Published: Mon, September 25, 2017
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Ignite 2017: Skype Gets a Boost -- And a Transition Plan to Teams

Ignite 2017: Skype Gets a Boost -- And a Transition Plan to Teams

"Microsoft Teams will evolve as the core communications client", said Ron Markezich, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Office 365, in a press briefing.

"They form the backbone of numerous world's largest industries but have been largely left behind in digital transformation", according to a press release.

The Microsoft Ignite is now taking place in Florida, and the company has showcased a range of new and improved offerings, with a focus on how it is infusing cloud, AI and mixed reality across its product range. As the name suggests, 365 Education is for the education market and includes Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Minecraft: Education Edition.

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New capabilities in Microsoft 365 F1 include updates to Windows 10 that improve the deployment and management of remote devices, along with capabilities for configuring locked down, single objective experiences.

Microsoft also announced the upcoming Microsoft 365-powered devices, including new commercial Windows 10 S devices from HP, Lenovo, Fujitsu, starting at $275 and available starting later this year.

The idea behind Bing for business, which is now in private preview, is to integrate data from the Microsoft Graph (that is all of your social graph inside your company, as well as your documents, emails and other data) to give you more personalized and contextual search results on Bing.

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Microsoft is also promising better meetings with Teams in the future, thanks to AI.

Microsoft plans to continue supporting Skype for Business, especially for companies that run the software on their own data centers, but Microsoft expects its subscription-based Office 365 users to migrate to Teams over time as more communication features are added. Another update is coming to Microsoft StaffHub, an app that helps firstline workers manage their schedules.

The big announcements on the Azure front are SQL Server support for Linux and Windows and Docker and the general availability of SQL Server 2017, the first born-in-the-cloud database that is also available on-prem. For example, interviewers using Outlook would be able to easily access LinkedIn profiles of job seekers.

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These new updates will make AI developers and data scientists more productive by leveraging the most popular open source frameworks, tools and runtimes.

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