Today Microsoft announced the availability of technical previews of both Office 2016 and Skype for Business.
Office 2016 is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year. The current technical preview has reportedly given a good insight into many new set of features, which will arrive in the next version of Microsoft’s Office suite.
The first major update will be coming to Word, Excel and Powerpoint. This update is Microsoft’s Data Loss Protection platform. Over the last few years, Microsoft had added DLP to Exchange, Outlook, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint, however Word, Excel and Powerpoint missed out. Now with the new Office, those three applications have been equipped with the same protection. With these new capabilities, IT admins wil be able to create, manage and enforce polices for content authoring and document sharing. At the same time and end users will see policy tips or sharing restrictions when the apps detect a potential policy violation.
Outlook too is getting a major upgrade, with the introduction of multiple protocols and upgradation/discontinuation of outdated ones. For example, Microsoft has replaced the RPC-based Sync with a new Internet-friendly MAPI-HTTP protocol that supports Exchange/Outlook connectivity.
The new Outlook will be equipped with multi-factor authentication through integration with the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL). The new Outlook features a much needed reduction in the amount of time it takes to download messages, display the message list, and show new email after resuming from hibernation.
Several smaller updates, like improved keyboard accessibility for high-value Excel features like PivotTables as well as the introduction of a dark theme for users with visual impairments.
In addition to Office 2016, Microsoft today also released a technical preview for its new Skype For Business software.
While Skype for Business client looks very similar to the consumer version of Skype and uses the same buttons and icons found there, this version arrive with with enterprise-level security solutions for secured video/audio calls to other Skype For Business users.
The new Skype for Business is expected to become available “in the coming weeks” for Lync customers, while it will ship with an entirely new back-end (including client, server and service) with Office 365.
I am working to get my hands on both of these technical previews so I can report back to you, my dedicated readers on my thoughts.