7 Key Announcements Made at Microsoft Ignite 2015

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Microsoft Ignite

Last week, Microsoft organized its first Ignite conference in Chicago, Illinois with 23,000 attendees, Microsoft Ignite. The objective of Ignite was to replace the other professional conferences that Microsoft hosts such as TechEd, with one single event. Unlike Build 2015, which primarily catered to developers, Ignite aimed to help IT professionals deliver innovative technology.

Microsoft made several significant announcements in over 200 sessions.  We have complied for you, the top seven that will have the most impact in the technology industry.

SharePoint 2016

Microsoft promised to offer better support for embedded video, an intuitive admin portal, and improved people experience with Delve, Microsoft’s newest technology.

Storing files across devices with OneDrive, as a replacement of your organization’s file server is now available. You can also expect to witness improved reporting and auditing of changes to files.

New features like governance controls and personalized discovery experiences, strengthen enterprise search. You can also expect an improved user experience with more advanced collaboration and personalized insights.

One significant improvement was Zero Downtime Patching. This means updates that are critical to the operating system’s health will be pushed and delivered in one go, without affecting the end user.

Another improvement is the new Server Role Selection when configuring a new SharePoint Some other features revealed are:

  • SharePoint 2016 will support Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Hardware requirements for SharePoint 2015 will be same as SharePoint 2013
  • Support of non-default SMTP ports and SARTTTLS to encrypt connections
  • Standalone instructions will no longer be supported with SharePoint 2016
  • ODF support
  • Upgrade directly from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2016

We expect there will be more updates or announcements about SharePoint 2016 between Q1 and Q2 of 2016.

Skype for Business

In April 2015, Microsoft launched Skype for Business, and at Ignite, they talked about modern meetings, an improved meeting feature that will help you collaborate easily with participants sitting in multiple locations. It was also announced that later in 2015, it would enable users to broadcast Skype for business meetings to up to 10,000 participants at a time.

Two new features were announced that are pre-loaded meeting attachments, which will speed up meeting start times, as it will show the meeting content automatically at the beginning of the call.

Another was in-call co-authoring. It will help initiate co-authoring sessions easily so that multiple participants can work or collaborate on a single document right from within the meeting itself while everyone sees the changes happening live.

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Skype for Business will be available on iOS and Android, by fall 2015, and for Mac, by the end of 2015.

You can also expect some enterprise voice features such as call parking, call forwarding, audio conferencing, and PSTN calling by the end of 2015.

Office 2016 Public Preview

At Ignite, Microsoft released a preview of its much-awaited product, Office 2016. If you are an Office 365 user, you can use it for free, or you can test it out with a free trial.

Here is a quick glimpse of what Office 2016 is expected to bring in:

  • Ability to access documents anywhere, on any device
  •  Real-time co-authoring to the Windows Desktop application, starting with Word 2016
  • Smart applications such as Tell Me, Clutter, and Insights
  • Advanced modern charts and graphs such as Waterfall, TreeMap, and Sunburst
  •  Outlook Multi-factor authentication through integration with Active Directory Authentication
  • Library (ADAL)

You can find more details here and you can download the Office 2016 preview here.

Windows Update for Business

Windows 10 for Business has been a matter of discussion among IT pundits since it was announced last September, and at Ignite, Microsoft announced a new management option for Windows 10 – Windows Update for Business.