Microsoft Teams: Announcements before Ignite

Microsoft Ignite provides us with all the new services, tools, and more that we can expect from Microsoft in the following year. If you haven’t done so, you can register here. It’s 3 days full of excitement and announcements of products and services.

As we get new things, I wanted to go through some of the coolest innovations that were already announced since, after Ignite, I’ll have a lot to talk about. Think of it as my last chance to talk about current features before new shinny ones come.

Some of the announcements are too small for a full article, so here are some of the things you can explore in Microsoft Teams.

Panels

Thinking already in the time that we hopefully are all safe and go back to the office, Microsoft is introducing “Microsoft Teams Panels.” It’s a hardware product that looks super simple and amazingly useful. Watch the video from Microsoft’s release article.

I’ve worked in many companies where this would be a lifesaver. Dealing with meeting rooms is a pain, even when it’s made simple by Outlook with resources. Nevertheless, people get confused when it’s time to book the room. They forget to validate if the room is really available, and when it’s time for the meeting, they arrive at a busy room.

Let’s mention the obvious. I don’t know how much they cost, but if your company has some money to spare, these will pay themselves in productivity.

Popups & Tabs

You can find this already in your chats and events, for example.

Why use this? It’s a great way to focus on the meeting and hide all other information. With the popup, you only have a chat to focus, and you can resize it so that you can look at support material, for example (or check the email if that the case 😀).

Look for them in Microsoft Teams. They are everywhere.

New audio experience

I won’t go into the technical details of this because Microsoft has a deep dive into how it works. They call it an AI-powered audio codec named Satin. The objective is to be more resistant to bad connections, where degradation can result in communication difficulties.

The AI part changes the “quality” when the connection allows it, changing it as the connection also changes.

Up until now, they used the Silk audio codec, invented by Skype a decade ago (yeah, Skype is that old), so it’s time to use the technology that we have better communication experiences. The work shifted the hard way to remote working, and this will become quickly the new normal.

Guests for everyone

Microsoft Teams was quite constricted to the tenant and, when we wanted to communicate with people outside the tenant was tricky since it required your administrator to enable it. Microsoft goes into detail here, but what you need to know is that it’s available, and you can easily invite people from outside your organization, even if they don’t use Teams. Yes, Skype clients are also available. You’ll see them with this icon next to their name.

Final thoughts

Microsoft continues to push Microsoft Teams to be better and the hub for your work. With these 3 announcements, although small, we can see that they are working on creating the best experience possible.

Microsoft focused on tackling problematic areas like booking meetings or sound quality to improve the overall meeting experience, now that we have a ton of them.

Have a suggestion of your own or disagree with something I said? Leave a comment or interact on Twitter and be sure to check out other Microsoft Teams-related articles here.

Photo by Callum Hill on Unsplash

Manuel Gomes

I'm a Project Manager with experience in large projects and companies. I've worked in the past for companies like Bayer, Sybase (now SAP) and I'm currently working for Pestana Hotel Group.

View all posts by Manuel Gomes →

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