by Blathnaid O’Dea
13 Oct 2022
Microsoft’s new features include updates to the Edge browser, the launch of Teams Premium and an app to make office life easier for hybrid workers.
It’s been a busy week for Microsoft – and it is not over yet. On Wednesday (12 October), following its Surface hardware event, the tech giant announced a series of software updates.
First of all, there is Places, a new app to help companies address hybrid workplace challenges. Places is to be released in 2023 for those with Microsoft 365 business subscriptions.
The app will let workers schedule their weeks, choosing which days to come into the office for collaboration based on the calendars of their team members. It will also recommend the shortest commute times on days when a worker does decide to venture out to a meeting.
Overall, Places will aim to improve places that “were not built for hybrid work”, according to Microsoft. The app will include a hot-desk booking tool, building maps to guide workers to their in-person meetings, and tools to help workplaces save energy and maximise costs.
Another product Microsoft introduced was Edge Workspaces, a tool that lets teams share a set of browser tabs for collaboration. It also adds new security and accessibility features to Edge, Microsoft’s web browser.
The third product announcement Microsoft made yesterday hinged on its Teams app. It is preparing a premium version of the popular tool, expected to launch in February 2023.
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Teams Premium will boast features such as meeting recaps, live translations, personalised insights and animated avatars.
Pricing has yet to be fully confirmed.
Finally, Microsoft has partnered with tech company Cisco, whose conferencing equipment will soon be certified with Microsoft Teams. Cisco opted to partner with its rival Microsoft, in part due to the lack of uptake of its own video conferencing platform, Webex.
On the same day as it showed off its workplace-related updates, Microsoft also unveiled a host of new additions to its PC range, as well as new integrations, accessories and AI tools.
Also this week, Microsoft open-sourced several of its agritech AI-powered tools as part of its Farm Vibes project. In Ireland, the company announced a €3m investment in Dream Space, a Dublin-based education hub for children.
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Updated, 3.55pm, 13 October 2022: This article has corrected a misstatement that Cisco had been looking to partner with Webex instead of Microsoft. Webex is a video conferencing platform that is owned by Cisco.
Related: Browsers, Microsoft, remote working, productivity, software, working life, apps, product development
Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.
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by Blathnaid O’Dea