Microsoft Ignite 2023: A new family of Copilots announced.

At Day One of Microsoft Ignite 2023 yesterday [Microsoft Ignite is Microsoft’s annual conference for IT techies, leaders and business decision makers, which is being held digitally and in-person at Seattle this week], the word Copilot certainly dominated almost every session (even those that weren’t specifically focussed on Copilot!).

The dominant themes of the event so far, has been around the role of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) in transforming businesses and empowering users.

With so many Copilots being announced since March this year (Microsoft 365 Copilot, Bing Chat, Security Copilot, GitHub Copilot etc.,) Microsoft used Ignite standardise the Copilot branding. Microsoft promoted the concept of a single “Microsoft Copilot” experience that works across all their apps and services, as well as a new Copilot Studio to allow organisations to build their own Copilots with “One experience across work and life“.

Copilot logo | Image (c) Microsoft

Whilst the branding made sense from a brand perspective, not all Copilots are the same which will no doubt make it difficult for many to understand – the previous names (whilst they did not roll of the tounge) were, IMO, easier to understand.

There are multiple different Microsoft Copilots. And GitHub Copilot and the Copilots used in Windows or Microsoft 365 apps have little in common and in some cases are trained on different LLMs to perform their core functions. Microsoft 365 Copilot is vastly different to Bing Chat for example – both are now simply called “Copilot”.

This blog attempts to summarise the key announcements and insights about the new Copilots from Microsoft Ignite 2023.

Recap: What is a Copilot?

In case you’ve been asleep for the past 8 months, “Copilot” is an AI assistant that helps users with specific tasks or scenarios, such as writing code, creating presentations, searching the web, or chatting with customers. In short, a Copilot can provide suggestions, recommendations, insights, or take in-app actions based on the user’s context, preferences, and goals. Copilot can also learn from the user’s feedback and behavior to improve its performance and relevance over time.

Microsoft has been developing and deploying Copilots across its product line since the start of the year and at Ignite 2023, they announced plans for a load more Copilots – some of which are now in preview, whilst others are still “to come”. Remember these will also be different and serve different purposes but will all fall under the new unified Copilot branding.

Microsoft have also launched a new and adaptive Copilot Website which will adapt to your experience dependent on your license entitlement. This can be found at

We know how Microsoft like to name, rename, and then revert again (they did with Intune recently) so I wouldn’t be surprised if a different (or original) naming convention appears in the coming months!

Welcome to the new Copilots

Microsoft announced a bunch of new Copilots at Ignite 2023 which I have summarised below. I’ll share more updates on these are they move into preview or when I attend more of the live sessions.

  • Microsoft Copilot Studio: This is what will allow organisation to be build their own copilot and plug-ins using similar low-code tool as customers that use Power Platform will be familiar. This will allow organisations to build their own Copilots that can integrate their own data and back-end with the Microsoft eco system and Microsoft Graph. Copilot Studio can also work with OpenAI’s newly announced GPTs. Copilot Studio will be included within Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 licenses (aka Microsoft 365 Copilot).
  • Microsoft Copilot Dashboard: This is public preview now and has been designed to help organisations that have got Microsoft 365 Copilot Licenses. This will help IT better analyse usage across apps and measure the impact on productivity that Copilot provides. Microsoft also said that organisations with Viva Insights will also get enhanced dashboard capabilities around how Copilot is helping them be productive and manage time.
  • Copilot for Service: This new Copilot connect is designed to connect Microsoft Office applications with third-party CRM and Contact-Center solutions. This will have a $50 pupm price tag, but will include a Microsoft 365 Copilot license, and will be generally available sometime early 2024. There will be a public preview in December.
  • Copilot for Azure: Annouced and already in preview – Copilot for Azure is designed to help Azure customers with designing, operating, optimising and troubleshooting their Azure workloads, infrastrucutre and applications.
  • Copilot for Fabric: This was originally announced back in May 2023 and includes several new AI assistants across the platform such as Power Automate. Each one will use the underlying Fabric analytics platform but will be designed for a different Fabric “experience” This is in preview now.
  • Copilot for Cosmos DB: This is essentially about helping developer write “NoSQL” queries. It will be embedded into the Cosmos DB Data Explorer and is a free tool for developers.
  • Copilot for Viva: This was orginally announced back in April this year. These are going into Public Preview in stages over the next few months for each tool within the Viva Suite.
  • Copilot for Loop: Loop is a new collaborative work space that lets you share workspaces, pages and compents of conent across difereince apps and services. The went into General Availability yesterday and it too is getting it’s own Copilot. The license for this is included within the Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

A new single website for all your Copilots – see above.

What are the differences and similarities among the Copilots?

While Microsoft wants to promote the idea of a single “Microsoft Copilot” experience that works across its software and services, the reality is that each Copilot has a different license, is trained on different data models (LLMs), performs different functions, and has also have different security and data permissions.

For example, GitHub Copilot, which helps users write code in various programming languages, is powered by OpenAI’s Codex model, which is trained on billions of lines of public code. GitHub Copilot is available as a technical preview for GitHub users who sign up for the waitlist. It is free for open source projects and personal use, but requires a paid subscription for commercial use.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Copilot, includes Copilot for PowerPoint, which can helps people create, update and innovate presentations from different data sources across Microsoft 365. It is powered by Microsoft’s “business ready” GPT-4 model, which is private to an organiation (no data leakage) and is grounded in your organisations Microsoft 365 Graph data. It also has access to the a large corpus of text from the web and other sources and can search the internet. PowerPoint Copilot is part of Microsoft 365 Copilot . PowerPoint will also have access to the Open AI DALLE-3 image creator.

Another example is Bing Chat (Consumer version), which helps users chat with Bing and get answers, information, or entertainment. Bing Chat is powered by Microsoft’s own Turing-NLG model and Chat-GPT4, which is trained on a large corpus of text from the web and other sources. Bing Chat is available as a free service for anyone who visits or uses the Bing app. It does not include data protection or compliance features.

On the other hand, Bing Chat Enterprise, which helps users chat with their organisation’s data and apps. This is powered by the same , is powered by the same ChatGPT4 model and Turing-NLG model as Bing Chat, but does include data protection and compliance so it can bve used safely within an orhanistion without risk of data leakage. Bing Chat Enterprise is available as a paid service for Microsoft 365 subscribers and is included in Microsoft 365 F3, E3, E5, A3/A5 (faculty only), Business Standard and Business Premium plans.

As you can see, there are significant differences among the Copilots in terms of their data sources, functions, security, and licensing. However, there are also some similarities and commonalities among them.

For example, most of the Copilots use natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG) techniques to understand and communicate with the user. Most of the Copilots also use reinforcement learning and active learning methods to learn from the user’s feedback and behaviour, and improve their performance and relevance over time. Most of the Copilots also use a similar user interface and interaction model, where the user can type or speak to the Copilot, and the Copilot can provide suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions in a conversational manner.

What are the benefits and challenges of using Copilots?

Copilots will no doubt bring many benefits for users and organisations on a scale we are only just begining to image.

Microsoft shared some data from their latest work tend index report (link here) that Early adoptors of Copilot said users don’t want to go back to working without it with 77% saying they don’t want to give it up.

  • Saving time and effort: Copilots can help users complete tasks faster and easier, by providing guidance, assistance, or automation. For example, GitHub Copilot can help users write code faster and with fewer errors, by suggesting code snippets or completing code blocks. PowerPoint Copilot can help users create presentations faster and with more impact, by suggesting layouts, designs, or content.
  • Enhancing productivity and creativity: Copilots can help users achieve more and better outcomes, by providing insights, feedback, or inspiration. For example, Excel Copilot can help users analyze and visualize data better, by suggesting formulas, charts, or tables. Word Copilot can help users write and edit documents better, by suggesting words, phrases, or paragraphs.
  • Enabling learning and discovery: Copilots can help users learn new skills and discover new information, by providing explanations, examples, or resources. For example, Power BI Copilot can help users learn how to use Power BI better, by providing tutorials, tips, or best practices. Bing Chat can help users discover new facts, trivia, or entertainment, by providing answers, information, or fun.
Data from Microsoft Nov 23 Work Trend Index image (c) Microsoft

However, using Copilots brings about challenges and risks – some real, some perceived – such as:

  • Trusting and verifying: Since Copilots work on the available data, that can “make mistakes” or provide inaccurate or inappropriate suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions, due to the limitations or biases of their data, models, or algorithms. Organisations need to provide training to users and make sure they understand the need to verify and review any content generated by Generative AI in order to be able to trust and verify the Copilots’ outputs. This may include checking their sources, methods, or evidence. People can also, and should be encouraged to provide feedback and corrections to the Copilots, by rating, reviewing, or reporting their outputs.
  • Protecting and complying: There are concerns that these Copilots “could” access or expose sensitive or confidential data or information, due to the nature or scope of their tasks or scenarios. Copilot in fact, operates under the context of the person using it so t has the same level of access than it’s “pilot” has. Organisations will need to review their data security and compliance policies to ensure the right permissions, controls and protections are in place. Copilot wont break these polcies but may well expose weaknesses in them. Organisations need to review data sharing polcies such as Data Loss Prevention to prevent confidential data leaving the organisation that Copilot has created. Employees need to need to be re-educated on this in many cases to ensure they understand how to use the various Copilots and how they work with your organisational data, the language models and the web. Users may also need to be aware of the Copilots’ privacy and security policies, by reading, understanding, and agreeing to their terms and conditions.
  • Balancing and controlling: Another concern of using AI tools is that these Copilots may “influence” or affect the user’s decisions or actions, due to the power or authority of their suggestions, recommendations, insights, or actions. Users need to be able to balance and control the Copilots’ impacts, by applying critical thinking, judgment, or ethics. Users also need to be able to choose and customize the Copilots’ settings and preferences, by adjusting their levels, modes, or options. You can read Microsoft’s guidance on Responsible AI here.


GenAI is going to be infused into every tool and product Microsoft has and with Copilot Studio, organisations will be able to build their own plug-ins, connectors or deicated Copilots for every business need. 2024 will be the year all these annoucements really come into fruiotion. Its gonna be a roller coaster.

Copilot (what ever flavour) is still in preview or new and many will be looking to see real life ROI and drive organisational pilots to help.

Read more.

Meet “Meet” in Teams

“Discover, prepare, and recap your meetings in one place with the Meet App in Microsoft Teams”.

If you haven’t seen or used the new Meet app in Teams you are missing a trick. It’s pretty new and I only discovered it recently, but it’s a really simple and intuitive way to see and manage all your Teams meetings past and future. Here’s what it is and how it works.

The Meet App in Teams. Image (c) Microsoft

Meet is an app available in the new Microsoft Teams experience that centralises all your common meeting preparation and catch-up activities, helping to enhance meeting efficiency by simplifying the prep work and reducing time spent reviewing missed meetings. Meet provides a single view of upcoming meetings as well as
recent past meetings, and enables quick discovery of meeting content like chats, files, agendas, shared documents, and meeting recap.

Meet helps you to prepare for, participate in, and follow up on your online meetings more efficiently and effectively.

With Meet, you are able to access all your meeting-related content in one place, such as chats, files, agendas, shared documents, meeting recap and transcriptions and more. You can also view all your upcoming and recent past meetings in a single view, and easily join or rejoin them with a single one click.

Meet also integrates with other features of the new Teams app, such as PowerPoint Live, Microsoft Whiteboard, and the new Loop AI-generated meeting notes, to enhance your meeting experience and productivity.

How do get the Meet App?

The Meet App is a native Microsoft app for Teams but needs to be added by your IT admin or added manually yourself (assuming you are allowed to do so).

