Microsoft Teams is now three years old, and Microsoft is announcing a trio of major features to celebrate. The workplace chat app will receive real-time noise suppression, raise hand functionality, and offline/low bandwidth mode within the next year.
The first feature is probably the stand-out one here. From Microsoft's description, it appears to cut out background sounds for other people in your call. Toggling the setting on should remove annoying keyboard clacks, fans, and background chatter.
Meanwhile, the raise hand feature gives a visual signal when you want to talk. In Microsoft's example, that takes the form of a little hand emoji next to your name. The idea is to save you from an arm ache without being overly obnoxious or interrupting the flow of conversation.
The final and most practical of the three lets you read and type responses to chat messages even when you don't have a connection. That should prove particularly useful when traveling, as it'll reduce the setbacks when your connection goes in and out.
On top of these three, Microsoft announced a host of more niche additions:
- “Industrial workers need to communicate and collaborate effectively while staying safe. Through a new integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted devices, Firstline Workers will be able to access information and communicate hands-free with remote experts from their job site.
- Conducting B2C virtual appointments is a common requirement for situations like healthcare patient visits, client meetings, or job candidate interviews. Announced earlier this month, the Bookings app in Teams makes it easy to schedule, manage, and conduct virtual appointments.
- Teams will soon enable you to pop out chats into a separate window to help you streamline your workflow and move more easily between ongoing conversations.
- We are also expanding the Teams devices ecosystem, with new devices certified for Teams. The Yealink VC210, now generally available, is the first collaboration bar certified for Teams, and brings together speakers, microphones, a camera, and a native Teams experience to deliver a meeting experience for smaller conference rooms that is simple to install and easy to manage. In addition, the Bose Noise Cancelling headphone 700 UC is available for purchase in late spring.”
All of these additions should help bolster Microsoft Teams' userbase even further as millions work from home due to COVID-19. The company announced 12 million spike in daily active users in the past week, up to 44 million. The boost has led to a total of 900 million meeting minutes per day, which explains why it had to tone down its video call quality.
You can read more about the latest statistics and changes on the Microsoft blog.