What’s New With Microsoft Teams? Mid Year Edition

What’s New With Microsoft Teams? Mid Year Edition

Microsoft has been positioning Teams as one of the powerhouse applications in Microsoft 365. It’s being integrated natively in Windows 11, and the new feature additions seem to be never-ending.

Microsoft Teams is much more than just a video conferencing application and much more than a team messaging app. So, it can’t really be directly compared to a platform like Zoom or Slack.

Teams combines multiple capabilities that you’ll find in a variety of different types of applications. These include:

  • Video and audio meetings
  • Channeled team messaging
  • In-app collaboration in Word, Excel, and other MS and 3rd party tools
  • Secured file storage with team-only access
  • Repository for corporate knowledge in the form of a Wiki
  • Full VoIP capability, with Business Voice add-on
  • And much more

Microsoft’s attention to Teams seems to be paying off. User counts have skyrocketed over the last year, going from 44 million in April 2020 to 145 million by April 2021.

We’ve just passed the mid-year point of 2021, and we have a new slew of MS Teams feature updates to tell you about.

New Microsoft Teams Features to Power Your Office

Create Tasks from Messages

Often team messages fly fast as people are discussing projects, swapping ideas, and asking questions. You don’t have to stop your flow to schedule tasks and follow-ups based on the discussion. You now can quickly create a task from inside a Teams message.

This saves you considerable time because you don’t need to switch apps or windows. To create a task in Teams:

  • Click the ellipses (…) in the pop-out menu.
  • Select More actions.
  • Choose Create task

You can now track tasks in Teams and review all tasks from the Tasks app for Teams.

Spotlight Several Users in a Video Call

When you’re giving a joint presentation with a team over video, it can be frustrating to only have one person’s video appearing large on the screen at a time. For viewers, having that large video switch each time a different person talks can be distracting.

Teams has added the ability to spotlight up to seven meeting participants at the same time. This puts all their video feeds at the same size, larger than other meeting participants, which is perfect when you have more than one meeting or webinar presenter.

Once one user has been spotlighted, you just click on the context menu of additional participants and select Add Spotlight.

All Teams images are from Microsoft

More Control Over Participant Video Feeds

The phenomenon of “Zoom-bombing” began during the pandemic and was an unfortunate consequence of everyone moving to video calls for just about every kind of meeting you can imagine. This disruptive tactic involves people joining a video call for the express reason of causing trouble by showing or shouting inappropriate things.

Teams had added additional controls to make it easier for meeting hosts to control the video and audio of participants. This also helps prevent those embarrassing moments when attendees aren’t sure whether or not this is a video or audio call.

You can now configure the permissions that either enable or disable attendees’ video camera and audio settings by default. You can also choose whether you want to allow attendees to enable or disable their cameras or if it can only be done by the meeting host.

More Meeting Flexibility with Microsoft Teams Rooms

To maximise participant experience and inclusion in a virtual meeting room Teams Rooms is expanding screen real estate using new video layouts. This provides you with more video meeting options across multiple displays. The goal is to allow participants’ video feeds to show up larger and truer to life.

Choose from several layouts, depending upon the number of participants that help the personal connection take center stage rather than a busy software interface.

Focused Hybrid Whiteboard Experience

Whiteboard software for video calls has been around for a while. But it’s mainly been one person writing on the whiteboard while everyone else watches.

Microsoft Teams has upgraded the experience to a more collaborative one where everyone can write on the whiteboard at the same time and share their ideas.

Some of the new features of the new Teams Whiteboard experience include:

  • See who is adding content to the Whiteboard in real-time.
  • Bring existing content into Whiteboard.
  • New templates to help groups ideating faster.
  • Use notes, text, shapes, stickers, images, and more.

Features in PowerPoint Live

PowerPoint Live allows for a more interactive experience when giving a presentation over a Teams video call. One of the newer features you can enjoy is slide translate, which allows attendees to see the presentation in their chosen language.

You can also use a laser pointer to call attention to key points on the screen, just like when doing in-person presentations.

Get Started with Teams to Supercharge Your Productivity

GKM2 can help your  business set up Microsoft Teams and customise the workspace to power your productivity and collaboration. 

Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.