From here, click on the three dots in the left-hand menu and type “Meet”. You’ll see the app listed and from simply click the icon and select “pin”.

Pinning the new Meet app.

Note: To start using Meet, you need to switch to the new Teams app, which is now generally available for Windows and Mac users, the web, and also in public preview for Windows 365, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and government cloud customers.

See Meet in action

The video below, courtesy of Microsoft, shows a walk through of how it works.

Microsoft YouTube summary of Meet in Teams

Hope you find this useful. I love it and wish it was a default installed experience.

What do you think…?

Be a meeting Ninja with Scheduling Polls in Outlook.

Microsoft has replaced the legacy FindTime plug in for Outlook with a new native experience called “Scheduling Polls” which is now built directly into Outlook on desktop and the web experience.

Information regarding the end of support for FindTime can be found in the Message Centre article MC688929

Introducing Outlook Scheduling Polls

Scheduling Poll (which replaces a similar tool called FindTime) is now available to all users of Outlook on the Web and Mac. It is available to Classic Outlook for Windows users in Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel, and Semi-Annual Enterprise Preview. It will become available to Classic Outlook users on the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel in January 2024, and to the Semi-Annual Extended Channel in June 2024.

Users who do not have access to Scheduling Poll yet can either switch to the Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel, or Semi-Annual Enterprise Preview in Classic Outlook for Windows; or they can use Outlook on the Web to create polls.

Creating and using Scheduling Polls

Using Meeting Polls is really simple. You need to be using the Outlook Desktop app or Outlook on the web, and it’s not currently available on mobile devices but hoping that will change as I create lots of meetings on the go!

Step 1: Start with an email message

We start a new Scheduling Poll from an email (not from Calendar). For example we might start with an email to a team of people (or it could be reply) and instead of asking for or suggesting a list of dates “that work”, we simply click on the Scheduling Poll button on the Toolbar as shown below.

I’d advise adding the people you need to the email message before clicking on the button.

Step 2: Create the Scheduling Poll

Try to ensure you have added the people you need to the email before you click the “New Scheduling Poll” button. You can add them later, but it makes the process a little slicker.

Once you click the “New Scheduling Poll” button, you’ll be presented with a new side-bar screen with some options within it.

From here, you can choose the meeting duration (default is 30mins), and then you’ll see availability of your “invited” attendees, based on calendar availability at the time of creating your poll.

You can see below, that there is availability on the 13th Nov but limited availability on the 14th November. You can also look as far out as you need to, but Scheduling Polls will help you find suitable dates.

Using Meeting Polls within Outlook
Scheduling Poll side bar in Outlook (picking options).

When you have finished picking the best dates for you (you are the organiser after all), you can click the “Next” button.

You are then presented with the ability to customise the meeting poll including:-

  • Meeting Location: For example Boardroom, Nero Coffee etc or online (via Teams).
  • Schedule with attendees reach consensus: This means once everyone has voted on a date that everyone can do, Outlook will automatically schedule the meeting
  • Hold Selected Dates on my calendar: Means the options you offered get blocked until the meeting is scheduled – in case someone books you first.
  • Notify me about poll update: Means you get an email notification when someone votes.
  • Lock Poll for attendees: Means attendees can’t suggest alternative dates.

When you are happy with the options (the ones below are default), you can click Create Poll.

Step 3: Send the Scheduling Poll

You can then check your email body and simply send the email with the poll attached. You can also if you need to add other people at this point which can also include external attendees such as customers or partners from other organisations.

Once everyone has voted on the meeting and a common time is agreed, Outlook will schedule the meeting for you and free up and “blocked” time.

Step 4: Editing or Viewing your Polls

You can get back to your polls at anytime to update them, cancel them or review the status of the voting, before and after the meeting is scheduled. You can do this from the email with the poll it or from the “Scheduling Poll” button in Outlook.

You’ll see that from here, you can do things like:

  • Send a reminder – this emails all attendees to remind them to vote (I use this a lot)
  • Cancel the poll – this cancels the poll and frees up your diary again
  • Add or Remove attendees – perhaps some one emails you and asks you invite someone
  • Update your preferred times – just like attendees you can pick a time you “prefer”

Responding to a Scheduling Poll as another person.

Any one receiving a Scheduling Poll will see the following within their email when the poll is sent. This is the email sent in the previous step and invites each requested attendee to vote.

Image showing the meeting poll email as received by a user.
Scheduling Poll email received from meeting organiser.

Each requested attendee then, simply needs to click on the vote button and choose the times they prefer, can attend or cannot attend. At the time of voting, the scheduling tool updates availability options based on their Outlook Calendar.

Depending on the options chosen by the meeting organiser (host), they can also see how others voted and can request a different date and even add additional attendees. These settings are controlled by the meeting organiser.

When everyone has voted the meeting is automatically scheduled. It not everyone votes, the meeting organiser can choose to schedule the meeting based on their own choice.

Voting on a meeting Scheduling Poll in Outlook.
Voting on a meeting Scheduling Poll in Outlook

Forcing the meeting to be scheduled.

Every time an attendee votes, (depending on the options you chose), you’ll receive an email notification like that below. This also includes the current status of everyone else that has voted (you’ll see here that 3 of the 4 attendees have voted).

I have the choice to wait until everyone has voted and the meeting get’s arranged for me, or if there are certain attendees that have not voted, I can choose to go with the majority and just book the meeting.

To do this I simply need to

  • Click on “view all your polls” to go see all my meeting schedules .
  • Select the meeting I want to schedule.
  • Decide if I want to send a final reminder.
  • Update the meeting time options or attendees
  • Schedule the meeting I think is best.
Choosing to schedule a meeting in Outlook Scheduling Polls
Choosing to force the meeting to be scheduled.

Once this is done, the meeting is scheduled and an invite sent to every user.

Attendees still need to accept or decline the meeting as usual.

That’s it – an overview and guide on using Scheduling Polls in Outlook.

You’re missing a trick not using Surface and Pen in meetings

Taking notes on Surface

As a Chief Technology Officer, I meet with a lot of clients, partners, and executives within our customer base. I have often found the clicker clatter on a keyboard (taking notes) in a meeting off putting and acutely aware that it can look like I’m not paying attention or catching up on emails. Sorry to say, I do get the same impression sometimes of others in meetings (it’s like having your camera off in meetings!).

Taking notes and actions in meetings

But….often, if we are using a laptop to take notes looks like we are not paying attention, then ways the alternative?

It amazes me (at a technologist) that “most” people still resource to scraps of paper which they shove in their bag or at best a neat company (or vendor freebie) paper notebook. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you should never write on paper, but there’s a much better way… Stay with me here!

Picture of a notebook with notes

We take notes for a few reasons…

  • To be clear of our actions during the meeting or workshop
  • To jot down the names and roles of people in the meeting
  • To summarise key points and
  • To of course take notes that we will later use for following up on, or to look back at in a week or month or so.

Using a physical notebook to take notes can causes admin and security headaches.

  • I need to hope I do not misplace my book and know where it is and how to find the notes I took in ink. This not only means my notes are gone but others may have access to stuff I capture (which could be confidential).
  • I need to write up my notes and type them into OneNote, Outlook, or CRM system.
  • I may need to search for something in the notes and can’t remember exactly what book it’s in or what I’m looking for.

That’s where the Surface with pen and ink comes in (yes, I am aware you replace this with an iPad or other tablet and pen), but my key message here is why not to use scraps or paper, or even a traditional clamshell notebook for typing notes.

Inking on Surface Pro

Note taking is best with Surface and Pen

Here are some reasons I can’t imagine using anything other than Surface with pen and ink for client and team meetings:

  1. Perception and Focus: It looks like I am paying attention, taking notes on the meeting at hand and not doing emails or something else.
  2. You remember more: This is true. research shows that when we write notes down than when we type them
  3. It’s a natural Writing Experience: Using a Surface Pro (or Surface Go) with Surface Pen provides a natural writing experience that feels like writing on paper. I can write notes, draw diagrams, underline things, and even cut and paste text etc and then highlight or scribble all over it. It’s just like using pen and paper and has so many other benefits.
  4. Realtime Collaboration: If I am with other teammates, I can use the features in Microsoft OneNote and collaborate in real-time. Using a shared OneNote, I can write and draw on the screen, and my colleagues can see my work in real-time and add their notes to it. This makes it easy to brainstorm and collaborate on ideas. Alternatively, I can keep my notes as “my notes”.
  5. Efficient Notetaking: Using Surface with Pen makes note-taking more efficient and saves me time later.  I can choose to leave my notes as digital ink (this means I can search the text later without converting it to text), or I can have apps like OneNote convert my handwriting into text which then makes it easy for me to copy and paste into emails, CRM systems or anything else. Using OneNote, I can also easily organise my notes into folders and different notebooks.
  6. Professional Experience and Appearance: As a technologist, working on Surface with pen and ink looks professional and sleek. I find it’s a great way to make a good impression on clients and colleagues and helps us promote the use of the best devices of business on the market.
  7. Secure yet accessible: Since my notes are digital (in my case in OneNote), I can access them securely anywhere from any device whenever i need them. I don’t need to worry about losing my notes, not being able to find content or having to ask others to “send me their notes”. If I lose my device or get a new one, my notes are securely stored in the cloud.

Best Surface devices to use

With the exception of the Surface Laptop Go, all Surface devices support touch, pen and ink, however for the optimum inking/writing experience you don’t want to be trying to write on a clamshell type laptop. As such I’d suggest either the

Surface Studio Laptop, Surface Pro or Surface Go devices.


Anything other than Surface + Pen + OneNote is a compromise in a meeting where I need to take notes. It provides a natural writing experience, makes it easier for me to come back to my notes, search for notes later and keeps them safe and secure.

Using Surface devices with ink and touch is also a superior experience and looks professional too. No more tatty notebooks, no more typing loudly on a keyboard with a screen between you and your customers or colleagues or boss.

As always, I welcome your views and comments….

Some useful links

Microsoft 365 Copilot – what makes good AI “prompts”

Microsoft 365 Copilot was released to GA today with a minimum price tag of three hundred licenses at $30 US dollars per user per month [around $108k minimum].

My last blog covered the potential ROI of using Gen AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot, but it’s also worth remembering that Copilot also exists (for free) today inside Bing Chat and Windows 11 (if you are running the latest 22H2 or 23H1 release rings).

Organisations looking to move quickly and get onboard with Copilot have work to do to get their data in shape, educate and train users and find and test the use cases within their organisations to determine if and where Copilot will add most value.

Once deployed (and this goes with any Gen AI tool to be honest), the areas your adoption specialists, training and AI success units will be wanting to be focussing on with employees is how to get Copilot to do what you ask in the most efficient way. We call this “prompting”. This blog introduces the concept, shares some tips, and tricks we (Cisilion), have picked up on the way.

The way we interface with Generative AI is very different to the way we use search engines (which are typically based on key word searches). Generative AI has the ability to really understand what you are asking for and how you want the information you ask for presented. It takes a bit of time to get used to and refine and the more you use it, then better the output and the easier and faster you get to your end result.

The Perfect AI Prompt?

Prompts are how you ask your Copilot (whether Microsoft 365, Windows, or Bing) to do something for you. This could be creating, summarising, comparing, editing, or transforming content. Prompts are “conversations”, using plain but clear language and providing the relevant information, background, ask and context of the request – just like you would if you were asking a human assistant.

Writing good prompts is the key to unlocking the power and potential of generative AI tools like Microsoft 365 Copilot.


In short a prompt has three parts.

  • Telling Copilot what you want – for example creating, editing, summarising etc.
  • Including the right prompt ingredients – for example what you need and why.
  • Keeping the conversation going to fine tune your request and get the content you need.

