only broadcast experience, including host moderation control that automatically disables attendees’ audio and video to prevent accidental presentation interruptions. Microsoft is increasing this limit temporarily, until the end of the year, so organizations take advantage of remote work and even larger 20,000-person broadcasts.

This feature is available this month.

Attendee reporting

Announced on the previous Ignite, this feature is finally coming to play.

Following your webinar, you can use reporting to understand attendee participation such as who attended and how long they participated. Download an attendee report to review or use data to produce your own custom reports.

Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 event experience

Attending reporting will be available to download this month, and additional reporting capabilities within Teams will be available next quarter.

Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 event experience

Today, Dynamics 365 Marketing customers can deliver integrated marketing campaigns using the robust event capabilities in Teams and the attendee management experiences from Dynamics 365 Marketing. And coming soon, following a Teams webinar, customers can connect to Dynamics 365 Marketing to deliver a range of marketing activities, from basic follow-up communications to more sophisticated relationship marketing campaigns. And if you use another marketing platform, Teams makes it easy to bring your event contacts with you.

Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 event experience
This feature is generally available

  • Note: These new capabilities will be available in Microsoft 365 E3/E5, Microsoft 365 A3/A5 and Microsoft 365 Government G3/G5 plans. Additionally, Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium plans will include all the features above for 300 attendees.

Chat and Collaboration

Microsoft Teams Connect

This is an update designed to help organizations collaborate seamlessly with customers, partners, suppliers and other external parties through shared channels. Microsoft Teams Connect leverages the deep collaboration capabilities that Teams brings together, such as chat, meetings, app collaboration and real-time document co-authoring, all while maintaining control over how users access data and information

With shared channels, users can add individuals to a single channel rather than to an entire team. Each shared channel will appear within a user’s primary Teams tenant alongside existing teams and channels, providing convenient access within their current flow of work. It looks like the Yammer Communities model where you could invite someone to a community and not to the whole Yammer network.

Shared Channel in Teams

Teams Connect is now available in private preview and will be made generally available later this calendar year.

Teams and Dynamics 365 business process experience

This update allows organizations to sync in the flow of work with new Dynamics 365 Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, and Teams connected experiences. It provides Teams capabilities like chatting, sharing documents, and managing meeting and webinar invites without leaving the Dynamics 365 workspace. Users can also securely access, update, and share Dynamics 365 records from within Microsoft Teams.

Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 event experience

These features will be rolling out in April.

Task publishing checklist and editing capabilities

The Tasks app brings a cohesive task management experience to Microsoft Teams, integrating individual tasks powered by Microsoft To Do and team tasks powered by Planner in one place. Task publishing enables teams to create and publish tasks, for example to all frontline locations and other configurable attributes of a distributed workforce. Now, teams can add a checklist to the tasks they publish, enabling them to include rich details on what needs to get done within each task and drive deeper clarity from top down. Teams can also edit published tasks without having to recall the entire task list.

These features will be available later this month.

Approvals app updates

Approvals in Microsoft Teams enables you to easily create, manage, and share approvals directly from your workflow. New out-of-the-box and customizable templates will provide a repeatable structure for common approvals—like requesting time off or paid leave. Coming later this month, you’ll be able to attach files directly from Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint, as well as attach a generic link for content that is hosted outside of Microsoft 365, so your request will always have the latest content. Finally, this

month we are also adding full Markdown support in both adaptive cards and the details view, so you can ensure all your approvals are formatted correctly for all your approval processes.

Approvals in Teams
Some of these updates will be available later this month and the rest will be rolled out the beginning of April.

Teams mobile experience enhancements

There were several new capabilities announced that enhance the mobile experience of Microsoft Teams. First, the mobile app will have an updated visual look and feel that includes new headers, icons, and styling along with the ability to automatically switch to dark theme when you set your device appearance setting to dark. Other updates include the ability to access files stored in Teams while offline, a new search experience with suggestions, the ability to pin chats, and an expanded library of emojis and the ability to trim GIFs directly in the Teams app.

Teams mobile experience enhancements
These features are coming to iOS first, followed by Android.

Security, compliance, and privacy

End-to-end encryption option for Teams 1:1 VoIP calls

Microsoft Teams will support an option to use end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for ad hoc 1:1 Teams VoIP calls, providing an additional option for conducting sensitive online conversations. To support customer security and compliance requirements, IT admins will have full control of who can use E2EE in the organization.

