Teams for Intelligent Communications and Collaboration

Teams for Intelligent Communications and Collaboration

Over the last year, Teams has evolved to become the ultimate hub for teamwork. Built on the strength and scale of Office 365 with over 120 million users, Teams delivers chat-based collaboration, meetings, calling, and soon, full enterprise voice features. All of this is underpinned by the Microsoft Graph, allowing for rich AI capabilities. As part of Office 365, Teams uniquely delivers these capabilities at scale, with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to meet the needs of a global business.

To advance the vision for Intelligent Communications, Microsoft is announcing new Teams features coming later this year, including:

  • Cloud recording—Will provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding, enabling all team members the ability to read captions, search within the conversation, and playback all or part of the meeting. In the future, it will also include facial recognition, so remarks can be attributed to specific meeting attendees.
  • Inline message translation—People who speak different languages will be able to fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.
  • Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices—Will enable you to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.
  • Background blur on video—The ability to blur your background during video calls will allow other meeting attendees to focus on you, not what’s behind you.
  • Proximity detection for Teams Meetings—This feature will make it easy for you to discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.
  • Mobile sharing in meetings—Meeting attendees will be able to share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.

These new capabilities build on the breadth of new features that have come to Teams in the last year, including guest access, new ways to interact with apps, and new meeting and calling capabilities.

This week Microsoft annouced new enterprise-grade calling features in Teams, including consultative transfer and call delegation and federation. In addition, they introduced Direct Routing, which will enable customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling. When you combine a Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing with our Phone System for Office 365, Teams becomes a full voice service. These new capabilities are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2018.

Intelligent Communications for your devices

Hardware plays a critical part in delivering consistent, high-quality video and voice experiences. Microsoft annouced that Teams is now enabled for a full spectrum of calling and meeting room devices, including:

  • Microsoft collaboration devices—Microsoft Surface Hub is a powerful all-in-one large-screen team collaboration device. Microsoft Teams will be natively supported on Surface Hub, enhancing the capabilities of Teams in huddle spaces and meeting rooms equipped with Surface Hub.
  • Meeting room systems—Lenovo and HP join existing partners Logitech, Crestron, and Polycom to transform the conference room experience with rich audio, HD video, center-of-room control, and one-touch join. All Skype Room Systems will support Teams meetings.
  • Connections to existing equipment—Teams will certify new solutions from BlueJeans, Pexip, and Polycom to support interoperability for meetings in Teams with existing hardware investments.
  • Desk and conference phones—New desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink—and new conference room phones from Crestron, Polycom, and Yealink—run a native Teams application for consistent and streamlined calling experiences.
  • Mobile phone stations—New mobile phone stations from Plantronics combine the Teams experience with desk phone capabilities for the mobile user.

To learn more about the portfolio of Teams-powered devices and the roadmap dates, visit the Microsoft Tech Community blog.

Growing ecosystem of Teams apps

No ecosystem would be complete without the apps that make it thrive. Microsoft recently released a new store in Teams featuring a wide array of tools and services from their partners. Some of the most popular apps among Teams customers include Adobe Creative Cloud, Hootsuite, InVision, Polly, SurveyMonkey, Trello, Wrike, Zoom.ai, and many others.


Empowering first line workers

Empowering first line workers

Empowering first line workers

“First line workers are the lifeblood of the world’s largest industries,” says Microsoft’s Farren Roper.

And he’s right. They’re the most physically and directly integrated with the consumer, so they play an imperative role in the communication tree.

“The first line worker is amongst the first to see things and trends and hear from customers,” says Jack Elmore, the Microsoft Product Marketing Director. “And their ability to communicate that digitally and efficiently back to headquarters drives a whole new level of insight many organizations haven’t had previously.”

But so many businesses out there still aren’t using the right tools. Their digital platforms aren’t compatible from the CEO to the first line. But with Microsoft StaffHub, that can all change.

“Microsoft 365 is a complete intelligent solution,” said Andrew Hart, Senior Product Marketing Manager. “It scales across an organization to manage devices on the first line to deliver a digital identity to a first line workforce.”

That digital identity can easily be delivered through StaffHub. It allows first line workers to view schedules, swap shifts, request time off, find information and catch up with the team. From easy-to-read calendars, to message boards, it almost takes the place of another organizational manager.

