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Artificial Intelligence Is Being Added to Office 365

November 11, 2016



Microsoft has a new addition to the toolkit called ‘Microsoft Team’ for Office 365. This new addition will use intelligent services in order to reinvent and better workplace communications and collaboration.

So What Exactly Is ‘Microsoft Team’?

The Microsoft Team add-on is said to be a chat-based workspace that should improve teamwork within companies. It uses voice and video communication as well as threaded conversations. From the use of these additions team members can create ‘channels’ in order to assort conversations by topic. These channels can then be customised using the ‘Tabs’ feature. ‘Tabs’ allow participants to easily access frequently used documents and applications.

This new add-on to office 365 is reported to be working with all the standard office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve.

Microsoft Team is being used as a way of taking a better account of what has become modern collaborative working practices, and this will make the Office 365 system more relevant and more productive for users than it ever has been before.

The A.I. Element.

One of the most notable and exciting parts of this addition is its incorporation of an artificial intelligence.

This is the result of a recent push by Microsoft over the last few years to deploy A.I. into their future products to help users to manage modern workloads and digital communications. Most people should now be familiar with the A.I. named Cortana at the front end of the Windows 10 operating system as an example of this recent push.

The A.I. that features in the Microsoft Team add-on comes from Microsoft’s research lab. Just like natural language processing and deep learning came from here. The Microsoft Team add-on uses a bot framework where developers can use a collection of A.I. components as well as apps and with a few lines of code can use these resources within their Team’s environment. This could, for example,  involve being able to put a number of specialist A.I. algorithms to work.

Reported from Microsoft, the ability of being able to use A.I. elements in this practical way should empower a collaborative team in order to augment their abilities and therefore achieve more. An application programming interface (API) and a Connector model have also been built-in to Microsoft Team to enable developers to add different feeds to it. These feeds could be from services like Twitter, Facebook etc.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

If you are looking for ways in which to get more from collaborative working and to find ways of improving and enriching these experiences of team work, then this new add-on to Office 365 could be a relatively easy way to help your business achieve just that. Remote workers may find this especially useful.

Teams also gives access to different A.I. elements which means that it could have advantages over other collaboration systems and these could help translate into areas of advantage.

If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to re-explore all the benefits of Office (beyond just Excel and Word)  which you may not be using.

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