Introducing Groups in Outlook for Mac, iOS and Android

As written on
More than 10 million people rely on Groups in Outlook every month to work together and get things done. Groups is proving useful to our customers. And for that, we couldn’t be more thankful. Groups in Outlook offers huge improvements over traditional distribution lists, with a shared space for group conversations, calendars, files and notebooks, the convenience of self-service membership and much more.
Today, we’re pleased to announce Groups is now rolling out to Outlook for Mac, iOS and Android. Groups is already available in Outlook for Windows and on the web—so now you can access your group conversations and content no matter which platform you use.
With these updates, you can:
  • View your group list.
  • Read and reply to group conversations.
  • Add group events to your personal calendar.
  • View unread messages sent to the group.


View group details within the group card (Outlook for iOS and Android only).


There is more to come as we continue to work on making Groups better in response to your input, so stay tuned.
Recently released updates for Groups in Outlook
In addition to bringing groups to more Outlook apps, we’ve released several new features for Groups in Outlook on other platforms, too.
Give guest access—Last fall, we updated Outlook on the web to give you the ability to set up guest access for people outside your organization, set group classification as defined by Office 365 admins, and view usage guidelines. Now, these same capabilities are available in Outlook for Windows.
Invite people to join—One of our most requested improvements was an easier way to invite multiple people to join a group. We’ve released the Invite to join feature to Outlook on the web, which lets you create invitation links and share them with others via email or other channels, giving them a quick way to join the group.
Multi-delete conversations—Group owners can now multi-select conversations and delete them from the group conversations space in Outlook for Windows.
Send email as a group—Office 365 admins can grant send-as and send-on-behalf-of permissions to members of a group using the Exchange admin center. Group members who have these permissions can then send emails as the group, or on behalf of the group, from Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the web.
What’s next
We’re always listening to your feedback as we deliver new Groups capabilities to Outlook. Here are a few of your key requests we are going to tackle next:
  • Add appointments to a group calendar in Outlook for Windows—When adding an event to a group calendar, you will have the option to do so without sending an invite to everyone in the group.
  • Addition of Mail Contacts as guests—You will be able to easily add Mail Contacts in your company’s directory as a guest in a group.

About Managed Solution

We're technology enthusiasts with a people-first approach. For over two decades, we've witnessed the profound impact that the right technology and support can have on businesses and individuals. Success, to us, is seeing our clients, partners, and team conquer challenges to achieve their greatest goals and build lasting connections. This relentless pursuit of inspiration drives us forward, pushing us to deliver innovative solutions that empower growth and lasting success.

View Services.

BMW releases new digital mobility experience based on platform using Microsoft Azure

By Vanessa Ho as written on


Imagine a future in which a personal travel assistant looks over your schedule, checks traffic for you, tells you when to leave for an appointment, ferrets out parking spaces and alerts people of your arrival time — all while learning your driving patterns to get more helpful over time.

That assistant will be BMW Connected, whose first version made its debut Thursday at Build 2016, Microsoft’s developer conference in San Francisco.

“Mobility needs are unique and personal and a very important aspect of our everyday life,” says Thom Brenner, BMW Group vice president of Digital Life. “We are really focused on how we can integrate our offerings smoothly and seamlessly into the digital life of our customers.”

Powered by the Open Mobility Cloud, which is based on Microsoft Azure, and available for iOS, BMW Connected is part of the automaker’s vision for the “future of mobility,” which includes digital services, automated driving and assistance, and interiors designed for digital seamlessness. BMW built the Open Mobility Cloud, a new flexible, scalable platform, using Microsoft Azure technologies and tools.

“BMW Connected is more than an app. It’s an experience on top of an intelligent platform that can learn about your driving habits,” Brenner says. “We are building this platform as a foundation for our future services and experiences … and Microsoft Azure and Azure services gave us the right tools.”

Azure’s platform-as-a-service products such as App Service give BMW’s platform resilience and scalability, while Azure’s global network allows for a seamless rollout of services worldwide. Service Fabric enables the automaker to build individual mobility graphs with personalized data and real-time context. Event Hubs handles data injections, HDInsight manages large amounts of unstructured data and Azure Machine Learning enables intelligent, scalable systems.

