Microsoft Ignite Spring 2021 took place last week from the 2nd to the 4th of March. As usual, many announcements happened that include new products and updates. So, I summarized them for you in this blog post.
Microsoft Mesh is the next thing in the Mixed Reality World. A new platform to deliver collaborative mixed reality experiences. It enables users to work together, connect and collaborate regardless of the physical location. In other words, Holograms may become a reality sooner than what we (maybe just me) expected. I will let you enjoy this video (duration: 2min27s), because words cannot give it enough credits.
You can learn more by reading the technical overview Microsoft Mesh.
Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform. It is the latest product of the Microsoft 365 Enterprise family. It was announced month ago, but already new announcements has been made during Ignite mainly availability and pricing. Microsoft Viva has 4 modules:
Microsoft Viva Connections
- Viva Connections focus on connecting employees across the organization
- License and pricing: If you have M365 and SharePoint license, you will get it for free. In other words, free to Microsoft 365 Enterprise
Microsoft Viva Insights
- The needed module for the Home Office Era where employers need some Workplace Analytics and take care of their employees work habits.
- License and pricing: part of workplace and analytics
Microsoft Viva Learning
- A central hub for learning and up-skilling courses
- License and pricing: not announced yet
Microsoft Viva Topics
- The smart module; it transforms content to knowledge using AI
- License and pricing: $5.00 user/month for more details visit https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-viva/topics
You can get more information in the following links
How IT is transforming the employee experience at Microsoft – Microsoft 365 Blog
Introducing Microsoft Viva, the Employee Experience Platform in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Tech Community
Microsoft Viva: Empowering every employee for the new digital age – Microsoft 365 Blog
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Power Automate Desktop
It is an RPA tool that has been available for a while on Power Automate. Now it comes with Windows 10 without extra cost
Integration with Teams
The Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents studios are available on Teams. You can design on Teams without the need to open browser anymore.
- Endpoint filtering: you can restrict the access to connectors. It provides a granular access control.
- Tenant Isolation: it allows you to choose which tenants you can allow to communicate with your tenant (inbound isolation).
- Tenant Wide Analytics: reporting capabilities across the tenant.
Data Loss Prevention
- Connector Action Controls: you can filter connector actions. You can choose which actions can be used by your company from a given connector
Microsoft Information Protection Support (Later this year)
You will be able to label your data with sensitivities level. It will be synchronized with M365, and Azure.
Azure Networking Connectivity (Later this year)
It allows the creation of private endpoints to connect to Azure Virtual Network. That will leverage the use of Express Route, gateways and other networking features that you have on your Azure tenant. You will be able manage networking security from Azure without any compromise.
Customer Managed Keys (Later this year)
First class user interface experience to use your keys from Azure Vault Keys inside Power Platform apps.
Microsoft Power Fx
Open-source language for low-code programming. Basically, the same syntax that was used before in Power Apps (canvas apps). It is possible to write it in YAML files from now on. More new features will be delivered on June 2021 and by the end of the year.
For more details check Introducing Microsoft Power Fx: the low-code programming language for everyone | Microsoft Power Apps
Moreover, there is something for integration with Power BI too. Direct Query support for Dataverse in Power BI is generally available. For more details check Microsoft Dataverse support for Power BI Direct Query reaches general availability | Microsoft Power Apps
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I have to say it is the star of the Microsoft Ignite 2021. Almost all other products announcements are related to Teams. In addition to that, Microsoft Teams has tons of new features and enhancements (although not all of them are available yet).
Here is a selected features that I found interesting:
Presenter mode(not available yet)
This feature allows you to share your content and alongside your video stream. It has 3 modes called Standout, Reporter and Side-by-side.
Microsoft Teams made use of the whole screen. Presenter can see the slides, the notes, meeting chat and participants at the same time. Also, attendees can go through slides at their own pace.
Live Reactions in Microsoft Teams meetings (like those of Microsoft Ignite Stream)
Webinars (not available yet)
Organizers can add a custom registration page to the webinars. Attendees will receive an email confirmation after registration.
As for attendees numbers, Microsoft Teams supports up to 1000 attendees in interactive meetings and webinars. For view only, Teams can accommodate 10,000 attendees in general and up to 20,000 attendees until the end of this year. Both features are available this month.
Microsoft Teams Connect (not available yet)
The struggle with collaboration between different organizations is “gone” (not sure, I didn’t try yet). It enables the interaction and collaboration on documents as an external user. Also, you won’t have to disconnect from your tenant and connect to the other one as a guest, the shared channel will appear as a team in your primary tenant.
The features list goes on and it covers Chat and Collaboration, Security and Compliance, Calling (operator connect), Device, and Management. You can find them in the announcement blog What’s New in Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Ignite 2021 – Microsoft Tech Community
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Windows Server 2022
Windows Server 2022 is now available in preview. The new release “includes advanced multi-layer security, hybrid capabilities with Azure, and a flexible platform to modernize applications with containers.”(source: Announcing Windows Server 2022—now in preview – Windows Server Blog (microsoft.com) )
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Windows Hello Multi-camera support
You can choose which camera to use for authentication with Windows Hello.
Universal Print (generally available)
IT Pros now have one hub to set printers in an enterprise environment. The feature was announced back in July 2020. For more details, check ) Announcing Universal Print: a cloud-based print solution – Microsoft Tech Community
Rest of the announcements are on this link Windows & Devices at Microsoft Ignite 2021: March edition – Microsoft Tech Community
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The newest product in Azure. Azure Percept allows you to use Azure AI technologies on the edge by a combination of hardware and services. The hardware consists of Azure Percept Audio, Azure Percept Vision and a Trusted Platform Module. The platform offers also Azure Percept Studio to enable customers with less technical skills to use the product. You can read more about in the AI blog With Azure Percept, Microsoft adds new ways for customers to bring AI to the edge – The AI Blog.
Azure Migrate was released last year as a one-stop hub to ease migration to Azure. The recent update is new unified tools for discovering and assessing databases, .NET apps and VMs. It allows the discovery of SQL Server instances and databases in the VMware environment. In the new feature, it will cover IIS too.
Passwordless (Azure AD)
Microsoft has been working for a while on changing the authentication system by eliminating passwords. Azure AD support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environment is now available on public preview. FIDO2 security keys is supported as authentication method for signing into operating system and applications/services. You can find more details on Public preview of Azure AD support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environments – Microsoft Tech Community
I recommend watching the session Inside Azure Datacenter Architecture presented by , Microsoft Azure CTO, Mark Russinovich Inside Azure Datacenter Architecture with Mark Russinovich | OD343 – YouTube .
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Finally, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has something to offer too. It is offering a new application called Intelligent Order Management, and it is integrating Microsoft Teams to offer better experience for users of both products. You can read more about those capabilities in the official announcement Announcing new Dynamics 365 capabilities at Microsoft Ignite – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog .