Microsoft Ignite 2021: What’s To Come?
Last Thursday saw the close of Microsoft Ignite, the annual tech conference for developers and IT professionals hosted by Microsoft. This year’s conference introduced a slew of exciting product developments for the tech giant – arguably the most exciting of which was Microsoft’s announcement of a move towards building its own ‘enterprise metaverse’.
Businesses who utilise Microsoft’s services to support their IT infrastructure will be excited to learn of the company’s upcoming changes; read on to find out more about their 2022 aims for successful digital transformation.
‘Mesh’ for Teams
One of the most exciting announcements made by CEO Satya Nadella was around the rollout of ‘Mesh’ for Teams – a new mixed-reality space designed for collaborative and immersive online meetings.
To adapt to an increasingly hybrid working model, Microsoft has developed pre-built immersive spaces for a variety of business and social functions. Nadella highlighted the positive impact of hybrid working on business efficiency, noting that many business leaders did not anticipate the overwhelming success and productivity seen during periods of remote working. To help companies capitalise upon this thoroughly modern mode of working, Microsoft will allow Teams users to utilise avatars to join immersive virtual spaces.
Mesh emphasises the essentiality of human interaction, and the positive impact a friendly company culture can have upon employees. In outlining the aims for Mesh, Microsoft highlighted that ‘remote meetings can feel impersonal and lack the small moments that build relationships and careers’ – thus re-introducing a social element to online workspaces. Businesses will be able to begin connecting their physical workspaces with the digital in early 2022 when Microsoft begins the rollout of the programme.
Sustainability and the Cloud
With many businesses having migrated to a cloud-based IT infrastructure, workers will likely be familiar with the cloud and the services it encompasses. However, workers may be less familiar with the positive sustainable impact they are having through implementing cloud computing.
Whilst the cloud is preferable for its ease of use, data security, and cost-saving benefits – it is also preferable for its measurable sustainable impact, with Microsoft cloud services being 98% more carbon-efficient than traditional datacentres. Businesses can revolutionise their ways of working, cutting back on power consumption, server use, and carbon emissions solely through cutting their on-premises hardware.
In order to enhance the measurable sustainability of cloud computing, Microsoft has announced the rollout of their new Saas solution, ‘Cloud for Sustainability’ – which is currently available on preview. The service allows users to connect their data and record their business’ environmental footprint; subsequently enabling them to report their findings to stakeholders, and ultimately reduce their resource usage. At a time in which sustainability is at the forefront of many people’s minds, the Cloud for Sustainability comes as a welcome announcement.
Increased Security for Azure
One of the major announcements at Ignite 2021, was around the expansion of services provided within Azure. Primarily, these expansions include the improvement of security features in Azure Active Directory, an increase in how Azure Arc can be used to build applications, and the improvement of tools for Azure-related migrations and analytics.
With security being a primary focus of Microsoft’s aims for 2022, it was revealed at Ignite that Azure Security Centre and Azure Defender have now been unified as Microsoft Defender for Cloud. This new service integrates the capabilities of all Microsoft’s security offerings, enabling businesses to secure any cloud platform.
To further enhance businesses’ cybersecurity standards, Microsoft also revealed the new prescriptive best practices and recommendations contained within Azure Security Benchmark (v3). Within the updated ASB v3 is separated granular and actionable guidance – allowing businesses to understand the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the necessary improvements to their security strategy.
The Bottom Line
With a range of exciting developments coming in 2022, all Microsoft users can look forward to enjoying cutting-edge services in the new year. With a drive for sustainability, security, and improved modes of online socialising – Microsoft is catering to the needs of a thoroughly modern workplace.