Telling Copilot what you need

This may sound obvious, but we often find many people do not appreciate or understand just how particular and precise you can be with these tools. When we run workshops, I often ask the audience to use Bing Chat to create an output with the minimum number of prompts. What i typically see is people “talk” to AI like they talk to their smart speaker, typically asking a simple open question about the weather, train times, or a fact [or in my case my kids ask it for a rude joke or a silly song…or worse].

Working with Generative AI should be seen as similar to working with a person. As such, the more ambiguous the request, tone and language is, the more likely it is that the response you get from Copilot won’t be what you need or expected.

For example, a prompt such as “please analyse this spreadsheet of customer spend and provide insights into the most frequently bought products and services our customer buy for a meeting I have with the leadership team about product and service performance will give Copilot a lot more content and context about what you need work to do with that please analyze this dataset and summarize the results. A prompt that simply asks “summarise this information for me” – clearly misses the conext and framing of what the information is required for.

Include the right prompt “ingredients”

In order to the get the best response from your prompts, it is also important to focus on some of the key elements that will impact the type of response you get from Copilot. In short this is about setting the right goal and the right context along with which data source of information you want to use and you expectations of the output.

  • The Goal refers to what response you want to get from Copilot
  • The Context refers to why you need it and who or what is involved
  • The Source refers to which information source(s) or examples Copilot should you
  • The Expectations refer to how you want Copilot to respond to your request.

Here’s how that fits together into a “good prompt”…

Keeping the conversation going

Since Copilot uses the concepts of turns with regards the prompts you use, you can tweak, fine tune or ask further questions based on the information generated and information you feed it. Whilst Copilot will not learn from your data, it keeps the conversation active until you finish meaning you can refine your requests. This helps you collaborate with Copilot like you would a person. You ask for more information, to present data in a different way or simple change the language or tone of the response.

Examples based on the above could include:

In short – When creating a prompt, think of it as if you were talking to a helpful colleague – there no need to worry about the order, formatting, or structure – the goal is to keep it conversational.

General Do’s and Don’ts

Finally, there are some wider tips and guidance to help ensure you get the best from these conversational input methods. In short, the do’s a don’ts can, be summarised as.

Be clear and specific with your ask. tell it how you want the response or output generated. A draft, bullet points, in Word or in PowerPoint for example.Be vague or ambiguous. Use concise and unambiguous language. If you want something in a certain way – tell it what you want.
Give examples to help Copilot do what you want. If there is a previous document or table you want, state it. If you want something in a certain style, ask. Use slang words, jargon, or informal language. The Lange models Copilot uses are well trained but may miss interpret acronyms, slang words and jargon and therefore give random results.
Provide details that help Copilot do what you ask. Give as much background to what you are asking as possible – just like you would to a human assistant. Set the context and ask clearly. Give conflicting information or ask Copilot to compare or contrast unrelated data or something that is a bad example of what you need. Keep the responses clear and concise and use additional prompts to refine if necessary.
Use turns (these are additional prompts) to tweak and refine your response. If you don’t like something or want something expanded or changed – simple, ask. Change topics without starting over. The best way to end a conversation and start over is to either write “new task” or click the new conversation button.
Feedback to IT. Copilot is only as good as the data and information it has access to. If you are not getting the right response, it may be because you don’t have access to the right data or that the data is out of wrong. Check the data source Copilot refers you to with IT or the document owner. Take what Copilot produces as fact without checking first. Copilot is only as good as the data and information it has access to. If you are not getting the right response, it may be because you don’t have access to the right data or that the data is out of wrong. Check the data source Copilot refers you to with IT or the document owner.
Examples of Good and Bad AI Prompts

Microsoft 365 CoPilot: What is the ROI?

So, who is excited then? Microsoft 365 Copilot will be officially GA from 1st of November 2023 at a cost of $30 per user per month for commercial customers. That is THIS week!!!

How much will Microsoft 365 CoPilot cost?

Microsoft continue to be firm that any organisation that invests in Microsoft 365 Copilot from the 1st of November will pay $30 per user per month. Note that initially, the licensing will not appear on a price list and must be purchased alongside the organisations Microsoft Account team. There is a minimum number of seats of three hundred.

When will Microsoft 365 Copilot be released?

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be generally available from 1st November 2023. There have been several hundred large organisations on a paid (around $100,000) Early Access Preview since the summer who have been helping Microsoft with performance, accuracy and tuning guidance as well as helping Microsoft to capture and prove use-cases and guidance for other future organisations and to help them justify the cost of ownership. I am sure that next year, we will see a Total Economic study from Microsoft and Forrester on this!!

Note: Initially, Microsoft 365 Copilot will not be available to EDU customers or in the government/Gallatin clouds. All apps, except for Copilot in Excel, will be available in the
following languages: English (US, GB, AU, CA, IN), Spanish (Spain, Mexico), Japanese, French (France, Canada), German, Portuguese (Brazil), Italian, and Chinese Simplified. Copilot in Excel is currently only available in English. Support for additional languages will be extended through the first few months of calendar year 2024.

Copilot is very new. As such expect it to evolve quickly and get better…

The ROI of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Even after the 1st of November, most organisations, Microsoft partners and many of Microsoft, will still not have access to Microsoft 365 Copilot. There have been those on the paid early access program, some of the global solution partners have also been involved.

Due to the minimum limit of three hundred licenses, I expect that many organisations may wait a little rather than rush in. Wait until they are ready, they can learn from other organisations successes and blips and (I imagine) for the entry point to be lowered and in fact I have heard rumours that this might drop to fifty.
Note: Smaller organisations and anyone who buys licensing via a CSP provider will also have to wait a bit.

There is plenty of information out there to help organisations start strategizing and preparing for what will be one of the most significant uplifts (both in cost of their Microsoft 365 license, and in capability) in the history of IT and IT budgets.

The questions of course that the CFO and CEO will want to understand are

  1. What will the actual cost be?
  2. How will affect our bottom line?
  3. Are the perceived benefits worth the price?
  4. How can we keep our Microsoft licensing costs under control?
  5. What do we need to do to make sure we can really get the best from Microsoft 365 Copilot.

1. Understanding the cost of Microsoft 365

Microsoft Copilot is an add-on license – meaning it is purchased (at $30 per user per month) and applied to a base-level license. Also, not every Microsoft 365 license will be eligible for a Copilot “bolt-on”. Currently Microsoft 365 Copilot can only be attached to:

  • Microsoft 365 E5,
  • Microsoft 365 E3,
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium,
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard.

Whilst the above is good news for smaller businesses (in that they dont need to upgrader to an E3 or E5 base license), the cost is (currently) the same regardless of what base-level license you are attaching it to. This means the cost uplift (as a percentage) is much higher for organisations on Microsoft 365 E3 or Microsoft 365 Business. Nothing is of course set-in-stone as we are still in early preview, and we might see pricing changes or tiering as we get nearer to release. I’d also expect customers on large Enterprise Agreement to pay less (and be able to haggle!).

Frontline workers (or anyone with a Microsoft 365 “F” license) are not currently able to use Copilot without being upgraded to an enterprise E3, which means a cost difference (for M365 E3 plus Copilot) of a staggering 8.25x.

If we look at the cost of the current licenses and the effect of adding Copilot to every user, then the costs can look scary (this is based on Online RRP pricing).

Base LicenseBase CostM365 Copilot*License + Copilot% Increase
Microsoft 365 E5£52.40£25£77.4048%
Microsoft 365 E3£33.10£25£58.1076%
Microsoft 365 Business Premium£18.10£25£42.10133%
Microsoft 365 Business Standard£10.30£25£35.30242%
Costs before and after Microsoft 365 Copilot (pupm RRP).

Things to note:

  1. Microsoft 365 Copilot is optional – it’s your choice as to whether you invest in it or not, but it is not and will not be included in any of the base licences – for some AI features in Bing Chat or the use of ChatGPT may be enough.
  2. You don’t (and won’t) need to buy it for every employee – persona mapping and use case studies will be vital to determine who is likely to benefits most.
  3. The pricing for Copilot for Business SKUs may change (as will the rest of the pricing)
  4. Organisations may be able to “fund” their Copilot investment through savings in smart licensing procurement and consolidation of third-party products (especially for M365 E5 organisations). We are seeing a lot of this and makes sense if you have most of your “eggs” in the Microsoft Cloud Basket.

2. How will Copilot affect our bottom line?

One of the recurring questions I get asked when talking to organisations about Microsoft 365 Copilot is “how can we ensure we get a measurable ROI when planning for or investing in Microsoft Copilot?”

Even so, adding $30 (around £25 pupm) to your existing productivity toolset does seems a lot, especially if you are paying for M365 E5 + Teams Premium + Calling Plan already, plus of course things like Microsoft Viva Suite, etc.

At Microsoft’s recent Envision event in London, Microsoft talked a lot about usecases from customers on the Early Access programme, talking about various diffferent use cases that improve work experience, remove creative blocks and speed up decision-making across a number of different sectors including retail and finance.

So – from an ROI perspectives some of the maths you may look at are:

  • Assume a sales exec, data analyst or admin position that earns £50,000 annual salary.
  • With Microsoft 365 Copilot at $30 a month, thats ~$1 a day or ~80p in UK money. If we also assume the normal 250 working days a year then that equates to ~£200/day or ~£25/hr.
  • If these “roles” can each save just two hours a month using Copilot to sumamrise meetings, take notes, automate and send a customer propsosal out, then that is already a productivity saving (in time) of 2:1 or £50 per person per month.

I have already heard other organisations share ROI stories for the use of ChatGPT Premium since its commercial introduction with organisations reporting ROI’s of over 25:1 on a $20 pupm subscription. Given the extensive enterprise data integration and interaction into the Microsoft 365 apps and services that Copilot will bring out of the box, I would not be suprised to see ROIs (once studies are done) of more than 30:1

There is then a moral and emotional play here too. Everyone loves a productivity gain [I think there will be loads], but there may also be instances where entire roles (or aspects of roles) may no longer needed because AI will do that part of the job for us. The same goes to be honest for automation technologies like Power Automate. Then is there the case, where you as an organisation (whether you are involved in B2B or B2C) may win more business because you have “the power of AI” either helping make decisions, responding to a client/customer faster or helping you make sales faster by directly interfacing with the customer or following up on things.

Advice is to ensure you work with Microsoft and your partner(s) to identify which departments or individuals are likely to benefit the most from the features within Microsoft Copilot’s features and make sure they are part of a pilot.

This usually starts with a well thought out and managed pilot programme during which you’ll be looking at identifying, testing, and proving the potential timesaving and productivity gains it can bring to roles like sales, finance, and your data teams.

3. Are the perceived benefits worth the price?

I think so – but again this will all loop back to the point above. Whilst it wont just be about price, these GenAI tools are likely to improve the way most people work. These pilot phases, will require organisations to explore and experiment with Copilot’s features and capabilities to discover new ways to enhance their work experience.

Using these tools also requires that users are on-board, educated and informed. As such, once you have identifyied the most suitable users and scenarios for the “pilot”, you’ll need to ensure you provide adequate training and support and closely monitor and measure the outcomes and champion quick wins whilst soliciting feedback and suggestions from employees.

A report on the early findings on the promise of Generative Al put together by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group found that Generative Al in the workplace lead to a:

  • 12.2% increase in task completion rates
  • 25.1 % decrease in time spent to complete tasks
  • 12.5% increase in the number of subtasks completed
  • 40% increase in the quality of responses to subtasks

4. How do we keep our costs under control?

A good question…let’s look at cost reduction to free budget (either for cakes, salary rises, bottom line or, yes, Copilot).

