Microsoft Ignite 2020 BOOK OF NEWS

September 22-24, 2020

Introduction

Overview by Frank Shaw

What is the Book of News?

The Microsoft Ignite 2020 Book of News is your guide to the key news items that we are announcing at Ignite. To make the Book of News more interactive, we’ve created a live site that we hope you will find engaging and easy to navigate. Instead of scrolling through pages of content, you now have the option to select the items you are interested in from the table of contents. We hope the new changes will help you get all the information, executive insight and context you need.

We also pulled together a folder of imagery related to a few of the news items. Please take a look at the imagery here.

If you have any questions regarding content in the Book of News, please fill out this form. You can input per entry or bundle all of your questions.

Translations are now available to assist in reading content in languages other than English. Please note, translations may not be exact and should be used as an approximation of the original English language content.

1. AZURE Azure and Application Development news with Julia White and Frank Shaw

Julia White and Frank Shaw discuss Azure and Application Development news

1.1. Azure AI

1.1.1 Azure Cognitive Search updates: Private Endpoints and Managed Identities

Two new features in Azure Cognitive Search, both generally available, help customers securely access data for their search service — and register it as a trusted service.

With Private Endpoints, indexers now can connect to a data source behind Azure Virtual Network (VNet). Customers also can request Azure Cognitive Search to create an outbound private endpoint connection to securely access data from data sources via indexers.

And Managed Identities provides role-based access control (RBAC) assignments, enabling a secure connection between an indexer and the data source. It also lets you connect to a data source without having to enter data-source credential information as part of the configuration.

Learn more about this update.

1.1.2 Azure Cognitive Services updates: Metrics Advisor Preview, Spatial Analysis Preview, Anomaly Detector GA

Azure Cognitive Services is introducing a series of new capabilities — spanning Decision, Vision and Speech. Within the Decision category, Metrics Advisor Preview is a new service that proactively monitors metrics and diagnoses issues. Built on Anomaly Detector, part of Azure Cognitive Services, Metrics Advisor monitors the performance of your organization’s growth engines, from sales revenue to manufacturing operations, through a powerful combination of monitoring in near-real time, adapting models to your scenario, offering granular analysis with diagnostics, and alerting.

In addition, Anomaly Detector, now generally available, helps businesses apply advanced anomaly detection to production-level deployments. ​

Within the Vision category, Spatial Analysis, a feature of Computer Vision, helps organizations maximize the value of their physical spaces by understanding people’s movements and presence in near-real time to create apps that can count people in a room, measure distances between customers, aggregate footfall in a store, understand dwell time in front of a retail display, and determine wait times in queues. Developed with strict ethical standards and guidance on how to implement responsibly, this feature can be applied to help organizations reopen by creating in-room layouts that support social distancing and other health-compliance measures.

Within the Speech category, enhancements help more customers benefit from Speech services, regardless of their deployment environment with containers.

Learn more about this update.

1.1.3 Azure Machine Learning updates: Designer, Automated ML GA and more

Azure Machine Learning now offers new capabilities that make it easier to build and deploy models your way with visual tools and data preprocessing capabilities as well as added security features. This empowers data science teams with tools that make developing custom models easier than ever.

Now generally available, the Designer capability provides drag-and-drop modules for numerous tasks, including data preparation, model training and evaluation. With the Automated ML UI capability, you can build and deploy predictive models for most common use cases, such as classification, regression and forecasting.

ML Assisted Labeling enables customers to apply automated machine learning for faster labeling. And a new set of security and enterprise readiness features for Azure Machine Learning features are now available in preview. The new operation level RBAC (role-based access control) security support enables customers with granular control over their ML projects to set custom roles or reuse prebuilt roles to control specific operations for individual users in a workspace. ​

Azure ML Integration with mlflow, the open source platform for ML lifecycle management, now includes support for submitting jobs to the cloud, model registry and model deployment support as well as expanded experimentation UI features.

Learn more about this update.

1.1.4 Microsoft Bot Framework and Azure Bot Service updates

Bot Framework Composer — an open source tool for visual bot development available on GitHub — now makes it easier to build skills for use within the Virtual Assistant Solution Accelerator.

Additionally, developers now can use this tool directly within Power Virtual Agents to quickly build a skill and extend a Power Virtual Agent bot.​

Within Azure Bot Service, the Alexa channel is now generally available, making it even simpler for developers to build one bot and deploy it across popular channels.

Learn more about this update.

1.2 Azure Data

1.2.1 Azure Cache for Redis offers developers two new product tiers to unlock new use cases, improve caches

Azure Cache for Redis now has two new product tiers in public preview: Enterprise and Enterprise Flash. These tiers, developed in partnership with Redis Labs, represent the first native integration between Redis labs technology and a major cloud platform, giving developers new data structures and deployment options to unlock new use cases, such as data analytics, and to make caches larger and more reliable than before.

The features include Redis modules such as RediSearch, RedisBloom and RedisTimeSeries. They add new data types and support for applications such as search, data analysis and IoT. The Enterprise Flash tier also enables Redis to run on high-speed flash storage, allowing for 10x larger cache sizes at a lower price per gigabyte. For both new tiers, the service-level agreement has increased from 99.9% to 99.99%. Microsoft and Redis Labs will continue to work together to add more functionality in the coming months.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.2 Azure Cosmos DB now offers serverless option for database operations with small workloads

Azure Cosmos DB now offers a serverless option for database operations. This new consumption-based model gives app developers a way to build and scale smaller apps and run tests without the commitment and cost of provisional throughput, making it ideal for small workloads with occasional traffic bursts and moderate performance requirements. ​The serverless option is in preview now.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.3 Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL offer Flexible Server deployment option to improve choice, performance and scale

Flexible Server, a new deployment option now in preview for Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL, offers customers enhanced choice, performance and scale by building on a new architecture with native Linux integration.

The new option provides maximum control and flexibility for database maintenance, configuration and tuning to meet diverse workload needs. Users have a choice of high availability across both single and multiple Availability Zones, with service-level agreements. Developers can become more productive with a guided developer experience that simplifies end-to-end deployment. Total cost of ownership is optimized with stop/start capabilities.

Learn more about Flexible Server for PostgreSQL and MySQL.

1.2.4 Azure SQL expands zone redundancy to general-purpose databases to enhance durability

New preview enhancements for Azure SQL, expected to be available later in September, will expand zone redundancy to general-purpose databases and provide cost-effective backup storage options, helping customers protect their data from corruption or deletion and improving resilience to larger failures like catastrophic datacenter outages.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.5 Azure SQL Edge, optimized for IoT gateways and devices, is now generally available

Azure SQL Edge, which brings the most secure Microsoft SQL data engine to Internet of Things (IoT) gateways and edge devices, is now available. Optimized for IoT workloads, SQL Edge supports built-in data streaming, storage and artificial intelligence packed into a small footprint container that works in connected or disconnected environments.

Built on the same code base as Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL, Azure SQL Edge provides the same industry-leading security, the same familiar developer experience, and the same tooling that many teams already know and trust. ​

Azure SQL Edge is a small-footprint container — less than 500 megabytes — running in ARM- and x64-based devices in connected, disconnected or semi-connected environments.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.6 Usage-based optimization with Azure Synapse and Power BI

A new feature that analyzes usage patterns in Power BI and shares the information with Synapse is now available to improve query performances. Synapse automatically creates a materialized view optimized for Power BI users — greatly accelerating the speed of a query performance.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.7 Announcing the preview of Photon-powered Delta Engine for Azure Databricks to accelerate big data and AI workloads

Built on top of Apache Spark 3.0, the Photon-powered Delta Engine further accelerates Spark workloads running on Azure Databricks. Delta Engine accelerates the performance through three components: an improved query optimizer, a caching layer that sits between the execution layer and the cloud object storage, and a native vectorized execution engine that’s written in C++. These improvements make Azure Databricks 20x faster than Open Source Apache Spark.

Learn more about this update.

1.2.8 Last Access time lifecycle management

Access-based time lifecycle management, a frequently requested customer feature, is now available in Azure Blob Storage. The feature provides access date policy control over which tier an object is placed in or deleted from. This allows customers to reduce costs and create a complete lifecycle around their objects.

Last access for Azure Blob Storage, now in public preview, provides customers with better visibility into their data, including how often it gets accessed. This will enable customers to manage their data lifecycles based on access time.

In addition, customers can use last access time, a new system metadata also available to independent software vendor partners, to make placement and retention decisions for their data.

Learn more about this update.

1.3 Azure Datacenters

1.3.1 Availability Zones deployed to more Azure regions

Azure Availability Zones (AZs) provide a high-availability option for comprehensive business-continuity and disaster-recovery strategies (BCDR), 99.99% uptime service-level agreement (SLA) on virtual machines, flexible high-performance architecture and multizone support with built-in security.

Microsoft continues to expand deployment of Availability Zones in datacenter regions worldwide, with a roadmap to provide Availability Zone options in each country it operates datacenters in over the next 24 months. In September, Availability Zones will be available in two more existing regions — Canada Central and Australia East — bringing the total number of Microsoft’s AZ-enabled regions to 14.

Learn more about this update.

1.3.2 Azure Orbital provides access to satellite data and capabilities with reduced costs, increased efficiency

Azure Orbital is a new managed service that provides access to physical satellite communication capabilities to process and analyze data in Microsoft Azure. Take advantage of a low-latency global fiber network when working with large satellite datasets. Azure Orbital is available now to select customers in private preview.

Learn more about this update.

1.3.3 Azure Resource Mover simplifies moving multiple resources between regions

Azure Resource Mover is a new service offering that helps customers move multiple Azure resources between regions to help take advantage of the most relevant datacenter regions and meet evolving data residency needs. By providing a single plane of glass to manage migration, it streamlines the process —accelerating planning, preparation and execution while reducing complexity. Azure Resource Mover is now available in public preview.

Learn more about this update.

1.3.4 Zone to Zone disaster recovery for Azure Virtual Machines now available

Zone to Zone disaster recovery allows customers to replicate, failover and failback their business-critical virtual machines within the same region with zones. The capability adds options for scenarios such as metro-based disaster-recovery strategy while customers are hosting applications on-premises and are looking to mimic that after migrating applications over to Azure; those that have complicated networking infrastructure and want to avoid the cost and complexity of recreating it in a secondary region; and those in regions that prefer not to use paired region disaster recovery options.

Learn more about this update.

1.4 Azure Dev and Ecosystem

1.4.1 .NET 5 Release Candidate is now available

New enhancements to .NET 5 include smaller, faster single-file applications that use less memory, which are appropriate for microservices and containerized applications across operating systems.

The changes, which signify the latest step in unifying the .NET platform across workloads, also include significant performance improvements, support for Windows ARM64 and new releases of C# 9.0 and F# 5.0 languages. Developers can download the release candidate with a Go-Live license, enabling them to use it in production.

The .NET 5 Release Candidate is now feature-complete and will be generally available Nov. 10.

Learn more about this update and download .NET 5 RC.

1.4.2 Azure App Service updates include new cost-savings options, Windows Container support, GitHub Actions integration

Updates to the Azure App Service managed platform for building, deploying and scaling web apps include new price points, an updated Premium offering, support for Windows Containers, a new multinetwork App Service Environment and integration with GitHub Actions.

