Microsoft Teams: New Updates and Features

Microsoft-Teams-New-Updates-EmpowerIT

Microsoft Teams has been instrumental to Australian businesses, and it’s easy to see why. Its cloud collaboration platform enables employees to remain connected with their co-workers from the safety of their own homes. Teams offer a wide range of communication options, including instant messaging, HD audio and video conferencing, VoIP phone calls, and virtual meetings. What’s more, Microsoft is constantly developing new capabilities to transform how the modern business operates. Here’s a roundup of the latest Microsoft Teams upgrades users can enjoy. 

Microsoft Teams 2.0

When Microsoft announced the release of Windows 11, they also stated that a new Microsoft Teams experience would be built into the OS. The latest version of the collaboration platform is dubbed Teams 2.0, designed to be more user-friendly and consumer-focused. Based on early reports, Teams 2.0 sports a minimalistic user interface with an activity feed, calendar, and chat functionality. 

One of the upgrades in Teams 2.0 is the ability to add quoted replies in a conversation. You can now retrieve relevant contextual information for participants in a channel. Any mentions of your name or any channel group you’re in pushes notifications to the activity feed, so you’re updated on the latest conversations. 

Calendars display any planned events and will most likely tie into your Microsoft 365 account to help you stay in sync with your team’s schedule. What’s more, Teams enables you to quickly invite external users to a call with a link.

Presenter mode

Presenter mode makes meetings more engaging for remote workers. With presenter mode, you can customise how you appear to the audience when delivering a presentation in Microsoft Teams. There are three different  presentation modes available for desktop users:   

  • Side-by-side mode shows the presenter’s video feed next to the shared content
  • Reporter mode displays shared content above the presenter’s shoulder like a reporter presenting the news 
  • Standout mode overlays the presenter’s video on top of a shared screen 

These modes help meeting participants understand what you’re discussing while providing face-to-face interaction with the team. 

Live captions and transcription

By leveraging natural language processing and machine learning technology, Microsoft Teams can detect what participants say in a meeting and who is speaking. Teams can then present verbal communication as live captions, which can be enabled through the More options menu in the meeting controls toolbar. According to Microsoft, the live caption feature can support up to 27 different language options, including English, Spanish, and Chinese. 

What’s more, you can activate a live transcription of someone’s speech during a meeting, along with accurate timestamps. Teams notifies participants about the meeting transcription, feeding it on the right-hand side of the screen. With live transcription, your staff won’t have to record minutes painstakingly and instead discuss fruitful ideas during a meeting. Both live captions and transcription are also particularly useful for those with difficulty hearing or limited language proficiency.

Call health 

Call health view provides users real-time insights into the quality of a Teams call or meeting. The feature analyses audio, video, networks to identify issues that may be disrupting your calls, such as packet loss, latency, and choppy frame rates. This enables remote workers to diagnose and troubleshoot issues as these occur so they can conduct meetings uninterrupted.  

Transfer calls between devices 

If you have Microsoft Teams installed on multiple devices, you can seamlessly switch between them even in the middle of a call. Open Teams on another device, and the app will prompt whether you want to transfer the call to your current device. This comes in handy if, for example, you need to change locations and want to keep the call going. Log in to your Teams’ account on both devices for this feature to work.  

Share-to-stage

Share-to-stage is an upcoming feature that allows users to share and interact with app content in a Teams meeting session. So far, the share-to-stage feature is compatible with whiteboard apps like MURAL, Miro, and Lucidspark. Participants can now brainstorm ideas by adding sticky notes, diagrams, and freehand drawings on a blank virtual canvas. This makes meetings feel more engaging, especially those who tend to work better using visuals to understand and convey ideas. 

Improved search

Another significant development is a faster and more accurate search experience in Teams. Traditionally, the Teams’ search results page would bring up a list of conversation threads and files with little context, making it difficult to pinpoint specific messages. However, Microsoft is developing AI-powered search functions that provide relevant and intuitive search results based on keywords, user engagement, topic conversations, and other factors. Find specific conversation threads in a meeting with the live transcription features.

Even with all these upgrades, Microsoft will likely release dozens of new features in the coming months to ensure Teams’ continued success. Empower IT can keep you informed if you want to stay up to date on these features. We’re also a Microsoft Certified Partner that can help you implement Teams and incorporate its newest features into your workflow. Call us today to get started