Fresh off of a newsy Monday, Microsoft had a few lingering announcements to share from its ongoing Ignite Conference in Orlando. One concerned Outlook mobile. In addition to new enterprise capabilities on the device management side of things, the cross-platform email client will gain tighter integration with Microsoft Teams, native Office Lens integration, and miscellaneous calendar, notifications, and sharing improvements.
“Three years ago, we launched Outlook mobile with a mission to deliver the best on-the-go email and calendar app, one that combines delightful customer experiences with enterprise-grade security,” Gaurav Sareen, corporate vice president of communications and time management at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. “We are excited to bring these innovations to market. As we further our vision for Outlook mobile, we’re committed to listening and learning from you to bring you experiences that delight backed by the promise of enterprise capabilities.”
First on the list of new features: sensitivity labels. Through Microsoft Information Protection, a cloud-based solution that helps organizations classify and protect documents and emails by applying labels, admins can now enforce policies and actions on Outlook for iOS and Android.
“For example, administrators could specify custom sensitivity labels such as ‘General’ or ‘Company Confidential’ with corresponding actions such as adding a footer to emails or encrypting emails, respectively,” Sareen explained. “As a user, you will then be able to add a ‘Company Confidential’ label to the email so that it can only be opened by recipients who are authorized to decrypt the message.”
Also in tow are new app configuration flows, including one that ensures employees don’t accidentally add their personal accounts to a corporate Outlook mobile deployment. (Admins can even specify the type of accounts allowed — for instance, strictly corporate email and OneDrive for Business.) Another feature lets admins customize Outlook mobile configuration settings — such as sync, contacts saving, biometrics (such as Touch ID), and even mailbox options like Focused Inbox — remotely. There’s a new, faster account setup for “modern authentication capable accounts.” And last but not least, the app configuration policy interface in Microsoft Intune, Microsoft’s cloud-based management solution, has been refreshed with the ability to push account setup details for Exchange customers. (In the coming months, it’ll gain additional controls and Outlook mobile feature settings.)
One new consumer-facing Outlook mobile feature debuts today: a new Add Shared Calendars that expedites the process of searching for people, rooms, or inboxes and creating a calendar. Other improvements are a bit further out, it seems.
A forthcoming version (due out early 2019) of Outlook mobile will let users add Microsoft Teams meetings to calendar events and join those meetings from within Outlook, or search for them within the calendar view. In the coming months on Android, Office Lens, Microsoft’s artificially intelligent document-scanning tech, will come to Outlook mobile — you’ll be able to snap pictures of whiteboards, papers, photos, and business cards and extract all relevant data (i.e., contact details) from them automatically. Also in the future, you’ll be able to prioritize notifications from select contacts by marking them “favorites”; calendar events and emails from Favorites will always take precedence over others.
Sareen said that Outlook mobile has more than 100 million active users — among them customers like Adventist Health System and Razer. That’s up from 30 million in October 2015.
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