“As any first line manager knows schedule management swapping shifts accommodating changes is one of the biggest headaches of the job,” says Elmore.

If that’s the headache, think of StaffHub as the pain reliever.  With those tasks taken care of on an easy-to-use platform that can work on any of your first line employee’s devices (and there’s clearly a huge chance that contains a wide variety of tablets, smartphones and computers), managers and executives can focus more on the product and enhancing quality.

 

 


Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

In today’s workforce teams are spread out all over the States. In order to stay in the know and discover relevant people and important content when you need it most, based on who you work with and what you work on, SharePoint should be your go to. Read on to discover how SharePoint can help.

Discover relevant, recommended content

 

Search for and discover content when you need it most. See real-timequery suggestions and get personalized results in sites, files, and people with full-text matches across Office 365. See personalized content that Delve surfaces to you from OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, and other sources. In Yammer, uncover conversations, groups, and people to leverage the knowledge of others.

People and content find you

 

Be discovered and connect with other people—including by their expertise, projects, education, and contact details. Let others find and tap into your expertise with your skills and interests listed in Delve and your conversations in Yammer. Gain insights and perspective to make better business decisions by connecting with the right people and content—even if you didn’t know you needed it.

Get the right information quickly

 

See refined and relevant search results with SharePoint’s built-in enterprise search capabilities. Easily see sites you frequent or files you’ve recently viewed or edited. Take advantage of the type-ahead and smart results features as you search for sites, files, or people. Search for sensitive content and use SharePoint’s search capabilities to support eDiscovery and compliance.

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844

 

 


New in 2018—enriching teamwork across devices

New in 2018—enriching teamwork across devices

There are a ton of great new features launching into 2018 adding great new value to Office 365 subscribers, with updates that enhance how teams work together and unlock new ways to create and manage content across devices. Read on for details.

Get more done in Microsoft Teams

New features for Microsoft Teams enable you to interact with apps in new ways, customize your personal workspace, and take quick actions.

Find and use apps in new waysNow you can include interactive cards from apps in conversations the same way you would add an emoji or GIF. With one click, you can bring important information, like a task from Trello, into a channel conversation or chat. Finding new apps and services in Teams is now easier with the new Store, where you can search for apps by name or category, such as “Project management” or “Analytics & BI.”

Command apps and take quick actions across TeamsAlso introduced is the new command box in Microsoft Teams, a single point of entry that integrates your search and command experiences. Now you can quickly interact with apps, perform tasks, and navigate throughout Teams directly from the command box, in addition to searching across people, messages, files, and apps.

Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac

New Office 365 capabilities for iOS and Mac enhance how teams create content together, make it easier to produce advanced documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from anywhere, and introduce new ways to search, preview, and interact with files.

Co-authoring for iOS and MacIt is now easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac. Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you’ll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online.

Automatically save your work on MacThis month also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you’re working alone or with others, your latest changes are now automatically stored in the cloud, so you never need to worry about hitting the Save button again. You can also view and restore content from earlier versions of the document at any time with support for version history.

Drag and drop content and files on iOSThe Office and OneDrive iOS apps now support drag and drop for content and files. One of the most common and powerful tasks when creating content is integrating photos, graphs, and other objects from a variety of sources. Now Office 365 subscribers on iPad and iPhone can easily drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive. Support for drag and drop for iOS also enables you to move files to and from OneDrive and other sources—such as SharePoint or iMessage—making it easier to organize content scattered across different apps and services.

Access OneDrive files from more iOS appsOneDrive for iOS now natively supports the new iOS 11 Files app. This means iPhone and iPad users can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from any iOS app that supports File app integration—a top requested feature. Users can also tag their favorite OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app, making it easier to find and use the content that matters to you.

Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOSMicrosoft redesigned the OneDrive for iOS app with a more detailed list view, making it easier to scan file names, see relevant information, and sort files by specific attributes. The updated OneDrive for iOS app also creates crisp thumbnails and supports previews for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and 3D objects, so you can open, view, and share the right content without leaving the app.

Search across your organization with Outlook for iOSThe new search experience in Outlook for iOS leverages the Microsoft Graph to surface results from your top contacts, upcoming travel itineraries, package deliveries, recent attachments, and more. Together with proactive search suggestions and a unified design, it now provides consistent, personalized results that enable you to discover information from across your organization faster.

Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for MacWord for Mac now supports Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, tools previously available in Word for Windows and mobile apps. These tools enable content to be viewed in ways that are optimized for learning differences and allow documents to be read back with simultaneous highlighting. These features make it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone—especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additional updates

  • New ways to share on YammerEarlier this month, Microsoft introduced new ways for users to share engaging company-wide content from wherever they are with the Yammer mobile app. Users can now post announcements to groups, add animated GIFs, and more.

Updates to SharePoint and the SharePoint app on iOS

Catch up with all your team’s news in the SharePoint app on iOS

If you use the SharePoint app on iOS, you get the first look at the mobile experience of team news. When you tap the Newstab, you will see a list of aggregated news using the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph from the sites you work in, the sites you follow and the sites your colleagues work in. SharePoint mobile on iOS gives you one place to catch up on the news from across your intranet. That’s your news in your pocket!

News on SharePoint mobile will come to other platforms as a future update.

Create a modern team site and an associated Office 365 group from the SharePoint home

We’re pleased to announce that soon you’ll be able to create a site and a group for your team—right from SharePoint home in Office 365. The Create site wizard will create an Office 365 group as well as a modern SharePoint team site. You will even be able add members and classify the site along the way. And if you’ve ever waited for a SharePoint site to be provisioned in the past, you’ll discover this process will create the site in mere seconds.

Create a team site right from SharePoint home.

Know who’s who, and who’s working on what, with new people cards

Teamwork is all about the people and what they’re working on. Now, when you see a person in a SharePoint team site, document library, list, or in OneDrive for Business, the value of discovering more about that person lies at your fingertips where you are already working.

People cards appear in SharePoint document libraries when you hover over a person’s name.

When you hover over a person’s name or photo, you’ll now see a richer people card. Previously, the card contained basic contact information and one-click methods to connect with the person. Now, you instantly see who the person works for and what documents they recently worked on. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these intelligent people cards provide a personalized and actionable experience as you work with your files across Office 365.


Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

The intranet is the publishing center of all things happening throughout your company. It is where people keep up with news and discover what’s happening around them at work. It’s time, now, to further empower employees—more precisely, give them a way to broadcast their work.

Keep the team informed and up-to-date with team news

Team news is how you keep up with and broadcast key events and accomplishments with other members of the team and extended stakeholders. You can use team news for things like trip reports, best practices, project updates, highlights of new documents and content, welcoming a new team member, sharing team goals and celebrating milestones.

To add a news item, from within the News web part on the team site home page, click + Add to create a news article. Next, add content to the news post using the toolbox—a gallery of web parts—to add text, video, documents, quick links and more. When you’re finished, click Publish and the news article will be featured prominently on the team site home page within the News web part. And when you click See All, you’ll land on a dedicated News page that serves as the team’s news archive.

Below shows how a team site with all the news—front and center—is displayed in the SharePoint mobile app:

Team news in the SharePoint app.                              News articles render beautifully in the SharePoint app.

Team news is a great way to broadcast of all the important content from your team. In the future, you will receive mobile and email notifications to help keep you up to date.


3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

Whether you’re a full- or part-time telecommuter, or you just like to catch up on projects at home or on the go—you’re not alone. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work at home, not including those who are self-employed, has grown by 103 percent since 2005 and it shows no signs of stopping—with 3.7 million employees now working from home at least half the time. Telecommuting offers many benefits for workers, including flexibility and better work-life balance, as well as for employers, who enjoy cost savings and an expanded talent pool, to name a few. As people continue to jump on the telecommuting bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stay productive, connected and happy.

Here are three easy ways to make the most of working at home:

1.) Be there with instant messaging (IM)—Instant messaging has two big benefits for telecommuters. First, it makes it possible for coworkers to reach you instantaneously, blasting any preconceived notions that you’re lounging poolside or at the movies. IM also keeps at-home workers from feeling isolated. Years of research on telecommuting has found that the live, synchronous nature of IM enhances people’s feelings of presence, belonging and emotional well-being. Other studies have found that virtual teams who engaged in digital interactions with a social and fun element to them worked better together and built better relationships. Software like Microsoft’s Office 365 offers IM via Skype for Business, allowing for real-time contact on a moment’s notice—complete with emoticons. It’s less formal, more conversational and faster than a phone call.

