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Microsoft Places app will manage ‘fusion of digital and physical space’ for hybrid work

Microsoft previewed a new app that will attempt to help companies, workers, and real estate facilities managers address some of the emerging challenges of the new era of hybrid work.

Among them: showing up in the office to find that everyone else on the team is working from home; conducting a virtual meeting with a colleague who turns out to be just down the hall; or realizing too late that the conference room you’ve reserved is too small for the number of people who showed up in the office that day.

Those are some of the scenarios that the new app, Microsoft Places, is designed to help workers and managers address. Announced today at the Microsoft Ignite conference, it’s due to be released next year after a preview period.

Microsoft says the app falls into a new technology category that it calls the connected workplace. The company was motivated by feedback from customers who are grappling with new issues due to the rise of hybrid work, said Jared Spataro, Microsoft 365 corporate vice president, in an interview this week.

“One of the big categories that we’ve had them point us to, that we just weren’t previously really engaged in, is this idea of the fusion of the digital and physical space,” Spataro said.

He gave a few examples of the capabilities:

Microsoft Places will be available as part of Microsoft 365 business subscriptions. The app leverages and expands upon some of Microsoft’s existing technologies, including Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Outlook calendars.

In addition to catering to its traditional base of corporate customers, Microsoft says it will be announcing partnerships with major real estate and property management companies to adopt the technology.

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