E2EE for Teams 1:1 VoIP calls will be available to commercial customers in preview in the first half of this calendar year, expanding support for online meetings later.

Teams Multi-Geo Support

To help customers meet data residency requirements, Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo has been extended to include Microsoft Teams, allowing organizations to specify where their Teams customer data sits, down to the team and end user.

Teams Multi-Geo Support
Teams Multi-Geo will begin rolling out in April.

Disable attendee video during meetings

Disable video will allow a meeting organizer to disable the video of an individual or all attendees. As a meeting safety capability, the feature can can help organizers and educators to better manage undesired disruptions. Similar to hard mute, once an attendee has had their video disabled, they cannot override the organizer.

Disable Video in Teams
This feature will be rolling out later this spring.

Invite-only meeting options

A new lobby setting will be available in Teams meeting options where only meeting participants who were explicitly invited to the meeting will be able to join directly. Once applied, all other participants will be directed to the lobby where they will wait to be admitted.

This feature will be generally available this month.

ATP Safe Links for Teams
Safe Links is a feature in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 that helps provide URL scanning and time-of-click verification of URLs in links shared through email messages and other locations across Office 365. It was already there for Exchange Online and Teams will now leverage the power of Safe Links to help protect end users against potential malicious sites shared through Teams conversations, group chats, and channels. IT admins will need to create a Safe Links policy in Microsoft Defender for Office 365, and enable Safe Links for Teams to begin taking advantage of these new capabilities.

ATP Safe Links in Teams
Safe Links for Teams will be rolling out later this month, after multiple delays.

Co-authoring enabled in encrypted documents using Office Apps

Multiple users can now simultaneously edit an Office document that has been encrypted using Microsoft Information Protection, including using auto-save.

Encryption with sensitivity labels
Co-authoring in encrypted docs is supported through the Office apps, Office Web Apps, and Teams and is available now.

Calling

Operator Connect

Operator Connect is a new way for customers to enable PSTN calling simply and quickly for Teams, using services from non-Microsoft telephony operators. Admins can select their preferred operator in the Teams Admin Center, and provision phone numbers to their users in just hours, with no required hardware. Operator-managed technical support and service level agreements are available to help with deployment and meet operational requirements.

Operator Connect for Microsoft Teams
Operator Connect will enter public preview later this year.

Operator Connect Conferencing

Operator Connect Conferencing allows you to add non-Microsoft telephony operator dial-in numbers to a Microsoft Audio Conferencing bridge. You can keep your preferred non-Microsoft telephone provider or include it in addition to diversify your landline infrastructure and take advantage of extended geographic dial-in coverage. Operator-managed technical support and service level agreements are available to help with deployment and meet operational requirements.
Operator Connect Conferencing
Operator Connect Conferencing will enter private preview next quarter

Calling Plans market expansion

Microsoft Teams Calling plans provide a fast and simple way to deploy calling in Microsoft Teams with no on-premises equipment. Microsoft is expanding their geographic coverage to eight new markets beginning next month and completing by end of June 2021. New markets include New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, Norway, and Slovakia, meaning that customers in 26 markets can now use Microsoft-provided calling plans to place and receive PSTN calls in Teams.

Microsoft Teams Calling Plans market expansion

Contact Center and Compliance Recording certified solutions

Contact Center and Compliance Recording certification programs help ensure the reliable and seamless integration of contact center and compliance recording solutions with Microsoft Teams. This month Microsoft announced that Anywhere365, ComputerTalk, Enghouse and 8×8 have received Contact Center Certification and NICE, AudioCodes, Dubber, ASC, Numonix and Verint have received Compliance Recording Certification for their solutions.

Endpoint transfer

Teams makes it easy to place and receive calls from several different endpoints, including desktop and mobile devices, but sometimes you need to move locations or devices to finish your call. The new endpoint transfer capability will allow you to seamlessly move your calls between different devices, such as from your laptop to mobile phone, without any interruption in call service or quality.

Endpoint transfer will be available early next quarter.

Low data mode

Whether you want to preserve data or are just in a location with a poor or limited network connection, sometimes it’s helpful to limit the amount of data you’re using during a video call. A new low data mode is now available, allowing users to cap the amount of data that will be used during Teams video calls as well as establish different settings based on network availability so that the setting can be turned on always, or only while on cellular networks.

