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Relying on Microsoft products, which have become indispensable to office-goers, the Ignite event only clarified their plans to further hook everyone to their products. Earlier this year, when we wrote about Microsoft making employees lazy, little did we know that eight months later, the company will announce over 100 new updates including advanced AI features to their office suite to further boost employee productivity and make them more dependable. Perhaps, in the process make employees further lazy.
“77% of people who use Copilot told us that they just don’t want to go back to working without it,” said a confident Jared Spataro, CVP Modern Work and Business Applications of Microsoft, at the company’s annual conference for developers and IT professionals – Microsoft Ignite 2023.
Copilot To Steer Employees
Like the word for the day, Microsoft mentioned ‘Copilot’ more than 250 times during the conference. Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced the general availability of copilot for Microsoft 365 at $30 per month (per user). With Copilot integration across Microsoft’s work-suite applications including Teams, Outlook, Excel, and others, a person can integrate information from their emails, meetings, chats, documents and complete tasks.
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Microsoft released findings from a survey conducted with 297 Copilot users in Microsoft 365 Early Access Program. It was found that 70% of copilot users were more productive and 68% said it improved the quality of their work. Microsoft Vice-President, experiences and devices, Rajesh Jha said that Windows 365 has been adopted by over 60% of the Fortune 500 companies.
Copilot brings personalisation by bringing one’s tone. Copilot can analyse a user’s previously sent mail to understand one’s unique style in order to sound like the person. As a result, blurring the lines between a human and machine-generated response.
Furthermore, Microsoft launched Copilot Studio which is a low-code tool tailored for customising Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 and building standalone copilots. It offers a set of conversational capabilities including custom GPTs, generative AI plugins and more.
Interestingly, Microsoft announced that it would be renaming its AI search engine-based chatbot Bing Chat to Copilot.
Employees in a ‘Loop’
Microsoft Loop, a collaborative workspace application for managing tasks and projects, was officially launched at the Ignite event. Loop, considered to be Notion’s competitor, was previewed earlier this year, and with its seamless integration with other Microsoft apps such as Teams chat and Outlook, Loop pages can be shared across them. In the process, the company is facilitating an enclosed system that keeps users within the Microsoft ecosystem.
Microsoft Loop Interface. Source: Microsoft
Interestingly, Copilot assistant is also available within Loop, helping with tasks such as crafting text and summarising it within the same space.
Satya Nadella at Microsoft Ignite 2023. Source: Youtube
As if it wasn’t simplified enough, Microsoft Teams, the messaging platform for organisations for real-time collaboration and communication, which was released in 2017, had its share of limelight at the event. CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, said that more than 320 million users rely on Teams to stay “productive and connected.”
Nadella also confirmed that there are more than 2,000 apps in the Teams store. Apps such as Adobe, Service Now, Workday with more than 1 million active users. 145,000 custom line business applications have been formed in Teams.
To elevate the workspace collaborative experience further, Nadella announced that Mesh would be generally available from January. A cloud-based platform for mixed reality that allows users to join from different locations in an immersive space, Microsoft Mesh will allow users to log into spaces via digital avatars.
Interestingly, Mesh was first announced in 2021, but it is only now that it is coming to fruition. With a number of product features and enhancements, workspace has only been simplified through Microsoft. At this pace, it is unimaginable to see what the fate of employees will be.