Microsoft Teams is Getting Hybrid Work Updates

Posted on March 16, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365 with 2 Comments

Five years into the Microsoft Teams era, Microsoft is adapting this versatile product to better fit into the intra/post-pandemic world of hybrid work.

“Today, more than 270 million people rely on Teams for hybrid work,” Microsoft vice president Nicole Herskowitz explains. “Over 50 percent of organizations have standardized on Teams, according to a recent Morgan Stanley chief information officer (CIO) survey. With the shift from remote to hybrid work, active Teams Rooms devices more than doubled year over year, and Teams Phone now has nearly 80 million active users. From the office to the frontline worker, Teams supports every employee. In fact, usage of Teams by frontline workers has doubled year over year.”

Here’s what’s changing.

In-person and virtual RSVP in Outlook. Outlook will soon allow meeting attendees to RSVP for in-person or virtual attendance. These options will be available in public preview in Outlook on the web in the second quarter of 2022, Microsoft says.

Teams Rooms companion device experience improvements. Today, when you join a meeting in Teams Rooms with a personal device, your audio is automatically turned off. But with a coming update, you’ll be prompted to turn your laptop video on so you can be seen by remote participants, while that video will be hidden on the screen in the room and from those joining from companion devices in the room. These updates will be generally available in the second quarter of 2022.

Front row for Teams Rooms. This new meeting layout is designed for hybrid meetings. It puts the video gallery on the bottom of the screen for more natural face-to-face interactions with remote colleagues, while the current speaker or their content is displayed on top alongside additional meeting information and chat, raised hands, and live reactions. Front row is now available in preview, with more features coming later this year.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera. The new Smart Camera for the Surface Hub 2S aims to improve the meeting experience for all participants thanks to automatic framing technology and other AI-powered features.

New touch-enabled display solutions for Teams Rooms. Neat and Yealink will soon have new touch-enabled displays certified for Teams Rooms on Android, and they will be available in the second quarter of 2022. “These devices combine audio, video, touch display, and compute in a single unit—allowing for easy deployment and enhanced collaboration experiences,” Microsoft notes.

PowerPoint improvements. Announced in September 2021, cameo for PowerPoint in Teams is now available, as is the recently announced PowerPoint recording studio. But Microsoft is now announcing that it is bringing cameo and recording studio together. “You’ll now be able to seamlessly create and produce your presentations, decide how and where you want your video to appear on your slides with cameo, and then record yourself speaking to any slide with recording studio,” the software giant explains. “When it’s time to deliver your message, share your presentation with PowerPoint Live in Teams, whether or not you’re attending the meeting.” This combined experience will be available in the second quarter of 2022.

Speaker coach in Microsoft Teams. Coming in the second quarter of 2022, Speaker coach in Microsoft Teams uses AI to privately provide you with guidance on your presentation pace, and it will notify you if you are interrupting someone and remind you to check in with your audience.

There is a lot more. Check out the original post for the full rundown.

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Comments (2)

2 responses to “Microsoft Teams is Getting Hybrid Work Updates”

  1. Craig Hinners

    I was hoping to see that Teams would make it easier to switch between Teams that you’re a member of via your (Azure) account and the that you’re a member of via your (MSA) personal account. They recently announced improvements for switching between these in other Office apps. I’m on Teams under both of my addresses and switching between them is kind of a cluster depending on which Teams platform I’m using. I hear other members of my Teams complaining about this, too.

    This same thing is an issue for One Drive, too. Why on earth I need two One Drive processes in the Notification Area, each doing the exact same damn thing but just syncing different folders to different places and different backends, I’ll never figure out.

    Oh well, maybe next time.

  2. bluvg

    Not sure if this is a leak, but in the blog post under the section on Loop components in email, it looks like there is a new version of Outlook shown in the animated .gif demo. Maybe it's just a different view, or I've been out of the, er, loop, but that looks a little bit different than any version of Outlook for Desktop I've seen.