thyssenkrupp - managed solution

thyssenkrupp transforms its home mobility solutions business with Microsoft HoloLens

As written on
With its customized stair lifts, thyssenkrupp has long helped people with physical limitations live comfortably and independently in their homes. Until recently, the process of selling, designing, building and installing the lifts was time-consuming for the company, with a laborious system of labels, cameras and manual data entry.
But with Microsoft HoloLens, thyssenkrupp is revolutionizing its home mobility solutions business, making the process faster, easier and more helpful for customers.
“With this partnership with Microsoft, thyssenkrupp will transform homes to make life better,” says Thomas Felis, vice president of innovation at thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas. “That is a game changer.”
Mechanized stair lifts must be customized for individual staircases, requiring precise measurements that used to contribute to long delivery times.
But today, a thyssenkrupp salesperson can use a mobile HoloLens solution to quickly measure a staircase during an initial visit and automatically share data with manufacturing teams and accounting systems via Microsoft Azure. Sales reps can also now show customers a visualization of what the lift would look like in their home, helping them feel more confident in making what can be an emotional decision.
“Selling, manufacturing and then installation — it all takes quite a while,” says Inge Delobelle, CEO of thyssenkrupp Access Solutions. “People need a quick solution. With HoloLens, we started saying, ‘Let’s look at how we can measure stairs differently, so it’s quicker.’ But that was just the very beginning.”
The wearable holographic computer makes it simple to scan a staircase, measure each step and save data. But being able to share data in real-time with different teams has improved the entire process, leading to quicker sales, design, manufacturing and installation. With Microsoft HoloLens and Microsoft Azure, thyssenkrupp now delivers its products up to four times faster than before.
“There’s plenty of potential, and whomever we discuss this with comes up with a new idea, and that’s what’s so great about it,” Delobelle says.
This week, thyssenkrupp and the Microsoft HoloLens team will be at Hannover Messe to showcase digital transformation with mixed reality — and its power to enhance productivity and customer satisfaction.
“Digital transformation reimagines people, data and processes within an organization to accelerate business impact and to create value for customers,” writes Lorraine Bardeen, general manager of Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences, on the Windows Blog.
“Increasingly, that digital reimagination includes deploying HoloLens into core workflows.”



WTF is a VPN?

By Romain Dillet as written on
You’re watching a movie. A criminal is trying to evade a crime scene in a sports car on the highway. A helicopter is following the car from above. The car enters a tunnel with multiple exits and the helicopter loses track of the car.
A VPN works just like the tunnel in this movie scene — it connects different roads and turns them into one, and a helicopter can’t see what’s happening inside the tunnel.
I’m sure many people around you have recommended you a VPN service. They usually tell you that a VPN is great, it lets you watch geo-blocked content, avoid the Great Firewall of China or browse the internet securely. VPNs are great, sometimes. But using a VPN can be as dangerous as not using one if you don’t know what you’re doing.

What the hell is a VPN?

If you have multiple computers, phones and tablets at home, you are using a local area network. These devices are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network and you can even transfer photos or movies from one computer to another without using the internet. Local area networks are private networks by design.
A VPN is a virtual private network. It lets you remotely connect to a private network. For instance, your office might be using a VPN for remote employees. This way, you can establish a connection with your company’s intranet and use your computer as if it were in the office. You’re virtually in the office, using your company’s Wi-Fi network.
Using a VPN is quite simple. Usually, a company or a developer installs a VPN server on a computer at home, in your office or in a data center. Then, users with the right credentials can connect to this server using a VPN client. There are many VPN clients out there on computers, mobile devices and even routers. Windows, Android, iOS and macOS even come with a basic VPN client in your device’s settings.
Let’s say you’re establishing a VPN connection on your computer. Your computer and the VPN server will start a point-to-point connection and all your network traffic will go through this connection. Think about this connection as a tunnel between your computer and a server. This tunnel is usually encrypted, and everything goes through the tunnel, from one end to another.

Why should I use a VPN?

