We are proud to announce an update to the LiveTiles Bots product that will make it even easier to deploy bots into your organization or team.
LiveTiles Bots allows integration with Microsoft Flow to expand the functionality of what a bot can do, and the systems it can integrate with. This process, of connecting a bot with a flow, is now significantly simpler than before by providing LiveTiles Bots Connectors within Microsoft Flow, which will take care of all of the heavy lifting for you. This allows you to really focus on the workflow or the business outcome that you are trying to achieve, rather than getting the bot and flow connected. For more information on how to use this, see our Knowledge Base article. These connectors are going through the final stages of approval from Microsoft, and we’ll push out the release as soon as we have confirmation.
Microsoft Teams Channel
In case you missed it, LiveTiles Bots can be deployed to Microsoft Teams so that your users can leverage it where they already are. See how it works here.
Extended Channel Data
To expand the power of what can be done with LiveTiles Bots, we’ve had requests to allow for extended channel data information to be passed through. We have now enabled this functionality and you will have access to whatever data the applicable channel has available.
If you are interested in leveraging the productivity gains that the LiveTiles Bot Assistants can deliver in your Intelligent Workplace, , or reach out to your local LiveTiles representative.
We are excited to announce significant enhancements to LiveTiles Page Designer to support deeper integration with Modern SharePoint and the SharePoint Framework (SPFx). While Page Designer has always operated inside Modern sites, we’re making changes to improve the experience, both now and into the future as Microsoft continues to evolve. While all the power for producing the custom and branded user interfaces your clients expect will be retained, we’re adding much more.
Larger library of powerful and configurable tiles
Flexibility in deployment options across Classic and Modern pages
Ability to include Modern SPFx web parts alongside tiles in a unified design experience
Interoperability with Application Customizers for cross site collection extensibility
Conversion to Webpack to improve performance
The upgrade from V4 to V5 delivers our partner network and clients deep flexibility in approaches to customizing the default SharePoint user interface. The approaches can be used exclusively or as a hybrid, based on the needs and preferences of the client.
V5 Classic will provide all the UI design capabilities you are used to, but with the ability to incorporate custom SPFx web parts into those same pages. This approach suits clients who want to deeply customize the layout, branding, navigation and mobile behavior of the SharePoint UI. This can operate in either Classic or Modern sites.
V5 Modern will provide UI design capabilities through a web part added into Modern pages. As these pages will be created using the default Modern SharePoint routine and allows tiles and Modern web parts to sit side by side, this option suits clients who want the familiarity of the default page editing, navigation and mobile experience.
Interoperability with Application Customizers will enable customizations like our Power Panel to be injected in across disparate site collections. For end users, this creates the possibility for consistent UI experiences across SharePoint, Teams and other Office 365 applications!
The upgrade path for existing V4 to V5 clients is fully automated and follows an “opt in” model. While there may be some minor issues with pages with custom tiles using JQuery or Require JS, these will be identified in advance for the client by the upgrade and simple to remediate. Clients wanting to take advantage of the V5 Modern version that overlays onto Modern pages will be able to download a separate application for simple installation and begin customizing in that way.
Developers wanting to create customizations using the SPFx will do so using the default Microsoft tooling (Yeoman, Visual Studio etc.) but now be able to include their master pieces alongside LiveTiles functionality. Developers wanting to create customizations without the SPFx will still be able to do so using the custom tile.
We have a lot of exciting announcements planned for the future. A lot of work is being put into enhancing Hyperfish, Intelligence and Bots to make the LiveTiles Intelligent Workplace experience even more engaging. As a recently announced Microsoft home sites launch partner, we are committed to extending the SharePoint experience to deliver powerful intranet experiences.
Get in touch!
We love hearing from our partners. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local LiveTiles contact.
This week’s LiveTiles product release notes for Page Designer for SharePoint includes 1 usability improvement with the Add Web Part Tile, and 3 bug fixes for On Premises environments. There are also some back end changes that have been made for this release.
We’ve added a feature to the Add Web Part Tile to include an option for auto height in responsive canvas types. This will allow the tile to scale to the appropriate height of content within the tile.
3 Bug Fixes
Documents and List Tiles
In On Premises environments, the Modified and Created by columns were appearing as Object, object. This has been fixed.