Organisations may be able to “fund” their Copilot investment through savings in smart licensing procurement and consolidation of third-party products (especially for M365 E5 organisations). We are seeing a lot of this and makes sense if you have most of your “eggs” in the Microsoft Cloud Basket.

Mch of the above is general good practice but I’m seeing lots of organisations looking at this to “free” budget to drive Copilot “pilots”.

5. What do we need to do to make to get the best from Copilot?

I have covered this before in previous blogs and videos, but in short the key focus organisations need to do outside of runing a pilot, training users and streamlining how you fund it, is data data data.

The key advantage that Microsoft Copilot will have over its rivals is that it seemlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 applications and uses enterprise data to provide personalised and contextual assistance. As such, ensuring your data is accessible (in the cloud or cloud connected at least), managed correctly, classified, labelled and protected. I have covered this a few times here.

Successful adoption of Microsoft 365 Copilot is much more than the technology and licensing. Organisations need to see this as a significant technology project and not just a product you buy. As such they key activies critival to success are:

  • Having a defined vision and identification of how Microsoft 365 Copilot will be used
  • Obtain proactive support from key roles in the organisation to accelerate the use of Copilot. including senior leadership, legal, IT and key Business Development Managers.
  • Enable Champions and provide business relevant, snackable and on-demand training for end users this includes leveraging the “power of the prompt”.
  • Raised awareness through launch event & omni-channel communications planning.

Copilot Q&A

Will CoPilot be included in Microsoft E5?

No, Microsoft 365 Copilot is not included in the Microsoft 365 E5 license. Microsoft 365 Copilot is an add-on license at an additional cost [$30] irrespective of the Microsoft 365 licenses you have within your organisation. This means that even if you are on Microsoft 365 E5, you will need to pay for it separately if you decide to implement and use it.

Whats the minimum number of licenses we can buy?

Currently the minimum liceses you will be able to buy from 1st November is three hundred at a cost of $30 pupm.

Will there be free trails?

No – at the moment Microsoft have confirmed that trials will not be available.

Will I be able to get Microsoft 365 Copilot for free?

If you do – let me know!!

No… as of the information available, Microsoft 365 Copilot will not be available for free. At the time of writing, there are six hundred organisations globally that are currently on an Early Access Programme, and they all paid $100,000 for the preview. Microsoft Copilot is positioned as a premium add-on with huge substantial benefits. The initially announced price is $30 per user per month, but it’s this price is not yet finalised, and we don’t know if different sectors or license volumes will affect the price.

We don’t have Microsoft 365 – can we still use Copilot?

No, Microsoft 365 Copilot will only be available for organisations that use Microsoft 365 Business, Business premium, Enterprise E3 or Enterprise E5. I is not availbale for organisation of Office only plans, or Front-line worker SKUs (Microsoft 365 F SKUS).

We also do not yet know the intentions Microsoft have for Copilot with Education and Not for Profit organisations.

Will I be able to negotiate the price for Microsoft 365 Copilot?

It depends. The size of your organisation, the level of your base licensing and demand will all likley affect what you pay for Microsoft 365. I suspect the largest organisations – those with huge Enterprise Agreements will get a better deal than smaller organisations, but I’d expect tie ins to the higher licnese SKUs like Microsoft 365 E5.

My advice is to speak to a product and licensing specialist to work with your Microsoft Account team and who can help you assess your deployment roadmap from various angles.

Summary and Key Points

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot will be available to Enterprise customers at a price of $30 per user per month on top a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 license.
  • Initially there will be a minimum license purchase of three hundred licenses, Though I have heard that this might get reduced to fifty.
  • Initially it’s only available to Enterprise sized organisations though will be coming to CSP customers and small, medium, and commercial organisations by end of the year.
  • ROI should be significant if Copilot is properly implemented, but organisations need to prepare to pay for this and it’s not “cheap”. Expect Copilot to impact everyone person in the organisation.

Microsoft Teams can now proactively monitor meeting quality.

Microsoft have annouced that users with Teams Premium licenses can now be proactively monitored with IT being alerted to users that are experiencing poor meeting experiences in Teams.

Users under monitoring must have a Teams Premium license to enable proactive monitoring notifications. Room devices with Pro licenses are also supported.

How it works?

IT or help desk can now set up rule-based alerts to notify them of significant quality issues that users might be experiencing in Teams meetings such as such as audio, video or app sharing problems which helps them raise tickets and troubleshoot issues quickly. The alerts are delivered by a chat bot into a team site for example and can also be picked up and routed though a power automate flow to the IT ticketing system for example.

Image (c) Microsoft

Benefits to IT and Helpdesk

Real-Time telemetry, has been available in the Teams Admin Center for a while, but required manual reviewing and repetitive admin involvement to detect anomalies and pinpoint specific issues. Previously IT needed to search for a user, check their call history, find ongoing meetings, or live events in which their users were involved, and then locate the necessary telemetry information to spot exact issues.

Benefits for users

For users with Teams Premium licenses or those joining Teams meetings from devices with Teams Room Pro licenses, Real-time telemetry data will allow IT to proactively be aware and troubleshoot transient issues that users might face with meeting quality without manually sifting through logs or waiting for the user to complain.

How to enable proactive monitoring

This functionality is configured within the Teams Admin Center using rule-based notifications. Microsoft’s instructions are:

  • Configure the “Audio/Video/App sharing quality for in-progress meeting” rule in the Teams Admin Center under Notifications & Alerts > Rules.
  • Specify the list of users to monitor.
  • Adjust default monitoring parameters based on which audio, video or app sharing quality is monitored.
  • Configure a Teams channel or webhook where you want these notifications to be delivered.
  • Save the rule.

For more information see the formal Microsoft documentation here.

For more info on Teams Premium see here.

Image and design by Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator.

Bing Image Creator gets an upgrade – now powered by DALL-E 3

Bing image creator has recently been upgraded to use OpenAI’s DALL-E 3, resulting in significantly better quality, more creative and more realistic images from using natural language prompts. DALL-E 3 is a newer and improved version of DALL-E 2.

These enhancements (as a result of the upgrade to DALL-E 3 brings the following enhancements to Bing image creator:

  • Relevance and prompt following: DALL-E 3 follows your prompt with more precision and reliability than previous models. For the best results, you should provide a greater level of detail in your prompt.
  • Coherence: DALL-E 3 generates images that are more photorealistic and logically consistent with your prompt. The images are not only visually appealing, but also make sense. You also get less ‘deformed” looking images (especially with people) than before.
  • Aesthetics: DALL-E 3 generates images that are not only realistic, but also creative and artistic. The images can be uniquely styled with flair that matches your creativity.

New safety and ethics features

As well. As the upgrade to image creativity, Bing image creator now also brings improved safety and ethics by using content credentials and content moderation system.

  • Content credentials are invisible digital watermarks that confirm the provenance of the image as AI-generated.
  • Content moderation system is a trained system that removes any images that are harmful or inappropriate, such as nudity, violence, hate speech, or illegal activities. This also means its better for educators and children to use.

How simple is Bing Image Creator to use?

Here’s one I created early inspired by recent trip to Transylvania in Romania.

Created with Bing Image Creator

To get started, you can use the bing mobile app or go to and start by simply asking Bing to create an image.

What makes a good prompt?

The key in getting the image you want is to be descriptive (as much as you can). The image above was created with the following script.

Creating images with Bing Image Creator

Once the images have been created, you can choose which one you like best or ask Bing to change it, add something or change it until its how you like it… Totally awesome.

How do I access Bing Image Creator?

To get started, you can use the bing mobile app or go to and start by simply asking Bing to create an image.

Microsoft unveils OneDrive 3.0

Microsoft ran a special OneDrive event yesterday (3rd October) where they announced a major new update for their OneDrive platfom (which provides cloud file storage, management and sharing) for Microsoft 365 consumer and commercial customers.

The event was hosted by Jeff Teper (president of collaborative apps at Microsoft).

Dubbed “OneDrive 3.0 update” this includes some new design elements, AI and with many new features for IT and for users.

OneDrive 3.0 – (c) Microsoft

What’s new with OneDrive 3.0?

Microsoft’s OneDrive blog takes an deep dive at what’s coming next with the OneDrive 3.0 update, but one of the major efforts Microsoft are promising with this update is to make it easier for users to find the files they have stored and shared, which is going to result in some design changes to the OneDrive home page on the web including a new “for you” area.

“The new OneDrive Home experience reduces the time to find your files so you can spend more time doing. Our new “For you” area uses AI-powered file recommendations to surface files personalized to you, bringing the most relevant, time-sensitive content to top of your OneDrive. We’ve also added rich, context-based organization, such as views that show you recent, shared, and favorite and files from meetings“.

Onedrive 3.0

Microsoft also has a new Shared page in OneDrive, where users can see which files are shared by which people and how they were shared. There’s also a new People view page, where you can see the files shared with individuals. Other new OneDrive file pages including seeing which files were shared in different meetings, along with filtering files by their specific type.

Users will also receive a revamped Shared page, where they can see all the files they have shared or received, along with the names of the people involved and the sharing method. Another new feature is the People view page, where users can see the files they have shared with specific individuals or groups which is designed to help users keep track of their collaborations and communications. OneDrive will also allows users to see the files they have shared in different meetings, such as Teams or Outlook meetings. Users can also filter files by their type, such as documents, images, videos, etc.

New OneDrive Sharing Page coming soon.

These new features are designed to enhance the user experience and productivity of OneDrive. There also new cudtomisation options and a slew of new security enhancements, and IT tools.

Onedrive Customisation

Microsoft are also bringing more customisation to OneDrive allowing users to change the look of their OneDrive files by changing the colours of different files, folders or file types in the web interface. There is also the ability to label certain files as Favorites.

More updates on their way

Microsoft also revealed that OneDrive will soon a flux of other new features which will roll out the next coming weeks and months. These include:

  • Being able to launch your preferred desktop app to open a file stored in OneDrive.
  • Being able to view all your photos and videos in one page with the new Media view.
  • Ability to create a new document and go straight into edit mode from inside OneDrive with the “Add new” feature.
  • New offline mode which will work in the browser and then sync changes when back online, allowing users to launch OneDrive in the browser without internet access and perform various file operations.

Security and Admin enhancements

A bunch of new IT admin management and security control are also on their way…

  • Granular conditional access policies will provide IT and SecOps teams to set different access requirements for users who work with confidential files, such as multi-factor authentication and granular conditional access policies.
  • Restricted access control policies will enable IT to block access to shared files in specific OneDrive accounts by limiting them to a certain security group
  • Moving OneDrive accounts across tenants (a much requested feature) will allow IT admins to migrate OneDrive accounts from one tenant to another during mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures, while preserving the existing sharing links and permissions.
  • Block download policy is a new control that will more easily allow IT admins to prevent users from downloading, printing, or syncing files and Teams meeting recordings from SharePoint or OneDrive.
  • Collaboration insights (currently in private preview) will allow admins to identify user collaboration and sharing patterns across the organisation.
  • Data export for OneDrive sync client admin reports: Allows admins to access sync admin reports on volume, health, errors, and more via Microsoft Graph Data Connect for SharePoint. This feature will be available in public preview in Jan 2024

Copilot is coming OneDrive

Finally (and it wouldn’t be a Microsoft event in 2023 without it), Microsoft annouced that in December, OneDrive for Microsoft 365 commercial customers will also get access to Copilot, a generative AI assistant that can help you find and summarise the files you need without opening them.

This new Copilot for OneDrive will need a Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

Read the formal OneDrive blog and watch the annoucement below. 👇

Microsoft launches Teams Town Hall – Replaces Live Events

Microsoft is replacing Microsoft Teams Live Events with a new “Town Hall” in the experience. Users with Team Premium licenses will also gain exclusive access to new “advanced features”.

