Microsoft announces more Copilot AI features in Outlook, PowerPoint and Teams

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

CNBC

Microsoft announced on Wednesday several new capabilities coming to the Copilot artificial intelligence plug-in for its Microsoft 365 productivity apps.

Since Microsoft-backed OpenAI introduced the popular ChatGPT virtual assistant, companies have expressed interest in how artificial intelligence can make their workers more efficient, and several other software makers, including Adobe, Google and sales forcesThey also came out with weapons.

There are concerns about whether Copilot for Microsoft 365 is worth $30 per person per month. Many analysts expected a lower price when Microsoft announced the decision in July. Now Microsoft is responding by expanding the feature list while keeping the price down.

Until now, Copilot could show personalized actions for missed appointments in Outlook, draft PowerPoint presentations, create illustrations of information in Word documents, and generate forecasts based on data in Excel files. A chat function informed by internal organizational data can summarize unread email messages, recommend changes to files and highlight documents.

The new Copilot Studio service will give corporate workers an easy way to enrich Copilot knowledge with newly integrated data from business software such as ServiceNow and Working day. Copilot Studio “is embedded in the $30 price tag, so it really drives the value,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft's corporate vice president, in an interview with CNBC.

Here are some other improvements coming to Copilot license holders:

  • In Teams, Copilot will be able to answer questions about meetings, even if he's not creating a transcription or recording. People who want to save AI-generated content during meetings will need to copy it and save it elsewhere.
  • If at least one person in a team meeting has a license, Copilot can record notes live, and participants can ask him to follow instructions such as, “Record what Dana said as a quote.”
  • Copilot will be able to create Teams chat messages and make tone changes.
  • During team meetings, the Whiteboard tool can automatically create visualizations of the ideas people are discussing.
  • In Outlook, Copilot can help schedule meetings, suggesting attendees, agendas, and lists of recommended documents to share with participants.
  • In PowerPoint, Copilot will be able to create slides that include AI-generated images based on brand assets with the help of the Microsoft Designer application.
  • People will be able to enter formatting and style preferences for the Assistant's output in Word and PowerPoint.

Some early Copilot users were already happy with what it could do before this week's updates, which Microsoft executives discussed at the company's Ignite conference in Seattle.

Microsoft allowed it visa It's offering a small number of licenses on a preview basis, and soon it will roll out co-pilot to most employees, said Rajat Taneja, the payments company's president of technology. Taneja was among the first Visa employees to test Copilot. He uses it all the time. It summarizes PowerPoint presentations and other documents on its behalf.

“You can use it to compose a communication — a speech, a message — or edit something you've already written, and it does a pretty good job of doing that,” he said.

Several hundred Visa employees now hold copilot licenses. The company surveyed the group, and the vast majority of respondents said they would be disappointed to lose access, Taneja said.

Visa's outlook is in line with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's reflection on the adoption of Copilot in late October.

“Customers tell us that once they use Copilot, they can't imagine working without it,” he said on a conference call with analysts.

WATCHING: Plexo's Lo Toney previews Microsoft's upcoming AI development ahead of the Ignite conference

Plexo's Lo Toney takes a look at Microsoft's upcoming AI developments