Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that a new Walkie Talkie feature would come to Microsoft Teams as a private preview in the first half of 2020. Microsoft has now announced in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center that the feature will be available in Public Preview on Teams for Android in mid-July, and the rollout is expected to complete by end of July.
The feature will provide instant push-to-talk communication by turning your Android phones into walkie talkies that will work over cellular data or Wi-Fi. Unlike other calling features in Microsoft Teams, the push-to-talk feature will simply broadcast a message to a group of people or a specific person by providing clear, instant, and secure voice communication over the cloud.
Microsoft said that Office 365 admins will need to manually enable Walkie Talkie using the Teams Admin Center to provide access to people in your organization during the Public Preview. Once enabled, you may need to wait for up to 48 hours to see the functionality on your Android phones. Notably, members of the same channel will be able to use this feature to connect and communicate with each other using the push-to-talk feature.
Microsoft Teams’ walkie talkie functionality has been primarily designed to empower employees or first-line workers; with service or task-oriented roles. For those who don't know, Apple has already introduced a similar walkie talkie feature on its Apple Watch, but making this feature built-in in Teams should be an interesting cost-effective alternative.