“We bring an enterprise-grade, trustworthy platform with Azure,” says Sanjay Ravi, Microsoft worldwide managing director of Discrete Manufacturing and Automotive Industries. “Its ability to ingest millions of transactions per second is critical, because a lot of these scenarios need to be processed in near real-time.”

For this first version of BMW Connected, journey management is the core service, with travel-planning before a trip and continued services afterward. To accomplish that, BMW’s platform captures data from different sources, including real-time traffic conditions, and makes it easy to add destinations from various sources like a user’s calendar, contacts, messages, apps and habits learned over time.

“It’s more than what you normally do in the car,” says Ravi. “BMW Connected is focusing on the overall consumer experience throughout the journey, and before and after the journey. This requires bringing intelligence into every digital experience.”

The flexible architecture of the Open Mobility Cloud will allow BMW to easily build new service experiences, incorporate partner content and integrate networked systems like smart homes. That means the experience will steadily grow and improve, and in the future be able to manage car-charging, make parking easier, or tell your house that you’re coming home, prompting smart lights and features to turn on.

Brenner says customers will see frequent updates of BMW Connected, currently available in the United States for the iPhone for BMW owners and ConnectedDrive customers. BMW Connected also integrates existing services, like BMW Remote services into one experience, making it easy and bringing everything at your fingertips.

“We think the future of sheer driving pleasure will go beyond driving,” says Brenner. “It will start before you enter the car, and it will end after you leave the car. And we will make sure BMW cars perfectly and smoothly integrate the way you live your everyday life and use your digital devices and services.”

For Microsoft, the announcement follows news shared at CES 2016 on its connected car partnerships.

“Microsoft is in the connected vehicle space, bringing all the elements around the intelligent cloud, reinventing productivity and creating more personal computing,” Ravi says.

cortana ios

Microsoft starts rolling out Cortana for iOS

Recently, Microsoft unveiled Cortana for iOS. The company asked users in the United States to sign-up for Cortana for iOS beta, and as it seems like, Microsft has finally started rolling out Cortana for iOS to beta testers. The company is rolling out Cortana for iOS via Apple’s TestFlight. Cortana on iOS looks just like it does on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and Android. The personal assistant is able to tell you the weather, keep you updated with the latest news based on your interests, track your packages, flights, keep you updated with sports scores and do some other basic tasks.

skype for business ios managed solution

Skype for Business iOS app now available

It’s never been more important to be able to get work done and collaborate with others from anywhere—be it participating in an important meeting while traveling or sending a quick message during a coffee run. We’ve been working hard to ensure Skype for Business can make you productive on any device. Since we announced the Skype for Business for iOS preview, we’ve received great response, and today we are excited to announce that the new Skype for Business app for iOS devices is now publicly available.
Along with the following features, the new app also resolves the sign-in issues that some of you experienced with Lync 2013 on iOS 9.

Join a meeting in one touch

An updated dashboard brings the contact search bar, your upcoming meetings and most-recent conversations to one place. The contact search bar allows you to search your Global Address List by first name, last name, email alias or phone number. Your recent conversations are at your fingertips, no matter which device you had the conversation on. You can also easily glance at your upcoming appointments—simply tap on the left for the meeting details or on the icon on the right to join immediately.


Enhanced in-meeting experience

Full-screen video makes for a more immersive meeting experience. Larger buttons to mute and the ability to add participants and manage your call make it a lot easier to meet while you are on the move. Simultaneous viewing of the content being shared and speaker’s video means that you never miss a moment.


Watch for the ability to view PowerPoint slides in a meeting in a future update. In the meantime, you can view a PowerPoint presentation via desktop sharing.

Additional authentication and security options

Office 365 customers can now take advantage of Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL)-based authentication. This enables your IT admin to configure multi-factor authentication for the Skype for Business iOS app, increasing the security beyond just a user name and password. With multi-factor authentication, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message or an app notification on their device after correctly entering their user name and password. Other Office applications also support ADAL-based authentication, which allows for consistent authentication across your organization. Learn more about setting up multi-factor authentication using ADAL.