In On Premises environments, if a page is created from the design gallery template, saved, and opened in the end user view, the page would run into errors and not load. This has been fixed.
New Calendar Tile
In On Premises environments, adding new items to the Calendar Tile through the UI would cause the page to freeze in Internet Explorer. This has been fixed.
The following bug is a known issues related to On Premises environments that will be addressed in a future release.
Navigating to Manage Groups on the home page in LiveTiles will receive an error retrieving the users list. It no longer will lock the page anymore, however.
As a workaround, group management can still be performed through SharePoint until this issue is resolved.
The annual SharePoint Conference in North America just wrapped up in Las Vegas, and the hot topic was focused on making Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 more intelligent. This year’s theme was “The Intelligent Workplace” and the sessions did not disappoint.
LiveTiles was a proud sponsor at SPC19, and we were joined by Hyperfish and Wizdom, both LiveTiles companies, at our booth. Together we demonstrated the extensive features of our Intelligent Workplace Platform to SPC attendees, highlighting how we help organizations make their SharePoint and Office 365 experience more powerful, personal and intelligent. If you couldn’t attend, check out the 5 updates from SPC19 we captured that are going to revolutionize your workplace below.
1. The launch of Microsoft Home Sites
LiveTiles was announced at SPC19 by Jeff Teper as a Microsoft SharePoint Home Sites launch partner, one of only fifteen globally. Home sites aggregates corporate content – news, events, organizational updates and policies – and are designed to complement the existing communication and team sites. Some of the key features of Home Sites include an official site for corporate news, native mobile readiness and Microsoft integrated search, powered by AI.
2. Making it about your people with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft is investing heavily in Teams and it will continue to be the central communication platform. There were a number of Teams improvements announced at SPC19, as well as how organizations can leverage other Office 365 power applications within their SharePoint experience. The objective is to bring teams together and make the workplace intranet people-centric. One example: It’ll soon be possible to use PowerApps to build custom forms for document libraries in Microsoft Teams, which will further enhance collaboration. You can learn more about this improvement and other Teams announcements here.
3. Transitioning to the Intelligent Intranet to improve user engagement
Microsoft, like LiveTiles, has embraced the Intelligent Intranet for organizations. Empowering people at every level in an organization to engage with SharePoint and Office 365, Microsoft emphasized the importance of driving end user awareness. For example, Microsoft announced new layout options for site design, a more personalized SharePoint start page, and up to 2,000 hubs that enable teams to organization sites with more flexibility. These updates aim to satisfy users of SharePoint with an intuitive experience that leverages the power of AI.
4. Improving Search Capabilities within SharePoint
A big topic at SPC19 was on improving enterprise search and content intelligence. Expert Naomi Moneypenny spoke about the latest improvements to Microsoft Search and how Microsoft 365 comes together with SharePoint. A highlight is an exciting plan to roll out a Microsoft Search admin center, where admins can manage bookmarks, questions, answers and locations. You can read more about the new admin center in the Microsoft blog by Senior Product Manager Bill Baer here.
5. Introducing the Intelligent File Experience
Microsoft announced new updates to OneDrive to give organizations a more intelligent file experience. There are improved sharing and controls with OneDrive, including the availability of differential sync for all files to reduce network utilization, support for Windows Virtual Desktop and the ability to collaborate on files with people inside and outside the organization directly from OneDrive. Check out more OneDrive announcements here.
To find out how LiveTiles can help make your SharePoint experience more intelligent, request a demo today.
“Microsoft is excited that LiveTiles is a launch partner for SharePoint home sites. We are thrilled that LiveTiles, along with Hyperfish and Wizdom, are building on SharePoint innovations like home sites, to deliver unique experiences and solutions that empower our joint customers to achieve more.” – Dan Holme, Senior Product Marketing Director, SharePoint and OneDrive, Microsoft
About SharePoint home sites
aggregate corporate content – news, events, organisational updates and policies
– and are designed to complement the existing communication and team sites.
An official site for corporate news
Robust menu options, such as the recently released mega-menu
Native mobile readiness
SharePoint start page that connects to your home site with the “My SharePoint” link
Seamless branding between “org space” and “me space” with the “My SharePoint” link
Microsoft integrated search, powered by artificial intelligence
LiveTiles, together with Hyperfish and Wizdom, extend the Modern SharePoint story
with Hyperfish and Wizdom (both LiveTiles companies), is a Microsoft SharePoint
home sites launch partner, one of only fifteen globally.
