Enhancing information rights management in Word, Excel and PowerPoint mobile apps


Finding the balance between protection and productivity is critical to any organization. With the increased distribution of data, organizations need sensitive data to be born protected. This is why we invest in Azure Rights Management to help you protect information in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.
Information rights management (IRM) is now supported everywhere in Office Mobile as we are pleased to announce that we are extending Azure Rights Management to the Word, Excel and PowerPoint mobile apps for Android. You are now able to open, read and review rights-protected emails and Office documents on any device—whether it runs Windows, Mac, iOS or Android.
Other upcoming enhancements
We are hard at work building several other new features and enhancements to make the IRM experience even better for Office 365 subscribers in future updates.
These planned updates include:
  • Document tracking and revocation with Azure Rights Management Premium—Azure Rights Management Premium users will be able to track usage of and revoke access to documents that were protected with rights management services (RMS). We’ll deliver this first for Office for Windows, followed by Office for Mac and Office Mobile for iOS.
  • Single sign-on and multiple accounts in Office 2016 for Mac—We are making changes to support single sign-on in Office 2016 for Mac, which means you won’t need to sign in again to view an RMS-protected document if you’re already signed in. This will work for any Office 365 account that you’re signed in to—even if you have more than one account. We’re also removing the limitation where you have to view an RMS-protected document first before you are able to protect new documents with RMS.
  • Improved user experience in Office 2016 for Windows—We’re making targeted improvements to our error-handling and authentication mechanisms to make reading and authoring RMS-protected documents and emails more seamless. If you are unable to read RMS-protected content because, for example, you aren’t signed in to Office or you don’t have permission to read the content with any of your signed-in accounts, we will clearly explain why and offer options to resolve the issue.
  • Open legacy file formats—The Office apps for Windows Universal and Android will support opening RMS-protected documents that were saved in legacy formats, like .xls, .doc, and .ppt. Office apps for iPhone and iPad already support this.
Visit the Azure Rights Management website and read the product documentation to learn more. If you already use Azure Rights Management, make sure you update your Android devices with the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint today so you get all the new functionality we have released.

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Your intranet in your pocket—the SharePoint mobile app for iOS is now available

Last month, we unveiled a new vision for the future of SharePoint, and today we’re pleased to release the new SharePoint mobile app for iOS. Install it now and take your intranet with you—your intranet in your pocket. Stay connected to important content, sites, portals and people from across your intranet while on the go. The SharePoint mobile journey starts now. This is a first step, and we are excited to continue to build on what we’ve started. Let’s dive in to the details.
Watch this episode of Microsoft Mechanics with Andy Haon, principal group program manager on the SharePoint engineering team, for an in-depth look at the SharePoint mobile app:

The SharePoint mobile app
The new SharePoint mobile app helps you keep your work moving forward by providing quick access to your team sites, organization portals and resources, and even a view into what the people you work with are working on. And this new app is infused with the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph, which applies machine learning to activity in Office 365 to connect you to the relevant documents and people around you. The SharePoint mobile app works with SharePoint Online in Office 365, SharePoint Server (2013 and 2016) on-premises and your hybrid environment. Once you launch the app on your iPhone, you’ll be prompted to sign in with your SharePoint credentials. The SharePoint mobile app lets you easily switch between accounts.


The Sites tab takes you to a list of the sites you visit frequently and sites you’re following. Click on a site to see recent activity, recent files and the site’s assets (documents, lists, subsites, pages and more). You can also share the site. When you click to a team site, you immediately see how the SharePoint mobile app natively renders the site elements quickly and beautifully.
The SharePoint mobile app also links to other Office apps. For example, when you click an Office document in the Recent files pivot, it will take you directly into the corresponding Office mobile app. Similarly, when you access a SharePoint document library within a team site, you will be taken into the OneDrive mobile app for iOS to view, share, discover and manage files stored across Office 365. Learn more how the two apps work together.

sharepoint app

The Links tab takes you to sites and portals programmed for everyone in your company to see. These are curated by your SharePoint admin(s) from the SharePoint home in Office 365. And if you have invested in responsive, mobile-designed portals, they will shine through in the app. Microsoft, too, is investing in responsive design as a top priority to ensure all new experiences (like the SharePoint home in Office 365, Microsoft Delve and Office 365 Video) are mobile and responsive by default.

