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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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Microsoft Announces New Teams Features, Including Smart Displays”

  1. nbplopes

    That is all fine and dandy. But in the iPad we cannot even upload or delete files. Amongst so many other things. It looks like a totally unfinished product. Quite amateurish actually.

    On the other hand ... Slack works the same across all platforms. In other words ... looks and feels like a Professional implementation.

    Jumping from feature drop to feature drop, from unfinished features to more unfinished features .... feature list check, check, check ... we do it all ... unfinished check, unfinished check, unfinished check ... next version we will finish something ... if ever.

    Well I’m a finished user unless someone pays me to use it in which case ... who cares.

    • behindmyscreen

      In reply to nbplopes:

      It looks like you just can use team correctly. There’s no lack of file upload for Teams unless the team owner set up permissions in such a way as to prevent you from uploading files.

      • nbplopes

        In reply to behindmyscreen:

        Man, I am the admin of the system. The upload button one day is there and the other is not ... It’s nothing to do with permissions. It’s just badly implemented. I’m talking abou the iOS version here.

        I can use One Drive to get files there though bu than there are other bugs to deal with.

        We have passed on this one. That is all.

  2. Usman

    The teams displays are a replacement for office phones, it's a niche market for businesses.

    Instead of a desk phone, with handset, these replace it with a display and a microphone. The scenario is that the PC isn't on and the person on the desk can still take a call. It's a replacement for lync/Skype for business physical phones.

  3. ricadamssg

    Perhaps the Microsoft Teams display could be offered as an iOS or Android app. This could be a useful way to repurpose an old iPad... in fact, I have an old Surface RT sitting around doing nothing that could be put to effective use...

  4. madthinus

    These type of devices is not new. We have something similar for our meeting rooms and our executive offices. They have some advantages. Better webcams and microphone integration. Also, they make it possible for them to attend a call and working on their laptop privately. There have been similar Skype for Business devices, these are just their replacements.

    They also free you from using headsets. They also tend to just work, no fiddling, no settings and they integrate into Office 365 for scheduling.

  5. bluvg

    Some really great stuff ("Together Mode" looks very interesting), but I really wish they'd resolve some of the fundamentals first:

    • Performance (video + screen sharing doesn't bring a modern laptop to its knees)
    • Chat security: messages go to everyone invited to--and even uninvited from--a meeting, whether they are present or not
    • etc.
  6. Vladimir Carli

    These sound as important improvements. However, what Microsoft needs to solve is to make it easy to use when you need to communicate outside your team, especially when they don’t have a Microsoft account. Maybe Microsoft hopes we are going to buy a m365 seat whenever we have to deal with a consultant that works with us a few hours, but that doesn’t happen, we just switch to other software that allows that

  7. mclark2112

    Is this the future of the desk phone?

  8. will

    How about moving away from Electron and into a native client?? This has been in the works but no ETA or updates. I would really like to see Teams update the UI to something a little more user friendly vs it just being so boxy and just frustrating at times.

    Say what you want about Zoom, but people use it ALOT because it is simple to navigate and understand. Not that Teams should look like Zoom, but for all the time and resources Microsoft has Teams could use a visual refresh to feel modern.

  9. anton1900

    Microsoft Teams displays = Fisher Price Toys.

  10. SvenJ

    "users can ask Cortana to effortlessly join and present in meetings". Oh cool, we can get Cortana to present in meetings?

    Seriously, do schools (students) and businesses (employees) really want another screen just to interact with TEAMS?

  11. scj123

    I am presuming this will follow the usual Microsoft plan for Cortana based products

    Hype up the product before release

    Release it only in the US

    Spend the first year watching other companies make better versions

    Release in the rest of the world

    Spend the second year watching other companies making much better versions

    Realize this isn't selling very well anymore and cancel it and move on to something else

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