Microsoft Ignite 2021: Top Announcements and Insights

Sreeraj Vasukuttan

This year’s Microsoft Ignite conference happened this week, from November 2–4. I was really looking forward to the session from Scott Guthrie called Innovate Anywhere From Multicloud to Edge, as well as a presentation about Power Platform. But after attending many of the sessions, I must admit that the Microsoft 365 session, Empower Everyone for a New World of Hybrid Work by Jared Spataro, became my favorite. This is where groundbreaking additions to Microsoft 365, such as Microsoft Loop and Context IQ, were announced.

I am excited to share some of the top announcements and some new insights from this year’s Ignite. Read on!

Microsoft Loop, Context AI, and Mesh

Microsoft Loop is the new collaboration app coming to Microsoft 365 that is built on top of Microsoft’s Fluid framework for document collaboration. It’s hard to describe the utility of Microsoft Loop from the videos and blogs Microsoft shared around it yesterday. But if you take a “don’t try to understand it—feel it” approach, I may say it almost feels like a unicorn in your office. The collaboration capabilities that Loop brings to your table could indeed be groundbreaking. Like Jared Spataro said, modern worker collaboration is the new atomic unit of collaboration in the digital age—akin to the assembly line in the industrial age. Loop sets the stage to help the modern workers to become the new atomic unit of production. Loop consists of workspaces, pages, and components. Loop components can be added to a Teams chat or an email, but it’s all tied to the Loop app in the background. I can’t wait to tell my colleagues, “Let’s cancel that document collaboration meeting; I will meet you in the Loop.” 

In addition to Microsoft Loop, Microsoft will bring Context IQ to Microsoft Editor. As Jared Spataro describes, Context IQ takes AI-based suggestions for all your writing in Microsoft 365 to the next level. It can not only predict your words but also suggest documents and email of collaborators in real-time. This would save you a ton of time every day searching for documents and email addressess. In essence, Context IQ will champion the interconnectedness of your Microsoft experience. 

Microsoft Mesh will be fully available for Teams later this year. Microsoft Mesh is a brainchild of Microsoft’s visionary technical fellow Alex Kipman, who is also behind Microsoft’s HoloLens. Mesh is built on top of Azure, and with it you can realize virtual workspaces in Teams, but its possibilities are not limited to Teams. Mesh supports HoloLens and many other devices of different form factors. 

Microsoft Viva Suite Is Now Fully Ready for You

In addition to the fantastic Microsoft 365 announcement like Loop, Context IQ, and Mesh, Microsoft made a follow-up announcement for Viva at Ignite. Microsoft Viva, Microsoft’s new employee experience platform, is now fully available for you with all its components—Viva Connections, Viva Learning, Viva Insight, and Viva Topics. Microsoft Viva is also now available as a Viva suite. 

What Does This All Mean for Your Hybrid Work Plans?

Microsoft 365, with Teams at its center, is growing as a highly integrated yet elegant framework that could transform work and employee experience to a new level. You may not find this level of integration in any of the workspace software out there. But Microsoft 365 is still only the building block for your success. It’s up to you to use it to its full advantage. This is where Microsoft’s “the art of possible” approach run through partners like us will play a massive role in your success. Connection offers Microsoft 365 workshops that will help you realize your full potential with Microsoft 365. 

We are adding new workshops to our workshop lineup every month. Microsoft will pay you for these workshops if you meet their eligibility criteria. Reach out to our Account Managers to learn more. 

Read Microsoft’s Ignite Book of News for Ignite news from other areas like Azure, Dynamics 356, and Power Platform. 

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Technical Marketing Manager at Connection with a passion for technology and marketing. He enjoys writing about cloud, security, and end-user compute. In his free time, he loves watching films, cooking, and traveling with his family.