Microsoft on Thursday announced a major update for its ‘Teams’ collaboration service, bringing new functionalities to make virtual interactions natural, engaging, and fun. The new functionalities are for everyone — from people at work to those in education — and offer benefits like reduced meeting fatigue, inclusive and engaging meetings, and streamlined work process to save time.
Let’s take a look at the new Microsoft Teams features:
Microsoft Teams: Together mode
Designed to help people feel connected and, thureby reduce meeting fatigue, the ‘together’ mode is a new meeting experience that uses artificial intelligence segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it appear as though they were sitting in the same room with everyone else. The together mode with auditorium view is rolling out now and will be generally available in August.
Microsoft Teams: Dynamic view
This feature is designed to make traditional video meetings engaging and dynamic. It is a sub-set of several other features and gives participants in meeting a control over how they see shared content and other participants. Using AI, the Dynamic view feature allows meetings to dynamically optimise shared content and video participants. New controls, including the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side, let you personalise the view to suit your preferences and needs. The dynamic view is built on the meetings enhancements that Microsoft announced last month. These include a large gallery view (rolling out in August) with up to 49 people visible in a meeting simultaneously, and virtual breakout rooms, which allow meeting organisers to split meeting participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions.
Microsoft Teams: Video filters
This feature allows the user to add a layer of digital filter, making the appearance suit the purpose of the meeting. Before joining a meeting, a user can use one of the filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera to customise appearance.
Microsoft Teams: Live reactions
Designed to make meetings fun and engaging, this feature will allow participants to react during a meeting using emojis that will appear to all participants. Live reactions is a shared feature with PowerPoint Live Presentations which allows audience members to provide instant feedback to the presenter.
Microsoft Teams: Chat bubbles
Besides video enhancements, the new Teams update will also bring new functionalities to Teams’ Chat feature. Soon, chats sent during a Teams meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.
Microsoft Teams: Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts
This is one of the major features that Teams is getting. While Teams already has live captions, it will soon show speaker attribution to captions so that everyone knows who is speaking. Live transcripts, coming later this year, is another feature to follow along with what has been said and who said it. After a meeting, the transcript file is automatically saved in a tab as part of the meeting.
Microsoft Teams: Interactive meetings for 1,000 participants and overflow
Teams meetings will soon support up to 1,000 participants in an interactive meeting, and up to 20,000 in view-only meeting.
Microsoft Teams: Suggested replies
This works like quick replies on smartphones. Suggested replies in Teams chat uses assistive AI to create short responses based on the context of the previous message. Therefore, you can answer a message by simply tapping on a suggested reply, without pulling up your keyboard. This feature will be rolled out this month.
Cortana in Teams
Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortana is coming soon to the Teams mobile app. Cortana will support voice commands to make a call, join a meeting, send chat messages, share files, and more. Cortana will be available in the Teams mobile app on iOS and Android in the coming weeks for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users in the US in English.