As you may have noticed, this was a giant week for conferences. Fortunately for you, dear reader, your faithful pals here at ChannelPro were all over it, with news from Autotask’s Community Live show, Continuum Navigate, and SYNNEX Inspire. Hooray for us!
Except…We have this nagging feeling that we missed an event. Hmm, what could it be? Ah yes, got it now. It was only an industry giant’s biggest event of the year for IT professionals. You know it better as Microsoft Ignite, and here’s what we would have told you about it and a lot of other stuff had we stretched ourselves a little further this week.
Our just desserts, I suppose. For the sin of failing to cover Ignite, Microsoft punished us with more announcements about new products, features, and the like than we could possibly sort through in a month’s worth of ICYMIs. So let’s just net things out, shall we?
Microsoft is betting the farm on artificial intelligence
The latest evidence came in the form of a new AI and Research Group staffed by 5,000 computer scientists and engineers and the publication of an AI manifesto.
Office 365 is getting a big bunch of security enhancements
- The previously launched Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection now share intelligence, resulting in a sort of uber advanced threat protection solution with even more robust capabilities and a wider perspective on the security landscape.
- Starting next year, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection will gain new capabilities and extend its protection beyond Exchange Online to SharePoint Online, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive for Business as well.
- There’s a totally new threat intelligence solution coming to Office 365 in 2017 that’s designed to identify advanced attacks rapidly and suggest proactive countermeasures.
Office 365 is getting a big bunch of non-security enhancements
- The App Launcher has been re-designed to look and function much like the Start menu in Windows 10.
- OneDrive for Business now lets you sync document folders with SharePoint Online document libraries, download multiple documents into a .zip file, and more.
- SharePoint has a bigger set of intranet features.
- Yammer now integrates with SharePoint Online, Office Online, OneDrive for Business, and OneNote.
- The updated Office 365 admin center first previewed a year ago is now in general availability.
- Outlook is about to start providing built-in integrations with everything from Evernote and Twitter to Uber and Yelp.
There was security news involving products other than Office 365
- The Edge browser now has a new security feature called Windows Defender Application Guard that isolates malicious code in hardware-based containers rather than more escapable software-based sandboxes.
- The Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 plan, which pairs Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite with a parade of security technologies, and the Secure Productive Enterprise offering, which bundles Enterprise Mobility + Security with Office 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise, both reach market tomorrow.
There are new opportunities for Microsoft partners to wrap services and support around the Surface product line.
And oh, yeah. Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016 both officially debuted. In the case of the first of those two products, at least, our readers apparently consider that bigger news than perhaps Microsoft does.
And when Microsoft wasn’t hogging the spotlight this week…It’s partners got in on the act. For example:
- Dell EMC introduced new services for Microsoft Azure—including a business continuity offering specifically aimed at small businesses—and new converged infrastructure solutions for SQL Server and Exchange.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Logitech, and Polycom all announced Skype for Business videoconferencing solutions for meeting rooms. Polycom also previewed a service that lets Skype for Business users connect with non-Skype for Business users.
- IR released a new tool for determining if a customer’s network is robust enough to handle Skype for Business, and remediating problems if it isn’t.
- OSIsoft unveiled a new operational and industrial analytics solution for Microsoft Azure.
- Shavlik introduced a new add-on for Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager that blocks malware, enforces license agreements, and controls end user privileges.
- ThreatSTOP rolled out a DNS firewall for Windows Server 2016.
- VMware announced a new—and free!—Windows 10 migration assessment tool.
AI-o-rama. Microsoft isn’t the only company serious about artificial intelligence. IBM announced a new Watson-based AI platform that makes pretty much any kind of data you can name available for informed decision-making this week. And fully 11 days ago, Salesforce launched an AI platform of its own. We not only forgot to tell you about that last story, we forgot to tell you that we forgot to tell you about it in last Friday’s ICYMI. That has to set a new standard for shamefulness of some kind.
Hey, did you know NetApp had an event this week too? No? Sad to say, but we didn’t have it on our radar either. Yet NetApp’s Insight technical conference did indeed take place in Las Vegas this week, and the storage vendor used it to unveil new software and flash systems for hybrid cloud environments.
But product news isn’t everything. It’s the only thing, as we’re sure you’ll agree after learning that:
- CipherCloud has introduced a cross-cloud encryption, key management, and policy enforcement solution compatible with Office 365, Box, Dropbox, and more.
- Epson has released a Chromebook app that lets teachers and students display content on Epson BrightLink and PowerLite projectors.
- Netreo has added mobile, app-based access to its OmniCenter IT monitoring, alerting, and reporting solution.
- OpenText has launched a new edition of its Exstream information management solution with enhanced support for mobile-ready content and interactive charts.
- Salesforce has rolled out a new solution for creating personalized shopping experiences across web, mobile, social, and in-store channels, as well as a free solution for non-profits that subscribe to the company’s non-free CRM software.
- Sennheiser has shipped a new noise canceling headset specifically designed for use in noisy open plan offices.
- Unify has announced a new communication and collaboration solution for midsize businesses with VoIP, unified communication, messaging, and contact center capabilities, and more.
Think we’re all done with vendor news for the week? Think again, my friend. There was also this:
- Brother added extended warranty protection for its mobile printers.
- CompTIA signed on to support the federal government’s “Lock Down Your Login” online safety campaign and Smart Cities Council Challenge Grants initiative, which seeks to promote urban livability, workability, and sustainability through the application of Internet of Things technology.
- Continuum celebrated its fifth birthday!
- Google has changed the name of Google Apps to G Suite and redubbed its entire family of cloud solutions the Google Cloud.
- NetEnrich named Jonathan White (pictured), who served as director of SMB channel marketing at Trend Micro and global channel marketing lead at Microsoft in past lives, its new vice president of channel marketing and sales.
- Rackspace announced a partnership with Broadleaf to create B2B commerce solutions.
- SAP revealed plans to invest 2 billion Euros in its Internet of Things solution portfolio.
- Tech Data won HP’s 2016 Distributor of the Year for the Americas.
This week’s stats ticker:
- A single node of the field programmable gate array fabric Microsoft is adding to its cloud infrastructure can translate the 1,440 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace from Russian to English in two and a half seconds.
- Global sales of unified threat management solutions have doubled in the last half decade, according to IDC.
- Chromebooks are now used in a quarter of K-12 classrooms, according to Simba Information.
Because business travel isn’t humiliating enough these days. Why choose between aggravation and embarrassment at the airport? As first reported by The Telegraph, an inventor from Chicago has proposed a way to subject yourself to both. Called the Modobag, it’s a motorized suitcase you can ride at speeds of up to five mph indoors or 8 mph outdoors. And sure, it will list at a little under $1,500 when/if it reaches market, but isn’t that a small price to pay for the privilege of looking like a complete idiot while making your way to the gate? Besides, it only weighs 19 pounds before you fill it with stuff. And there’s a laptop pocket too!