Microsoft offered a ton of information around Microsoft Teams on the first day in a couple of different sessions, which I will link to at the end of this blog post. I won’t be covering every single news part, but I will try to make a point for that huge news or things I think are especially interesting! All the information is gathered from the past Microsoft sessions and the Tech Community.
This post is split into four parts. We will start with the most exciting part – Meetings, followed by webinar features, Microsoft Teams Rooms, and finally, collaboration!
Microsoft Teams Meetings
Microsoft made clear that they pushed and will be pushing a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into developing an even more enhanced meeting experience within Teams. With the ongoing pandemic, this is a step we all can align with because online meetings have become one of the most used tools in Teams for most of us, I guess. I will split the news into three parts, before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting.
Preparing a meeting
Honestly, there is not much to talk about here, but one thing should be mentioned for sure. If you want to bring your meetings to the next level, whether it is a workshop or any other meeting, you want to check out the newly available customized meetings experience! This will become available in the next weeks or so and offers some interesting capabilities when working with ServiceNow for instance. More information.
During a meeting
First of all, we will get some more background sceneries for the beloved together mode in meetings! But there is even more. When using together mode, you may have noticed that people’s arrangements can end up a little bit weird due to different camera positions and angles. Therefore, the team behind Microsoft Teams is working on a machine learning pattern to properly resize images and position faces in an equal manner.
Within a meeting, you will soon be able to pin presenters when they are sharing content or spotlight users who are really important to see for everyone, like key stakeholders or decision-makers. These features will integrate with the new content sharing experience offering even more capabilities like being display in front of it! This will empower people to present their ideas, thoughts, or general content, even more, inclusive and personal. In addition to that, when content is shared, the meeting attendees’ pictures will move from the bottom of the screen to the right-hand side, allowing a better view, in my opinion, and moving our own eyes more towards the camera height, which will be great.
Many of you – and me too – are waiting for the breakout rooms within meetings. I managed to gather some nice screenshots which will give you an idea of how this will look and what you can expect from it. The general idea is to split a meeting in a couple of meetings and distribute all attendees to one of these. After some time, you can then pull them back into the main meeting and start to discuss/present your outcomes. This will be really cool for digital workshops and collaborative work and especially education!
When being in a meeting, chat, and content shared in the chat can be overlooked fast. Therefore, Microsoft is introducing new ways of displaying notifications during meetings. Like in a comic book, there will be chat bubbles, and content notifications direct in the meeting view displayed. This can either be distracting, but in most cases, a relief to overlooking what is going on in the chat, I think!
Coming also this fall, a new feature that will polish up your packet loss during bad connections and make everyone with a not so highspeed internet connection more understandable, at least from an audio perspective. The rest is up to you 😉 at least for now!
After a meeting
With meeting recaps, the whole “after meeting experience” will be much more inclusive and structured even for people who couldn’t make it. Within this recap, the potential recording, the transcript, the meeting notes, associated files, and the attendance report will be shared, and even more meeting insights will be displayed here (most of these we already know). Of course, this only helps if people use the recording and transcript features, but especially when some people can’t make it, those capabilities are so useful in my opinion that you have to give it a try!
Microsoft Teams Webcasts
Rolling out during the next months, Microsoft Teams will offer some great capabilities for everyone who wants to set up, organize, and host webcasts for their organization. Again I tried to get some nice screenshots from the session, which will give you a pretty good idea of the look and feel. In general – you will be able to set up a webcast with details about the event, speakers, speaker bios, and even (custom) information you want to gather from the potential attendees! After signing up, the attendee receives an auto-mail from Teams with a “join” link and a file to add to his calendar.
After the webcast, you can access some really deep insights about the time when someone joined, left, and how long people attended. There is probably even more information! Up to now, there is not much more information on how the production of a webcast will look like and stuff like that.
Microsoft Teams Rooms
In addition to all these new capabilities, Microsoft announced some new categories of devices are also on their way. Microsoft Teams Panels will offer you insights into a meeting room right in front of the door with a convenient screen. You can see if a room is free and what capacity it has. Due to the device tracking with Microsoft Teams, each meeting room can also notify people if the max capacity is reached – especially in our times, a handy feature!
To leverage the earlier announced transcript’s possibilities to its fullest, a new generation of smart speakers got announced. These will ask you to start your meeting with a quick and easy setup, and from that point, it will recognize who sits where and says what, so your transcript makes sense even when joining with more than two people from a meeting room!
Also, starting this day, you can equip two of your meeting rooms with devices at no charge, thanks to Microsoft Teams Rooms being now a part of the Fastrack program. Of course, you have to be eligible, and conditions apply. Check out if you can!
In addition to that, you can start your meetings touchless using Cortana on Teams Rooms devices and the power of your voice! There will be more commands to speak about, but there is only a “start/end meeting” for now.
There is also a new feature coming to the Teams smartphone app offering the possibility to operate it like a remote control for room devices!
As you can imagine, even though meetings play a big role these days, online collaboration does, for sure too! That’s why Microsoft is constantly innovating in this area. In the sessions on the first day, the speakers made clear that there is no other platform combining these enhanced collaboration features and meeting capabilities in one application! Microsoft Teams will not only be there for meetings. In the future, Teams will more and more become the platform for work.
Starting his session, Jeff Teper announced customized templates for your team creation process to be available soon. The Teams channel page will also get a makeover, featuring information pain on the right-hand side showing information like the channel name, description, and contributors. Also, you can soon pin channels, as you can see in the screenshot!
By the end of this year, the limit of users in a team will be expanded from 10.000 to 25.000 users, that’s a lot!
With more and more users collaborating together, finding messages and documents can become more difficult, that’s why even the Teams search will get some great upgrades featuring Microsoft Search capabilities!
To drive employee engagement, even when working remotely, Microsoft will make your intranet on SharePoint Online available in Teams on the left menu bar. This way, you can surf your intranet and find your latest news just with the click of a button across devices!
This is only the beginning!
These are just some announcements and pictures from the sessions on the first day, and there is more to come! Keep an eye on the Microsoft Teams Blog on the TechCommunity or watch some sessions live at Microsoft Ignite which is still going on!
My information is gathered from these sessions:
- The Future of Work
- Creating a resilient, inclusive, and hybrid workplace with Microsoft Teams
- Enabling collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing with Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Project Cortex, and more