Microsoft Ignite 2018 returned to Orlando this year for another news-packed week. The company’s largest event for IT and enterprise developers saw its doors open to more than 26,000 people from 100 different countries.
During the event, many announcements about Microsoft and Office 365 apps have been done. In this blog, we have summarized the main announcements and new features regarding Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork. During the session “What’s new in Microsoft TEAMS the hub for teamwork” held by Angela Donohue Group Product Marketing Manager and Marc Pottier Group Manager, the newest features and main future directions of Microsoft Teams have been presented.
A changing modern workplace
As a matter of facts, nowadays we are living in a changing modern place. We are becoming more “social” at work and we use more and more mobile apps. Indeed, according to Microsoft, 45% of employees and workers use social tools at work. Diversity is another keyword to describe the current work environment, since 5 generations are working together in the workforce. Companies are global and there are no boundaries for the businesses. As a consequence, the trend or remote workers is expected to increase, reaching a peak in 2020, when 72% of workers will be remotely. At work, we are more team based and collaborative, since 80% of employee time is spent collaborating. In response to these changing modern trends, Microsoft Teams is evolving to offer companies and organizations all around the world the perfect solution to work in a smarter and more collaborative way in the modern work environment.
Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history
During Microsoft Ignite 2017 Microsoft presented highlights like Guest Access for External Users, Command Box, Cloud Recording, Direct Routing, Inline Message translation and these were just few examples…. And always in 2017, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Teams will become the single client eventually replacing Skype for Business. Now, Microsoft Teams is ready to become Microsoft primary business communication platform!
Skype for Business Online features have been delivered in Microsoft Teams. New customers should just jump straight to Teams and for existing customers there are resources available to help with planning upgrades for Microsoft Teams. Customers that have not yet tried out Teams can access a free version of Microsoft Teams to try an introductory experience. The free version of Microsoft Teams is now available worldwide in 40 languages and includes unlimited chat messages and search, built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups and teams.
Be more productive with powerful new tools for meetings
At Microsoft Ignite, Smarter Meetings with Microsoft Teams has definitely been the focus of many sessions. Microsoft Teams, with the new features and functionalities, will help employees and team workers to stay productive and connected throughout the meeting lifecycle.
- Scheduling meeting in Teams: There are many ways to schedule meetings in Teams. For example, using Outlook, you can now invite people outside your organization to join your teams meeting, only remember to add them as guests before the meeting starts. But now you can also schedule a meeting directly in the context of a thread. The advantage is that if you are working in your team and discussing around an issue with your team member, you can directly reply to him with a meeting or video call.
- Background blur: Now, all Teams customers can remove distractions and focus your video on what matters most. Indeed, it is already available the functionality to blur your screen background during a meeting, so only you are visible (and not your messy living room if you are attending the meeting from home).
- Meeting recording: Meetings are no longer just a point in time experience. With meeting recording in Teams, you or other invitees who missed the meeting can playback recorded audio, video and content at any time. Pull up a transcript, powered by Microsoft Stream, and search for keywords so you can optimize your time while getting caught up. And it is also indexed, so if you want to search for a particular topic, you can type the topic you want to hear about and Teams will display the moments when, during the meeting, that specific topic had been addressed. Same thing if you are only interested in one person’s speech in particular. You will just jump right to that point. This is very useful if you only missed one part of the meeting or if you are interested only in that part. You don’t need to listen to the entire meeting anymore.
- Meeting notes: You can type in notes as you are in the meeting, you will see what the notes are and they get posted back into the channel instantly after the meeting is over.
- Power point sharing: Share your content and open up a presentation during a meeting online. Join this meeting with the presentation simultaneously with your phone. And participants can even navigate through the slides privately, read ahead or look back to review something they missed.
Collaborate as a(n) (international) team
- Instant translation: Everybody in Microsoft Teams can communicate in their own language, and Microsoft Teams will automatically translate the text for you. Everybody can communicate in the language they are more familiar, no matter where you are in the world. How handy is this functionality, especially if you are involved in an international project? If your Chinese colleague writes a message in your team in Chinese, you don’t have to take Chinese classes to read and understand it! Teams will do the job for you! We are enthusiast about this feature, but we also wonder how accurate the translations will be…With Microsoft Teams collaboration is pushed to the limit! Our principle whitepaper Collaborate as a Team can give you more insights on how to boost collaboration in your organization using Office 365.
- Who: In Teams there is the functionality that allows you to know what people are talking about in chats. In the search bar loaded up with capabilities, there is also Who. You can ask the question “Who knows about CRM?” Who will look at all the messages and chats that you have and he will retrieve a set of people that know about that particular topic more than others? In this way, you can quickly and easily find the right person with the right expertise you are looking for. Finding the right person who can answer your question in an easy way can save you much time. For a deeper approach on how to profile expertise and find the right people with Office 365 tools, check Silverside whitepaper Profiling Expertise.
Empower workers in all roles and across industries
Microsoft is extending the power of Teams with new experiences that are tailored to industry-specific and role-based workflows. There are more than 2.5 billion first-line workers worldwide – including factory workers, store clerks, and electricians, among other roles. Why should they be excluded by the benefits of Microsoft Teams for their productivity?
- Home is a new mobile experience that allows first-line workers to see at a glance the most important and relevant info for their day. With Home, first-line workers can clock in and out of shifts/breaks, receive important notes for the day or shift, find out who is working during the shift and save time by easily reviewing information and schedule.
- Shifts enables first-line managers to plan schedules in an employee self-service and integrated experience. They can create, update and distribute schedules for teams as well as broadcast open and unfilled shifts so that other employees can cover them. Finally, they can review and accept time off requests and swap shifts – all from mobile. For first-line employees, they can swap/offer shifts and request time off, right from their phones.
Teams for the entire organization
- Introducing SharePoint & Teams Integration: SharePoint is being integrated even closer with Microsoft Teams. This means you will be able to see all the file use and customer use you have created in SharePoint in a surface in Teams. This will help you blend all your business practices in Teams. This will provide a consistent developer and user experience, regardless of whether your code is hosted in the cloud or within an organization via SharePoint.
- Live events: You can create a new meeting and name it a “live event” and add some people. This will be a live event of one person or more people to many and it will scale up to 10.000 participants. So for example, if you are hosting a webinar you can do that in Teams. You can define who is the producer, who are the presenters and you can choose who you can present to (a specific group of people or it could be public), you can decide if the video afterwards will be recorded, available on demand and so on.
- Replicate your best Team’s experience with Templates: Found a team setup that works best for a type of project or work style? You, as an admin, soon will be able to easily create new teams based on best practices and lessons learned by leveraging a new REST endpoint as part of the Microsoft Graph API. With Team Templates, you’ll be able to pre-define a team’s channels, apps, and tabs that can help you easily create consistent teams across your organization. You can also define team settings and auto-favorite channels, allowing your team owners to focus on collaborations rather than spending time setting up the team. All other users, for now, can create a team based on an existing one, without having to start from zero. However, only admins will be able to create proper teams templates.