Many of you probably first started using a VPN for work, especially when you’re working from home. There are a few advantages in using a VPN for a company. For example, it lets employees access office servers that aren’t connected to the internet, as you’re all connected to the same private network. Back in the days before cloud-hosted Office 365 servers or the G Suite, many companies were managing their own email and calendar servers. IT services could force you to connect to the company’s VPN first to access your emails and calendar events. It’s a good way to protect sensitive information.
But there are a few drawbacks as well. When you use a VPN connection, all network traffic goes through the VPN, including your internet traffic. Your company’s IT service could enforce strict browsing rules and prevent you from using Twitter. Or they could even watch and record your internet browsing habits to find a good excuse to fire you later down the road (too much Reddit, kthxbye).
But office environments aren’t the only use case for a VPN. If you live outside of the U.S., you know that a VPN can save the day when you’re trying to stream something from HBO Now, Netflix’s U.S. movie library, Hulu or one of the many streaming services that restrict you from using them abroad.
Many companies provide access to a bunch of servers around the world so that you can pretend you’re in another country. As I told you, once you set up a VPN connection, all network traffic goes through a tunnel and HBO’s servers will think that they’re sending data to a customer in the U.S. They’re sending data to an American IP address indeed (the address of the server), but everything is then sent through the VPN tunnel to your device on the other side of the world.
Sometimes, the VPN server doesn’t have enough bandwidth to upload the movie through the tunnel in a good resolution and your movie will look like crap. Sometimes, content companies like Netflix try to ban IP addresses that belong to well-known VPN servers, rendering this trick useless.
And finally, if you’ve traveled to China or another country that blocks many internet services, you’ve been relying on a VPN to connect to Gmail, Facebook or Twitter. China blocks websites at the network level. You need to connect to a VPN server outside of China to access those websites. Just like Netflix, the Chinese government tries to ban IP addresses of popular VPN services, making it more difficult to establish a reliable connection with a server outside of China.

Should I use a VPN to be secure on the internet?

Many coffee shops or hotels don’t spend too much time securing their Wi-Fi networks. Just like at home, it means that a user can see another user’s computer on the local network. And if there’s a hacker in your favorite coffee shop, they could snoop on your internet traffic to learn some information about you.
This was a serious issue a few years ago. Many websites didn’t use a secure connection on their login page. Hackers could get your bank account’s login and password and steal all your money.
Not using the Wi-Fi network at all was the best way to avoid that. But if you really needed to checked your email account, you could use a trustworthy VPN server to prevent snooping — nobody can see what’s happening in the tunnel.
Things have changed quite a lot. Now, a vast majority of internet services have switched to HTTPSand end-to-end encryption to make sure that nobody can see your private information, even without a VPN.
All of this leads me to today’s false assumptions about VPNs. No, a VPN doesn’t mean that you’ll be more secure on the internet. It depends on the VPN server.
When you use a VPN to change your country, avoid censorship or protect your connection in a coffee shop, the VPN server at the other end can see all your network traffic. You’re just moving the risk down the VPN tunnel, and it can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful enough.
Assume that all the free VPN apps that you see in the App Store and Google Play are free for a reason. They’ll analyze your browsing habits, sell them to advertisers, inject their own ads on non-secure pages or steal your identity. You should avoid free VPNs at all costs.
When it comes to paid options, some of them promise you internet privacy for $5, $10 or $20 per month. But look at the privacy policy and terms of service first. I’ve seen plenty of VPNs that log your internet traffic, share information with law enforcement and more. Read the small print.
And even if the privacy policy looks good, you’ll have to blindly trust them as it’s hard to verify that they actually do what they promise they’re doing. In many cases, a secure home connection with a MAC address whitelist is better than connecting to some random company’s VPN server. You don’t want to give a stranger your home keys even if they say that they promise they won’t break into your house.
As for encryption, some protocols aren’t as secure as you might think. L2TP with a pre-shared key for authentication can be decrypted for instance, destroying the concept of the unbreachable tunnel. A secure server running OpenVPN with a server certificate is more robust.
All of this might sound a bit complicated, but the bottom line is quite simple: a VPN is great and can fill different needs, but don’t do business with someone shady.
Learn more about internet censorship in China:



Visio is coming to the web and iOS

By VisioTeam as written on  
Visio has been a trusted tool in diagramming for more than a decade. And we know its visual communication in the form of diagrams will become more powerful when anyone in the company can consume—regardless of their location or device. So, today we’re excited to announce Visio Viewer for iPad and Visio Online Preview, enabling users to share or access diagrams from nearly anywhere, gain operational insights and explore real-world diagrams easily.

Back to the basics—ubiquitous sharing and access with Visio Online and iPad app

As one of the most widely adopted process mapping tools, Visio helps thousands of organizations blueprint the business processes that drive their desired transformation. Using Visio Online Preview and Visio Viewer for iPad, you can securely store your diagrams in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online and easily share them with anyone as a link—allowing your colleagues to view and interact with diagrams effortlessly across devices.

Visio Online Preview—gain operational insights from anywhere

The Visio desktop has always been a powerful tool for creating network maps, organizational charts, business processes and more. Visio Online Preview amplifies the power of visual communication by helping teams glean real-time information from diagrams with just a browser—turning your data-linked diagrams into an operational dashboard that more employees can access.
Picture a network map that the IT department uses to manage the company’s global datacenters. As a static diagram, the map is perfect for understanding how different servers interact and show the location of those servers. Now, pairing that map with real-time data, IT admins can see things like server outages as they happen. You can use hyperlinks to bring in additional documentation, such as policy guidance created in Word. Or, moving from the network dashboard to the rack dashboard for a specific server performance, IT admins are able to drill down to the root cause of the outages and take the appropriate actions to keep the business up and running.
See the Visio Online Public Preview FAQs to learn how to access the preview.


Visio Viewer for iPad—explore real-world diagrams in high-fidelity on the go

Visio diagrams often comprise details that customers could miss on smaller screens. Built for iPad Retina display, Visio Viewer for iPad brings high-fidelity viewing of real-world processes and plans on the go. With the new exploration experience, plant managers can zoom in to production line issues from remote facilities, financial advisors can examine detailed workflows of a loan approval process while visiting clients around the world, retail district managers can conduct store management trainings with associates using detailed CAD-based store layouts and much more.
Using the Find pane, you can pinpoint all occurrences of a shape name, text or data—eliminating the need to sift through countless shapes. After you locate the shape with your desired metadata, smoothly navigate through your diagrams and zoom in and out with intuitive Pan and Zoom features. You can even reveal different visualizations of the same diagram by adjusting the visibility of certain layers. For example, an architect can share the same building layout with Facilities and HR, who can then visualize the respective layers which contain only the electrical map or personnel location for their own functional need. Operations managers can add an inventory visualization layer on top of a production line with throughput information to understand the root cause of a station breakdown.
You can download Visio Viewer for iPad today. We’ll bring Visio to the iPhone in the coming months.



Law Firm Enhances Courtroom Storytelling, Daily Productivity with Microsoft Surface Pro

As written on

"I now have all my Microsoft OneNote notebooks stored on OneDrive for Business, and I can access them from anywhere using my Surface Pro or my phone. It’s really pretty amazing to have my entire office at my fingertips wherever I am." - Brian Prestes: Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott

Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP is one of the most successful trial law firms in the United States. To help attorneys tell more compelling stories in the courtroom and be more productive every day, it is deploying Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices. In a profession where time is money, Bartlit Beck attorneys use the Surface Pro 3 to save time throughout the day, be more effective in court, and operate cost-effectively.

Be More Effective In Court and Out

Storytelling is not only important in Hollywood; it’s important in the courtroom, too.
No one has perfected the art of courtroom storytelling like Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP. Known as Bartlit Beck, the law firm specializes in complex courtroom litigation. It has achieved an enviable record of courtroom victories in high-profile cases of all kinds, including antitrust, class action, intellectual property, product liability, fraud, and securities.
To help its attorneys tell more compelling stories, and to help them be more productive and effective during workdays that extend well beyond typical office hours, Bartlit Beck is giving interested attorneys Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices.