sharepoint app 2

The People tab gives you visibility into what the people you work with are working on. Find and browse colleagues in your network. Tap on an individual to see their contact card and discover what they are working on and who they are working with based on intelligence powered by Office 365.

sharepoint app 3

Search—The SharePoint mobile app provides search throughout with clean results—filtered by sites, files and people. When you perform a search in the SharePoint mobile app, you are connecting through full enterprise search, so you can find content and people from across your intranet, SharePoint team sites, company portals and the OneDrive for Business folders you have access to, including content recommendations powered by the Microsoft Graph.

sharepoint app 4

What’s next
The SharePoint mobile app for iOS is just a first step on the SharePoint mobile journey, and we are excited to continue to build on what we’ve started. We’ll continue delivering enhancements to the app, such as support of cross-company news and announcements, coming later this year. We are also working on Android and Windows Universal versions, which we expect to release before the end of this year.


Time to retire pen and paper? New Microsoft Garage app Plumbago reimagines digital notetaking


Even though we all carry high-tech digital devices, taking notes with pen or pencil and paper is still very much alive in households, businesses and schools around the world. But what if you had a tablet-based app optimized for stylus and touch that recreated that analog appeal of writing – reducing paper and organizing woes?
Plumbago, a new app for Windows 8.1 and 10 tablets released through the Microsoft Garage, is a digital notebook with technology that smooths out handwriting so your scribbles are easier to read later. It also contains realistic ink technology and other user friendly features, such as an optimized tool picker designed to reduce the number of taps to access its features, notebook covers and paper selector.
“We were thinking about how to make a great experience that really took advantage of the Surface and its pen, and could replace a physical notebook. There are tactile, perceptive and visual properties about a real notebook that are hard to displace. So our goal was to create a neat Windows app using technology that could potentially displace those physical and perceptive artifacts,” says Gavin Jancke, general manager of engineering in Microsoft Research also serving as the user interface software engineer for the app. “So here we are today with something that will hopefully resonate well with consumers,” who he encourages to help test the experience and give feedback to refine the technology.
Plumbago, which is Latin for graphite – all pencils have graphite in them – makes writing more consistent digitally, based on your previous strokes, as you write in the notebook. While it won’t instantly transform your handwriting, it will look more consistent across a notebook. This technology is called handwriting beautification, a technology which involves efficient stroke matching across the thousands of strokes written by a user. If matching strokes can be found, the strokes can be averaged to produce more consistent and easier-to-read handwriting.


The app also employs “infinite paper,” which enables your writing or drawings to span pages. And there are several kinds of paper to choose from, such as yellow rule – with the familiar pink margin line – as well as grid, music sheets and more.
“With Plumbago, you have up to a 25-page virtual notebook that you can navigate by swiping or visually selecting a page from a grid, so user interaction plays a pivotal role,” says Jancke. “How do you naturally go from one page to another? With a notebook, you flip the page over. With Plumbago, you swipe the surface of the page as though you’re flipping the real thing to navigate throughout the notebook. It gives a sense of fluidity moving throughout a notebook eliminating the need of having to create pages manually and scrolling like a traditional word processor, also allowing you to go directly to a page as you would by flipping a bunch of pages in a spiral notebook.”
You can also choose between pen, pencil and highlighter, which are drawn on the paper using similar properties of how the respective drawing tools behave in the physical world.
“This pen optimized experience also responds to the pressure of the pen. The harder you push on the surface, the deeper the drawing tool lays onto the paper” says Jancke, who says he rediscovered the joy of notetaking on his tablet. “Despite having been in tech for more than 30 years, and at Microsoft for almost 25 of those, I still like to write down stuff on Post-its and spiral notebooks. Plumbago is my excuse to get rid of those.”
While all this sounds easy, it required a lot of work behind the scenes.
“Every aspect of this app was challenging,” Jancke says. The app took about two years to create and ship as a partnership between Jancke, Larry Zitnick (the researcher behind the beautification and ink rendering technology) and other members of the Microsoft Research Advanced Development Team, as they went about their regular day-jobs over that time period. The app and technology required the attention he likens to craftsmanship. “A lot of care went into it over a long period of time, solving nuanced problems. We had challenges in research, code engineering and user experience. There were many iterations of critique and refinement to get to where we are now, a synthesis of different software engineering disciplines tackling a problem together involving engineers, user experience and quality assurance experts.”
The Plumbago team was also able to tap into the Microsoft Garage to help give them a framework to think about user engagement and forums, marketing and how the app fits in with the rest of the company.
“We thought the Garage would give us a space for a prototypical, unique experiment. The Garage is an outlet to try something new, and show off up-and-coming technologies,” Jancke says. “User feedback will be incorporated into refining the technological and user experience aspects into potential future updates or find their way into different Microsoft products. The Garage gives us a nice sandbox and frames expectations, so users can see the future of innovation coming out of Microsoft as we experiment with different things.”
Find Plumbago in the Windows Store and at the Microsoft Garage, which recently released several apps, including Mimicker Alarm, News Pro and FindTime.



