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It seems like all of us are juggling more meetings, emails, and chats than ever. The number of emails delivered to commercial and education customers in February 2021, compared to the same month the year before, was up by 40.6 billion.
And as regions open up and move from a remote model to a hybrid with people working together across a wide range of scenarios — remote, onsite, and on the go — it’s important that we find ways to maximize how you connect and get tasks done on mobile devices.
Microsoft is making significant improvements in its mobile apps. They are investing in voice capabilities that help you be as productive as possible using small screens and tiny keyboards.
They have built in new enhanced voice capabilities in Outlook mobile for iOS (and coming soon to Android) that make using voice to schedule meetings and compose emails simpler for everyone. These new AI-enhanced voice capabilities quickly contextualize your voice requests and provide a rapid response, making it easier and more natural to work on the go.
Some of the initial enhancements include:
1. Use Your Voice to Schedule Meetings in Outlook Mobile
To start the process, hold down the plus sign icon in Outlook mobile, select the microphone icon to “Use Voice,” and tell Cortana what you want to do. Cortana uses AI to help you find the correct file, connect with a particular coworker, or manage your calendar. For example, let’s say you want to know what’s coming up next on your schedule quickly. Just tap the microphone icon and ask something like, “When’s my next team meeting?” Cortana will instantly contextualize your answer and get you up to speed.
You can use your voice for more complex requests, even with people outside your organization. Cortana leverages insights from Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Graph to recognize how you work and whom you work with. This provides a more personalized experience driven by your own, natural voice. You can say, “Set up a meeting with Jill and her team for next Monday about the Q1 budget.” And then, “Add Jacob,” and Cortana will recognize the correct coworkers and compose the invite. Finish up with a quick “Send it,” and your task is complete.
2. Use Your Voice to Do Natural Language Search in Outlook Mobile
You can also search with voice find content in Outlook mobile. For instance, you can say, “Find emails sent to John with attachments about the Q1 project budget” without relying on key search terms.
3. Use Dictation in Outlook Mobile
Microsoft 365 users can also take advantage of Dictation in Outlook mobile. You may be familiar with this functionality on desktop for Word and Outlook, now available for iOS, with Android coming soon. With the power of Dictation in Outlook mobile, you can now use your voice to respond or write new email messages, delivering advanced speech-to-text while on the go. It is less likely you will spell a name wrong when dictating emails, as Dictation in Outlook recognizes the names of people you work with. By simply speaking naturally, you have the potential to get more work done in shorter amounts of time — and with a greater sense of ease and control.
Voice is the Future of Work
I say this often, but it bears repeating: This is just the beginning. Voice will continue to be infused into everything you do and become the primary way to interact with your computing devices, whether mobile or desktop. Be sure to update your Outlook mobile apps and start using this new capability.
How are you using voice dictation to improve your productivity?