Since we all went into lockdown back in March, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been the runaway winners for the best – and most used – collaborative working and video calling platforms.
But never one to rest on their laurels, Microsoft have just announced a raft of new enhancements that takes Teams to the next level. Here’s what’s coming…
Together mode allows you to feel together during a team video meeting, even when you’re apart. You can choose from a set of new themes launching soon to give your meeting the right feels, such as an auditorium, a conference room, or a coffee shop.
Coming later this year, custom layouts provides you with a dynamic content viewing experience and enables presenters to customise how content shows up for participants during a meeting. For example, if you are presenting using a PowerPoint slide, as the presenter, your video feel will be transposed onto the foreground of the slide you’re presenting.
Due in October, break out rooms will allow you to divide meeting participants into small ‘breakout rooms’ to carry on the conversation. As the presenter, you will be able to move between each breakout room, to make announcements or facilitate a session, before bringing everyone back into the main room.
Coming this year, a recap with the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files and more will be automatically shared in the meeting Chat tab and viewable in the Details tab for each meeting. This will help to keep things moving forward after a meeting and enhances collaborative working.
Webinar registration and reporting
If you are holding a more structured webinar, you can use event registration with automated emails to help make managing attendance a smoother process. A detailed reporting dashboard will be available after the meeting, so you can get a better understanding of attendance and engagement. This is due to roll-out by the end of the year.
New calling experience
Microsoft we are simplifying the calling experience with a streamlined view that shows contacts, voicemail and calling history at once, making it easier to initiate or return a call with a single click.
This feature allows you to connect a call queue to a particular channel in Teams. Users can them share information in the channel, whilst taking calls from that queue. Particularly useful for sales teams, HR hotlines or helpdesk teams.
CHAT AND COLLABORATION
These are currently available and are designed to help your team get started faster and more efficiently. With pre-designed templates (which can also be industry-specific, for example, for hospitals or bank branches) and they include pre-defined channels, apps and guidance.
Info pane, pinned posts, and new conversation button in channels
Available now, the channel info pane provides an at-a-glance summary of active members, important posts pinned by members, and other relevant information in each channel.
The ‘new conversation’ button (coming later this year) is designed to make starting a new conversation in a channel much easier and intuitive (rather than having to join the stream of conversation that’s already there).
New search results experience
This is an enhanced version of the existing ‘search’ feature, which means you’ll be able to find messages, people, answers, and files a lot faster.
MICROSOFT 365 INTEGRATIONS
Wellbeing and productivity insights in Teams
Wellbeing features and productivity insights – powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics – are coming to Microsoft Teams in October. With the increased focus on mental health and wellbeing, this is a welcome addition to the platform. You will be able to get insights personalised to your role with recommended actions to make changing habits and improving productivity and wellbeing easier.
Additionally, new personal wellbeing experiences including a virtual commute to add structure to your remote work day and Headspace guided meditations to help you unwind will be available in the first half of 2021.
SharePoint Home site in Teams
The new home site app brings the power of the SharePoint home site and an organisation’s intranet directly into Teams, to give employees a gateway to their company’s intranet, with customisable naming, branding and multi-level navigation to teams, communities and resources.
These new features are exciting and it’s great to see how Microsoft are adapting to changing user-needs as the covid-landscape continues to evolve.