Tag Archives: Ignite

Join the Bing Maps APIs team at Microsoft Ignite 2018 in Orlando

The Bing Maps team will be at Microsoft Ignite 2018, in Orlando, Florida, September 24th through the 28th. If you are registered for the event, stop by the Bing Maps APIs for Enterprise booth in the Modern Workplace area of the Expo, to learn more about the latest features and updates to our Bing Maps platform, as well as attend our sessions.

Bing Maps APIs sessions details:

Theater session ID: THR1127

Microsoft Bing Maps APIs – Solutions Built for the Enterprise

The Microsoft Bing Maps APIs platform provides mapping services for the enterprise, with advanced data visualization, website and mobile application solutions, fleet and logistics management and more. In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the Bing Maps APIs platform (what it is and what’s new) and how it can add value to your business solution.

Theater session ID: THR1128

Cost effective, productivity solutions with fleet management tools from Microsoft Bing Maps APIs
The Bing Maps API platform includes advanced fleet and asset management solutions, such as the Distance Matrix, Truck Routing, Isochrone, and Snap-to-Road APIs that can help your business reduce costs and increase productivity. Come learn more about our fleet management solutions as well as see a short demo on how you can quickly set up and deploy a fleet tracking solution.

If you are not able to attend Microsoft Ignite 2018, we will share news and updates on the blog after the conference and post recordings of the Bing Maps APIs sessions on http://www.microsoft.com/maps.

For more information about the Bing Maps Platform, go to https://www.microsoft.com/maps/choose-your-bing-maps-API.aspx.

– Bing Maps Team

Visio Online and Visio’s new cloud innovations help you unlock creativity

This year at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Microsoft presented several new product capabilities that extend the Microsoft 365 solution set—including a greater emphasis on cloud-first technologies. Visio Online is one of Microsoft’s newest solutions that further unlocks employee creativity in the modern workplace. Visio Online is available today to commercial customers for $5 per user per month with an annual commitment.

Extending Visio to new audiences

Information workers today want a simple yet powerful way to work visually. As a web-based, lightweight diagramming tool, Visio Online is the perfect solution: with it you can create, edit, and share diagrams online, helping you visualize information in new ways from anywhere. Plus, diagrams are available for anyone in your organization to view—even those without a Visio Online license—so you can get feedback on critical diagrams from all important stakeholders.

Visio Online comes with a host of templates for a variety of audiences, including starter diagrams for basic flowcharts, process diagrams, timelines, business matrixes, SDL diagrams, and many more. Visualizing information is easy—just drag and drop shapes onto the canvas, change a shape’s color or the overall diagram theme, and quickly link one shape to another with connectors. Plus, you can securely share web-based diagrams through OneDrive for Business. (Visio Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 include 2 GB of OneDrive storage. See below for more details about these plans.)

Image of Visio Online displayed on a tablet.

Visio Online comes with diagramming templates to help you get started fast.

“All in all, Visio Online is fantastic, especially for me. Normally, I just make quick drawings to use in documentation, etc., and I think that will be a lot easier with this product.” —Graves Kilsgaard, systems developer at KMC Foods

Cloud-first innovations

Since the beginning of last year, Visio has been committed to releasing innovative, cloud-first capabilities that unlock creativity for professional diagram creators. This continuous, accelerated innovation has resulted in a host of major releases that, in addition to Visio Online, extend Visio’s diagramming tool set.

Here’s a look at each of the capabilities that are only available in the cloud:

  • Power BI is Microsoft’s cloud-based data visualization tool that helps companies gain actionable insights from complex datasets. Today, Power BI includes a new visual—Visio diagrams—which can be linked to live data and embedded within a Power BI dashboard. The Visio and Power BI integration is currently in public preview and planned for release next year. Learn more about this new Power BI feature.
  • Data Visualizer converts process map data in Excel into data-driven diagrams in Visio. Using highly visual diagrams instead of table-based numbers, you can surface new process insights that lead to creative solutions for complex problems.
  • Visio Viewer for iOS allows you to view and interact with Visio diagrams on both iPad and iPhone. You can easily share diagrams through OneDrive or SharePoint and then access them on your favorite iOS device.
  • PowerPoint Slide Snippets enables you select specific diagram parts, give them a title, and export them as slides in PowerPoint. In this way you can create an entire PowerPoint presentation to break down complex diagrams into individual pieces for easier comprehension.