Teams Town Hall | Image (c) Microsoft

What is Teams Town Hall?

Town Halls is revamped experience for large-scale events in Teams called Town Halls, cv will replace Live Events. The new Town Halls experience is officially available for commercial customers from Thursday October 5, 2023.

What features does it offer over Live Events?

Teams Town Halls offers many new advanced production capabilities, a new experience offering a structured approach for attendee engagement, and a new unified experience for users. Some of these features will only be available to Teams Premium customers.

  • Teams Town Hall enables customers to host various types of internal and external events, such as company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, internal broadcasts, fireside chats, and more.  It gusto provides much better support for external presenters.
  • Teams Town Hall supports up to 10,000 attendees, and up to 20,000 attendees for Teams Premium customers. It also allows up to 15 town halls to run at the same time, and up to 50 for Teams Premium customers
  • Teams Town Hall features advanced production capabilities, such as a new meeting template, third-party eCDN support, green room functionality, control over what attendees can see, moderated Q&A sessions, and more.
  • Teams Town Hall provides a structured approach for attendee engagement, such as attendee reporting, live reactions, polls, surveys, and more.
  • Teams Town Hall features Email communications and advanced customisation (for Teams Premium users). Organisers will be able to send pre-configured email templates for the event invitation and the event recording emails instead of manually creating a separate email, copying the event link, and sending a calendar invite to attendees.
  • Teams Town Hall will (soon) support both RTMP-in (so events can be produced directly from an external encoder and integrate different external media feeds) and
    RTMP-out, allowing organizers to stream the event out to a custom app or different endpoint outside of Teams such as YouTube, LinkedIn, X, Meta Workplace, and others. Note, this functionality will be available next year.
  • Teams Town Hall will create a unified experience for users whether they are hosting a small meeting, customer-facing webinar, or company-wide town hall. The current live event platform is not a consistent experience with Teams.
  • Teams Town halls will (soon) be integrated with Viva Engage to allow attendees to view the event in Viva Engage, whether the event is produced directly in Teams or with an external app or device.

When will Teams Live Events be retired?

Retirement of the current Teams Live Event service will continue to be supported over the next 12 months and fully retire by September 30, 2024.

Existing recordings will be available until December 31, 2024, but the transition to town hall must be completed before the retirement date.

Getting Started with Teams Town Hall

To help customers get started with Teams Town Hall, Microsoft are offering technical guidance and support resources including on demand and instructor-led training, and FastTrack onboarding assistance for eligible subscriptions.

To set-up a new Town Hall event, users (unless disabled by policy) can create a new Town Hall directly from Teams as shown below.

Don’t forget Microsoft Mesh

Microsoft is also rolling out Microsoft Mesh to Teams users in public preview in this month (October 2023). Mesh is a virtual reality platform that will enable richer and more immersive events. It will work on PC and Meta Quest VR devices. You can read more here.

Meta AI to use Microsoft Bing

Microsoft and Meta have announced that they are expanded there AI partnership which will see Bing and Meta (who own Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram) working together to create enhanced user experiences.

Microsoft say that Meta will extensively use Bing Search which it will integrate into their AI’s chat experiences, enabling more timely and up-to-date answers with access to real-time search information.

Meta AI and Bing (image from The Verge)

Bing’s integration will also extend to some of Meta’s other AIs, such as ChatGPT, that are available to message with in WhatsApp, FaceBook Messenger, and Instagram.

This announcement builds on the previous collaboration between Microsoft Bing and Meta to accelerate innovation in the era of AI.

Microsoft say that Bing aims to deliver powerful and useful AI experiences into the products people use most. If a request requires fresh information, Meta AI will automatically ask Bing to get the chat answer….

Benefits of the Bing and Meta Partnership

This partnership should benefits users in several ways, inluding allowing users to access the latest web data and information from Bing through Meta AI’s chat services, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.

For Microsoft this gives them more usage and reach of Bing in search, a service typically led by Google. Microsoft AI is extremely powerful and smart but often not exposed as users “default” to Google and “googling it”.

Microsoft Mesh to enter public preview in October

Microsoft Mesh Image Example

Yes, I thought Mesh was dead too – but it’s not! Today (Sept 26th), Microsoft announced that Microsoft Mesh will be going into Public Preview in October 2023.

What is Microsoft Mesh?

Microsoft Mesh is a new 3D immersive experience that will be surfaced through Microsoft Teams. It aims to help blur the lines between the physical and virtual space, “re-imagining the way employees come together” through three-dimensional (3D) immersive experience known as “digital spaces”. Backed up by information in Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index Report, “organisations need new ways for people to connect from different locations or geographies, using the tools they already have”.

People will be able to join these immersive spaces in Microsoft Teams, or via custom immersive space in Microsoft Mesh. Either way, this will transform the two-dimensional meeting into a 3D immersive experience.

These immersive spaces will each have unique attributes that create a perception of being physically together in a 3D digital space, including spatial audio interaction, co-presence, and immersion feedback.

Microsoft Mesh Example | Image (c) Microsoft
Microsoft Mesh Example | Image (c) Microsoft

Microsoft Mesh will be customisable

Microsoft say that organisations and teams will be able to customise these immersive spaces in Mesh using a “no-code” editor or by using a dedicated “Mesh toolkit”.

Secure and Inclusive

Microsoft Mesh is built on Microsoft 365 with the usual enterprise-grade security and privacy. It will support haptic feedback on supported devices and supports certified dedicated VR headsets such as Oculus Quest 2, and as well as on PC.

Getting Started with Mesh

Once available, IT will need to ensure users have a suitable base license (Teams Essentials, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3/E5, or Office 365 E1/E3/E5. and will also need to enable / authorise the use of the Mesh app for Teams once available. Teams Premium is also needed.

The new Immersive spaces will be available in the classic Teams app, followed shortly afterwards in the new Teams.

Users can also download the Mesh app for PC from the Microsoft Store or the Mesh app for Meta Quest devices from the App Lab.

Microsoft Teams Premium is needed to use Microsoft Mesh.

Microsoft September 2023 News: The new and exciting stuff

Microsoft hosted a live Surface and AI event on Thursday 21st September where they announced a lot of new and exciting features and products across its various platforms and services. In this blog post, I have tried to summarise the most notable ones and explain how they might benefit you and your organisation.

Disclaimer (and product plug) - Since this was an AI event in whole, I also want to state that other than some slight tweaks, this blog post was written by Bing Enterprise Chat - Microsoft Designer created the image. The whole thing took less that 10 minutes. 

Copilot: Your AI Assistant at Work and Beyond

Copilot is a new feature that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you with various tasks, such as drafting emails, summarizing texts, creating images, and more. You can access Copilot from Windows 11, Microsoft 365, Edge, and Bing, and chat with it in natural language. Copilot will understand your intent and provide relevant assistance based on the context and your data.

For example, you can ask Copilot to draft an email for you with a specific tone, or to generate a graphic art based on your description. You can also use Copilot to answer questions, troubleshoot your PC, control your settings, and access recommendations. Copilot is designed to save you time, reduce your cognitive load, and ignite your creativity.

Copilot will be generally available for enterprise customers on November 1st, and for a select group of consumers and small business customers as part of the Early Access Program (EAP). It will initially be limited to three hundred licenses and will cost $30 per user per month.

Windows 11: The Most Powerful and Personal Windows Ever

Windows 11 is the latest (and IMO best) version of the Microsoft’s desktop operating system that powers millions of devices around the world. Windows 11 offers a fresh and modern design, improved performance, and security, and a more personalised and connected experience. They announced the latest update coming next week (Sept 26th). Some of the new features in Windows 11 will include:

  • An updated Start menu that gives you quick access to your apps, documents, and settings.
  • An updated Taskbar that lets you easily switch between multiple instances of each app, hide the time and date, and end tasks with a right-click.
  • A new Dev Home that helps you set up your development environment by downloading apps, packages, or repositories, connecting to your developer accounts and tools, and accessing experimental features in WSL.
  • A new Dev Drive that provides a fast and secure storage volume for developers, with a file system that delivers both performance and security.
  • A new WinGet Configuration that simplifies the setup process for developers by reducing it to a single command.
  • New Gallery in File Explorer that makes it easy to access your photo collection across all your devices.
  • A new Snipping Tool that lets you record your screen with audio and mic support, copy and redact text from a screenshot, and edit your images with Paint.
  • A new Photos app that has new editing capabilities to achieve stylish background blur effects and makes it easier to find specific images backed up in OneDrive.
  • Updated Narrator that uses natural human voices in new languages, and lets you use voice access to log in to your PC and access other areas on the lock screen.
  • Refreshed Notepad app that automatically saves your session state, allowing you to close Notepad without any interrupting dialogs and then pick up where you left off when you return.
  • A new Instant Games feature that lets you play your favorite casual games directly from the Microsoft Store without the need to download and install them on your device.
  • Windows Copilot – Your Copilot for Windows.

Windows 11 also announced general availability of Windows 365 Boot and Windows 365 Switch, which allow you to log into your Windows 365 Cloud PC as the primary Windows experience on the device or easily switch between the Cloud PC and the local desktop. Windows 365 is a cloud PC service that lets you stream a full Windows experience from anywhere on any device and is fully managed from Intune.

This update will start rolling out as a free update on September 26th.

Surface: The Ultimate Devices for Work and Play

Surface is Microsoft’s line of devices that combine innovative design, powerful performance, and versatile functionality. Surface devices are built to work seamlessly with Windows 11 and Microsoft 365, offering the best productivity and creativity tools for work and play. I am a massive fan of Surface

The new / refreshed Surface devices include:

  • Surface Laptop Studio 2: The most powerful Surface ever built, with the latest Intel Core processors, NVIDIA Studio tools for creators, touchscreen display, and flexible design with three unique postures.
  • Surface Laptop Go 3: The lightest and most portable Surface Laptop, with touchscreen display, premium features like an incredible typing experience and a Fingerprint Power Button, and four stylish colours.
  • Surface Go 4: The baby Surface Pro is this time, available only for corporate and not consumer market (why??), the device is the same dimensions as before but is more repairable (the most repairable and sustainable device int he Surface Fleet). It ditches the 4GB RAM option (good) and brings a higher spec entry level processor. Pricing increases too which is a shame as is ditching consumer market. These are great for school kids.
  • Surface Hub 3: The ultimate collaboration device for teams, with a large interactive display that runs the Microsoft Teams Rooms experience. Surface Hub 3 pairs seamlessly with Teams-certified devices and supports Hub on day one. There was also an upgrade announced for Surface Hub 2S customers to upgrade to Surface Hub 3,

The new Surface devices are available for pre-ordering now.

Microsoft 365: The World’s Productivity Cloud

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service that offers the best productivity apps for work and life. Microsoft 365 includes apps like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, Teams, Stream, Loop, Clipchamp, and more.

Microsoft 365 Copilot (which will be available from 1st November) is an add-on service at $30 per user per month and provides in-built AI-powered features and services that help you get more done across all your Office 365 apps and services – with support also coming to Microsoft Designer, Loop and Clipchamp and more.

