+6281216825037 [email protected]

Microsoft’s workforce collaboration service, Teams, got an update today, adding AI-powered background noise reduction in online meetings, a Bookings feature, and a RealWear hands-free hard-hat technology integration.

Since in-person
meetings are a no-no amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the information arrived to the
media in the form of a virtual briefing from Microsoft CEO Satya
Nadella and Corporate VP of Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro, who celebrated the third anniversary of
Teams from afar.

As of March 11, Microsoft Teams had 32 million daily users, but as many people—including Redmond’s own workforce—transition to a work-from-home setup, that jumped to 44 million daily users around the world, Spataro said. “And we now have 20 customers with over 100,000 users.”

“COVID-19 is impacting everyone around the world in every aspect of our
daily lives—how we work, our social interactions, our family life, as well as
life in our communities,” Nadella said. “Our top priority right now is public health, including
ensuring the health and safety of our employees around the world.”

He pointed to the University
of Bologna
, which moved 90 percent of its courses online with Teams in three
days. Doctors are also using it for telemedicine sessions with patients.

New Teams Features

For those of you using Microsoft Teams, here are the new features you can check out:

  • Noise suppression.  If you’ve participated in a group video chat
    with a dozen or so people, you know about the noise that creeps in to make it a
    less pleasant and efficient experience, like someone opening a bag of
    chips, for example.
  • Raise Hand. A lot of
    collaboration tools have had this for years; it offers a way for participants
    to ask for the floor, which can be difficult in a large meeting with a lot of
    people talking.
  • RealWear Headset integration. This is for
    hardhat workers who need to collaborate on the job site. They often have tools
    in their hands and can’t be grabbing a phone or tablet. The
    Teams integration lets them use on-device cameras and displays, controlling
    them by voice. 
  • Pop-out Chat. This is something I wish Teams’
    primary competitor, Slack, could do and something that legacy messaging
    services used to offer. It lets you separate conversations rather than having
    everything in the same window.
  • Offline and Low-bandwidth support. You can
    now use the app even if your connection is temporarily unavailable.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Voice. This creates a
    complete phone system for SMBs in the US.
  • Bookings. This feature lets users schedule appointments,
    including doctors who need to book follow-up appointments. It shows which team
    members are available for consultations, for example, and lets you enter
    tentative appointments. Clients get a branded email invite, and don’t need a
    Teams account to partake in the meeting.

Microsoft Teams Bookings screenshotMicrosoft Teams Bookings

  • AI-powered features. In addition to background blur, users can
    choose backgrounds like offices and a beach, while the software identifies the
    speaker and keeps them in focus. You can also use your own image for a
    background, similar to a feature in Zoom Meeting. Teams Meetings also can show live captions (as can Google Meet).
    Notably, Teams allows up to 250 users in a video conference, compared with
    Slack’s 15-participant limit.
  • Walkie Talkie. Teams now has push-to-talk
    capability in its mobile app (as well as the desktop), so workers can be
    contacted instantly as they walk the store, factory, or warehouse floor. It
    even lets a manager communicate to all team members at once, for a sort of APB
    feature. A new Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro also sports a button that supports this.

On the hardware side, new devices, such as the Yealink VC210 and
the Bose Noise Cancelling headphone 700 UC have been certified for Teams.

All the new features
will be available later this year, Microsoft says.

Further Reading

Team Messaging Reviews

Source Article