Use Technology Effectively

Bartlit Beck has always used technology to maximum effect. An early adopter of the alternative fee model, which rewards the firm according to results rather than hourly billing, Bartlit Beck aims to do superior work with fewer lawyers and layers in less time. Smart use of technology facilitates this efficiency.

“We encourage our attorneys to use the technology tools that make them most efficient,” says Alexandra Buck, Chief Operating Officer and Special Counsel at Bartlit Beck. “We pioneered the use of trial presentation software, and we continually test new technologies that help us present our arguments as clearly and persuasively as possible.”

Most of the firm’s 77 attorneys used thin and light laptops but still found them too heavy and clunky for their on-the-go lifestyles. They took too long to turn on and shut down, which attorneys did multiple times a day as they moved between offices, meetings, homes, airports, airplanes, and customer sites.
“I would take my laptop into a meeting, fire it up, go get coffee, have a hallway chat, come back, and it would still be loading,” Buck says. “That wasted time adds up throughout the day.”

Brian Prestes, a partner at Bartlit Beck, shared Buck’s frustrations. “I really wanted a tablet to make it easier to do all my reading, but I didn’t want to juggle multiple devices. From a lifestyle standpoint, I wanted a device that I could pick up and put down frequently to check email, play music, read a brief, and chat with my family via Skype, all more fluidly than I could with a laptop. I also travel constantly, and I found it increasingly difficult to have enough space on an airplane to open a laptop.”

Tell More Compelling Stories

In the spirit of staying current with new technology, several attorneys acquired an earlier version of Surface Pro, and the firm got hooked. “No one here likes to be left behind!” Buck says. The number of devices continued to grow, and the firm expects to have nearly 40 Surface Pro 3 device users by the end of the year.

With their Surface Pro 3 devices, lawyers have immediate access to all pretrial discovery materials, deposition testimony, legal analysis, and everything else related to the case, which can be sorted and analyzed instantaneously. “This gives us a tremendous advantage over firms that may have access to similar information but that require layers of support to access, manipulate, and present it in court,” Buck says.

Using a combination of touch, the Surface Pen, and Type Cover, lawyers can quickly move around within a document, highlight or underline language, or otherwise manipulate presentations with total ease. “With the Surface Pro 3, our attorneys can more flexibly control their stories in the courtroom, which gives more authenticity and credibility to our presentations,” Buck says.

Make Every Minute Count

Apart from courtroom effectiveness, attorneys use their Surface Pro 3 devices to be more productive every day. “The main advantage of the Surface Pro 3 over a laptop is in the transition points—the startup and shutdown times that happen throughout the day,” says Buck. “The Surface Pro 3 is blazingly fast. This time saving adds up throughout the day and week.”

Prestes loves the “lapability” of the Surface Pro 3—the ability to use it comfortably on his lap, on an airplane tray, or in other tight quarters. “After using my Surface Pro 3, I can say that it has delivered on the promise of being the tablet that can replace my laptop,” he says. “I can set up shop and be productive anywhere, in small slivers of time. If I only have five minutes, I can check my email and respond to questions, whereas before I lost that time.”

With its practice of results-based billing, Bartlit Beck prizes efficiency—thus its penchant for technology. “Our bread and butter is being efficient,” says Buck. “The Surface helps us do the best possible work in the least amount of time.”
Bartlit Beck uses Microsoft Office 365 to give employees access to cloud-based email, instant messaging, videoconferencing, productivity applications, and more. Prestes and others say that the combination of the Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 is a powerful productivity enhancer. “I now have all my Microsoft OneNote notebooks stored on OneDrive for Business, and I can access them from anywhere using my Surface Pro or my phone,” Prestes says. “It’s really pretty amazing to have my entire office at my fingertips wherever I am.”

