Microsoft Corp. announced the general availability of Teams Essentials, the first-ever standalone Microsoft Teams offering, designed specifically for small businesses. Teams Essentials gives small businesses a professional and affordable meetings solution to support collaboration, connection and productivity in a hybrid work environment. Teams Essentials is competitively priced at $4 USD per person per month. Teams Essentials provides:
- Unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours
- Meetings with up to 300 people
- 10 GB of cloud storage per user
Teams Essentials also includes existing and new capabilities available in the free version of Teams:
- Simple, easy invitations require only an email address. Users are not required to sign up, sign in or install Teams to participate in a meeting.
- In addition to Outlook Calendar integration, new Google Calendar integration is coming soon.
- Professional meeting tools and capabilities like meeting lobby, virtual backgrounds, Together mode, live closed captions and live reactions.
- Never lose context or continuity with always-available chats in Microsoft Teams.
- Quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates, and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub with the new small-business group chat template coming soon to desktop and web.
Together the companies will bring to market solutions built on the Microsoft Cloud that will accelerate hybrid cloud adoption, modernize applications and processes, support mission-critical workloads, and further enable modern work experiences for customers. The long-term partnership will open additional markets and new customers to Kyndryl across all industries and illustrates the speed and commitment the company is placing on forging strong relationships with enterprise technology innovators. Microsoft becomes Kyndryl’s only Premier Global Alliance Partner, increasing Microsoft’s access to the $500 billion managed services market where Kyndryl leads.
The companies will jointly bring customer solutions to market in the areas of data modernization and governance, AI-driven innovations for industries, cyber security and resiliency, and transformation of mission-critical workloads to the cloud. Kyndryl will lead with advisory, implementation and managed services for complex hybrid IT environments.
In addition, central to the partnership will be a focus on creating new solutions for customers and programs to advance skills. A co-innovation lab will be established to rapidly develop and bring to market new customer capabilities built on Microsoft Cloud. To strengthen and expand technical expertise, Microsoft will establish the “Kyndryl University for Microsoft” to rapidly scale skills for Kyndryl professionals.
Lucid, provider of visual collaboration software, announced an updated integration experience for its virtual whiteboard, Lucidspark, with Microsoft Teams. The Lucidspark integration with Teams connects distributed teams by bringing collaboration right into users’ existing workflows. The new integration feature allows users to collaborate and interact with a Lucidspark board directly within a Teams meeting by sharing it to the meeting stage. This provides the full experience of an in-person whiteboarding session without ever leaving Teams, making it even easier for hybrid teams to collaborate, align and move into action. The updated Lucidspark integration builds on existing features, including the ability to share boards quickly and easily within Teams to bring everyone together, and adding boards directly to team channels for later reference or asynchronous collaboration.
Microsoft unveiled Mesh for Microsoft Teams. The feature combines the mixed-reality capabilities of Microsoft Mesh, which allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences, with the productivity tools of Microsoft Teams, where people can join virtual meetings, send chats, collaborate on shared documents and more. Mesh builds on existing Teams features such as Together mode and Presenter mode that make remote and hybrid meetings more collaborative and immersive. Anyone will be able to access Mesh for Teams from standard smartphones and laptops to mixed-reality headsets. Mesh for Teams is designed to make online meetings more personal, engaging and fun, and will begin rolling out in 2022.
The first step most users of Mesh for Teams will take is to join a standard Teams meeting as a customized avatar of themselves instead of as a static picture or on video. Organizations can also build immersive spaces, “metaverses”, within Teams. Mesh for Teams users can take their avatars into these spaces to mix and mingle, collaborate on projects and experience those serendipitous encounters that spark innovation.
Microsoft announced the addition of Microsoft Loop to Office. Loop consists of three elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces.