Mobile-first, cloud-first makes Microsoft a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms

By Nat Friedman as written on blogs.microsoft.com
In the few months since Microsoft acquired Xamarin, Scott Guthrie and I have laid out our roadmap that builds on the complementary strengths in mobile development and cloud services that made our companies great partners for years. I’m excited to report that Visual Studio with Xamarin plus Azure is working. We’ve already seen a massive upswing in developer participation, and we’re receiving validation from outside the developer community, as well.
Yesterday, Gartner recognized Microsoft as a Leader in its 2016 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms. The designation reflects the fact that Microsoft’s Mobile Application Development Platform vision has expanded dramatically, evidenced by the Xamarin integration, enhancements to Azure App Service, and improved mobile DevOps capabilities.
Over the past year we’ve made incredible progress toward our vision of “Any developer, any app, any platform.” Developers need to balance the efficiency of a full-stack solution with the flexibility to use the languages, tools and services they know and work best for their situation. We’re pleased to see the growing industry recognition of our unique approach to mobility: Microsoft is truly the only company with a complete solution for every app, every developer and every platform, but we still allow you the flexibility to let you work your way.
We’re working to fundamentally transform the way developers build and maintain apps. And while the journey is far from over, we’re honored by Gartner’s validation of what we’ve done so far, and I’d like to call out some of the reasons we think they did so:
The best development tools in a single package
It all starts with the IDE, and Visual Studio is regarded as the most complete set of mobile development tools on the market.
Xamarin continues to be the fastest, most efficient way to build uncompromising native apps for multiple platforms – bar none – and it’s now available at no additional charge to every Visual Studio developer. For your back end, Azure is the world’s most sophisticated, flexible, developer-friendly cloud platform, with easy access to services that help bring mobile apps to life. App Service makes time-consuming procedures like authentication and push notifications trivial, scales applications on-demand, and allows you to access Azure-only options like our Cognitive APIs to add real intelligence to your apps, or Hybrid Connections for secure access to on-premise data.
On their own, each is best-in-class, but we’re able to bring them together through Visual Studio to make building great mobile experiences even more efficient with a single IDE and a common language you can use across all your services, up and down the stack.
Sophisticated mobile DevOps
Delivering high-quality, high-performance, secure mobile apps at scale is challenging. Fast release cycles are required to keep up with constantly changing device operating systems, users have high expectations, and developers need to know that the mobile apps they’re deploying are secure and compliant. This means that apps need to look, behave and perform well on thousands of combinations of form factors, operating systems and manufacturers, and they need to be easy to manage and monitor once they’re in the field.  The combined Microsoft + Xamarin product lineup makes it possible to plan, track, develop, test, secure and monitor mobile apps using a complete, end-to-end mobile DevOps solution.
Putting developers first
Open-sourcing the Xamarin SDKs for iOS, Android and Mac to the .NET Foundation is a promise to developers that we’re here for them, that we want to be transparent, and that we want them to be involved in what we’re building. Developers have always come first at Microsoft, and they always will.
Our mantra is “Any Developer. Any App. Any Platform,” and we mean it. C# or Cordova, iOS or Android, Mac or Windows — Microsoft has the best platform for building great mobile experiences quickly. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and happy to say we have a lot more to come.


