Introducing Microsoft Teams—the Chat-Based Workspace in Office 365

Microsoft just announced Microsoft Teams—the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is an entirely new experience that brings together people, conversations and content—along with the tools that teams need—so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. It’s naturally integrated with the familiar Office applications and is built from the ground up on the Office 365 global, secure cloud. Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available in preview in 181 countries and in 18 languages to commercial customers with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans, with general availability expected in the first quarter of 2017.

At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to the mission of helping people and organizations achieve more—and reinventing productivity for the cloud and mobile world is core to our ambition. We built Microsoft Teams because we see both tremendous opportunity and tremendous change in how people and teams get work done. Teams are now more agile and organizational structures more flat to keep communications and information flowing. With Microsoft Teams, we aspire to create a more open, digital environment that makes work visible, integrated and accessible—across the team—so everyone can stay in the know.

Microsoft Teams delivers on four core promises to create a digital workspace for high performing teams.

Chat for today’s teams

First and foremost, Microsoft Teams provides a modern conversation experience for today’s teams. Microsoft Teams supports not only persistent but also threaded chats to keep everyone engaged. Team conversations are, by default, visible to the entire team, but there is of course the ability for private discussions. Skype is deeply integrated, so teams can participate in voice and video conferences. And everyone can add personality to their digital workspace with emojis, stickers, GIFs and custom memes to make it their own.

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A hub for teamwork

Second, Microsoft Teams brings together the full breadth and depth of Office 365 to provide a true hub for teamwork. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams so people have all the information and tools they need at their fingertips. Backed by the Microsoft Graph, intelligent services are surfaced throughout the workspace to help with information relevancy, discovery and sharing. Microsoft Teams is also built on Office 365 Groups—our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another, preserve their sense of context and share with others.

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Customizable for each team

Third, since all teams are unique, we’ve invested deeply in ways for people to customize their workspace, with rich extensibility and open APIs available at general availability. For example, Tabs provides quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. Microsoft Teams also shares the same Connector model as Exchange, providing notifications and updates from third-party services like Twitter or GitHub. Further, we are including full support for the Microsoft Bot Framework to bring intelligent first- and third-party services into your team environment.

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Today, we are also announcing the Microsoft Teams Developer Preview program, allowing developers to extend Microsoft Teams. We will have integrations with over 150 partners at general availability—including our early partners Zendesk, Asana, Hootsuite and Intercom. This is the first step in providing the customization users want and the tools and support our developer community will need to integrate with Microsoft Teams.

Security teams trust

Finally, Microsoft Teams provides the advanced security and compliance capabilities that our Office 365 customers expect. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Like all our commercial services, we have a transparent operational model with no standing access to customer data. Microsoft Teams will support key compliance standards including EU Model Clauses, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA and more. And, as customers would expect, Microsoft Teams is served out of our hyper-scale global network of data centers, automatically provisioned within Office 365 and managed centrally, just as any other Office 365 service.

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Microsoft Teams joins the Office 365 universal toolkit

Microsoft Teams joins the broadest and deepest portfolio of collaboration applications and services to help solve the diverse needs of people and organizations globally. As we’ve learned from our 85 million active monthly users, all groups have a diverse set of needs when it comes to working together. Office 365 is designed for the unique workstyle of every group and includes purpose-built applications, all deeply integrated together.

  • Exchange is the undisputed leader in corporate email and according to Gartner has “80 percent share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion.”
  • SharePoint provides intranets and content management solutions to more than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people.
  • Yammer is the social network for work, enabling cross-company discussions for 85 percent of the Fortune 500.
  • Skype for Business provides real-time voice, video and conferencing and hosts more than 100 million meetings a month.
  • Office 365 Groups is our cross-application membership service that makes it easy for people to move naturally from one collaboration tool to another.

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information, free trial of Office 365 and special deployment offers!

 

Blog credit: https://blogs.office.com/2016/11/02/introducing-microsoft-teams-the-chat-based-workspace-in-office-365/

Finally – Skype for Business for Mac Plus Enhanced Mobile Application Sharing

Skype for Business Mac is now publicly available for download. The Mac client offers edge-to-edge video and full immersive content sharing and viewing. The result is a great first class experience for Mac users.

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Enhancements to Skype for Business mobile apps on Android and iOS

New capabilities in Skype for Business apps for iOS and Android are now available —including the ability to present PowerPoint files in a meeting and a faster, more reliable content sharing approach.

skype-for-business-announces-new-mac-client-and-new-mobile-sharing-experiences-2Present in a meeting from your mobile app—Now you can present content right from Android or iOS device. No more emailing files and links back and forth when you present from your phone or tablet. Now, sharing a PowerPoint deck in a meeting is as easy as selecting the file from your favorite cloud drive and presenting right from your phone. On Android, you can also share a file stored on the device itself. With swipe gestures, you can easily transition between different slides. Once shared, the PowerPoint file also becomes available in the meeting’s content bin for other participants to download or present.

