We seem to be right in the middle to end of the conference season. That exciting season where all of the technology companies get us excited about what’s coming up. I didn’t get to go to Ignite this year but I am excited for all of the things coming out this year like
- Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge. Both the next generation OS and the next generation Web browser. It took me by surprise that Internet Explorer is being deprecated, think of how long it’s been around…I’ve used it in some form since it came with Microsoft Plus! For Windows 95. That’s 20 years ago…
- Office 2016, SharePoint 2016, Exchange 2016, SQL Server 2016
- Skype for Business which is really Lync Server 2016…but the big takeaway here is that this is still Lync but there are a lot of new features to tie it into the Skype family even better and reach that many more people
- A big one I’ve been hearing about is Skype for Business broadcasting which enables customers to broadcast meetings online for up to 10000 users using Azure Media Services for streaming audio, video and PowerPoint presentations. I believe this will push Hybrid deployments even quicker to be able reach out to this scope of customer base with that fantastic Lync/Skype for Business feel.
There is so many more things on the docket, for more information check out the Ignite Press Release Page
I’ve always had a tough time of keeping track of what’s new and coming up for Office 365. Office 365 is a services plus rich client environment, this means that Microsoft’s focus on providing cloud services such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype For Business. While all of these services have web clients available, they become a much more rich experience when using them with Microsoft Office Rich clients such as Word, Excel, Lync and OneNote (I absolutely love OneNote). Microsoft has a new slogan, saying, tagline if you may. The new tagline is “Cloud First, Mobile First”. This is great for Office 365 users, what it really means is that upgrades such as Skype for Business, Exchange 2016, SharePoint 2016 and all of the other Microsoft innovations coming out in the future will appear in Office 365, CRM Online and other such services that are offered by Microsoft. For the “On Premise” Crowd, worry not, there will be versions released if that’s what you prefer to use on your network.
So here are the top 5 things that has me excited about Office 365 this year.
- Server upgrades to the new stack (Exchange 2016, Skype for Business, SharePoint 2016, CRM Online upgraded to 2016.
- Skype for Business broadcast meetings. This service will be run through Azure Media Streaming Services for audio, video and PowerPoint. It will off sentiment tracking through Bing Pulse and Yammer for audience conversations. This service will host meetings for up to 10000 users. If a an environment is using on premise Skype for Business server, this service would still be available via Office 365 subscription and the hybrid setup would make this so much more powerful and integrated into your environment. This feature will bring Skype for Business up to par with WebEx or GoToMeeting.
- Office 365 Video. This is being billed as Youtube for business. This service will allow you to embed videos into team sites and play them right from SharePoint.
- Unlimited storage for OneDrive for business…what else can I say about this.
- ExpressRoute for Office 365. This will allow Office 365 customers to create a private managed connection into Microsoft Datacentres. This will be a cool feature that will extend your network security into your Office 365 tenant which will make it seem like your datacenter is local rather than remote. Now this doesn’t cancel the need for Directory Sync and or ADFS, if you need your AD accounts or Single Sign On functionality.
Bonus feature that has me excited.
Getting Started experience in Visio.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been lost in Visio. I have. This will offer a new way for users to get started with diagramming and get users up to speed much more quickly. I think if done correctly this will set some standards for Visio diagramming.
To keep track of all of the Office 365 features, Microsoft offers a Road Map page. You can find it here
Tell me about some of the things that are getting you excited about Microsoft in the coming year.