Microsoft updates its services to be hybrid-ready
Microsoft updates its services to be hybrid-ready

Microsoft has announced updates to Outlook, Times, and PowerPoint to prepare for hybrid, remote, and office-ready work.

The software giant was among the first to warn other companies that the pandemic was changing work habits. Two years later, the company has integrated remote work into its products and in practice takes into account how and where employees come to work.

As more companies return to the office and consider combining remote work with office work, Microsoft has updated Outlook to make it easier to know if colleagues plan to attend in-person meetings.

The new Outlook RSVP feature will be available in the public preview of Outlook on the web in the second quarter, allowing attendees to choose whether they attend virtually or in person.

Once participants attend the Times Conference, several improvements will be made to better accommodate remote participants.

The Times introduces a new front row layout, moving the video library to the bottom of the screen, allowing those in meeting rooms to see distant colleagues face to face.

Microsoft has been promising this new design for about a year, and it's an integral part of the company's vision for future conferences.

The company has also updated the device experience that comes with Teams rooms so attendees can in-person join meetings using their own devices, and require them to play video so that remote attendees can more easily see it in the room.

Of the more than 90 million meeting rooms around the world, less than 8% have video. So this is a big change for most companies.

Speaking of video conferencing, the company also introduced the new Surface Hub Smart Camera, the first AI-powered camera for the Surface Hub 2.

The new Surface Hub 2 smart camera supports automatic cropping, wide field of view and image correction, making meetings even better.

Microsoft is ready to show how Windows fits into a hybrid business

Another important part of the company's vision for the future of work is the components of the loop. They are stand-alone collaborative Office content blocks that can be copied, pasted, and shared with others.

Imagine taking notes at a conference on the Thames and then jotting those notes in an email. But these notes are constantly updated as others change them via email and over time.

After the Loop component appeared on the Thames in January, the Loop component is now making its way to Outlook. It connects the company's most important means of communication.

No company would be complete without some improvement in PowerPoint. New Recording Studio and Cameo features are now integrated into PowerPoint.

Cameo allows you to embed Times cameras into your PowerPoint slides. Recording Studio allows you to record yourself on any slide. Both are designed to improve the meeting experience for remote colleagues and the set will be available in the second quarter.

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