Bandwidth control

Many organizations have limited bandwidth capacity at locations on their network and require the ability to restrict Teams bandwidth consumption at those locations. The new bandwidth control feature will permit Teams Admins to proactively establish network bandwidth consumption for Teams clients at specific network locations – for example, a low bandwidth control limit for remote locations and higher limits for other sites.

Bandwidth control capabilities will be available early next quarter.

Devices

In a Teams Room, everyone will want to feel included, and that starts with being able to see people clearly, especially those joining the meeting from home. Microsoft introduced new video gallery views to the room, including Together Mode and large gallery. And whether the room has one screen or two, you’ll be able to see meeting content and people joining remotely at the same time.

Gallery Views in Microsoft Teams Rooms

New gallery views on Teams Rooms are available today.

Intelligent speakers for Microsoft Teams Rooms

Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams Intelligent speakers on the previous Ignite, and the update is that they are already available. Those are speakers that can identify and differentiate the voices of up to 10 people talking in a Microsoft Teams Room. These loudspeakers were developed in collaboration with EPOS and Yealink and enable participants to follow the transcript or to record actions, as they know who said what in the room. Whether you are working remotely or following the meeting in the conference room, you can effectively see who said what during the meeting. To enable privacy and security, users are in full control and can turn attribution on or off at any time.

Intelligent Speakers for Microsoft Teams Rooms

Teams Panels

Same as the Intelligent Speakers, Teams panels are news from the previous Ignite, but they are already made available. Microsoft Teams panels is a space and time management solution powered by a native Teams experience running on a compact digital display, built in partnership with Crestron and Yealink. It comes with vibrant color-coded LED indicators, you can determine space availability from a distance, while the intuitive and easy to read UI presents space and meeting information so you can confirm you’re in the right place at the right time. If you have an ad hoc meeting, you can book it directly from the panel and instantly reserve a room when you need it.

Teams Panels

New functionality for Teams display

There were several new features announced for Teams display this month. Now, when joining a Teams meeting from the Teams display, you will be able to change your background to any of the existing Teams supplied images. You can also now express live reactions in a meeting to show applause, humor, appreciation, and other sentiments from the Teams display. There are also quick responses and reactions added for incoming messages on the ambient screen. Finally, you can now ask Cortana questions like “What’s the time and weather in Frankfurt?” using voice on the Lenovo Thinksmart View.

New peripherals certified for Teams

The portfolio of devices certified for Teams meetings & calling is growing. Dell’s Video Conferencing Monitor and Poly’s Studio P21 are the first certified monitors to integrate web cameras, speakers, and microphones. The Studio P21 even includes lighting, perfect for helping users present with confidence. The first video bar certified for Teams is also available, the Studio P15 from Poly, which can be mounted over an existing screen to create a high-definition collaboration endpoint. New webcams from Yealink (UVC20) and Aver (Cam 130) round off the portfolio. The Cam 130 also integrates adjustable lighting, so users can be seen well no matter what their environment looks like.

DaaS (Device-as-a-Service) expansion

The device-as-a-service (DaaS) monthly financing plans will be extended to additional markets later this month by many Teams marketplace reseller partners. New markets include UK, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. All the products from the current portfolio, pending regional availability, will be available on offer with qualifying shopping carts.

These will be available by the end of March 2021.

Customization

Teams Interoperability with Azure Communication Services

Microsoft has announced Teams interoperability with Azure Communications Services. Organizations will be able to use Azure Communications Services to deliver a better customer experience by easily connecting their employees who use Microsoft Teams with users of a custom-built app via voice, video, or chat.

Teams Azure Comms

This feature is now available in public preview.

App customization and branding

Organizations can now customize app properties like name, description, icons, and more to deliver a branded app experience right within Teams.

This feature is now available in the Teams Admin Center.

Teams and Power Automate automation capabilities

Users will be able to create an action from a message, enabling them to make a Power Automate workflow directly from the message on the spot. Microsoft also added a new automation category in the Teams app store full of new Power Automate templates, providing an easy starting point for automation workflows.

Teams Automation Capabilities

These features will be available later this month.