Video-based Screen Sharing for mobile devices—Microsoft is also enhancing the content viewing experience with Skype for Business on mobile devices by using Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS) for content viewing on iOS and Android apps. The initial setup is much faster, the experience more reliable, while also consuming network bandwidth efficiently. It provides a seamless viewing experience, especially if you are sharing animated content such as CAD models. Learn more about VbSS and how it can enhance your meeting experience.

If you haven’t yet checked the Skype for Business mobile apps for Android and iOS, visit Skype for Business Apps & Downloads so you can download the apps and experience meetings on-the-go today!

For additional information about Skype and Microsoft Office 365 please contact us at office365@atidan.com

 

Article credit: https://blogs.office.com/2016/10/27/skype-for-business-announces-new-mac-client-and-new-mobile-sharing-experiences/

 

11 Features to Get the Most Out of Your Business Email

In the world of work, email is a mainstay. It allows us all to communicate at lightning-fast speeds—without having to pick up the phone. It gives us the power to thoughtfully consider projects, questions, answers, opinions, requests and feedback, all of which opens the door to better communication. And it gives us the ability to see the progression of conversations without digging through a mountain of individual messages. However, most people aren’t taking full advantage of what their email systems offer. Sure, they know how to send messages, set tasks, make notes, block their calendars and schedule reminders, but there are also some pretty great features (and hacks) that you may not know about that could just transform the way you use business email. Let’s take a look:

  1. Future delivery/delayed delivery: Whether you have news that you don’t want to share immediately or a project that’s ready for delivery but you don’t want to submit it too early, future/delayed delivery allows you to create and distribute messages on your schedule.
  2. Message grouping: For heavy email users, the ability to group messages into conversations related to specific topics can help you keep track of emails, stay up to date on developments and work more efficiently.
  3. Conditional formatting: Like message grouping, conditional formatting can help you organize conversations and stay on top of a certain topic. However, instead of grouping all messages into a batch that you can browse at a glance, conditional formatting simply displays messages matching selected criteria in the font and/or color of your choice.
  4. Rules: Providing you with yet another organizational option, the rules feature allows you to create and manage settings that empower your email system to automatically process messages in a certain way. Some systems can check for and include sender, recipient, email size, date and more. This way, you’ll never miss a message from your boss or your most important client; messages with large attachments can be singled out, etc.
  5. Email to text: For those times when you need an immediate response, or need to contact someone who may not have access to his or her email account, a text message may be the best way to get in touch. Some business email providers offer this feature, others don’t. If yours does, it can help you relay urgent messages quickly. Just be careful to reserve use of this feature for those who prefer it or for truly critical situations—because it can be disruptive to receive a barrage of non-urgent text messages while in a meeting, on vacation, etc.
  6. Desktop alerts: Whether you need to reduce distractions for a day or indefinitely, by disabling desktop alerts you can eliminate pop-up notifications about new messages and focus on whatever the task at hand may be. Conversely, if you’re waiting for an important email that you can’t afford to miss by a moment, you can easily turn on desktop alerts for a few hours or turn them on and leave them on for good.
  7. Email templates: If you’re a PR exec, public information officer, customer service representative, work in sales or are in any position that requires you to field requests for information about a program, service, product or topic, email templates can help you make quick work of your responses. After creating your template, all you’ll have to do is locate the template, personalize it as necessary and hit send. Not only will it help you save time, but increase your productivity. Plus, by not having to repeat yourself over and again, it might just improve your job satisfaction.
  8. Save messages as files: If you want to save certain emails in the same file as project work, contracts or other documents, you can simply drag your message from your email window to your file folder. Or, you can click Save As and choose to save a message in a specific location. This way, you can refer back to messages without digging through your inbox and/or archive.
  9. Multi-action shortcuts: If your email system supports shortcuts, it may also support multi-action shortcuts, which gives you the ability to combine several shortcuts into one quick action. For instance, if you want to mark a group of emails as read and simultaneously move them to a specific folder, or even mark messages as read, flag them as important and forward them to your team, you can do that with multi-action shortcuts. Some email systems that support multi-action shortcuts also allow you to create your own shortcuts, so you can customize your actions and make quick work of managing your inbox.
  10. Automated cleanup: Some email systems include an automated cleanup function that can help you save space and keep your inbox tidy. When a conversation (message and response) occurs over email, some email systems can analyze the contents of that conversation and determine if a message is completely contained within each thread. If it is, then the previous message will be automatically deleted—so you’ll have access to both the original message and all comments within a single email conversation, but your inbox won’t be clogged by redundant emails.
    Of course, if someone keeps clogging up your inbox with messages you don’t need or want, you can generally block their messages by using your “junk” or “spam” filters. But if you don’t want to permanently prevent someone from contacting you via email, you can simply select to send certain conversations directly to your trash by clicking the Ignore button.
  11. Delegate access: Finally, if you’re going on sabbatical, an extended vacation or parental leave and you don’t want to either check messages daily or weekly—or come back to a mountain of email—you may be able to give someone else permission to manage your inbox. Simply look at your account settings. If you see a Delegate Access button—or something similar—you can choose to give access to a coworker who can step in and respond to messages in your absence. Of course, you’ll still have the ability to check messages and respond as appropriate, but this feature can help you keep things in check while you’re away.

