New solutions to transform the manufacturing workforce with Microsoft Teams
Published Apr 13 2023 08:00 AM 4,881 Views

Manufacturers are looking for smarter, more sustainable operations—driven by an efficient workforce that has the right knowledge and tools to handle anything the future may bring.  


We are excited to highlight our latest solutions to accelerate workforce transformation at Hannover Messe 2023—the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology.  


Streamline operations with digitized and automated tasks and workflows  

Efficiently resolve manufacturing challenges with data and AI 

We are excited to announce that the native integration of AI-empowered Power Virtual Agents (PVA) into Power Apps is now in public preview. AI-infused virtual agents will be readily available in all Power Apps, allowing frontline manufacturing workers to easily find intelligent answers within the context of their manufacturing applications.  

This new capability allows frontline workers to harness the power of data and AI to quickly identify manufacturing problems and solutions with PVA in Power Platform and Teams. Using AI, PVA compiles publicly available information from the web, the worker’s organization, and more to provide frontline workers with fast answers to their most pressing questions. Making this data easily accessible empowers workers to learn more about their equipment, quickly identify problems such as machinery errors, and investigate possible solutions in real time. 


Improve workforce operations with copilot control in Power Apps 

In the same way that conversational AI is transforming app development, GPT is also revolutionizing how workers question and interact with their data. We are excited to announce that copilot control for end users is now in public preview. Copilot control will allow Canvas App users to get intelligent insights and analytics about the data in their manufacturing apps through a conversational chat experience, meaning workers can use natural language to create queries and refine their analysis, all with the help of an AI assistant.  


Microsoft Teams Shifts connector for UKG Dimensions 

In manufacturing, scheduling is critical to ensuring productivity, plant utilization, and employee empowerment. To help manufacturers better manage employees’ schedules, we have partnered with UKG to co-engineer the Teams Shifts connector for UKG Dimensions. This connector gives manufacturing workers the ability to view and accept open shifts, request time off, clock in and out, and more. It is now generally available and joins our ecosystem of Shifts connectors along with Blue Yonder and Zebra Technologies. 








Enable seamless Task execution and analytics 

We are excited to announce a new checklist requirement for Tasks. With this new feature, all checklist items will have to be completed before the task can be marked as complete in the system. This ensures all necessary steps are completed for a task to help reduce mistakes and improve accuracy in high-stress or high-risk environments. For example, a manufacturing facility can use the checklist requirement feature to ensure all steps are taken when performing maintenance on critical equipment or machinery. By requiring every checklist item to be completed before the task is marked as complete, facilities can reduce the risk of equipment failure and production downtime. 


Enable real-time communication and collaboration from anywhere 

Communicate with ease by enabling shared use of mobile devices  

Leverage Teams as your calling solution to connect with teammates, customers, and suppliers. Later this year, factory floor employees will be able to make and receive calls through shared mobile Android phones from wherever their work takes them.  Read more here.  


Connect your workforce with instant communication 

To improve communication and collaboration across your workforce, all of the powerful features of the Walkie Talkie app in Teams are now available on devices from our industry-leading partners including Honeywell, Samsung and Zebra Technologies. Each device comes with dedicated push-to-talk buttons, removing the need for extraneous devices for handheld communications. Additionally, we are excited to announce that nudge to explore will be generally available this month. Nudge to explore helps frontline workers discover and onboard Walkie Talkie. All first-time users of Walkie Talkie will now see a red badge notification on the walkie talkie icon on the app tray to help them get started.   





Enable immersive collaboration with the updated Teams RealWear app 

This year, we’re also excited to highlight the latest update to our voice-optimized version of Teams, which enables workers to collaborate with remote experts and quickly troubleshoot pressing issues through a fully voice-controlled wearable headset——all while reducing business travel costs and carbon footprint impact 

Expanding the value of our partnership capabilities for frontline manufacturing workers, Microsoft Teams and RealWear have improved the app to enhance zooming capabilities, now with four levels of digital zoom within Teams on RealWear Navigator® 500. We’ve also added Teams breakout room integration into RealWear devices and upgraded the user interface with improved navigation. Finally, the app has been upgraded with 720p HD video and 15fps support for added image clarity. These new features are now generally available in Teams. 



Increase frontline engagement and productivity 

Put critical resources and updates front and center with Viva Connections 

With information access being so critical to the safety and success of the manufacturing workforce, we’re excited to announce that Microsoft Viva Connections pre-configuration for frontline workers is now generally available. This pre-configuration provides organizations a single place for workers to access important communications and resources like SOPs or safety guidelines. This experience is rolling out in Teams for F-SKU users throughout April. Learn more about the tailored app experience for frontline workers here. 




Unify frontline communication across devices with the new Viva home experience 

To help ensure that communication and connection travels with frontline workers wherever they go, Viva Connections recently launched new experiences that unify the UI across desktop, mobile, and tablets. Both desktop and tablet experiences are generally available now. Learn more about how Viva Connections is enhancing the desktop experience here and how to quickly launch it at your organization. 



Promote a culture of transparency and connection in Viva Engage 

Last year we introduced Microsoft Viva Engage, an evolution of the Yammer Communities app in Microsoft Teams, and in February 2023 we announced that all of Yammer will become Viva Engage, retiring the Yammer brand. Outside of branding changes, there are no changes to the features, capabilities, and investments for Microsoft 365 customers. Manufacturers will continue to experience and benefit from the power of Viva Engage to improve worker engagement just as they did with Yammer, with no loss of continuity. In addition, we’ve already begun to enhance Viva Engage with new capabilities that spur leadership engagement, authentic expression, events, and knowledge discovery. To learn more about Viva Engage, visit the Microsoft 365 blog. 


Secure your business across every device and endpoint 

Seamlessly manage and deploy shared device mode with Android and VMware MDM support 

Manufacturers often supply mobile devices to frontline workers that need to be shared across teams and between shifts; however, these shared devices can pose a security threat for organizations. 


This year at HMI, we’re excited to announce that Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) shared device mode support for Microsoft Outlook, Edge, Yammer, and Power Apps on Android devices will be generally available in May, joining the portfolio of apps including Teams that can be securely accessed through Microsoft Intune 


Manufacturers who utilize SOTI and VMWare Workspace ONE as their third-party unified endpoint management solutions for Android can also enroll devices in Azure AD with shared device mode. Both VMWare Workspace ONE's and SOTI's support for shared device mode is now in preview. Visit the Microsoft 365 blog to learn more about shared device mode for your frontline workforce. 




Learn more about products and capabilities purpose-built for frontline manufacturing workers at the Teams for frontline workers website. 

Explore innovative end-to-end manufacturing solutions and stay updated on announcements from the Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing by reading the latest blog post and visiting the Cloud for Manufacturing website. 

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‎Apr 14 2023 09:13 AM
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