Karl Redenbach, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, LiveTiles, welcomes this latest chapter to the Modern SharePoint story. “Microsoft and Dan Holme’s commitment to the evolution of SharePoint aligns perfectly with our own product roadmap,” he said. “We are more than delighted to be counted among their key partners to extend the home sites and Modern SharePoint capabilities to customers across the globe.”
LiveTiles, with Hyperfish and Wizdom, extends and enhances the SharePoint home sites experience to deliver powerful, personal and enterprise grade intranet experiences. These solutions have been built on years of experience and have delivered some of the world’s largest intranets across the globe – including PepsiCo, Virgin Australia and numerous Fortune 500 companies.
Enhancing the personal user experience with the Wizdom Power Panel, an intelligent and personalized view of your SharePoint intranet through an easy to reach side panel accessible at all times
Accurate content targeting with up-to-date user profile data
Rapid roll out of site solution templates
Engaging users with powerful LiveTiles Bots
Deep insights into user engagement with LiveTiles Intelligence for Modern pages
Protecting sensitive and confidential data across all collaboration channels
Discover more about home sites and how LiveTiles can help you enhance this latest Microsoft feature. Get in touch today at www.livetilesmodern.nyc
This week’s LiveTiles product release notes includes an important update about LiveTiles Page Designer, as well as 1 usability improvement and 4 bug fixes.
We have exciting news to share with you about some upcoming changes we are making with the introduction of Version 5 of Page Designer (previously known as LiveTiles Design Version 4). The release is still a few weeks away, so for now we will give you an overview of what is happening.
Watch the video for an introduction into LiveTiles Version 5
What is Changing?
There are a number of changes included in the Version 5
update, most notably the support for the SharePoint Modern Framework (SPFx). SPFx is a page and web part model providing full support for client-side
There will be a number of other user interface changes being introduced to Page
Designer Version 5, which will result in an improved workflow and an overall better user experience.
Why is LiveTiles making the change to
Providing support for SPFx gives you access to the benefits Microsoft has built with SharePoint Modern Experiences, while allowing you to continue using Page Designer, and still provide fully customised pages within your Intelligent Workplace.
What action do I need to
There is no immediate action required on your part, as
we are still a few weeks away from launching the Version 5 update. You aren’t required to update to Version 5 immediately upon its release, you can remain on Version 4, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the new Version 5 specific features and support for Modern web parts.
In providing SPFx support, Version 5 will no longer
use RequireJS, instead it will use Webpack. Webpack
allows the use of Modern web parts and sets the foundation for more support and alignment
towards Modern in the future for Page Designer. As a result of this change, any custom code written in RequireJS will need to be re-written.
Please note that we will be offering an optional migration tool to assist users in upgrading. When running through the migration, Version 5 will update the previously installed LiveTiles Designer.aspx and ListPage.aspx
files. Saved pages won’t update until they are resaved from the updated Page Designer.
This week’s LiveTiles product release notes includes 1 improvement and 12 bug fixes.
Improved the version information within the Page Settings by introducing a field for product version. Now, the product version can be compared against the page version. Page version is based off of the last save of the page.
12 Bug Fixes
The search icon for the Documents Tile and Cloud Documents Tile had a UI inconsistency and wasn’t unified at 20 pixels. This has now been fixed.
The New Documents Tile wasn’t respecting sort order in custom views. This has now been fixed.
Rectangle Tile/Morphing Tile
Text wouldn’t wrap when the tile is smaller than the text and on mobile devices. This has now been fixed.
Sort order was not being applied to the Legacy Document Tile’s modal view. This has now been fixed.
RSS Feed (Legacy) Tile
The text on the RSS Feed (Legacy) Tile stated Number of Items to Display instead of Number of Lines to Display. This has now been fixed.
Editing a blank field with a default date, saving the change, and editing again would cause an error. This has now been fixed.
Confirmation modal for delete was different than elsewhere in the product, resulting in a UI that wasn’t unified. This has now been fixed.