Some of the new features and services in Microsoft 365 include:

  • Copilot in Outlook, Excel, Word, Loop, OneNote, Stream, and OneDrive: Copilot is integrated into various Microsoft 365 apps to provide AI assistance for different tasks. For example, you can use Copilot in Outlook to draft emails, in Excel to create charts, in Word to summarize documents, in Loop to generate content blocks, in OneNote to take notes, in Stream to transcribe videos, and in OneDrive to find files.
  • Generative Expand, Fill, and Erase in Microsoft Designer: These features let you manipulate images in creative ways, such as expanding the canvas, filling in missing areas, or erasing unwanted objects. Generative Erase is generally available now, and Generative Fill and Expand are coming soon.
  • Copilot Lab: Copilot Lab is a feature that lets you learn how to use Copilot effectively, share your favorite prompts with coworkers, and get inspired by other users. Copilot Lab will be accessible to all Microsoft 365 Copilot users once it’s generally available in November.
  • Mobile Application Management (MAM) for Windows: This feature allows employees to access organisational resources through Microsoft Edge from an unmanaged device, while giving IT the ability to control the conditions under which the resources can be accessed.

Bing and Edge: The Smartest Way to Search and Browse

Bing and Edge are Microsoft’s search engine and web browser that offer a fast, secure, and personalized way to search and browse the web. Bing and Edge use AI to provide relevant information and assistance based on your needs and preferences.

Some of the new features and improvements in Bing and Edge include:

  • DALL-E 3 in Bing Image Creator and Microsoft Designer integration: Bing Image Creator is a feature that lets you create images from text descriptions using AI. Bing Image Creator is now powered by DALL-E 3, which produces more realistic and detailed images. You can also access Bing Image Creator directly from Microsoft Designer for further editing.
  • Content Credentials: Content Credentials is a feature that uses cryptographic methods to add an invisible digital watermark to all AI-generated images in Bing. This helps you verify the origin and authenticity of the images. Content Credentials will be supported in Bing Image Creator, Microsoft Designer, and Paint soon.
  • Bing Chat Enterprise: Bing Chat Enterprise is a feature that lets you chat with Copilot from the Edge mobile app. You can also use multimodal visual search and Image Creator from Bing Chat Enterprise.
  • Copilot in Microsoft Shopping: Copilot in Microsoft Shopping is a feature that helps you find what you’re looking for more quickly. You can ask for information on an item, and Bing will ask additional questions to learn more. Then, Bing will use that information to provide more tailored recommendations. This feature will be available soon on both PC and mobile.
  • Personalised Answers: Personalised Answers is a feature that uses your chat history to inform your results. For example, if you’ve used Bing to track your favorite soccer team, next time you’re planning a trip it can proactively tell you if the team is playing in your destination city. Personalized Answers will begin to roll out soon.

Microsoft Advertising: The Best Way to Reach Your Customers

Microsoft Advertising is a platform that helps businesses connect with their customers across the web. Microsoft Advertising offers various solutions and tools to create effective and engaging ads that reach the right audience at the right time.

Some of the new features and improvements in Microsoft Advertising include:

  • Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform: Copilot in the Microsoft Advertising Platform is a feature that simplifies and enhances every aspect of your experience with the platform. You can use Copilot to create campaigns, get content recommendations, optimize your performance, and more. This feature will be coming soon.
  • Compare & Decide Ads: Compare & Decide Ads are a new type of ads that pull relevant data of various products or services into a succinct table. This helps users easily evaluate different options based on their criteria. Compare & Decide Ads will be available for cars initially and will be brought to closed beta in early 2024.


These are just some of the highlights from the Microsoft September 2023 News. There are many more features and products that we didn’t cover here, but you can find them on the current web page context. I hope you are excited about these new developments, and I would love to hear what you are most excited about.

Microsoft unveils the Surface Hub 3

Microsoft have announced the Surface Hub 3 and along with a way to breathe new life into Surface Hub 2S with an upgrade module for the Surface Hub 2S.

Surface Hub 3 Transforms Meetings and Collaboration

Surface Hub 3 is the latest all-in-one hybrid meeting and collaboration device that combines the best of Microsoft Teams Rooms, Windows, and Surface Hub. It offers a consistent and seamless experience across all meeting spaces, from small huddle rooms to large conference rooms and brings new AI tools to enhance your hybrid meetings and collaboration sessions.

Surface Hub 3

In this blog post, I will explore some of the key features and benefits of Surface Hub 3, and how it compares to its predecessor, the Surface Hub 2S as well as availability, pricing and how to upgrade from Hub 2S to Hub 3.

What is Surface Hub 3?

Surface Hub 3 is a device that combines the functionality of a digital whiteboard, a large touchscreen display, a video conferencing system, and a Windows 10 PC. It is designed to empower teams to work together more effectively, whether they are in the same room or across the globe.

Surface Hub 3 – Video (C) Microsoft.

Like the predecessor, Surface Hub comes in two sizes: fifty inches and eighty-five inches. Both models have a high-resolution, 4K PixelSense display with an anti-glare coating that makes content visible in any lighting condition. They also have two microphone arrays and speaker pairings that deliver clear audio and optimize sound based on device orientation. Additionally, they support active inking with up to two Surface Hub Pens Surface Slim pens, providing twenty points of multitouch for immersive on-device collaboration.

Surface Hub 3 runs on Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows, which means that it offers a consistent user interface and feature set with other Microsoft Teams Rooms devices. This makes it easy for users to transition from one meeting space to another, without having to learn different systems or adjust settings. Users can also pair Surface Hub 3 with Microsoft Teams Rooms certified peripherals in larger conference rooms, such as external microphones, speakers, cameras, and more.

Surface Hub 3 also supports some unique capabilities that set it apart from other devices. For example, it allows users to physically rotate the device between portrait or landscape mode at any time, to suit their needs and preferences. It also enables users to move the device around the building with a Steelcase Roam Stand and an APC Charge Mobile Battery (both sold separately), offering flexibility and mobility.

Existing Surface Hub 2S customers can also upgrade their existing Surface Hub 2S devices to Surface Hub 3 with the Surface Hub 3 Pack, which includes a new processor cartridge and a software license.

How does Surface Hub 3 improve over Surface Hub 2S?

Surface Hub 3 is an evolution of Surface Hub 2S, which was launched in 2019. While both devices share some similarities, such as the sleek design and the Windows 10 Team edition operating system, Surface Hub 3 offers several improvements over its predecessor.

Here are some of the main differences between Surface Hub 3 and Surface Hub 2S:

  • Performance: Surface Hub 3 has a faster processor and graphics card than Surface Hub 2S, resulting in a smoother and more responsive experience. It also has more memory and storage capacity, allowing it to handle more complex tasks and applications. In short, Microsoft say that Surface Hub 3 has a 60% CPU performance increase, and a 160% GPU graphics performance increase gen-on-gen. This helps its support more inclusive, media rich meetings, higher definition meetings and hardware powered AI features like background noise cancellation and studio video effects.
  • Software: Surface Hub 3 runs on Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows – offering a true Teams experience whilst still providing leading edge Windows 11 capabilities which means that Surface Hub 3 can access more apps and services from the Microsoft Store, as well as use Windows Hello for biometric authentication. It also means that Surface Hub 3 can benefit from new features and updates that are released for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows.
  • Features: Surface Hub 3 also has unique features that are not available on Surface Hub 2S. These include smart rotation, portrait mode, improved mobility options, persistent chat, Teams Front Row layout support, Cloud IntelliFrame (a smart video feed that separates participants into individual boxes), video segmentation (a feature that removes backgrounds and adjusts video sizes), and Copilot in Whiteboard (a feature that helps generate and organize ideas). Surface Hub 3 also works in portrait mode.
Surface Hub 3 with Teams Front Row

Why Surface Hub 3?

Surface Hub 3 is not just another collaboration device. It builds on 8 years of innovation, the power of Microsoft Team, AI, and Windows 11. Surface Hub 3 continues to offer versatile and inclusive solution that can transform huddle rooms, meeting rooms and collaborative spaces. Surface Hub brings:

  • Consistency: Surface Hub 3 brings a consistent experience across all meeting spaces, regardless of the size or configuration of the room. It runs a variant of Teams Rooms on Windows meaning the device can be be used for different purposes in different spaces and in multiple modes – bringing whiteboarding, presenting, hybrid meetings, or for co-creating in open spaces.
  • Simplicity: Surface Hub 3 brings simplified your meeting setup and management since it is powered by Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows platform. People can easily start or join a meeting with one touch, share content wirelessly, and control the device with voice commands. IT can also manage Surface Hub through the Microsoft Teams admin center and the Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro Management Portal.
  • Engagement: Surface Hub 3 enhances the meeting engagement and participation experience with new AI-powered features that Surface Hub 3, Teams and Copilot bring to life. This makes remote attendees feel more connected and visible, thanks to the Cloud IntelliFrame and video segmentation features. You can also make your brainstorming sessions more productive and creative, thanks to the Copilot in Whiteboard feature.
  • Innovation: With Surface Hub 3, you can unleash your team’s potential and foster a culture of innovation, thanks to the Surface Hub 3’s design and capabilities. You can experiment with different modes of interaction, such as touch, pen, voice, or gesture. You can also explore new ways of working, such as rotating the device, moving it around, or pairing it with other devices.

Upgrade your Surface Hub 2S to Surace Hub 3

Organisations with Surface Hub 2S devices can also upgrade their existing Surface Hub 2S devices to Surface Hub 3 with the Surface Hub 3 Pack, which includes a new processor cartridge and a software license. This brings Microsoft Teams Rooms – including the latest Teams Rooms layouts and management capabilities to existing Surface Hub 2S. It provides a power upgrade with faster performance, improved graphics and added storage and allows for Portrait mode on the Surface Hub 2S 50”.

Availability of Surface Hub 3

Surface Hub 3 is available for preorder now, and it will start shipping in early 2024. There are the same two models to choose from – fifty-inch or eighty-five-inch version.

Pricing for Surface Hub 3

Pricing for Surface Hub 3 is similar to the Hub2S and is listed at (RRP) being

  • Surface Hub 3 85” with 2x Surface Hub Pens and 1x Smart Camera. £24,649.00
  • Surface Hub 3 50” with 1x Surface Hub Pen and 1x) Smart Camera. £ 9,299.00
  • Surface Hub2S 50″ Upgrade Pack to Hub 3: £2749.00

Volume and sector discounts will be available as usual through your Microsoft Surface Hub Reseller.

Surface Hub 3 is the ultimate device for meetings and collaboration. It combines the best of Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub, offering a consistent and seamless experience across all meeting spaces. It also enables you to leverage AI to enhance hybrid meetings and collaboration sessions.

Microsoft announces Microsoft 365 Copilot availabilty

Today (Thursday 21st September) at a live event in New York, Microsoft announced their “revised” vision, release date and confirmation of pricing for Copilot – a “digital companion for your whole life”. Microsoft have said this this Copilot will create a single Copilot user experience across Bing, Edge, Microsoft 365, and Windows (plus more services that will come later). There’s also a new logo!

The Copilot experience promises to be consistent across all platforms and products – Microsoft 365, Bing, and Windows 11.

You can read the full blog from Microsoft here, but in summary here’s all the goodness that was announced.

Image (c) Microsoft

Microsoft Copilot in Windows

This has been in preview with Windows Insiders for a while and is essentially the new and revamped “cortana” [ok its far more than that].  Microsoft describe this as “a digital companion for your whole life” and will be nested into Windows 11 from September 26, 2023. 

  • Windows Copilot will be embedded into Windows 11 and will bring generative AI, search, and the ability to control apps and services within your desktop environment.
  • Currently in preview – will start rolling out starting from September 26 as part of 23H2.
  • Windows Copilot will also support third part app support like Spotify and Adobe.

Microsoft 365 Copilot

Described by Microsoft as “your AI assistant at work”, this was initially announced back in March as been in closed invite only Early Access Preview since June.

Microsoft 365 builds includes enterprise-grade security, privacy, compliance, and responsible AI to ensure all data processing happens inside your Microsoft 365 tenant—using which will be natively built into the Microsoft 365 apps and services everyone already uses like Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.

