Microsoft 365 gains smart video conferencing with automatic speech-to-text transcription

Redmond has also added in work-centric analytics into its cloud-based software suite

Microsoft 365, Redmond's complete software suite for enterprises and education, now supports live video conferencing augmented with facial reignition and autonomous speech-to-text transcription features.

The new video conferencing feature allows users to set up either live or on-demand streams of events within the cloud-powered Microsoft 365.

Facial recognition automatically detects who in a group video conference is chatting and allows watchers to jump to a specific speaker, while automated speech-to-text transcription provides transcripts and timecodes to the conference which Microsoft 356 users can then use to search for specific quotes or parts of a video conference.

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"Events can be as simple or as sophisticated as you prefer. You can use webcams, content, and screen sharing for informal presentations, or stream a studio-quality production for more formal events," explained Ron Markezich, corporate vice president at Microsoft.

Such features demonstrate how Microsoft is keep to put its work on machine learning and artificial intelligence into its cloud-based products and services. Examples of that in action can also be seen with Microsoft putting its Cortana artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant into Windows 10 by default, as well as pushing elements of the smart technology into some of its analytics services.

Alongside the new video conferencing features, Microsoft also revealed MyAnalytics, a tool that surfaces reminders and tips for employees, which Redmond has dubbed "nudges" that are aimed to prevent workers from taking on more work than they can handle based on analysis of their activity in Microsoft 365, say reminding them of other commitments before accepting an Outlook invite for another meeting or working out of hours.

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Workplace Analytics is a similar tool that has also been added to Microsoft 365, only the data it collects is based on teams of workers activities and, through the use of Microsoft Graph, analyses how said teams can work more effectively, serving up information to help users run more effective meeting or create time to focus on work. That data can be aggregated across an organisation to help it work out where it can work more collaboratively and effectively.

Microsoft also noted its Teams collaboration service is now free to use, which will likely boost its appeal in the face of other popular workplace services such as Slack and Workplace by Facebook.

Image credit: Microsoft 

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