Microsoft Teams

What’s new in Microsoft Teams – Summer 2020

11th Aug 2020 | 5 min read

What’s new in Microsoft Teams – Summer 2020

Microsoft have recently released several new features to improve the user experience, business benefits, productivity features and functionality of Microsoft Teams. We have focussed on the most useful features and explored them in more detail below;

1. Microsoft Teams Advanced Communications Plan

Prior to now, Teams users were able to run Teams meetings for up to 300 people. However at the start of August, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Teams Advanced Communications Plan add on for £9 per user/month.

With the Advanced Communications Plan license users are able to host

  • 1,000-person interactive Teams meetings
  • Large overflow meetings of up to 20,000 attendees
  • Custom-branded meeting lobby controls

2. Microsoft Teams Together Mode

To improve the video call experience and help reduce video fatigue, Together Mode has recently been rolled out in Microsoft Teams. The new feature enables you to have video calls without the traditional 3×3 boxed video panes boxes, Together Mode places all video participants together in a virtual space such as an lecture theatre, meeting room or coffee bar setting, giving you the illusion you are all in the same environment.

This new feature enables you to read body language and visual cues much easier, making video calls much more engaging as the human brain is programmed to see people in the same location. We are not aware that Zoom currently offers a similar feature other than backgrounds.

3. New meeting and calling experience on desktop

When you join a call or meeting using the Teams desktop app, they will now pop out into a secondary window. Enabling you to navigate around Teams whilst you are on the call.

4. Search within a chat or channel

Prior to now searching for files and conversations within Teams proved tricky as it searched every chat and channel you belonged to. However, the search functionality has recently been upgraded.  Click on the chat or channel, press Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F for Mac), then type what you want to search for. You’ll get results from just that channel or chat or group chat.

5. Microsoft Teams Rooms

You can now join, make calls and seamlessly share content from Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business meetings from an intuitive touch screen console device. With Microsoft Teams Rooms, you can transform meeting spaces ranging from small intimate areas to large conference rooms which are easy to use deploy and manage.

Quickly start meetings with one-touch join, then instantly project to the display in the room and share to remote participants.

Main features on offer:

  • Touchscreen control panel
  • Computers
  • Conference Telephones, Speakerphones and Desk Phones.
  • Rooms application
  • Dock/extender
  • Camera, Microphone and Speaker
  • Up to two external screens
  • HDMI input

Easy Installation: If the user has purchased a bundle, then the pre-configuration means that the necessary communications software is already installed and the set-up is easy. Buying a bundle also saves the user negotiating with numerous vendors and ending up with tech which won’t work together. The systems are designed to work together and so people in different rooms around the world can easily join calls and it will be like they’re in the room.

The Perfect Fit: The wide variety of vendors and products engaged in the programme means that you can find the perfect fit for your needs, you won’t overpay on tech that isn’t fit for purpose and you have the stamp of Microsoft approval. You are guaranteed that the tech you buy is top of the line.

Integrated with Microsoft Stack: Because the products are all under the Microsoft banner they are specially configured and integrated with the Microsoft stack meaning that they work well with all Microsoft products not just Teams. This means they can streamline production and collaboration as well as communication.

Streamlined Communication: The system is designed to make in person meetings which require technology run more smoothly and videocalls more immersive. Features such as One Touch Join means that it takes just one click on the centre of the room control to start a meeting making the process more streamlined than ever.

Communicate Anywhere: Modern meetings involve participants from all around the world, or these days, even just users in different kitchens. Rooms enables users to work like they’re all in one place whether they attend in person or virtually. Remote attendees will feel apart of meetings with the new Content Camera which can intelligently find, crop and zoom in on items in the physical meeting room like a whiteboard or paper. Not being physically in the room is no longer a limitation.

Combat Video Call Fatigue: Whilst remote working has many benefits, reduced commute times, increased flexibility and more time with family it also has a downside: video call fatigue. With the required higher levels of focus and lack of non-verbal cues and body language, video calls drain our energy and leave us feeling exhausted. Rooms systems work to overcome this with their natural, rich collaboration focus, online meetings feel more personal than ever.

Easy Management: Starting with version, the devices can all be managed from the centralised Teams Admin Centre portal meaning that all management is in one place. This simplifies the process of adding and deleting devices and which systems are in use when.

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