Windows 11 – officially release

September 27th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The latest version of Windows 11, known as “version 22H2,” officially is released. 

Microsoft is planning to release Windows 10 version 22H2 “next month,” according to John Cable, vice president of program management for Windows servicing and delivery,

Microsoft issues new Windows 11 releases once per year, in the second half of each year. These “feature update” operating system releases trigger support clocks for organizations. OS support varies with the edition used:

  • Windows 11 Enterprise and Education editions are supported for 36 months.
  • Windows 11 Pro and Home editions are supported for 24 months.

More Frequent Windows 11 Feature Updates
Microsoft plans to issue new Windows 11 features more frequently than just once per year.

. The OS will get new features through the Windows Update service and the Windows Store.

Some of the new features described in Microsoft’s various announcements will come in October and thereafter like a monthly quality update.

The support document explains that a Windows Update is used to deliver quality and security patches each month, and Microsoft will now use it to also deliver new Windows 11 features via a “phased and measured approach” using the “Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR) technology” that’s used with the Microsoft Edge browser and Windows Insider Program releases,

Windows 11 enterprise and educational users, and those using domain-joined Pro editions, will get these new Windows 11 features turned “off by default.” After November, these organizations also will have policy options to turn the features on, which “will be done as a set, and not for individual features or individual releases,”.

Windows 11 2022 Update Highlights
The new Windows 11 version 22H2 operating system is to be released in more than 190 countries,

Windows 11 should be easier and safer for end users, while supporting organizational security and management needs. There is a “new Microsoft Defender SmartScreen” feature, to alert people when they are “entering their Microsoft credentials into a malicious application or hacked website.”

Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric authentication scheme, has an optional “presence sensing” capability that will lock a PC when a user leaves the area.

One other notable security feature in version 22H2 is Smart App Control, which “blocks untrusted or unsigned applications, script files and malicious macros from running on Windows 11.” It uses artificial intelligence and Microsoft’s security “signals” information to “predict if an app is safe“. “Smart App Control is built on the same OS core capabilities used in Windows Defender Application Control.” To use Smart App Control, a clean installation of Windows 11 version 22H2 needs to be performed, Microsoft indicated.

Other notable security perks in Windows 11 version 22H2 include:

  • Hypervisor-protected code integrity to protect against kernel modifications by drivers.
  • A Microsoft vulnerable driver block list for known vulnerabilities.
  • Windows Defender Credential Guard (with the Windows 11 Enterprise edition) to address credential theft techniques.
  • Local Security Authority turned on by default to “load only trusted, signed code, making it significantly more difficult for attackers to steal credentials.”

Secured-core PCs specifically will get the Config Lock feature, which “helps prevent the configuration drift that occurs when users with local admin rights change settings and put devices out-of-sync with IT security policies,” .

NAV 2018 recent updates

September 12th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

#NAV2018

1. Title – Cumulative Update 56 for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018

  Build No. – 49175

  Local Version Included – AT,AU,BE,CH,CZ,DE,DK,ES,FI,FR,IS,IT,NA,NL,NO,NZ,RU,SE,UK

  Details of Update

  Download Link

  Docker Pull Request – Get-NavArtifactUrl -nav 2018 -cu cu56 -country w1

  ** Replace w1 with country code that you need.

Platform Hotfix in NAV 2018 –  

  • 444600 – “Fatal Error during installation” error message when installing the Demo Database from the NAV 2018 CU54 installation media setup.exe.

Queen Elizabeth 11

September 8th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Queen Elizabeth 11 died peacefully in her sleep this afternoon at Balmoral.

Earlier this week she met with her 15th prime minister. A sad loss for the U.K. and in truth for the whole world.

Chrome flaw-urgent update

September 7th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

An urgent warning has been issued for BILLIONS of Google Chrome users by Google to warn that its web browser users that there is a vulnerable flaw.

 Chrome has launched a new update – across Windows, Max and Linux computers.

Chrome users need to relaunch the browser to activate the update. This will update Chrome to version 105.0.5195.102 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

To update Chrome, click on the three-dot menu on the top-right of your Chrome window. Then users should go to Help > About Google Chrome to see if the update is available, before clicking the download button.

