A glimpse of the future with SharePoint Spaces

I have done a lot with SharePoint in the past. Since the last two years i have been heavily involved in mixed reality projects specifically for HoloLens and immersive headsets. So it comes to no surprise that when a got a glimpse of SharePoint Spaces at the SharePoint Conference 2018 keynote it made me a happy guy. SharePoint Spaces is an immersive and engaging mixed Reality experience for everyone on any device. SharePoint spaces is powered by AI and can be extended by using the SharePoint Framework. It contains the ability of smart templates which leverages your existing SharePoint sites.

I wrote a dutch blog post about how SharePoint Spaces work. You can read it (use Google translate if necessary) here.

Keep in mind that this post is an opinion of my own and not by Microsoft. SharePoint Space is currently in private preview and not available to everyone. 🙂

Finally for me the missing link is filled in. Finally we can work in an immersive way. Finally we are bringing the Office world closer to the worker in the organisation. Why? SharePoint Spaces allows you to have an immersive control over your content. Think of using you content in a three dimensional way which allows you to have control over it in a totally different manner. And on top that, you don’t even need a VR, AR or MR device. You can even use your own desktop because it runs in your browser using WebVR. it is build on an open source framework called babylon.JS.

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When i think about SharePoint Spaces all kind of applications and ideas pops up in my head. There are endless possibilities which will empower first line workers and workers on the floor. It also fits in the strategy of Microsoft. The focus with Mixed Reality and HoloLens in particular is in the Modern Workplace. Empowering the workers on the floor using Mixed Reality devices to optimize and improve their business processes. And now we have SharePoint Spaces, the missing link between the Office 365 platform and floor workers. The reason why i mention Office 365 is that it hopefully will extend from SharePoint to Office products like Word, PowerPoint and Visio. The latter i know they are working on.

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Lets talk about some possibilities and applications in which SharePoint Spaces can play a role.

  • First of all think about those applications storing 3D content in Azure for your Mixed Reality apps. With SharePoint Spaces i can actually put 3D content in SharePoint and maintain it.  For flat data this is great! You don’t need to build something to maintain the content because SharePoint has it all!
  • The ability to build 3D SharePoint components by using the SharePoint Framework.
  • Possible to extend your environment by data coming out of the unified Microsoft Graph. For example people and their relations.
  • Reuse of 3D model data. i can build different applications in SharePoint, Office and on devices to use the data in some sort way. The cool thing about it that i will reach every target group since it will run in the browser, on a VR immersive device and on AR/MR enabled devices.
  • Sharing products, designs and other 3D model stuff with your customers. Form discussions around it by using for example Yammer or Microsoft Teams.
  • Build a catalog for different reasons. Think of using a catalog for a warehouse or store to maintain all product data. Sales and floor workers now have a similar image about the products. Can you imagine order pickers using MR devices to know what next item they have to pick from the shelves because they see a 3D model? That same 3D model, stored in SharePoint Spaces is used by other departments in the office to check their availability, if it needs to be reordered, if there are other same type of components and see first hand differences because they can view it in 3D instead of only working with product numbers and a vague image.
  • Building apps for design purposes. Design new products and discuss different stages of the model with different roles in your organisation. Make it easier to understand what is 3D printed by seeing the design in front. Think further… what if you start storing different building blocks for modelling a new house and/or the interior.
  • Consumer apps which allow consumers to experience firsthand their selections. For example an auto car dealer which allows you to design your car and let you walk around it in VR/AR/MR before you buy.
  • Experience data stored in SharePoint or Excel differently. Instead of flat data it projects the data in a requested 3D graph in front of you and allows you to manipulate the data. Data changes are then automatically brought back into the Excel which is stored in SharePoint.

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  • Workers on the floor can use models from SharePoint Spaces to execute repairs or get an explanations of how it need to be reassembled.
  • Training of new employees to learn about the products in the company they start working for. This allows us to inform & engage new employees in the organisation.
  • Following a safety training without using the actual environment. In some cases it is not possible to enter the actual environment. Think of a cleaning room in a hospital or a hazardous location.
  • Working together on content using any type of device and any type of space. For example one person using a HoloLens, the other a mobile AR enabled phone and the third is sitting behind his desk using his laptop. Working together will not be the same anymore as we are used to.
  • 360 videos allows you to enter whole new worlds through your VR headset. Have virtual tours of buildings or the company you are working for. See the factory floor when you are new to the company. Visit rooms which you are normally not allowed to access due to highly risks of health.

And i can continue on and on. 🙂

Hopefully this post gives you some ideas about SharePoint Spaces and how it will be used in the future. You can read more and learn more about SharePoint Spaces at the following link which is just released at Microsoft Ignite 2018. Some parts can be viewed using an immersive headset.

Below you have the timeline of SharePoint Spaces which is mentioned in one of the sessions at the Microsoft Ignite 2018 event.

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