Loop components: An evolution of Fluid components—are atomic units of productivity that help you collaborate and get your work done in the flow of your work—in a chat, email, meeting, document, or Loop page. Loop components can be as simple as lists, tables, notes, tasks, or as sophisticated as a customer sales opportunity from Microsoft Dynamics 365, and because components stay in sync, no matter how many places they live in, you and your team always work with the latest information.
Loop pages are flexible canvases where you can organize your components and pull in other elements like files, links, or data to help teams think, connect, and collaborate. Pages are optimized for thinking together and getting work done. They can start small and continue to grow to match the size of your ideas and projects.
Loop workspaces are shared spaces that allow you and your team to see and group everything important to your project. Workspaces make it easy for you to catch up on what everyone is working on, react to others’ ideas, or track progress toward shared goals. Teams can collaborate synchronously or asynchronously whenever inspiration strikes.
Acquia announced major updates to the Acquia Open Digital Experience Platform (DXP). These are aimed at accelerating the development and optimization of composable digital experiences by bringing together the workflows of siloed digital marketing and development teams within a single platform. Automated and machine learning features in both Drupal Cloud and Marketing Cloud, which together comprise Acquia Open DXP, make it easier to launch new websites, applications and marketing campaigns with modular components.
Updates to the Drupal Cloud developer experience streamline and connect workflows to help fusion teams with no-code/low-code solutions that span DevOps, WebOps, ContentOps and ExperienceOps.
- Acquia Code Studio: A new cloud-based development environment integrates with GitLab and Acquia Cloud IDE.
- Acquia Cloud Actions: A new, collaborative release management process automates the process of deploying and managing code to the Acquia Cloud environment.
- Acquia Digital Commerce Integrations: No-code Acquia Site Studio pre-built integration components make it possible for anyone to assemble digital commerce experiences, including rich product experiences with Acquia’s DAM and PIM.
Updates to Acquia Marketing Cloud, include features focused on composable machine learning, analytics, privacy and multi-tenant distributed marketing to support teams across CampaignOps and and MLOps.
At Adobe MAX, the company announced major updates across Creative Cloud flagship applications powered by Adobe Sensei, accelerated the video creation process with the addition of Frame.io and advanced 3D and immersive authoring abilities. Adobe also previewed new collaboration capabilities with the introduction of Creative Cloud Canvas, Creative Cloud Spaces and betas of Photoshop and Illustrator on the web.
In support of the company’s Content Authenticity Initiative, Adobe shipped Content Credentials in Photoshop, an opt-in feature that shows a creator’s identity and edit history to ensure they are getting attribution for their work; Content Credentials will also connect to NFT marketplaces. The company also introduced a subscription model on Behance to enable creators to monetize their work. For details on all the announcements see:
Syncro Soft announced the immediate availability of version 24 of its XML suite of products, Oxygen XML Editor, Author, Developer, Web Author, Publishing Engine, WebHelp, PDF Chemistry, and Oxygen XML Scripting.
This new release brings enhancements to the validation support with the DITA validate and check for completeness action being available as a validation unit that can be added to validation scenarios, dynamic publishing for DITA by converting various types of non-DITA resources to DITA, including MS Word, MS Excel, HTML, and Markdown, Enterprise Edition users can upload and publish DITA to the Zendesk Help Center. The DITA to WebHelp transformation features improved navigation, and the PDF Chemistry engine allows controlling the generated PDF security permissions and metadata.
The JSON support is improved constantly to match the support Oxygen offers for XML and version 24 brings a visual diagram editor for JSON helpful for increasing productivity when working with simple JSON Schemas and for visualizing, understanding, and editing complex JSON Schemas.
With a focus on authoring experience and collaboration, the Oxygen XML Web Author has a re-designed interface, a new visual merge tool that enables you to easily resolve conflicts, and the Concurrent Editing feature now comes bundled with Web Author.
More functionality is exposed as part of Oxygen Scripting to enable automation/continuous integration and delivery workflows, including generating diff reports, as well as formatting and indenting XML documents.