Please see the Chrome Security Page for more information.

This latest update comes just days after Google released Chrome version 105 on August 30th. That update already came with 24 security fixes. Apparently, that still wasn’t enough. This is the sixth zero-day vulnerability Chrome has faced so far this year. The last vulnerability that was actively exploited was just flagged in mid-August,

USB 4 version 2.0

September 3rd, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

USB 4 version 2.0 is expected to provide twice the speed of data performance over existing USB Type-C cables and connectors. The new technology, will launch later in 2022, and should deliver greatly improved connectivity and data transfer speeds. The advances, are made possible by a new physical layer architecture allowing up to 80GBps operation – even when using previous USB C passive cables, which previously allowed up to 40GBps speeds.

his means that a 40GBps cable bought today would soon be able to deliver double these speeds, with no extra effort required by the user. 

Existing USB-C and USB Power Deliver (PD) specifications will be updated to enable the new levels of performance, with the protocols backwards-compatible with USB 4 version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. There’s also improved support for DisplayPort and PCIe, where improved data tunnelling will be used to harness the best possible bandwidth.

Solutions will most benefit from this speed enhancement include: higher-performance displays, storage, and USB-based hubs and docks.

More information, together with detailed technical specifications into how USB 4 version 2.0 will work, are expected to be revealed in November 2022.

Dynamics 365 2022 Wave 2 Highlights

August 26th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2022 second release plans, announced on 12 July 2022, provides users with a wide range of new capabilities and hundreds of new features. These product updates will roll out over the next 6-9 months.

. These release plans, can be overwhelming so here is a summary significant of updates for the different modules.

MARKETING

Scale a multi-brand business

Implement marketing strategies across multiple brands and product lines at scale and with more control over your marketing assets and data across brands.

Define their organisation structure and access roles to delve deep into the performance insights of a specific brand.

Key Features

  • All brands can use AI to extend and to customise marketing assets.
  • Control and organise all digital assets, content, journeys and customer preferences to align with multi-brand strategies.
  • Out-of-the-box campaign, and data segregation capabilities, across organisational boundaries will both help to reduce compliance risk.
  • Marketing analytics for each brand, region or department.

Lead capture forms to convert visitors to customers 

The new lead capture forms are an upgrade to the marketing forms in the Marketing Application. Enable moments-based marketing with real-time journey orchestration  to capture customer information, to enhance customer experience and to increase conversion rates. These forms vary based on past customer interactions, and can also validate data. Dynamic fields give an intuitive user experience.

Key Features

  • Create intuitive and engaging forms with a modern editor or use eye-catching templates to convert more visitors into customers.
  • Use smart forms to dynamically hide or display fields based on past interactions.
  • Enhance usability for your customers with advanced form validation.
  • Create new interactions with customer journeys whenever possible like sending a thank you email.

Extend your outreach with custom channels

A new capability to leverage real-time marketing in existing communication channels to easily engage your customers in critical moments in their journey. Insert proven channels into your journeys to boost customer engagement. Use real-time marketing personalisation, consent and analytics tools for content creation and delivery through your communication channels, e.g. SMS or WhatsApp.

Key Features

  • Create custom channels on top of the built-in channels of email, SMS, and push notifications for real-time, personalised targeting .
  • Create custom templates for your channels.
  • A new tile makes it easy to find channel templates to add into your customer journey.
  • Easy review of analytics for your custom channel

New segment builder

To target the right audience and improve returns on your marketing investment, build segments using natural language and an easy drag-and-drop logic builder, without need for technical know-how.

Build segments using leads and then target those directly with customer journeys. To help you build the right segments. preview the members and estimate the size of draft segments t

Key Features

  • Create segments directly based on attribute data for both contacts and leads.
  • Enrich segments with complex logic and scan across all attributes in the right pane and add those to your queries.
  • Preview and estimate the number of segment members as part of segment creation.
  • Use natural language to assist and ease the segment creation process.

B2B marketing with a new OOB analytics dashboard

New out-of-the-box analytics capability to track your pipeline development and to examine the performance of different customer journeys, marketing assets, and channels for the engagement and their contribution to each stage of your pipeline.

