While currently attending the SharePoint North America 2018 Conference in Las Vegas, which hasn't had a dedicated conference since 2014, I wanted to share some of the insights and common topics I noticed during several of the great sessions they had this week.
A few days before the conference there was some hints dropped on social media about some huge announcements for SharePoint during the keynote. This initially surprised me as they already had some great announcements in regards to SharePoint Framework during the Microsoft Build conference a few weeks earlier. The anticipation was building the night before the keynote for me of finding out what could be this major announcement.
The keynote started with some great enhancements to OneDrive and the soon to be updated mobile apps for OneDrive and SharePoint. But this obviously wasn't the big news.
Then Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for SharePoint, OneDrive and Office came back on the stage and introduced the next speaker to talk about a new feature for SharePoint sites. The introduction of SharePoint spaces, an immersive, mixed reality experience to anyone, on any device. This will allow you to view and interact with content in 360-degrees and manipulate data models in real-time.
You will be able to create a space from any site, add a 3D canvas powered by BabylonJS, add sound to pages and finally add your content using modern web parts including items in lists or document libraries that become virtual items within the environment allowing you to drag them around in a 360-degree view.
The 3D content could be created using Paint 3D or other image editing software, including adding a 3D PowerBI web part for immersive data visualizations.
It is important to note that these experiences are for everyone, on any platform, the HoloLens is not required.
Microsoft spaces are empowering creators, powered by AI, integrated and extensible.
You can find out more about Microsoft spaces here.
Some awesome new features and enhancements were announced to make the search experience in modern pages more personalized. Some enhancements include trending search powered by a SharePoint list, which allows the user to see content in a suggestion window before they even start typing in the search box.
The ability to select customer filters from the action panel were also added to modern experiences.
Enhanced image capabilities -- Searching for content within images was also announced using AI to determine where photos were taken and recognize objects, and extract text within the photos. This would be great for expense reports and photos of your receipts.
There was some previous announcements at Build about the integration of SharePoint Framework apps and integration with Teams, but they also announced today, a new files experience in Teams, bringing the full SharePoint document library experience to teams.
You can create custom views and columns, along with editing metadata and putting pinned files at the top without having to leave Teams.
There was also a Pages tab added allowing full pages to be build that could include different components such as showing a team's project leads, event web parts and even Microsoft planner tasks and the planner board on the single page, allowing your team to stay organized and work together.
Organizational news publishing and management
The features and capabilities announced in regards to the news connector and content management were long overdue and one of the most common scenarios we help our clients with when building intranets and news article content publishing features.
This new feature will help drive communication and announcements across the organization. Some updates include a news tab on the new mobile app to simplify finding content and getting the most important news.
The news connector will allow you to post articles automatically to Teams, add metadata tagging to modern pages which allows you to filter and target pages to your audience.
It will also include a page approval workflow using Microsoft Flow to help manage the publishing, scheduling and governance of content. Approvers can even approve the content from an actionable email directly within Outlook.
These news management features will help ensure the right content gets to the right audience.
Some other nice features for content authors include a weather web part, enhancements to Stream video, allowing you to search by words and it can jump to that position in the video that covered that topic and improved image controls on web parts allowing you to crop / frame images and AI support to detect what is in the image allowing for accessibility and search capabilities.
These were just a few of the items announced during the first day of the conference. Looking forward to more great sessions over the next two days and
You can also find more about the SharePoint innovations and mixed reality with AI on the items announced during the keynote on the Microsoft blog post.
The SharePoint North America 2018 conference was filled with great sessions and content and was one of the better conferences I have attended recently. It provided for some great networking opportunities and with the partner sessions it was much more accessible to chat with the speakers after each session.
Look forward to next year!