Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ category

Teams meetings with chat bubbles

January 3rd, 2022

With covid omicron rampaging across the globe wishing you all a Happy New Year sounds a somewhat hollow message. So let me pass on some good news.

Microsoft is working on a new update for Teams, for users to see both the messages in chat and the participants in a video call at the same time.

Last year Microsoft , added chat bubbles   so that users don’t miss private messages sent during a video call. Similar to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, chat bubbles display a floating notification on your screen.

You may not find don’t this is an improvement if it distracts you from the important content discussed in the meeting. It forces you to constantly look around the screen to find and quickly the chat bubbles as they appear and before they disappear.

To turn off the chat bubbles and return to the previous behavior of opening the chat pane, click on the three dots in the control bar to open the menu. Click on the Don’t show chat bubbles item to turn off chat bubbles, see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkR8T8pZfyU)

Using chat bubbles is a personal choice and it doesn’t replace the regular chat window. Microsoft says that chat bubbles make chat more central to a conversation, but it really depends on the type of meeting, the topic being discussed, and the number of participants

Microsoft is now planning to make chat bubbles available for group chats so that everyone can simaltaneously see the conversations happening via text as well as the participants in a video call .

Microsoft soft Teams rooms i was previously called Skype Rooms. With a Teams Rooms display set up in a meeting or conference room, the in-person attendees can focus on one screen rather than have to each stare down at their individual laptop.

With chat bubbles on a Teams Room display, remote workers will also be able to add to the conversation in a meeting room and attendees will see their messages in chat alongside a meeting’s video feed.

This new feature is set to roll out in April of next year and will l be a welcome addition for organizations that have implemented hybrid work practices.

Windows 10 version 21H2, -the “November 2021 Update -Generally Available

November 30th, 2021

This marks the start of a new update release cadence for the Windows 10 operating system. The new OS can be accessed on eligible devices by “seeking” it through the Windows Update service

. Windows 10 systems running version 2004 or later can undergo a fast “in-place upgrade” in which the underlying OS bits get automatically replaced.

It’s also available for IT pros in the usual places, namely, “Windows Server Update Services (including Configuration Manager), Windows Update for Business and the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC),”

Microsoft is promising one reboot to activate the new OS because of the use of “enablement packages” implemented with Windows 10 version 2004 and later versions. New OS bits are already present on machines (in a dormant state) with the enablement package approach.

New Features
Windows 10 version 21H2 has some improvements, that include:

  • The addition of virtual private network APIs for the Universal Windows Platform, which facilitate the use of “common web-based authentication schemes.”
  • Wi-Fi 6 support with “Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 Hash-to-Element protocol (WPA3 H2E),” which promises “better protection from Wi-Fi side-channel attacks that could steal Wi-Fi passwords and other sensitive information,” particularly from home networks.
  • Mobile device management (MDM) parity with Group Policy settings, with 1,400 added MDM settings.
  • Universal Print support for 1GB print jobs per individual user, plus integration with OneDrive for Web, as well as Excel for Web (happening at “end of 2021”).
  • Automatic provisioning of apps for Azure Virtual Desktop users, with copy and paste capabilities between “remote and local apps.”

Windows 10 version 21H2 delivers security updates to other Microsoft products. The list includes the “Windows AI Platform, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Apps, Windows Cryptography, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Kernel, Windows Media, Windows Office Media, and Windows Virtualization.”

A major perk for IT pros, though, is the switch to a once-per-year feature update model, which starts with Windows 10 version 21H2 to usher in a new “service channel” change of a once-per-year feature update release cycle, with the update arriving in the second half of a particular year. Microsoft’s next Windows 10 feature update release is planned for release in H2 2022. There will not be an H1 2022 OS release.