Bringing Outlook Mail and Calendar to Microsoft HoloLens

Today, we are thrilled to bring the first holographic email and calendaring apps, Outlook Mail and Calendar, to Microsoft HoloLens—the first fully self-contained holographic computer. Our team is eager to get Outlook apps into the hands of early HoloLens developers to allow them to experience the benefits of email and calendaring in mixed reality.


Outlook Mail on HoloLens—personalize the app by choosing an accent that matches your surroundings.


With Outlook Mail on HoloLens, you can now place your inbox on your office wall to stay on top of emails while simultaneously interacting with other digital content in your real world. You can also quickly see what’s coming up next in your day with your new wall calendar. Since Outlook Mail and Calendar apps are built on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), like other Office apps for HoloLens released at //build 2016, it was easy for our developers to deliver a familiar experience to users who are already using the apps on Windows 10 PCs, tablets and phones.


Outlook Calendar on HoloLens—vertically resize the app to see even more of your day.


This release is just the beginning, and we’re excited about the opportunities that HoloLens presents to build new and powerful ways of staying connected, productive and on top of your schedule. We are far from done innovating in mixed reality and would love to hear your feedback on how you use Outlook Mail and Calendar on HoloLens and what features you want to see next.
We invite HoloLens developers to install the Outlook Mail and Calendar apps from Windows Store on HoloLens and write to us with your feedback, comments and questions at the developer forums.


Monster snaps up ‘Tinder for jobs’ app, Jobr

By Sarah Perez as written on techcrunch.com


Monster.com announced this morning it has acquired the San Francisco-based startup Jobr, which had been developing a job-finding app the company described as a Tinder for jobs, thanks to its use of swipe-based gestures. Deal terms were not disclosed, but Jobr had raised $2 million in seed funding in 2014. The app is not being shut down, but will rather be integrated with Monster’s platform further, though it already featured Monster.com job listings prior to this deal.
Jobr was not the only company with the idea to pursue a Tinder-like job hunting app. Others, including a direct competitor Switch, were focused on similar concepts.


The idea with Jobr was to make the often painful process of job hunting easier and quicker. Users would connect their LinkedIn account to the app to create a profile, then swipe through jobs as you would swipe through prospective dates on Tinder. (LinkedIn later locked down its API, and Jobr now offers Facebook login and resume uploads from cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox and others.)
Each position had a profile page that provided information about the company, the job requirements, your matching skills, and it would who you knew there, from your contacts.
Jobr also offered tools for recruiters that let them manage and interact with applicants.
At the time of the deal, Jobr claims it had “millions” of job seekers and thousands of recruiters on its platform. It says job seekers swiped on jobs more than 100 million times.
The iOS app was well-ranked in its category as currently the #15 Business app (free) in the App Store. Monster’s own app, meanwhile, was #33. The other job-finding apps that are higher in ranking are Indeed (#1), LinkedIn Jobs (#5), Glassdoor (#10), and Snagajob (#11). Grabbing Jobr gets Monster a better and more visible position in the App Store, which is critical in today’s mobile-centric world.

jobr 2

Going forward, Monster will immediately begin integrating its own global talent platform with Jobr, integrating features like single-sign on and developing Monster membership workflows, it says. It’s also aiming to extend the Jobr app to other markets in early 2017. Currently, Monster.com’s job search features over 5 million jobs, aggregated from multiple sources, and these will continue to be available through Jobr.
In addition, Monster says its interest in Jobr goes beyond just the one app. It wants to use the team’s resources to build more mobile solutions in the future, as well. This will include the development of mobile components for Monster’s own recruiting platform.
According to Monster President and COO Mark Stoever, the deal is about both tech and talent.
“The Jobr app has been tremendously successful and we’re thrilled to add it to our talent platform while integrating key features into the Jobr app,” he says. “The Jobr team is equally as capable and innovative and we will be unleashing their talent on opportunities to develop mobile solutions across the Monster platform, to improve things like the job discovery and application process, candidate search and outreach -for recruiters – and the software solutions we provide to manage the recruiting process.”
The entire Jobr team will join Monster, but will remain based in San Francisco.
Monster, over the years, has acquired companies as the need arose, having previously bought up TalentBin and Gozaik to develop its recruiting and job advertising solutions. Similarly, Stoever says that buying Jobr was about being able to move more quickly, especially in key areas such as social and mobile.
“The Jobr team has done an exceptional job – their app quickly emerged as an industry leader and gained significant traction with key audiences we want to provide greater value to, such as with Millennials….we saw this acquisition as an opportunity to move even faster in the space,” he adds.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The future of mobile app development