  • Reserved Instance (RI) commitment discounts are now available for App Service for the first time. Customers can save 35% with a one-year commitment and 55% with a three-year commitment, compared to pay-as-you-go rates. We are also extending our dev/test pricing discounts to App Service Premium plans, making it more affordable to build and test workloads that require VNet connectivity.
  • App Service Premium (V3) Plan leverages the latest Azure VM hardware to deliver improved performance and better scalability. This offering includes more powerful 2, 4 and 8 core options with memory stretching up to 32GB to better support large, enterprise web applications and content management systems. Offered at a 20% discount versus comparable PV2 configurations, this is our most performant and cost competitive offering to date; when combined with RI offers, customers can achieve savings up to 69%.
  • Windows Containers general availability is included in the App Service Premium (V3) plan. Starting Oct. 1, it will be available in more regions and updated with full support for regional network integration, Private Link and Managed Server Identity. Customers can now lift and shift a wide variety of .NET framework applications with complex legacy configurations and OS dependencies and take advantage of the fully managed features of App Service.
  • Isolated v2 Plan, available in public preview in October, features a simplified deployment experience that enables an isolated app hosting environment for customers to run their most sensitive web workloads. This is a single tenant system with no public internet dependencies in the customer’s network. The environment allows customers to customize their workload security while Azure secures the infrastructure dedicated to that workload. By removing the per-instance stamp fee in Isolated v2, we’ve reduced deployment costs for customers by as much as 80% compared to Isolated v1 plans.
  • GitHub Actions integration with App Service makes it easy for developers to run an automated workflow whenever there is a new pull request, commit or other event in their GitHub code repository. The integration enables a user to go to the App Service Deployment Center and follow on-screen, step-by-step instructions to set up a native continuous integration and continuous deployment workflow.
  • Java Tomcat support in the Azure App Service Migration Assistant tool, in public preview, means Java apps running on Tomcat web server can now be discovered, assessed and migrated to Azure App Service on Windows or Linux. The Migration Assistant tool performs a detailed assessment and walks customers through the migration process.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.3 Azure Communication Services enables you to build rich communication experiences with the same secure platform as Microsoft Teams

Azure Communication Services is a fully managed communication platform, now available in public preview. Azure Communication Services enables developers and organizations to securely build communications features and connected user experiences across applications running on virtually any device. Building new communication experiences across consumer or enterprise applications can be complex, often requiring considerable investment and specialized expertise. Azure Communication Services makes it easy to add voice and video calling, chat, and SMS text message capabilities to mobile apps, desktop applications and websites with just a few lines of code.

Azure Communication Services brings together communication technology, cloud scale, enterprise-grade security and development efficiency. It enables developers to create the rich customer engagement experiences needed, during a time when connection is so important.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.4 Azure-Datadog integration

Datadog and Microsoft Azure have worked together to create an integrated Datadog SaaS solution expected to launch in October. Built on Azure and available via Azure Marketplace, this solution provides a seamless experience for Datadog’s cloud monitoring solution. With the Azure-Datadog integration, organizations can now fully map their legacy and cloud-based systems, monitor real-time data during every phase of the cloud transition, and ensure that migrated applications meet performance targets. Azure is the first cloud to offer such an integrated experience. Together with Azure, Datadog’s monitoring and security offering provides customers with an integrated experience to seamlessly provision a new Datadog organization and configure the right Azure resources to send logs/metrics to Datadog. In other words, this is a fully managed setup with no infrastructure for customers to setup and operate.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.5 Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) updates include ability to easily pause clusters to save costs and enforce policies at scale

Updates to the Azure Kubernetes Service include a feature to easily stop and start clusters and the ability to use Azure Policy for governance of AKS clusters and resources.

  • The AKS Stop/Start cluster feature now in public preview allows AKS customers to completely pause an AKS cluster and pick up where they left off later with a switch of a button, saving time and cost. Previously, a customer had to take multiple steps to stop or start a cluster, adding to operations time and wasting compute resources. The stop/start feature keeps cluster configurations in place and customers can pick up where they left off without reconfiguring the clusters.
  • The general availability of Azure Policy add on for AKS allows customers to audit and enforce policies to their Kubernetes resources. This means customers can now set policies beyond the Azure Resource Manager level and drive in-depth compliance across pods, namespaces, ingress and other Kubernetes resources.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.6 Azure Spring Cloud now supports Steeltoe development framework

Azure Spring Cloud became generally available on Sept. 2. The service now supports Steeltoe, a .NET microservices development framework that enables developers to quickly deliver production-grade microservices using prebuilt libraries and extensions.

The support, which is in public preview, means that developers can build, deploy and configure Steeltoe applications through Azure Spring Cloud, a fully managed service on Azure jointly built and operated with VMware.

Developers can add Azure Spring Cloud dependencies into their Steeltoe projects. They can also deploy Steeltoe applications through the Azure portal or command line interface and see metrics, logging and distributed tracing.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.7 Be productive while working from anywhere with GitHub Codespaces and the new support for Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2019 support for GitHub Codespaces is now in beta. Developers using Visual Studio can now create and manage codespaces from within the Integrated Development Environment (IDE). This expands upon the existing support for Visual Studio Code and a browser-based editor. Developers can now be more productive while working remotely, can rapidly onboard to new projects, and can have increased power in their dev machines all through using the power of cloud-hosted development environments.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.8 Logic Apps updated with new hosting options, improved performance and developer workflows

The Azure Logic Apps cloud service that helps developers and IT professionals schedule, automate and orchestrate tasks, business process and workflows has been updated with new capabilities such as enabling multiple workflows into a single Logic App that simplifies automated deployments and CI/CD pipelines, provides new runtime hosting flexibility and improves performance.

This update also enables developers to build workflows into modern apps through a new Visual Studio extension enabling local development and GitHub Actions, providing better integration with the developer toolchain.

These features are in public preview.

Learn more about this update.

1.4.9 Private Azure Marketplace in public preview

Organizations will soon be able to create a private marketplace of preapproved solutions for employees with a new service called Azure Private Marketplace. The service will help organizations make sure their offers comply with company policies and regulations — which helps employees deploy only solutions that follow company rules.

Learn more about this update.

1.5 Azure Hybrid, Azure Infra, Azure Migrate

1.5.1 Run Azure services on any infrastructure with Azure Arc-enabled servers and Azure Arc-enabled data services

As customers have increasingly adopted hybrid solutions, we built Azure Arc to enable innovation on any infrastructure and unlock cloud innovation. Since our initial preview less than a year ago, we’ve focused on meeting our customers where they are, delivering multiple new services that address our customers’ evolving needs. Today, we continue our investment in hybrid, delivering even more capabilities.

Azure Arc extends Azure management to infrastructure resources such as Windows and Linux Servers, SQL Servers and Kubernetes clusters running across on-premises datacenters, multicloud and edge. Azure Arc also enables deployment of Azure data services, such as Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure PostgreSQL Hyperscale, on any infrastructure of choice.

Azure Arc-enabled servers is generally available for Windows and Linux Servers for production workloads. This includes inventory, organization and governance where customers can tag their servers, organize in hierarchies, search from a single location and set guardrails on server configurations through Azure Policy. Customers can also leverage Azure management capabilities like Azure Security Center, Azure Monitor or Update Management to further modernize their management practices from a single control plane. Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes and Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server is currently in public preview.

Azure Arc-enabled data services is now in public preview with open access to Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure PostgreSQL Hyperscale that can run on any infrastructure — whether on an on-premises datacenter, on the edge, or on any other public cloud. Data sources are often disparately spread across diverse infrastructures, which leads to challenges with data sovereignty, latency and regulatory compliance. With Azure Arc-enabled data services, customers can now benefit from Azure cloud innovations such as “always current” with evergreen SQL, elastic scale and a unified management experience while being able to run under both connected and disconnected modes on any infrastructure of their choice.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.2 Brand new Backup Center for unified experience of backup management at scale and Azure Backup capabilities being extended to new resources and applications

The new features will help customers centrally manage their backups in Azure and expand backup and restore options to new types of resources and to multiple regions.

Backup Center, in public preview, provides a single, unified experience designed for backup management at scale. With Backup Center, customers can dynamically explore large backup inventories across vaults, subscriptions, locations and even tenants. Additionally, Backup Center provides a built-in ability to trigger any Backup related actions such as:

  • Define and track governance with deep integration with Azure policies.
  • Backup Center supports the following workload types: Azure Virtual Machines, SQL in Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Database for PostgreSQL servers, and Azure Files.

Azure Backup will now extend Cross Region Restore of Azure VMs to support SQL and SAP HANA backups. With Cross Region Restore, customers will be able to restore their backup data in secondary regions at any given time for audit and compliance, and when a primary region is unavailable.

Azure Resource Mover is a new product that allows customers to easily move their resources such as managed disks, networking components and SQL Azure resources across regions.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.3 New capabilities and enhancements for Azure Compute and Azure Disk Storage

Multiple new Azure Infrastructure features are now available in preview or generally available including:

  • New Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) are now generally available featuring Intel Cascade Lake processors for general purpose and memory-intensive workloads. These VMs provide up to 20% greater CPU performance compared to the prior generation.
  • Azure Dedicated Host now gives customers more control. Customers can schedule host maintenance operations on Dedicated Hosts and isolated VMs as well as control when guest OS image updates are rolled out. Azure Dedicated Host also supports Virtual Machine Scale Sets and simplifies deployment by offering customers the ability to let the platform select the host group where VMs are deployed to.
  • New Azure Disk Storage updates are now generally available, including Azure Private Link integration which enables secure import and export of data over a private virtual network for enhanced security and support for 512E on Azure Ultra Disks to enable migration of legacy databases to Azure.

Learn more about Azure Private Link integration and Azure Ultra Disks.

1.5.4 Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI now in public preview

Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI, now in preview, enables developers and admins to deploy and manage containerized apps on Azure Stack HCI. Customers can take advantage of its consistent experience with AKS on Azure, extend to Azure with hybrid capabilities, run apps with confidence with built-in security, and use familiar tools to modernize Windows apps.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.5 Azure Migrate announces new agentless software inventory and dependency mapping to simplify your migration

Migrating your datacenter to the cloud is more simplified than ever with new Azure Migrate features generally available today. Customers can perform a comprehensive discovery and assessment of their estate, including agentless software inventory and dependency mapping. Then, they can migrate workloads at scale, including added support for Availability Zone and UEFI migrations.

The Azure Migration Program recently expanded support for Windows Virtual Desktop to help companies enable a secure, remote desktop experience from virtually anywhere, and to help simplify their journey to the cloud. Azure Migration Program also announced support for ASP.NET web applications to help customers reduce cost and simplify app management by migrating on-premises .NET web apps to Microsoft’s fully managed App Service and Azure SQL offerings.

Additionally, FastTrack for Azure recently expanded to support Windows Virtual Desktop to accelerate deployments. FastTrack for Azure is a program that helps customers rapidly and effectively design and deploy cloud solutions. It includes tailored guidance from Azure engineers that uses proven practices and architectural guides.

Learn more about Azure Migrate, the Azure Migration Program and FastTrack for Azure.

1.5.6 Continuously optimize workload costs with new Azure Spot virtual machine capabilities and Azure Advisor Score

New Azure Spot VM features, in preview soon in the Azure portal, enable customers to access and review the price history of Spot VMs and eviction rate for the past 28 trailing days. New capabilities in Azure Spot VM not only allow customers to derive estimates about the probability that their workloads will be evicted, but also enable better estimates for the cost of running interruptible workloads using Spot VMs.

In addition, Azure Advisor Score is now in preview. Azure Advisor Score is a new measurement tool in the Azure portal designed to help customers optimize cost, security, reliability, performance and operational excellence across all their Azure resources based on Azure best practices.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.7 New Azure Stack form factors and services extend powerful compute at the edge, unlocking advanced analytics

Two new Azure Stack Edge appliances are now generally available, designed to operate in remote areas and run powerful analytics at the edge for quick results:

  • The Azure Stack Edge Mini R is a lightweight portable device designed to operate in the harshest conditions and can be easily carried in a backpack.
  • The Azure Stack Edge Pro R is designed for remote areas, delivering intelligence at the edge and is available with NVIDIA’s T4 GPU.

In addition, Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack Edge Pro now come with GPUs to unlock the ability for customers to run AI, machine learning and inferencing capabilities on-premises and at the edge, enabling new scenarios such as:

  • Building and training machine learning models in Azure and then utilizing the built-in NVIDIA GPUs to run these models plus AI and inferencing locally at the edge.
  • Running new virtual machine sizes with NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core, NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core and AMD Mi25 GPUs.

Learn more about Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack Edge.

1.5.8 Next-generation Azure VMware Solution now generally available

The next generation of Azure VMware Solution (AVS) is now generally available today in US East, US West, West Europe and Australia, with more locations coming soon — visit Azure Products by Region page for details. This release delivers customers the latest VMware Cloud Foundation components (vSphere, NSX-T, HCX, vSAN and more), running on highly available, reliable Azure infrastructure. Azure VMware Solution provides seamless migration from customers’ on-premises deployments to the cloud, reducing complexity and helping ensure they can maintain operational consistency.

