New Year, Newer Tech


It’s safe to say that the entire world is ready to say goodbye to 2020 as we step into the new year. There is a lot to look forward to in 2021: Two COVID-19 vaccines, and, if you’re as into digital solutions as we are, new releases from the Microsoft and Creative Cloud suites. Here are a few of the updates that we are most excited for in 2021! 


Office Update

Microsoft has announced a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office that users can expect to see in the second half of 2021. The company has only addressed the release in a blog post by the Exchange team at Microsoft, but they have confirmed that Windows and Mac will be seeing new versions of Office in the coming year. This version of Office will be a perpetual release, which means that unlike previous releases, the next version will not require a subscription and will instead be available as a one-time, flat-rate purchase. Microsoft has not released any more details so the pricing, timeline, and even the name of this newest release is an exciting mystery to all those who interact with the suite. 

New Versions of Select Servers

In the same blog post that announced the upcoming Office update, Microsoft also announced that the next versions of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business Server, and Project Server will be available alongside the Office update in the second half of 2021. Unlike their Office release, Microsoft’s server updates are only available with the purchase of a subscription license, which will enable access to support, product updates, security features, and more. 

Creative Cloud

Application Upgrades

Adobe announced the next steps for Creative Cloud at this year’s MAX Conferencean annual event that was held virtually and at no cost to attendees in 2020. Over 15 of the suite’s apps have been updated; among these apps are After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator 


After Effects new features include 3D navigation tools, ProRes Raw import support, and the most popular update, Rotobrush 2.0. Powered by Adobe Sensei, the Rotobrush 2.0 uses artificial intelligence to locate and track roto subjects.  


Photoshop users can expect to see supported camera models and lenses in the new update, in addition to neural filters and the much-anticipated Sky Replacement. The neural filters use Adobe Sensei, much like Rotobrush 2.0, to colorize photos, alter facial expressions, and drastically edit portraits. Aptly named, Sky Replacement enables users to quickly select and replace the sky in any photo and automatically adjusts scenery colors and light balance to match the sky you choose for the background of your photos.


To the delight of design professionals, Illustrator’s new update will include an app release that is compatible with iPad products, for a more mobile and flexible design experience. Illustrator is also projected to boast new features like recolor artwork, smart glyph snapping, and enhanced type. 

New Apps

Creative Cloud’s 2021 release didn’t stop at updates to existing apps. Instead, the update includes brand-new apps that will take design to new heights. In addition to the Illustrator for iPad app that was mentioned previously, Creative Cloud is releasing Adobe Fresco for iPhone, Adobe Stock Free Collection, and Adobe Aero, which “offers multiple options for crafting, sharing, and viewing [augmented reality] experiences”. According to The Franklin Institute, augmented reality lets users see the real environment around us with a digital augmentation overlaid on it. Think: Snapchat filters that can make it look as though there is a dancing polar bear on the desk in front of you.  

Ring in the New Year with DSSS

Here at Digital Solutions and Services for School of Government, we are on top of current design changes, innovations, trends, and discoveries, and we want to share that invaluable information with educators and administrators for the school. If any of these applications or updates sound as though they could improve or better serve your team, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our well-trained and professional help desk for all your teaching needs and questions.