Dataverse updates for Teams limits and upgrades

There is an increase to the Dataverse for Teams environment limit for larger tenants from the current 500 to 10,000. Also, organizations will now be able to seamlessly upgrade their Dataverse for Teams environments to take advantage of the full premium license capabilities—the existing apps and data will automatically be ready to go.

Management

Teams Rooms Managed Services

Microsoft has announced a new AI-driven service that delivers proactive Teams Rooms management. The new service uses Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to provide Advanced Threat Protection capabilities that can detect incidents, vulnerabilities, and missing security KBs. The service will take action based on these detections to apply necessary updates, keeping Teams rooms secure and ready to go. They have also added the ability to detect developing incidents based on complex patterns seen across multiple signals over time. The service will then take proactive steps to remediate and remove disruptions.

Remote device provisioning

The experience of setting up Teams Android devices remotely from the Teams Admin Center is getting simplified. Remote provisioning eliminates the need to physically handle devices to sign in. Instead, once the MAC address is added in the Teams Admin Center, technicians just need to install the device, connect to the network, and enter a verification code. After that, IT admins can successfully completely the provisioning remotely.

Remote Device Provisioning

Real-time telemetry

The new real-time telemetry for meetings enables IT admins and helpdesk to troubleshoot issues during meetings or the events for quick resolution. The data is generated in the Teams Admin Center reports and meetings reports, and provides detailed information around different network parameters like jitter, packet loss, latency, and frames per second—all while using audio, video, and screensharing session.

Real-time Telemetry

This functionality will ship in the first half of the calendar year.

Anonymous user usage reports

While all Teams reporting can only be viewed by approved roles, Microsoft is adding an extra layer of data privacy. Now, you have the option to anonymize user data, protecting user privacy while viewing,

downloading, sharing, and accessing the Teams usage report data. Once enabled, personally identifiable information like username, email addresses, and Active Directory IDs will be anonymized.

This capability will be available by the end of March.

Teams user usage report in Teams client

Teams user usage report in the Power BI analytic hub provides users with a view into their Teams activities and usage. You can generate insights and metrics on a per-team and cross-team basis to understand a user’s interaction with peers and across the organization. The reports are generated with privacy in mind; individual users can view their own data.

This reporting capability will be available by end of March.

App risk evaluation

Coming soon, Teams admins will be able to view the security, compliance, and data privacy details for apps coming from Microsoft Cloud App Security. This will help Teams admins save time on security reviews and enable more focused selection-based security specifications, resulting in increased app quality.

Teams App security and privacy

This capability will be rolling out this year.

Streamlined management of Guest users

As we’ve warned our readers last month, Microsoft has turned on guest access by default to simplify an inclusive meeting experience. This month, they are are adding scheduled access reviews for guests across all Teams and Groups by default. The system will automatically schedule periodic guest access reviews across Teams, delivering better identity security hygiene.

Teams Admin Center policy enhancements

New custom policy packages will empower Teams admins to configure their own set of policy packages tailored to users with similar roles in their organization. There is also a new capability to assign policy package to a group.

These policies enhancements will be available during March.

Microsoft Lists

Microsoft completed rolling out Microsoft Lists in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams last year (2020) – along with the release of Microsoft Lists for iOS earlier this year. There are a few noteworthy updates for Microsoft Lists that were announced at this Ignite conference.

Custom List Templates

We’ve already mentioned that Lists comes along with a few custom templates like Issue tracker, Employee onboarding, Asset manager, Content scheduler, Event itinerary, Recruitment tracker, Travel requests and Work progress tracker. Thew news is that you can now meet your specific needs by going with your fully custom template!

Lists Custom Templates in Teams

Custom templates give you the ability to add preferred column layout, predefined views, related rules and column and row formatting. Give it a name and it’s ready for use.

  • Note: you will be able to set the availability of templates to your users, based on their job title.

Custom List templates will be rolled out in May this year.

Rules in the Lists app in Teams

Through that update, you will be able to create simple if/then rules, based on modifications the information in your lists, to set reminders and send notifications directly from Microsoft Teams. Only users with Edit permissions on the List would be able to create and manage rules, unlike users with Read-Only. Your users will be able to create a rule by selecting the Automate menu, and then click “Create a rule” in the list command bar near the top of the page.