With this announcement we are also seeing great growth in our ecosystem of partner solutions. In addition to our own Microsoft solutions, AVS will support Backup solutions from Commvault, Veeam and Veritas. And we have been working closely with Zerto and JetStream to bring their DR capabilities to AVS too. We also support GitHub enterprise solutions for customers looking to move their on-premises GitHub repositories to the cloud.

In a continued effort to create additional flexibility for customers, Azure VMware Solution now integrates with native Azure Migrate tools to enable customers to build AVS specific assessments for cloud migration. Furthermore, we heard from customers the importance of Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV) when transitioning to the cloud, and we are now pleased to offer VMware’s HCX Enterprise Edition, which includes RAV for large bulk migration when transitioning workloads to their Azure VMware Solution environments.

Learn more about this update.

1.5.9 Making Linux migration to Azure easier with new capabilities

New Azure updates make Linux workload migration to Azure more seamless. These include:

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit, available in preview, improves flexibility and enhances user experience for Red Hat and SUSE customers migrating Linux to Azure.
  • Directly in the portal or through CLI, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) customers will be able to convert existing Linux VMs from pay-as-you-go (PAYG) billing to bring-your-own-subscription (BYOS) billing, making use of their existing Red Hat and SUSE subscriptions.
  • This is a unique capability that allows customers to first deploy a POC in Azure using the convenience of on-demand PAYG Linux VMs, and when testing is complete, convert it to long-term production using RHEL and SLES subscriptions. This removes the headache of production redeployment, preserves existing investments in on-premises RHEL and SLES subscriptions, and reduces migration planning worries.
  • Azure Image Builder, generally available by the end of this year, is a free image-building service that streamlines the creation, update, patch, management and operation of Linux and Windows images. Azure Image Builder will deploy resources into your subscription when used, and you pay only for the virtual machines and associated storage and networking resources consumed when running your image-building pipeline.
  • A new Azure-supported Linux distribution, Flatcar Container Linux by Kinvolk, is now available in Azure Marketplace. Flatcar is an immutable Linux distribution and is compatible with Core OS (which reached its end of service on May 26, 2020), making Flatcar Container Linux a viable and straightforward migration choice for container workloads running on Azure.

Learn more about Azure Hybrid Benefit Preview for Linux users, Azure Image Builder and Flatcar Container Linux.

1.5.10 New innovations that deliver the best experience for Windows Server workloads, only on Azure

Azure Automanage is a new Azure service in preview that helps customers significantly reduce day-to-day management tasks with automated operations across the entire lifecycle of Windows Server virtual machines (VMs) on Azure. Azure Automanage automatically implements VM management best practices for business continuity and operational aspects of security and compliance as defined in the Azure Cloud Adoption Framework by enrolling and configuring services such as Azure Backup and Azure Security Center. Admins can now manage the entire VM lifecycle with point-and-click simplicity, individually or at scale. If the configuration of the virtual machines drifts from the applied best practices, Azure Automanage will detect and automatically remediate the VM back to the desired configuration.

Windows Admin Center, IT admins’ favorite server management tool, is now available in preview in the Azure Portal. This new capability allows customers to perform deep Windows Server OS management on their VMs in Azure right from Azure Portal. Customers can leverage their familiar experience of Windows Admin Center to configure, troubleshoot and perform maintenance tasks in the Azure Portal. This capability is available natively in the cloud and on Azure. It is always kept up to date with the newest features.

Learn more about Azure Automanage and Windows Admin Center.

1.6 Azure IoT

1.6.1 New Azure Certified Device program ensures compatibility, accelerates time to market

A new Azure Certified Device program will streamline the experience of connecting the right device to the right solution through its Azure Certified Device Catalog, benefiting both device builders and solution builders.

For device builders, the certification reduces time to market, as they no longer have to use their own time and resources to verify, validate and communicate trust. For the solution builder and distributor, the certification ensures both quality and compatibility.

The catalog will highlight device compatibility and differentiation through three Azure certifications:

  • Azure Certified Device, the entry-level certification that validates that a device can connect with Azure IoT Hub and securely provision through the Device Provisioning Service (DPS)
  • IoT Plug and Play, announced in August, the certification that simplifies the process of building devices without custom device code
  • Edge-managed certification, which focuses on device management standards for Azure connected devices for IoT devices running Windows, Linux or RTOS. Today, this program certification focuses on Edge runtime compatibility for module deployment and management.

Learn more about this update.

1.6.2 AT&T brings first Azure Sphere cellular guardian device to market

With the launch of the first Azure Sphere cellular guardian device, AT&T is enabling customers to expand connectivity and security without relying on Wi-Fi access.

This new product can connect a company’s various existing devices and machines directly to the customer’s cloud via a cellular network. This allows the customer to manage and monitor thousands of devices, aggregate data and identify potential problems.

By using the AT&T cellular network, enterprise customers can connect devices in more than 200 countries across 500 carriers where AT&T offers managed services to support day-to-day operations. AT&T offers end-to-end professional services, and the secure cellular network extends the secure architecture of Azure Sphere.

Learn more about this update.

1.7 Azure MR

1.7.1 HoloLens 2 ships to new markets; partners to build devices with Microsoft 3D Time of Flight depth technology for Azure Kinect DK; Azure Mixed Reality services portfolio now includes Azure Object Anchors

Mixed reality continues to grow and play an important role in all fields, and at Ignite 2020, three announcements were made that continue that momentum:

HoloLens 2

HoloLens 2 is now available for purchase in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Since HoloLens 2 launched in November 2019, it has experienced strong adoption in existing markets, and it was announced at Build 2020 that HoloLens 2 would be available in expanded markets in the fall.

Azure Kinect DK 

Azure Kinect DK, launched in July 2019, has met with excitement and enthusiasm, signaling a clear need to enable enterprises to leverage Microsoft’s Time of Flight, 3D depth technology. The Azure Kinect was released as a developer kit for customers to test and build proof of concepts, and today, we are excited to announce our collaboration with two companies — Analog Devices and SICK AG — that will build devices enabled with Microsoft’s 3D Time of Flight depth technology.

Microsoft’s goal is to build a thriving ecosystem of independent hardware vendors, independent software vendors and system integrators to build devices, software, Azure cloud services and solutions on top of Microsoft’s state-of-the-art 3D Time of Flight depth technology, Microsoft Intelligent Edge and Microsoft Intelligent Cloud platforms, to solve customer problems that require depth understanding.

Analog Devices, a leading global high-performance analog technology company dedicated to solving the toughest engineering challenges, will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology in the design, manufacture and sale of depth sensor silicon alongside a commercial depth camera module aimed at consumer electronics, automotive cabins and industrial logistic use-cases. Analog Devices is aiming to bring its first 3D Time of Flight imaging systems using Microsoft technology by the end of 2020.

SICK AG, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of intelligent sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications, will incorporate Microsoft’s Time of Flight technology to bring state-of-the-art technologies to SICK’s 3D Time of Flight Visionary-T camera product line, and make it even smarter. SICK AG’s first camera incorporating Microsoft Time of Flight depth technology is already available for select customers now, followed by the official launch of the Visionary-T Mini in early 2021.

Azure Object Anchors

Microsoft is expanding the portfolio of Azure Mixed Reality services to now include Azure Object Anchors, which is available in private preview.

Azure Object Anchors enables developers to automatically detect, align and track objects in the real world. Object Anchors can track single objects or instances of them, without the need for manual setup or alignment. Before this service, developers would need to either place anchors manually or use QR codes for detection of way points.

Developers building mixed-reality apps for the manufacturing, retail, health and gaming industries can use Azure Object Anchors to simplify training development, guide employees step-by-step in learning tasks, and use existing 3D models of objects in your physical space to leverage Object Anchors to locate and track instances of that object in a given environment, from counting to tracking to picking and packing.

Learn more about HoloLens 2Azure Kinect DK and Azure Object Anchors.

1.8 Azure Networking

1.8.1 Azure networking enhancements include Cisco SD-WAN with Azure Virtual, and Global Load Balancer feature

Azure networking enhancements announced at Ignite include the addition of Cisco Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) native support within the Azure Virtual WAN hubs, and the Global Load Balancer feature for Azure Load Balancer. Both are available in preview.

The use of Cisco SD-WAN with Azure Virtual WAN aligns with networking trends to leverage technologies such as SD-WAN to improve performance through intelligent path selection and central policies. They work to eliminate traditional networking backhauls by sending traffic directly from branch to the cloud via local breakouts and allow you to leverage your chosen vendor’s path selection and policy management.

With Global Load Balancer, customers can use the feature in the Azure Load Balancer to distribute traffic to their global applications, improving performance and availability.

Learn more about Cisco SD-WAN with Azure Virtual WAN and Global Load Balancer.

1.9 Windows Virtual Desktop

1.9.1 New Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities to accelerate remote work adoption

With Windows Virtual Desktop, customers can enable secure, remote work quickly and cost-effectively with the best virtual Windows 10 experience. With recent updates, we further simplified the deployment experience and included support for Microsoft Teams audio/video (A/V redirect).

In addition to these recent updates, we are announcing new capabilities available by the end of the year, including:

  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager support for Windows 10 multisession will provide IT admins with the ability to manage and secure virtual desktops the same way as physical devices.
  • New integration with Azure Monitor, providing customers with a workbook that captures all the relevant monitoring insights and provides rich visualizations to identify and troubleshoot issues quickly. This is an important consideration for customers looking to monitor and troubleshoot easily while deploying virtual desktops at scale.
  • The ability to add application layers from the Azure portal, helping customers onboard applications quickly — with a few clicks, you can now deploy and publish applications for your employees.

Learn more about this update.

2. BUSINESS APPLICATIONS D365 and Power Platform news with Alysa Taylor & Frank Shaw

Alysa Taylor and Frank Shaw discuss D365 and Power Platform news

2.1 Power Platform

2.1.1. Microsoft Power Automate Desktop delivers robotic process automation for users

Microsoft Power Automate Desktop, available in public preview, expands on the robotic process automation (RPA) capability of Power Automate.

Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired Softomotive to expand low-code, robotic process automation capabilities in Microsoft Power Automate, strengthening the ability for anyone to automate processes.

Power Automate Desktop further democratizes the RPA capabilities within Power Automate by providing a desktop automation option for citizen developers and business users.

With Power Automate Desktop, you can automate Windows-based tasks you can image across both desktop and web applications with minimal effort. Thanks to Power Automate Desktop’s intuitive design environment, non-coders can automate processes quickly without writing a single line of code. Alongside this, it provides complete control and flexibility for advanced users, programmers and developers in an environment that’s familiar.

You can also automate tasks involving simple data transfers between systems – including legacy – for complex processes and workflows. Search for images on the screen, scrape data from PDFs, work with different kinds of documents and folders, or even send emails.

Learn more about this update.

2.1.2. Updates to Power BI in Teams and new Power BI Premium Per User for enhanced access to data insights, competitive pricing

Infuse teamwork with data insights in Power BI app for Microsoft Teams. More user choices are coming to Power BI, and Power BI in Teams will see several enhancements that infuse teamwork with data insights. Here’s a look at what’s coming:

Enhancements to the Power BI app for Teams, coming in public preview later this year, will make it easier to discover data from across the organization and quickly create visualizations from Excel datasets right within Teams and to collaborate more effectively and make decisions based on real-time insight. It creates a centralized place for users to find and analyze data, while enhancing usage of Excel and Teams with embedded channel, chat and meeting experiences.

Power BI Premium to be offered to individual users. A new Power BI offering, Power BI Premium Per User, will be available in public preview starting in November and will be generally available in spring 2021. It complements Power BI Premium that has been available as a capacity license for an organization.

Premium Per User is an exciting way to take advantage of advanced analytics and enterprise business intelligence (BI) capabilities to make better decisions. It offers a new way to drive a data culture in organizations at a competitive price and with flexible deployment.

Power BI Premium is well-suited for organizations with smaller Power BI deployments that need Premium features; organizations with large Power BI Pro deployments that are looking to gain access to paginated reports, dataflows, AI and more for select users; and organizations with E5 that aren’t ready yet for a full Premium deployment, but that want to “step up” to Premium.