The date field was always mandatory and would input the current day if it was left blank. This has now been fixed.
The asset picker wasn’t returning search terms as results in the design canvas. This has now been fixed.
On some occasions, weekly recurring events set for Sunday would double up on the first Sunday and show nothing on the last Sunday of the month. This has now been fixed.
Deleting an instance of a recurring all day event where it was created in a different timezone would cause the event to remain. This has now been fixed.
Template Help Link
There was a dead link on the Landing Page Templates tab to the knowledge base on saving templates. This link occurs when there aren’t any saved templates in the template section. This has now been fixed.
Just over four million Australian children and adults live with a disability; around the world disability impacts more than a billion people.
Artificial Intelligence in the form of machine learning and cognitive services backed by powerful cloud computing can be a game changer – providing tools, apps and solutions that help people living with disabilities with daily challenges, support their connections and communications, and boost their ability to find employment.
Microsoft’s Australian partner community, responding to the AI for Accessibility Challenge, demonstrated the sorts of innovative solution that the technology now supports.
Part of Microsoft’s global AI for Good initiative, the AI for Accessibility Challenge and pitch day, provides access to Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources, the opportunity to apply for grants, and to make use of Microsoft Cognitive Services and Machine Learning to develop accessible and intelligent AI solutions to support people with disabilities.
Participants in the Challenge have access to Microsoft’s Accessibility Toolkit and Accessibility 101 training.
Forty Australian partners responded to the inaugural Challenge and in early April eight companies took part in a pitch day held at the new Sydney Microsoft Technology Centre, showcasing ten separate and potentially game-changing ideas.
According to Mark Leigh, General Manager, One Commercial Partner, Accessibility Lead, Microsoft Australia; “This is the first time Microsoft has held this event anywhere in the world. It goes to the very heart of our mission – which is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
“When it comes to empowering our customers one of our biggest assets is the partner ecosystem, made up local of 11,000 partners and 300,000 people. We have been genuinely delighted about the level of interest and commitment from our partners in addressing this challenge.”
Globally there are 1.3 billion people dealing with disability and seeking support with accessibility. Given the four million plus impacted in Australia, Deloitte has estimated that there is a market for digital assistive technology in Australia that will be worth almost $1.4 billion by 2020.
There are also significant opportunities for other sectors of the economy to benefit from making their products and services more accessible.
Dr Yasmine Gray, founder of Getaboutable.com, offers the example of the “Purple Dollar,” being her description for the disposable income of people with disability. She said that the purple dollar in global tourism was worth $200 billion – $10 billion of which was in Australia.
Operators which took the time to make their services accessible, and their culture welcoming would likely be rewarded by extremely loyal customers she said.
The Microsoft Australia AI for Accessibility Challenge focusses on accessible and intelligent AI solutions to support:
Employment: To positively impact the employment rate for people with disabilities through more intelligent technology.
Daily life: To increase affordable access to technology for people with disabilities.
Communication & Connection: Harness AI to help improve the speed, accuracy, and convenience of communication for people with disabilities.
Leigh notes; “The innovative ideas, the commitment to this important issue – and the level of technical expertise that was on display at the pitch day was extraordinary.
“For the four million Australians with some form of disability or accessibility challenge, most of that is unseen. What the solutions showcased at the pitch day demonstrate is that AI powered by cloud has the potential to transform lives, to help children learn, help adults find work, promote wellness at every level of society, and for everyone to be empowered to be their best selves.”
Partners selected to pitch in the Challenge were:
AKQA – The AKQA Sensekit is designed to empower the one in ten people who suffer sensory impairment – perhaps blind or deaf, or with low vision, or who are hard of hearing. Intended to be developed as a kit comprising various sensors and haptic wearables, this allows users to develop solutions that respond to their unique requirements. Using sensory substitution AKQA’s technology takes data from sensors, then making use of Edge Computing and Microsoft Cognitive Services, transforms that into a signal sent to a discreet haptic wearable. Over time users learn how to interpret vibration patterns from the wearables, so that the brain starts to extract meaning from the vibration to be able to recognise a face or understand a spoken greeting, for example.
