New Microsoft 365 Content Storage Features Apply AI, Machine Learning

Microsoft is about to improve enterprise content information storage and retrieval for Microsoft 365 customers using new OneDrive and SharePoint features driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Enterprise users of Microsoft 365 will soon gain new content storage features enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that work with Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint.  

The coming improvements and new capabilities, which are aimed at helping users increase their productivity while keeping their content more secure, were announced in an Aug. 28 post on the Microsoft 365 Blog by Omar Shahine, the partner director of program management for OneDrive and SharePoint.

A major problem for many enterprises has been the growth of their collections of digital content, including images, video and audio files, wrote Shahine. That exponential content growth makes it difficult to store and later find the content when users need it. 

To serve that need, Microsoft will unveil automated transcription services that will be natively available later in 2018 for video and audio files in OneDrive and SharePoint. The services will use the same AI technology available in Microsoft Stream, the company’s corporate video sharing service. 

Users will be able to see a full transcription while they are viewing a video or listening to an audio file, which will help users manage video and audio content while also sharing it with others. 

“Once you’re ready to make a video broadly available across the organization, you can upload and publish to Microsoft Stream,” wrote Shahine. “You’ll continue to get transcription services plus other AI driven capabilities, including in-video face detection and automatic captions.” 

More importantly, users of all that audio and video content will get those services without leaving the Microsoft Cloud, so it is protected and is not passed through any potentially insecure third-party services, he added. 

Also coming is a feature that Microsoft announced last September for photos and other images stored in OneDrive and SharePoint that will use secure and native AI to determine where the images were taken, while also recognizing objects and extracting text seen in the images. With these image recognition and text extraction capabilities, users will be able to search for images as easily as they search for documents, Shahine asserted. 

“For example, you could search a folder of scanned receipts for the receipt that mentions ‘sushi,’” he explained. “Video and audio files also become fully searchable thanks to the transcription services described earlier.” 

Also coming later in 2018 are new intelligent file recommendations through a new files view on OneDrive and the home page that will recommend relevant files to users. The file suggestions will be generated using Microsoft Graph, which will recognize who users work with often, how users work and who they share content with across Microsoft 365. 

Another upcoming feature that will be enabled by AI will be the ability to more readily reuse content, such as graphics, charts, paragraphs of text or other finished work so it can be included in new work, wrote Shahine. The Tap feature in Word 2016 and Outlook 2016 will use AI to recommend content stored in OneDrive and SharePoint based on the context of what a user is working on. 

Also later in 2018, Microsoft 365 users will have the option to quickly share relevant content following a presentation through an automatic prompt that will permit content sharing with other attendees once the meeting is completed, wrote Shahine. 

“In the OneDrive mobile app, we’ll automatically prompt you to share photos taken during the same meeting, perhaps of a whiteboard where you brainstormed new ideas with your colleagues—all based on your Outlook calendar. This type of real-world intelligence allows you to quickly keep everyone informed and move on to your next task and is exclusively available when you store your content in OneDrive and SharePoint.”