The Latest Updates to Microsoft Teams to Come Out of MS Ignite

The Latest Updates to Microsoft Teams to Come Out of MS Ignite

The global pandemic has changed a lot of our habits, both personal and business. Cloud services and platforms like Microsoft 365 have become indispensable for keeping everyone connected.

One of the MS apps that has exploded in popularity during COVID is Microsoft Teams. In November of 2019, the service had 20 million daily active users and by October 2020, that had jumped to 115 million (an increase of 475%).

Microsoft Teams has become so popular largely due to its video conference capabilities, but also because it’s much more than that. Teams offers:

  • Video & audio conferencing
  • Channeled, secure messaging
  • In-app collaboration on Office documents
  • Status messages and alerts
  • Centralised Wiki and other resource links
  • VoIP through the Business Voice add-on

The app is like a virtual office where everyone can congregate and reach each other, even if they’re working remotely from different locations. It’s been a driver for business transformations over the last 12 months.

The Microsoft Ignite conference, held March 2-4, 2021 had some exciting announcements as far as newly launched and upcoming enhancements to make Teams even better.

Note: All Teams images are credit to Microsoft.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams?

Here are some of the exciting new features in Teams, some are soon to come, others are available in public preview, and some are already fully released.

View Switcher

Have you ever been hosting a meeting and been frustrated because you couldn’t see someone’s face as they were talking because you were screen sharing? Or had too many distractions in the window, making your presentation go just a little less smoothly?

A new view switcher will give you more control over switching between the different ways you can see content during an online meeting. You can choose from:

  • Gallery
  • Large Gallery
  • Together Mode
  • Gallery on Top
  • Focus
  • Full Screen

PowerPoint Live in Teams

You and your meeting attendees are getting a richer experience when viewing PowerPoint in Teams. Instead of the limited interaction everyone has now, PowerPoint Live in Teams will allow you to offer more inclusive experiences.

In a single view, you can view notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants. Attendees also have a more customisable experience, with the ability to privately navigate the content at their own pace and use a high-contrast mode for easier accessibility.

Presenter Mode

When you’re giving an important presentation, how your video shows in relation to the content you’re sharing can get tricky. Especially if you have no idea how others are seeing it. Are they not seeing your video at all? Is your face taking up more screen than the content?

The new Presenter Mode in Teams gives you full control over how your presentations in the app will appear to others.


Teams Presenter Mode: Standout mode

You can choose from three professional-looking modes:

  • Standout mode: Your video feed shows as a silhouette in front of your shared content.
  • Reporter mode: Places your video at the right of the screen with your content, smaller, over your left-hand shoulder.
  • Side-by-side mode: Places your video feed on the right and your content on the left (larger than reporter mode), in a split screen.

Intelligent Speakers

Intelligent Speakers is due out later in 2021 and it streamlines the process of identifying who is talking.

This AI-powered feature can identify and differentiate voices for as many as 10 meeting participants and identify who is speaking. Their name and profile can also be added to the live meeting transcript automatically, making for much less note taking during the call.

Teams Security Updates

There are a few security updates coming to make meetings in MS Teams even more secure.

These include:

  • 1:1 Call End-to-End Encryption: Assists with security and compliance by protecting sensitive online meetings.
  • Disable Video: Moderators can disable video to mitigate possible disruptions during a video call.
  • Invite-Only Meeting Controls: More control for meeting hosts to ensure only those invited can attend a Teams meeting.

Webinars in Teams

Have you been using a two-app workflow between Teams and a webinar app, because of the lack of standard features like registration, etc. in Teams?

Good news is on the horizon! Teams is adding webinar functionality.

Hosts will be able to create custom attendee registration pages and manage webinar attendance before and after the event. Attendees will also receive an automated email confirmation and link to join the webinar at the designated time.

Microsoft Teams Connect

Teams can now be more easily used for those outside your organisation with Teams Connect. This makes it simple for you to share channels (both internally and externally) so people can jump right into a conversation.

The shared channel appears in the invitee’s Teams tenant with their other channels, which makes it convenient for them to access.

Optimise Your Cloud Tools With Help from GKM2

Many businesses don’t take full advantage of the cloud tools they’re subscribing to. GKM2 can help your business take full advantage of Teams, Microsoft 365, and your other cloud tools.

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