Microsoft had been releasing Windows 10 feature updates twice per year, in the spring and fall. A feature update is a completely new version of the Windows operating system. When Windows 11 was released, Microsoft switched to once-per-year feature updates for that OS, and it’s now doing the same thing for Windows 10. The old “sem-iannual channel” term used to describe Windows 10 feature updates is now dropped. Microsoft refers to this release of Windows 10 version 21H2 as a “general availability channel” release.

Support for Windows 10 Version 21H2 Editions
Despite the switch to a once-per-year release model with Windows 10 version 21H2, nothing is changed for how long a feature update will be supported before requiring an upgrade. Microsoft varies the support length based on the Windows 10 edition that’s used. Windows 10 Home and Pro editions will be supported on the November 2021 Update for 18 months, while Enterprise and Education edition users will have 30 months of support. Those support terms didn’t change with this release.

The Windows 10 version 2004 is nearing its end-of-support phase, – Dec. 14, 2021 and when support ends, security updates from Microsoft don’t arrive. The support clock, started (Nov. 11) for Windows 10 version 21H2, Microsoft’s announcement.

General Availability Channel Release
Microsoft recommends that organizations initiate “targeted” deployments of Windows 10 version 21H2 before performing an organization-wide OS rollout. In the past, Microsoft referred to targeted Windows 10 OS releases, which were designed for testing purposes. A targeted release came before a general availability commercial release. Lots of organizations waited for the general availability release to start their OS testing, which wasn’t optimal from Microsoft’s standpoint. Microsoft dropped that targeted nomenclature long ago and started using weirder terms, like “commercial preview.” -even more confusing. Circumstances are clearer now with the Windows 10 version 21H2 general availability channel release stamp. which implies commercial release.

Microsoft Teams for phone calls

November 30th, 2021

Organizations that want to use Microsoft Teams for phone calls will have a new option, starting in January.   

Microsoft is introducing a new product, “Teams Phone with Calling Plan.” that combines the “Microsoft 365 Business Voice” product offering with enterprise capabilities of the “Teams Calling Essentials” product. Those two products will disappear after the new Teams Phone with Calling Plan product gets released.

These product changes will simplify purchasing and bring “enterprise-grade capabilities to SMBs,”.

The overall product changes and pricing are shown in the following diagram from a Microsoft FAQ document (Word doc download):

[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 1. Consolidation and pricing changes for Microsoft Teams products (source: Microsoft FAQ document). The new Teams Phone with Calling Plan product, coming Jan. 1, 2022, will supplant the Business Voice and Teams Calling Essentials products.

Microsoft Business Voice Ending in March
Microsoft Business Voice is a Teams product that sets up Microsoft as an organization’s telephony service provider. It’s for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 users having “300 or fewer people,”

Microsoft is planning to phase out its Business Voice product on March 1, 2022, according to the FAQ document. However, existing Microsoft Business Voice users will be able to renew their subscriptions “until June 30, 2022” or they can choose the Teams Phone with Calling Plan option instead.

While the Teams Calling Essentials product also is going away, no dates were described by Microsoft for its end.

New Teams Phone with Calling Plan Coming Jan. 1
Organizations with Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions that include Microsoft Teams will be offered Teams Phone with Calling Plan. It’s not available yet as a standalone product.

Users of Teams Phone with Calling Plan get 3,000 minutes for domestic calls in the United States and Canada, but just 1,200 minutes for domestic calls in other markets. for Organizations that call outside their domestic zones, Microsoft sells an add-on international calling plan that offers 600 minutes per user per month,.

The calls, conducted from Microsoft Teams, work across mobile networks and the public switched telephone network.

Teams Phone with Calling Plan will be offered through Microsoft’s partners in 33 markets starting on Jan. 1, 2022.

Teams Phone with Calling Plan also will be directly available from the Teams Phone website in the US, UK, and Canada on January 3rd, and in the remainder of markets later in January,” To add Teams Phone with Calling Plan, organizations will need to have one of the following qualifying subscriptions, per the FAQ: “Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, F1, F3, E3, A3 and Office 365 F1, F3, E1, E3, A1, A3.”

