Microsoft Modernizes SharePoint with 3D and AI
by Jim Lundy
At the SharePoint Conference this week in Las Vegas, Microsoft CVP Jeff Teper unveiled a new, modern version of SharePoint that is ready for the digital era.
Two of the big releases tied to SharePoint 2019 are 3D content support and a significant move into content analytics by leveraging AI algorithms that are part of Microsoft Cognitive Services. This blog provides a summary of these two parts of the new SharePoint 2019.
SharePoint Goes 3D with Spaces
There is no doubt that other firms, such as Facebook, have been pushing the envelope with visual content, including 360-degree video and mixed reality experiences. At Build 2018, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Layout, a mixed reality tool that lets users visualize and design a 3D environment in either Microsoft HoloLens or a virtual reality headset.
SharePoint Spaces will allow 3D images to be viewed in SharePoint, making it great for onboarding and training new employees, customers, or partners. At the moment, Spaces is still in preview mode and you have to sign up to try it.
Slowing Down Facebook
Aragon sees Microsoft’s move as two-pronged. The first part includes utilizing the creativity of immersive content and experiences by allowing developers to leverage this content. The second part of this is to slow down Facebook, which offers all-in-one, 360-degree video with a focus on mixed reality.
Aragon thinks the headsets from all providers are too expensive, which needs to change for mixed reality to go mainstream.
Content Analytics and SharePoint with Flow and Cognitive Services
The long game for content is content analytics and automation. Microsoft didn’t disappoint with what we’d call a teaser for their content analytics roadmap.
When It Comes to Content Analytics, What Microsoft Introduced Included:
Document Analytics – Powered by Flow for Cognitive Analysis
- Initially, Microsoft will offer the ability to locate text strings and analyze things such as moderation, sentiment, and translation. This means posts and tweets can be scored. (Note: This requires both Microsoft Flow and Cognitive Services, which means you need close to the full Microsoft stack.)
- Scanning images for recognition, including custom image models for business cards and receipts
- People identification
- Text extraction from uploaded or scanned images (Note: Image partners already do this.)
- Auto-tagging of images (Note: The app must be taught to do the right tagging.)
Low-Code Content Automation with Flow and Visio
Today, new workflows can be designed quickly using Visio Visual designs and then published to Microsoft Flow. This is a game-changer when it comes to designing simple and easy-to-deploy workflows. This low-code approach means that business analysts can do more and don’t need to have a developer on call. Others, such as Nintex, are already out in front on this.
The sizzle of the announcement was Spaces, which is still in preview mode. Content analytics, however, stole the show and some of this feature is available now. SharePoint is newer and fresher, but this is still a work in progress. That said, the content analytics are a bigger deal, as are the moves to automate content processes. Combining Visio with Flow just put all the Workflow and Content Automation providers on notice.
We’ll be diving deeper into SharePoint 2019 as more details of the release come out.