The Microsoft Build conference has many promises and announcements of future technologies.
They aren’t things you can use right now and some of them are familiar from Microsoft conferences in years and decades past.
The demos are very impressive and looks really easy. The reality of development and use is often a lot harder and more expensive than Microsoft pretends.
As Microsoft Office nerds, here’s some of the things that caught our eye from the amazingly long Day 1 Keynote.
Office 365 continues to dominate
Office 365 now has 135 million monthly active users (aka MAU’s), that’s 15 million more than about 6 months ago.
Office 365’s consumer subscribers are now 30.6 million strong.
Your App is a coming Windows 10 feature to add more links between your Android phone and Windows 10.
Windows 10 via Cortana already have links. Notifications on your phone will appear in Windows. Incoming messages appear with the ability to reply from your desktop.
Your app has been called ‘mirroring’ but that’s not correct. The future feature does NOT redisplay the smartphone screen onto your Windows desktop.
Instead, it offers an expanded interface for some phone apps to/from Windows 10.
In the demonstration, we see text messages coming and going. Pictures dragged from the desktop to be sent in outgoing phone messages. Most clever, a picture received by the phone message is dragged direct your ‘Your App’ to Powerpoint to be added to a slide.
Your App is being rolled out to Windows Insiders soon so, hopefully, it will be part of the October 2018 update.
Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa working together
After last year’s announcement, we finally saw a limited demo of two spoken word assistants working together – Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa.
On an Echo device you can ask for Cortana to do things like send an email.
Or on a Windows computer, ask Cortana to start Alexa to use skills only available on the Amazon service.
All this is still being tested. You can go to https://info.microsoft.com/Subscribe-to-receive-news-about-Cortana-Alexa to sign up for info as Cortana and Alexa are linked.
Meeting Room — again
Microsoft loves showing off meeting room scenarios at these events. Office Watch has been seeing these examples since the 20th century. Some of the demo pictures could even be the same ones!
They are selling the idea of meetings with people in different locations using cameras to ‘bring people together’.
At Build 2018 we saw the latest possibilities with 3D models manipulated via a virtual reality headset, people tagged on the video with their names, an automatic transcript of what’s said, translations and even tasks or appointments automatically created from the discussion text.
Of course, the demo transcript looks perfect with the participants speaking clearly.. If our experience with Cortana is any judge, a real-world meeting transcript would be almost unreadable.