Teams Phone Option and Calling Plan Option
Alternatively, organizations can buy a “standalone” product called Teams Phone, which “allows them to purchase dial tone from a third-party provider.”

Microsoft also alternatively offers a separate Calling Plan product for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Teams users to connect to the public switched telephone network (that is, landline phones).

Audio Conferencing Realignment in March
Audio Conferencing is a Teams feature that lets users start conferences with their phones, even when the phones lack the bandwidth for a Teams session.  Microsoft in August to broaden access to the Audio Conferencing beyond Microsoft 365 E5 and Office 365 E5 plans. That announcement came in the context of price hikes for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions, expected to occur on March 1, 2022.

In its Friday announcement, Microsoft clarified that Audio Conferencing “will be available as part of all Teams-inclusive Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions starting on March 1, 2021.”

SharePoint news from Insight 2021

November 9th, 2021

The SharePoint Server Subscription Edition became generally available this week, Customers install it on their own server hardware, but Microsoft leases it via a subscription.

Microsoft documents on SharePoint Server Subscription Edition,  here.

Subscription-Based App Servers
Current SharePoint Server users can now only purchase the latest SharePoint Server products by subscription. There’s no “SharePoint Server 2022” product .

Expect future releases of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server and Project Server products to be sold by subscription as Microsoft mentioned this shift of its new application server products to a subscription model last year in October

You can upgrade from SharePoint Server 2019 or SharePoint Server 2016 to the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.

SharePoint Ignite Improvements
SharePoint Admin Center :

  • Ability to rename a SharePoint Online tenant URL name (preview).
  • OneDrive sync reports now support Mac devices.
  • IT pros can manage Teams and channel-connected team sites.
  • Migration Manager now has file scanning for Box online storage moves.
  • SharePoint Server workflows can be migrated to Power Automate directly.

For sensitivity labels are “more granular. It’s possible to use a label that requires multifactor authentication,. Microsoft is also previewing new “Data Access Governance rights” to monitor sharing activities.

SharePoint users are getting faster upload (5x) and download (10x) speeds, , presumably versus the SharePoint Online service. (

SharePoint Online stores 100 petabytes per month of data. Microsoft has more than 200 datacenters across 34 countries for its SharePoint Online service.)

Other new features include:

New SharePoint Site templates – for retail, healthcare, and non-profit

The latest update will bring three new SharePoint site templates to retail customers, non-profits, and healthcare organisations. All allow organisations to better track, manage information, and collaborate.

HRetail: The new retail management and store collaboration templates allow retail employees to manage the store operation more efficiently and foster a better collaboration environment.

Non-profit: The new volunteer centre template will allow organisers to point volunteers to one place to find key information, access learning materials, and connect with other volunteers.

Healthcare: The new healthcare collaboration template provides medical practices and healthcare agencies with a safe, secure way to share information that can help you provide better patient care and reduce operational costs.

Modern SharePoint site-level term store

An updated experience when creating and managing site-level taxonomy terms; which matches the previously updated, central term store in the SharePoint admin centre. This makes it easier to navigate taxonomies and to create and to edit terms when classifying and discovering Syntex and SharePoint content.

Edit images in SharePoint and OneDrive

Rotate, crop (both freeform crop and fixed aspect ratio crop) and flip your images – horizontally and vertically. This update also includes options to adjust the light and colour saturation of your images. Watch an image transform from muted colours and low contrast to richly coloured and stunning. Make those transformations easily with adjustments for brightness, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, and colour saturation.

Calendar view in List web part

To build a mini-dashboard for an internal event or project schedule and to represent your list of information as a calendar use the latest SharePoint List web part in Microsoft 365 to display a list from your team or site on a page and to customise it with your own title, view, and even size.

It is a great visual tool for internal communications – especially when things are date-driven.

