Microsoft Teams Launches New Features to Better Connect Remote Workers

Posted by Cristina Lucas on Aug 19, 2020 1:43:03 PM

With many organizations across Canada turning to long-term remote work strategies, the key to success is being technologically prepared. 

Communication and collaboration platforms are a key element of the transition to work-from-home. They empower your business to continue running efficiently, productively and securely in an entirely virtual environment.

Your business will greatly benefit from this increased collaboration between remote employees. In fact, employees who work from home and use communication tools will be better at creative problem solving, more engaged with their peers and more loyal to your brand - this results in the production of high-quality work. 

One technology that can help your business do this is Microsoft Teams, which has announced it will launch 11 new features over the next few months. Before we look at how those features might benefit your remote team, let’s first take a look at what Microsoft Teams is.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is an online communication and collaboration tool that has been designed specifically to bring remote workers together in one centralized online space. By providing a space for your remote employees to collaborate, Microsoft Teams enhances teamwork.

Microsoft Teams can provide your remote workers with functionalities such as:

  • Chat messaging between groups within your organization, as well as one-on-one chat.
  • Secure document collaboration and sharing. 
  • Voice, video calls and meetings between both your internal and external contacts. 

What are the new features being launched on Microsoft Teams?

To continue enhancing the processes of organizations that use remote workforce models, Microsoft Teams has announced it will launch a range of new features over the next few months. These features will ensure your remote workers are able to collaborate and work seamlessly together, even from different locations. 

Here are the 11 new features, in no particular order, that are being launched by Microsoft Teams:

#1 - Microsoft Teams Together mode

Together mode uses artificial intelligence (AI) segmentation technology to place the head and shoulders of participants side by side in a virtual environment. By moving away from the traditional box view where participants are separated, this new feature aims to bring your remote team together.

The feature brings your remote employees together in a variety of different rooms, such as an auditorium, meeting room or coffee bar. Microsoft Teams said it will launch new rooms in the future. 

#2 - Large gallery view

Microsoft Teams has said it will be increasing the number of video call participants that can be seen on one screen when in the gallery view option. In August, meeting participants will be able to view up to 49 video feeds when in gallery view.

#3 - Microsoft Teams Dynamic View

Dynamic View uses AI technology to dynamically personalize each individual user's view to suit their unique preferences and needs. The feature offers dynamic layouts and sizing of different video feeds to maximise screen use and optimize the layout for those on video.

It also offers new functionality that makes meetings more seamless, such as a yellow box around a participant raising their hand to talk or chat bubbles appearing over video when someone sends a message.

#4 - Video improvement filters

Do you have lighting that’s not ideal in your home office? Microsoft Teams has announced a new feature that solves those issues. With video filters, participants can customize their appearance by changing lighting levels or softening the focus of their camera before they enter a meeting.

#5 - Live captions with speaker attribution

Live transcription is an existing feature for Microsoft Teams, but it previously did not show who was talking with each sentence. Live captions will now show the name of the speaker as speech is transcribed onto the screen.

#6 - Live transcript during meetings

Microsoft Teams will now offer a live transcription of everything that’s being said in the meeting. The live transcription feature will appear to the right of the videos and will record everything that’s said during a meeting, and who said it. This transcription can be reviewed after a meeting.

#7 - Live reactions during team meetings

Like something you heard in a meeting? Soon you will be able to send live reactions during a meeting using emojis that will appear to all participants. This allows your team to provide instant feedback to the meeting host or presenter.

#8 - Increased support for the number of users in Team Meetings

This feature has not been launched just yet, but Microsoft recently increased the number of users it can support in team meetings from 250 to 300 active participants. The company intends to move up to 1,000 in the future. 

#9 - New Whiteboard features

The Whiteboard tools in Microsoft Teams will soon be updated with new features such as sticky notes, text, drag and drop capabilities and faster loading times. This is to improve the usability for team members that don’t have access to a touchscreen.

#10 - Suggested replies in the Microsoft Teams mobile app

Suggested replies will be coming to the Microsoft Teams mobile app later this year. This feature will provide users with three related options for select messages that can be addressed with a short response. This means users will be able to quickly respond to a message by simply tapping a suggested reply. 

#11 - A new polling app in channels, named Reflect      

Last but not least, Microsoft Teams is also launching Reflect. This extension will make it easier for managers and team leaders to track their teams’ performance, the status of a project and much more. Custom questions can be added to a poll, making it easier and more seamless to check in with your remote team. 

Want to learn more about how Microsoft Teams can enhance your company’s remote workforce, or simply want to find out how the tool can be integrated into your current technologies and processes? Contact the Genesis Integration team of audio visual experts today. We would love to help. 

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Tags: Tips For Remote Working


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