By Nat Friedman as written on blogs.microsoft.com

It is incredible how much has happened since Xamarin joined Microsoft just over a month ago, starting with Scott Guthrie’s Build 2016 announcements that Xamarin is now part of all editions of Visual Studio at no additional charge — from Community to Enterprise — and our plans to open source the Xamarin SDK. It is a dream come true for us to be able to put the power of Xamarin into the hands of all developers.
In just the first two weeks since Build alone, we helped nearly 3.5 times more developers get started building great apps with Xamarin than ever in our history as a company.
Now we are at Xamarin Evolve 2016, the world’s largest cross-platform mobile development conference, in Orlando. This morning we open sourced the Xamarin SDK and launched new ways to make Visual Studio the most complete mobile development environment. We also launched new ways to build native, cross-platform apps faster than ever using our popular cross-platform UI framework, Xamarin.Forms.
This is our third Evolve conference, but the first time we are showing the comprehensive developer experience that only Microsoft and Xamarin together can deliver.
Open source Xamarin: Ready for you!
We have officially open sourced and contributed to the .NET Foundation the Xamarin SDK for Android, iOS and Mac under the same MIT license used for the Mono project. This includes native API bindings for iOS, Android and Mac, the command-line tools necessary to build for these platforms, and Xamarin.Forms, our popular cross-platform UI framework.

Watching Xamarin co-founder and open source pioneer Miguel de Icaza announce this onstage was a proud moment for all of us. The future of native cross-platform mobile development is now in the hands of every developer. We look forward to seeing your contributions; go to open.xamarin.com to get involved.

Visual Studio: Your complete mobile development environment
Today we launched new ways to connect Visual Studio to your Mac to make it even easier for C# developers to create native iOS apps, and new ways to auto-generate mobile app test scripts in Visual Studio.
Our iOS Simulator remoting lets you simulate and interact with your iOS apps in Visual Studio — even supporting multi-touch interactions on Windows machines with capable touch screens. We also unveiled our iOS USB remoting, which makes it possible to deploy and debug apps from Visual Studio to an iPad or iPhone plugged into your Windows PC.
In addition, our Test Recorder Visual Studio Plugin now brings Test Recorder’s ability to generate test scripts to Visual Studio users. Simply interact with your app on device or in the simulator and Test Recorder automatically generates scripts that can be run on thousands of devices with Xamarin Test Cloud’s automated app testing.


Xamarin.Forms: Faster and easier mobile app development
We launched Xamarin.Forms a few years ago to help developers build mobile apps faster, maximizing UI code-sharing while still delivering fully native experiences.
Today, we showed three key new features that will be coming to Xamarin.Forms. Data Pages and Themes make it easy to connect apps to common entities and data sources, and create beautiful, native user interfaces with just a few lines of code. The Forms Previewer makes it easy to iterate on your Xamarin.Forms UI designs by providing real-time previewing of Xamarin.Forms user interfaces composed in XAML.


The new, mobile-optimized development lifecycle
We were able to show today the most streamlined mobile lifecycle available anywhere through our combined product lineup, including integrations between Visual Studio Team Services, HockeyApp and Xamarin Test Cloud. Through our combined mobile lifecycle solution, you now have a complete solution to build great mobile apps at scale, tackling the unique challenges of mobile DevOps.


