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This latest round-up of the news from Microsoft includes the availability of advanced telephone capabilities for Teams and details of two important previews for those developers with an eye to the future.

There’s good news for users of the Office 365 Teams collaboration service as it inherits some of the calling capabilities that were previously only available in Skype for Business. These are:

  • Call history
  • Hold/resume
  • Speed dial, transfer, forwarding and caller ID masking
  • Extension dialling
  • Multiple-call handling
  • Simultaneous ringing
  • Voicemail
  • Text telephone support

The addition of these features is part of Microsoft’s ‘intelligent communications’ plan which focuses on migrating its Skype for Business Online users to Teams, with the Teams client becoming the main hub for chat, calling and videoconferencing activities going forward.

Other enterprise calling features such as call parking, group call pickup and location-based routing are expected to be added to Teams towards the end of 2018.

Elsewhere Microsoft has rolled-out a preview of its Quantum Development Kit. Aimed at early adopters who want to understand what it takes to develop programs for quantum computers, the kit includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator and a range of other resources.

The good news for developers is that it’s deeply integrated into Visual Studio, Microsoft’s suite of developer tools, so aspects of it will be familiar to those who are already putting together applications in other programming languages.

The availability of the preview fulfils Microsoft’s promise at the recent Ignite conference to make tools available for quantum computing. And this is very much the first part of the company’s plan to build a robust, full-fledged quantum computing system, which includes everything from the quantum computing hardware to the full software stack. Researchers are also working on projects focused on cryptography and security in a quantum computing world.

Along with the kit, Microsoft is providing a comprehensive suite of documentation, libraries and sample programs, giving developers the background they need to start playing around with aspects of computing that are unique to quantum systems.

All of this will enable these developers to create applications that can run right now on the quantum simulator, and those same apps will also eventually work on a topological quantum computer, which Microsoft is in the process of developing for general purpose quantum computing.

Another preview recently announced (this time as a public preview) is Microsoft IoT Central,  a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) intended to allows companies to build production-grade IoT applications in hours without the worry about managing all the necessary back-end infrastructure or having to hire new skill sets to develop the solutions

The aim is to eliminate initial setup complexities, management burden and operational overhead. It also allows users to gain insights into IoT devices via analytics services and make proactive decisions about those devices.

Security is of course, an important consideration. To address this, IoT Central provides privacy standards and IoT privacy features such as role-based access and integration with Azure Active Directory permissions.

The final version of IoT Central is expected to be available during 2018.

Global Knowledge

The Microsoft certification programme, reinvented for the cloud, reflects and validates the changing role of IT Professionals as they develop cloud and hybrid computing expertise. Visit our website for more information.

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