New innovations, new subscription models

Visio Online is available in Visio Online Plan 1. It is also included in our most comprehensive Visio cloud offering, Visio Online Plan 2 (previously Visio Pro for Office 365). Viewing diagrams is free for most Office 365 customers. The innovations described above are only available in Visio Online Plan 2. You can compare Visio versions to learn more about each Visio offer.

Please visit the Visio website for more details on each plan, as well as options for trying the Visio Online experience and our cloud-first innovations for free. We also invite you to submit ideas for more cloud innovations on our UserVoice site. For questions about our latest releases, please email us at tellvisio@microsoft.com. To stay informed of the latest Visio releases, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as check in with the latest Visio news.

—The Visio team

Frequently asked questions

Q. Do I need to install anything to start using Visio Online?

A. No. Visio Online is a web-based application. Customers can also sign in directly at microsoft.com/visio.

Q. Do I need a Visio Online subscription to view Visio Online diagrams?

A. No. Anyone with an Office 365 subscription can view diagrams created and shared through Visio Online. This way the entire organization can be involved in the diagramming process.

Q. Where can I read more about starting Visio Online?

A. Please read this support article to learn more.

Q. Are there more differences between Visio Online Plans 1 and 2 than mentioned here?

A. Yes. Please visit the Visio website for more details on each plan.

Q. Does Visio Online Plan 2 include more than 2 GB of OneDrive storage?

A. Both Visio Online Plans 1 and 2 come with 2 GB of OneDrive for Business storage. Customers can buy additional OneDrive storage if needed.

Q. How do the new capabilities and plans affect Visio Services and Visio Pro for Office 365.

A. Visio Online is replacing Visio Services for SharePoint Online customers, and Visio Online Plan 2 is the new name for Visio Pro for Office 365.

Skype for Business users face Microsoft Teams migration questions

At Microsoft Ignite last week in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft used its annual customer conference to showcase its new and upgraded Teams product, which competes with Cisco Spark, Slack, Mitel MiTeam, Avaya Zang Spaces and many other similar products. At the conference, Microsoft Teams sessions were well-attended, which shows there’s significant interest in the product.

As Skype for Business users consider a Microsoft Teams migration, they’ll face several interesting questions. Some common questions include:

Is Microsoft Teams ready for prime time? I believe the product is. The new version includes several features that were added to compete with other similar products. New capabilities include voicemail, application sharing and coediting of documents. In addition, other notable features include:

  • guest access for business-to-business usage;
  • PSTN dialing, but the Microsoft PSTN service must be used;
  • importing contacts from Skype for Business;
  • sharing presence with Skype for Business; and 
  • pulling organizational information from Active Directory.

The product is now ready to stand on its own as a full-fledged team collaboration tool, and it’s worth Skype for Business users’ consideration.

Does the on-premises version of Skype for Business go away? No. On-premises Skype for Business is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Microsoft’s installed base of on-premises Skype for Business users is massive. If Microsoft suddenly pulled the plug on Skype for Business Server, it would leave many customers in the lurch.

Many large customers or companies with regulatory requirements want to keep the product on premises for greater control, archiving capabilities or security concerns. At Ignite, Microsoft announced another version of the Skype for Business on-premises server is coming near the end of 2018. Microsoft has to support that version through the normal lifecycle of five years or so.

If you’re a customer using the on-premises version, don’t worry; it’s here to stay, and Microsoft is still adding new features to it. However, some new capabilities, like Teams, are only available through cloud-based Office 365. So, if businesses want to use the team collaboration capabilities, they need to use the cloud.

If you’re a customer using the on-premises version, don’t worry; it’s here to stay, and Microsoft is still adding new features to it.

