Microsoft Teams was introduced at an event in late 2016, but was not officially launched until March, 2017. Indeed, the workplace chat and management service is celebrating its first birthday. Microsoft is in giving mood so Teams users are getting plenty of new features.

The latest update for Microsoft Teams has added important new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. Microsoft has also given an update on the expansion of the service over the last year.

In a blog post, the company says Teams is now being used by over 200,000 organizations. Microsoft is pushing Teams as it core professional collaboration service. The company announced last year Skype for Business will fold into Microsoft Teams to form a single service.

The integration of the two services is happening in stages and will help Microsoft maintain its dominant position in the workplace chat market.

Bringing more AI capabilities will certainly help expand user interest in Teams. The first birthday update adds some very interest AI-powered features:

  • Cloud recording—Will provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding, enabling all team members the ability to read captions, search within the conversation, and playback all or part of the meeting. In the future, it will also include facial recognition, so remarks can be attributed to specific meeting attendees.
  • Inline message translation—People who speak different languages will be able to fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.
  • Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices—Will enable you to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.
  • Background blur on video—The ability to blur your background during video calls will allow other meeting attendees to focus on you, not what’s behind you.
  • Proximity detection for Teams Meetings—This feature will make it easy for you to discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.
  • Mobile sharing in meetings—Meeting attendees will be able to share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.”

Teams Expansion

The next phase of Microsoft Teams expansion involves device integration. Microsoft says it is working with major OEMs to bring Teams video conferencing systems to hardware. Expect to see a growing number of devices arrive with Teams installed as part of the software experience.