The role of technology in supporting connectivity and productivity has never been more significant, and it's no secret that working remotely is seemingly here to stay for many Australian organisations.
COVID-19 saw a considerable increase in the usage of collaboration tools, with Microsoft announcing its platform Microsoft (MS) Teams grew from 32 to 44 million daily users in March alone.
Since then, Microsoft has heavily invested in studying how their customers have been using their collaboration tools, and this month have announced a new set of features to "make virtual interactions more natural, more engaging, and ultimately, more human."
The new features promise to offer three key benefits:
- Help you feel more connected with your team and reduce meeting fatigue.
- Make meetings more inclusive and engaging.
- Help streamline your work and save time.
Below we summarise a few of the new features we see holding great value for our customers.
Decrease fatigue, a new experience in meetings that uses Artificial Intelligence segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, with the goal of making meetings more engaging, as though you are sitting in the same room as other participants. This allows participants to focus on other peoples facial expressions and body language, making it easier to understand who is speaking in large discussions. Together mode is expected to be generally available in August 2020.
Dynamic view is a set of enhancements that give users more control over how they see other participants and their content, with the ability to customise the view to suit their own preferences. Amongst many other features, this includes being able to see up to 49 participants in the same video, at the same time.
Image Source: Microsoft
Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts
While MS Teams already provides captions during meetings, soon they will release 'speaker attribution' making it easier to know who is speaking. Also expected to be released later this year is the Live Transcripts feature, which provides an additional way to follow along with what is being said. After the meeting ends, the transcript file is automatically saved in the tab as part of the meeting.
The new Tasks App provides a new view of all your tasks from across Microsoft Planner, Outlook, and To Do. Regardless of whether you are on desktop, web, or mobile applications, smart lists such as "Assigned to me" bring your tasks into a single list view.
This update is expected to roll out by the end of July 2020.
Image Source: Microsoft
Live reactions and chat bubbles
To make meetings more inclusive and engaging, you will soon be able to react to what is being said using emojis, which will appear to all participants. Previously, Teams users would have to manually open the chat window on the side of the meeting to view any comments that were being made. In this new feature update, chats sent during a Teams meeting will appear on the screens of all meeting participants as a 'chat bubble'. These features offer an additional option for participants to provide instant feedback to the presenter, and contribute without having to wait to jump in verbally.
Interactive meetings for 1,000 participants
Microsoft announced that Teams is in the process of growing to support meetings of up to 1,000 participants, where attendees can chat, unmute to talk, and turn their videos on for real time collaboration. For even larger presentations or discussions, Teams can support a view-only meeting experience for up to 20,000 participants.
Unless otherwise specified, all of these features will roll out later in the year.
How Diamond IT can support
Diamond IT specialises in MS Teams training, and utilises an interactive learning model to ensure staff not only understand key tools and concepts but are able to use them effectively in their typical workday.
Whether your goal is to run a simple installation of Teams or a fully-integrated version, our Technology Consulting team is available to make your MS Teams implementation and staff training program a success.