Microsoft is marking the third anniversary of Teams by adding numerous new features to what it calls a hub for teamwork.
“I’m really inspired by the ways in which organizations across the world are using Teams to transform the way they work,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro said in a virtual press briefing. “Looking back over the past three years, it’s really incredible to see how far Teams has come.”
Microsoft launched Teams in 2017 as a chat-based workspace, but it has since evolved into what Spataro calls “a hub for teamwork,” a sort of collaboration-based replacement for Microsoft Outlook. “You can chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in place,” Spataro noted.
Team has also evolved to meet the needs of the 2+ billion firstline works in the world, with what Spataro says are “purpose-built capabilities for industry-specific scenarios” such as patient care coordination for healthcare teams. That’s proven to be particularly useful given the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re currently dealing with.
Microsoft said a week ago that Teams had over 32 million active users across over 650 organizations with 10,000 or more employees. And 93 of the Fortune 100 are using Teams. “To be clear, these are people taking intentional actions in the app,” Spataro said, referencing competitor claims question active users. These users are “sending chats, starting meetings, or editing a file.”
But things have changed a lot in just the past week because of the COVID-19 outbreak: the number of active Teams users has grown by 12 million to 44 million daily users around the world. And there are now 20 Microsoft customers with over 100,000 users, compared to 14 a week earlier.
Today, Microsoft is also announcing new Teams capabilities that will become available throughout 2020. They include:
Real-time noise suppression. This feature minimizes background noises from a vacuum cleaner to loud typing on PC keyboards.
Raise hand. This new feature allows remote workers to send a visual signal when they have something to say, without being distracting.
RealWear headset integration. Teams now integrates with this Android-based Augmented Reality (AR) headset so that firstline workers can communicate and collaborate using hands-free with remote experts.
Bookings app in Teams. Microsoft’s Bookings app is now available in Teams, making it easy to schedule, manage, and conduct online meetings with individual inside and outside your organization.
Pop-out chats. Coming soon, chats can appear in separate pop-out windows so you can move more easily between different conversations.
Offline and low-bandwidth support. Teams will allow you to access your chats and write responses even when you’re offline.
New Teams-compatible devices. New partner devices have been certified for use with Teams, including the Yealink VC210, which provides a meeting experience for smaller conference rooms, and the Bose Noise Cancelling headphone 700 UC, which will be available for purchase in “late spring.”
Microsoft 365 Business Voice. This new offering for small- and-midsized businesses in the U.S. will transform Teams into complete phone system, Microsoft says.
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