Take advantage of performance improvements to Power BI Premium and new features including autoscale. Improvements to Power BI Premium’s underlying architecture will help organizations increase their return on investment with up to 16x faster performance, better visibility into utilization, and capacity management. Power BI Premium will deliver for all customers faster concurrent processing, the ability to automatically add additional capacity, and transparent utilization metrics.

Deployment pipelines are now generally available. Deployment pipelines are an efficient and reusable tool, enabling enterprises with Premium capacity to manage the lifecycle of organizational content. This allows for developing and testing Power BI content such as reports, dashboards and datasets before they’re viewed by end users.

Learn more about this update.

2.1.3. Power Platform low-code updates for professional developers in public preview for GitHub and Azure

Azure API Management connectors for Power Platform are now available in public preview. Giving professional developers low-code tools without boundaries is becoming more important for developer velocity. With Power Apps, professional developers can now build Power Platform connectors with Azure API Management and Azure Functions to any Microsoft hosted third-party, legacy or line-of-business apps, while scaling seamlessly through Power Platform and Power Apps for Microsoft Teams. Citizen developers can distribute Power Apps apps through Teams for massive scale with no stand-alone Power Apps licensing requirements.

GitHub integration for Power Platform is now available in public preview. Meeting developers in the tooling where they work is critical for success. Developers can now create their own Software Development Life Cycle workflows (or use pre-configured templates) with GitHub actions for Power Platform, available in the marketplace, to manage Power Platform solutions and environments seamlessly. Power Platform and GitHub integration allows developers to now manage Power Platform solutions and environments seamlessly using the GitHub connector for the Power Platform, allowing DevOps engineers and IT to administer self-service continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) for their citizen developers. Public preview at Ignite.

Power Virtual Agents and Azure Bot Framework. Bot makers will be able to use Azure development tools like Bot Framework Composer to code up custom dialogues and directly add them to Power Virtual Agents bots. These dialogues can be saved, hosted and executed together with the rest of Power Virtual Agents bot content, which provides a simpler way to extend bot capabilities with custom code and does not require additional Azure hosting, deployment or billing complexities. This feature will be available in public preview in fall 2020.

Learn more about this update.

2.2 Dynamics 365

2.2.1. New Dynamics 365 voice channel will streamline contact center operations

Dynamics 365 and Azure Communication Services are introducing a first-party voice channel that will streamline contact center operations and provide a reliable, fully connected customer experience.

Customers are increasingly demanding single-vendor customer service software solutions to avoid having to manage multiple vendor contracts and integrations. The new voice channel minimizes issues caused by custom-built, complex integrations and enables organizations to provide customer and agent experiences that can easily scale to meet changing business needs.

The solution, available in private preview starting this October, will integrate directly with the omnichannel capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service, a robust application that allows organizations to instantly connect and engage with customers through channels such as live chat, digital messaging and SMS.

Learn more about this update.

2.2.2. New Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management tools help keep manufacturing and warehousing work running 24/7, and show inventory in real time

New add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management will enhance supply chain visibility and enable customers to quickly respond to changing demand and supply.

Companies often struggle with latency and connectivity when running operations in remote facilities. High volume and resource-intensive processes running in parallel can lead to network latency and reduce productivity.

New cloud and edge scale unit add-ins for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enable customers to keep critical manufacturing and warehousing processes running around the clock, even when they are disconnected from the cloud.

In addition, a new inventory visibility add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management will enable customers to determine inventory in real time, helping them ensure on-time delivery and overcome supply chain disruptions.

The ability to determine on-hand inventory allows businesses to fulfill orders on time, mitigate outages and overstocking, and identify supply chain gaps that interrupt business continuity. The process is often resource-intensive, and there are few solutions that can assess real-time, on-hand inventory in seconds.

The new capabilities, available in public preview in October, will help organizations build resiliency by enabling them to run supply chain-related workloads in a distributed model and have better insight into their inventory levels.

Learn more about this update.

2.2.3. Dynamics 365 Project Operations provides a complete cloud-delivered solution for services businesses

Dynamics 365 Project Operations, a unified solution created to run services businesses, from prospects to payments, is now generally available.

Today’s business climate requires services organizations to be nimble and quickly change the way they operate — all while operating remotely. Project Operations allows organizations to connect their sales, project management and accounting teams around actionable data, process governance and measurable outcomes. Services businesses can get everything they need to successfully deliver projects, from quotes to invoices and business intelligence, in one cloud-delivered solution.

Built on the Microsoft Power Platform, the solution scales by enabling businesses to add other Dynamics 365 applications or custom applications built with Power Apps, and to easily connect with apps and services such as Teams, SharePoint and Microsoft 365.

Learn more about this update.

3. INNOVATION AND INDUSTRY CLOUD 3.1 Innovation

3.1.1. New Microsoft Premonition Early Access Program will help partners detect biological threats in the environment

Microsoft Premonition is a system that aims to detect potential pathogens before they cause widespread outbreaks. The Microsoft Premonition technology stack consists of robotic platforms for monitoring and intelligently sampling disease carriers — such as mosquitoes — and cloud-scale metagenomics for genetically analyzing environmental samples collected by its sensor network for known and novel biological threats. The complete technology stack is designed to enable continuous monitoring and cost-effective prioritized sequencing of the environment.

Today, the Microsoft Premonition team is announcing they will be expanding access to Premonition technologies to even more partners through an Early Access Program (EAP), available in the coming weeks. The result of five years of advanced R&D, this announcement marks an important step toward new approaches to pandemic preparedness.

Harris County Public Health (HCPH) manages the health of over 4.7 million people in Harris County, Texas – home to the city of Houston. As an early access partner, HCPH will begin integrating Microsoft Premonition technologies into their public health program, focusing on enhanced protection against mosquito-borne diseases through remote sensing and AI-driven suppression of disease vectors.

To further study the broader cross-cutting benefits and implications of these systems, Microsoft Premonition will also collaborate with top academic institutions through the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator Program, which includes institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Additionally, Microsoft and Bayer will expand their existing collaboration to develop a deeper understanding of vector-borne diseases and the role of autonomous sensor networks for biothreat detection.

Also, at Ignite, the Microsoft Premonition team will be providing a behind-the-scenes look at their Premonition Proving Ground facility on Microsoft’s Redmond campus where researchers evaluate robotic designs, train AI models and collect big data on disease-transmitting mosquito species in artificial ecosystems.

This data is analyzed via the Microsoft Premonition Cloud, a full Azure backend for aggregating and analyzing the multimodal data streams collected by Premonition systems (both IoT-style phenotypic data and metagenomic data). It showcases Azure IoT, Azure Data Lake Gen2 and the latest serverless architectures for generating insights.

Learn more about this update.

3.1.2. Open Data Campaign report shows how data sharing can be used to tackle pressing world challenges

In April, Microsoft launched the Open Data Campaign, a campaign to close the data divide to ensure that organizations of all sizes can benefit from AI and the data economy. As part of the campaign, Microsoft committed to developing 20 new collaborations built around shared data that will empower people and organizations to use data to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges by 2022.

Much progress has been made in the five months since the campaign launched, including the launch of data collaborations with a range of stakeholders that address key issues such as climate change, COVID-19, and digital access and education.

Climate change – On Sept. 1, Microsoft joined with Allianz, Amazon and S&P Global to announce plans to launch a new Climate Finance Foundation, led by the Linux Foundation, to empower the investment community, nongovernmental organizations, academia and others to better understand climate risk and opportunity using open source analytics and open data.

COVID-19 – The Alan Turing Institute partnered with the Greater London Authority, supported by Microsoft and the London Data Commission, to look at London “busyness” or movement around the city through multiple data sources as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed to monitor how people are responding to the changes and to support London’s response and recovery to COVID-19.

Digital access and education – Together with the Open Data Institute, and with support from BroadbandNow, Microsoft will be launching an Open Data Challenge in October to look at the impact of digital access and COVID-19 on young students’ education.

Microsoft is committed to adhering to a set of data collaboration principles to inform how to open and share data in a responsible way, participating in data collaborations to tackle some of the major challenges of our time, and developing technologies, tools and governance frameworks to make data sharing easier.

Learn more about this update.

3.2 Industry Cloud

3.2.1. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, the company’s first industry-specific cloud, available end of October

Today, Microsoft is announcing that the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will be generally available at the end of October 2020. The comprehensive cloud enables healthcare customers and partners to deliver better experiences, insights and care to people worldwide. With the Cloud for Healthcare, organizations can engage with patients in more proactive ways with patients and give caregivers tools to improve workflow efficiency, streamline collaboration and connect data across existing sources to turn insight into action.

This new industry-specific cloud computing platform brings together new and existing healthcare capabilities and a common data model for healthcare into a single source of information to ensure consistency across applications for seamless integration and better interoperability. Healthcare organizations will be able to tailor applications to support their existing processes and investments. The Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare’s architecture scales to meet current and future needs, while also supporting compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, HITRUST and other regulatory frameworks via built-in data governance and privacy capabilities.

The Cloud for Healthcare’s capabilities come to life for users through our cloud platform, collaboration, productivity, customer relationship, business application and analytics solutions (i.e., Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform), and an ecosystem of partner healthcare solutions. It also includes healthcare patient and clinical data models used for Dynamics 365 and Power Platform applications from Microsoft and for applications developed across the stack by healthcare partners.

This is Microsoft’s first industry-specific cloud to be made generally available. The rapid progress on the effort to deliver this industry-specific cloud (from announced public preview in May to its availability by the end of October) demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to bringing customers the right technology to address challenges and drive business outcomes in their specific industry.

To learn more, visit the Microsoft Healthcare Industry blog or the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare site.

NOTE: Additional motion graphics and still graphics representing the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare available upon request.

4. MICROSOFT 365 M365 news with Jared Spataro and Frank Shaw

Jared Spataro and Frank Shaw discuss M365 news

4.1 Cortana

4.1.1. Cortana enhancements coming to Microsoft Teams, Outlook and Windows 10

Cortana, the personal productivity assistant in Microsoft 365, is getting enhancements in Microsoft Teams, Outlook and Windows 10. Updates and timing are as follows:

  • Cortana voice assistance is becoming generally available in Microsoft Teams displays, a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices, to offer hands-free experiences to join a meeting, make a call, send chat messages, share files and more. Availability is starting in September in English in the United States and in the coming months in English in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and India. Cortana voice assistance will also be introduced later this year in Microsoft Teams Rooms devices to offer touchless experiences to join and end meetings in shared spaces in English in the United States.
  • Your daily briefing email from Cortana is becoming generally available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users in English starting in September and will get updates in the coming months to streamline meeting preparation, integrate with Microsoft To Do, support planning for the week ahead and offer specialized insights for people managers seeking to strengthen connections with their team.
  • Play My Emails, the Outlook mobile experience that lets you listen and respond to what’s new in your inbox hands-free using Cortana, will start rolling out in the coming months in English in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and India. The feature is already available in Outlook for iOS and Android in English in the United States. With updates this month to Outlook for iOS in English in the United States, users can interact with their inbox while their phone is in their pocket, initiate a call with the sender of an email to move the conversation forward in real time, play emails from a specific person, time or topic, and connect multiple eligible accounts to the experience.
  • Cortana in Windows 10, the chat-based app that helps you save time finding what you need and stay on track, is receiving a series of updates starting in September to support searching for documents and composing quick emails in English in the United States. In addition, the app can now be invoked hands-free using the wake word in English in the United States and the United Kingdom. Updates are coming early next year to streamline meeting preparation.

Learn more about this update.

4.2 Excel

4.2.1 Excel users now can connect to live Power BI datasets and use PivotTables and other tools

Excel users now can discover and connect to live Power BI datasets to work with the data using familiar tools, such as PivotTables, without having to leave the application. The data is connected to live Power BI data, so it can be refreshed easily. Any sensitivity labels or Certified and Promoted labels carry through to Excel, giving users confidence they’re getting data that’s been vetted by IT or experts at the company while helping ensure the security of the organization’s data and preventing accidental loss or misuse.

Learn more about this update.

4.3 Insights and wellbeing

4.3.1. New wellbeing and productivity insights and features in Microsoft Teams and Outlook

To help customers thrive and build resilience in the new world of work, new wellbeing and productivity insights and features, powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics, are coming to Microsoft Teams. Individuals, managers and leaders will get personalized insights and suggested actions to enable change and create wellbeing.