Metaverse

November 5th, 2021

Digital transformation over the last 2 years brought a tsunami of change to every industry – from ubiquitous e commerce, to the adoption of telehealth in healthcare to digital wallets in financial services to curbside pickup and contactless shopping in retail – and cybercrime, digital technology has been at the forefront of this seismic shift.

There has been much talk recently about Facebooks recent renaming itself to focus on the metaverse. Microsoft has also long been evolving solutions for the metaverse. So what is it?

It is not the metaverse first imagined by Neal Stephenson in 1992’s “Snow Crash.” Instead, it is a persistent, digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world, including people, places and things. In this short video and in this announcement it’s described as a sort of inhabitable Internet (via 3-D avatars instead of people.

During his keynote talk at the Microsoft Ignite event, taking place virtually this week, CEO Satya Nadella described an emerging “metaverse” of digital experiences that will sustain businesses in the new world of hybrid work. Microsoft defines a metaverse as “a digital space inhabited by digital representations of people and things

Nadella’s concluding statement about the metaverse suggested that it would not evolve into an inhuman digital world, reminiscent of “The Matrix” movie:

In a sense, the metaverse enables us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing, bringing real presence to any digital space. For years we’ve talked about creating this digital representation of the world. But now we actually have the opportunity to go in that world and participate in it. What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us and choose how we want to experience this world and who we want to interact with.

Teams Enhancements

November 5th, 2021

At this year’s Ignite conference. Microsoft announced updates and new features to its business communication platform. Mesh for Microsoft Teams, provides new options for digital meetups with personalized avatars and 3-D environments. Personalized avatars, will give a sense of presence in meetings without turning on cameras.

Users will have more options to join meeting rooms and virtual collaboration spaces using redesigned avatars that will move and react based on your speech . Tuesday’s announcement comes after Facebook unveiled its similar virtual avatar technology that will soon be available in its newly christened Meta social media platform relaunch.

Microsoft said that users will not only be able to come together in new virtual reality rooms, but will be able to collaborate and to share on documents stored in Microsoft 365. Users can join a Mesh room either from their PC, or smartphone or mixed reality device.

This arose from a multiyear collaboration between Microsoft and mega-partner Accenture, an Ireland-based IT services firm that is known for virtual conference and meeting technologies.

Mesh for Microsoft Teams will begin to roll out in 2022 in preview and will launch with a set of prebuilt immersive spaces, with options for organizations to create their own custom spaces to be added.

 Microsoft Teams Enhancements
For Microsoft Teams, the company unveiled more features one of which is the inclusion of a virtual green room to allow organizers and guest speakers to interact in a second virtual space to collaborate on presentation content, monitor chat and socialize. Microsoft said this feature will be available in preview in early 2022.

To secure shared documents a new feature planned for 2022 called Teams Connect. will allow for Teams channels to be shared with outside individuals and organizations, with IT retaining control on how and what documents can be shared.

Teams Chat will be upgraded and it will permit individuals in a Teams organization to use their personal Teams account to chat and collaborate., and also o chat with yourself, which Microsoft said will be useful for personal organization and keeping memos stored in one place.

Dynamics POS 2009 and RMS 2.0 end of life.

November 2nd, 2021
Dynamics POS 2009
In 2015, Microsoft announced that Dynamics POS 2009 would no longer be available to new customers. Existing customers were able to purchase additional licenses until July 9, 2019. This serves as a final notice that Dynamics POS 2009 has been discontinued for existing customers.
Note that mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics POS 2009 ended on July 8, 2014. For additional details, visit the Support Lifecycle Policy page. You can view the full announcement here.

Dynamics RMS 2.0
In July 2016, Microsoft announced that Dynamics RMS 2.0 would no longer be available to new customers. Existing customers were able to purchase additional licenses until July 13, 2021. This serves as a final notice that Dynamics RMS 2.0 has been discontinued for existing customers.
Mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics RMS 2.0 ended on July 10, 2016.  For additional details, visit the Support Lifecycle Policy page. You can view the full announcement here.