Save Money, Too

While many Bartlit Beck attorneys use Apple Mac computers, Thomas Mensch, IT Director at Bartlit Beck, says the Surface Pro is more cost-effective. “The Macs are about $1,000 more expensive for each user, because the Mac hardware is more expensive and doesn’t run our legal software, so we have to install a virtual machine that can run Windows,” he says. “I think the Surface is a great addition from Microsoft; it’s a complete computer in a little box.”

"After using my Surface Pro 3, I can say that it has delivered on the promise of being the tablet that can replace my laptop. I can set up shop and be productive anywhere, in small slivers of time." - Brian Prestes: Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott


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Microsoft Edge and Continuum: Your desktop browser on Mobile

By Balaji Bhaskar as written on
Continuum for Phones, available on select Windows 10 Mobile devices, allows customers to connect their phone to a monitor, projector, or TV for a full-sized desktop experience, powered by their phone. Because Microsoft Edge is built on the Universal Windows Platform, Microsoft Edge in Continuum is able to provide a full desktop browser experience.
Let’s walk through a quick overview of how Continuum works and a few key differences between Microsoft Edge running in Continuum and on a PC.

Using Continuum on Windows 10 Mobile

Continuum allows Windows 10 Mobile users to have a PC-like experience when connected to an external display and a mouse and keyboard. When connected (via a wired dock or via Bluetooth and Miracast), Universal Windows Apps like Office and Microsoft Edge will adapt their interface and behavior to provide a desktop-like experience tailored to mouse and keyboard input.
Check out the Continuum product page, FAQ, and Getting Started Guide to learn more about Continuum.

Microsoft Edge on Continuum

Microsoft Edge takes full advantage of the Universal Windows Platform to provide a complete desktop-like experience in Continuum — when the device is connected to a larger display, Microsoft Edge turns into a desktop browser, adapting the interface and rendering characteristics to match Microsoft Edge on PCs.
In fact, Microsoft Edge in Continuum is nearly indistinguishable from its PC twin, which is a fun party trick when presenting at events or in meetings!


Screen capture showing Microsoft Edge open to in Continuum mode on a display connected to a Windows 10 phone.

To enable an experience that’s as true to the desktop equivalent as possible, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind.

One rendering engine

Because Microsoft Edge uses the same engine across all Windows 10 devices, the rendering behavior is the same across Windows 10 devices, including Windows 10 Mobile devices. The only differences are due to certain device-specific qualities – for example, codec support may be different on phones due to missing hardware acceleration, and Flash is not supported on Windows 10 Mobile. Because Windows 10 Mobile has a different background model, RTC is also currently not supported. Finally, Windows 10 Mobile does not support Flash in order to provide a modern, touch-focused, and power-efficient experience appropriate for a mobile device. Because of this, Flash is not supported in Microsoft Edge in Continuum.

Details for web developers

Developers in general won’t have to give any special consideration to Microsoft Edge in Continuum. By design, it will behave like a desktop client, including sending a desktop User-Agent string.
As always, we recommend that you don’t try to detect based on the User Agent string — if you use responsive design and feature detection, your site should just work on Continuum. However, for some cases, including analytics or to provide a specifically tailored experience, developers may wish to detect when Microsoft Edge is running in Continuum.
In Continuum, Microsoft Edge changes a few tokens to make sure it gets desktop markup:

Microsoft Edge UA (Mobile)

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows Phone 10.0; Android 6.0.1; Microsoft; <Device>) AppleWebKit/<Rev (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/<Rev> Mobile Safari/<Rev> Edge/<Rev>

Microsoft Edge UA (Continuum)

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; ARM) AppleWebKit/<Rev> (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/<Rev> Safari/<Rev> Edge/<Rev>

Microsoft Edge UA (Desktop)

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/<Rev> (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/<Rev> Safari/<Rev> Edge/<Rev>
The revision numbers will, as in all browsers, change regularly as Microsoft Edge is updated, to ensure modern markup is received.

