Microsoft will introduce an app to help employees and managers in a hybrid workplace decide what’s the right time to go into the office.
The new Microsoft Places app will let users know when a large number of their co-workers plan to be in the office or attend a meeting in person. The app also shows when a workspace is likely to be pretty empty to help managers make decisions about electricity, heating and cooling that can save money. For example, as Europe looks to a winter of fuel and electricity shortages, companies are seeking tools like this, Microsoft vice president Jared Spataro said in an interview.
The software maker also is introducing a new premium version of the Teams chat and conferencing app that will generate summaries of meetings with chapters and personalised highlights, which will let more workers skip meetings they don’t really need to attend and catch up later, he said. Too many people go to meetings because of a “fear of missing out” rather than the need to be there, he said.
“We see a lot of Fomo in meetings — people go because they want to either be seen or there really is a fear of missing out,” he said. “We’re going to promote what we call Jomo — the joy of missing out, like please don’t attend that meeting and let intelligent recap do the work for you.”
Teams Premium will be widely available beginning in February at US$10 per user per month, Microsoft said.
The company will also offer OpenAI’s Dall-E, which generates images from text prompts, to select customers of Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI cloud service. Azure OpenAI lets Microsoft cloud customers make use of some of the artificial intelligence products OpenAI has developed. Customers such as Mattel are now using Dall-E through Azure cloud to generate images of toy cars they might want to design, Microsoft said. The company will also add the image creation tool to one of its consumer Design products and its Bing search image creation tool.
The new workplace app and update to Teams were among the products and services Microsoft introduced on Wednesday at its annual Ignite conference. The company also announced:
- A partnership with Cisco in which customers can join Teams meetings from Cisco hardware. The partnership is noteworthy because Cisco also owns the rival Webex conferencing software.
- Syntex — an artificial intelligence tool that scans and indexes corporate content to make it searchable and available to various corporate applications.
- A new Microsoft 365 app that combines Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other newer Microsoft products. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP