Microsoft has spent last week residing in the glorious city of Orlando in Florida, hosting Ignite 2018.

The Technology titans selected the theme park capital of the world to host Ignite, one of the biggest events in the Microsoft Calendar. Ignite is for the tech community to come together and see what Microsoft has in store for its solutions and hardware platforms.

I’ve spent the last week keeping up to date with all things Ignite and in keeping with the name, Microsoft have created a spark amongst its users.
Microsoft have announced an avalanche of new product features, updates and improvements over the last 5 days, with Teams taking a healthy share of the limelight. Here are just some of the highlights of Ignite 2018

Since its launch in 2016, Microsoft Teams has quickly become the face of communication in Office 365. It was announced at Ignite that Teams is the fastest growing application ever released by Microsoft. More than 329,000 organizations worldwide use Microsoft Teams, including 87 of the Fortune 100 companies. Over 60 customers now have more than 10,000 users of Teams, with Accenture boasting over 100,000 users. Incredible numbers for what can still be considered an infant in the tech communications landscape. “Terrible Twos” certainly doesn’t apply in the Microsoft household…

Microsoft have confirmed powerful new functions to enhance teamwork and collaboration. New artificial intelligence -powered meeting features are now available, including background blur and meeting recording. Background blur uses facial detection to blur the background during video meetings, and meeting recording allows Teams users to playback recorded meeting content at any time with captions and a searchable, timecoded transcription. So, any unexpected visitors to your video meetings, such as children or pets won’t be seen by the other users in attendance. (Although why anyone wouldn’t want a doggo trundling around in the background is a mystery.)

Teams will also be able to host live and On-Demand recording sessions. Teams records meeting sessions which can be listened to by invitees at a later stage. They can also pull up an automated transcript of the discussion to quickly search for keywords or context.

Microsoft have also announced that the Teams functionality will now extend to all areas of an organisation’s workforce. This allows for Teams to be used by anyone, with experiences tailored for specific areas of a business. Whether in the office at a desk or out on-site as an engineer, Teams will provide all the necessary functions to suit how you work.

It has also been announced that From October 1st 2018, new Office 365 customers with 500 seats or less will be onboarded to Microsoft Teams and will NOT have access to Skype for Business Online. Tenants that are already using Skype for Business online will be able to continue doing so (including provisioning new users) until they complete their transition to Microsoft Teams.
Teams is a big part of Office 365 and Microsoft has done their utmost to move it the forefront of their communications platform. So, this comes as no surprise and only highlights Microsoft’s desire to give it further showcase as a communications tool. As a user of both applications, I think I can be neutral here and say I have enjoyed using both. However, I will say Teams has a more modern feel and the features are a lot more robust.
Therefore, I think new users will embrace the changes and take an instant liking to it.

LinkedIn is in line for some refurbs and will offer an even deeper working experience with Office 365. You will be able to create documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint with your LinkedIn connections, as well as send emails directly within Outlook. This will bring users from your corporate directories and those from your social LinkedIn networks together, so you can work and communicate with every level of your working life.

You will also have meeting invites integrated within Outlook, so you get visibility of meetings and events that you and your LinkedIn connections share in the calendar. This feature will provide Outlook users with more readily available information about other attendees, so you can prepare for important meetings more quickly and easily.

Microsoft Authenticator application is now coming to Azure AD-connected apps. It will eliminate the need for users to sign-in using a password and replace it with a multi-factor authentication process. The multi-factor authentication is a more secure process which combines the phone, fingerprint, face and PIN.

Microsoft revealed that multi-factor sign-in method can reduce compromises by up to 99.9%.

Microsoft Secure Score, the enterprise-grade dynamic report card for cybersecurity, is coming to Microsoft 365. The Secure Score enables organizations to get assessments and recommendations for reducing the chances of data breach by up to 30 times.

All this content as well as much more announced over the last week really makes you wonder the amount of work that goes into creating new experiences across the Microsoft solution stack. It’s incredible to see and just goes to show Microsoft still at the top of their game. No stop in progression or lack of desire to create. That’s Microsoft in a nutshell.

For more information on Ignite 2018 and what Microsoft have in store, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite for news, keynotes and information or connect with me at go.848.co/Joe

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