Published 25 October 2022

This month Microsoft hosted their annual conference Ignite, and it was jam-packed with amazing insights and new feature announcements. If you missed the conference, we’ve got your back with our favourite announcements from Ignite 2022.

From small feature updates, through to major announcements of new applications, Microsoft are investing heavily in improving the way businesses of all sizes use the cloud to streamline business operations, innovate processes, deliver efficiency, and re-energise their workforce.

The three key messages during Satya’s keynote speech included:

  1. Doing more with less – less time, cost, and complexity
  2. Applying technology to amplify what you do
  3. The need to deliver on the ‘digital imperative’ – and how you can do this with the Microsoft cloud

Updates to Microsoft Teams

Mesh for Teams

By far, one of the most interesting announcements to come out of Ignite last year was Mesh for Microsoft Teams – a metaverse platform that enables shared experiences through mixed reality. It’s now in private preview and will be coming to you soon.

Microsoft Teams Premium

Teams premium will make every meeting – from 1:1s to client meetings, town halls and webinars more personalised, intelligent, and secure with advanced meeting protection to safeguard confidential meetings.

New features include:

  • Meeting guides to help users pick the right experiences
  • The ability to brand the meeting experience with custom logos and backgrounds for the Teams lobby
  • An intelligent re-cap, giving users personalised highlights from Teams meetings to help you discover information that matters most
  • AI-generated tasks that are automatically assigned from meetings
  • Intelligent playback with automatically generated chapters
  • Personalised insights
  • Live translations for captions for 40 languages

Cameo in Teams is now generally available

Upgrade your presentations by seamlessly integrating the Teams camera feed directly into PowerPoint. Cameo lets you customise how you want to appear on slides, with layout recommendations available too.

Excel live

Allows teams to collaboratively edit Excel workbooks in real-time, within the meeting window of any device without disrupting anyone else’s view. This feature is currently rolling out and will be generally available by the end of 2022.

New chat and collaboration features coming to Teams

Delayed send, suggested replies for group chats, MORE emojis, the ability to delete chats, @ mention everyone in a group conversation, and video clips are now all rolling out to Microsoft Teams.

On top of this, Microsoft will soon be releasing zero-state people recommendations which will suggest people to initiate chat conversations base on previous collaborations.

Teams channels are getting a new look

Microsoft is improving the design of the Teams channel experience to be more intuitive, and help users focus on the topics and conversations that matter most. The compose box will move to the top of the page, users will be able to pin important posts, and you’ll be able to customise the look and feel with headers.

A new app is coming – Microsoft Places

Microsoft Places is a new workspace app to help better accommodate hybrid work. The app provides a dashboard view of which days people within your team or collaboration network will be in the office, working remotely or mobile. Users will have the ability to see the workspaces other users have booked, so someone can book one nearby. Plus other useful features including:

  • Insights and guidance on commuting
  • Modernised conference room booking and technology
  • Insights and guidance on space usage, so leaders can future-proof spaces and add flexibility to physical office space

New collaborative apps coming to Teams

Microsoft continues to add more 3rd party collaborative apps to Teams. The latest announcements to come out of Ignite include 3M’s Post-It App which allows users to instantly transform handwritten notes into digital form. SAP is leveraging Adaptive Card-based Microsoft Loop components to enable a collaborative ERP experience. And the first-ever music app is coming to Teams through iHeardRadio – allowing users to listen to music while working and share their favourite stations with colleagues.

Teams platform updates for developers

A number of interesting new updates were announced for developers including:

  • Teams live share SDK which will allow developers to turn any app, when shared in a Teams meeting, into a real-time, multi-user collaborative experience. This includes the addition of canvas tools that allow users to mark-up meetings in real time with virtual pens and highlighters
  • Extension of Teams apps to Outlook and Office – developers can now build production apps that extend Teams pages and Message extensions across Teams, Outlook and Office using a single app and deployment model
  • The Microsoft Teams toolkit is now part of Visual Studio – helping developers to build rich collaborative apps that work in Teams

Updates to Microsoft Viva

Viva Goals

New third-party integrations are coming to Viva Goals, including new Slack and Google Sheets integrations, allowing users to seamlessly data to specific key results. On top of this, additional integrations were announced for Jira and enhanced integration with Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, Planner, and Microsoft Project are coming soon.

Viva Topics

New features in Viva Topics will be here soon, making it easier for you to discover knowledge across Microsoft 365. Viva Topics will use Context IQ to surface relevant information to you when using Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. There’s also Microsoft Syntex Connectors to integrate Viva Topics to 3rd party services like ServiceNow and EdCast. Plus, Viva Topics will soon provide deeper integrations with Viva Engage to help automate answers and find relevant people.

Viva Insights

New features in Viva Insights are coming to help employees, managers, and leaders improve personal and team productivity and wellbeing.

These new features include:

  • Meeting effectiveness surveys displayed at the end of select Teams meetings, making it easy for participants to give instant feedback
  • Schedule send suggestions which automatically display in a Teams chat when a user composes a 1:1 chat outside of the recipients working hours
  • A new focus mode experience to help people pre-schedule focus time, plan breaks and the option to click into curated mindfulness exercises from Headspace to reset between focus intervals
  • Quiet time settings allowing individuals and IT admins the ability to set quite time to silence notifications from Outlook and Teams outside of working hours

Viva Learning

Several new features are currently in private preview, including:

  • Learning paths – allowing admins and knowledge managers the ability to create sequenced groups of training and make learning resources available
  • Learning collections – allowing individuals to create personal collections of learning content that align to their interests
  • Permissions – allows knowledge managers and admins the ability to configure access to learning content and resources, ensuring users only see content they have access to consume
  • New single sign on (SSO) experiences with SAP SuccessFactors which provides deeper integration and eliminates the need for users to sign in to consume SAP content

Viva Engage storyline is now generally available

If you missed it – Yammer is changing to Viva Engage – allowing deeper integrations with the rest of the Viva platform. One of the biggest changes to come with this is the announcement of storylines which is now generally available. Storyline allows individuals to share posts on their own personal page – similar to the experiences available on other social media platforms.

Check out this blog for FAQs on Viva Engage.

Other notable updates

Enhancements to Outlook including a new working hours and location feature to help individuals better organise their week and know what hours they’ll be available. A meeting re-cap will also be available in Outlook Calendar, making it easier for people to catch up on meetings after they’ve happened. Message reactions for Outlook are also coming, so individuals can quickly acknowledge or react to business emails, the same way they do in Teams or on social platforms.

Microsoft Syntex is coming in 2023. Syntex is a new set of content apps and services that use AI to index and organise large quantities of unstructured information – making it easier to find.

M365 app for mobile. This will be an evolution of the Office app and will provide easier experiences when creating documents, accessing files and content, discovering information, and performing quick actions.

Updates to the Power Platform including new power pages which are now generally available. The ability to ‘describe it’ and let ‘AI build it’ applications, new approval templates and automation kit.

Want to learn more about the Ignite 2022 updates and how this can affect you? Get in touch.