  • This will be available for enterprise customers for $30 per user per month
  • It requires a base license of Microsoft 365 E3, E5 or Business Standard or Premium
  • It will be available from November 1st to purchase
  • Includes the new Microsoft 365 Chat (formally Business Chat).
  • Rollout will be staggered – with release first to EA customers who were on the Early Access Programme and then will be available in phases there-after. Customers are advised to speak to their Microsoft Team for more information.

Note: Whilst this is great – IMO it is a little too soon (about 4 months sooner than most expected). Organisations do need to ensure their data lifecycle, governance, compliance, and security is in top shape to get the most from Copilot in Microsoft and there are strong recommendations about getting Copilot Ready – I have covered this here previously. This is an area I’m working a lot with organisation with at the moment – helping with use cases, data preparation, training, awareness, security, and governance.

Bing Chat Enterprise

This has been in public preview for a couple of months for Commercial and Education customers and is the same as Bing Chat for consumer (which is also free) but brings commercial data protection for AI

  • This is available free for Microsoft 365 E3 and E5, Business Standard, and Business Premium customers or at a cost of $5 as a standalone
  • Bing Chat Enterprise adds commercial data protection to Bing Chat, ensuring that sensitive business data is never seen by anyone, never stored, and never used to train the foundation models.
  • Support multimodal visual search and Image Creator and will also be available on Microsoft Edge and Bing mobile app

Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop recognized as a Leader in 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Desktop as a Service

Microsoft has been recognized as a Leader in the inaugural Gartner Magic Quadrant™ for Desktop as a Service (DaaS). According to Gartner, DaaS is defined as “the provision of virtual desktops by a public cloud or service provider” and encompasses a variety of cloud solutions, such as Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop, which are described in a way that is familiar to customers of varying backgrounds and technical expertise.

Given the newness to the market of Microsoft’s two offerings in this space, it’s incredible to see Microsoft leading in this catagory (ahead of the golden players like Citrix and VMware).

Gartner stated in their report that “Microsoft is one of the few vendors with significant global presence,” and “Microsoft is in a unique position, as it owns the architecture for Windows, Intune, Microsoft 365 applications, Azure, Azure Virtual Desktop, and Windows 365.”

Microsoft have two offerings in this space which are both designed to provide organisations with secure and versatile cloud desktop solutions that support flexible work options.

  • Windows 365 – a fully managed DaaS solution that securely streams personalised Windows desktop, apps, settings, and content from the Microsoft Cloud to your Cloud PC which can be accessed from the device of your choice.
  • Azure Virtual Desktop, a full enterprise cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform that delivers hosted remote desktops and apps with flexibility and control without compromising on security.

You u can check out my short user experience demo on Windows365 here.

Considerations for the transition of PSTN to Cloud Calling

What is happening to the PSTN network?

As the telecommunications landscape continues to evolve, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is gradually being phased out in favor of modern communication technologies. It will be completely switched off by the end of December 2025, and new PSTN lines can no longer be bought or sold.

This transition presents both opportunities and challenges for organizations that rely on traditional phone systems. The future and replacement, of course, lie in Cloud Calling. However, achieving a smooth transition requires careful thought, planning, and migration.

Moving calling into the cloud also helps extend the functionality and reach of collaboration solutions like Teams, Zoom, and Webex, for example.

This blog discusses key considerations for businesses in preparation for the PSTN switch off next year and covers seven essential areas.

  • Assessing your existing calling infrastrucure.
  • Expore the different options.
  • Remember to carry out a network readiness assessment.
  • Consider all the Cloud Calling Options.
  • Ensure you have a solid testing plan.
  • Don’d forget security, compliance and privacy.
  • Adoption and Training are key.

Assess your current calling infrastrucutre

To prepare for the PSTN turn-off, you should first examine your current telephony infrastructure. Find out how many PSTN lines, hardware devices and related costs you have. Check if you have any legacy systems that depend on PSTN connectivity, such as fax machines or alarm systems that use analogue connections. This assessment will help you measure the impact and look for appropriate alternatives.

Action: Speak to your UC or voice partner. They will be able to carry this out for you and help you with costings and options.

Explore Different Cloud Calling Options

With traditional PSTN services becoming obsolete and being turn off, cloud-based communication solutions, such as Microsoft Teams not only offer more advantages but make lots of sense for organisations by having a singl platform for meetings, chat, calling and apps. Moving towards integrated solutions help you save costs, scale up and down as needed and provide a simpler unified and easier to use platform with everything in one place. It also is proven to improve adoption and make communication more “frictionless” as well as providing better integratation with other line of business applications.

The same applies to organisations who are already invested in wider UC platforms such as Webex or Zoom. To find the best solution for your organisation, you need to assess your needs and goals. You may also benefit from working with a trusted technology partner who can guide you through the migration process.

Remember to carry out a Network Readiness Assessment

Before implementing your chosen cloud voice solution, make sure your network infrastructure can support it. Unlike traditional PSTN or dedication “voice solutions”, putting cloud calling along side your collaboration and productivity solutions like Teams, Zoom or Webex typically means that IP routing, VLANs, bandwidth and QoS settings will need to change. You’ll need to check internet bandwidth, wired and wireless etworking, VLANs, VPNs and network security. You may also need to add or implment CoS and QoS to to ensure quality of service. Your cloud provider, IT or technology partner will be able to help – so will the chosen vendor you decide to work with and many will have “tools” to help you check connecivity health.

Not all Cloud Calling is the same so consider your options

To transition from PSTN to a different phone system, it is essential to carefully compare the various methods of connecting your calls. When considering the inclusion of cloud calling in your collaboration suite, such as Webex, Zoom, or Teams, multiple options are available. Whilst these vendors all provide their own native “calling plans,” which may be the simplest and most suitable choice in certain cases, . it is also important to explore alternative connectivity methods, such as Direct Routing (via SBCs managed by you or your partner) or Hosted Direct Routing (a managed service). Additionally, you may even consider utilising solutions that are not inherently integrated into your collaboration suite. Instead, these solutions involve an app that runs alongside or within the Teams, Webex, or Zoom app, providing calling capability.

For each of these options, it is crucial to thoroughly consider the advantages and disadvantages, such as cost, seamless communication, geographical coverage, SLAs, and level of integration with other line of business applications like Office 365, Contact Centre, and CRM. It is highly recommended to conduct tests whenever possible to evaluate the performance of each solution.

Have a solid test and rollout plan

An inclusive testing and migration plan must be formulated to ensure a seamless transition to the new environment. This plan should encompass pilot testing, deployment and migration milestones, specific timelines, and clearly defined responsibilities for each stage of the transition.

Prior to proceeding with a full-scale production rollout, it is strongly advised to conduct a network readiness assessment (as mentioned above) in conjunction with systems testing involving a select group of users based on a user acceptance test plan.

In order to aid employees in adapting to the new system and to facilitate their feedback, it is imperative to incorporate comprehensive training and change management activities. Regular communication with stakeholders and designated “champion groups” should be established and their expectations managed consistently throughout the transition process.

Security, Compliance and Privacy

For organisations operating in regulated industries, it is imperative to carefully consider and select an alternative communication solution that aligns with regulatory and compliance requirements. Factors such as data privacy, security measures, and industry-specific regulations should be taken into account when evaluating communication solutions. Additionally, the seamless integration of features like language translation, call recording, and transcription into your existing collaboration tools should be carefully considered.

A recent development worth noting is Microsoft’s announcement regarding the inclusion of Copilot functionality in Teams Phone. However, it is crucial to involve your legal and compliance teams in order to address any potential issues and adhere to relevant standards. If necessary, consult with your vendor or partner to ensure compliance and resolve any concerns.

Training and Adoption


As the deadline for switching off the PSTN approaches, organisations can benefit from adopting a modern and integrated cloud calling platform that offers better features, more flexibility, and greater affordability and future-proofing. They can also use this opportunity to streamline and simplify their communications by choosing solutions that integrate with their wider communication and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Webex or Zoom.

Legal Damages Covered by Microsoft for their AI Customers

Microsoft said yesterday in a blog post that they will “pay legal damages on behalf of customers using its artificial intelligence (AI) products if they are sued for copyright infringement for the output generated by such systems“.

In the post, Microsoft said that they will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks arising out of any claims raised by third parties for copyright infringement so long as their company’s customers use “the guardrails and content filters” built into their AI powered products which include Bing Enterprise Chat and Microsoft 365 Copilot. Microsoft said that this offers functionality that is designed to reduce the likelihood that their AI-powered services will return content that infringes copyrighted content.

Microsoft is announcing our new Copilot Copyright Commitment. As customers ask whether they can use Microsoft’s Copilot services and the output they generate without worrying about copyright claims, we are providing a straightforward answer: yes, you can, and if you are challenged on copyright grounds, we will assume responsibility for the potential legal risks involved.


Microsoft’s say that their Copilot Copyright Commitment will protect customers so long as they have “used the guardrails and content filters we have built into our products” said Hossein Nowbar, [CVP and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft] in their blog post yesterday. Microsoft also pledged to pay related fines or settlements and said it has taken steps to ensure its Copilots respect copyright.

Microsoft’s pledge comes are part of their ethical use of AI commitments and say that “We believe in standing behind our customers when they use our products – we are charging our commercial customers for our Copilots, and if their use creates legal issues, we should make this our problem rather than our customers’ problem“.

Generative AI is now everywhere

Generative AI applications leverage existing content such including news, images and artwork, and evening programming code and use it to generate new “AI generated” content which may use combinations of different data sources. Microsoft is embedding much of this technology, powered by their partnership with OpenAI Inc, into their core technology products like Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 which as a potential to put their customers in “legal jeopardy”.

With the proliferation and growing use of generative AI – people are using these tools to generate text, images, sounds, other data, and people have raised concerns over the technology’s ability to generate content without referencing it to its original authors. To address this Microsoft, said that “We are sensitive to the concerns of authors, and we believe that Microsoft rather than our customers should assume the responsibility to address them. Even where existing copyright law is clear, generative AI is raising new public policy issues and shining a light on multiple public goals. We believe the world needs AI to advance the spread of knowledge and help solve major societal challenges. Yet it is critical for authors to retain control of their rights under copyright law and earn a healthy return on their creations“.

Protecting and upholding Copyright Laws

Artists, writers, and software developers are already filing lawsuits or raising objections about their creations being used without their consent which has accelerated since the available of Generative AI tools exploded with the release of ChatGPT back in November 2022. This includes programmers, artists, and authors.

I cannot show you that, as it would be unethical and illegal to do so. AI breaching copyright is a genuine issue that affects many artists and creators who have their original works used without their permission or compensation.

There are already several lawsuits against AI firms, which are testing issues of copyright. For example, three artists have filed a case against Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DeviantArt, an online art community with its own generator called DreamUpThey allege that the company unlawfully copied and processed their artworks without permission or license.

Microsoft say that their Copilot Copyright Commitment extends their existing intellectual property indemnification coverage to copyright claims relating to the use of its AI-powered assistants called Copilots and through to their AI powered Bing Chat Enterprise.

Microsoft state in their blog that “we have built important guardrails into our Copilots to help respect authors’ copyrights. We have incorporated filters and other technologies that are designed to reduce the likelihood that Copilots return infringing content. These build on and complement our work to protect digital safety, security, and privacy, based on a broad range of guardrails such as classifiers, meta prompts, content filtering, and operational monitoring and abuse detection, including that which potentially infringes third-party content”.

You can already see evidence of this safety net in tools such as Bing Enterprise Chat where the tools will do what it can to avoid purposely breaching copyright.

