After a 4 hour drive, 1.5 hours on a commuter train, a 1 mile walk with luggage, and a 30 minute bus ride, I finally made it McCormick Place for the Ignite conference on Sunday night. ​

During the conference, I’m helping out with the Hands on Labs area. There are 159 labs for attendees to walk through, which is pretty incredible. The lab machines are finally all-in-one large touch screens, which makes for a more pleasant lab experience.

As is often the case, Microsoft made a few announcements yesterday during the keynote address. You can read about the announcements on the
Office team’s blog from Office Marketing team General Manager Julia White. Here are some of the highlights that stood out to me:

  • The biggest news was the general availability of Office 2016 Preview.  You can view the official announcement at
    http://blogs.office.com/2015/05/04/office-2016-public-preview-now-available/. You can download the preview now at the Office site:
  • Office 2016 now includes Skpe for Business. (Yes, it’s essentially a rebranding of what we used to call Lync, but Microsoft is also sending the message that they’re on baord with the trend we’ve all seen, and that is that in this connected world, the lines between consumer products and commercial products are blending, just as the lines between personal and professional are merging.
  • For those of you who haven’t seen
    Sway, it’s a WYSIWYG tool for quickly building highly graphical, and mobile-ready, web sites. Although when I first saw it, it seemed more like a consumer product (perhaps nice for schools or hobbyists), they’ve expanded the offering to be available with Office 365. It will be interesting to see if and how commerical customers use this tool. (Microsoft has suggested in might be a nicer tool for things like annual reports than just building a fancy PDF.) You can read the official announcement from the Sway team at
  • Delve is a tool that combines data analytics with graphic representation of data, and its use is expanding in Office 365. Riight now its focused on the activities of individual users, but there will be more tools available going forward to allow organizations to track and manage what users are doing.
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