Personal insights for wellbeing in Teams will help you strengthen relationships with important people in your network and make time for important tasks that require focus. New features available next year will allow you to schedule a virtual commute in the morning and mindfully disconnect in the evening. They will also help you create dedicated moments of mindfulness with apps like Headspace and tune into how you and your team are feeling through an emotional check-in. Key personal productivity insights, such as suggested tasks for the day, will be delivered to your Outlook inbox at the start of the day with a daily briefing email from Cortana. That feature will be generally available starting in September.

Organizational insights and capabilities from Workplace Analytics in Teams will help managers and leaders spot and address trends with their employees’ experiences. For example, insights will help leaders understand if employees are maintaining connections with colleagues and customers, or if they are at risk for burnout from long workdays and meeting overload.

Except where otherwise noted, these capabilities will start rolling out in October.

Learn more about this update.

4.4 IT Pro

4.4.1. Microsoft Endpoint Manager introduces Microsoft Tunnel for remote access to on-premises resources, support for Shared iPad for Business, Windows Virtual Desktop and more

As many organizations continue to support remote work or expand into a new hybrid work scenario, it is critical to enable users to be secure and productive from anywhere across their devices. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is excited to announce the public preview of several features to both improve end-user experience and simplify IT practices. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is a leading unified endpoint management solution, incorporating Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager. It provides app and device management powered by intelligent cloud tools and is natively integrated with Microsoft endpoint security solutions.

Among the updates:

  • Microsoft Tunnel, a remote access solution integrated with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, enables iOS and Android devices to connect to on-premises apps and resources to be productive on the go. Microsoft Tunnel supports full-device and per-app virtual private networks (VPN) and split tunneling, and ties into Conditional Access to help ensure your devices are compliant with policy before allowing access to your network. Available in public preview.
  • Microsoft Endpoint Manager will now support management of virtual endpoints, so you can manage your Windows Virtual Desktop endpoints, or third-party Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, right alongside your physical PCs within the same console. This will be available in public preview by the end of 2020.
  • Customers are looking to leverage Microsoft for managing all their endpoints, and we now provide a first-class management experience on the macOS to meet the productivity needs most important for our Mac admins. New capabilities include the ability to deploy scripts to devices, new enrollment experiences with single sign-on (SSO) across apps and new managed app lifecycle features from Apple. Available in public preview.
  • Microsoft is excited to announce support for Shared iPad for Business that will allow customers to deploy shared iPads to their users and have them log in with their Azure Active Directory (AAD) work accounts into separate partitions of the device. The Shared iPad for Business UI is built into Microsoft Endpoint Manager and provides a seamless experience for users needing to get work done on a personal iPad, including having a separate device passcode for each user. Available in public preview.

Learn more about this update.

4.4.2. New administrative capabilities and tools available in public preview for Office deployment

New capabilities and tools for Office deployment are now available in public preview. They enable IT pros to stay current, deliver all the latest value to business much faster, provide benefits that lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) and maximize their Microsoft 365 Apps investment.

The new capabilities and tools include:

  • Insights and controls that provide a deep view into the Office client apps in your environment and allow you to take action quickly and with confidence. Features include consent and opt-in to manage enterprise devices via the cloud easily; view inventory for add-ins and devices; set a goal and timeline for security patch compliance; and see the current security patch compliance​.
  • Predictable servicing automation that provides less disruption over smaller updates, optimized network utilization and a streamlined process. Features include new Monthly Enterprise Channel adding Patch Tuesday predictability, and the ability to roll back to a previous build or skip an upcoming build for Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) devices under your tenants. ​
  • Office app health and remediation capabilities that help increase the performance, reliability and security of Office apps. Features include an overview of tenant app health; alerts for any reliability and performance regressions; reliability metrics by app and channel, plus performance metrics by app and channel; health details by app and by build; see activity in recommended channels; diagnostics data coverage; list of devices with crash count; and time trends for performance and reliability.

Learn more about this update.

4.4.3. Productivity Score adds three additional categories ahead of October general availability

Productivity Score, previously announced, will be generally available by the end of October with three additional categories to help organizations understand and empower great work with powerful technology.

Productivity Score focuses on two areas, the Employee Experience and the Technology Experience, which provide visibility into how your organization works, insights to identify where you can make improvements, and actions you can take to update skills and systems so everyone can do their best work.

At general availability, Productivity Score will introduce three new categories. Two categories in Employee Experience will focus on Meetings and Teamwork. As organizations continue to evolve how they meet and work together in teams, understanding best practices and technologies that ensure inclusive, consistent and effective ways of working together is critical.

In addition, Productivity Score adds a new category to Technology Experience: Microsoft 365 Apps health. This category provides insights into performance and currency, making critical apps up-to-date, secure and able to support employee workflows.

These three new categories — in addition to visibility, insights and actions in Content Collaboration, Mobility, Network Connectivity, Communications and Endpoint Analytics — will help ensure organizations can get the most out of their Microsoft 365 investment, quickly evolve to help ensure business resilience and achieve their digital transformation goals.

Learn more about this update.

4.5 Outlook

4.5.1. Bookings to get refreshed UI and feature updates

Bookings gives organizations a faster alternative to time-consuming and repetitive scheduling tasks. It has built-in flexibility and customization options designed to fit a variety of scheduling needs, helping organizations spend less time scheduling and more time meeting with customers and end users.

Updates to Bookings will include a new user experience, with a fresh design built for versatility. New features and product enhancements enable further customization and organization wide control of how Bookings is used and deployed.

Learn more about this update.

4.5.2. New Outlook mobile enhancements for more flexibility and control

Several enhancements to Outlook for iOS and Android will personalize your mobile experience, expand what you can do with your voice and streamline contact management. These updates are designed to help you stay connected securely and get things done at any time, including when you need flexibility to work remotely. Here’s what’s new for Outlook mobile:

  • Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS and Android to soon be available in Canada, Australia, India and the United Kingdom. And in September, you can ask Cortana to read out emails from specific people, time frame and topics in iOS.
  • Voice commands for email composition, calling and scheduling available in October.
  • Sync contact folders with your phone by category available in October.
  • Reactions to emails with emojis without filling your inbox available later this year.
  • QR connect to simplify how you get the app and authenticate your work account available late October.

Learn more about this update.

4.5.3. New Outlook for Mac uses Microsoft Sync technology, features support OS updates

The new Outlook for Mac, available for all Outlook for Mac users by next month, is built using Microsoft Sync technology for enhanced performance and reliability. Outlook is part of the Office for Mac app suite, which is designed with specific elements and support for macOS Big Sur to help Mac users feel at home. The rollout of widget support across apps and enhancements to Outlook for the Apple Watch and iOS14 helps users stay connected across a variety of Apple devices.

The new Outlook for Mac will be available via a New Outlook toggle that will transfer the user seamlessly to the new experience.

Learn more about this update.

4.6 Project Cortex

4.6.1. Introducing SharePoint Syntex, enterprise content management using advanced AI to deliver understanding

Last year we announced Project Cortex, a Microsoft 365 initiative to empower people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day using advanced AI. Based on customer feedback provided during private preview, we will be making these AI-powered capabilities available to customers as a set of unique innovations.

The first product we will deliver is SharePoint Syntex, which uses advanced AI to automate the capture, ingestion and categorization of content to accelerate processes, improve compliance, and facilitate knowledge discovery and reuse. This AI-powered content understanding builds on the foundational content services of SharePoint to deliver content management superpowers.

SharePoint Syntex lets you teach AI to read a document and extract information as you would with no-code AI models. It then uses your models to automatically process content, extract information and apply metadata. With rich metadata, you can find and work with content more easily, as well as automatically apply sensitivity and retention labels to manage compliance and streamline processes, such as flagging files that deserve attention.

SharePoint Syntex will be available to purchase for Microsoft 365 commercial customers on Oct. 1. In addition to SharePoint Syntex, we’ll be releasing new services later this year that organize information into topics and deliver knowledge to enable a rich employee experience throughout Microsoft 365.

Learn more about this update.

4.7.1. New Microsoft Search innovations will be with you wherever you’re working

New innovations for Microsoft Search coming later this year will make it easier than ever to find what you need, from wherever you work.

In Microsoft Teams, a new search experience lets you find answers, people, files, meetings and messages in the context of a chat or channel. Microsoft Search will also bring personalized search results to Windows desktop’s search box, creating a coherent search experience across desktop search, Office.com, SharePoint, Bing and Edge.

AI-powered augmentation of user profiles with skills and projects will improve expertise location, and a new AI-enriched image search lets you find photos, logos and other images across the organization.

The general availability of Microsoft Graph connectors lets you search across not only Microsoft 365, but dozens of external services as well, in addition to over 100 unique connectors from our partners.

Microsoft Search Admin Feedback in Microsoft 365 will provide the ability for employees to submit feedback to their administrator for the search experience to help keep its users engaged through understanding the value of results or a person’s individual search success rate. The new feedback feature in Microsoft Search will allow people to securely provide feedback to the search administrator on the quality of their search results, suggest answers and be a partner in the lifecycle of search in an organization. An improved usage and analytics experience will help you better understand how search is being used in your organization to help you improve your employees’ search experience.

Microsoft Search will also increase its reach across Microsoft services to include integration with Azure Cognitive Search so you can create a “boundary-less” cohesive and coherent search experience, and display query results from existing Azure Cognitive Search indices, such as those powering mobile, web and custom line-of-business applications.

Learn more about this update.

4.8 SharePoint and Yammer

4.8.1. New Microsoft 365 tools support and strengthen workplace communication

A set of new Microsoft 365 tools for workplace communications will enable organizations to boost the visibility of news and announcements, better connect employees to leadership and foster a tighter workplace community. These new features are:

  • Boost feature in SharePoint. Communicators can prioritize key news and announcements to show at the top of employee feeds using settings like boost until read, until viewed X times, based on dates or other settings.
  • Share To functionality. Communicators can share news items to SharePoint, email, Teams and Yammer with a single click.
  • Yammer All Company feed and guaranteed delivery. Share news and announcements via the All Company feed in Yammer and guarantee delivery to employee inboxes.
  • Insights for communicators. Community admins and corporate communicators can understand their reach, impact and engagement across Microsoft 365 with new analytics capabilities from SharePoint. They include dwell time on content, heatmap views of interaction and automatic analytics digest powered by AI, combined with features from Yammer, such as better insights with updated Community Insights, as well as more detailed analytics for Live Events and Question and Answers.
  • Built-in templates. Organizations can quickly deploy robust scenarios leveraging all parts of Microsoft 365, like a leadership connection site, with built-in templates that they can easily customize to their needs and scenarios.

Learn more about this update.

4.8.2. Crowdsourcing to play a bigger role in sharing knowledge and connecting experts in Yammer

Allowing people to connect and share knowledge across an organization has never been more important, and in the coming months new features will be rolled out to Yammer that will enable that to happen:

  • Crowdsourcing and upvoting of answers to questions: People will be able to “vote up” specific replies to a question in Yammer.
  • Communities that include external guests using Azure B2B: Communities’ admins can invite users from outside their organization to participate in the conversation.

Learn more about this update.

4.9 Microsoft Stream

4.9.1. Reimagined Stream makes video sharing simple across Microsoft 365

Microsoft Stream — the intelligent video app in Microsoft 365 — is being reimagined and rebuilt to integrate seamlessly with applications across the suite, so you can create, share and discover video as easily as an Office document. The new Stream will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

With video that will be stored in Microsoft 365, the new experience builds on the rich content management features of SharePoint and unlocks the intelligence of Microsoft Graph to deliver long-awaited features including external and anonymous sharing, integration with Microsoft Search, enhanced analytics, improved transcript quality, and new controls for security and compliance.

For customers using classic Stream, the transition to the new Stream will be supported over the coming months, with a phased introduction of new features in Microsoft 365, migration tools and guidance.

Learn more about this update.

4.10 Microsoft Teams

4.10.1. New Calling features are coming soon to Microsoft Teams

A number of enhancements are coming later this year for the Calling experience within Microsoft Teams, including a streamlined view that shows contacts, voicemail and calling history at once, making it easier to initiate or return a call with a single click.