KB5006943 – On-demand hotfix update package for SQL Server 2016 SP3

November 1st, 2021

This update https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/kb5006943-on-demand-hotfix-update-package-for-sql-server-2016-sp3-94de2975-cd7d-47ed-b003-5d7daf4e2caf contains hotfixes for issues that were fixed after the release of SQL Server 2016 SP3 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/kb5003279-sql-server-2016-service-pack-3-release-information-46ab9543-5cf9-464d-bd63-796279591c31 ). To apply this hotfix package, you must have SQL Server 2016 installed on your computer.

Note The build number of the hotfix update package is 13.0.6404.1.

Assets with Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain – ask Synergy Software Systems

October 19th, 2021

Assets include for example buildings and machinery, IT equipment. company mobile phones and credit cards, cars, shipping vehicles and containers and son on.. TA malfunction or failure of your assets for example a production machine or a delivery vehicle can negatively impact your supply chain. Aa global enterprise will have thousands of assets.

Dynamics 365’s, Asset Management module allows companies to manage their maintenance operations with real-time access to their maintenance costs without having to separately collect data, to analyze it. Use Asset Management to both plan and execute maintenance and and servicing of equipment in your company, . It integrates seamlessly with several Dynamics 365 modules and other apps.

Functional Locations and Assets

Use Functional locations to manage assets on locations and to track asset costs at functional locations. Functional locations are structured hierarchically, and locations can have sub-locations.. Assets can be installed on functional locations and, be reinstalled on other functional locations.

Asset costs always follow the location of the asset. When you install an asset on a new functional location, the asset automatically uses the financial dimensions that are related to the new functional location. Therefore, asset costs are always related to the functional location that the asset is currently installed. This automatic handling of financial dimensions helps guarantee accurate cost tracking when your company does project controlling and reporting on functional locations.

Also build a hierarchy of functional locations for your company internal equipment maintenance, or for servicing customer equipment.

Assets and Work Orders

. An asset is a machine assembly  or machine part that requires on-going maintenance and service.

Assets can be created in a hierarchical structure, and they can be related to functional locations.

Maintenance jobs can be planned at all levels in the asset structure.

For each asset set up related data, such as asset specification, and required maintenance plans and the affiliation of assets to job types.

Every work order has a work order type, such as preventive or corrective maintenance, or inspection.

The work order contains one or more work order jobs. Every work order job defines a job that must be performed on an asset and a related job type.

Examples of related job types include 10,000 km, 50,000 km, 1-year overhaul, and safety inspection.

One work order can be related to multiple assets.

A work order can be related to another work order, and job types can contain succeeding jobs that create a work order. In general, there are no dependencies between work orders. Therefore, they can change their work order lifecycle state and can be scheduled independently of each other.

Integration with ERP

The integration of Asset Management with Dynamics 365  applications supports drill down into your maintenance data to understand exactly what is driving your costs, and to determine how optimise your assets.

  • Project management and accounting – allows a holistic view into the costs associated with work on specific objects, by area, by a worker, etc.
  • Human resources – provides the capability to assign workers to specific work requests and allows for a clearer vision of the true cost of maintaining your assets.
  • Fixed assets – allows greater visibility into the cost of maintaining an asset.
  • Inventory management – maintains spare parts inventory.
  • Master planning – provides planned purchase orders based on criteria set up in the system, ensuring that the maintenance department never runs out of parts.
  • Procurement and sourcing – allows maintenance departments to have clear visibility into their orders and expenditures.
  • Accounts payable – allows vendors to be paid on time and allows the accounting department greater visibility into maintenance expenses.
  • General ledger – grants visibility into the maintenance process from an accounting perspective.

Utility billing, Dynamics 365, why Mecoms? ask Synergy Software Systems

October 11th, 2021

We have long experience of utility billing, which has many unique requirements compared to a manufacturing or retail organisation. OS we are pleased to announce these recent successes by our ISV partner Mecoms.

