Microsoft Announces New Teams Features, Including Smart Displays

Posted on July 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 24 Comments

Microsoft is announcing a huge list of new features that are coming to Teams in the coming weeks and months, including a new line of hardware displays.

“Today we’re announcing a set of new features in Microsoft Teams that make virtual interactions more natural, more engaging, and ultimately, more human,” the Microsoft announcement notes. “These features offer three key benefits for people at work and in education. First, they help you feel more connected with your team and reduce meeting fatigue. Second, they make meetings more inclusive and engaging. And third, they help streamline your work and save time. It’s all about enabling people everywhere to collaborate, to stay connected, and to discover new ways to be productive from anywhere.”

Here’s what the firm announced.

Together mode. This new meeting experience uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class, Microsoft says. Together Mode with auditorium view is rolling out now and will be generally available in August.

Dynamic view. In a bid to make traditional video meetings more engaging, Dynamic view provides a set of enhancements to improve how you see shared content and other participants in a meeting.

Video filters. As with popular mobile photo apps, you can use filters in Teams to do things like adjust lighting levels and soften the camera focus.

Reflect messaging extension. The new Reflect messaging extension gives managers, leaders, and teachers an easy way to check in with how their team or students are feeling. The extension also provides suggested check-in questions and the ability to add custom questions that team members can respond to in a poll-like experience which can be made anonymous. It will be available in the coming weeks.

Live reactions. Soon, you will be able to react during a meeting using emojis. This is a shared feature with PowerPoint Live Presentations, and Microsoft is also bringing PowerPoint Live Presentations to Teams in the future.

Chat bubbles. Today, you need to manually open a chat window to view chats. But Teams will soon surface chats on the screens of all meeting participants, making them more central to the conversation.

Speaker attribution and translation for live captions and transcripts. Teams will soon add speaker attribution to live captions so that everyone knows who is speaking. And Live transcripts is coming later this year, along with the ability to translate live captions into subtitles so you can follow along in a language other than the one being spoken.

Over 1000 participants in interactive meetings. Teams meetings will soon support up to 1,000 participants in interactive meetings, and up to 20,000 participants for non-interactive meetings like presentations.

Microsoft Whiteboard updates. Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with new features like faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities.

Tasks app. The Task app in Teams is rolling out this month, providing a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Outlook, and Planner.

Suggested replies.  Suggested replies in Teams chat uses assistive AI to create short responses based on the context of the previous message.

Cortana in Teams. Coming soon to Teams on mobile, Cortana uses AI and the Microsoft Graph to provide voice assistance. You will be able to ask Cortana to make a call, join a meeting, send chat messages, share files, and more.

Microsoft Teams displays. Microsoft is introducing the Teams display, a new family of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana. “With natural language, users can ask Cortana to effortlessly join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat, and more,” Microsoft says. The Microsoft Teams displays will provide a camera shutter and microphone mute switch, and Lenovo will be first to market with its ThinkSmart View.

Touchless meeting experiences. A new room remote in the Teams mobile app will provide new meeting controls like the ability to leave a meeting, mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, and turn cameras on and off. And new voice commands will be enabled for Microsoft Teams Room devices later this year that allow in-room participants to join and leave a meeting and add a participant or phone number to a meeting.


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