Other enhancements are:

  • Collaborative Calling, which enables customers to connect a Call Queue to a Teams Channel. Users can collaborate and share information in the channel while taking calls in the queue. This feature is ideal for scenarios such as an IT help desk or HR hotline. IT admins can quickly connect call queues to specific channels, and team owners can manage the settings.
  • Popular meeting features to be available for 1:1 calls. These include transcription, live captions, recording and the ability to transfer between Teams mobile and desktop apps. Transcripts and recordings are saved in the chat window after a call. These features can be enabled via the control bar within the Call window.
  • Microsoft Teams display, a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana, will be generally available in the coming weeks. With natural language, users can ask Cortana to join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat and more.
  • For customers looking to modernize their phones, Microsoft is working with AudioCodes, Poly and Yealink to bring a new line of affordable Microsoft Teams phones designed for common areas. In addition, the portfolio of Teams devices is expanding with new USB peripherals that have dial pads and a modern Teams user interface.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.2. Enhancements to Teams chat and channel conversations will streamline communication

New features for chat and channel conversations in Teams are now available or coming soon, including:

  • Team templates, available now, make setting up a new team even easier. Template options include a predefined set of channels, tabs, apps and settings catered to industry-specific and role-based scenarios. Templates include common activities such as project management and employee onboarding, as well as industry-specific and Firstline Worker templates, such as Organize a Store, Retail Manager Collaboration and Collaborate on Patient Care. IT professionals can also create custom templates for their organization, allowing them to standardize team structures, surface relevant apps and scale best practices.
  • Info pane, available now, provides an at-a-glance summary of active members, important posts and other relevant information in each channel. This is valuable for new members getting up to speed or existing members who want to stay in the know.
  • Increased size limit of 25,000 members for individual teams is coming later this year. Although there is already no limit on the number of people in a Teams tenant, the size limit for individual teams is increasing to support up to 25,000 members.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.3. New Microsoft Teams experiences improve collaboration and make meetings better

A host of new features are coming to Teams to make meetings more dynamic, inclusive and engaging. Several new Together mode scenes are coming later this year, including various auditoriums, conference rooms and a coffee shop. Presenters will soon be able to select a scene from the gallery as the default scene for all meeting attendees. In addition, Together mode will be enhanced with a feature that uses machine learning to automatically scale and center participants in their virtual seats, regardless of how close or far they are from their camera.

In addition, custom layouts will allow presenters to customize how meeting content shows up for participants during the meeting. For example, they can choose for participants to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the content being presented on screen. This feature uses the same AI segmentation technology employed by background blur and Together mode to deliver a more dynamic content viewing experience where presenters can easily direct their audiences’ attention through hand gestures and facial cues, without making the viewer choose between the speaker and the content.

Breakout rooms, coming before the end of this calendar year, will allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms and close the rooms to return everyone to the main meeting.

More than 20 partner apps are coming this October with meetings extensibility moving to general availability, allowing Teams users to customize their Teams meeting experience with third-party apps. HireVue, ServiceNow, Range, Buncee and PagerDuty are among the apps expected to roll out in the coming months. Once available, these apps can be accessed from either AppSource or the Teams store, and can be added by the meeting organizer when they schedule the meeting.

In addition, live captions with speaker attribution is now generally available. And after a meeting, a recap with the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files and more will be shared with participants in the meeting Chat tab and viewable in the Details tab for each meeting. This will help teams stay on track and keep their work moving forward after the meeting is over.

Teams meetings are growing to support up to 1,000 participants with the full meeting experience. For larger meetings and events that require additional control, Teams can seamlessly scale to support 20,000 participants in a view-only meeting experience that includes the ability to use live captions. These new capabilities are available to customers with the new Advanced Communications plan.

For more structured meetings, such as customer presentations, attendee registration with automated emails makes it easier to manage attendance and view a reporting dashboard after the meeting to help understand attendee engagement. And with new production tools like NDI for Microsoft Teams, anyone can transform a Teams meeting into a virtual stage by converting each participant’s video into a discrete video source that can be used for professional media broadcasts or streaming to social communities through the production tool of your choice.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.4. Virtual healthcare in Microsoft Teams enhanced with electronic health record integration

In response to the global pandemic, many healthcare organizations have ramped up their telehealth offerings to enable remote doctor visits, supporting their telehealth workflows with Microsoft Teams. The new Microsoft Teams EHR connector, now in private preview, will allow clinicians and patients to launch a virtual patient visit or consult with another provider in Teams directly from their EHR system. This will streamline the experience for doctors and patients, helping support a higher quality of care.

The Epic EHR system will be the first to integrate with Teams in this way, and Teams will be available in the Epic App Orchard later this year, enabling customers to launch an EHR-connected virtual visit in Teams directly from the Epic EHR system. Support for other EHR systems is coming soon.

In addition, the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) will integrate with Microsoft Teams, securely capturing and contextualizing physician-patient conversations within Microsoft Teams and providing automated clinical documentation for telehealth visits. The Nuance DAX and Teams integration is available in private preview.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.5. New Microsoft Teams capabilities support firstline workers as the digital transformation of essential work accelerates

A range of updates and new features in Microsoft Teams will help keep firstline employees connected, productive and feeling recognized in a time when these essential workers are at the forefront of business continuity.

The new capabilities are:

  • Shifts schedule assistance, now available, which alerts managers of scheduling conflicts discovered during the creation of schedules or approval of schedule change requests. This feature saves the manager’s time, makes scheduling more efficient and reduces inaccuracies.
  • Tagging by shift, now available, allows Teams messages to be targeted to recipient groups based on their role and the shift they are working, such as a message sent to all nurses currently on duty. Users are automatically assigned to tags based on their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, which allows for integration with major workforce management systems, including AMiON, JDA and Kronos.
  • Off-shift access controls, now available, let IT administrators configure Teams to alert employees when they are accessing the app on their personal device outside working hours. This feature helps ensure employees are not involuntarily working while not on shift and helps employers to comply with labor regulations.
  • Customizable Praise badges, now available, enable organizations to customize employee recognition with company branding and values. IT admins, in partnership with employee engagement teams like HR, can configure new Praise badges in the Teams Admin Center, and managers and team members can send praise to co-workers by clicking the Praise icon beneath the message compose box in any channel.
  • The integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted devices is now available, enabling field workers to remain 100% hands-free using a voice-controlled user interface while maintaining situational awareness in loud and hazardous environments. Firstline workers using RealWear HMT-1 and HMT-1Z1 devices can collaborate with a remote expert using video calling in Teams, access chats and other resources using only voice commands and conduct calls and field operations completely hands-free. By showing what they see in real time, field workers can accelerate the time to resolve issues, obtain approvals and reduce expensive downtime.
  • Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie, now available on Android, is a push-to-talk experience that turns employee- or company-owned Android devices into walkie-talkies for instant and secure voice communication over the cloud using cellular network or Wi-Fi. This native built-in app in Teams reduces the number of devices employees must carry and helps lower IT costs. Customers who currently use analog radio devices would no longer need to worry about crosstalk or eavesdropping from outsiders or the limited range of radio, as Walkie Talkie works over Wi-Fi or cellular data. And for teams not yet enabled with a push-to-talk experience, Walkie Talkie in Teams enables instant team communication with preconfigured channels set to have the right conversation with the right people. Teams Walkie Talkie is natively integrated with purpose-built devices from BlueParrott, Klein Electronics and Samsung, including the new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro with dedicated push-to-talk button, so companies can now choose from an assortment of industrial form factors to suit their needs.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.6. New meeting room experiences support the hybrid workplace

As many organizations move from all-remote work to supporting employees across a hybrid of remote and onsite work arrangements, new Microsoft Teams Rooms capabilities will enable social distancing, touchless meeting experiences and more inclusive, collaborative experiences for people joining meetings from home.

These new features, unless otherwise noted, will be available by the end of the year:

  • Meeting room capacity notifications. Using data from meeting room cameras equipped with people-counting technology, this feature alerts in-room meeting participants if the room is over capacity based on capacity data defined by the IT administrator.
  • Four features to support touchless experiences:
    • Room remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms. Through a new experience in the Teams mobile app, a user can control in-room devices without touching the center console. Controls include join and leave the meeting, mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, and turn cameras on and off.
    • Support for Cortana voice assistance on Microsoft Teams Rooms. With a simple spoken command, users can join and end the meeting without touching the room console. Additional commands will be added over time.
    • Proximity Join on Surface Hub. Users can join a meeting on Surface Hub from their own PC or mobile device. In the meeting pre-join experience, the nearby room audio device will populate, allowing users to select the room device they want to use, and join using the meeting room audio and video. Meanwhile, the user’s personal PC or mobile device joins automatically muted to avoid audio feedback. This experience is also currently available for Microsoft Teams Rooms.
    • Teams casting for Microsoft Teams Rooms. For ad-hoc, in-person sessions, Teams casting allows you to wirelessly connect and display content on a nearby Teams Rooms device directly from a smartphone. Over time, this capability will also be made available to PCs.
  • Teams panels. This new category of devices can be mounted outside a meeting space to streamline space management, providing users with the ability to view space and meeting details, reserve a space, view upcoming reservations and easily identify current availability status. Users can also view the building floor plan and book another room using the “Nearby Rooms” feature.
  • Coordinated meetings on Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub. Surface Hub and Microsoft Teams Rooms device coordination enables users to operate both types of devices in the same room, during the same meeting. One device manages the audio and video while the other joins automatically muted to avoid audio feedback. With this feature, users can maximize screen real estate by using the front of room display to show attendees in the meeting gallery, while Surface Hub is used to conduct a collaborative whiteboarding session. With the whiteboard experience on Surface Hub and Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams, people can draw and ink together on the same canvas, no matter their location. Additionally, Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub will display new video gallery views including the 7×7 grid view and Together mode.
  • New meeting room management capabilities in the Teams Admin Center. Teams Admin Center now offers an improved portal experience for managing calling and meeting devices including Teams phones, Teams displays and Teams Rooms, all from one location. New features include device health monitoring alerts for immediate troubleshooting, and secure delegation to a dedicated device management admin role or Microsoft partner.
  • Additional management capabilities in Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium. Following the general availability of Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium in July, new monitoring capabilities — including security monitoring and firmware update management — will be included in the service by the end of the calendar year 2020.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.7. New Microsoft 365 capabilities make Teams an even richer hub for collaboration

A host of new capabilities coming to Microsoft 365 can be accessed in Teams, making it an even more powerful hub for collaborating and finding company information, insights and apps. Note that some of these items are also noted in other entries within the Book of News.

  • Wellbeing features and productivity insights powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics are coming to Microsoft Teams starting in October. Individuals, managers and business leaders will get insights personalized to their role with recommended actions to make changing habits and improving productivity and wellbeing easier. New personal wellbeing features like a virtual commute, integration with apps like Headspace and an emotional check-in experience will be available next year.
  • A new search experience in Teams, powered by Microsoft Search and available by the end of 2020, will make finding messages, people and files faster and more intuitive. A redesigned search results page provides better context and faster results, with AI-powered relevance based on the people and content you engage with most in Teams and other Microsoft 365 services.
  • The new home site app brings the power of your SharePoint home site and the rest of your intranet directly into Teams to give employees a gateway to their organization’s intranet, with customizable naming, branding and multilevel navigation to teams, communities and resources. Coming later this year, the app name and icon match the brand for your organization and can be pinned to the app bar in Teams, providing quick access to search and a personalized view of news and important sites.
  • Create tasks from chat and channels, available in the next few weeks. Quickly create tasks right from any Teams chat or channel conversation without having to switch apps or windows. Select More options on a Teams message to choose Create task and track in the Tasks app.
  • Yammer integration, available later this year. People using the new Yammer Communities app in Teams will be able to see Yammer notifications in the Teams activity feed and can find Yammer conversations using the Teams search bar.
  • Stream playback performance and new features are coming to Teams meetings recordings by the end of the year as part of the new Stream experience. Updates include external and anonymous sharing, integration with Microsoft Search, enhanced analytics, improved transcript quality, quicker access to recordings, and new controls for security and compliance.

Learn more about this update.

4.10.8. Updates to Power Platform in Microsoft Teams make it easier to use low-code apps, bots and automated workflows

New updates to Power Platform capabilities in Teams make it easier for anyone to automate workflows, build and use apps and bots, and work with data all in one place.

