Microsoft is back with more updates to the Teams platform, just in time for the start of February. As always, leaders in cloud collaboration and communication are working hard to make the Teams environment more welcoming to users of all landscapes.
To encourage more people to experience Microsoft Teams for themselves, Microsoft has also introduced an extended offering. You can join Microsoft Teams meetings with global dialing numbers from almost any mobile device. Customers who buy through Microsoft and Microsoft Partners will be happy to hear that free audio conferencing is now available through June 30.e, 2021.
Here’s what’s new in Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams Chat, Collaboration, and Meetings
For chat and collaboration on Microsoft Teams, there are a few new features worth mentioning. A new approvals system means anyone can easily create, manage and share approvals right from their teamwork center. You can start an approval flow just as you would start a discussion or go directly to the Approvals app. Users can also attach files and add additional details to the approval.
A new “auto-send offline” experience is also available this month, helping users stay productive when they’re not online. The feature identifies when messages on Teams are changed or sent when a user is offline, and then sends those messages automatically when the device is back online.
Team users can now create an organization-wide team with up to 10,000 users as well. The organization-wide team will sync all tenant members within the team.
For meeting chat, new moderations are available to allow organizers to control the flow of the conversation. Discussions can be turned off, available only during the meeting, or fully available to users. Elsewhere, shared calendars are now available to be added to Teams channels.
Users can create and share calendars with members of a specific channel, and teams will automatically create new posts in the activity feed when a channel meeting is created. You can also turn off notifications for calendar events.
Microsoft Teams calls and devices
Microsoft recently announced that Atos, Patton, ULTATEL, and Cataleya have all successfully achieved their Session Border Controller (SBC) certification for Microsoft Teams. This test ensures that all approved companies can provide high quality direct routing solutions to Microsoft users.
To further enhance the meeting experience, Microsoft also offers a range of certified devices through leading technology partners.
- The Logitech Rally Bar is the newest addition to Logitech’s Teams Room Selection, aimed at mid-sized venues. This product comes with RightSense AI technology, motorized pan and tilt functionality, and auto framing.
- The Crestron Flex Mercury Mini for Teams is suitable for a multitude of meeting environments, from the home office to the conference room. The sensational microphone has a 10-inch range, while the 7-inch touchscreen surface allows users to easily manage their meeting controls.
- Yealink’s MeetingBar A30 is available for Microsoft Teams rooms on Android, with a dual camera system perfect for small meeting spaces. AI-powered camera technology, with speaker tracking, keeps the user focused, while plug-and-play functionality facilitates quick commissioning.
- The AudioCodes RXV80 Video Collaboration Bar provides an intuitive meeting room experience that supports collaboration in all video environments. Specially created for meeting rooms, this solution integrates video collaboration and unified communication capabilities into a stand-alone device.
- EPOS Expand 80T speakers provide excellent meeting experiences in rooms for up to 7 participants. There are 6 adaptable microphones in the hardware to isolate vocals and eliminate ambient noise.
- The Nureva HDL300 delivers a whole room meeting experience to large team rooms, making it ideal for socially remote meeting environments. No matter where people are, they can rest assured that their voices will be clear and crisp.
- Poly Sync 40 USB and Bluetooth speaker supports partitioned and flexible workspaces. A multi-microphone array and full duplex audio provide an exceptional meeting experience in any environment.
Additional hardware for Microsoft Teams
Additional hardware introduced for Microsoft Teams includes three new monitors from Dell, certified by Microsoft. The displays, available in 34-inch, 27-inch, and 24-inch options, come with built-in noise-canceling speakers, cameras, and microphones. There is also a dedicated Teams button to quickly launch meetings.
Yealink also offers the entry-level MP54 desktop phone for Microsoft users, with a 4-inch capacitive touchscreen that makes Microsoft Teams easy for everyone to access. The Yealink Optima HD solution combined with a dedicated Teams button makes the MP54 convenient for modern workers.
AudioCodes also offers a Microsoft Teams solution in the C470HD IP phone. This high-end business phone has a large touchscreen interface and 5.5 inch color display. Optional support is available for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Sidecar support is also now available from AudioCodes and Yealink EXP50, following Microsoft’s recent introduction of Sidecar certification options.
Microsoft Teams Development, Security, and Compliance
Microsoft’s new Teams UI Design Kit and UI Library will help product managers, designers, and developers understand all of the key requirements of building a Teams app. This solution also simplifies the construction process with tools and models.
Microsoft 365 compliance features for card content created through apps in Microsoft Teams messaging are now also available. Additionally, Microsoft recently revealed the arrival of the Secure Score recommendation, which helps organizations verify the security level of their Teams solution.
Microsoft Teams for Education, Frontline and Government
Finally, Microsoft has introduced a host of new features for specific verticals.
In the Education space, users can now access an Education Policy Assistant, which helps teams easily apply unique policies to their Teams solution for a safer learning space. The wizard enables IT administrators to apply the policies most relevant to students at the organization level. There is also support for custom policy sets.
Frontline workers now have access to a task posting feature in Teams, which allows for the creation of tasks that can be posted to different locations. For example, a national retailer could create a series of tasks to help employees reopen their stores safely, and then attach the relevant documents to help them with the next steps. Managers can assign individual subtasks to certain employees.
The @Mentioning feature is now also available at the workgroup level in Teams, helping frontline workers who might not know the name of every shift worker.
In the government environment, Microsoft has deployed a range of generally available features that are already available to Microsoft business customers, including:
- Fashion set: A unique meeting experience that transports users to shared virtual environments in a video meeting using smart avatar creation.
- Multi-window chat: Users can now move individual Teams chat conversations into separate windows to make it easier to track conversations.
- Multi-window call and meeting: Multi-window experiences will allow users to view meeting and calling experiences in separate windows while optimizing their workflow.
- Meeting recordings saved to SharePoint and OneDrive: Government users can now save meeting recordings from Microsoft Teams to SharePoint and OneDrive.
- Simplified management: Users can quickly manage channel notification settings and channels with fly-out design. Users can turn activity on or off completely with one click or set custom notifications.
- Targeted communications: This feature allows team members to send messages to everyone with the same role in unison, just by mentioning the role name with the @ symbol.
What’s the most exciting update for your team this month? Be sure to come back for more information on the latest features in Microsoft Teams.