Independent scroll

Running desktop sites on phone is challenging, so we’ve made optimizations in the Anniversary Update to tailor performance to provide a more desktop-like experience. On PCs, Microsoft Edge offloads scrolling from the UI thread to provide a more fluid scrolling experience during page load/painting. In the Anniversary Update, this same feature is now supported in Continuum, even when scrolling via the mouse or keyboard. This results in a smoother experience even while the page is loading or painting.

Switching from mobile to desktop

Microsoft Edge will recognize when a phone switches into Continuum and any sites opened after the switch will render using desktop behavior, including the desktop UA string.
If a tab is open to a mobile site, and the device switches to Continuum, the tab will be sustained. If the tab is refreshed, and it isn’t a mobile-specific URL, it will reload in a desktop view. This ensures that users do not lose unsaved changes (such as a partially-filled form) on a site while switching from the phone to Continuum.
We’re committed to making Continuum as close to the desktop experience as possible without adding any additional overhead for Web Developers – try it out on a Windows 10 Mobile device and let us know what you think! If you have questions or are curious how your site looks in Continuum, reach out to @MSEdgeDev on Twitter, and we’d be happy to help.


Microsoft Planner ready for showtime

Today marks the general availability of Microsoft Planner. Over the next several weeks, Planner will roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers worldwide. This includes Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education subscription plans.
All users with eligible subscription plans will automatically see the Planner tile appear in the Office 365 app launcher when it is available for them to use. No specific action by Office 365 admins is needed.
The addition of Planner to the Office 365 lineup introduces a new and improved way for businesses, schools and organizations to structure teamwork easily and get more done. With Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress.

Charts in Microsoft Planner.

Charts in Microsoft Planner.


Board in Microsoft Planner.

Board in Microsoft Planner.


Since we rolled out the Planner Preview, we have been working closely with a variety of Office 365 customers from around the world. Many of them have already experienced quantifiable benefits from increased collaboration and expedited time to value.
Câmara Municipal de Cascais has governed the town of Cascais, Portugal, for 650 years. This long history of service just got a boost after it transitioned to Office 365. More than 1,000 employees have quickly adopted Planner to better organize their teamwork and expedite the completion times for various government initiatives.

“With Planner, we improved collaboration by about 20 percent. We’re completing group initiatives approximately seven percent faster, and everyone stays aligned easily due to the added level of transparency.”
—Miguel Pinto Luz, deputy mayor of Câmara Municipal de Cascais

Read the Câmara Municipal de Cascais customer story to learn more about their innovative use of Office 365.
Hancock Askew & Co. is a public accounting firm that serves national and international clients. The firm recently adopted Planner to help team members in multiple offices manage client engagements in a more organized and collaborative manner resulting in reduced need for status meetings, greater visibility into progress of assigned tasks and more accurate client communication.

“We have consistently received the Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, and Office 365 has been a great resource for us in maintaining that award even through rapid growth. By using Planner, we add to that flexibility, giving team members transparency into what’s getting done, no matter where or what time of the day it is.”
—Greg B. Ameden, director of IT Assurance Services at Hancock Askew & Co.

Let us know what you think!
We are committed to reading every piece of feedback we receive and turning that into action, so that we can continue to improve Planner. Some of the new features we plan to introduce over the next few months include the ability to assign a task to multiple users, external user access, plan templates, customizable boards and apps for iOS, Android and Windows.
Drop us a line on our Planner UserVoice to let us know what you think of Planner and what improvements you would like to see.


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

By Nat Friedman as written on
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.



New to Office 365 in May—updates to Skype for Business, Outlook, SharePoint and more

By Kirk Koenigsbauer as written on

This month, our updates to Office 365 include real-time chat integration into Office 365 web experiences, as well as new capabilities in Outlook and Visio. We also cover key announcements for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business made earlier this month.
Real-time chat in Office 365 web experiences for commercial customers
Last month, we announced deeper integration of Skype for Business into Word and PowerPoint for Windows desktop. Now for commercial customers we’re integrating real-time chat into Office Online—the web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Simply click the blue Chat button to start a conversation with everyone editing in the browser at the same time, for any document stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.


