Microsoft reimagines virtual collaboration with new Teams features for the future of work and education
Microsoft today announced a set of new features in Microsoft Teams that make virtual interactions more organic and engaging, supporting the global shift into a more hybrid model of work, learning and life.
With the new Microsoft Teams features, users can enjoy greater connectivity, reduced meeting fatigue and more inclusive meetings, all while saving time. These features — including together mode, video filters, live reactions, touchless meeting experiences and more — start rolling out in preview today and will be fully available later this year.
“Over the last few months, we have worked with experts across virtual reality, AI, and productivity research to better understand the future of work. These findings, published here, have been useful in guiding us to design these new features. Our research has shown that many of us feel less connected since moving to remote work, hence we want to bring a more human element into online meetings. We also want to streamline their experiences across apps and devices, with technology like AI to save time and improve overall well-being, which is of highest importance during this time,” said Rosalind Quek, General Manager, Modern Work, Asia Solution Sales at Microsoft Asia.
Enhancing connection between users and reducing meeting fatigue
Together mode: Microsoft Teams will now have a new meeting experience that uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like they are in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class. The mode makes meetings more engaging, and helps users pick up on non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction. Together Mode with auditorium view is rolling out now and will be generally available in August.
- Dynamic View: Building on the meetings enhancements announced last month, the dynamic view allows users to personalize the view to suit their preferences and needs. This includes the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side.
- Video filters: Before joining a meeting, users can now use filters to adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera to customize their appearances.
- Reflect messaging extension: Employee well-being is critical in ensuring productivity — this new feature allows managers, leaders and teachers to easily check in on how their teams or students are feeling through questions in an online poll. This will be available in the coming weeks.
Making meetings more inclusive, engaging and effective for teams and students
Live reactions: Users can now react during meetings using emojis, supplementing non-verbal cues that can be difficult to notice in online meetings. Microsoft is also bringing PowerPoint Live Presentations to Teams in the future, enabling more audience engagement.
- Chat bubbles: The Chat feature has become a lively space for idea sharing without interrupting meeting flow. Chat bubbles allow all chats sent during a Microsoft Teams meeting to appear on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.
- Speaker attribution and translation: With speaker attribution, everyone knows who is speaking. Live transcripts and translations, available later this year, provide a way to follow what has been said in more than one language.
- Interactive meetings for more than 1000 participants: Microsoft Teams meetings can now support 1,000 participants, and up to 20,000 participants to watch a presentation or discussion.
- Microsoft Whiteboard updates: Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams will soon be updated with new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag-and-drop capabilities. These will enable team members without access to a touchscreen to participate in whiteboarding sessions.
Helping users streamline their work and save time
- Tasks app: Tasks app in Microsoft Teams provides a new unified view of tasks across Microsoft To Do, Planner and Outlook, whether a user is on desktop, web or mobile.
- Suggested replies: Microsoft Teams chats will now include suggested replies, using assistive AI to create short responses based on the context of the previous message. This feature will roll out this month.
- Touchless meeting experiences: As some people return to physical workspaces, touchless meeting experiences in shared spaces are more important than ever. Microsoft Teams now allows people to join meetings and share content to meeting room devices from their own mobile device or PC, with the same capabilities available on Surface Hub later this year. The Teams mobile app will also include a new room remote, with additional meeting controls, and voice commands to join and leave a meeting or call someone from their address book. Another experience will allow users to wirelessly cast to any Teams Room, collaboration bar or Surface Hub device, enabling seamless ad-hoc and in-person collaboration for people in a shared space.