Microsoft Build 2022 recap on Microsoft Teams, Mesh for Teams and Microsoft Metaverse

Welcome to read my recap blog post of what’s been announced at Microsoft Build 2022! This post focuses on Microsoft Teams and Metaverse news. I was hoping to see more news about Mesh for Teams, but apart from “more news/information in upcoming monts” and some very interesting videos & pictures we were not shared much details. But – Microsoft Teams delivers us in this Build also.

This year my Microsoft Build is very different from anything else than before. Instead of watching this one from home I have traveled to Reading, UK where I am following #MSBuild with my good friend Chris Hoard – it was great to be able to talk about Satya’s video when it was freshly rolling out. And not just following – on Wednesday 25th we are speaking live on stage at Microsoft Build Spotlight UK Connection Zone sessions. This blog post is not a report of that (that will be written later) but highlights about what was released at Microsoft Build 2022 – that are especially relevant to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Metaverse.

This is very Mesh for Teams like snip from Microsoft Build keynote.

When I talk about Microsoft Metaverse I don’t mean Metaverse owned by Microsoft but what kind of services and user interfaces Microsoft provides to interact with Metaverse and also about enterprise level metaverses that are focusing on organization level. Just like in the internet today we want to make sure our “intranet” and “organization cloud” is secure, compliant and governed. This does not change with the Metaverse – there will be more public sides of the metaverse (think web sites, webinars, streams, social media pages, & communication), federated / trusted metaverses where we can collaborate and communicated with other organizations and then there is company-only side. Microsoft Metaverse is clearly providing services for these all areas. Just like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Cloud do it. In the future I expect that we will be seeing our metaverse identities (with possessions) to be usable between different metaverse providers (like Meta). This requires of course that big providers create standards and interfaces to make interoperatibility possible. This will allow the full ecosystem potential to be involved. It may be first something like apps you install in your metaverse to enable interop or perhaps it will be seamless if trusts are in place. Seeing how the global metaverse advances makes these times really exciting. But enough of this – let’s focus on Microsoft Build news!

If you are interested for a big list of announcements, then I recommend you check out Microsoft Build 2022 Book of News and Microsoft Build News.

I have included portions of Book of News in this post. Pictures are also snipped from either Microsoft Build 2022 keynote video and/or related news and articles.

Mesh for Teams Avatars in the snip from Microsoft Build keynote.

The metaverse is creating an entirely new feedback loop and opportunity for business. We are enabling metaverse experiences at all layers of our stack, so customers can more effectively model, automate, simulate and predict changes within their industrial environments, feel a greater sense of presence in the new world of hybrid work and create custom immersive worlds to enable new opportunities for connection and experimentation.

From Microsoft Build 2022 announcements

Microsoft Metaverse

Microsoft services for Metaverse can be a broad topic – covering basically everything from Microsoft Cloud. However pinpoining from there I would pick especially news on Azure AI, since these are integral to the Metaverse. While Mesh for Teams preview wasn’t announced we did saw some Mesh for Teams pictures and short videos that seem to give out quite a good impression what Mesh for Teams and Microsoft Mesh will be in the early phase.

I wrote Build In Focus post about Mesh for Teams to another post. Read it from here.

I believe this shows us quite a lot what the Mesh for Teams experience will be in the immersive meeting.

At Microsoft Build 2022 we saw mostly the story around Industrial use for Metaverse (Kawasaki story) and how it helps to create the future with the help of digital twins, prediction, iot and AR. In short videos it was shown immersive metaverse that just looks what I expected Microsoft Mesh & Mesh for Teams to look.

Microsoft Azure AI is introducing two updates to Azure Cognitive Services to help developers deploy high-quality models as APIs and infuse language capabilities into their apps more efficiently and responsibly. Azure OpenAI Service, an Azure Cognitive Service, is now available in preview. Approved customers can access different models from OpenAI, including the GPT-3 base series (Ada, Babbage, Curie and DaVinci), Codex series and embedding models, with the enterprise capabilities of Azure.

Azure OpenAI Service helps customers enable new reasoning and comprehension capabilities for building cutting-edge apps for use cases such as writing assistance, code generation and making sense of unstructured data. With features like fine-tuning and built-in responsible AI, customers can also tailor the model to their specific needs to detect and mitigate harmful use.

Azure Cognitive Service for Language now offers summarization for documents and conversations, a new capability that helps developers quickly surface key information in documents and contact center calls, such as the reason for the call and resolution. Additional capabilities, now generally available, include custom named entity recognition to help developers identify terms specific to a domain and custom text classification to help developers organize and categorize text with a customer’s domain-specific labels, such as a support ticket or invoice.

The Azure Machine Learning responsible AI dashboard, now in preview, is a new feature within Azure Machine Learning to help developers and data scientists more easily implement responsible AI. The dashboard brings together multiple capabilities such as data explorer, fairness, model interpretability, error analysis and counterfactual and causal inference analysis, which help developers debug their models and make more informed, data-driven decisions. In addition, Azure Machine Learning now offers a responsible AI scorecard to summarize model performance and insights, helping technical and non-technical audiences understand the impact of applying responsible AI. 

Learn more about Azure AI updates.

Microsoft Teams, Loop and other announcements

Because Microsoft Build is traditionally a developer targeted event, most Teams announcements were on that side: enabling both full and low code developers create and deliver new experiences with Microsoft Teams.

Most notable is of course the ability to create live interactive experiences such as co-editing and co-watching on apps within Teams meetings. For apps built with Live Share capabilities, the Teams meeting stage allows participants to annotate, edit, zoom in and out and interact with shared content in a variety of other ways. One good example of such application is when you share a Whiteboard to Teams meeting: participants can edit it at the same time. This is totally changing our meetings: from passive / talking to fully interactive experiences where we can work with same applications and data – directly within Teams meeting.