How you can upgrade to the new app

The new Skype for Business iOS app is now available as a Universal app in the iTunes Store. iPhone users with Lync 2013 will automatically get updated to the Skype for Business app. iPad users with Lync 2013 need to download the new Universal app from the iTunes Store. If you are an IT admin, use the Skype for Business iOS productivity guide to learn more and prepare your users.

What’s next?

We are iterating rapidly to enrich the feature set on iOS and bring them to you as quickly as we can. Later this year, we will also make Skype for Business app for Android publicly available. Join the Skype for Business IT Pro Yammer community to subscribe to the upcoming product updates, interactive Skype broadcast sessions with the product team, and learn from the community. We look forward to hearing what’s on the top of your mind.
Start using the new app today to stay connected and productive while on the go!
—Praveen Maloo, product marketing manager for the Skype for Business team.



Microsoft delivers redesigned Skype 6.0 apps for Android, iOS

As written by Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft on
The Skype 6.0 for Android release is rolled out September 3. And the Skype 6.0 for iPhones and iPads is already available now, according to a new Microsoft blog post.
The Skype 6.0 for Android release has been redesigned in a way inspired by Material Design and made easier to use on Android phones, Microsoft execs said. There's a new floating action button, improved search and enhancements to messaging to make it easier to see which messages users have read and haven't.
Skype 6.0 for iPhone and iPad also has been redesigned, officials said. The new navigation controls are meant to get users to their conversations faster. Swipe gestures can be used to make calls and manage messages.
Microsoft execs said the new version for iOS also makes it easier to share photos, web links and emoticons while on voice or video calls, as well as easier to find things using search.
The new 6.0 version of Skype for iPhone is available in the Apple iTunes store, as is Skype 6.0 for iPad. The 6.0 version of Skype for Android phones is available from the Google Play Store. All of these apps are free.
Microsoft also is working on new Skype apps for Windows 10 Mobile, as Microsoft officials have said previously, but today's blog post offers nothing new in terms of when testers and users will get to see the coming app or apps officially.


gigjam-iphone-surface- managed solution

Posted on July 14, 2015 by David Mario Smith
At its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft gave new details on it’s Project GigJam collaboration app, which represents a fresh approach by the technology titan. GigJam will enable users to find or pull information from any or multiple business applications, share that information or parts of it with team members in a workspace metaphor. Users can keep track of processes and the tasks involved to get work done quicker.
I find GigJam to be one of the more important announcements from Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference. For one, the name is probably the coolest name Microsoft has come up with. Well, being the son of a Jazz musician, it just evokes emotions in me. But I digress. More importantly, this represents a new Microsoft. This is Satya Nadella’s Microsoft, which is trying to be more open and platform agnostic.
GigJam is not tied to Windows. It was built using web standards such as REST, OAuth, JavaScript, and HTML5. It also works across Android, iOS, Mac and Windows devices and PCs. It also works on large screens such as Surface. GigJam allows you to share tasks with a purpose, in which you can assign responsibilities with the right information to the right people, ensuring the proper context to get things done. Cortana capabilities will be built in to allow audio for audio comments. Every task in an application seemingly becomes an application in itself that enables multi-user collaboration. Now it’s exact release date has not be revealed, but we anticipate this will be one of the most significant Microsoft product launches.
GigJam is Nadella’s vision to move Microsoft into an innovative position of openness and breaking down proprietary barriers between the applications and devices people use to get work done. What makes GigJam important is that it could potentially cause a paradigm shift in the way collaboration and productivity applications work. We’ve seen Microsoft release Sway and Delve and is trying to address the “help people get work done” mantra of newer mobile collaboration services such as Slack. The traditional barriers to that have been proprietary islands of collaboration platforms in which Microsoft was a main culprit. Building GigJam with open standards is a huge step for Microsoft and sends an industry alert that they’re about innovating in this space.
I’ve been writing about the emerging mobile collaboration space, which is impacting collaboration and causing traditional vendors to react with new lightweight mobile offerings to support how people work. I believe GigJam is an innovative step and point in this trend that will demand a response from emerging and traditional collaboration providers. GigJam calls tasks, people, content and context to the forefront in a way that will potentially help people get work done faster and more efficiently. GigJam is at the project stage, so from now till it is officially released, I’m sure deeper details will be revealed. As an analyst, I’m usually tempered on product announcements claiming to be the next big thing and that can cure all ails, but I believe Microsoft has something here. Time will tell how well they execute though. Stay tuned!


