Office 365 Virtual Launch Event

I’m attempting to live blog this.  No promises – I’ve been sick for a week and I will probably miss quite a bit in between bouts of coughing.

Pre-Launch

We get a video of an O365 customer in Hamburg Germany.  They use an E plan by the sounds of it, with AD synch via ADFS.  It’s a big love affair with the cloud in Hamburg.

And here goes the launch … let’s hope no SSL certs expire in the next while …

John Case, Corporate VP Office Division, announces availability of #Office365.

Kurt DelBlene

President Office Division

We get the old cloud message: mobility, ad-hoc working, faster change (when is my upgrade?), less hardware and maintenance costs (partners need to evolve), and a “new role for IT to focus on strategic investments”.

Features:

  • Best on Windows 8: new look, touch.
  • Built for the cloud from the ground up.  Auto save to the cloud and available on PC and Mac equally well
  • Social is built into Office.  Context of people is shown: who/where/what
  • Built for the end user with new scenarios.  PowerPoint has a useful (first time ever) presenter mode.  Lync does HD.  You can import and edit PDF in Word.  Word is a reader that remembers the last location
  • IT control: compliance and deliverables.

Office 365 business plans are now launched.  Office 2013 Pro Plus is included (no mention of the plans), for up to 5 PCs/Macs.  Yammer is built into Office 365.

Julia White

General Manager, Office, has her Windows 8 Surface Pro out for a demo.  Word 2013 first.  New read mode with swipe support, tap to read comments, and tap again to talk to the commentator  via Lync.  New online picture option to Bing for an image and drop it straight into the Word doc.  You are asked how you want text to flow around the new picture.  By default, the doc is stored in the cloud.

SharePoint in O365 next.  Content can be cached offline. 

Windows Phone 8 Office Hub.  Same content is visible.  It even goes to the last read location in Word. 

Outlook.  It does detect if your device is touch and gives you a panel of controls on the right for easy mail manipulation. 

OneNote MX:  New touch control instead of fiddly menus.  Called a Radial Menu – very Star Trek TNG.  It is context sensitive.  You can use a stylus and draw – I’ve found this very handy to diagram within my notes. 

Excel: New flash fill feature to auto fill cells based on a predictive text algorithm that detects patterns on existing data versus what you’re doing.  Yay, more pivot tables – ick!  And a new power view based on pivot tables. 

Yammer: basically it’s an internal Facebook for the company.  It’s really a lot like Facebook.  Attach files, like, praise, run surveys, etc.  You follow people or groups like on Twitter.  You can create external networks (security and compliance officers crap themselves here). 

Out comes the 85” Perceptive Pixel touch TV for a Lync demo.  A presentation is shown and live edited.  OneNote is open and all participants can interact with it.

Customer Interviews

  • City of Chicago: 30,000 employees moved to the cloud. 
  • Toyota: Wanted to improve communications between the company and partners. “When you’re an IT person you don’t normally get applause” Smile
  • Meals On Wheels (charity): Great solution for widely dispersed charities.  Irish NGO Concern has been using O365 for it’s people scattered all over the world.

And that’s that.  Very short and not much info at all on this massive release.  I guess you’ll have to go online.  I guess download.microsoft.com will have a glut of docs.

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