  Share the pipeline view between Dynamics 365 Marketing and Sales, to align your marketing and sales teams common objectives, to speed up your pipeline development.

Key Features

  • Track your business pipeline develops from lead generation to won opportunities to optimise the key stages through the OBB funnel.
  • Understand the correlation between your marketing efforts and key business outcomes across different pipeline stages.
  • Pin-point the top-performing customer journeys, marketing assets and channels that drive engagement and contribute pipeline development and revenue generation.
  • Integrate seamlessly with Dynamics 356 Sales for a shared overview of your pipeline and collaborate together to boost ROI.

Grow your business with 3X maximum monthly interactions

Use this feature to reach up to 100 million contacts and send up to 300 million messages per month with Dynamics 365 real-time marketing customer journey orchestration.

Deliver personalised messages and experiences at scale at key touchpoints of their journey.

Increase your customer base in existing and new markets, reach more locations, promote new products and services, and expand your prospective customer pipeline to meet higher sales targets.

Key Features

  • Reach up to 100 million marketing contacts through emails, SMS, and push notifications (3X more than the previous 30 million contacts limit).
  • Deliver up to 300 million monthly outbound interactions through email messages, SMS, push, or custom channels ( 3X more than the previous 100 million outbound interaction limit).
  • Create segments of up to 100 million marketing contacts.
  • Engage with customers in near real-time with a 30-second response time.

Personalised AI-powered next-best content 

Automate content personalisation with rich data and AI to grow interactions and increase conversions, so you don’t have to do the same work for each customer every time. 

Create some content variations and define rules for customer targeting and leave the rest to the AI model. Guide the AI with auto-generated control groups to test different content so that it trains itself to disseminate hyper-personalised content in every step of the customer journey, and it will use 360 customer profiles from Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.

Key Features

  • Create different content variations and define AI rules to better target customers.
  • Apply AI to past interaction data to tailor and to send specific, personalised content variations to delight customers at every touch point.
  • Use optimisiation criteria and auto-generated control groups to train the AI to use the most appropriate content selection logic .

SALES

Seller dashboard To track progress

The new seller dashboard and its standardised reports help sales managers both to analyse and to gain insights into how the Sales Application is used, and also how well the teams and individuals that use the application perform.

Key Features

  • Access seller dashboard to monitor sales performance and get summarised insights into sales activities progress.
  • A clear picture of all activities, relationships, and conversations.
  • Manage permissions to access the seller dashboard with admin privileges.

Tips and suggestions during a customer call r

Sellers get AI-driven insights to guide them on exactly what to say during difficult sales calls.

This is particularly useful for remote calls when conversation intelligence automatically shows tips and suggestions to the sellers either while they are on a phone call or talking to a customer in Teams.

All customer calls are transcribed, and the AI gives sellers contextual information about customers, as well as talking points on product or service details, competitive battle cards, pricing, benefits, and more.

Key Features

  • Enable sellers to close deals hrough remote calls with real-time contextual information about customers, products, and pricing.
  • AI-driven insights and customer intelligence that sellers can access easily during tough sales calls.

Orchestrate sellers’ activities in Teams

A smart deal room dashboard, gives a view of customer insights, activity coordination, and intelligent activity recommendations on a single pane with seamless integrations between Microsoft Teams and Outlook.

Key Features

  • The entire team can view team member activity. Provide the latest account information required to facilitate team collaboration.
  • Improve the visibility of customer information and sales progress for everyone working on the same account.
  • Manage key account documents centrally and assign tasks .
  • Organise meetings and communication and access information and action items centrally from meetings.
  • Receive intelligent recommendations on the next best actions based on account updates.

@mention to find, share Dynamics 365 records in emails, chats 

Use @mention to insert Dynamics 365 data into emails and chats intuitively. This makes it much easier to find and share contextual business data in communications..

Key Features

  • Use @mention to quickly find, insert and share relevant sales information like customer details in Outlook and Teams.
  • Collaborate on fresh Dynamics 365 records easily with intelligent suggestions based on recent data and use it to add relevant customer data into Outlook emails and Teams chats.