We’ve heard great enthusiasm from our customers. Bryan Hooper, senior director enterprise architecture at Bloomin’ Brands, talked about how they have “paired Xamarin with Microsoft’s Azure technology, and we’re really excited about the new partnership between the two organizations.” Darrell Thompson, vice president of information system services at Coca-Cola Consolidated, says that “Xamarin and Microsoft have been excellent partners and brought our mobile development to a whole new level.”
If we’re able to deliver all of this for you in just six weeks, imagine what you’ll be able to do in six months with Xamarin and Microsoft!

Fire App Fights Wildfires with Data


Every second counts when combating a wildfire. Time lost can result in devastating loss of life or property. The University of the Aegean in Greece developed the VENUS-C Fire app—featuring Bing Maps, Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Azure—to calculate and visualize the risk of wildfire ignition and to simulate fire propagation in the Greek island of Lesvos during its dry season. The university team generates a visualization of environmental factors each morning for the island’s fire management team, who then use the app to determine optimal resource allocation across the island for the day.
The fire app
The Fire app wildfire management software was designed by the Geography of Natural Disasters Laboratory at the University of the Aegean in Greece in 2011. Earlier, Microsoft Research partnered with the lab during the development phase, providing IT expertise, high-performance computing resources, and cloud computing infrastructure.
The app was built with functionality from multiple resources, giving it both technological depth and a visual interface that is accessible to non-technical users. "[The Fire app] nicely integrates Bing Maps, Microsoft Silverlight, and Windows Azure in a single system that allows users to be able to see the big picture of an emerging fire or the potential of an emerging fire," observes Dennis Gannon, director of Cloud Research Strategy for Microsoft Research Connections.
All of the Fire app data is stored in the cloud via Windows Azure. "You need a large cloud infrastructure such as Windows Azure to be able to bring these sources together," Gannon explains." The use of massive data analytics and machine learning is now the new frontier in many areas of science."
"With the cloud computing infrastructure, we were able to do business as we couldn’t do in the past," states Dr. Kostas Kalabokidis, associate professor, University of the Aegean. "[Windows Azure] is essential for us, because the cloud provides us with the necessary processing power and storage that is required. That means the real end users for the fire department do not need to have any huge processing power or storage capabilities locally."
Tracking risk factors daily
There are two distinct sets of users accessing Fire app daily during the dry season: the lab team, which loads new information into the tool in the morning; and the emergency responders, including the fire service, fire departments, and civil protection agencies that address wildfires on the island of Lesvos. They use the tool to view the data in a refined, graphical view. The process starts with the forecast.
"Every morning, our systems ask the Windows Azure cloud to provide approximately 20 virtual machines in order to process the available weather data," explains Dr. Christos Vasilakos, research associate, University of the Aegean. "It then stores the fire-risk outputs that the user needs to see and make the proper call. From the fire-risk menu, the end user can see for the next 120 hours or five days what will be the fire ignition risk for our study area." Additional information, including an animation of the weather for the next 120 hours, also can be accessed through the same menu.
The information is updated in the morning. The Fire Brigade of Greece uses the fire-risk data and fire simulations, together with weather forecast information, to inform the day's resource allocations. Based on the Fire app projections, personnel and fire trucks may be deployed throughout the island to areas that appear to be at particular risk that day.
The simulator also provides crucial information during fires. The firefighters who aren't dispatched to the fire use the Fire app at the station to create a wildfire simulation for the blaze. The team begins with the ignition point and pulls in other critical data to determine the fire’s potential path.
Fighting fire in the cloud
Cloud computing and storage are not merely integral to the Fire app; they are enabling significant advances throughout the research world.
"The data tsunami is changing everything in science. Every discipline is now confronted with it—a vast exploration of data that comes from instruments, from online sources, from the web, from social media," observes Gannon. "Analyzing this data can’t be done on a PC." Cloud computing, and the processing power that accompanies it, has made it possible for researchers to reduce processing job times from months to just hours.
Kypriotellis believes it has made a difference on the island. While wildfires do still break out, statistical evidence shows the department has been better prepared to respond to and control fires, preventing potential loss of life and property. He is hopeful that, one day, other firefighters will be able to add the tool to their arsenal as well.

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