Data #3 – One in six Australians is affected by some form of hearing impairment, but Data #3 believes that the impact is even greater because if hearing people cannot learn from people who use sign language to communicate, they too are affected. Using Microsoft technologies Data #3 has built prototype solutions that translate gesture and sign language into text or voice. Using artificial intelligence and Microsoft Kinect the proposed solution would be able to interpret even fine finger signing, and parse and contextualise person-to-person communications.
LiveTiles– HiJo is intended to act as a ‘friend’ for a student in a classroom. Children would communicate their feelings via a desk mounted device called a MoodBox, which can also collect classroom information such as temperature and whether students are sitting or standing. That information is instantly analysed using AI and the insights made available to teachers, and through a portal for parents, in order to promote and protect student wellbeing. The technology can help identify patterns that might provide clues about triggers for certain emotions, and also monitor how long children have been sitting at a task – and encourage them to get up and move around to promote wellbeing. The MoodPad keypad can be replaced with braille or icons to maximise accessibility.
PwC– MoodPal is a digital friend powered by AI. Loneliness is a growing epidemic, which, left unchecked can spark depression. Depression and anxiety are estimated to affect more than 1 billion people worldwide. MoodPal is conceived as an intelligent and ethical assistant that people can talk to, use to record thoughts, collect photos or music, and keep track of eating and sleeping patterns. Armed with insights about how people respond to certain events MoodPal could nudge users in the right direction, prompting people to take time out to reflect on something, offer consolation to people feeling down, or organise calendars so that people are encouraged to take breaks which might reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
Simplfi– An Australian based social enterprise focused on empowering the 20 per cent of the population with mobility, vision, hearing and other assistance needs Simplfi is working with Getaboutable.com a user-driven online site that helps identify accessible travel destinations. Leveraging crowdsourced recommendations and insights, Getaboutable is exploring the use of Azure infrastructure and cognitive services to develop a recommendation engine for users of the service.
Readify – SightMate takes images from a body-worn camera, feeds then through AI, and sends real time alerts to a haptic wearable that informs users whether a crossing is flashing red or there is a pothole ahead. Using object detection and image segmentation, and with plans to leverage 5g mobile networks, the solution is designed to provide insights to users, warning them when they are approaching a kerb or at risk of stepping off a zebra crossing. Intended to integrate with APIs on route planners and bus live tracking SightMate is conceived as a way to empower users allowing them more independence.
RecordPoint – Misplacing your keys is a universal frustration that’s amplified for disabled people. Using CCTVs, computer vision and machine learning RecordPoint is looking to develop a solution that can tag and track items around the home. When a user wants to know where their keys are, he or she can interrogate the system using natural language processing and the system will respond with details of the last sighting of the keys.
Publicis Sapient – Focussing on supporting people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Publicis Sapient has conceived an idea that uses edge-based devices and AI to reduce the impact of temperature fluctuations which can dramatically increase MS symptoms. Using mobile machine learning and a data architecture called Affinity, developed by the company, the solution is intended to monitor temperature and send signals to wearable cooling devices that can be turned on to help influence the sympathetic nervous system and reduce the risk of MS symptoms being exacerbated by temperature changes.
LiveTiles– The wellness of employees is an increasingly important consideration for enterprises worldwide. LiveSmiles is a free intelligent solution designed to help companies optimise the wellness journeys of their people. Built around Office 365 SharePoint the solution uses AI to interpret how people are accessing wellness programs, and leverages bot technology to proactively make wellness recommendations to users. Initially focussed on the corporate market LiveSmiles plans to next focus on the needs of K-12 education and aged care.
The judges (Peter Horsley, founder of the Remarkable inclusive technology accelerator championed by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance; Simon Sharwood, editorial director for IT News and CRN Australia; Phil Barlow, Microsoft Australia manager of the ISV technical evangelist and Azure cloud architect team, Anita Sood, ISV and Next Generation Partnerships Lead, Microsoft Australia; and David Masters, corporate affairs director, Microsoft Australia) collectively praised the calibre of the solutions that were pitched at the AI for Accessibility Challenge and the clear commitment to make a difference to the quality of people’s lives.
The judges selected Simplfi as the overall winner for its use of Azure Machine Learning and Microsoft cognitive services to develop a recommendation engine for users of the Getaboutable platform – a crowdsourced site featuring accessible travel destinations.
