Microsoft Teams is getting a slew of updates this year as work-from-home continues in several parts of the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft announced the updates on the first day of the ongoing Ignite Spring 2021 virtual event, where it also claimed the latest features on Teams would even enable a ‘hybrid world of work.’ The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant has introduced a new channel-sharing feature called Teams Connect, multiple video modes for meetings, improved webinar experience, and more. Another notable highlight is the introduction of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for ad hoc 1:1 Teams VoIP calls.
Starting with the Teams Connect for Microsoft Teams, the company says the feature will enable users to share channels with anyone – internal or external to the organisation. The shared channel will appear within an individual’s primary Microsoft Teams tenant alongside other teams and channels. The feature is currently available in private preview while the mass rollout is expected later this year. Another feature that is rolling out is the Microsoft PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams, which will enable presenters to deliver more engaging” presentations. This feature eliminates the process of screen-sharing and lets users show PPT presentation directly via the video conferencing platform with new view-modes.
There’s a new Presenter Mode that lets users customise how their video feed and content appear to the audience. Whereas, the Standout Mode shows the speaker’s video feed in front of shared content. Microsoft will later add Reporter and Side-by-Side modes. The Microsoft Teams is adding a Dynamic View mode which “intelligently” arranges the elements of the meeting for an optimal viewing experience. As people join in or begin to present in a meeting, Teams’ Dynamic View automatically adjusts the layout. “We’ve also added a new option to place the participant gallery at the top of the meeting window, helping you maintain a natural eye gaze,” the company said in a blog post. The Dynamic view will be rolling out soon.
Microsoft also introduced the Microsoft Teams Intelligent speakers that can identify and differentiate the voices of up to ten people talking in a Microsoft Teams Room. These speakers were created in partnership with EPOS and Yealink. Teams will support end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls. The feature will first roll out to commercial customers in preview in the first half of this year. Lastly, Teams is improving webinars and admins can add up to 1,000 attendees. The webinar attendance system is also getting improvements.