Microsoft Teams New Features
As expected, Microsoft has added a lot of new features to enhance your Microsoft Teams experience. Some are quite useful and others interesting to consider for the future. Here’s a not-so-brief list.
New Microsoft Teams Apps
The newest features to Teams are Bulletins and Milestones apps. These are simple configuration options within Teams.
The Bulletins app allows a central place for company news and information. They are organized into categories that can include photos, videos, actionable buttons. It includes bookmarks for easier access, can be pinned, customized and features number of views per article. It utilizes the crisis communication template that was introduced by Microsoft at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Milestones: The dashboard for this app provides 360-degree views of the overall project, helping team members to stay informed. It too can be pinned and its most important feature is its extensibility. Fields can be updated (added/deleted), notifications sent when there is a status change in the task, etc.
MS Teams Meeting Enhancements
- Virtual breakout rooms: Organizers can now decide to split the main meeting into several breakout rooms going from one to another. The files from those rooms can be shared in the main meeting and afterwards in a chat session.
- End-of-meeting notifications: Automatic notices will appear on each attendees monitor 5 minutes before the scheduled ending of the meeting. However, the meeting does not close automatically after those 5 minutes. It’s just a reminder to begin wrapping things up.
- Pre-join experience: Attendees will now be able to set up audio, video and device configurations before joining a meeting.
- New languages: Translation into 50 different languages is now included in the live events.
- Live events’ limit raised: Until June 30, 2021, and perhaps longer, live events can now include 20,000 attendees, 50 events and 16-hour broadcasts. Higher attendance can also be arranged up to 100,000.
- Multiple number dialing: There is now a split button that allows multiple numbers for a contact.
- Live captions for 1:1 calls: Too noisy to accurately hear what is being said? Just turn on CC to read along. The attendee as well as the organizer can turn CC off and on.
- Cortana voice assistance in preview: Want to join or end the meeting? Just tell Cortana to do it.
- Control spotlight: There is now the ability to show the spotlight individual on all devices.
- Share HDMI audio: The audio from an attendee’s PC can now be shared with the Teams meeting.
- Enhanced meeting experiences on Teams phones: New galleries have been added including 3X3 gallery where attendees can see up to nine meetings at a time.
- Proximity Join for Teams conference phones: A participant can add the phone from the pre-join screen and will automatically be accepted to the incoming meeting once started.
- Yealink workstations: New unified communication workstations with Yealink, an all-in-one format with built-in speakerphone, wireless mobile phone charger, multi-touch screen and USB hub.
Chat and Collaboration Enhancements
- Improved search relevance: The search engine is now designed to put the three most important-to-you messages first. It ignores chronology. It “learns” from experience which are your favorite meetings and teams.
- Access files offline on iOS: The Teams mobile app will give you access to all your files even when you are offline.
- Improvements to video streaming: It is now 25 percent faster to embed video and up to 90 percent faster to start playing it.
- Yammer: The attendees can now search Yammer in the Teams channels.
- Updated SharePoint wizard: Now people can use the SharePoint team site home pages to add dynamic web parts in mini-dashboards.
- Improved SharePoint migration manager: Now you can select a Teams channel or a OneDrive username.
- Power apps in Teams: This allows users to build custom apps for whatever challenges your business faces. You can deploy apps to a select team which adds functionality.
- App spotlight Yasoon: Yasoon bridges the gap between the communication across both Jira and Teams. Jira has evolved into a powerful work management tool which allows cross-tool conversations seamlessly, even with members who can’t access Jira.
Management, Security, Compliance
- New lobby setting: “People I invite” will be an option to the “Who can bypass the lobby?” setting. Once enabled, only the participants invited by the organizer in the can join the meeting directly. Everyone else is sent to the lobby.
- Restricting device sign-in to specific tenants: Only invited users can join directly with the new lobby setting.
- Customer key support for Microsoft Teams: Preview now has a customer key for an added layer of encryption and is already available in Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive.
- Manage Teams display: This is a new device category in Teams admin center.
MS Teams for Education
- Students and educators get a notification when a new class notebook page is distributed.
- Future (possibly already implemented): A policy wizard will allow application of global policy defaults for students and educators that will be tailored to their needs.
MS Teams for Healthcare
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) connector: Providers can schedule and launch the visits from within the EHR portal. Integration with one health provider (Epic) is currently supported by the Microsoft Teams EHR connector. Others will be added soon.
- Customizable praise badges for firstline workers: yup… you can customize a praise badge to fit the praise.
MS Teams for Government
- GCC (Government Community Cloud) users: You no longer need to go to settings. Just select GCC in your pre-join experience.
- PowerPoint file sharing: The attendees no longer have to use desktop or window sharing. They can view the presentation at their own pace, navigate through slides on their own and sync back to the presenter at any time.
- Inline message translation in DoD (Department Of Defense): People who speak different languages can “talk” to each other by translating posts in channels and chat.
- Set presence status duration in GCC: Need to take a break? You now can set your availability easily with a click on the duration button. At the end of the duration time, the attendee will automatically be rejoined to the meeting.
- “Offline”: A manual setting allows you to have full access to Teams while signaling to colleagues that you are unavailable. If you are on a call, the “offline” light will automatically signal that on your profile photo.
- The Microsoft Teams Linux: This client is now available in GCC-High.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) on government clouds: Data DLP capabilities in Microsoft 365 government clouds is now extended to include Microsoft Teams.
- GCC support for devices management in Teams Admin Center: Administrators can now control their Teams devices, including IP phones, collaboration bars, Teams displays, and Teams meeting room devices, all from one place.