Skype is used by over 100 million people today. More than 38 billion people subscribe to Office. Teams is used by more than 44 million folks on a daily basis to organize meetings and schedules.
But your home life? In the era of working from home, when coordination is more important than ever? It’s a mishmash of Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, scribbled notes, and Google Hangout chats — if you’ve gotten yourself even that organized.
With two brand new offerings — Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family — the productivity giant aims to organize your personal life, bringing the same tools that keep your work life humming to your family.
Productivity at home
The new services were announced today, March 30, offering chat tools and a way to share photos, as well as lists, calendars, safety tools, and more – but it’s not about doing more so much as getting the right things done, explained Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of Modern Life, Search, and Devices at Microsoft.
“We see a redefinition of what we think of as personal productivity,” Mehdi told Digital Trends in a preview ahead of the launch. “It’s not about how many checklists I can get done in a day, it’s can I get done the one thing I need to get done?”
The service is essentially Teams for your family: Just as you can have personal and work profiles in an app like Outlook or Slack, you will soon be able to build a personal profile in Teams for your family, and lean into the collaboration tools Microsoft has built there to stay connected with your family.
Subscriptions will be available worldwide on April 21. Microsoft 365 Personal costs $6.99 a month, while a family of up to six can use Microsoft 365 Family for $9.99 a month.
For that price, you get a complete suite of tools to manage your personal life, ensuring you’ll never forget to pick up the milk again. The main Dashboard interface pulls together chats, calendars, and shared family logins to services such as Netflix or Hulu (Microsoft calls it “Safe”). If a family member forgets a password or other info – say, the frequent flier number associated with your Delta account – you can easily zip the info across in a shared chat.
You can share calendars across family members as well, to keep tabs on school and sports events, date nights, or whatever. And you can finally build a personal calendar in Outlook to match, as well as find and keep tabs on files and photos in one spot, and back them up to OneDrive.
Much of the collaboration and videoconferencing is based on Skype – but Skype on steroids.
“Teams will take that to the next level, and let you have more robust ways to collaborate and communicate,” Mehdi said. In a blog post announcing the new offerings, he suggested consumers prepare by connecting with family and friends through Skype.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced big changes to Office 365 on Monday, starting with a name change: Office 365 is now Microsoft 365, a change meant to signify to consumers that more of Microsoft is coming in the subscription service, such as tech support and the power of artificial intelligence (A.I.). Broadly speaking, the company is using A.I. to create new tools, add new rich content types, and includ new cloud-powered experiences.
Of note for families looking to get organized is a Family Safety feature for Microsoft 365 that’s meant to help manage children’s screen time, prevent distracted driving, screen for inappropriate content, and more.
“We’re trying to bridge the divide between digital safety and family safety,” Mehdi said. The service includes new tools to filter content so teens and younger children can’t access the entire web, a new end-of-week report with details on browsing time and time spent in apps, and more. It also can be used to monitor physical location, letting a parent set an alert if a child leaves school, for example, or a senior wanders away from a managed care facility. The same app can monitor where someone drives, and it will report how often they checked their phone or texted while driving.
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