This year has seen Microsoft Teams go from a useful tool for optimising your communications and workloads, to an absolute essential.
And because of this, the investment and development that Microsoft has put into the platform over the course of 2020 has been phenomenal.
Earlier in the year, we saw two years’ worth of digital transformation happen in two months. And April’s figure of 75 million daily Teams users has now risen to 115 million users.
With the development, we’ve seen new features, increased ease of use and further integration with Power Apps and Power BI.
And having lived a predominantly online life for the past 12 months, we’ve learnt a lot too. For this reason, we can expect to see more well-being-based features to be added over the course of 2021 such as Headspace.
But what about Teams Meetings? There have been so many updates that we’re seeing new features all the time. Not just for helping us during the pandemic but with the foresight to help us going forwards too.
Even though the vaccine is being rolled out, social distancing will be with us for while over 2021. And with many – if not most – employers now looking at flexible working, we can expect many of the features to play a major role in enabling the future of business. Not only that, but in case there’s another pandemic, the platform is already equipped with everything you need to carry on working seamlessly.
So, let’s look at the latest features, released over the end of 2020.
Teams Meetings Updates and Latest Features
Together Mode Scenes
This is a really nice update for enhancing your online experience. Whether you’re in a meeting or teaching a class, the scenes allow everyone to ‘sit together’ for a more inclusive experience. There are different scenes available (for four people upwards) allowing you to transport your team to a variety of settings that can help set the tone and create the experience for your meeting, whether it be an auditorium, a conference room, or a coffee shop!
Long awaited, breakout rooms are here! While in a larger meeting, seminar, workshop or at a live event, breakout rooms mean you can jump out of the wider call, chat with your smaller group and then jump back into the meeting.
Ideal for brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions, presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms, then bring everybody back into the main meeting.
So many Teams Meetings involve presentations – especially with the rise of PowerPoint Presentation Parties! With the introduction of Custom Layouts at the end of 2020, presenters can choose how content is displayed for a more dynamic experience.
For example, when a presenter is showing a PowerPoint slide, participants will be able to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the slide they’re showing – giving a much more integrated feel between the presenter and the presentation.
Teams Meetings could already be recorded so anyone who wasn’t able to make an important meeting, could easily recap via a recording. However, with Meeting Recaps, this is much easier.
Now, you can get a recap with the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files and more in the Details tab for each meeting. Meeting Recaps will also be available in the meeting event in your Outlook Calendar for ease of access.
Subtitles as you speak! Follow along with what has been said and who said it while the meeting is in progress. When used, the transcript file is automatically saved in the chat tab following on from that meeting. This is perfect for anyone who is hard of hearing, is in a noisy environment or who would just prefer to have subtitles on for ease of clarification.
For more structured meetings, such as customer webinars, meeting organisers can use Event Registration with automated emails, to make it easier to manage attendance.
And after the meeting, you’ll be able to view a detailed report dashboard to help you understand attendee engagement.
Developers can also use attendee reporting and scheduling APIs to bring this data into their apps for CRM, marketing automation and more.
Large Meetings Support and Live Events
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen over 2020 is the increase in online events. This has actually made access to these sorts of events a lot easier – and more cost and time effective. So, definitely a positive outcome for 2020.
In support of this, Teams meetings can now hold up to 1,000 participants for full meetings. In addition, 20,000 participants can attend a view-only meeting experience that includes the ability to use live captions.
These new capabilities will be available to customers with the new Advanced Communications plan.
Room remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms
The Room Remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms (available via the Teams mobile app), provides meeting device controls, including the ability to join and leave the meeting, mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume and turn cameras on and off.
Cortana voice assistance for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows is also now available, allowing in-room participants to manage select controls using spoken commands.
In addition, support for Teams casting for Microsoft Teams Rooms now enables ad-hoc in-person collaboration for people in a shared space.
Find Out More
You can also read more about our Teams Express services for Teams Voice.