Enhanced sequence creation experience with new designer 

With the sales accelerator and process automation, set up sequences to develop and to implement winning sales strategies. Provide an improved user experience with features of the sequence designer during sequence configuration.

Key Features

  • A consistent and convenient automation experience across Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration and Dynamics 365 Sales sequences.
  • Use the new sequence designer to edit a sequence step using a side panel.
  • Define an exit rule for a sequence and understand the end of any sequence branch with an exit icon.
  • Save all the changes in sequence steps with a single click.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Use customer support swarming for complex cases

All your conversations in Microsoft Teams are now directly integrated into Customer Service records. This provide a contextual experience to licensed users and also allows other non-licensed users to easily collaborate on that data across the organisation through Teams. Much easier to find the right people across multiple departments to more speedily resolve complex customer issues.

Key Features

  • Richer user experience with enhanced swarm creation flow, ability to create notes and manager swarm progress, and enhanced wrap-up activities.
  • Simplified admin experience that expedited setup and allows admins more flexibility to specify automatic addition of certain CRM users as participants to specific swarms.
  • Availability of additional roles like agent’s manager, account owner, and Team admin to support additional CRM users other than the default users.

Route calls to agents who are idle for the longest time

Use AI and definable rules, assign incoming service requests to the best-suited agents or those who are mostly idle, to boost your operational efficiencies and customer service.

Classify, route, and assign work items with complete automation rather than to rely on manual queue supervision and work distribution. 

Key Features

  • Match agents based on their idle times on the voice channel.
  • Configure their voice queues to use the Longest idle assignment method.

Route work items to preferred agents 

Provide personalised and specialist customer service,to develop deeper customer relationships and improve customer satisfaction. Customers feel comfortable with their familiar service agents who are aware of past customer interactions and preferences.

Key Features

  • Define the preferred agents for your customers.
  • Configure assignment of work items to the preferred agent.
  • Select the assignment logic if the preferred agent is unavailable.

FTA tax updates

August 26th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) published Decision 4 of 2022 for ‘Setting the Time Limit for Tourists to Claim Refund of VAT’. Tourists have a time limit of one year from the date of verification of the refund request to claim their VAT refund by bank card or in cash. The operator of the Tax Refunds for Tourist Scheme is required to deposit the unclaimed money to FTA within one month of expiration of time limit if the tourist fails to claim the VAT refund within that time.

FTA calls tax registrants to benefit from the extension of the grace period for the re-determination of administrative penalties on violating tax law until December 31, 2022.Tax registrants who were not able to benefit from redetermination by December 31, 2021, can now benefit from the one-year extension.

The decision has been taken by the Cabinet in line with the wise leadership’s directives to reduce burdens on business sectors and enhance their abilities to contribute more to the growth of the national economy. The decision is also a part of the FTA’s goal to provide a legislative environment that encourages a high level of tax compliance.



Why now is the time to adopt Power Bi – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

August 19th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Power BI innovation never stops. For several years in a row now, it is positioned as a leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, furthest to the right for completeness of vision and furthest up in the ability to execute within the Leaders’ quadrant.

The gaps are widening with interactive reports, paginated reports, datasets, dataflows, deployment pipelines, scorecards, dashboards, metrics, data alerts, and much more, and recently announced in public preview, self-service datamarts. No wonder, customers are adopting Power BI at an accelerated pace. Boost Office 365 productivity with Power BI integrated into PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams, connect to data anywhere with hundreds of built-in connectors, leverage industry-leading AI, go quickly from insight to action with the Microsoft Power Platform, and provide best-in-class mobile experiences with Power BI Mobile.

Reports can be mobile friendly, they can be paginated, and you can link into Azure Analysis Services.

Microsoft Teams – many enhancements announced.

August 9th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Mac devices now have a versions of Teams that is designed to support all of Apple’s Mac devices.

We are rolling out a production grade universal binary version of Teams, which means it will run natively on the entire Mac lineup, including those with Apple silicon. For Mac users, this means a significant boost in performance, ensuring efficient use of device resources and an optimized Teams experience even when using multiple high-resolution monitors during calls or meetings.

