Top 20 New Microsoft Teams Features

It is officially the summertime, and VIA is celebrating by continuing to support the release of a ton of exciting and important features for Microsoft Teams’ users and organisations, making it easier for customers to use Microsoft Teams to communicate and collaborate. See the top 20 MS Teams features below.

By Suzanne Whetton

1. MS Teams Read Receipts

Read receipts will now be a part of 1:1 and group chats. Read receipts in private chats allow senders to know when a message was read by the recipients. Read receipts will be rolled out on by default with admin and user level controls to manage. This is an interesting addition to Microsoft Teams, coming in June and targeted to be rolled out by July.

Microsoft Teams Read Receipts

2. MS Teams Announcements

Introducing Announcements in Team channels to help you make your point. May I have your attention please!? Do you have an announcement that needs to stand out from all other posts in a channel? Maybe you are introducing a new team member, or celebrating the launch of a new product, or sharing an important new policy change; You can now post an “Announcement” complete with a headline and background image, to ensure that your post catches your readers’ eye.

Microsoft Teams Announcements

3. Channel Cross Posting

Coming soon; this feature allows you to post a single message in multiple channels at the same time.

Microsoft Teams Cross Channel Posting

4. Targeted Communication

Targeted communication allows team members to message everyone in a specific role at the same time by @mentioning the role name in a post. E.g. you could send a message to all cashiers in a store or all nurses in a hospital.

Microsoft Teams Targeted Communications

5. Add up to 100 people to a Group Chat

Sometimes you need to kick off a big project chat with a large group, or organize a one-off discussion with staff at an event, but it seems unnecessary to start a new team; perhaps you don’t all work together on a regular basis, or maybe you need a communication channel with a large number of people at an event. Group chats can now accommodate up to 100 users!

6. Single Toolbar

Single toolbar for controls in meetings and calling helps reduce clutter on your screen. MS Teams is always improving the users’ experience and reducing clutter in meetings and calls. The session controls will now be unified into one toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This will affect Windows, Mac, and web clients.

Microsoft Teams Meetings Bar

7. Proximity-based Meeting Join

Find a nearby meeting room easily with proximity-based meeting join in Teams. You know that frantic feeling when you need to find an available conference room at the last minute to take a meeting? Those days are over! Proximity-based meeting join for Microsoft Teams Rooms is now available. This means that the Teams app on your desktop or mobile phone will find a Teams-enabled room for you to use that is nearby and available.

Once inside your chosen meeting room, the front of the room display and console will show your meeting invitation. Simply accept the incoming invitation on the console to bring the room into the meeting.

Microsoft Teams will automatically join the meeting in content-only mode from your desktop, allowing the room to provide audio and video into the meeting without echo and feedback generated by the other devices in the room. 

This functionality is now available for your desktop and mobile clients, and will start working automatically.

Microsoft Teams Proximity Based Meeting Join

8. Busy on Busy Signal

Let callers know when you are already on the phone with Busy on Busy signal. Can I call you back? Busy on Busy is a feature that allows callers to know a user's status when contacting them. When a call comes into a user who is already engaged in a call or meeting, this setting alerts the calling party that the user is on another call by playing a busy signal. This feature is automatically available in your Teams experience.

9. Customized Backgrounds

Great weather + flexible working means one thing… work from the garden but look like you're in the office with the new customized background feature.

Customized backgrounds takes the intelligent background blur technology further, allowing you to select a custom background, such as a company logo or an office environment when working from home, to appear behind them during a meeting or video call. This improves the effectiveness of remote meetings by encouraging the use of video while minimizing distractions. Coming later this year, just in time for the warm weather.

Microsoft Teams Customised Backgrounds

10. Content Cameras and Intelligent Capture

Content cameras and Intelligent Capture in Microsoft Teams Rooms will soon support an additional camera for capturing content, such as information on analogue whiteboards. Using any USB camera, Microsoft Teams Rooms leverages Microsoft’s new Intelligent Capture processing to capture, focus, resize, and enhance whiteboard images and text, so remote attendees can clearly see whiteboard brainstorming in real-time, even when someone is standing in front of the whiteboard. Coming later this year.

