Ignite 2018 Announcements: Artificial Intelligence

It seems that the biggest take-away from this year's Ignite conference is Microsoft's doubling down on Artificial Intelligence. Maybe you've seen their commercials? So what AI-based functionality did Microsoft announce this year?

Search's AI Make-Over

Search for Office 365 is getting some fancy new functionality. Soon results will pull from multiple Office applications, cloud services, and local locations. Search boxes will soon be showing up in all of your Office applications.


Screenshot of PowerPoint and new search options

Credit: Microsoft

Nicer Video Chat for Teams

Microsoft is continuing to throw their weight behind this collaboration tool. Teams' video chat is getting facial recognition and background blur. Essentially, Teams will recognize your face and blur everything else. With the increase of telecommuters, this could be very helpful to the people who have shied away from video conferences in the past, for obvious reasons.

Team videos are also getting live captioning of the meetings and auto-generated transcripts. This could make it easier to review meeting notes and be very useful for disabled persons.


Office will suggest Ideas

It seems Microsoft is giving Clippy another go, but this time as Ideas. It is currently available in Excel and soon will be in PowerPoint. As you work, Ideas will generate suggestions for design and formatting. In Excel, you'll receive help for data analysis and presentation. Announcements of what it will look like in other applications have not been made as of yet.


Excel's New Features

Excel is also getting a slew of new AI-based features this year. We'll have search and Ideas, seen above - also New data types, Data entry from pictures, and Dynamic Arrays. Although new data types were announced earlier this year. Dynamic arrays are going to let you run functions on a set of values and return a set of values. Previously, with Excel, if you wanted to return a set of values, you'd need a set of functions (even if they were just all copies of the same formula). A lot of the functionality seems similar to the options available under the "Data" tab, but I'm interested in the applications of having it as a formula option.

Dynamic Arrays Blog GIF GIF Credit: Microsoft

Data entry from photos will work with the Excel Android and iOS app. Users will be able to take pictures of data tables and have it converted into editable data tables in excel. It's a unique concept and definitely has applications for people who work with old/historic data and PDFs. But I'm wondering if we'll be able to see it on the desktop version. What do you think? How often do you use Excel's mobile app? 


For more information on Ignite 2018 announcements, check out our other article on security and subscribe to our blog to get stay updated with more articles. 



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