This has been possible before, but not to this level. So this is definately a big booster for digitalization and driving change forward. Live Share is hitting public preview already! And let’s not forget that during June Teams is getting Collaborative Annotation on presenter shared screen (Presenters are able to start collaborative annotation for all participants or just the presenter to annotate on shared screen content.) that will also play part of changing and transforming meetings to collaborative experience.

Partners building Live Share experiences include Hexagon, which is reinventing how collaborative engineering reviews are done, Frame.io, an Adobe company, which is enabling synchronized, interactive reviews of video workflows, Skillsoft, which will deliver transformative learning experiences, and MakeCode, which is building interactive learn-to-code gaming scenarios.

Adaptive Cards is the way.. Another big one is that developers will be able to start generating Adaptive Cards as Loop Components that are always live and actionable. If you have created existing message extensions you want to update them to Adaptive Card based Loop Components to get started with these – but you have to wait until public preview opens. This feature is something that was presented already for 1st and 3rd party apps in Ignite 2021: embedding Dynamics or SAP information directly to Teams chat or Outlook email. Keeping that in mind, it will be a new way to bring apps to Teams – custom apps you can develop. “Coming to private preview next month, developers will be able to create Loop components by updating their existing Adaptive Cards or building new Adaptive Card-based Loop components. When generally available, Adaptive Card-based Loop components can be copied and pasted across Microsoft Teams chat and Outlook emails. Adaptive Card-based Loop components will stay in sync across Teams chats and Outlook emails as they are copied/pasted and shared in various chats and emails. And with the help of Editor using Context IQ, users will be able to discover relevant Adaptive Card-based Loop components based on the context in Outlook email or Teams chat.Learn more from here.

Enhanced link unfurling with rich actionable previews of content associated with a link shared in Teams. New capabilities enable developers to unfurl link previews –even when an app isn’t installed or when a link shared in Teams is not associated with a Teams app. For Teams apps, developers can make simple additions to the app manifest to enable their app links to unfurl into a rich card preview. This capability will be available in preview later this summer. For all other links, developers soon will be able to add structured schema.org metadata and tag actions in their website to enable rich actionable previews in Teams.

With Collaboration controls in Microsoft Power Apps, in preview this summer, developers will be able to use low code tools to easily embed Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams collaboration capabilities, including Chat, Meetings, Tasks, Files and Approvals, into Power Apps. Simply drag and drop collaborative capabilities, like meetings and tasks, into your line of business (LOB) apps to enable users to seamlessly collaborate in the flow of work. Over all the theme with Collaborative Applications was very strong in this year’s Build. Having ability to use low code to create live collaborative experiences with Collaboration Controls (and more) in Power Apps is going to make changing the world even easier than before. As can be seen more and more – the Power Platform and Microsoft Teams are being interconnected and interwaved together more and more.

New Apprivals APIs are a big game changer when making Microsoft Teams the Hub for Approvals. Approvals in Teams enables everyone – from frontline workers to office workers – to easily create, manage and share approvals directly in the flow of work. With new Approvals APIs, developers can extend the Approvals functionality into their apps and workflows. Developers can also use Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) APIs to enable approvals within line of business (LOB) apps, and they can use webhooks to track changes and drive workflows with Approvals in Teams. The Approvals APIs will be available for preview later this summer.

Azure Communication Services sample app builder enables developers to build and deploy a sample app for virtual visits in just a few minutes without coding. The sample app builder lets developers get started in creating customer-facing virtual appointment solutions. Developers can use Microsoft Bookings for easy scheduling, along with Microsoft Graph and Azure Communication Services UI Library, to provide a turnkey communications experience that is fully customizable, accessible and localizable. The sample app builder is fully open source and available on GitHub.

While there were several other announcements, I would raise up the ability to extend Teams Personal Apps to Outlook and Office.com. This means that apps built for Teams can be extended to support use outside Teams as well. Teams JavaScript 2.0 SDK and manifest now generally available ​. The Teams JavaScript 2.0 SDK and manifest tools enable developers to build Teams apps that can extend Personal Tabs and Message Extension functionality to other Microsoft 365 apps, including Outlook and Office.com. This is the next step toward enabling developers to use a single code base to build apps that extend across Teams and Microsoft 365 apps to reach more users in the flow of work. 

The last part is application monetanization: in app-purchasing for Teams apps is going to GA and licence management for subscriptions will preview during summer. APIs to configure in-app purchase, also now generally available, allow developers to make it easy for users to upgrade from free to paid subscriptions within their Teams apps. New license management capabilities,in preview this summer,will allow customers to easily assign and track licenses for purchased Teams apps directly within Teams.

Microsoft Viva Goals

One week before Microsoft Build 2022 took place we already saw activity in the Microsoftverse, as news about Ally.IO becoming Viva Goals was announced. Initial pictures look like it is Ally.IO repacked but I am quite sure there is more happening behind the hood than just a name and logo change.

A the current moment you can already install Viva Goals application to Teams, but unless you are part of the Private Preview it doesn’t let you to do anything.

SQL Server 2022

As old database admin and developer (since SQL Server 7), it gives me a great pleasure to see that SQL Server 2022 is now in the preview.

SQL Server 2022 integrates with Azure Synapse Link and Microsoft Purview to enable customers to derive deeper insights, predictions and governance from their data at scale. Cloud integration is enhanced with disaster recovery (DR) to Azure SQL Managed Instance, along with no-ETL (extract, transform and load) connections to cloud analytics, which allow database administrators to manage their data estates with greater flexibility and minimal impact to the user. Performance and scalability are automatically enhanced via built-in query intelligence. Learn more.

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