SharePoint Spaces in Preview & Home Sites Go Live

Microsoft recently announced a couple of exciting new features to SharePoint Online. What do they mean for you and the future of the Digital Workspace? Let’s break it down…

SharePoint spaces 

Announced 2 years ago, SharePoint spaces is now available in preview. We’ll readily admit we didn’t quite see its practical application at first, but it’s clear there’s some serious benefit for those already invested in the Virtual Reality (VR) space.

Who? 

  • SharePoint spaces is for any organization currently utilizing or looking to use 3D modeling and/or VR experiences.

What?

  • SharePoint spaces is a web-based, immersive mixed-reality platform which allows people to create and share mixed reality experiences. The beauty is in its ease-of-use and simplicity. Creating the experience is nearly the same as building a modern site or page and is possible in both 3D and 2D capacities.

When? 

  • NOW! Live in public preview.

Where?

  • You do need to turn it on, and you can enable the preview feature within a specific site. 
    • How to enable SharePoint Spaces
      • Go to Settings and then Site information.
      • Click on View all site settings.
      • On the Site Settings page click on Manage site features under Site Actions.
      • Enable the feature Spaces (Preview)

Why?

  • If your organization is currently utilizing or looking to use 3D modeling and/or VR experiences, SharePoint spaces gives you a way to consume them in a 2D world. You can consume VR spaces in a 2D world, in a browser, without a headset, making them far more accessible.
  • You can actually create these VR experiences quite simply and in a browser. Essentially you can create your own VR experience directly in SharePoint by setting backgrounds, designing the world you’re in, and then consuming it via a browser, on any device, with or without a headset. 
  • At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is not for everyone. At this point, we see the true value lies with organizations already invested in 3D & VR.
    • Let’s break down some potential use cases:
      • Onboarding: 
        • Consider navigating in a 3D space during the onboarding process to your organization. You can give your new team member a headset or sit them in front of a computer and they can navigate a virtual company while being presented information in a more ‘real’ way. Perhaps your organization has multiple locations, warehouses, or factories where you could showcase processes and give them a realistic and immersive view into parts of the business they might never be exposed to.
      • 3D Models:
        • If your organization is already using 3D models, you can now create and consume them in your portal!
        • It also provides a great way to display and let your audience/clients interact with your 3D models for sales and marketing purposes.

SharePoint Home Sites 

Announced last year at SharePoint Conference, SharePoint Home Sites are Live! 

Who?

  • Any organization that needs a home page for your intranet.

What?

  • Home sites are designed to be your organization’s SharePoint-based intranet home page.
  • Home sites are a communication site at their core, with some pre-configured settings.
  • A SharePoint home site is automatically set up as an organizational news site, and SharePoint home sites search all sites within the organization. Normally, communication sites would search a smaller scope.
  • See them in action in this demo: Live on stage: Build an intelligent intranet featuring SharePoint home sites | THR3017  

When?

  • Now! Live in GA.

Where? 

  • You must run a Powershell cmdlet and set it as your home site. For more information see Microsoft’s documentation
    • Note: you must be a site admin of the site and you can only have one home site per tenant.

Why?

  • Every intranet needs a homepage; a starting point, a place for the organization to share important company-wide information, and a jumping-off point for your team. Home Sites provide you a thoughtful portal home page in minutes. A general communication site is not configured to be a portal homepage. You can change it to become a portal home page—and many have—but this takes the work out for you. 
    • Note: We do not recommend you do this on a live production tenant and remember you can only do one site. So, go test on a dev tenant and make sure it does what you need it to do before taking it live.

We’re often asked why Microsoft is our platform of choice, and these innovations are perfect examples of why. Microsoft continues to innovate while solving practical gaps and features that your digital workspace needs to continue to grow to meet the everchanging needs of our teams and organizations. 

Do you have questions about how you can start to utilize these new features? A PixelMill Microsoft 365 expert would love to chat with you today

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