Security threats, digital transformation, and our heads in the cloud

Our top takeaways from Microsoft’s 2021 Ignite event

Could you imagine experiencing lockdown with no technology?

As the world recovers and evolves from the COVID-19 pandemic and all its challenges, it will require more tech, and better tech.

Microsoft’s annual Ignite event was a major tech-fest and everyone was keen to see what they had to say after such a tumultuous 2020, especially with regard to the employee experience and increased digital security threats.

Ignite 2021 included the launch of MS’s new virtual reality experience, Mesh. If you haven’t heard of Mesh, it’s well worth a look. This cutting-edge new “mixed reality” platform, powered by Azure, has some truly science fiction value props. People in different locations can join shared holographic experiences, on all kinds of devices. Kind of like Star Trek. Cool, right?

The second wave of digital innovation

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the pandemic meant we experienced a “second wave of digital transformation” across every industry.

“The past year has brought the most significant change in our society and economy in modern history. And the cloud has been key in helping the world not only adapt but innovate.

“As the world recovers, it will require much more from technology, and the cloud in particular to address our most pressing challenges and ensure that nobody is left behind,” he said.

“It’s time for us to reflect on how the cloud will change over the next decade.”

As well as the incredible Mesh, there were countless insights from the huge range of experts Microsoft brought together.

The top tech takeaways that ignited our imagination

1. The hybrid workplace is a reality

The pandemic meant a lot of organizations had to speed up their digital innovation to enable their employees to work from home. Some of us are returning to a physical office space, some of us are staying at home, and lots of us seem to prefer a combo.

This means companies are leaning towards a hybrid working environment to better support their employees.

In his The Hybrid Workplace talk, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Jared Spataro, said that the workers based at home still had to find ways to communicate with their frontline  staff; those in healthcare, hospitality, and other essential workers.

“We think of 2020 as the year that work moved home. But in reality it’s the year worked moved to the cloud,” he said.

“More than 80 per cent of managers expect more flexible work-from-home policies post-pandemic. And more than 70 per cent of employees say they expect to take advantage of it. So we can anticipate some pretty significant changes.”

2. Microsoft Teams is here to stay

There’s now a whopping 115 million daily active users on Microsoft Teams. Teams is being built as an organizing layer for how we work, and there’s new features coming out all the time, like shared channels, encryption for calls, and calendar-sharing feature Teams Connect.

Check out LiveTiles’ super popular Teams Tips and Tricks videos to get the most out of Teams.

3. More security threats mean data governance will take on a whole new level of importance

With digital transformation and a rise in hybrid working comes a rise in security threats. Joy Chik, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Identity, wrote “…bad actors are getting even more sophisticated.” To combat this, MS has released a “Zero Trust” strategy designed to combat hackers and safeguard data. Combining multiple security initiatives, Zero Trust gives users a step-by-step guide to increase their security.

What’s next?

It seems pretty clear that we will need to use the cloud more than ever going forward.

These announcements mean great things for the employee experience tech space. That’s something we’re passionate about at LiveTiles, and as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we look forward to reimagining the workplace together.

Download our Digital Workplace Trends e-book here.

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