Can I run Teams and Skype for Business in hybrid mode? The answer is both yes and no. A hybrid model makes a lot of sense for many companies. Use Skype for Business for calls or chat and presence, and run Teams for application sharing or team messaging.

In a sense, the business will be running two unified communications (UC) clients, which is a bit of an oxymoron, since unified client implies a single product. But this two-client strategy is a viable, low-risk way of getting workers used to this new way of working. 

What you can’t do is use Skype for Business and then burst to the Teams cloud when capacity is maxed out. That would be ideal, but the products don’t interoperate that way — at least not yet.

What about all the third-party peripherals I bought for Skype for Business? Many Skype for Business users have made significant investments in third-party peripherals from vendors like Polycom, Crestron and Logitech that provide desktop handsets and conference room systems. Microsoft has said all existing phones and room systems will work with Teams. In fact, at Ignite, Microsoft announced Lenovo, Pexip and Blue Jeans now have certified room systems to work with Microsoft UC.

How do I migrate users from Skype for Business to Teams? Moving users from one product to another is never easy. Once a worker gets used to doing things a certain way, there’s always hesitation in doing things differently. To help get over these hurdles, Microsoft offers three models for migration.

The first model is to run Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams side by side, as outlined above, which could go on for an indefinite period of time. Another option is called “side by side with notify,” in which there’s a date set to flip users from Skype for Business to Teams, and a banner appears in Skype for Business to warn the user when the cutover date is. The third option is to go to Teams only where workers are put on the new product immediately. 

Microsoft provides an administrator portal where these three models can be mixed, so a handful of Skype for Business users can be set to flip immediately, others set to side by side with notify and others left to run both clients until the policy changes.

A training bot has been set up to help users with usage. But a couple users at Ignite told me they tried the bot and it often had problems understanding the questions and giving answers. This is an area Microsoft needs to beef up if the product is to go mainstream.

New advancements in Azure for IT digital transformation

I’m at Ignite this week, where more than 20,000 of us are talking about how we can drive our businesses forward in a climate of constant technology change. We are in a time where technology is one of the core ways companies can better serve customers and differentiate versus competitors. It is an awesome responsibility. The pace of change is fast, and constant – but with that comes great opportunity for innovation, and true business transformation.

Here at Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. I believe that mission has a special meaning for the IT audience, particularly in the era of cloud computing. Collectively we are working with each of you to take advantage of new possibilities in this exciting time. That’s the reason we are building Azure – for all of you. The trusted scale and resiliency of our Azure infrastructure, the productivity of our Azure services for building and delivering modern applications, and our unmatched hybrid capabilities, are the foundation that can help propel your business forward. With 42 regions announced around the world and an expansive network spanning more than 4,500 points of presence– we’re the backbone for your business.

Core Infrastructure

Cloud usage goes far beyond the development and test workloads people originally started with. Enterprises are driving a second wave of cloud adoption, including putting their most mission-critical, demanding systems in the cloud. We are the preferred cloud for the enterprise, with more than 90% of the Fortune 500 choosing the Microsoft cloud. Today at Ignite, we’re making several announcements about advancements in Azure infrastructure:

  • New VM sizes. We continue to expand our compute options at a rapid rate. In my general session, I will demonstrate SAP HANA running on both M-series and purpose-built infrastructure, the largest of their kind in the cloud. I will discuss the preview of the B-series VM for burstable workloads, and announce the upcoming Fv2-, NCv2-, ND-series which offer the innovation of new processor types like Intel’s Scalable Xeon and NVIDIA’s Tesla P100 and P40 GPUs.
  • The preview of Azure File Sync, offering secure, centralized file share management in the cloud. This new service provides more redundancy and removes complexity when it comes to sharing files, eliminating the need for special configuration or code changes.
  • A new enterprise NFS service, powered by NetApp. Building on the partnership with NetApp announced in June, Microsoft will deliver a first-party, native NFS v3/v4 service based on NetApp’s proven ONTAP® and other hybrid cloud data services, with preview available in early 2018. This service will deliver enterprise-grade data storage, management, security, and protection for customers moving to Microsoft Azure. We will also enable this service to advance hybrid cloud scenarios, providing visibility and control across Azure, on-premises and hosted NFS workloads. 
  • The preview of a new Azure networking service called Azure DDoS Protection, which helps protect publicly accessible endpoints from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Azure DDoS Protection learns an application’s normal traffic patterns and automatically applies traffic scrubbing when attacks are detected to ensure only legitimate traffic reaches the service.
  • The introduction of two new cloud governance services – Azure Cost Management and Azure Policy – to help you monitor and optimize cloud spend and cloud compliance. We are making Azure Cost Management free for Azure customers, and you can sign up now for a preview of Azure Policy. 
  • Integration of the native security and management experience. New updates in the Azure portal simplify the process of backing up, monitoring, and configuring diaster recovery for virtual machines. We are also announcing update management will now be free for Azure customers.
  • A preview of the new Azure Migrate service, which helps discover and migrate virtual machines and servers. The new service captures all on-premises applications, workloads, and data, and helps map migration dependencies over to Azure, making IT’s jobs immensely easier. Azure Migrate also integrates with the Database Migration Services we released today.
  • A preview of the new Azure Data Box, which provides a secure way to transfer very large datasets to Azure. This integrates seamlessly with Azure services like Backup and Site Recovery as well as partner solutions from CommVault, Netapp, Veritas, Veeam, and others.

Building on the news from last week about the preview of Azure Availability Zones, later today I will also talk about the unique measures we are taking in Azure to help customers ensure business continuity. As the only cloud provider with single VM SLAs, 21 announced region pairs for disaster recovery, Azure offers differentiated rich high availability and disaster recovery capabilities. This means you have the best support, resiliency, and availability for your mission-critical workloads.

Modern Applications

Applications are central to every digital transformation strategy. One of the compelling and more recent technologies that is helping in the modernization of applications is containers. Having received more attention from developers to date, containers are now accelerating application deployment and streamlining the way IT operations and development teams collaborate to deliver applications. Today we are announcing even more exciting advancements in this space:

  • Windows Server containers were introduced with Windows Server 2016. The first Semi-Annual Channel release of Windows Server, version 1709, introduces further advances in container technology, including an optimized Nano Server Container image (80% smaller!), new support for Linux containers on Hyper-V, and the ability to run native Linux tools with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka Bash for Windows).
  • Azure supports containers broadly, offering many options to deploy, from simple infrastructure to richly managed. Azure Container Instances (ACI) provide the simplest way to create and deploy new containers in the cloud with just a few simple clicks, and today I’m announcing Azure Container Instances now support Windows Server in addition to Linux.
  • Azure Service Fabric offers a generalized hosting and container orchestration platform designed for highly scalable applications, and today we are announcing the general availability of Linux support.

Hybrid Cloud

Nearly 85 percent of organizations tell us they have a cloud strategy that is hybrid, and even more – 91 percent – say they believe that hybrid cloud will be a long-term approach. Hybrid cloud capabilities help you adopt the cloud faster. What is unique about Microsoft’s hybrid cloud approach is that we build consistency between on-premises and the cloud. Consistency helps take the complexity of hybrid cloud out because it means you don’t need two different systems for everything. We build that consistency across identity, data, development, and security and management. Today we’re advancing our hybrid cloud leadership even further via the following developments:

  • Azure Stack is now shipping from our partners Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Lenovo. You can see all of these integrated systems on the show floor at Ignite. As an extension of Azure, Azure Stack brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments. Only Azure Stack lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s datacenter, while balancing the right amount of flexibility and control – for truly-consistent hybrid cloud deployments.
  • Our fully managed Azure SQL Database service now has 100 percent SQL Server compatibility for no code changes via Managed Instance. And today, we are introducing a new Azure Database Migration Service that enables a near-zero downtime migration. Now customers can migrate all of their data to Azure without hassle or high cost.
  • Azure Security Center can now be used to secure workloads running on-premises and in other clouds. We’re also releasing today new capabilities to better defend against threats and respond quickly, including Just in Time (JIT) access, dynamic app whitelisting, and being able to drill down into an attack end to end with interactive investigation paths and mapping.

