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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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.

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