Further Reading

Microsoft on-the-issues blog (source):

Microsoft AI Commitments:

Five things you need to know about Microsoft 365 Copilot:

Five things to know about Microsoft 365 Copilot

I have run well over a dozen Business Briefing sessions with customers over the past month and whilst still not available to (most of) us yet, one thing is for certain – Microsoft 365 Copilot will be an absolute game-changer for any business that uses Microsoft 365 as their primary productivity and collaboration toolset.

If you are already leveraging Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Office, and even apps like Forms, Loop and Viva, the way you work with these apps, with your teams and customers is about to be turbo charged – bringing huge benefits to every employee who has a Copilot license.

This blog covers the 5 key things I’ve been talking to business’ about in the run up to release of Microsoft 365 Copilot.

Recap – what is Microsoft 365 Copilot

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be as deep rooted into Office 365 as Windows is on moder desktop and will be as revolutionary and disruptive as the hype. Whilst we may have “heard this before”, my early experience of Microsoft 365 Copilot tells me that this goes beyond any form of productivity gains we’ve been promised or seen before.

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be an absolute game-changer for any business that uses Microsoft 365 as their primary productivity and collaboration toolset.

Copilot won’t just be for IT and the techies either – in fact, IT may benefit the least!

Copilot will help increase the speed to get work done, improve the quality and help people get more from your tools and data. It should help increase profit by automating tasks, enhancing productivity, and improving skills.

Copilot will be accessible to users through natural language and starts with a prompt from you in the associated Office 365 App through an approach called “grounding”. Microsoft 365 Copilot will help with anything and everything. It can help you with tasks such as analysing data in Excel, summarising documents, creating presentations from scratch or content elsewhere in PowerPoint, automatically minuting meeting and assigning follow-up tasks and providing detailed responses to any clarifying questions.

There is so much excitement for Microsoft 365 Copilot but also many things’ organisations need to do to prepare to ensure they get the best return on their investment – yes, it’s an investment, at circa $30 per user per month.

Here’s my five key things to be excited about and to make sure you prepare for….

Whether you are a business leader, manager, or a member of team, you need to understand how Copilot works and how it can benefit your role and your organisation. Otherwise, you will find your competition are using it to their advantage.

#1 It’s still a waiting game….

Whilst Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Copilot back in March 2023 and made it available to an extremely limited (twenty-six) US organisations, the sizzle videos Microsoft released, which dominated social media has sparked huge interest, questions, and speculation about what is coming.

Then, in June 2023, Microsoft expanded the availability of the product to an “invited” list of around six hundred customers. Microsoft said they also expect to release Microsoft 365 Copilot in the “coming months” but realistically I think that this is still nine to twelve months away, though I expect the private preview will be available to more organisations around the time of Microsoft Ignite at the back end of 2023.

Whilst we hate to wait – there is a lot of preparation that most organisations will need to do to plan, prepare (and pay) for Microsoft 365 Copilot to get the best value from it.

We also now know that Microsoft 365 Copilot will set you back around $30 pupm based on the pricing Microsoft announced back in June 2023.

#2 – Quality of your data will be critical to success of Copilot

Microsoft 365 Copilot is powered by a large language model (LLM) that can access and analyse information from the Internet (it’s built on ChatGPT-4) but most importantly (and the main differentiation of this and ChatGPT), your organisational data.

Microsoft 365 Copilot will be deep rooting into your Office 365 environment, giving it the ability to leverage your Outlook messages, Teams chat, calls and meetings, OneDrive and SharePoint documents, Loop components, CRM data (Dynamics 365), Azure Files, and other internal and external data (via plug-ins) that it is permitted to access – and act on this data (at your command) to provide you create new content (from multiple sources), analyse data, compare content or re-write work directly from within your Office applications and services.

The other thing that stands Microsoft 365 Copilot aside from other AI tools like ChatGPT is a new indexing tool coming to Microsoft 365 called Semantic Index for Copilot, which is a sophisticated map of all your user and company data. For example, when you ask Copilot about the “March Sales Report,” it doesn’t simply look for documents with those words in the file name or body, it instead understands that “sales reports are produced by Kelly on the finance team and created in Excel.” And it uses that conceptual understanding to determine your intent and help you find what you need.

Sounds incredible right? Yes, but Microsoft 365 Copilot’s performance will depend primarily on what you ask it to do (more on that later), and the quality and completeness of your data. If your data is inaccurate, has multiple conflicting versions, or the permissions/access control are not correct, it may not give you the best results or even be able access the information. There is also the danger that it will have access to things you think it shouldn’t if your data governance and protection need work!

Therefore, if you do nothing else while you wait patiently for it, you need to ensure that your data is clean, updated, and consistent. The quality and security of your data has never been so important.

This is something that will need addressing and it is something that Microsoft strongly recommend doing now (while you are waiting for Copilot to be available).

Teh success of Microsoft 365 Copilot within your organisation will not be Copilot itself - it will be your organisational data that Copilot relies upon to do its job. 

#3 The impact of Copilot will be huge for everyone.

We’ve all (most likely) used ChatGPT or Bing Chat Enterprise to help us write or summarise text, but with Microsoft 365 Copilot, employees will be able to get a jump start into whatever task they are starting or finishing.

This is because, with Copilot, Microsoft have not just added a tool that can access Generative Chat services (think Bing Chat Enterprise – which is powered by ChatGPT4).

Once you have your hands on Microsoft 365 Copilot, employees will be able to focus on the part of work that needs real human and skilled input, using the power of AI to get started quicker, improve quality of our work, and spend less time on mundane tasks. Microsoft 365 Copilot should be able to assist people in creating high-quality content in a a much shorter amount of time.

Using AI to improve how we work – Image (c) Microsoft.

You will have seen from the demos that every Office app will have a Copilot button, which once clicked will call your Copilot assistant’s chat box right from within your application.

For example….

  • In Excel – Copilot can help analyse data and generate charts, creating formulas from free text input, visualise information better or look for trends across different cells, sheets, or workbooks. It will also be able to help with data management by suggesting content and formatting options for your spreadsheets
  • In Word it will help you write documents, curate executive summaries, create proposals or summarise from emails, presentations, or meeting notes. It will be able to write, edit, summarise, and creates right alongside you with only a brief prompt. Copilot will help you create a first draft of document, bringing in information from across your organisation and the internet as needed. Copilot can add content to existing documents, summarize text, and rewrite sections or the entire document to make it more concise.
  • In PowerPoint – Copilot can help you turn your ideas into stunning presentations. Copilot will be able to transform existing written documents into decks complete with speaker notes and sources or start a new presentation from a simple prompt. It will be able to condense lengthy presentations at the click of a button and let you use natural language commands to adjust layouts, reformat text, and perfectly time animations. Microsoft call it your “storytelling partner”
  • In Outlook – According to a report by McKinsey, the average employees spend 28% of their time reading and responding to emails. Copilot will help you triage your inbox, summarise long email threads, and generate replies for you. Copilot will also help you with tasks such as scheduling meetings, creating tasks, and setting reminders and can also help with email management by suggesting content and formatting options for your messages.
  • In Teams – Copilot will help you summarise and prepare for meetings by combing through all your documents, emails, meetings, files, and resources to get you information you need that is highly relevant. It can streamline tasks such as scheduling meetings, creating agendas, and taking notes during meetings. It can also help you with tasks such as creating tasks, setting reminders, and managing your to-do list. Copilot can also help you with team collaboration by suggesting content and formatting options for your messages.
Copilot won't be limited to Microsoft 365 either. Copilot is coming to Dynamics 365, Teams, Viva and of course Power Platform. Copilot is also coming to Windows 11, Bing and of course their developer tools GitHub. There's even a Security Copilot for your Microsoft 365 Admins and SOC.

#4 Copilot “should” pay for itself.

Watch the sizzle video again – Microsoft 365 Copilot will be able to do all the things shown here just by chatting to the Copilot chat bot. it and will also suggest things proactively.

At $30 per user per month, this can add a lot of cost to your cloud subscriptions, but rest assured, Copilot will save vast amounts of wasted time, which will increase productivity (letting people work on other things). Copilot is there to aid every person do almost any task in any app.

For example

While you may not be able to test this until you have your hand on a pilot yourselves, most of the organisations I have spoken to know that eventually investment in AI has the potential to more than pay for itself. With Microsoft 365 Copilot, this $30 (£25) pupm, should improve output and productivity, save time (which saves money) and enabled people to get more done quickly (which saves money) depending on how you look at it to more than £25 pupm in investment.

So, £25 a month is around 75p per day. If you have someone earning £50,000 a year, and they work ~250 working days then this is about £200 a day or £25 an hour.

Now, say they host/run TWO meetings a month and spend 30 mins writing up minutes and action plans after the meeting – then that’s about one hour @ £25 cost.

If, instead of doing this themselves, Microsoft 365 Copilot could write up the minutes and take actions just for that one meeting then we have technically saved that £25 for an investment of £25 (per month) – so we have already broken even after one Copilot run meeting!

Once you’ve run a pilot and tested this out, I am pretty certain almost every person or role would benefit from Copilot and even if not everyone, you’ll want to look at a time and motion study (or mini assessment anyway) and look at the ways Copilot can squeeze an additional 30 mins a day in time back or revenue generating tasks.

#5 – It won’t be perfect so make sure you “check it’s work”

Like all transformative technologies, there are tasks that AI is not well suited for, so it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks.

AI-produced content and outputs may contain inaccuracies, biases, or sensitive materials because they were trained on information from the internet, as well as other sources. AI may not know about recent events yet, and struggles to understand and interpret sarcasm, irony, or humor. Please remember that it’s not a person.

Microsoft advise that “It’s important that you review any content the AI generates for you to make sure it has accurately produced what you wanted.” – this means you are responsible for the content and checking its sources!!

Remember again, that Copilot’s ability to do the best job will be reliant on what you ask and where the data comes from that it uses, so remember – rubbish in, rubbish out. Your pilot and testing of Copilot are critical in making sure users get the best experience.

Microsoft Loop is now in the Microsoft Store

Microsoft Loop is a newish Microsoft 365 app designed to help people collaborate and organise content from various Microsoft 365 apps into different collaborative workspaces and pages. Loop can be used as its own app for simple and group collaboration, or for keeping, organising and consolidating your content from your different ‘loops’ in a central place.

What is Loop?

Microsoft launched Loop (in preview) back in March this year and (whilst still officially in preview), now has its own dedicated app in the Microsoft Store (as well as being available in iOS and Android).

  • Microsoft Loop is now available through the Microsoft Store though it’s really just a progressive web app.
  • Loop consists of workspaces, pages, and components that stay up to date across different applications.
  • Microsoft Loop is designed to enhance Co authoring and editing of “components” across Microsoft 365 apps.

Loop components, pages and spaces can be created directly from within the Loop App (which is essentially a progressive web app) ontent within a project can be converted into a Microsoft Loop component. Those components can then be shared with a group of people or any individual. Importantly, you can share part of a project or a specific component with someone rather than having to share an entire workspace or project.

Microsoft Loop

Loop is now in the Microsoft Store

You can now get the Loop app from the UK Microsoft Store – there are also apps for iOS and Android. You can also use Edge and pin it as an app (which essentially has the same effect).

“Microsoft Loop is a transformative co-creation experience that brings together teams, content, and tasks across your tools and devices. Loop enables you to organize your thoughts, content, and resources as your project evolves. Loop’s portable pieces of content (components) synchronize across apps and stay up to date wherever they are shared across Microsoft 365.”

Microsoft Loop works for both personal and work accounts.

What else can Loop Do?

I covered Loop in more detail in a previous post which you can access here

My friend Darrell (Modern Work Mentor) also has a series of awesome videos and articles on Loop which you can access below.

Modern Work Mentor
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