onenote_cloud_hands_feature managed solution

Forbes: Microsoft Embraces Smartphone Competition With Office For Android

Continuing its ’cloud first, mobile first’ strategy, Microsoft has released its top level suite of Office Apps for Android. Previously available as a ‘preview’, today’s release gives Word, Excel, and PowerPoint full application status on Android. The apps are available to download for free from the Google Play store (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer Office Client Applications and Services VP) talks about the impact the preview process on the blog post announcing the updated apps.
“Five weeks ago, we announced the Office for Android phone preview. We are so grateful to our preview users, and with their help we were able to test the apps on over 1,900 different Android phone models in 83 countries. During the preview, we heard from thousands of these users, and over the last few weeks we were able to incorporate a lot of their feedback into the apps we’re launching today. For example, we made it easier to connect to other popular third-party storage offerings like Google Drive and Box, as well as many usability adjustments to make it easier to navigate commands within the apps.
No doubt there will be an extensive internal change-list with fixes, tweaks, and squashed bugs, but the commitment to work with ‘third party storage offerings’ such as Google Drive caught my eye. This is not the Microsoft of old. The Microsoft of old would not have even considered full-blown Office clients for iOS or Android. Standalone read-only viewers, yes, but to give full access to the crown jewels without being exclusively in Microsoft’s sphere of influence would be a step too far.
Perhaps it would have been a step too far for Ballmer, but not for current CEO Satya Nadella. These steps are the exact steps he wants Microsoft to talk, moving the focus of the company from a hardware-led solution to one that focuses on cloud services and being in every location where a consumer could find them.
Given the smartphone market share that Microsoft has, that means heading out to Android and iOS. It also means being on the web and open to significant interaction on other platforms such as OSX on the desktop and Box in the cloud storage sphere.
This ethos was also on show over the weekend as the OneNote team debuted new features for the cloud-based note-taking client on iOS, with other platforms to follow in the future.
Much like freemium based gaming, the goal will be to convert these free downloads into purchases of Microsoft’s online services such as extra storage in the OneDrive cloud, or a subscription to Office365 for increased support and functionality. That a certain percentage of users will always stay with the free option is something that Microsoft will be comfortable with, as long as there’s enough income coming in from the digital whales.
Nadella has been in the CEO chair for sixteen months, and the changes and direction that he gave to Microsoft after his appointment in February 2014 have now worked through the internal structures and development timelines. I expect to see more of Microsoft putting cloud services ahead of every other consideration over the next few months.
Article by Ewan Spence


Microsoft officially confirmed that it’s bringing Cortana to iOS and Android. The software giant is planning to release separate apps for each mobile operating system to enable its digital assistant to run outside of Windows. Microsoft is only providing an early look at those apps today, but the company notes that you’ll be able to make the same queries and ask the same questions using Cortana across Windows, iOS, or Android. The Cortana companion will be available for Android in late June and iOS later this year.
While Cortana on iOS or Android won’t be as powerful as the Windows variant, due to various integrations, Microsoft is still providing notification support. You’ll get notifications for sports results, flights, and most of the Cortana features that currently exist in the Windows Phone and Windows 10 versions of the digital assistant. Microsoft’s Cortana cross-platform work is all part of a new phone companion experience for bringing services and features from Windows 10 to all smartphones. Microsoft’s phone companion will help Windows 10 PC owners find relevant apps on their Android, Windows, or iOS phones to make use of OneNote, OneDrive, and many other apps and services.

Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.