The other three partners named to the top four are LiveTiles with its HiJo system designed to use AI to promote student wellbeing; AKQA, for its Sense Kit that will empower disabled people to build their own solutions using sensors, haptic wearables and AI; and Publicis Sapient for its idea to support people with Multiple Sclerosis by developing an AI-infused solution that helps people manage their symptoms by controlling temperature.
As part of the global AI for Good initiative Microsoft has set aside $US25 million to support innovation through AI for Accessibility grants over the next five years.
Microsoft is also partnering with the Remarkable inclusive technology accelerator, which is working with startups using technologies such as AI, bots, virtual reality, augmented reality, drones and 3D printing to develop transformative assistive solutions.
Microsoft has committed to support two of the Remarkable accelerator projects – Bookbot which is using machine learning to help children with dyslexia learn how to read, and JobMatcher which is using AI to help bring together jobseekers with a disability and employers with roles that are suited to their skills.
SharePoint offers a whole host of tools for launching an intranet that helps a company manage its documentation, communicate with employees and improve their team collaboration. Many of these tools are designed to help SharePoint admins provide their users with an engaging and interactive user experience. However, even with these tools, SharePoint intranet implementation isn’t always seamless. Here are a few challenges SharePoint admins commonly face when managing an organization’s intranet, along with suggestions for addressing them.
Historically, SharePoint admins struggle with user adoption in their business. SharePoint admins are IT professionals focused on managing document storage, monitoring security risks and ensuring employees have access to company tools. UX is often secondary to these functions. Fortunately, analytics tools are available to provide real-time insights into intranet usage, helping SharePoint admins measure user activity across site pages and dig deep into granular data, ensuring a more engaging SharePoint experience. This enables SharePoint admins to make intranet decisions based on fact, not fiction.
2. Classic vs. Modern
Do SharePoint admins stick with what they know, the “classic” experience, or do they provide teams with the “modern” experience? What is the difference, anyway? The “classic” SharePoint intranet has an inflexible and difficult to maintain information architecture which requires a lot of customization, resulting in a poor UX. While the “modern” SharePoint intranet experience is meant to be more “compelling, flexible, mobile and easier to use” than the “classic experience,” it still lacks the benefits of an intelligent intranet, complete with user analytics, an employee directory, org chart and bot assistants.
3. User Interface
SharePoint intranets are clunky with static pages and few interactive tools. A lot of time and money on customization must be spent for the intranet to match an organization’s brand and be compelling. With LiveTiles’ Page Designer, organizations can quickly design branded SharePoint pages that are intuitive and mobile-responsive, without needing to spend the time and money on customization.
One of the seldom discussed challenges
many SharePoint admins face is a lack of community. SharePoint admins often
want a place to bond and share experiences. Fortunately, the internet has given
rise to many online forums, and in different cities throughout the world, there
are regular SharePoint meetups for admins to come together.
SharePoint Admins often run into problems by allowing individuals to set their permissions or to make requests for individual permission changes. This leads to diminished security protocols and at risk SharePoint Intranets. One solution is to use SharePoint Groups to assign permissions, so employees in the same department or with similar titles all have the same permissions, and there are fewer individual permissions to control. Even still, important information can be at risk. With a secure intelligent workplace, organizations can protect against inside threats including breaches, sensitive data misuse and unauthorized file access.
Monitoring is a common complaint of SharePoint admins and even users. There is too much irrelevant content on SharePoint intranets. Sites can become dumping grounds for data. For example, despite revision control tools, many users still save multiple obsolete versions of files. With 1 TB of storage for each business user, a great deal of redundant information can end up on SharePoint. Admins should monitor the type of content stored, and user training and reminders about the appropriate use of storage helps avoid this issue.
7. Backups and Restores
SharePoint Admins often think moving to cloud services means they are off the hook for backups and restores. It’s important to keep in mind that Microsoft maintains a 14-day site backup for disaster recovery and Recycle Bin items are emptied after 30 days. Despite being on the cloud, SharePoint admins still need to back up to local storage or another cloud provider.
8. Document Management
Organizations can generate thousands of new files daily. It can be overwhelming to manage this much content without a robust system. To solve this issue, many organizations are using tools like LiveTiles to improve document management, and our Documents Tile stores and shares SharePoint documents in a consolidated view for easy access.