A new Power Automate app in Teams, coming this year, makes it easier to automate workflows, with easy-to-use templates and a simpler building experience. Power Automate will also enable automatic approval processes in Teams, including the ability to integrate e-sign services such as Adobe Sign to automate the signature process.

Enhancements to the Power BI app for Teams, coming in public preview later this year, will make it easier to discover data from across the organization and quickly create visualizations from Excel datasets right within Teams, collaborate more effectively and make decisions based on real-time insight. The app creates a centralized place for users to find and analyze data, while enhancing usage of Excel and Teams with embedded channel, chat and meeting experiences.

Project Oakdale, a new built-in low-code data platform for Teams that provides enterprise relational datastores with rich data types to Teams users, is now in public preview. Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents apps for Teams, both coming this year, include embedded app and bot creation studios, so anyone can build an app or bot without leaving Teams.

Solutions built with Power Platform can be easily published to the Teams app store and can be used off the shelf or customized for specific needs. Power Virtual Agents bots can identify the user interacting with them and respond with personalized, user-specific returns. For example, an employee who queries a bot about company HR policies could be provided with the specific policies applicable to their region or country.

Learn more about this update.

5. SECURITY, COMPLIANCE AND IDENTITY Security news with Vasu Jakkal and Frank Shaw

Vasu Jakkal and Frank Shaw discuss Security news

5.1 Security

5.1.1 Microsoft Defender now offers threat protection across M365 and Azure

Microsoft is announcing new features that extend its threat protection portfolio, and is unifying solutions across Microsoft 365 security and Azure security to deliver the most comprehensive extended detection and response (XDR) on the market. Microsoft Defender, now inclusive of Microsoft 365 Defender and Azure Defender, prevents, detects and responds to threats across identities, endpoints, applications, email, infrastructure and cloud platforms and self-heals affected assets.

Microsoft Threat Protection is now Microsoft 365 Defender, the XDR for end-user environments.

  • Protecting every major OS: Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and is extending protection for the rapidly evolving world of mobile threats. For Android, it provides protection against phishing, offers proactive scanning of malicious applications and files, blocks access to corporate resources to mitigate the impact of breaches, and gives security teams visibility into mobile threats and alerts via the security center. For iOS, customers will also get phishing and web protection and the same unified SecOps experience. Support for macOS has been expanded with the public preview of threat and vulnerability management.
  • Protecting priority email accounts: Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Office 365. Now in public preview, security teams can prioritize protection for the most visible and most targeted individuals in the organization, tagging and tracking them in the portal as Priority accounts.
  • In addition, Azure Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Identity and continues to provide customers with hybrid identity threat protection

Azure Security Center’s cloud workload protection features are now Azure Defender, the XDR for Azure and hybrid resources, including virtual machines, databases, containers and IoT. Azure Security Center remains the central dashboard, providing cloud security posture management capabilities with Azure Secure Score, and offering deeper insights and recommendations for Azure Defender and other Azure Security Center capabilities post Ignite. The new Azure Defender will be the default experience later in September and can be accessed now here.

  • Protecting SQL databases and virtual machines anywhere: With Azure Arc support, Azure Defender now protects SQL servers on-premises and in multicloud environments as well as virtual machines in other clouds, and simplifies onboarding and management of these resources.
  • Enhanced protection for containers: As containers and specifically Kubernetes are becoming more widely used, the Azure Defender for Kubernetes offering has been extended to include Kubernetes-level policy management, hardening and enforcement with admission control to make sure that Kubernetes workloads are secured by default. In addition, container image scanning by Azure Defender for Container Registries will now support continuous scanning of container images to minimize the exploitability of running containers.
  • Protecting IoT in operational technology networks: Azure Security Center for IoT is now Azure Defender for IoT. With the recent acquisition of CyberX, Azure Defender for IoT now offers agentless security for IoT devices in the OT networks customers depend on for safety, health, food, water, energy, transportation and national defense. The integration enables continuous IoT/OT asset discovery, vulnerability management and threat monitoring for both greenfield and brownfield devices. Integration with Azure Sentinel, the security information and event manager (SIEM), provides OT-specific SOAR playbooks plus unified security monitoring and governance across both IT and OT networks.

For holistic threat protection across the entire estate, Microsoft Defender now integrates with cloud-native SIEM Azure Sentinel for visibility and actionable insights enterprise-wide. Azure Sentinel aggregates and analyzes data from Microsoft Defender and other Microsoft and third-party systems to provide an end-to-end view of an attack, prioritize the most critical threats and respond via automation playbooks. Defenders can easily connect any data with built-in connectors.

Learn more about Microsoft Defender, Azure Defender and Azure Sentinel.

5.1.2 Microsoft 365 integrates Application Guard with Office to keep users productive and protected

Microsoft 365 is integrating Application Guard with Office and connecting it to Safe Documents, providing a single, complete experience for users that allows them to be productive and protected. The features, now in public preview, allow Microsoft 365 E5 customers to edit, print and save changes to Office documents from outside their organization and still be protected with hardware-backed security.

With Application Guard, users will open documents in a secure, virtual container with its own instance of Windows 10 in a separate copy of the kernel. If the untrusted file is malicious, the attack is contained while user data and identity remain untouched. When a user wants to trust a document to save on the network or start collaborating in real time, Safe Documents will first check the document against known risks and threat profiles before allowing it to open.

Microsoft 365 also added integration with the Windows platform Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) to scan Excel 4.0 macros, helping to further defeat obfuscation and evasion that an attacker may employ.

The power of these capabilities comes from seamless integration among Microsoft 365 Apps, Windows 10 and Microsoft Defender for Endpoints (formerly Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection).

Learn more about this update.

5.2 Compliance

5.2.1 Simplify compliance and reduce risk with the next generation of Compliance Manager

In addition to the talent shortage and complexity of compliance management, customers also face the need to comply with an increased volume and frequency of regulations, with hundreds of updates a day globally. Additionally, the complexity of regulations makes it challenging for organizations to know specific actions to take and their impact.

The new Compliance Manager offers a vast library of assessments for expanded regulatory coverage, built-in automation to detect tenant settings and step-by-step guidance for intuitive compliance management. Compliance Manager translates complex regulatory requirements to specific controls, and through compliance scores provides a quantifiable measure of compliance. Generally available today, the new Compliance Manager brings together the existing Compliance Manager and Compliance Score solutions in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.

Now, with the ability to access a library of more than 150 out-of-the-box and scalable assessments in Compliance Manager, customers can address industry- and region-specific requirements, while also meeting multiple requirements through a single action.

Customers also have compliance needs that extend beyond Microsoft 365 that may be unique. The flexibility of custom assessments allows customers to extend compliance management beyond Microsoft 365 to meet their specific compliance needs.

Learn more about this update.

5.2.2 Extending Microsoft 365 Compliance ecosystem with new connectors, APIs; public preview of data loss prevention capabilities extended to Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS)

Microsoft 365 Compliance capabilities are being extended with the general availability of third-party connectors in partnership with Globanet and TeleMessage, as well as new Microsoft Graph APIs, including Microsoft Teams Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Teams Export and eDiscovery automation.

In a recent poll of security decision makers, Microsoft found that data leakage is the top concern in remote and hybrid work scenarios. To provide greater visibility into your data, wherever it lives, Microsoft is making new connectors available in partnership with Globanet and TeleMessage that can pull data from other apps into Microsoft 365 Compliance (including Microsoft Information Protection, Insider Risk Management, Communication Compliance and eDiscovery) to help customers reason over, protect and govern that data. These new connectors include SMS/text connectors for various telecom operators and other collaboration platforms.

In addition, Microsoft is announcing the extension of unified data loss prevention (DLP) to Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS), now in public preview. This enables customers to extend Microsoft’s data loss prevention policy enforcement framework to native (e.g., OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.) and third-party cloud apps for a consistent and seamless compliance experience.

A key ask from our partners and customers is the ability to access Microsoft 365 Compliance solutions and integrate them with existing applications and services that are part of broader compliance, security and operations (SecOps) ecosystems, including Symantec, McAfee and Relativity.

These APIs are part of the broader Microsoft Graph ecosystem and include:

  • Teams Data Loss Prevention (DLP) API: Allows third-party products to integrate and enable data loss prevention capabilities for Microsoft Teams.
  • eDiscovery API: Allows the automation of Advanced eDiscovery processes, including case creation and the entire legal hold notification workflow, to communicate with custodians involved in a case.
  • Teams Export API: Allows the export of Teams Messages (1:1 and group chat) along with attachments (file links and sticker), emojis, GIFs and user @Mentions. This API supports polling daily Teams messages and allows archiving of deleted messages up to 30 days.

Learn more about this update.

5.2.3 Additional security and compliance features, including Advanced eDiscovery, being added to Microsoft Teams

As Microsoft Teams usage has grown with the shift to remote work, customers are looking for seamless integration to keep their data and employees secure and compliant.

Today, Microsoft is announcing Customer Key support for Teams. Microsoft helps keep Teams data safe by encrypting it while at rest in Microsoft datacenters. Now we are extending this capability to enable customers to add a layer of encryption using their own keys for Teams, similar to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive.

With the volume of business conversations happening now in Microsoft Teams, we are also adding additional compliance features, including:

  • Insider Risk Management now offers native integration with Microsoft Teams to securely coordinate, collaborate and communicate on a case with relevant stakeholders in the organization. When an Insider Risk management case is created, a private Microsoft Teams team will also be created and bound to the case for its duration. This Microsoft Teams team will, by default, include insider risk management analysts and investigators, and additional contributors such as HR and Legal, can be added as appropriate. With Teams integration, stakeholders can:
    • Use channel conversations to coordinate and track review/response activities.
    • Share, store and review relevant files and associated evidence.
  • Advanced eDiscovery now supports live documents and links shared in Microsoft Teams. Advanced eDiscovery automatically collects documents from a storage location, such as SharePoint or OneDrive, to pull the content into an eDiscovery case. The attachments are collected, reviewed and exported along with the Teams conversations so customers don’t need to manually find and collect the documents one by one.
  • Retention policies for Microsoft Teams meeting recording allow customers to retain and delete recordings with in-place governance, which means the retention policies apply wherever the recordings are saved without the need to export elsewhere. The rollout for this begins in October. Microsoft will provide guidance on how to leverage Keyword Query Languages to create retention policies for Teams meeting recording.
  • Microsoft will provide Teams-specific actions in Compliance Manager at general availability. This will provide guidance around improvement and implementation of actions you can take to help align with protection regulations and standards.

Learn more about this update.

5.3 Identity

5.3.1 Microsoft partners with the MilGears program of the U.S. Department of Defense to pilot Decentralized Identity, helping veterans create a career path for the future

Microsoft is partnering with the MilGears program for the U.S. Department of Defense and Trident University on a Decentralized Identity pilot, using verifiable credentials. MilGears helps service members plan for their next career steps by highlighting future possibilities and helping them visualize how to reach those goals.

Verifiable credentials are digital cards that prove information about people, organizations and things, based on a new identity open standard. By using verifiable credentials in this program, we are making it faster and easier for military veterans and retiring service members to enroll in higher education and jump-start their civilian careers.

Service members in this pilot program can now have a verified service record and transcript of completed courses in a digital wallet on their phone. They can share this record directly with a university or employer. Universities can validate personal information from service members in seconds without the burden of storing records or other sensitive data. It helps protect privacy for the individual and saves time and resources for organizations.

These new capabilities seamlessly integrate with the existing identity systems. To enable this new type of credential verification, DoD MilGears creates a digital transcript using verifiable credentials. When service members log into their account, they can scan a QR code with the Microsoft Authenticator app, accept the credential and add it as a card in their app.

The credential is now owned by the individual and can be stored locally on the device and shared with a university (for right now, Trident University) or an employer.

Learn more about this update.

5.3.2. New Azure AD Application Proxy capabilities, partner integrations extend secure, seamless access to virtually all legacy apps

Remote access by employees to all applications is the new imperative in a time when remote workforces are becoming more commonplace. Yet, legacy and nonstandard protocols limit secure access to business-critical apps.

