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At its Ignite event on 22 September 2020, Microsoft revealed a host of updates to Microsoft Teams and made several meeting room device announcements.
For meetings, updates include:
Together Mode Enhancements
Together mode uses AI segmentation technology to place each meeting participant in a shared virtual background rather than in their own windows, will offer a selection of scenes beyond the basic auditorium-style seating available since the feature’s August introduction. Additional Together mode background options, selectable by the meeting presenter, will include more auditorium options, conference rooms, and coffee shops. These will be available later this year. In addition, Together mode will automatically scale and center meeting participants in their virtual seats, regardless of how far or close they are to their cameras, according to Microsoft.
This feature, due for availability next month, will allow organizers to break video meeting participants into smaller discussion groups. Presenters can hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all attendees, and return all participants to the main meeting.
Increased Team Size
Later this year, individual teams will support up to 25,000 members, though there is no limit to the number of people in a Teams tenant, according to Microsoft
Available now, team templates are a predefined set of channels, tabs, apps, and settings that can be customized based on industry or role. For example, these templates can be used for project management or employee onboarding, and Firstline Worker templates can use them for things like organizing a store or collaborating with retail managers.
Custom Meeting Layouts
Coming later this year, meeting presenters can customize the layout of their meetings, which will leverage the same AI segmentation technology for background blur and Together mode. One way they can customize the meeting is by having a presenter appear in the foreground of a PowerPoint presentation, Microsoft said.
Following a Teams meeting, attendees will soon receive a recap with the meeting recording, a transcript, share files, and chat history. They’ll also have access to the recap through the Outlook calendar and to the meeting recordings in Microsoft SharePoint, where they’ll auto-save as files, according to Microsoft.
Streamlined Calling Enhancements
Microsoft made several announcements related to Teams Calling. Coming later this year, an enhanced Calling experience will give a single view that shows contacts, voicemail, and calling history. A new Collaborative Calling feature allows an enterprise to connect a Call Queue to a Teams channel, which can be used for things like IT help desks or HR hotlines. Meeting features like transcription, live captions, and recording will also be available for 1-on-1 calls, Microsoft said. Lastly for Calling devices, Microsoft has expanded its portfolio with USB peripherals with dial pads and Teams interface and is working with AudioCodes, Poly, and Yealink to develop a line of Teams phones.
Home Site App
Users can now directly access SharePoint from inside Teams through a home site app. An organization will be able to customize the app name and icon, as well as pin it to the app bar in Teams, according to Microsoft.
Updates For Firstline Worker Deployments
Teams Walkie Talkie, which provides push-to-talk capability for firstline workers, is now available for Android devices. Also, now available is the integration with RealWear head-mounted devices. For first line managers, a new virtual assistant will issue conflict alerts during the scheduling or change request approval processes, Microsoft said.
Teams managers will have access to Workplace Analytics starting in October; this will provide them details on employees’ after-hour collaborations, meeting effectiveness, and "focus time."
Article By: Ryan Daily, nojitter
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