Ignite is happening this week and there are some exciting announcements and demos on the new products suite. With over 1,000 sessions you can imagine how everybody was able to find what they were looking for. One of the things I wanted to check out was the demos around Exchange 2016 and share the latest features with you.
Most of the new features are improvements for productivity and collaboration. Thanks to Office 365, Microsoft has been able to really see how to manage a large-scale Exchange environment and therefore to retrieve usage metrics that help product improvement directly.
Attach a file
Attaching a file has never been easier! You can now directly select the last modified documents from the email draft in order to include them.
Once enclosed the attachment is now displayed larger and has more descriptive content. It is easy to upload the document to OneDrive and you can change permissions of the document on the fly. By default any document sent will be editable by the recipient.
Working with emails and documents has also greatly improved, with the help of side-by-side document viewing and editing. So basically you can now simultaneously see the email sent in OWA, your reply that you are currently writing and the document in read or edit mode!
Managing your emails takes in average 28% of your time, and 20% of the time is spent searching for information that you or your co-workers already know or have.
Thanks to Exchange Online, Microsoft has studied the different search patterns from customers and has added new features for reducing the time you spend searching with:
• Search suggestions
• Built-in search refiners
• Faster search
• More accurate results
• More complete results
Outlook will arrive on Windows 10, iOS and Android and allow much better productivity:
• 2 tabs for reading emails. "Focus" for most important emails from top contacts and "Other" for newsletters, updates and promotions.
• "Schedule" allows you to postpone an email (similar to the Google "Inbox")
• "Quick filter" in order to find emails faster
• Calendar improvements allow to easily provide suggested times for scheduling a meeting
• Gestures on Windows 10
• Rich text editing tools for tables, bullet points, etc.
Behind the scene improvements
Many improvements on the architecture:
• Simplified architecture with building blocks of only one role
• Simplified coexistence with Exchange 2013
• Faster Database fail overs
• Reduced failure domains for DAG management services
• Replay lag manager by default
• Faster site resilience
• Azure file share witness
• Get-MailboxServerRedundancy cmdlet that allow to prioritize hardware repairs and make upgrades
• Search index using the passive copy
Hopefully all the Hybrid headaches disappear with these improvements:
• Secure mail routing
• Unified address list
• Free/Busy calendar sharing
• Single OWA url
• Mailbox move
• Unified message tracking
• Cross-org MailTips
• Multi-mailbox search
There will also be more options to use only some specific features from the Cloud while staying on premises. New features like that are Advanced threat protection and Predictive coding for eDiscovery.
I guess we are all looking forward to using Exchange 2016 along with Outlook 2016 clients in order to make our daily tasks faster, easier and more pleasant. I am sure there will be some new headaches down the road of this new Hybrid life that will be part of all organizations.
The public beta will be out this summer and the final release is expected for Fall/Winter 2015, so stay tuned!