Microsoft Announces New Teams Features

Posted on August 3, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 15 Comments

Today, Microsoft announced a set of new features it will add to Team in the current weeks, including one that scales meeting to 20,000 participants.

“There is a broad spectrum of needs that are required to connect employees from the worksite to the main office to the home office, across locations and time zones,” Microsoft’s Nicole Herskowitz writes.  “The spectrum starts with the most basic 1:1 meetings and calls with colleagues, to larger group meetings, all the way to large events and conferences … At the other end of the spectrum, Teams modernizes 1:1 calling with a cloud-based phone system in the same Teams app that keeps you in the communications flow.”

Here are the new features that Microsoft announced:

Up to 20,000 participants in Teams meetings. Microsoft limits the size of interactive meetings to 1,000 participants, with a seamless shift to a ‘view only’ mode after the limit is met, for up to 20,000 participants.

Add company branding. Soon, you will be able to add your company’s branding to meetings for a professional look and feel. This will start with branded meeting lobbies that will launch “in the coming months” and will extend to branding the core meeting experience after that. The bad news? This feature requires an Advanced Communications plan, which can be added to any Microsoft 365 or Office 365 paid subscription. You’ll be able to trial this plan in mid-August.

Teams Calling. This new cloud-based phone system helps employees who use phone numbers to make and receive calls with customers, partners, and vendors, whether they are in the office, working from home, or some combination of the two.

Teams Displays. Previously announced, these new solutions offer “a fresh perspective on what a phone could be.” These are dedicated Teams devices with ambient touch screens, high-quality calling and video, and hands-free experiences powered by Cortana.

Extended support for Skype for Business (3PIP) phones beyond 2023. Customers can continue to use existing Skype for Business phones as they move to Teams, Microsoft says, and it will support core calling features on SIP phones from Cisco, Yealink, Polycom, and others with Teams. Support for SIP phones will be available in the first half of 2021.

Microsoft Teams phones. A new lineup of Microsoft Teams phones with physical buttons, high-quality audio, and core calling features are coming at affordable prices. “These phones are designed for common areas and basic information worker scenarios, with options available from AudioCodes, Poly, Yealink starting early 2021,” Microsoft says. “We are also expanding our portfolio to deliver new USB peripherals that have dial pads and a modern Teams user interface for heavy call users. These USB phones work out of the box, featuring a Teams button, and will connect to both a PC and Mac to bring a high-quality Teams audio experience. These will be available in late 2020 and the first of which will be shipped with Yealink.”

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