Beyond all of the product innovation above, one of the areas I’m proud of is the work we’re doing to save customers money. For example, the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and the newly announced Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server allow customers to use their existing licenses to get discounts in Azure, making Azure the most economical choice and path to the cloud for these customers. Together with the new Azure Reserved VM Instances we just announced, customers will be able to save up to 82 percent on Windows Server VMs. The free Azure Cost Management capabilities I mentioned above help customers save money by optimizing how they run things in Azure. And we are now offering the new Azure free account which introduces the free use of many popular services for 12 months, in addition to the $200 free credit we provide.

It’s an exciting time for IT, and we’re equally excited that you are our trusted partners in this era of digital transformation. I look forward to hearing your questions or feedback so that we can further your trust in us and empower each of you to achieve more.

Finding what you need at work just got easier with Bing for business

Today, at the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Orlando, we announced Bing for business – a new intelligent search experience for Office 365 and Microsoft 365, which uses AI and the Microsoft Graph to deliver more relevant search results based on your organizational context. This new experience from Bing for your enterprise, school, or organization helps users save time by intelligently and securely retrieving information from enterprise resources such as company data, people, documents, sites and locations as well as public web results, displaying them in a single experience. Bing for business can be used with a browser on any device, transforming the way employees search for information at work, ultimately making them more productive.

Bing for business is available for private preview starting today and will be available as part of existing subscriptions to Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, E5, F1, Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Education E5 subscriptions. If you are interested in receiving an invitation to participate in the private preview, visit http://aka.ms/b4bprivatepreview.

Intelligent search to help increase productivity and save time

In our work and personal lives, we spend lot of time in the browser searching for information. Analyzing web search traffic at Microsoft, we realized that as our employees searched the web, a significant amount of search traffic was for internal business-related content. We knew that this wasn’t just the case for Microsoft, but for many organizations, and it prompted the question – If Bing can tell me how high Mt. Rainier is, why can’t it quickly find what a colleague is working on or what are the employee benefits? Bing for business started with these pain points in mind. As we talked with more customers about their challenges in this space, we realized there was an opportunity to create something truly compelling. Our goal was twofold. For end users, we wanted to create an offering that can increase productivity by getting them the relevant and contextual information as quickly as possible. For administrators, we wanted to provide something that is easy to deploy and manage, offers enhanced protection for business search traffic while reducing costs associated with help desk calls. Bing for business provides these benefits to users and administrators with quick and seamless access to internal company information directly within Bing’s web results while keeping the results protected.

For example, let’s say you have an upcoming meeting about a project with a new colleague. Through Bing for business, you can quickly look up their contact information, find out who they report to, see the Office 365 groups they are a part of and much more. Additionally, you will also have web search which may highlight a publicly available blog/portfolio, or other relevant content. This would normally take six or more different searches across multiple locations. Bing for business pulls this data from across the Microsoft Graph and the web to create an experience where you get all this information in one place, so you save time searching.

Bing for business - Intelligent search

Bing for business also help you quickly find internal company resources. When you’re trying to find the time card site, trying to figure out vacation policy, or simply trying to find out how much vacation you have left, Bing for business can bring you links to these resources from just searching for “time off.” These bookmarks can be manually curated by the IT Admin or created based on frequency of search terms. Using bookmarks saves you time by helping you get to the right company resources simply by searching for the relevant term all from within Bing.

