As we continue to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic, with a more hybrid model of work, learning, and life… Microsoft continue to evolve and adapt their technologies.
Microsoft have announced a set of new features in Teams, that make virtual interactions more natural, more engaging, and ultimately, more human.
These features have been introduced to:
1.Help you feel more connected with your team
2.Reduce meeting fatigue
3.Make meetings more inclusive and engaging
4.Help streamline your work and save time
Microsoft’s goal is to enable people everywhere to collaborate, stay connected, and discover new ways to be productive from anywhere, at anytime.
Together mode is a new meeting experience in Teams that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class. Together mode makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction. It’s great for meetings in which multiple people will speak, such as brainstorms or roundtable discussions, because it makes it easier for participants to understand who is talking. Together mode with auditorium view is rolling out now and will be widely available in August.
A set of enhancements called dynamic view gives you more control over how you see shared content and other participants in a meeting. Using AI, meetings 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. Dynamic view builds on the meetings enhancements announced last month, which include large gallery view (rolling out in August), where you can see video of up to 49 people in a meeting simultaneously (it’s currently 9), and virtual breakout rooms, which allow meeting organisers to split meeting participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions.
It’s been a long time coming with this one! … we’ve all become familiar with filters used social media apps, and now they’re coming to Teams. Before joining a meeting, you can use the filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera.
Non-verbal cues like smiles and head nods can be difficult to notice in online meetings, making it challenging for presenters to gauge audience reactions and for participants in large meetings to share a sentiment without interrupting the meeting flow. Soon, you will be able to react during a meeting using emojis that will appear to all participants.
During meetings, chat has become a lively space for conversation and idea-sharing, and offers an option for people to participate in the discussion without having to jump in verbally. But it can be challenging to pay attention to video feeds, presentations, and chats all at the same time. Currently, Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. Soon, however, chats sent during a Teams meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.
Live transcription with speaker attribution
There are times when it’s important to bring large groups together for meetings. For more interactive meetings where attendees can chat, unmute to talk, and turn on their videos for real-time collaboration Teams meetings are growing to support up to 1,000 participants. When you want to bring more people together to watch a presentation or discussion, Teams can support a view-only meeting experience for up to 20,000 participants.
Microsoft Whiteboard updates
Visual collaboration tools can make meetings and teaching environments more effective and inclusive. Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities. These features enable team members who don’t have access to a touchscreen or Surface Hub to participate in whiteboarding sessions during Teams meetings.
Streamline your work and save time. Rolling out this month, provides a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Planner, and Outlook. Smart lists like “Assigned to me” bring tasks together across different shared plans, whether you’re on desktop, web, or mobile. Add Tasks as a tab in a channel and get your familiar Planner tab experience with the new list view.
Get your message across with just one tap! Suggested replies in Teams chat uses assistive AI to create short responses based on the context of the previous message. So the next time someone asks you “Do you have time to meet today?” you can respond “I sure do!” without even pulling up your keyboard. This feature will be rolling out this month.
Microsoft Teams displays
Organisations need to enable their employees to set up more effective home office spaces while also preparing some to return to the office. To help, we’re introducing new Microsoft Teams display, a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana. With natural language, users can ask Cortana to join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat, and more. These devices seamlessly integrate with your PC, providing easy access to Teams chat, meetings, calling, calendar, and files. And with a camera shutter and microphone mute switch, your conversations stay private. The Lenovo ThinkSmart View will be the first Microsoft Teams display to market, and Yealink will deliver one of the first devices in this category too.
Room remote for Microsoft Teams devices
While the above capabilities are designed for work and school, we aspire to make Teams the platform for work, life, and learning. To that end, we also recently introduced new features in Teams that help you stay connected and organised with family and friends. Learn more about these capabilities, now available in mobile preview, here.
All of the features mentioned are currently rolling out or will roll out later this year. These features reflect the vision for the future of work: where everyone is able to contribute and do their best work; where they can move fluidly between experiences, apps, and devices; where AI lends a helping hand to streamline tasks, provide short cuts, and save you time; and where technology contributes to wellbeing and doesn’t detract from it.
AS CERTIFIED MICROSOFT PARTNERS, WE’D BE DELIGHTED TO ASSIST WITH GETTING YOU SETUP WITH MICROSOFT TEAMS.
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