Microsoft Ignite: Edge Workspaces, Dall-E-2 for All and Teams Premium
How to achieve more by doing less? With Microsoft’s products and the multitude of new services. That’s how CEO Satya Nadella introduces himself, because that’s the motto of this year’s Ignite, which for the first time is taking place in person: “Doing more with less”. Microsoft’s in-house trade fair runs until Friday. Nadella held the opening keynote on Wednesday evening, in which he gave a detailed overview of the more than 100 innovations. Each of them is designed to help you save – in terms of energy, manpower and effort.
The announcements included an extension of the Edge browser, a new designer application with artificial intelligence, new partnerships with Cisco and Meta, among others, and an improved team.
Image generator Dall-E 2 comes in Bing
Dall-E 2, the currently much-discussed image generator that is not yet freely available, is making its way into the Azure OpenAI service. According to Microsoft, “this expands the range of deployment scenarios available to users of Azure OpenAI with the security, compliance and AI standards of Microsoft Azure”. That means: With Dall-E 2, images, content and code should be generated by talking to the AI. Nadella also raves about low-code options elsewhere. With PowerApps code should be able to be written by itself. Power-Automate turns everyday language into low-code commands so that automations and other small tools can be easily developed. GitHub will play an increasingly important role in this.
The Dall-E 2 image generator is also being made available to more people by being integrated with Bing’s Image Creator and Microsoft Designer, a new designer software that allows almost anyone to become a designer in no time. Access is still only available via a waiting list; when the Microsoft designer will be widely available is unknown.
Browser Edge becomes a workspace
Microsoft Edge is already the best browser, Nadella explains. But it is now even better and gets the suffix Workspaces. In order to accompany and shape the transformation to hybrid working, Microsoft wants to “transform rooms into places”. Microsoft Places is the name of an announced app that can be used, among other things, to share appointments and dashboards and book rooms.
Edge Workspaces is also initially only available as a preview. It should enable groups to view a website together and work on a shared document in the browser. Content is accessible via link. The regular Edge gets additional security features; Among other things, an automatic typo correction so that you don’t end up on fake pages.
Avatars for the virtual universes
Not only Mark Zuckerberg can offer beautiful avatars. Satya Nadella, who showed up at Meta on the eve of Ignite at Connect and announced a collaboration, is also introducing new avatars for his mixed reality world Mesh. They will soon be available in Microsoft Teams, so you no longer have to show yourself, even an image can listen to conferences. Zuckerberg offered legs for his avatars – which are not so easy to reproduce with information from the headset – and has the face filmed using the newly introduced Meta Quest Pro in order to give the avatars the right facial expressions. Microsoft doesn’t seem to be able to do that with the Hololens yet. You can make three avatars of yourself at the same time – perhaps corresponding to some dress codes as casual business, black tie and informal. The avatars are still only available in a private preview, but come in all teams versions.
Features for Teams and Outlook
There is also a new team premium, which will be previewed from December and will be available to everyone at the beginning of 2023. This should be smarter, safer and more comprehensive. There are meeting guides, ways to present your brand in meetings, AI-supported information and assistance for users, automatic translators and, to increase security, watermarks for information exchanged in meetings.
Teams comes to the Metaverse and in its basic version gets minor revisions and new functions such as Excel Live, Cameo to add the camera image to the PowerPoint presentation.
With Outlook you can soon reply to e-mails with reactions, as we know it from online meetings. Context-IQ is available to route people directly to appropriate positions. And because swearing isn’t nice, the Microsoft editor on the web will in future recognize if you’re writing too colloquially and suggest prettier formulations.
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