Microsoft introduced a new version its Whiteboard application Available for Microsoft 365, with features designed to help people collaborate better, whether they are in the office or working at home. It also updated the Teams, Fluid Components, and Viva applications to make them work better in mixed remote and office-based workplaces.
As before, the whiteboard is like a physical whiteboard, allowing you to draw, erase, and attach notes. You can also type, add, and manipulate images to enhance presentations. In the latest version, Microsoft focuses on guided collaboration, new content types, new UI, and expanded Microsoft 365 integration.
To this end, Microsoft introduced a “collaborative cursor” that can help remote users see what other people are doing on the whiteboard. Just like a physical whiteboard, there is a new laser pointer that can help you focus on key ideas. The latest version also introduces templates to help you start the presentation, and a “follow” function to guide users through ideas.
You can combine shapes, lines, text, and ink to create a “collaboration diagram” instead of just using ink as before. Another new feature “Insert Images and Documents” allows you to connect ideas, annotations and iterations between different types of content. You can use the new stickers to react to different ideas, and use “fluid components” to introduce elements such as tables or task lists.
Microsoft also updated the user interface with a new smooth toolbar, using its Fluent design language Launched in 2017. This provides a single unified user experience across devices, operating systems, and platforms. It also provides you with pre-built elements in the authoring library, which is suitable for devices as large as Surface Hub and as small as smartphones.
One of Microsoft’s main competitors in this field is speaker, It has built its own whiteboard-like collaboration tool.As it happens, Klaxoon launched an update for its own whiteboard collaboration product yesterday, which also emphasizes mixed work/home workplaces, such as TechCrunch Report.
Microsoft also emphasized the mixed working environment of the latest version of Teams, saying “We are focused on building experiences in Teams to ensure that all sounds can be heard, including those who are not in the room.”
To this end, Microsoft has integrated its Viva employee experience platform into the team. The app will help employees arrange time periods during which they can work uninterrupted while the Teams notifications are muted, and can even use the Viva Insights app for guided meditation and mindfulness exercises.If this sounds familiar, Amazon Recently installed “Zenbooth” meditation kiosk helps overworked employees relieve stress.
Microsoft also announced that it is extending the Fluid component for Teams Meetings, OneNote and Outlook to simplify cross-application collaboration. It also introduces new chat functions, message pinning, etc. to improve collaboration between multiple projects. Finally, Microsoft said that it will launch a “front row” in Teams Rooms to make “interaction feel more natural and allow indoor participants to have a greater sense of connection with remote participants.” Most of these features are available starting today, but the front row will be launched this year.
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