2.) Bad Internet? Go mobile—Sometimes you can get stuck with sketchy internet service, depending on where you live. About 55 percent of U.S. households have just one provider that offers service at 25 megabits per second, the minimum the FCC deems necessary to access the most advanced online applications. And while about 75 percent American households with Internet still use DSL, cable or fiber connection to get online at home, we may be moving toward a more mobile workforce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Internet users dropped from 82 percent just a few years before—with mobile-only connections jumping from 10 to 20 percent in the same period. Luckily, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband data plans have made the possibility of a mobile workforce a reality. Add to that the fact that many popular, top-of-the-line productivity tools are now accessible on your mobile device. That includes office applications that let you create, edit and share from your PC/Mac or your iOS, Android or Windows device with anyone in real-time. That makes it easy to have a mobile backup plan if your Internet isn’t as reliable as it should be.

3.) Stay connected socially—Not all business takes place at the office. SharePoint Newsfeeds allow you to stay in the know on company events and news. Newsfeeds are also a great way to post questions and supply answers to those in need by simply “@”ing co-workers in a thread. The other great part is that it is all searchable so you can come back to an old conversation to find an answer.

Make the most of your company’s software—Products like Office 365, Skype for Business, SharePoint and Windows Phone have helped build a more productive work-at-home environment. Good software will help you make the most of connecting with your teams in real-time via conferencing, IM, video and sharing, while also taking advantage of advanced security and compliance tools, interactive reports, simpler dashboards and compelling data visualizations.

While many workers once used telecommuting to supplement their full-time in-office job, more and more people are using it as a replacement for being in the office. As this trend continues to rise, with approximately 55 percent college graduates reporting they have telecommuted for their jobs, it’s more important than ever to have the right tools to make your work-at-home experience flexible, productive and successful.


A New Vision for Intelligent Communications in Office 365

A New Vision for Intelligent Communications in Office 365

Intelligent communications go beyond traditional unified communications, enabling you to complete tasks more efficiently with minimal context switching, participate in more productive meetings that cover the entire meeting lifecycle, and better manage your everyday communications overload.

Microsoft Teams is core to Microsoft’s vision for intelligent communications—bringing together conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations—to provide a single hub for teamwork in Office 365. Teams is now being used by over 125,000 organizations across the world in just six months since its launch. Its strong momentum has proven that teamwork is essential to the way work gets done today.

To achieve this vision for intelligent communications, Microsoft is bringing comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into Teams, along with data and insights from the Microsoft Graph, and a strong roadmap of innovation to empower teams to achieve more.

All of this is being built on a new, modern Skype infrastructure for enterprise-grade voice and video communications. The next generation, cloud-born architecture is already powering communication experiences in Teams, and is evolving rapidly. This new infrastructure will provide both speed of innovation as well as higher quality communication experiences.​

As these capabilities are built out, Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time.

The future of business meetings

Combining communications, collaboration, and intelligence in this way will make new things possible across the lifecycle of a call or meeting:

  • Before a meeting, Teams will surface relevant documents and rich information about the participants to help you prepare.
  • During the meeting, the conversation can be captured, transcribed, and time-coded, with closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks to specific individuals.
  • After the meeting, the cloud recording and transcript can be automatically added to the relevant channel, so conversations, documents, notes, and action items can be reviewed, indexed, and searched by the entire team.

Introducing calling features and meeting enhancements in Teams

Over the past six months, Microsoft has enhanced the communication capabilities in Teams, with new features like scheduled meetings, Outlook calendar integration, and meetings on mobile. Also, earlier this month, they began rolling out guest access—so you can use Teams to collaborate with people outside your company. In the coming months, they’ll begin adding calling features in Teams—including inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, hold, call transfer, and voicemail.

Coming soon will be enhancements to Teams meetings, including audio conferencing (available in preview today)—enabling participants to join a Teams meeting by dialing a telephone number—and interoperability between Teams and Skype for Business, including universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability.

This is just the beginning of a big wave of feature releases that will bring the core set of meetings and phone system capabilities into Teams.


Expand your collaboration with guest access in Microsoft Teams

Expand your collaboration with guest access in Microsoft Teams

Since Microsoft Teams became generally available about six months ago, more than 125,000 organizations have discovered how teamwork comes to life in Teams. Teams again is getting even better with the rollout of guest access to all Office 365 commercial and education customers. Now Office 365 users can add people from outside their company to a team, so guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents, and more.

