Microsoft are well known for holding a number of conferences each year, designed at announcing new plans, updates, and additions to their product sets. In early-October, 2022, the Microsoft Ignite conference was help over the course of 3 day; it is aimed at IT leaders and developers, as a means of providing insight into what Microsoft are working on, and how IT experts will be able to best leverage their products and services for the benefit of businesses around the world.
This conference is followed by many individuals and organisations around the world. One company we spoke with – TechQuarters, an IT organisation providing managed IT services London companies rely on – discussed some of the things they found most interesting about this year’s Ignite. In particular, they mentioned a new product that was announced, Microsoft Places.
Microsoft Places & Hybrid Work
This new Microsoft solution was developed as a means to support businesses with hybrid working, a trend which has become increasingly popular since the onset of Covid-19.
Microsoft worked tirelessly to ensure their solutions could support their customers during periods where they had no other choice but to remote remotely. Now, however, businesses are looking to return to the office, whilst keeping the option for remote work available to their staff, and thus, Microsoft developed Microsoft Places to help with this.
The Microsoft Places platform was developed in response to an emerging category of business technology, known as the Connected Workplace – but what does that mean?
A connected workplace is a physical workplace – such as an company office, or a co-working space – that is integrated with a network of systems and tools that make hybrid working more intuitive for organisations. According to TechQuarters, the key to successfully implementing hybrid working practices, is to utilize technologies which solve the challenges of having some staff in the company office, and other members of staff staying at home. The types of technologies that are embedded in a connected workplace are intended to support productivity, communication, and collaboration.
Features of Microsoft Places
Microsoft Places is a digital platform intended to integrate with a connected workplace, thus enabling an organisation to link their physical assets with their digital infrastructure. Microsoft places offers a includes a range of intelligent features designed for businesses whose employees are routinely splitting their time between the company office and their home office. Below are some examples of these features.
1. Hybrid Scheduling – Microsoft Places pulls information from Teams and Outlook, enabling it to track daily attendance in the office. The benefit of this is that staff and teams can efficiently manage their office attendance. For example, an individual might check to see when a colleague they need to speak with is going into the office, and schedule their own attendance to coincide with that.
2. Hot Desk Booking – In addition to the hybrid scheduling feature, hot desk booking means that staff can even arrange which desks they will be working at when they go into the office. This is especially useful for businesses that use a co-working space, or simply do not have allocated desks. A use case of this feature might be teams using hot desk booking to ensure they are seated together, thus aiding in efficient collaboration.
3. Intelligent Booking – Places doesn’t just help you schedule time with colleagues, it can help you arrange time with specific technologies and solutions in the workplace. As we mentioned, the key characteristic of a connect workplace is it’s tech integration. This may come in the form of an intelligent meeting room, with webcams, mics, and a display installed. Intelligent booking can be used by staff to find the ideal slot to book time in these spaces.
4. Wayfinding – For organisations who use co-working spaces, the Wayfinding feature may be very useful. Essentially, it makes data on the physical layout of a workspace available to download to one’s mobile, meaning staff can easily navigate their way around a workspace they may never have visited before.
Microsoft offer some many excellent solutions for businesses to optimize their work. TechQuarters, who have been offering businesses Office 365 consulting for years, can confirm, more and more businesses are migrating to the Microsoft Cloud, and at the same time, many businesses are adopting hybrid working. Therefore, you can see how essential Microsoft Places may end up becoming for businesses around the world.