Microsoft Ignite was held March 2-4, 2021, and several upcoming features and updates in the MS world were announced. Many of these impact Teams, which has become a major player in the realm of business connectivity and employee management solutions.
The past 12 months have seen a major shift to remote teams due to the pandemic. Those that watch business trends expect this to be a lasting transformation to the way we work, with the number of permanent remote employees expected to double this year.
Microsoft Teams, which is one of the tools in Microsoft 365, has grown rapidly in popularity. As a result, Microsoft is investing in ways to make the Teams experience better. This includes providing several video conferencing upgrades, increasing security, and more.
Between November 2019 and October 2020, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams skyrocketed by 475%.
If you’ve been using another video meeting solution or been on the fence about Microsoft 365, here are some of those exciting enhancements that might convince you to make a move to Teams.
1. Choose Your Presentation Style with Presenter Mode
When you’re sharing a presentation over a video call, it doesn’t always look as professional as to when you’re giving it in person. Most video meeting tools don’t give you much choice over how your presentation looks when sharing a screen compared to your video feed. Often your video is in a small box, along with everyone else.
Microsoft is making it possible to have more control and provide a professional presentation experience over a video call with its new Presenter Mode.
You can choose from three different modes; each one allows you to share your presentation and have your video feed front and center as well.
Side-by-side mode gives your presentation slightly more space and displays your video feed next to it.
Note: All Teams images are from Microsoft.
Reporter mode gives your video feed top billing, and your presentation displays over your shoulder, like how a news reporter looks on television.
Standout mode allows you to have your presentation large, taking up the full screen, and your video feed is overlaid on the top in the bottom corner.
2. Webinar Support: Registration & Email Confirmation
One of the problems with several popular video conferencing tools is that they’re not specifically set up for giving a webinar. So, companies often must sign up for a separate webinar app for that purpose. This leads to cloud overload and excess costs.
Teams users are going to be pleased to know that Teams is bringing webinar capabilities into the platform. Users will have the ability to customize a webinar registration page and the system will automatically send out an email confirmation with a link to attendees.
You’ll also get post-webinar attendee reports.
3. Invite Others to a Teams Channel More Easily
Microsoft is adding a feature called Teams Connect which makes it easier than ever to invite someone to a specific Teams channel. That channel will then appear as a channel inside their own Teams application.
This could be used to invite a client or vendor to a project-specific MS Teams channel, making it more efficient to communicate and share data than it would be using email. The shared workspace in Teams allows real-time chat, meetings, calls, file sharing, and co-authoring of documents.
4. Live Emoji Reactions During Teams Presentations
When you’re giving a training or presentation in Teams (or any video conferencing software) you can feel like you’re all alone, because most attendees will be on mute to avoid background noise. Many presenters also don’t want people interjecting and interrupting until the Q&A.
Microsoft has added a way for people to react in real-time during a presentation without interrupting the presenter using emojis.
Users can click a reaction emoji and it will float up briefly on the screen before disappearing. This allows the presenter to receive feedback during the presentation and invite quiet interaction. For example, a presenter could ask “does everyone understand this, should I move on?” Based upon the emojis, they would know if most people understood or wanted more explanation.
5. Teams Mobile App Enhancements
Today, mobile devices are taking over more of the workload from desktop devices every year. For those people that like to use their smartphone or tablet for as many work tasks as possible, several enhancements are coming to the Teams’ mobile experience.
- Updated look and feel, including a “dark theme”
- Ability to access files stored in Teams while offline
- Ability to pin chats
- Search suggestions
- More emojis
- Ability to trim GIFs in the app
6. End-to-End Encryption (E2EE) for 1:1 VoIP Calls
Commercial customers will have the ability to use encryption for 1:1 Teams VoIP calls when they need additional security for sensitive conversations.
Administrators will be able to set which users can use the E2EE feature within their organization.
Get an Introduction to Teams & M365 Today!
Rocky Knoll Technologies can introduce your Charlotte area business to the benefits of using Microsoft Teams and M365 for communication, productivity, and more.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.