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Office 365’s deskless worker package expands with new features

Microsoft has announced an expansion to its Office 365 Enterprise K1 plan, to offer frontline staff a significant functionality increase.

PowerApps and Flow, Skype for Business, StaffHub, Teams and Office 365 Video will all be making their way across to K1 (the K representing ‘Kiosk’) – though Microsoft has been coy on when exactly the update will come, only that it will be in the coming weeks.

Teams – which has long been touted as Microsoft’s answer to Slack – was previously exclusive to Office 365 business and education customers. This roll-out will not just see Teams reach K1 customers but those using Office 365 Government as well.

Elsewhere, Skype for Business will allow K1 users not just the chance to participate in Skype Meeting Broadcast Sessions but also use the presence and instant messaging service.

StaffHub, meanwhile, manages worker schedules – allowing them to see what’s in their calendar, chat with colleagues and swap shifts. PowerApps and Flow provides users the tools to create individual but centralised solutions, based on a ready-to-use, cloud-based app framework. Finally, Office 365 video is billed as a way for companies to upload, share and play video messages internally.

As the K1 plan is designed for workers who aren’t tethered to their desks, it’s priced drastically lower than the other Office enterprise subscriptions. However, this lower cost does bring with it reduced functionality in the form of 2GB of email storage (instead of the more typical 50GB) and no access to desktop apps in Microsoft’s productivity suite.

K1 subscribers will, however, get Exchange ActiveSync smartphone support and POP email support, as well as anti-malware and anti-spam filtering. Access will also be granted to SharePoint Online, Office Online and Yammer.

As is customary, organisations may choose to delay the release of Office 365 features to the users they manage, if they so wish.