(Editor’s note: Microsoft just made lots of Teams announcements! We’ve broken them up into three posts: Part One – Together Mode and more – Part Two: Live Reactions, chat bubbles, and 1,000 participants limit – and Part Three: New Teams hardware, Tasks app and Cortana).
Microsoft has announced a slew of new features for Microsoft Teams this morning, with an intention to reimagine virtual collaboration for the future of work and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. These features have been designed to make virtual interactions more natural, more engaging, and ultimately, more human for enterprise users and teachers. We’ll be starting first with new features that will help users feel more connected with their team and reduce meeting fatigue, and the list includes a new Together mode, Dynamic view, Video filters, and more.
First off, Microsoft has added a new meeting experience in Teams called “Together Mode” that will help reduce fatigue during remote collaboration. This feature will virtually place participants in a shared background to make it feel like you are sitting in the same room with all other meeting participants. With Together mode, Microsoft aims to make your video meetings more engaging by helping you focus on the faces and body language of other attendees so that you can pick up the nonverbal cues that are vital for human interaction.
Together Mode with auditorium view is gradually rolling out now and it will be available worldwide in August 2020. Microsoft has promised to bring more views to Together Mode in the future release.
Another important new update for Microsoft Teams is the new dynamic view that uses AI to dynamically personalize your view to suit your preferences and needs. Microsoft acknowledged that Together mode offers a great new meeting experience, though it’s not intended for every meeting. With Dynamic View, Teams users will be able to access new controls and get the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side.
Notably, the Dynamic view builds on recent meetings enhancements, including the ability to see up to 49 participants at once on a single screen (rolling out in August), and virtual breakout rooms, something Microsoft announced last month. The software giant didn’t share an ETA for Dynamic View today, but it should be a welcome addition for those of you who want to have control over how they see shared content and other participants in a meeting.
If you like using video filters in photography and social media apps, Microsoft is now bringing the same capability to Teams. This means that you will be able to customize your appearance before joining a meeting with the help of these filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of your camera. You can see an example in the GIF below.
Reflect messaging extension
Last but not least, Microsoft also announced today a new Reflect messaging extension, to be available in the coming weeks. Once installed, the extension will make it easier for managers, leaders, and teachers to track their teams’ performance, the status of a project, current events, or a change within the organization. It will also provide the ability to add custom questions to create a poll-like experience for team members.
Microsoft has been iterating fast on Microsoft Teams in recent months, and the company announced other important updates today including a new 1,000 members limit for meetings, as well as new Teams hardware. We invite you to check our separate posts for more details.