Microsoft’s commitment to artificial intelligence is driven by the conviction that an AI-powered Office 365 can help the modern workforce overcome some major emerging challenges – exponential growth of data, increasing time demands, increased security threats, etc. In the last few years, Microsoft has introduced several new AI-driven features and applications to Office 365 to better assist users and bring in more efficiency.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we are actively helping organizations leverage these new features and solutions and many of our customers are already seeing tangible value.
The latest AI innovations in Office 365 are aimed to make collating data, scheduling, sharing data, collaborating and interacting with people a lot easier.
This article elucidates on some of the new cutting-edge AI innovations by Microsoft in Office 365.
Outlook has been revamped with many AI capabilities to amplify employees’ skills. With Focused Inbox, users can screen trivial messages and only look at the most relevant information. Another feature helps users choose from suggested replies when responding with a short message.
‘Play My Emails’ in Outlook uses Cortana to narrate new emails intelligently, meaning, the feature summarizes and retrieves information like the sender, time sent, and email contents than endlessly read out all the details from top to bottom.
Scheduler in Outlook, powered by Cortana, is yet another intelligent feature that helps users to schedule meetings by instructing Cortana about the content, duration, timing, and location of the meeting using natural language. By accessing participants’ calendar availability, Cortana will book the meeting when everyone is available. Scheduler is still in preview and will be rolled out in early 2020.
Microsoft Ideas, a prime AI feature in Excel, helps users to pick the right chart type for the data and identify outliers, patterns in data sets.
Using the ‘Insert Data from Picture’ feature in Excel’s mobile application, users can now import analog data. By taking an image of data in the form of table, Excel can process this into a corresponding table on the spreadsheet.
Live Captions and Subtitles in PowerPoint are the new cutting-edge features that use AI to provide captions and subtitles for presentations in real time. Captions and subtitles can be displayed in the spoken language or one of 60+ translated languages.
Presenter Coach is an AI powered recommendation engine that helps users improve their presentation skills by providing real-time on-screen feedback on speech metrics and inclusive language. It can also even give warnings when the user reads off from the slides. Presenter Coach also generates a report after the presentation that helps users to improve their delivery and learn from the feedback.
Ideas is another feature which assists in the creation of slides and presentations by making recommendations to generate polished slides and captivating motion effects.
In Word, with the help of NLP and machine learning, Ideas can proofread documents in order to make contextually appropriate suggestions. Ideas brings together the power of deep learning to recommend different ways of writing a phrase. These features prove useful in improving the readability of the document.
Project Cortex, powered by Microsoft Graph and AI, systematically arranges organization’s information. AI analyzes content across teams by recognising various types of content and extracting useful information. This input is used to organize content that are classified under shared assets like projects, products, processes and customers.
A knowledge network is then created by Cortex by using relationships among topics, content, and people. New topic pages that are created and modified by users is managed by AI, where the machine automatically updates and organises data under appropriate segments. Project Cortex makes curating and sharing knowledge in the organisation with Wikipedia-like simplicity. Topic cards that are generated using Cortex provide quick access to information people on Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Office.
Microsoft Stream now employs AI in to eliminate focus disrupters that are common in video conferences like online meetings, training, or other modes of communications. AI is trained to detect all the present audio frequencies, isolate the speaker’s voice, and mute all other background noises.
This allows users to concentrate and focus effectively which results in better communication, learning, and accessibility to content. With the new voice enhancement in Microsoft Stream, you can easily eliminate background noise with just one click. Microsoft Stream. With Microsoft Stream, employees can use facial recognition to seek within a video – jump to specific portions a person is speaking or reach to a point where a specific name is mentioned.
Microsoft Search leverages the AI capabilities of Bing and Microsoft Graph, one of the largest repositories of data about how people work. Microsoft Graph involves data that is accumulated from the public domain such as the internet, as well as internal data such as directories and policy manuals, that are only accessible to the employees of the company.
Backed by these features, Microsoft Search enables workers to find navigate and discover items across their organization’s network of data aggregated in OneDrive and SharePoint. A new intelligent feature in Search, allows people within a company to search for people without having complete information about them by using keywords pertaining to their name and location. For example, “Ben, building 1”.
Microsoft MyAnalytics is an AI-driven data analysis to help employees improve productivity and teamwork by providing insights into how a person works with teams, groups, and organization. Improving personal productivity that requires decision making on how to use personal time efficiently can be difficult without the aid of data.
Using MyAnalytics, users can imbibe efficient work habits and gain insights on expenditure of time at work and across meetings, measure email effectiveness and assess the time they designate as ‘focus time’ and ‘after-hours’ work. MyAnalytics is a great tool to understand collaborations, monitor progress and set productivity goals.
Power Automate, a part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, enables quick automation of workflows, and application of business logic to simplify tasks. You can create intelligent and time-saving workflows and build end-to-end business solutions by connecting Office 365, Dynamics 365, Azure, and virtually all your other enterprise apps. The solution comes with built-in AI capabilities which allow you to improve productivity and focus more on strategic and high-value tasks.
With an aim to democratize AI and improve efficiency in day-to-day employee workflows, Microsoft is embedding intelligence into Office 365 applications. The age of digital transformation and the emergence of the modern workplace are posing new challenges and providing new opportunities for organizations. And the adoption of new AI features in Office 365 is becoming imperative for Microsoft customers to stay productive and competitive. With all these recent AI innovations, It’s exciting to see what more Microsoft will introduce in Ignite 2020.
Acuvate is a Microsoft Gold Partner and helps organizations in effective implementation and faster adoption of Office 365. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our Office365 consultants for a personalized consultation.