Email continues to be an important tool in the business world, and your mastery of these tools will only enhance your value in the workplace. Hopefully, we have shared one or more features that you will introduce into your business arsenal, leading to increased productivity.

Related content:

Contact the Atidan team at http://bit.ly/1PVDnHg for additional information about business email solutions!

Credit to Microsoft Blog: http://bit.ly/1PVDnHi

Video Conferencing for Startups and Small Businesses—10 Hacks to Maximize their Value

Whether you operate a startup on a shoestring budget or have a successful small business, chances are good that you’re always looking for ways to save money, maximize your investments and get your clients, customers and your team excited about what you do. In order to do that, sometimes meeting face to face is necessary—but it can also be cost prohibitive. Between trains, flights and/or the cost of driving a car, plus the actual time you’ll spend traveling (which can be pretty unproductive even when you have the luxury of being able to work on the go), sometimes the benefits of seeing a client in-person just don’t add up.

That’s where video conferencing comes in. It gives you the power to bring everyone together—without the cost of a plane ticket. That said, video conferencing can have its pitfalls and problems, but with a few quick tips you can avoid some of the bumps in the road and get even more from your system.

  • Video conferencing for startups and small businessesGet comfortable with the camera—Looking good in front of the camera isn’t just a matter of putting on a suit and coiffing your hair, so take some time before your debut to practice your camera skills. For instance, learn to concentrate on the camera instead of the screen, slow down your movements, stop nervously picking at your nails, and learn to smile. After all, your clients will see everything that you’re doing, and you don’t want to distract them from your message.
  • Work on your presentation voice—No one likes being shouted at or wants to struggle to hear what you’re saying. So before video conferencing with your clients, test out your mic and figure out how moving around a room changes what people hear. Try speaking softly, loudly and somewhere in between, and ask a co-worker, friend or family member to weigh in on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sound.
  • Check your settings—As you work on your on-camera mannerisms and presentation voice, don’t forget that you can improve both the way you look and sound by making a few quick adjustments to your webcam’s video settings. With the ability to tweak brightness, exposure, color, white balance and microphone volume, among other things, you can deliver a performance that’s as close to perfect as possible.
  • Location, location, location—Even if you work in an environment that’s all about the hustle, you should seek out a quiet place where background movements won’t distract attendees from your message. As an added bonus, with less motion in the background, your video will also look smoother.
  • Update your technology—With every new iteration of video conferencing technology that comes out, the quality of your experience will improve—either though ease of use, video quality or another factor. By simply updating the version of the technology you’re using, you can get a better conferencing experience. (The good news is that updates are usually included with your technology, so it’s just a matter of clicking a button.)
  • Get wired—For smoother, more consistent audio and video, try to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. In a pinch Wi-Fi will do, but it often results in more lag time and interference, which can reduce the quality of your audio and video, frustrate guests and give you a somewhat less than professional look.
  • Check your bandwidth—Depending on the type of video conferencing you want to do, you may need to increase your bandwidth to get the upload/download speeds you need for a quality experience. Although these numbers are subject to change and may depend on the video conferencing service you use, you can consider these numbers (shown as upload/download) the absolute minimums you should aim for:
    • Video calling with screen sharing: 128kpbs / 128kpbs
    • High-quality video calling: 400kpbs / 400kpbs
    • HD video calling: 1.2Mpbs / 1.2Mpbs
    • 3-person video calling: 512kpbs / 128kpbs
    • 5-person video calling: 2Mpbs / 128kpbs
    • 7-person (or more) video calling: 4Mpbs / 128kpbs
  • Connect early—The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially if you’re conferencing with clients. After all, you don’t want to waste your client’s time and look like a novice by fumbling around with your technology in the process.
  • Encourage interactivity—People are often hesitant to share what’s on their minds when they feel they’ve been put on the spot, but the point of video conferencing is to simulate an in-person meeting experience, which is typically full of questions, comments and asides—all of which can be important to building trust, understanding and creating lasting relationships. In order to encourage this type of banter, let everyone know that they’re free to ask questions at any time. Then, if there’s an opportunity to engage someone in the conversation naturally—just as you would if you were in a room together—do so.
  • Record your meetings—The best way to improve your meeting skills is to see how they read from the other side of the camera. When possible, record both the audio and video of your meetings and evaluate them in the same way that a football team would go over their plays the day after a big game.

Finally, don’t forget to send a follow-up email. Just as with any other meeting, don’t assume that clients will take notes or even fully grasp the information and concepts addressed in a meeting. In order to hedge your bets, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and provide them with a follow-up message containing the salient points of the discussion and an outline of any next steps, expectations or responsibilities. This way, everyone will have seen and heard the information, and participants have something concrete that they can refer back to. It’s a win-win that costs little in terms of time, and allows you to stay in front of your team and clients long after the meeting has ended.

Contact the Atidan team for additional information about Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business office365@atidan.com

Content from Microsoft https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/02/video-conferencing-for-startups-and-small-businesses/