Microsoft Teams Celebrates First Anniversary with a Ton of New Features

Posted on March 12, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365 with 10 Comments

Microsoft today marked the first anniversary of the worldwide launch of Microsoft Teams, its team messaging and collaboration solution. But the software giant isn’t just celebrating: It’s also announcing some new features for Teams that will ship in the next few months.

“Microsoft is proud to share that 200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages are now using Teams,” a Microsoft representative told me. “That’s up from 125,000 in September and from 50,000 [a year ago]. And some big names like ConocoPhillips, NASCAR, Technicolor, RLH Corporation, and A.P. Moller–Maersk have all joined as Teams customers”

As Microsoft explains, Teams provides chat-based collaboration, meetings, and calling, and full enterprise voice features are on the horizon. The solution is powered by the Microsoft Graph and provides enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to meet the needs of even the biggest businesses.

And it’s a major success story.

Despite early concerns that it was simply building a Slack clone, Microsoft Teams quickly emerged the right product at the right time. It leverages Microsoft’s vaunted, enterprise-ready Office 365 infrastructure and integrates deeply with the software giant’s other productivity offerings.

As important, Teams has emerged as the most popular new Office solution in decades. There are now over 120 million active Microsoft Teams users, the company says. And Teams is such a success that Microsoft plans to replace Skype for Business with it.

It’s also getting better all the time. Teams added new features throughout the past year, including an app gallery, improved support for mobile and, most crucially, guest user access. Microsoft also announced that it would more fully integrate Teams with Surface Hub sometime in 2018.

And there’s a lot more coming this year, Microsoft says. Among the updates we can expect in the next few months are:

Enterprise-grade calling features. This includes consultative transfer, call delegation and federation, Microsoft says.

Direct Routing. This feature lets customers use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling. In fact, the enterprise can combine this feature or a Microsoft Calling Plan with Microsoft’s Phone System for Office 365 to achieve a full, Teams-based voice service.

Cloud recording. Teams will provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding so that team members can read captions, search conversations, and playback all or part of any meeting. In the future, Microsoft will also add facial recognition features so that remarks can be attributed to specific attendees.

In-line message translation. Now, people who speak different languages can communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.

Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices. Devices like IP phones and conference room devices, including Surface Hub, will let you control Teams by voice. You can make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams, Microsoft notes.

Background blur on video. Teams will optionally let meeting attendees blur their backgrounds during video calls so that other attendees can focus on you and not your environment.

Proximity detection for Teams Meetings. This feature helps users discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.

Mobile sharing in meetings. With this, attendees can share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.

All of these new capabilities will ship sometime in the second quarter of 2018, Microsoft says.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Microsoft Teams Celebrates First Anniversary with a Ton of New Features”

  1. Bart

    I am surprised Microsoft isn't replacing Skype with Microsoft Teams all together. Get rid of a well known, but tainted brand.

    In fact, couldn't Teams replace Facebook while we are at it? This platform is broken. People are "friends" with acquaintences/colleagues they hardly know, hence refrain from sharing personal info. Here comes Teams. The essence is in the name. You create Teams and know who you are sharing your (precious) info with.

    I know, Facebook won't roll over, but I think Microsoft could go a long way with this product.

    • wshwe

      In reply to Bart:

      LinkedIn is Microsoft's social play. I seriously doubt MS has any interest in directly challenging Facebook. Teams will remain enterprise focused.

      • Bart

        In reply to wshwe:

        Not sure LinkedIn is as social as you proclaim it to be. It would be unimaginable to share holiday photos on LinkedIn. This site is aimed at professionals after all. It is my go-to place to network online. Facebook doesn't even spring to mind. But on Microsoft Teams, a Team of your choice, it makes far more sense to share those same holiday photos.

        • RossNWirth

          In reply to Bart:

          I could see Teams replacing LinkedIn Groups - that aligns to your use case... But that could be completely back end wouldn't necessarily need to change the user experience for Groups.

          • Bart

            In reply to RossNWirth:

            LinkedIn is a professional network. Teams is a platform for messaging, sharing calendars, docs, photos, video call, etc. Basically things necessary within an enterprise, but could equally be used by you and your family. So, IMHO, Teams aligns much more to Facebook then LinkedIn.

  2. dontbe evil

    cool... we're loving teams as we ditched slack

  3. redstar92

    This and PowerBI have been their biggest recent success stories in enterprise space. Its no wonder considering that they are actually putting resources against these areas.

  4. Daekar

    Darn. That is sounding like a kick-butt service. I'm really glad to see MS firing on all cylinders on an important project like this.

  5. RR

    "Background blur" : remote workers rejoice! Enterprise grade video calling from your bathroom. But remember! Background noise cancellation is still in progress. :-)

  6. jullia_summers

    I have also recently ditched Slack. None of my employees liked it so I ended up cancelling it.

    Unfortunately, the majority of my staff are +40 and do not like complicated programs that take so much time to learn how to use it.

    That is when I found Brosix. It`s so simple to use and has many features that work perfectly fine. It is also secure which is vitsl for me.

    Following the topic, I also had the chance to test Microsoft teams and did not like it. And it is quite expensive for me, to be honest.

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