Microsoft 365 Copilot is now official, and very promising

As we told you a few days ago, today was the day chosen by Microsoft to present Microsoft 365 Copilot, a new leap in the more than ambitious plans of Redmond in terms of extending the scope of artificial intelligence to its applications and services. It was something that had been expected for a long time, since in the first days of January we learned of Microsoft’s plans to use this technology in Office and Microsoft 365, and less than a month later the company itself advanced part of its plans in this regard.

Now, after a video presentation starring Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of work and business applications, in just under 40 minutes we have been able to attend the announcement of an incredibly ambitious planwith which Microsoft 365, as well as other productivity and professional applications and services of the company, take a giant leap by adding the Copilot mode, which will allow their users to delegate a good part of the functions to the AI most common.

In this regard, although for now we have only been able to see what Microsoft wanted to show and we will still have to wait until the test program opens up (something that will happen much more slowly than we have experienced with the new Bing), what we know so far is quite promising.

And how long will we have to wait? There are no specific dates, or at least they have not been made public. What we know is that, for now, Microsoft is carrying out initial tests with a particularly limited scope, for which it has had 20 companies, a number that will gradually grow over the next few months. So it seems that we are looking at a deployment model quite similar to the one announced by Google for the implementation of AI functions in Gmail, Docs and other services. In other words, heor more likely it won’t be until 2024, or the end of 2023, that we see further deployment of the solutions of both companies.

This is interesting because it confirms something that we already raised at the time, when talking about Google’s position when it comes to implementing Bard. Microsoft could risk much more with Bing than Google with its search engine, but in this case we find ourselves in a different situation, since both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are two very important services for both companies, so they cannot afford to risk more , compromising its reliability.

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Thus, and unlike what happened with Bing, at least At the moment there is neither a waiting list to register nor is it expected, and it will not do any good, in this sense, to join the Microsoft 365 insider program, neither the preview channel nor the beta channel. It’s a shame, because there are many of us who are looking forward to testing the functions of the co-pilot, but for now we will have to take it quite calmly.

What features does Microsoft 365 Copilot offer?

At this point it is important to clarify that Microsoft makes a distinction, in which on the one hand we find the Microsoft 365 applications, and on the other are Business Chata solution of chatbot Based on a Large Language Model (LLM) that, by combining Microsoft 365 apps and calendar, email, chat, document, meeting, and contact data, enables the model to identify needs of the learning environment. work and expedite them. Copìlot is capable of interpreting natural language to carry out all the associated actions.

«Copilot combines the power of large language models with your data and applications to turn your words into the most powerful productivity tool on the planet.says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of Modern Work and Business Applications at Microsoft. «By drawing on the content and context of your business, Copilot delivers relevant and actionable results. It’s enterprise-ready and builds on Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to security, regulatory compliance, privacy, and responsible AI. Copilot ushers in a new era of computing that will fundamentally transform the way we work.”

Now, from what was announced today, arguably the biggest potential scope is in the integration of Copilot into Microsoft 365, and here are the features announced by Microsoft in this regard:

  • Copilot in Word write, edit, summarize and create alongside people as they work.

  • Copilot in PowerPoint facilitates the authoring process by turning ideas into a designed presentation through natural language commands.

  • Copilot in Excel helps you unlock information, identify trends, or create professional-looking data visualizations, in a fraction of the time.

  • Copilot in Outlook it can help to synthesize and manage the inbox to allow more time to be spent on actual communication.

  • Copilot in Teams makes meetings more productive, with real-time summaries and action points right in the context of the conversation.

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What does this mean? Well, now we will be able to delegate many of the most common activities of these applications to the AI, which will allow us to focus on the tasks that do require human supervision. From asking Word to redact any type of text (even based on other documents and information from other sources) to making Excel able to analyze large data sets looking for information and patterns that might otherwise be much more complex. detect.

Regarding the Outlook functions, we already told you about them when they were first leaked, although it is true that now, with the integration with the rest of the Microsoft 365 applications and with Business Chat, we see that the scope of these functions is even greater than we could imagine. From providing us with an inbox summary to composing and sending messages with just basic indications of recipients and content.

Of course, as expected, the use of Microsoft 365 Copilot will be optional and, as we have already mentioned on previous occasions, it is best to review, and edit if necessary, the work carried out by Copilot, and that is that in this point Microsoft has also reminded that its operation is not perfect, although we can expect significant improvements in the coming months, especially when the scope of the testing program is expanded and, in this way, Microsoft begins to receive more feedback.

Another question that remains pending is related to the price of access to these functions, although everything indicates that they will not be included in the Microsoft 365 subscription price, at least at the levels aimed at private users. As we can read in the official statement, “Pricing and licensing details will be shared later.«. Thus, it is most likely that it will reach corporate customers first, and that only later will some form of access be offered for personal and family plans.

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