Microsoft steps ahead in its commitment to bring mixed-reality and artificial intelligence to all its products. At its SharePoint Virtual Summit, the tech giant announced the preview version of SharePoint spaces, and new AI innovation to SharePoint and OneDrive. The SharePoint spaces will enable users to view and interact with content from every angle, and visualize and manipulate data and product models in real-time, Microsoft said. SharePoint with mixed reality experience will help businesses in onboarding new employees, learning new objectives, and developing new products. It comes with simple point-and-click functionality and smart templates, allowing users to create mixed reality environments with ambient sounds, lighting, beautiful surroundings, and rich textures.
Today at the SharePoint Virtual Summit, streamed live from SharePoint Conference North America, we shared our vision and roadmap for 2018--showcasing innovations that bring Microsoft's investments in AI and mixed reality to life and new experiences and features to transform content collaboration for the modern workplace. With over 400,000 customer organizations, SharePoint leads the industry in content services and collaboration. SharePoint pioneered combining document management and web publishing, bringing enterprise content management to the cloud and infusing AI into content collaboration with the Microsoft Graph. Today, we take our next, innovative step forward with SharePoint spaces. Mixed reality is one of the most important technological trends in the modern workplace, with the power to transform work for everyone, from the executive suite to the front line.
Microsoft on Monday described its SharePoint vision, new features and coming attractions, kicking off this week's SharePoint North America event. The nearly two-hour keynote talk featured Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive, SharePoint and Office, along with talks and demos by other SharePoint luminaries. As usual with the big SharePoint events, Microsoft doled out lots of details. This article just focuses on the broad strokes. The general themes of the talk were about the increased use of artificial intelligence (AI) in SharePoint, as well as mixed reality, including a new "Shared Spaces" three-dimensional capability for sites.
Microsoft overhauled its SharePoint software two years ago to better compete with Dropbox, Slack, and Box, and it's going a step further today by bringing its business-focused software to its Mixed Reality headsets. SharePoint is primarily used by businesses to organize documents, build intranet sites, and manage content internally. SharePoint spaces is designed to be an immersive environment for data manipulation and visualization, something we've seen some VR apps do in the past. Microsoft imagines that by bringing SharePoint into the virtual reality world, businesses will use it for onboarding new employees, training courses, and product development. It's hard to imagine, but Microsoft wants businesses to let new recruits sit with a virtual reality headset and learn about the company through a 360-degree orientation process.
Microsoft is sticking with its pragmatic approach to VR with SharePoint spaces, a new addition to its collaboration platform that lets you quickly build and view Mixed Reality experiences. It's a lot like how PowerPoint made it easy for anyone to create business presentations. Sharepoint spaces features templates for things like a gallery of 3D models or 360-degree videos, all of which are viewable in Mixed Reality headsets (or any browser that supports WebVR). While they're certainly not complex virtual environments, they're still immersive enough to be used for employee training, or as a quick virtual catalog for your customers. "Until now, it has been prohibitively complex and costly to develop customized MR apps to address these and other business scenarios," wrote Jeff Teper, Microsoft's corporate VP for OneDrive, SharePoint and Office, in a blog post today.