We’re also rolling out Skype for Business chat within Outlook on the web. Click the Skype icon in the top navigation bar to access contacts, search your organization and start a chat alongside your Outlook mail and calendar experience. You can also begin conversations by clicking the IM button in a person’s contact card.



Outlook updates across platforms
We have a number of updates coming this month to Outlook, helping you stay on top of what matters and get stuff done on all your devices—even your wearables!
  • Watch face support for Outlook for Android Wear—Outlook on Android Wear already lets you interact with notifications, read email and reply with preset messages or voice dictation. In next week’s update, you will be able to stay on top of your day with a quick glance at the Outlook watch face. See your schedule overlaid on the dial and get details on upcoming events. It will also be easier to manage your inbox with a view of how many new emails you have and who they’re from before diving in to the details with a single tap. You can even personalize your watch face color to fit your style for the day.




  • Improved language support for Outlook for Mac—Outlook 2016 for Mac now supports Arabic and Hebrew and provides right-to-left language support. We’ve also introduced a new editor with enhanced formatting support, addressing a top request from customers.
  • OneDrive and Skype for Business integration in Outlook for iOS and Android—Collaborate on documents more easily in Outlook by emailing a link to a file stored in OneDrive for Business, keeping all the recipients on the same page with the latest version. Coming in next week’s update, you’ll be able to quickly join Skype Meetings in one tap from Outlook’s event details view.



  • Pre-populated attachments in Skype Meetings—Files you attach to a Skype Meeting request in Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web now automatically load into the Skype Meeting document bin as soon as participants join. Cloud attachments automatically assign permissions to meeting attendees. That way everybody can collaborate during the Skype Meeting. Learn more about preloading attachments into Skype for Business meetings.
SharePoint and OneDrive for Business enhancements for Office 365
Earlier this month, we unveiled our new cloud-first, mobile-first vision and roadmap for SharePoint. We’ve already started rolling out some of those improvements to help empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device.
It’s simpler and more powerful to share files and collaborate from any device. Now you can use OneDrive for iPhone and iPad to seamlessly share, edit and take offline any files stored in SharePoint document libraries, Office 365 groups and OneDrive for Business. On the web, you can copy files from OneDrive for Business to a SharePoint team site or Office 365 group. The new Discover view in both the web and OneDrive for Android helps files find you, minimizing search time with recommendations powered by the Office Graph. We’ll expand these capabilities to more platforms later this year.



We’re also updating SharePoint to make your intranet more mobile, intelligent and personalized. The new SharePoint mobile app will provide full-fidelity, on-the-go access to your company content, sites and apps—available on iOS by the end of June and on Android and Windows later this year. In Office 365 on the web, we’ve renamed Sites to SharePoint and we now provide a modern, new SharePoint home page with access to team sites, search and views into activity across your teams and organization. SharePoint document libraries and lists (coming soon) have a simple and familiar new look based on OneDrive, while still offering intuitive access to the rich content management and customizability of SharePoint. Soon we’ll integrate PowerApps and Microsoft Flow directly into SharePoint. Stay tuned for more!



AutoCAD 2013/2010 file support in Visio Pro for Office 365
Over 12 million people use Visio to visually communicate complex information, document business processes and more. Now Visio Pro for Office 365 customers can insert and open the latest AutoCAD 2013 and 2010 file formats. Architects, engineers, operations teams and others can collaborate more effectively on AutoCAD design documents in Visio with capabilities such as co-authoring, commenting and annotation. You can even add data on top of your layout and design to provide operational insights. For example, import an AutoCAD diagram of a building and add people and facilities to the floor plan to more easily track resources or simply highlight key architectural information to share with others. Sign up for a free webcast on July 12 to learn more about using Visio to collaborate on AutoCAD files.



Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office 2016 | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release. Thanks for your continued feedback and support!


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