BIng for business - Intelligent search time off example

Bing for businesses key features include:
  • Enterprise Bookmarks – Bookmarks provide the fastest way for you to find sites, tools, and other information within the enterprise. Bookmarks can range from timely topics with a short life span like a company event to more permanent bookmarks, such as linking to the internal time and reporting tool.
  • People Search – With Bing for business, people search is a quick way to help you search and find a person and understand their role within the company, who they work for, see what they are working on, find out where they are located and get directions through integrated building and office floor maps.
  • Organizational Chart – Quick access to the organizational chart to understand a person’s place within the company and further browse their peers, management, and direct reports. 
  • Building and Floor Plans – Buildings and floor plans help you quickly find your way or locate where a colleague is sitting or to learn your way around a new building.
  • Document Search – Allows you to search and find contextual and relevant documents saved on SharePoint and other sources within the Microsoft Graph.
  • Office 365 Groups – You will be able to explore the Groups a person belongs to as part of people search and browse their contents. Additionally, they will be able to search for groups by their name.
  • Bing for business Industry News – Bing works with your company to understand your job and tasks. Over time, Bing learns which business news matters to you – such as news about your company, competitors, and industry.  This feature is a personalized newsfeed on Bing.com, helping you make timely, informed decisions.
  • Management and Analytics – IT admins can quickly configure, create bookmarks, and define the search triggers, words or phrases. IT admins will also have a better understanding on how people within the organization are searching the web.

Intelligent search leveraging AI to save you time

Bing for business is built on the Microsoft Graph and uses AI to provide contextual, boundless, and relevant results for your Bing search. These results help employees save time increase productivity.

For example, you have a question on how to set up your work VPN, or how to reset your Bitlocker password. Today, getting these questions answered could include calling tech support and potentially incurring costs associated with the call, searching the public web or the corporate intranet, and browsing knowledge base articles. Bing for business uses Machine Reading Comprehension and Deep Learning to understand the intent of the question across all documents in your enterprise. And since it knows who you are based on your authentication session, it can synthesize the best answer for your specific query across all the documents you can access – from the public internet to your private intranet.

Enterprise grade protection, manageability, and analytics

Bing for business offers enhanced protection for your Bing web searches and treats your enterprise data in a compliant way. Searching with Bing for business requires Azure Active Directory authentication to access results, and the results that are returned are ones the authenticated user has access to, coming directly from the trusted cloud. Search queries are anonymized, aggregated across all companies and separated from public Bing search traffic. Additionally, these queries are not used for displaying targeted ad based on your work or company identity, and company-specific queries are not viewable by advertisers. This provides a level of protection unavailable anywhere else in the industry.

In addition to enhanced protections, Bing for business is easy to manage and deploy. Available as part of Office 365, Bing for business can be easily deployed by adding Bing to your tenant from the Office 365 admin panel. Once added, a quick configuration to set the logo, name, and color is all that is required to set up Bing for business. From there, users that have been enabled for Bing for business can access it at www.bing.com.

Private Preview

Today, Bing for business is in private preview as we move towards general availability next year. During this period, we are interested in partnering with a diverse group of customers to try out the feature, and help us shape future versions. If you would like to request an invitation to participate in the private preview, please visit http://aka.ms/b4bprivatepreview. We look forward to receiving your feedback as we continue to add features and capabilities to Bing for business.

– Deen King-Smith
Sr. Product Marketing Manager | Search, Edge, and AI

Reality meets imagination at Microsoft Ignite – The Official Microsoft Blog

It’s fantastic to be in Orlando at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Envision, with more than 25,000 customers and partners from around the world. The technologies we announced today give every organization new ways to grow their business, now and into the future. There is a lot to see, hear and experience at Microsoft Ignite, but here is my rundown of the top five announcements we made:

  1. Not-so-secret-ingredients: During his keynote, Satya showed how Microsoft is infusing AI and Mixed Reality into our products to help customers be the disruptors, not the disrupted. Just ask Ford or HP.
  2. All workers welcome: With Microsoft 365 for firstline workers and students, we’ve expanded our effort to change the culture of work. #WorkSmartTogether
  3. Bridge to the cloud: Azure Stack is now available through Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo for ready-made hybrid cloud. Oh, and bonus, we’re helping customers save some serious cabbage with Azure Cost Management services by Cloudyn.
  4. Finding insights in petabytes: The new release of the world’s most popular database, SQL Server 2017, and enhancements to Azure Machine Learning will foster a new generation of intelligent apps and AI models.
  5. Quantum quest: We’ve been working on quantum computing for 12 years. Now we’re giving developers a new programming language and tools to ask the big questions and get even bigger answers, from a billion parallel universes.

