Microsoft HoloLens Is Headed to 29 New Markets

Microsoft HoloLens Is Headed to 29 New Markets

As demand for mixed reality grows in the modern workplace, Microsoft has announced that it has brought its mixed reality smart-glass HoloLens to 29 new European markets.

At the Future Decoded event in London on Wednesday, Microsoft outlined its vision for mixed reality in front of over 15,000 IT and business decision makers who came to talk about current and emerging trends happening at the intersection of business and technology.

“We shared how technologies like Microsoft 365, Microsoft HoloLens, Windows Mixed Reality, and 3D are helping companies, Firstline Workers, and Information Workers become agents of change in the modern workplace and digital transformation,” said Lorraine Bardeen, General Manager, Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences, in a blogpost.

She said that mixed reality empowers people and organisations to achieve more and the experiences would help businesses and their employees complete crucial tasks faster, safer, more efficiently, and create new ways to connect to customers and partners.

“The era of mixed reality will serve as a catalyst for innovations in the workplace and we expect ‘Firstline Workers’ and ‘Information Workers’ to benefit significantly from solutions that blend our physical and digital reality,” she said.

With mixed reality, workers can change the content, the people, or even the location of a meeting, in a matter of seconds.

Mixed reality delivers interfaces that help workers act upon data generated from instrumented/intelligence devices, and connect seamlessly with others across physical space.

To make innovation easy and address growing demand for mixed reality solutions around the world, Microsoft said HoloLens is now coming to 29 new European markets, bringing the total number of HoloLens markets to 39.

“We are also working to bring some of the most-asked-for software updates for HoloLens to our existing customers. We are committed to delivering an update to existing customers sometime early next year,” she said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Microsoft Planner Collaboration Tool Launched for Android and iOS

Microsoft Planner Collaboration Tool Launched for Android and iOS

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The app is eligible for Office 365 work and school subscription only
  • Planner was launched last year in June
  • It competes with services like Trello and Asana

Microsoft Planner that was first only available on the Web, but it has now arrived on mobile as well. The Microsoft Planner app for Android and iOS has also been launched, making managing tasks and planning teamwork activities easier on the go.

The Redmond giant had launched Planner last year in June as part of its productivity suit of apps for Office 365 business and school users. Planner is a collaboration tool aimed at organising team activities, and works similar to apps like Trello and Asana. It is bundled along with the Office 365 suite for free, and allows management of projects, teams, workflows, assign tasks, chat with members, and much more.

Now, the apps are available as a free download as well for all eligible Office 365 users. The app however doesn’t bring all the features that are available on the Web. On its blog, Microsoft explains, “Current Planner users can use this companion app to view and update their plans on the go, addressing feedback we’ve heard since the launch of the Planner Web app. For people who are new to Planner, you can first get started by visiting tasks.office.com. Once you’ve created your plans in the Web app, you can view and update those plans in the mobile experience.”

The Microsoft Planner app is fairly easy to use and lets you see all your tasks in one place. It lets you update the board when plans change by just dragging and dropping tasks between columns, and chat with members on the go. The app works currently only for Office 365 work or school subscription users only, and if you’re eligible, you can download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store for free.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers

Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers
Microsoft Corp has thought up another way to attract potential customers to its cloud computing service: deterrent against patent trolls.

Companies new to the cloud are vulnerable to non-practicing entities, which do not make any products themselves but use their arsenal of broad technology patents to sue other firms in order to extract royalties or a cash settlement.

The new offering could appeal to companies new to the cloud arena, needing a service such as Microsoft’s Azure to store their data or host their mobile app.

It was not clear that it alone would be enough to draw customers away from the market leader, Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services.

Under a plan unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft said customers of its cloud service could rely on any of 10,000 Microsoft patents free of charge to deter legal threats against them.
The Redmond, Washington-based company also said it would extend its existing promise to defend any customers sued over Azure to include the freely available or ‘open source’ technology incorporated into its cloud service.