FERRANTI COMPUTER SYSTEMS Achieves the Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award

Ferranti is honored by Microsoft for achieving outstanding sales achievement and innovation with their MECOMS 365 application platform. 

Ferranti Computer Systems, the driving force behind the MECOMS 365 software platform for energy & utility providers, has achieved the prestigious Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award. Membership in this elite group is based on sales achievements that rank Ferranti Computer Systems in the top echelon of the Microsoft’s Business Applications global network of partners. Inner Circle members have performed to a high standard of excellence by delivering valuable solutions that help organizations achieve increased success. For the second year in a row.

2021/2022 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit Summit in March 2022 as well as virtual meetings between July 2021 and June 2022, where they will have a unique opportunity to share strategy and network with Microsoft senior leaders and fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications coincided with Microsoft Inspire, the annual premier partner event, which took place July 14-15, 2021. Microsoft Inspire provides the Microsoft partner community with the opportunity to learn about the company’s road map for the upcoming year, establish connections, share best practices, experience the latest product innovations and learn new skills.

“In a year of deep business transformation for every company and every industry on the planet, it is extremely rewarding to be able to recognize Microsoft Business Applications partners from every corner of the world that accelerated our joint customers’ digital transformation and drove unsurpassed customer success,” said Cecilia Flombaum, Microsoft Business Applications Ecosystem Lead. “Our Inner Circle members are chosen based on their business performance as well as capabilities as an organization, whether that’s creating IP, developing solutions, or having an industry leading focus on digital transformation. Microsoft is honored to recognize Ferranti/MECOMS for their achievements this past year, their dedication to our customers, and their innovation around the Microsoft Cloud.”  

Tom Van Haute, COO at Ferranti/MECOMS: “By using Microsoft technology as the underlying platform for MECOMS 365, working together with the Microsoft experts and opting for a hybrid cloud solution, we can keep MECOMS future-proof. Receiving the Microsoft Innercircle Award is a confirmation of our expertise and efforts of which we are of course very proud. Our product development team and myself are looking forward to continue the collaboration as an Innercircle member to drive innovation for our MECOMS platform for our customers to enjoy.”

Ferranti is dedicated to supplying valuable solutions that help customers achieve a competitive advantage by working with them to identify the best solutions and services that accommodate their business needs while excelling in customer satisfaction. By collaborating with the teams at Microsoft, Ferranti maintains a strong expertise of the Microsoft platform to provide innovative solutions, strong services and unparalleled value to their customers.

Johan Vandekerckhove, CCO at Ferranti/MECOMS: “We build relationships with our stakeholders, continuously collect their feedback and see how we can adapt to immediate needs in our industry or surfacing innovations that benefit our customers. It is an honor for us to receive the Award for Innercircle Member Microsoft Business Applications. Being part of the Innercircle allows for efficient communication and front row access to trends and innovations in our industry. I would like to thank everyone at MECOMS and Microsoft for our collaboration over the past period and I’m looking forward to continue this the coming years.”

MECOMS is positioned as a Major Player in the IDC MarketScape:

Worldwide Customer Experience Management Solutions for Utilities 2021.

It shows that the efforts and investments in our product development are bearing fruit and that we have a future proof strategy in place, which obviously benefits our customers in the first place.” Ellen Schrauwen, Operations Manager and MECOMS Product Organization.

We are very proud of the position and recognition that MECOMS receives in the IDC MarketScape. The fact that our customers recognize us for our industry expertise, that’s a credit to our entire MECOMS Family and our network. 

This IDC MarketScape provides energy utilities globally with insight into the current capabilities and future strategies of customer experience management (CXM) software vendors, guiding them in their experience enhancement projects or as they plan for an end-to-end CXM solution deployment. 

If you need a utility billing system built on a proven enterprise solution delivered by an experienced U.A.E. partner then call Synergy Software Systems 01472885282