And while quantum theory and computing are based on imaginary numbers, there is nothing imaginary about all the advancements coming out of Microsoft Ignite. Go to microsoft.com/ignite to learn more.

Tags: Microsoft Ignite 2017

Introducing Microsoft Envision, our new event for business leaders

Today, I’m excited to announce Microsoft Envision, our new flagship event for business leaders.

Microsoft Envision is designed for CxOs and their senior department and functional leaders who are driven to shape their own future and position their organizations and business for success in a mobile first, cloud first world.

Attendees of Microsoft Envision can expect to gain insights, uncover solutions and build connections to help them achieve more. The event will include:

  • Keynotes and interactive sessions with a broad slate of visionaries, experts and innovators
  • Functional and industry-specific content to provide relevant insights and solutions
  • Opportunities to build valuable connections that last beyond the event

Microsoft Envision will take place in New Orleans April 4-6, 2016… and registration is now open!  It’s part of Microsoft’s lineup of global flagship events which also includes Microsoft Ignite for the IT professionals, Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference for partners, and Microsoft //Build for developers which opens registration on January 19.

Microsoft Envision replaces Microsoft Convergence as the premier event for business leaders and Microsoft Dynamics technical content will move to Microsoft Ignite.

We look forward to seeing you at our inaugural Microsoft Envision. Register now!

Microsoft Ignite lights up the modern workforce with new products and services – Weekend Reading: May 8 Edition

Ignite 2015

Craighton Berman’s sketch of Satya Nadella’s keynote at Ignite 2015.

Ready to take a breath? Do it now before we dive into the news from this week, dominated by the announcements from Microsoft’s first Ignite conference. More than 23,000 attended in Chicago and thousands more watched online, learning how IT now means “innovation” and “transformation” – for all of us in the modern workforce.

The modern workforce is a more apt description than the modern workplace – a misnomer, said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Skype engineering. “Work is what you do; it’s not where you go,” he said. “People will work from wherever they are, with whatever devices they have, and they’ll work on their own time.” Creating services for, and protecting, that modern workforce was front and center at Ignite.

Office 2016 Public Preview, now available, shows how Office has “shifted from ‘me-centric’ to ‘we-centric’ work,” says Julia White, general manager for the Office marketing team. In Office 2016, all Office content is saved to and shared from OneDrive by default; and content can be created and edited using real-time co-authoring, which is coming to Word 2016 desktop. Office 2016 will offer new security, compliance and deployment features that give organizations more control over sensitive data, and IT more flexibility in deployment and management. SharePoint Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2016, also showcased at Ignite, deliver new capabilities across areas including user experiences, compliance and reporting.

Office 2016, Ignite 2015

Real-time co-authoring for Word will be available soon in the Office 2016 Public Preview.

Windows Update for Business, introduced at Ignite, will empower IT pros to keep the Windows devices in their organization “always up to date with the latest security defenses and Windows features,” says Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Operating Systems Group. Windows Update for Business will include features such as “distribution rings,” where an IT pro can specify which devices go first in an update wave, and which ones come later; and “maintenance windows,” to specify the critical timeframes when updates should and should not happen. Windows Update for Business will be free for Windows Pro and Windows Enterprise devices.

Need to have a meeting with a lot – and we mean a lot – of workers in lots of different places? Skype for Business broadcasting, introduced at Ignite and coming later this year, enables customers to broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people.

At Ignite, we also said hello to the next-generation hybrid cloud, Microsoft Azure Stack, in preview this summer. It brings the Azure user experience and both infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service capabilities into customers’ datacenters. We also learned that SQL Server 2016 preview is coming this summer, with Always Encrypted, Stretch Database and more. Always Encrypted protects data at rest and in motion, and Stretch Database allows you to “dynamically stretch your warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure, so your operational data is always at hand, no matter the size,” says T.K. Ranga Rengarajan, Data Platform, Cloud & Enterprise corporate vice president.