Mac devices will be “automatically upgraded” to it. Microsoft plans a gradual rollout, with the “general availability” commercial release expected “over the coming months.”

Teams Chat Embedded in Dynamics 365
Teams chat embedded in Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s enterprise resource planning solution, is at the preview stage and is scheduled to reach general availability in September https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/boost-productivity-with-microsoft-teams-chat-in-dynamics-365/ba-p/3584286

Users c can use records in Dynamics 365 to start a chat. Sales teams will see all “connected chats” related to a customer record. A use case is when a sales rep leaves an organization and others need to know what happened with an account.

To turn on this connected chat feature https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/teams-integration/enable-teams-chat

When connected chats are used to share Dynamics 365 records information with another person, “the recipient doesn’t need a Dynamics 365 license to collaborate,” the announcement clarified.

Other Teams Enhancements
Microsoft also described Teams other enhancements.

Admins can “clean up individual policy assignments from users in bulk,” with an “Unassign Policies” feature added to the Teams Admin Center portal under the “Manage Users” tab. , Teams users will then “inherit the correct policy either via a group policy assignment or global organization-wide default.”

For organizations using Teams with “frontline workers,” Admins can now “deploy up to 500 teams with 25 users per team using one PowerShell command.” Similarly its also possible to remove members. This capability is in preview.

Microsoft added a Device Test capability for Teams appointments, which will “validate camera, microphone, and browser compatibility, as well as the internet connection at any moment before the scheduled appointment start time.”

The Forms app in Teams is replaced by a new Polls app, available from the Teams app store. It has many user interface improvements, such as t a new “Rating” feedback poll.

LinkedIn profiles are now integrated with Teams, and users can view these from “Teams chat, channels, calls or meetings.

Microsoft added the ability to message team owners in Teams via a @Team Owners” addition.

Microsoft suggested that Teams on iPad devices is “now more responsive to screen size, app orientation, and display modes.”

Microsoft added the ability for users to hide or to remove a call from their call history list when using the Teams desktop or mobile app.

Microsoft enhanced a Common Area Phone offering “to serve a wider variety of scenarios for customers without increasing the price.”

Microsoft added improvements for Teams Room devices, including a “Manage” button for checking out rooms or extending reservations.

Teams calling functionality was also added for certain models of Spectralink Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) devices.

Travel to the EU to get more difficult

August 4th, 2022 by Stephen Jones No comments »

Tourists outside the EU will be required to submit a photograph and fingerprints from May 2023 as part of the bloc’s bid to tighten entry rules. Non-EU travellers will be asked to submit photos and four fingerprints, which will be submitted in the form of biometric data.

This will also register the traveller’s name, travel documents and date and place of entry and exit.

The EU Commission’s spokesman said: “Stamping is time consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow the detection of overstayers or address cases of loss or destruction of travelling documents.”

The EU’s long delayed Entry/Exit system (EES) will come into force in May, and will replace the stamping of passports. The “Etias” scheme was initiated before the UK’s vote to leave the Brussels bloc and mirrors the US “Esta” scheme.

Prospective visitors will be forced to complete an online form with details of health, education and any criminal convictions, and pay €7 (£6) for a three-year permit.

“There is no such thing as an e-gate for a car, and there is no such thing as an e-gate process for people travelling as a group. They’re all one-at-a-time processes.”

(for UK citizens note: Passport stamping has been a requirement for UK nationals entering and departing countries in the EU since Brexit.

Update:

The EU recently said that the introduction of the a new entry visa has been pushed back until the end of 2023. It comes as the introduction of a new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias) from May 2023 has been put back until November.

Eurostar, Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover have expressed concern about the need for every traveller to be fingerprinted and provide a facial biometric. If every departing ferry or Eurotunnel passenger at Dover or Folkestone has to be checked in person, the present infrastructure could not cope.

However, the EU’s long-delayed Entry/Exit system (EES ) is still due to come into force in May and risks catching out summer tourists. The system requires the registration of non-EU travellers’ photos and fingerprints, which will be submitted in the form of biometric data. It will also register the name, travel documents and date and place of entry and exit.

The commission said the system would replace the stamping of passports.