Microsoft Teams underpins a lot of what Microsoft wants to do in enterprise these days, at least from a productivity standpoint. It is the core of Microsoft 365 that brings communication and collaboration across an organization. At Ignite today, Microsoft is announcing a bunch of changes for Teams.
Before jumping into the new features, Microsoft took time to talk about the success of Teams. The company says the app now has over 270 million monthly active users. It is worth remembering that before the pandemic in 2020, Teams had around 15 million monthly users. Many apps benefitted from the restructuring of the workplace brought on by the pandemic, but few as much as Teams.
That is why Microsoft has been throwing features at Teams over the last two years. How many features? Well, 450 new capabilities have come to the app in the last year!
There is no stop in sight, with Ignite showcasing a slew of new Teams tools.
Microsoft Teams Premium is a new version of the platform that Microsoft says will provide AI-driven performance that acts like a virtual assistant during a meeting. This is known as Intelligent Recap and it will generate tasks, create new meeting chapters, and take personalized highlights from recordings. Users can also access live translations for captions for over 40 languages. Furthermore, Teams Premium adds the following meetings tools:
- “New meeting guides that automatically set up the right meeting options.
- Upleveled safeguards for confidential information with advanced meeting protection, including watermarking and sensitivity labels.
- Friction-free Virtual Appointments for personalized business-to-consumer engagements.
- The ability to host high-quality webinars using advanced functionality to drive deeper engagement and generate new leads.”
Following a preview that started last month, Excel Live in Microsoft Teams will roll out to all users in November. Thanks to this integration, users have tools to navigate spreadsheets and remain in meetings on Teams. Excel Live presentations in Microsoft Teams are available via “Share” and then selecting “Excel Live”. Here Teams highlights spreadsheet files available or allows access to OneDrive to pull up files from storage.
Together Mode, Chat, and Channels
Microsoft is also making improvements to Together Mode, allowing meeting admins and hosts to assign seats to participants through the view mode. This view can also now be pinned to the meeting stage so everyone can see the group.
In Teams channels, it is now easier to collaborate on recent posts so top users can see the latest conversations, and participate in discussions, while they are also customizable. As for Teams Chat, users can now get AI-recommended replies, use the @ mentions ability in groups, and access over 800 reaction emojis.
Furthermore, Teams Chat also now supports work hours and schedules, showing when participants are “at work”.
Microsoft is also expanding the Loop feature it debuted last year. Now, the company is launching the Loop app to manage and sync components, workspaces, and pages across Microsoft 365 applications. This tool is debuting in preview before a wider rollout.
Also related to Loop, Microsoft says the tools of the feature will also now be available in Microsoft Word, Outlook for Windows, and Whiteboard. Again, this will help with more seamless syncing across Microsoft 365 apps.
Microsoft Editor taps into Loop components via ContextIQ, intelligence that automatically works across Microsoft apps. Lastly, Loop also brings Dynamics 365 into Teams, allowing users to add a component to a Dynamic 365 record in a Teams chat.