Microsoft events go digital
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that events of every kind have been cancelled around the world, including numerous tech and IT summits.
In light of the recent restrictions to public gatherings, Microsoft has taken the decision to make many of their upcoming internal and external events digital, rather than physical.
Microsoft has already confirmed that Ignite 2020, scheduled to take place in New Orleans in September of this year, will now be a digital-only event, saying: “Microsoft Ignite will be launched as a digital event experience this September. Join us to learn innovative ways to build solutions, migrate and manage your infrastructure, and connect with Microsoft experts and other technology professionals from around the globe."
Most, if not all, Microsoft events scheduled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 will now be online, which could mean Ignite The Tour, MVP Summit 2021 and Build 2021 will be digital-only.
Microsoft told ZDNet: "In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, we are adjusting our event calendar and strategy. For the remainder of 2020, we are embracing the opportunity to experiment with new platforms to provide our partners, customers, and developers the highest quality, digital-first experiences."
Global companies come together for NHS
Some of the UK's biggest tech, industrial and engineering businesses have got together to produce ventilators for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft are one of a number of companies taking part in the initiative, which also includes giants such as Ford and GKN.
The consortium, called VentilatorChallengeUK, will design, build and test a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System to help the NHS cope with unprecedented numbers of hospital admissions who require the breathing apparatus as a result of the global pandemic.
Microsoft is giving the consortium free access to Teams so that companies can communicate quickly and easily, hold remote training sessions and share documents, wherever they are. Microsoft HoloLens will also be used to create and share training content, while Dynamics 365 Remote Assist will offer hands-free video calling on the HoloLens so operators can collaborate with experts on a PC or mobile device.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management will also be used to enable the consortium to order the necessary parts and oversee production, from manufacturing to assembly, giving everyone visibility during the process. This kind of operation would normally take around 12 months but has been fast-tracked to happen within just three weeks.
Microsoft UK Chief Executive, Cindy Rose, said of the project: "There is no more critical sector at this moment than healthcare, which is why we have been working around the clock to support the NHS on a number of fronts since this COVID-19 crisis began. Now, through the power of HoloLens, Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365, we are proud to play a role in helping produce these critical life-saving devices.”
More updates to Microsoft Teams
With more people than ever using Teams, the latest updates are designed to make the platform even easier to use and more efficient. Updates include:
Real-time noise suppression has been introduced to minimise distracting background noise when on calls, so everyone can hear what's being said more easily.
The raise hand feature has been added to let people send a visual signal when they want to speak in large meetings, rather than speaking over multiple voices and trying to be heard.
Teams now integrates with RealWear head-mounted devices to help industrial workers communicate and collaborate on the go, while staying safe. First line workers will also be able to access information and communicate hands-free from their location.