The year 2020 has seen the world making an inevitable switch to working from home. With more and more businesses and individuals working remotely, the advantages of digital applications and technologies have become crucial to collaborate and to make productive teamwork possible.
Microsoft Teams is one of the tools that have experienced a wave of usage increase. In April, following the Coronavirus pandemic, it was reported that MS Teams’ users grew by 70%, to over 75 million active users per day. So, it’s no surprise that Microsoft have been busy working to further develop MS Teams, with features aimed at enhancing meeting capabilities and overall user experience.
Here’s a list with top 7 new features, with hints about what to expect next, as shared in the latest updates by Microsoft Teams.
1- Expanded view of participants
With larger group meetings taking place digitally, an update on the view of participants was well called for. Microsoft didn’t take long to respond to demands and increased the number of participants viewed simultaneously on the meeting stage, from 4 to 9 of the most recently active.
The team at Microsoft also announced that they will continue to work on increasing the view of participants even further, so watch this space!
2- Raise hand feature
One particularly handy for the education sector, this new feature allows participants to raise a virtual hand during a meeting, by clicking on the hand icon button on the screen.
This is a great feature for group meetings, as it helps to organise the flow in the conversation, allowing you to get a chance to say something without abrupt interruptions. When a participant raises a virtual hand, the presenter receives a notification, and a small ‘hand’ appears on their screen for everyone in the meeting to see. A side tab also shows whose hands have been raised.
You can learn more about this new feature in the video below:
3- Add your own background for meetings in Microsoft Teams
Worried about your background not looking the best for your meeting? MS Teams now has a pre-join meeting experience where you can dial in your settings and change your background before joining the meeting.
You can make a positive impression by choosing one of the background effects available on Teams, or uploading your own background image for an even more customised background effect, which is great news if you have thought about how to look more professional in your meetings.
You can customise your background, for example, with a branded look, a corporate setting, or you can create a specific atmosphere that is relevant to the meeting experience.
Simply go to your background settings in the video meeting window, click on ‘add new’ and select your background. You can do this prior to joining or during your meeting.
4- Blur background
In line with the background changes, there is now an option amongst the pre-selected background effects in Teams to blur your background and put the focus on you.
This new feature is also available in iOS, so you can use your mobile or any other device to blur your background when you are on the move.
5- Live captions
Live captions are a fantastic feature as they allow participants to follow the conversation with more ease. This capability makes the meeting experience more inclusive for those with different levels of language proficiency and those who are hard of hearing, and it’s also useful if you are in a loud environment that interferes with the audio quality of the meeting.
To turn on live captions in MS Teams, you need to select the ‘more’ option (or click on the three dots button) during a meeting, and then select ‘Turn on live captions’.
Learn more about this feature in the video below.
6- End the meeting for all participants
The capability to ‘end meeting for all’ gives organisers more control over the meeting experience. Organisers are now able to end the meeting for everyone with the push of a button.
When the organiser selects the option to ‘end meeting’ (only visible to the organiser within the meeting control bar), all participants will exit the meeting. This feature is a handy one for teachers and lecturers, or group meetings where the conversation ought not to continue after the presenter leaves or wishes to close the session.
7- Record your calls
Missed something or can’t remember what was said? Now you can refer back to your 1 to 1 calls with the new call recording feature in Teams.
To record your calls, simply select the option to record – just keep in mind that participants will get a screen notification showing them that call recording has been switched on.
More new features coming in Microsoft Teams
As remote working continues to be the new normal, the experience of video meetings, online chats and general remote communication is evolving with new solutions.
In Microsoft Teams, collaboration capabilities will also continue to improve. Stay tuned with our blog as we document all the updates for you!
We are here to support you
As business teams continue to operate in the digital space, these and other technologies will keep evolving quickly – and we at Euro Systems will be at the forefront of the digital revolution.
We are Microsoft Partners and we are constantly helping our customers to make the best of Microsoft 365 applications and cloud solutions.
Whether you need any help with staff training, or you are looking to explore the benefits of the Microsoft Cloud platform, our friendly team at Euro Systems is ready to assist. We will make sure your IT is in the best hands, and we will help your business to stay ahead of the competition with all the latest technology updates.
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