New Azure AD Application Proxy capabilities complemented by additional prebuilt secure hybrid access integrations, available by November 2020, will enable organizations to further consolidate their identity management infrastructure and apply consistent Conditional Access policies to their business-critical applications that use legacy authentication protocols.

These new capabilities are:

  1. Support for header-based authentication in Azure Active Directory (AD) Application Proxy to enable organizations to move header-based authentication apps from legacy on-premises authentication systems, and natively connect them to Azure AD. This will be available in public preview by November 2020.
  2. Expansion of secure hybrid access integrations to enable secure single sign-on for legacy applications that require Integrated Windows Authentication, header-based, LDAP, SSH and non-HTTP authorization. New partners include Palo Alto Networks, Cisco AnyConnect, Fortinet, Strata and Kemp.

Administrators can configure these new types of access through the Azure AD portal.

Learn more about this update.

5.3.3. Better user lifecycle management with deep integrations between Azure AD and popular SaaS apps ServiceNow, Adobe

Organizations that adopt popular SaaS applications will get new capabilities to simplify user lifecycle management thanks to the deep integrations between Azure AD and leading SaaS apps. Here are two new integrations:

With ServiceNow’s upcoming Paris Release (September 2020 platform update), IT and hiring managers can automatically provision application access for new hires through Azure AD, increasing productivity for new hires and support teams. This integration automates the whole onboarding workflow from case creation in ServiceNow HR Service Delivery, to role assignment by hiring manager, and application provisioning by IT based on the new hire’s role. This integration is generally available on Sept. 16, 2020. For more details on how to setup this integration, see the Azure AD Spoke in the ServiceNow Integration Hub.

Adobe has announced app provisioning integration with Azure AD based on the SCIM standard for its core Adobe Identity Management platform across Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud. This includes an updated Adobe admin experience based on insights from Microsoft IT. This integration will be in a private preview by the end of September 2020 and publicly available for Azure AD and Adobe customers by December 2020.

Customers can leverage these new features within the app administration consoles.

Learn more about this update.

5.3.4. Azure AD Conditional Access enhancements to manage policies at scale, improve security posture

Conditional Access is a policy engine in Azure Active Directory that helps organizations set granular adaptive access controls for the right balance of security and productivity. The new capabilities will protect users more comprehensively and at scale, with new insights, automation, and at lower total cost of ownership.

Quickly enabling remote work while keeping company data safe presents new challenges in identity and access management and amplifies the old challenges. Organizations need to be able to deploy access policies quickly and at scale and be confident in their coverage.

The new Conditional Access capabilities help admins navigate those challenges, provide additional insights, and enable them to implement the right access policies at scale and with confidence. The capabilities include:

  • Conditional Access APIs in Microsoft Graph to manage all aspects of Conditional Access policies as code, achieving greater scale and automation.
  • Insights and recommendations for enforced Conditional Access policy are now available in the Azure AD advisor tool to help admins understand the gap in policy coverage and troubleshoot issues.

Learn more about this update.

5.4. Azure Security

5.4.1. Azure Security Center enhancements include multi-cloud posture management with Azure Arc, Azure Defender and Azure Security Center Inventory

Azure Security Center security posture management has been extended to give you visibility into the security posture of not just Azure, but also Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services so you now have a preview of unified, multicloud cloud security posture from Azure Security Center.

The threat protection services in Azure Security Center are now rebranded as Azure Defender, and there is a new Azure Defender extended detection and response dashboard experience within Azure Security Center. Customers can quickly see which Azure resources are protected and upgrade protection to ensure all cloud resources are protected. Azure Defender now includes protection for Azure Key Vault, now in general availability. Azure Defender also now supports protecting on-premises and multicloud protection for SQL Server, in addition to the support for virtual machines using Azure Arc for simplified onboarding and management. Now you can view the protection of all your SQL databases and virtual machines regardless of where they are located.

Additionally, a new asset management experience, Azure Security Center Inventory, is now available to make it easier to find specific resources.

Learn more about this update.

5.4.2. Stay ahead of threats with new innovations from Azure Sentinel including User and Entity Behavior Analytics, Threat Intelligence enhancements

Azure Sentinel, a cloud-native Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution, is helping organizations modernize security operations. New analytics, threat intelligence and data collection capabilities empower defenders to combat rapidly evolving threats with increased efficiency.

Some of the latest innovations include built-in behavioral analytics powered by Microsoft’s proven UEBA platform, which helps identify anomalies and extract behavioral insights for threat hunting and detection. Insights are aggregated across multiple data sources to provide a unified host or user profile. For customers that want to bring their own ML models for advanced data analysis, Azure Sentinel now integrates with Azure Machine Learning Jupyter notebooks and offers a framework and cloud-scale data pipeline for ML using Azure Databricks.

Other new capabilities make it easy for customers to manage their threat intelligence, including the ability to search, add and track threat indicators, and create watchlists for threat hunting and detection (e.g., restricted IPs, trusted systems, critical assets, risky users, vulnerable hosts). Azure Sentinel is continuing to deliver new connectors for Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, as well as other clouds and data collection pipelines.

Learn more about this update.

6. WINDOWS, EDGE AND DEVICES 6.1 Windows

6.1.1. Update enables C# .NET5 developers to build Windows Runtime components

A CsWinRT tool update will allow C# .NET5 developers to build Windows Runtime components.

The update, available in public preview in September, enables C# to create Windows Runtime components that can be easily used by other languages supporting Windows Runtime, such as C++, Rust, JavaScript and Python. In addition to the tool support, the update will include support for hosting those components in non-.NET environments.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.2. New MSIX features simplify app development and updates

New capabilities for MSIX will make it easier and quicker to share and update apps and integrate workflows for app development.

Many line-of-business apps rely on shared files or Windows registry settings for interprocess communication. MSIX now allows users to deploy apps to a shared container rather than in a single MSIX container. The new feature is expected to preview later in the year.

A new built-in update service for MSIX apps distributed from third-party websites will make it easy for developers to keep their apps up to date. Developers simply provide metadata about update settings in their MSIX packages, then Windows will periodically look for updates and connect to third-party sites to update the apps. The service is expected to preview early next year.

The MSIX team is also releasing an Azure DevOps extension that will automate and simplify building, packaging, signing and deployment of MSIX packages. Integrating build and deployment workflows for apps that need to be packaged as MSIX into Azure Pipelines can be time-consuming; the new extension, available later this year, streamlines that process and is simple and intuitive to use.

Learn more about this update. 

6.1.3. NuGet packages to enable cloud-friendly development of Windows apps

Responding to requests from developers, the Windows SDK team is releasing NuGet packages to enable building Windows apps in continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines in a more cloud-friendly way.

The Windows SDK will provide NuGet packages for C#, C++ and SDK build tools that developers can reference in their CI/CD pipelines, rather than doing a full Windows SDK install. The capability is currently in public preview and expected to become generally available later this year.

Learn more about this update.

6.1.4. Newest version of React Native for Windows enables easier debugging and more

The latest version of React Native for Windows, a cross-platform mobile application framework, is now available.

Version 0.63 offers new features including automatic linking of native modules, services to allow intermodule communication, better debugging through LogBox functionality and more.

With simple command line tools, developers can use React Native to create new Windows apps or upgrade existing ones to version 0.63.

Learn more about this update. 

6.1.5. New Windows Subsystem for Linux capabilities enhance performance and make install a breeze

New capabilities for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) will enhance performance, provide better support for apps and make it easier than ever to start using the feature.

Support for WSL 2 distributed versions is now available for Windows 10 version 1903 or higher for x64-based systems. That means users of older versions of Windows will enjoy the same fast file performance speeds and full system call compatibility as on Windows 10 version 2004.

We are also introducing an initial preview of support for Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps in the WSL on Insider builds. Available within a few weeks after Ignite 2020, the capability will allow developers to seamlessly incorporate Linux apps into their workflows.

And WSL can now be fully installed simply by running “wsl –install” — making it easier for new users to try WSL and for experienced users to add WSL support to any machine.

Learn more at the Windows Command Line blog and Windows Subsystem for Linux on Microsoft Docs.

6.1.6. New Windows Terminal features enhance productivity and make it easier to navigate

Windows Terminal Preview now has hyperlink support, allowing users to click on links inside their terminal and have them open in their default browser.

Along with hyperlinks, Windows Terminal Preview is adding a jump list so users can open the terminal in a specific profile from the start menu or task bar.

Additionally, a new command palette for Windows Terminal allows users to easily navigate and interact with their terminals by being able to see and access all commands in one place. The palette was previously available only in Windows Terminal Preview.

Learn more at the Windows Command Line blog and Windows Terminal on Microsoft Docs.

6.2 Edge

6.2.1. Microsoft Edge coming to Linux in public preview, with more support for secure remote work and enabling developers to bring Microsoft Edge to any Windows app

Microsoft Edge on Linux, requested by IT pros and developers to help with testing websites, is expected to be available in public preview in October.

For IT pros, Microsoft Edge is providing more secure remote work capabilities with two new experiences. One is the use of mobile application management (MAM), where IT administrators can selectively manage individual work-related apps on a user’s device, instead of needing to manage a user’s whole device. Based on identity, IT admins can just manage the browsing a user does from their work profile in Microsoft Edge.

In addition, Microsoft Edge is the first browser to natively support policies for Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), a suite of features used to discover and protect sensitive items across Microsoft 365 services. DLP enables customers to manage and control their data when accessed from Microsoft Edge, which helps prevent accidental disclosure or leaks while on the web.

Coming soon, IT admins will be able to roll back Microsoft Edge to a previous version, in case deploying a new version inadvertently breaks something within their environment.

For developers, WebView2 will be generally available for C/C++ and .NET by the end of 2020. Once available, any Windows app will be able to embed web content with the power of Microsoft Edge and Chromium. WebView2 provides full web functionality across the spectrum of Windows apps, and it’s decoupled from the OS, so you’re no longer locked to a particular version of Windows.

Also, the new Microsoft Edge DevTools extension for Visual Studio Code is now generally available, enabling seamless workflow for developers as they switch contexts.

Since starting on the journey with the new Microsoft Edge, Microsoft has collaborated with developers from the Chromium community across the web stack. To date, Microsoft engineers have contributed over 3,700 individual commits to the Chromium project, covering a range of focus areas from core accessibility features to developer tools and browser fundamentals.

Learn more about this update.

6.2.2. PDF changes coming to Microsoft Edge include validating certificate-based digital signatures and adding notes for future recall

In Microsoft Edge, users will be able to view and validate certificate-based digital signatures on PDF files, ensuring the documents are in the state intended by the signer. Also, interactive tables of content will be available with the Microsoft Edge PDF viewer, enabling end users to quickly navigate to where they need to go in the PDF.

Users can add notes to PDFs for future recall. Taking notes is especially useful when a user is doing some research, or when they’re collaborating with others in the organization over PDF files. These capabilities will be available in October.

Immediately available is an even easier way to find your work files, colleagues and sites with a new Microsoft Search shortcut in Windows 10. Just type “work” into the Microsoft Edge address bar and hit the “tab” key to begin searching. It’s a convenient way to get to your work-specific content without losing your flow.

Also, with the updated Enterprise New Tab page, information workers will have access to personalized, work-relevant company and industry news feeds, in addition to their Office 365 feed, all on a single page.

Learn more about this update.

6.3 Devices

6.3.1. Surface Hub 2S: Updates and availability of 85-inch model

The Surface Hub 2S 85-inch model will begin shipping to commercial customers in select markets in January 2021, and resellers will begin taking preorder reservations on Sept. 22 in select markets. This new model is a larger version of Surface Hub 2S, the all-in-one teamwork digital whiteboard designed to transform the way people collaborate in the workplace and beyond. It will include Microsoft Teams meeting integration with one-touch meeting join, Microsoft Whiteboard and a third-party app ecosystem.

Additionally, the Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise Surface Hub 2 configuration is now available to all Surface Hub customers for free. This toolset enables customers to maximize their productivity with apps not traditionally available on Surface Hub, allowing them to stand, move around and meet with remote participants more naturally.

Lastly, the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update is now available across all Surface Hub devices. Windows 10 Team 2020 update improves IT integration, device deployment and management capabilities, as well as meeting and collaboration experiences across all first-generation Surface Hub and Surface Hub 2S devices. This update will be available at no additional cost in October.

Learn more about this update.