Guest access has been one of the top requested features for Teams among Microsoft customers, and they’ve been working hard to get it right. Microsoft designed guest access in Teams with three principles at the forefront:

Teamwork—Teams come in all shapes and sizes, and you need to be able to easily communicate and share with others you want to work with, including people outside your organization. Anyone with an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account can be added as a guest in Teams. That means anyone with one of the more than 870 million user accounts—across Microsoft commercial cloud services and third-party Azure AD integrated apps—can be added as a guest in Teams. Later, the ability for anyone with a Microsoft Account (MSA) to be added as a guest in Teams. If the guest doesn’t have an existing MSA, they will be directed to create a free account using their current corporate or consumer email address, such as Outlook.com or Gmail.com.

Security and compliance—Security is a big concern here and Microsoft customers made this known. Guest access in Teams will provide enterprise-grade security and compliance assurances. In Teams, guest accounts are added and securely managed within Azure AD through Azure AD B2B Collaboration. This enables enterprise-grade security, like conditional access policies for guest user access. Azure AD also uses adaptive machine learning algorithms and heuristics to detect anomalies and suspicious incidents, enabling mitigation or remediation actions, such as multi-factor authentication, to be triggered as appropriate. In addition, with Azure AD, IT departments have unparalleled insight into the activities of external users in their organization through detailed sign-in and access reports. Guest user content and activities are under the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365.

IT manageability—Guest access in Teams comes with the ability for IT to centrally manage how guests participate within their Office 365 environment, providing consistency across application experiences in Office 365. IT admins can quickly and easily view, add, or revoke a guest’s access to the host tenant.

For more information on how to enable guest access in Microsoft Teams, read this help and support article


Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

A video message that is easy to find and easy to view will be more successful than one buried in the depths of one, two, three clicks away. When you put a company message from the CxO or a status update from a project leader—front and center where employees and team members are—the information and insights will be better targeted, more fully understood and ultimately shared within the right context.

Within Office 365, it is possible to place videos (embed) in-line and in-context where people work on projects, online and on-premises. You can do this within SharePoint Team Sites, custom company portals, internal blogs, wikis and more. Using the Office 365 Video solution, it is as simple as copy, paste and publish.

Learn more about how to embed a video to your online or on-premises SharePoint Team Site from Office 365 Video.

Let’s dive into three key scenarios where embedding videos improves corporate communications.

Embedding video scenarios

SharePoint Team Sites—SharePoint Team Sites are a place for working together with a group of people. They are great destinations to emphasize your brand and information out to your peers throughout the organization. They are central locations to manage content and information, sharing internally and externally to work in rhythm across the collective group of people you work with. As you continue to share documents, team notes, project timeline information and lists of data—so, too, can you easily place important video communications within the primary experience of a team site.

SharePoint Team Site showing an embedded video among an embedded PowerPoint, a document library, a KPI web part, plus navigation to other sites and subsites.

The company portal—An important part of the modern intranet is enabling companies to build their own custom portals and sub-portals (company intranet sites) that support search, custom design and navigation and business solutions on-premises and online. Here, too, it is critical for important, company-wide video messages—like a quarterly earnings report from the CFO—to be accessible; not a link to a video, but right there, playable on the home page where the eyeballs are and the desired action lives.

An embedded video within a custom portal home page, side-by-side with news and announcements, custom navigation elements and custom design.

Internal blog post—Blog what you want to say and do it in a modern way. That is the mantra of the new authoring canvas within the Office Delve profile experience. And spice up your posts with multimedia elements, including video, like a trip report; it’s easy! And because it’s integrated across Office 365, you can embed videos from the Office 365 Video portal—with inline playback—in seconds.

A video embedded within an internal blog post (rendered from a tablet device). Video plays back inline within the post, and can go full screen.

With Office 365 Video you can take video beyond the portal. As you begin to embed videos onto team sites, portals and blogs, take advantage of the many ways to share video beyond the Office 365 Video portal and land your message to your intended audience. Share via email; post to Yammer; search and discover with Delve; make videos available on the go, accessible throughout your intranet—where users are active, engaged and ready to consume your information. Embed today, increase your reach and be heard!