Lists Rules in Teams

This update is being rolled out in March.

Comments and @mentions in Teams

The ability to add a comment on individual list items, including the ability to @mention someone, to collaborate and share insights was already available in the web interface of Microsoft Lists and now Microsoft is providing it in the Lists App for Microsoft Teams, too. Teams users will be able to make a comment, @mention a colleague, and that colleague receives a notification bringing them right to the list item – in context of that comment. The comments and @mentions that live inside the Lists schema and storage integrate nicely in the Teams app.

Lists Comments and @mentions in Teams

This update is coming in May.

Calendar view in Teams

The calendar view lets you visualize any list with items that use date column information in an easy-to-consume way. This capability was already available in the Lists app for Microsoft 365 only, and now Microsoft is matching it in Microsoft Teams. You will be able to use it when you add a list as a tab in Teams and have created a calendar view, or you can create one directly within Teams.

Lists Calendar View in Teams

That feature is already available!

Rich Text Editor (RTE) for text fields

When your users turn on rich text editing in the multi-line text fields, they can now edit directly inline in grid. There are options like bold, italicize, underline, create bulleted text, hyperlink and more. With Rich Text, you beautify the text and the list look and feel exactly as you need it.

Rich Text Editor in Lists

This update is rolling out in March.

Smart people picker

When users type in the people picker, the autofill suggestions will come from the powerful Microsoft Graph. This makes the people picker experience more personalized and relevant based on who you collaborate with more frequently.

Smart People Picker in Teams

This update is rolling out in March.

SharePoint Lists web part: Calendar view

The List web part for SharePoint in Microsoft 365 allows your users to display a list from a team or site on a page and customize it with a title, view, and layout of their own choice. And now, if you have created a Calendar view for your list, it will show nicely in the List web part.

Lists Calendar view in SharePoint

This update is coming in March.

Microsoft Lists for iOS: Comments

Users already can add or delete a comment on individual list items to collaborate and share insights in the web interface of Microsoft Lists. The same comment capabilities are now coming to Microsoft Lists for iOS.

Lists for iOS - Comments

This update is coming in June.

Microsoft Lists for iOS: iPad Support

Microsoft is expanding device support on iOS to now include the popular iPad. Microsoft Lists for iOS is now consistent on iPhone and iPad, scaling the user-friendly user interface to give you the best access to create, edit, and share your information from your iOS device.

Lists for iOS on iPad

Microsoft Lists for Android

Just like Lists for iOS, Microsoft Lists for Android will provide access to the lists you own and that have been shared with you. You can create new lists, edit list items, and easily share with other people. Here’s a sneak peak of an early design mockup of the Home and My Lists screens.

Lists for Android

The app release is planned for December.

Versioning on by default

Your users will soon be able to track and manage SharePoint list information over time with list versioning. After this feature rolls out, when a user creates a new list in SharePoint, that list will have versioning enabled by default. End users will be able to view and recover previous versions from the list item history. By default, new lists will retain the 50 most recent major versions. Users can change how many versions are retained or disable versioning on any list they manage.

This feature is already available since February.

Enable/disable comments

Beyond tenant-level list controls, Microsoft is adding a list-level setting to enable or disable comments within Microsoft Lists. When enabled, people can add or delete a comment on individual list items to collaborate and share insights. Users can view all comments on a list item and filter between views that show comments or activity related to an item.

Notes:

  • Comments follow the permission settings inherent in SharePoint and Microsoft Lists.
  • Users with read-only permission can only view comments.
  • Users with list edit permission can make comments as well as delete comments.
  • Editing comments is currently not possible.

Power Platform

Power Automate Desktop

The tool, announced at the previous Ignite conference offers robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities that easily automate time-consuming manual work, will be available to Windows 10 users at no additional cost.

Organizations can already download Power Automate Desktop and begin creating automated workflows between apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data and more.

Power Automate Desktop

Power BI

The latest update to Power BI Premium is now available in preview. This includes architectural updates for across-the-board improvements to performance, stability and security. Premium Gen 2 delivers enhancements for every Power BI Premium customer, including:

  • Flexibility to license per user or per capacity;
  • Faster processing — up to 16x performance boost with Microsoft managed architecture;
  • Autoscale to automatically add capacity when needed; and
  • Consistent and reliable cost management with utilization metrics.

