28 September 2020 10:38
Microsoft doesn't put its office suite on sale very often. Microsoft 365 (which until recently was known as Office 365) includes all the usual office apps, an hour per month of Skype calls to landline phones, and a full terabyte of OneDrive storage. That's a pretty solid deal, especially if you "must" have Office and can't make do with a free alternative. Then the Office аpps — Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access аnd Publisher — аre grаvy. The Personаl version is for а single user, but you get to instаll the suite on up to five devices аnd аccess the OneDrive from аnywhere.
If you аctuаlly need to support multiple users, like а spouse аnd kids, you should check out Microsoft 365 Fаmily insteаd. But thаt's аctuаlly good news — the subscription persists аt $59 rаther thаn reverting to $70 аfter the first yeаr. According to the Microsoft Teаm thаt responded to thаt very customer question on the product pаge, "You cаn purchаse Office 365 on Amаzon аnd then аdd the time to your existing subscription." The detаils аre explаined in this Microsoft Support аrticle. If you're аverse to pаying аn ongoing subscription, it looks like there's some good news on the horizon. Microsoft hаs аnnounced thаt it'll be releаsing а stаndаlone version of Office thаt comes with а good old-fаshioned perpetuаl license in the second hаlf of 2021.
Although the software giant did not reveal much as to what the upcoming standalone release of the Office suite will be named, chances are that Microsoft will most likely call it Office 2022. While it's okay for light users and students to go with one-time purchase, if you're a power user and always want to have the latest version at hand, you'll have to go with Microsoft Office 365. Details on the new Office package aren't available yet but it's expected to be a similar offering like Office 2019. For instance, if you purchase the current Microsoft Office 2019 using the perpetual model, you'll pay once and get to that version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint forever. With Microsoft's push towards digital and subscription services though, some may have been thinking that Office 365, now folded into Microsoft 365, would be the only choice going forward. It will be interesting to see not only how a perpetual license for Microsoft 365 would be priced, but who it would be marketed to. The last release of Microsoft Office was Office 2019 in September 2018. So one can expect the same range of productivity apps but updated with features that have been pioneered in the online/subscription versions of Office. Microsoft Ignite is a firehose of news on everything Microsoft. I've worked through the content and here are my top 10 Microsoft Teams announcements. Stay tuned to my email update for more details on these in the coming weeks. Meetings Features: 1. Microsoft Teams meeting recordings will now be stored in OneDrive and SharePoint *TMR is Teams Meeting Recordings Microsoft Teams meeting recordings will now be stored and shared with OneDrive and SharePoint, rather than stored directly in Microsoft Stream. Because the files are in OneDrive/SharePoint, we benefit from the much more mature permissions and sharing, retention policies, information governance, "go local" and multi-geo tenant support, customer key support and API-level access to meeting recordings. Check out my full blog that breaks down all the details here. 2. Custom Meeting Layouts Custom meeting layouts allow presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. One of the most exciting features is using the AI green screen technology to overlay the presenter on a PowerPoint slide. 3. Microsoft Teams Meeting recaps A link to the recap will also be available in the meeting event in your Outlook calendar. This will be really handy to get a quick overview of any meetings you miss. I often get asked why we don't do Modality Webinars on Microsoft Teams. Microsoft is looking to close some of the gaps towards being a webinar platform with event registration, automated emails and a detailed reporting dashboard that will help understand attendee engagement. With these features and being able to have up to 1,000 interactive participants and meeting overflow, Microsoft Teams might provide an interesting webinar platform for many. These new features are expected to begin to roll out by the end of the year. Other Meetings news included: Meetings of up to 1,000 participants with the advanced comms licence Breakout rooms – split up meeting participants into smaller groups, popular in education. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting. Meeting Extensibility API's – 20 partner apps are coming, allowing Teams users to customize their Teams meeting experience. HireVue, ServiceNow, Range, Buncee and PagerDuty are among the apps expected to roll out in the coming months. 5. Improved calling app A much-improved calling app (Microsoft refer to their native experiences as apps in teams). A new streamlined view that shows contacts, voicemail and calling history and current device information. 6. Microsoft Teams Survivable Branch Appliances I've deployed my fair share of Lync and Skype for Business Survivable Branch Appliances. These boxes allow telephony to keep working via a local PSTN connection (SIP or ISDN) to the Survivable Branch Appliance even if the internet/Office 365 connectivity is down. For sites that need telephony to stay up, even when the internet/WAN/Service goes down, these will be your devices. Other Microsoft Teams Telephony news Microsoft re-announced adding Microsoft Teams Calling Plans for 6 countries from October 1st Collaborative calling – sort of a contact center light, connect a call queue to a channel in Teams. Users can collaborate and share information in the channel while taking calls in the queue. Useful for internal desks like IT support Microsoft re-announced SIP support and new low-cost IP and USB Teams Phones Transcription, live captions, recording and the ability to transfer between Teams mobile and desktop apps will be available for 1:1 calls. Microsoft Teams Devices: 7. Microsoft Teams Collaboration Bars and Microsoft Teams Rooms Merging Microsoft has two main types of certified meeting room devices, Android Collaboration bars like the Yealink VC210 and Windows-based Microsoft Teams Rooms. From now, both will be called Microsoft Teams Rooms, differentiated as MTR for Android (MTRfA) and MTR for Windows (MTRfW). Even though the feature parity gap will close, there will still be some subtle differences, check out my friend Graham Walsh's blog for an excellent overview. 8. Microsoft Teams Panels A whole new device category for Microsoft Teams, these are the small screens you see outside meeting rooms that give details of who has them booked. Users can view space and meeting details, reserve a space, view upcoming reservations and quickly identify current availability status. Users can also view the building floor plan and book another room using the "Nearby Rooms" feature. Teams panels will be available March next year from Crestron and Yealink. Other Microsoft Teams device news: Microsoft Teams Rooms will soon be covered by FastTrack, Microsoft's free advice and guidance for Microsoft 365 customers. Microsoft re-announced touchless meetings experiences, mobile Room remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms, Support for Teams casting for Microsoft Teams Rooms, Proximity Join on Surface Hub, and Cortana voice assistance for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows (for selected countries) Meeting room capacity notifications – leveraging the smarts in cameras like Poly and Huddly, rooms will alert if an admin set capacity limit is breached. Yealink announced their MTR for Android A20 Microsoft Teams Meeting Bar. AudioCodes have an MTR for Android device coming, the Audiocodes RX80 Lenovo launched their new ThinkSmart Hub. I liked their Hub 500, it was a very robust device. Intelligent Speakers – a new device category, supposedly have superior technology to know who is speaking. Microsoft announced Device as a Service. This is devices bought on a subscription basis. New meeting room management capabilities in the Teams Admin Center Microsoft Teams Service Features: 9. Customer managed encryption keys coming for Microsoft Teams Coming preview Q4 2020, targeting GA Q1 2021, Microsoft will add Customer Key support for Microsoft Teams. This will encrypt Microsoft Teams data (private chat and team chat) with a customer-provided key. Customer Key is part of E5 and the Advanced Compliance SKU. Additionally, customers must also purchase the appropriate license for using Azure Key Vault. Microsoft Teams Productivity insights – powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics Other Service news: Teams Info pane, available now, provides an at-a-glance summary of active members, important posts and other relevant information in each channel. Increased size limit of 25,000 members for individual teams A new search experience in Teams, powered by Microsoft Search and available by the end of 2020, will make finding messages, people and files faster and more intuitive. New SharePoint home site app brings the power of your SharePoint home site and the rest of your intranet directly into Teams. I'll have deeper blogs on some of the above announcements in the coming weeks. Subscribe here for the Teams news email update.