Microsoft Teams: The New Features You Need to Know About

by | Dec 18, 2020 | Blog, Compliance, Features

Is your Team ready for the new Microsoft Teams?

At the Microsoft Ignite 2020 event – hosted online in September 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic – Microsoft introduced a smashing set of exciting new features for Microsoft Teams that overarchingly aim to make remote working a smarter, safer and collaborative virtual experience.

Bring virtual meetings to life

Microsoft Teams is soon to have a new, simulated feature called Together Mode Scenes, where meetings can be held in virtual coffee shop, auditorium or conference room environments. The aim here is to enable meeting participants experience a better sense of proximity with colleagues and customers.

Bring Teams together

Presenters will be able to use the Custom Layouts feature to customise content for participants during meetings more appropriately. And to keep attention spans high, presenters can also use the Dynamic Content Viewing experiences feature to do cool things, such as transposing their own video feed on to the foreground of the slide that they are presenting to their audience.

The Breakout Rooms feature helps presenters organise participants into breakout groups for brainstorming and workshop training sessions, as well as reconvening them into the same meeting again when the sessions are over for further group discussions and feedback.

Safer meetings for hybrid environments

Microsoft has also launched Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows, specifically designed to help organisations offering hybrid working environments adhere to social distancing guidelines, especially relevant during this global pandemic.

Cameras placed in meeting rooms with inbuilt, people-counting technology, communicate data that generates alerts in Microsoft Teams to users when rooms are full or over-capacity, as set by IT administrators.

Smarter, interactive meeting room experiences on Android

In a bid to make meetings more interactive on Android devices, collaboration bars will also be available within the Microsoft Teams Rooms feature. Users can attach the device to a touchscreen display, tap the onscreen controls to join and interact with the meeting as well as collaborate with colleagues using the Microsoft Whiteboard app.

Microsoft Teams Rooms Console

Collaborative calling experiences

New experiences for calls are also on their way, where users will get a streamlined view of listed contacts, call history and voicemail data and be able to initiate and return to previous calls in just a single click.

Users can even connect a call queue to a Channel to collaborate and share information with the Channel while taking calls; a feature designed to make the lives of IT helpdesk and HR hotline professionals easier.

Collaborative chat experiences

Using the Chat function within Microsoft Teams is getting optimised too. Participants can customise team themes as per the nature of their business.

Users can also provide updated information in Channels for new and existing participants using the new Pinned Posts and Info Panes features and strike up fresh conversations with a new button too.

With AI-enabled Microsoft Search, users can quickly and smartly look up contacts, Teams and Channels.

Focus on employee health and well-being

With employee health at the top of the agenda right now, employers can monitor the well-being of their staff by leveraging the new Productivity and Wellbeing insights provided to them in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Homepages through MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics.

Microsoft Teams Productivity and Wellbeing insights

Special features for frontline workers and the healthcare sector

With the aim of helping frontline workers communicate with colleagues and customers better, Microsoft Teams is to provide instant and secure cloud communications that converts all Android devices into walkie-talkies.

Teams is also integrating with RealWear to help these professionals communicate better in noisy, safety-critical environments using voice-controlled interfaces.

Image of both RealWear devices HMT-1 and HMT-1Z1

Healthcare organisations can leverage the newly available Microsoft Electronic Health Record (EHR) Connector to facilitate virtual appointments within Teams between clinicians and patients. Conversations will be automatically captured and contextualised using the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX) feature, which is currently available in Private Preview mode only.

Contextualise work within Microsoft Teams using Power BI

The Power BI app within Teams enables users to work with Excel spreadsheets for visualising, analysing and disseminating data in real-time. While the new Power Automate app for Teams lets users create customised templates to ensure the work delivered by colleagues is consistent and compliant to the requirements of each organisation.

In these ways, meetings can be contextualised better for participants by leveraging the extensibility of Microsoft Teams as an app on its own, as well as being integrated with SharePoint and the Microsoft 365 suite. Users will be also able to access SharePoint easily from Teams via a new SharePoint Home Site app.

It’s a challenging time for everyone right now. But it’s exciting times too and Microsoft Teams is adapting fast, ready to embrace these challenges with us.

Is your Team ready for the new Microsoft Teams? If you need any support for Microsoft Teams, ProvisionPoint can help, get in touch today.