Power BI Premium enables analysts and business data users to create and analyze business intelligence (BI) reporting. For enterprises and IT admins, the new Power BI Premium offers major improvements in governance and scale with features like Microsoft-owned resource management, utilization metrics, autoscale and integrated security. In addition, the preview price list release of Premium Per User enables customers to license Premium features, including all the new releases, on a per-user basis.

A private preview of the new Power BI Premium was announced on the previous Ignite conference.

Microsoft Power Fx

Microsoft has published the first low-code programming language, Microsoft Power Fx, for logic customization across the Power Platform. This language, with origins in Excel, is available now, with implementation being open sourced on GitHub later this year.

Currently used as the language to develop canvas apps in Microsoft Power Apps, Power Fx will eventually become the consistent language across the Power Platform. Expressed in text, it’s a low-code language that makers can work with directly.

Power Fx leverages the knowledge of Excel users to reduce the learning curve for citizen developers getting started with low-code development. Professional developers can accelerate their app development with the simplicity of formulas and code using their favorite professional developer tools.

Power Virtual Agents AI Capabilities

New artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities within Power Virtual Agents have been released in preview to enable subject-matter experts to build smarter chatbots.

These new AI-infused features enable chatbots to engage more naturally and more accurately and are designed to help organizations and citizen developers feel more confident about addressing customer and employee needs with chatbots at scale.

New AI capabilities in public preview are:

  • Topic overlap detection helps improve triggering accuracy by finding overlaps between topics, reducing the need for the bot to ask clarifying questions before triggering a topic.
  • Topic suggestions from chat transcripts analyzes chat transcripts from previous conversations and provides suggestions for new topics.

New IT Governance and Security features

The Power Platform is introducing features that enable IT pros to implement enhanced governance and security for low-code tools and automation. As low-code adoption grows, governance and security are increasingly important.

The features include a new Power Platform admin center and capabilities, security improvements and reporting enhancements. Some features are now available in preview; others will launch next month.

IT professionals will benefit from key improvements in data loss prevention (DLP) and administration of Power Platform with new admin controls and reporting and new security standards implementation.

Outlook

Microsoft is focusing this spring’s Outlook updates solely on time management.

Outlook calendar board

This is an update to the traditional Outlook calendar that adds a free-form view to the traditional grid view, is now available in Outlook on the web (OWA). The calendar board view provides a customizable visual for organizing and managing calendars, files, reminders, and to-dos in a single location. You can find it by going to Outlook on the web (OWA) and select “Board” from the calendar views drop-down menu.

Outlook Calendar Board View

Suggested times

This update is coming in Outlook mobile users who use their work account in Outlook for iOS and Android. Suggested times uses artificial intelligence (AI) to suggest times when participants are

available for meetings, which can be difficult to see on a small screen. Outlook mobile will use AI to understand the meeting owner’s commitments, priorities and preferences and to suggest times to meet when attendees are free, even if the meeting owner isn’t.

Outlook Suggested Times

Suggested times is going to be available by the end of March for business and education customers worldwide.

Admin features

New cloud-based capabilities within the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center are now available. These updates are intended to help admins manage Office apps as a service and better manage IT costs.

Cloud-based admin capabilities now generally available are:

  • Servicing Profile for General Purpose devices, including Exclusion dates and Deadline
  • Inventory and Security update status
  • Reliability and performance trends by app and channel
  • Reliability advisories
  • Diagnostic coverage
  • Integration with Service Health Dashboard
  • Ability for IT admins to allow users to update their channel
  • Skip and Roll back

New admin features released to preview are:

  • Servicing Profile Restore/Pause/Resume by device and Azure AD group
  • Start Small (Support for Azure AD Groups)
  • Performance advisories
  • App health scores
  • Device-level reliability
  • Reliability in Productivity Score
  • Add-in health – app level

Microsoft Viva

Viva is a huge topic of interest, so we’ve decided to give it a dedicated spot on our blog.

Feedback

Have you watched the Ignite Conference this year? How do you feel about it being a digital-only event? Let us know which of the news content you’d like to see covered in a deep-dive blog post and we will do it, just like we did in our Microsoft Viva blog post.

Additional Resources

Top 10 Teams News
SharePoint Home Site App
Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Power Platform

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