At huge companies with people spread across different locations, employees aren’t always going to be in the same place, and today Microsoft released several new tools that aim to make it easier to collaborate regardless of location.
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Among the most notable of these new tools, announced ahead of Microsoft’s annual partner conference Inspire, is an “intelligent live event” capability that looks like a souped up Facebook Live. The videos can be as simple or complex as needed, from laptop webcams to studio-style setups.
These videos can be watched live or on-demand. Microsoft has infused artificial intelligence into the feature to allow users to search within videos for specific speakers or peruse a transcript.
A public preview of live events in Microsoft 365 — which encompasses Windows, Office and the Enterprise Mobility + Security program — will be available in the paid version of Microsoft Teams, Yammer and in Microsoft Stream over the next month.
Analytics to shape better work habits
Microsoft calls its MyAnalytics tool the “personal fitness tracker for work,” paying attention to how people spend their time and who they talk to the most. This summer, Microsoft is rolling out new “nudges” within Outlook powered by MyAnalytics that point out when users email people after-hours often and if they’ve overbooked their day.
The nudges suggest such actions as setting aside “focus” time in between meetings to get things done. Outlook will also take a look at a user’s calendar and suggest the best times for scheduling a meeting.
Workplace Analytics serves similar functions but for an entire organization rather than an individual. Microsoft is expanding this tool by offering more data about how people and teams work. The new features show how much time various teams spend in meetings, on focus time or working after-hours.
Whiteboard collaboration app generally available in Windows 10
Whiteboard, an app first announced last year that lets users turn their computer screens into digital canvasses that can be edited and annotated by colleagues, is now generally available within Windows 10. Microsoft says it will soon bring the app to iOS, and it is developing a version for Android and the web.
The app lets people mock up documents with their hands, keyboard or pen. Photos can be dropped in, and rulers and other tools allow for precise measurements.
The app automatically transforms inexact drawings into standard shapes. And whiteboards save automatically, meaning users don’t have to email changes back and forth.