Kieran McDonnell, Head of Vuzion Ireland, writes …
Announced at Ignite, Microsoft’s annual gathering of tech professionals and leaders, held digitally this September, were “tons of new capabilities” for Microsoft Teams - to support businesses in keeping employees connected, able to communicate and collaborate, and with building solutions.
We’re highlighting below the key updates:
Breakout rooms (to be available from October 2020)
One of the most eagerly awaited features, breakout rooms will enable organisers to divide meetings into smaller groups, with presenters themselves able to:
- jump between the breakout rooms
- make announcement to all breakout rooms
- close breakout rooms to bring participants back into the main meeting.
Together mode (available later this year)
Created to help meeting participants feel closer particularly in this era of remote working, teams can be transported to a variety of settings - such as a meeting room, conference centre, or even a coffee shop.
Custom layouts (available later this year)
Presenters will be able to customise meeting content to create a more dynamic viewing experience, through, for example, enabling participants to see their video feed transposed on to the foreground of a PowerPoint slide.
Webinar registration and reporting (available later this year)
Event registration with automated emails and post-meeting reporting dashboards will make easier the management and analysis of attendance required for more structured meetings, such as webinars.
Streamlined Calling view (available later this year)
A streamlined view is being introduced to show contacts, voicemail and calling history at the same time, to make it easier to make or return a call with a single click.
Collaborative calling enables connection of a call queue to a channel in Teams, so that users can work together, sharing information within the channel while taking calls in the queue. This would be particularly useful for an IT help desk or other hotline requirement.
Teams templates have been introduced to meet the most common business requirements, such as event management or crisis response. Templates are also available for specific industries - health focused, finance, etc. - while administrators can create customised templates for their individual business.
Updates to channels
A summary of active members, and important posts and information is now available via the channel info pane, while a new conversation button will make creating new channel conversations as opposed to responding to existing conversations a more intuitive experience.
Improved search experience (available later this year)
Powered by Microsoft Search, locating files, messages, and contacts will become easier and faster with the new Teams search feature, which works based on the content and contacts most commonly engaged with for each user, within Teams and across other Microsoft 365 services.
Introduced to help with tracking information and organising workloads, Microsoft Lists are simple to use, smart and flexible, and can be created directly in Teams as a channel tab.
25K member teams (available later this year)
Team membership - currently capped at 10,000 members, will be increased to allow up to 25,000 members per individual team.
The need for businesses to be able to support remote working continues. The recent upsurge in the number of Covid-19 cases has caused governments to advise people to work from their homes - and many businesses were in any case looking to continue operating with either a fully remote workforce or hybrid model to meet social distancing requirements and employee-requested flexibility.
Microsoft Teams is perfect for supporting remote working, and Microsoft’s new features are helping to further meet the challenges of today’s business environment.
One of the main concerns for employers is the potential effect of isolation on their employees. Powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics – and to be available from sometime in October - Microsoft’s Teams wellbeing and productivity insights have been introduced to help employers address this concern, utilising insights customised to their particular role and incorporating suggested actions to support employees with productivity or wellbeing issues.
One of the wellbeing features (to be available during the first half of 2021) is a virtual commute experience, to help employees structure their day, and which includes Headspace meditations to support de-stressing and unwinding.
Contact any of the Vuzion team, if you’d like more information about Microsoft Teams and how you can help your customers, particularly in the challenging times businesses across industry are finding themselves today.