The protection is designed to appeal to an automaker, for instance, which may have car-related patents but has no such cover for its mobile apps and other cloud-based products, making it a target.

“They haven’t had years to build up that patent portfolio,” said Julia White, Microsoft corporate vice president, in an interview. “Cloud innovation is far too important to be stifled by lawsuits.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud Services, Cloud Computing, Patent, Azure, Internet, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Microsoft Nokia Acquisition: Good For Small Businesses

Yesterday’s news that Microsoft will acquire Nokia for $7.2 billion is probably good news for both Microsoft and Nokia, and also for small businesses.

Naysayers – and there are a lot of them – use words like it’s “too little too late” and that Nokia “can’t save” Microsoft.  For instance, industry observer Vivek Wadhwa sees lots of problems on the horizon for Microsoft. He says the answer is for Microsoft to break itself up into nimbler pieces.

Others, such as Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, see it as a “smart move” but one not likely to be successful because it’s too much of a Hail Mary pass, in his opinion.  If it works, it can win the game.  But chances are high it won’t work, for a variety of reasons.  For example, he notes that the big party in the mobile space has been tablets, but that Nokia has a nonexistent tablet offering.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has tablet offerings, but they have been high priced and slow to catch on.

The Microsoft viewpoint was aptly put in an announcement sent to members of Microsoft’s Voices for Innovation community, by Jonathan Friebert, Microsoft’s public policy manager, who explained:

“This deal adds to the momentum of Windows Phone and will accelerate growth as the next billion people come online using mobile devices. In addition, the transaction provides Microsoft with leading geospatial and mapping technologies. The integration of hardware and software will strengthen the position of the Microsoft ecosystem and provide a wide range of choice to consumers worldwide.”

Why A Microsoft – Nokia Combo is Good For Businesses

For businesses that are Windows shops, having a range of Windows smartphones and tablets is an attractive thing.  It provides a real alternative for businesses.

Apple and Google’s Android dominate the consumer mobile devices market today.  It would be a hard row to hoe, to try to gain substantial market share there. But for business users … by combining forces Nokia and Microsoft have the potential for a stronger offering for the business market.

Businesses need that.  For business users, there’s real benefit to being able to use a phone and tablet that integrate seamlessly with your desktop or laptop  computers.  It’s efficient.  It puts less burden on businesses that use Windows.  There’s less of a learning curve.

When a device makes it easier to conduct business, then small businesses and enterprises have a real reason to choose a Windows smartphone or a Windows tablet.

That’s especially true with tablets. Until recently there was somewhat of a void in the marketplace.  Yes, iPads and Android tablets are fun.  But for business users they have limited business value.   If my own Google Nexus tablet is any example, it tends to get used mainly for entertainment and occasionally on business trips when I have to write something longer than an email with two or three sentences.  It’s not very functional when it comes to the heavy lifting of business work I do.  My little 4-year old netbook computer is unpleasant to use for entertainment purposes, but far more useful than my tablet when it comes to real work, despite being old and slow.  Consequently, I often carry both on business trips — one for watching movies and catching up on email and social media, and the other for real work.

Some think that Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia is as much about tablets as smartphones.  It gives Microsoft access to hardware technology and access to Nokia’s distribution network.

To date, Microsoft has had limited success with tablets.  After the market failed to positively receive its stripped down Windows RT tablet, Microsoft reduced the price.  Its Surface tablet with full Windows 8 was better received, but pricey and so Microsoft also dropped the price of the Surface tablet.

Yes, Microsoft was slow to the tablet and smartphone party.  But there really is a place for good Windows phones and good Windows tablets in the business world.  Those that prefer a unified operating system across all their devices were essentially out of luck before Windows tablets and phones. They were forced to pick one of the big industry leaders, Google or Apple, for the operating systems on their mobile devices instead.  Now they could have more options, if the Microsoft – Nokia acquisition is successful. For the sake of business users, we hope this acquisition will lead to more mobile device choices.

Images: Wikipedia

[“source-smallbiztrends”]