21.05.2021 NEWS

More personalised options for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is brilliant at helping people to connect, collaborate, and accomplish more together. In fact, Microsoft Teams saw a huge uptick in users during the pandemic, rising from 20 million users in November 2019 to 44 million in March 2020, then 75 million by April. According to digital experience management company Aternity, Microsoft Teams usage growth surpassed Zoom from February to June. This comes as the coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to operate remotely and has boosted the demand for Microsoft’s products that enable communication and collaboration.

In an interview with Business Insider in April 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “as COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work and life, we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” He went on to comment that Microsoft Teams was the only tool that combines meetings, calls, chat and collaboration in one place, given that it integrates with the rest of the Office 365 cloud suite.

Indeed, Teams is part of the broader Microsoft 365 bundle of productivity tools offered by the company. In recent months, Microsoft Teams has announced several new capabilities. First, the mobile app will have an updated visual look and feel that includes new headers, icons, and styling along with the ability to automatically switch to dark theme when you set your device appearance to dark. Other updates include the ability to access files stored in Teams while offline, a new search experience with suggestions, the ability to pin chats, and an expanded library of emojis and the ability to trim GIFs directly in the Teams app. These features are coming to iOS first, followed by Android.

Microsoft are aiming to help make your workplace calls feel more like being in the office which is why they have announced more customisation options for customers. Companies will soon be able to set a custom background for use during Microsoft Teams video conferencing calls. This could be a branded background featuring the company logo, or just a uniform design that finally removes the risk of looking into worker’s homes during a call. Microsoft is allowing what it calls “org-wide meeting branding” for companies to issue a standardised option for all workers when on a call.

As well as enable company-wide background images, there is also the option to have specific branding in a meeting lobby. For now, the option, which is in preview for the time being, is only available for companies where the meeting organizer has an active Advanced Communications license, but it surely will roll out to a wider reach soon.

Microsoft has big plans for Teams to become the ‘go-to’ online platform for webinars as well as conference calls. Their new update will allow the software to support interactive webinars for people inside and outside of an organization with up to 1,000 attendees. Wow! The feature will help users support fully interactive webinars from start to finish, offering tools such as custom registration, rich presentation options, host controls such as the ability to disable attendee chat and video, and post-event reporting.

In further updates, Microsoft are excited to announce Teams interoperability with Azure Communications Services. Customers can use Azure Communications Services to deliver a better customer experience by easily connecting your employees who use Microsoft Teams with users of a custom-built app via voice, video, or chat.

There are lots more enhancements to Microsoft Teams and you can see them all here – https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/what-s-new-in-microsoft-teams-microsoft-ignite-2021/ba-p/2118226

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