There was other big news this week: Surface 3 became available in the U.S. and many countries around the world. This sharp-looking sibling to the Surface Pro 3 has a 10.8-inch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, includes front- (3.5MP) and rear-facing (8MP) cameras which both capture 1080p video; and runs full Windows, including desktop applications. It includes a one-year subscription to Office 365.

The ‘next wave’ of empowerment everywhere. Writer Tracy Ith took us behind the scenes of the fifth annual Microsoft Ability Summit this week, where Microsoft engineers, designers and other tech pros worked with people with disabilities from inside and outside the company, as well as parents and other accessibility advocates to “create that next wave of great products and services” to empower people, says Jenny Lay-Flurrie, senior director of the Trusted Experience Team and leader of the summit.

Microsoft Ability Summit

Jay Beavers’ face is reflected in a device that can drive a wheelchair using eye gaze technology. Credit: Scott Eklund

Safety tested – and relies on Microsoft’s cloud. Writer Jennifer Warnick brought us into the heart of the Illinois headquarters of the 120-year-old UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), where 22 billion products, systems and materials are stamped with the UL sign of approval for safety each year. It’s populated by lab spaces “full of circuits and light bulbs, slot machines and hospital beds, ovens and clothes dryers, wires and building materials, bank machines and bulletproof glass.”

Bob Jamieson in UL's “rain room,” where waterproof products are tested.

Bob Jamieson in UL’s “rain room,” where waterproof products are tested. Photo by Brian Smale / © Microsoft

This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Jessi Combs. She is the world’s fastest woman – on four wheels. In 2013, she set the record with a heart-pumping speed of 406 miles per hour.

#DoMore, Instagram,

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Time to breathe now, and enjoy your 48 hours off before you rejoin the modern workforce – wherever that it is for you.

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

IT stands for innovation and transformation

Over the past few months, we’ve been talking in detail about our company’s three core ambitions: Create more personal computing. Reinvent productivity and business processes. Build the intelligent cloud.

Now, as we kick off our first Ignite conference, we focus on what those ambitions mean for a critically important customer base: IT professionals.

It’s no secret that IT pros have one of the hardest jobs in the tech industry. In today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world, they are responsible for navigating the tensions between public and private cloud, widespread devices and traditional management, and balancing data access with data protection. Every IT pro faces these challenges, and, as a result, it is understandable why these often unsung heroes may feel uncertain about their future.

At Ignite, however, we are making it very clear: Microsoft is more committed than ever to the millions of IT pros around the world. And, as I’ve noted many times in the past, I believe IT has a very bright future.

As every organization in the world depends more on software and technology, CIOs and IT pros can lead business strategy and transformation. They can help their companies launch new business capabilities with the cloud, intelligently harness and use data and improve productivity across devices. IT can help very good companies become great companies. 

We have been partnering with IT pros for decades, something we value immensely. And while we always have more to learn, we believe we speak the language of enterprise IT better – and do more to empower the IT professional – than anyone else in the industry.

A key element of our commitment is providing choice – choice of the right cloud model; choice of platforms through interoperability, openness and cross-platform support; and choice of how and when to adopt new technology.

Today’s announcements demonstrate how we are delivering a modern enterprise architecture IT pros can use to lead transformation in their companies and to thrive with mobile and cloud.

A great example is the news we announced today about Windows Update for Business as a new way for IT to ensure end user devices are always up to date. (Read more about that on Terry Myerson’s blog here.) We have a fundamental point of view that, if we are closely connected with you, we can help keep your devices more secure, more compatible and more productive.

Every industry is recognizing the impact and differentiation IT can bring to their business. For example, the CEO of Real Madrid C.F., arguably the top sports franchise in the world, joined Satya on stage today at Ignite. He and his club are betting on Microsoft to help them win – both on and off the field, and to engage with their 450 million fans in exciting new ways. The city of Chicago, the host of Ignite, is another example. In partnership with Microsoft, the city is leading CityWorks, an initiative for urban tech innovation using the cloud to improve transportation, energy and water systems.

A great week at Ignite is already underway, and the attitude of the 23,000 attendees is unmistakably optimistic about the road ahead. Together, we are redefining IT to mean “innovation and transformation.”

–Brad