Microsoft Teams Content Cameras and Intelligent Capture

11. Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams

Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams meetings provides an infinite digital canvas for meeting participants to work together directly in Teams. Whiteboard empowers meeting attendees from the same tenant to participate in the conversation regardless of the device you use or where you are. Whether joining from the meeting room or remotely, you can start a new board in the Teams meeting (currently supported on desktop and web – coming soon to mobile).

The board is automatically shared with meeting attendees. Users can ink together in real-time on the board and even launch the native Whiteboard app to enable an even richer collaboration experience with features such as sticky notes, images, and gridlines.

Ink Grab, enables you to add analogue content from a physical whiteboard onto the Whiteboard canvas without having to recreate it from scratch. If you start an ad-hoc brainstorm session on the physical whiteboard, you can easily continue via the digital whiteboard and include remote collaborators in the conversation. Simply take a picture of the content and use Ink Grab to transform them into digital ink.

Microsoft Teams Whiteboard

12. Live Captions and Subtitles

Live captions and subtitles make your Teams meetings more inclusive for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing, have different levels of language proficiency, or are connecting from a loud location. Improve meeting effectiveness by allowing attendees to read speaker captions in real-time, so they can more easily stay in sync and contribute to the discussion. English preview coming soon.

Microsoft Teams Live Captions Subtitles

13. Secure Private Channels

Secure private channels are coming later this year. They will allow you to customize and limit which members of the team can see conversations, content and files associated with a channel. You can restrict channel participation and exposure when needed without having to create separate or discrete teams to limit visibility. This is a top requested feature and is currently being tested. Coming later this year.

14. Information Barriers

Avoid conflicts of interest within your organisation by limiting which individuals can communicate and collaborate with each other in Microsoft Teams. This helps limit the disclosure of information by controlling communication between the holders of information and colleagues representing different interests, for example, in Firstline Worker scenarios. This is particularly helpful for organisations that need to adhere to Ethical Wall requirements and other related industry standards and regulations.

15. Data Loss Prevention

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in chats and conversations enables customers to detect, automatically protect, and screen for sensitive information in chats and channel conversations. By creating DLP policies, admins can help prevent sensitive information from unintentionally being shared or leaked—either inside or outside of the organization. Now generally available in all Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans that include Office 365 Advanced Compliance.

Microsoft Teams Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

16. Live Events

A live event enables anyone to create live and on-demand events that deliver compelling communications to employees, customers, and partners. Live events use video and interactive discussions across Teams, Stream, or Yammer and can be as simple or as sophisticated as needed. Up to 10,000 attendees can participate in real-time from anywhere, across their devices, or catch up later with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) features—such as automatic transcription—to unlock the content of the event recording. Now available.

17. Calendar App

The new Calendar App has been rolled out. The existing 'Meetings' app in Teams was replaced by the Calendar app that retains all existing app functionality while introducing a range of new features. Three new types of calendar views will be available: Day, Work week and Week view (default). Users are able to go back or forward in time to see any past or future meetings. Users are able to perform key actions including Join, RSVP, Edit, and Cancel from the right click menu. Meetings on the calendar light up to indicate when someone joins it online. User's current exchange setting for working hours and working days of the week are respected. Lastly, users can schedule events without adding any attendees in the scheduling form. Non-Teams meetings can also be edited and updated from Teams directly.

Microsoft Teams Calendar App

18. Meeting Started Notifications

Get that smug feeling and never be late again! Always be on time for your meetings with “Meeting started” notifications on your phone. You’ll be the most punctual member of the team now that you will receive “meeting started” notifications on your phone when someone joins a MicrosoftTeams meeting on your calendar. You can join the meeting right from the notification, and skip searching for the correct meeting in your calendar. As with any notification, it will not appear if you are active on desktop or during quiet hours.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Started Feature

19. Call Me Feature

Have the meeting call YOU! You can now join meetings through a “Call me” functionality both from pre-join screen and during the meeting. To use this feature, you need to provide a phone number where you can receive a phone call. If the call is accepted, your meeting audio will switch to the cellular connection. Your personal and work phone numbers, if added to your account, will be available for selection automatically.

Microsoft Teams Call Me Feature

20. Time Clock

Make it easier for your Firstline Workers to manage their schedules and receive updates. The new time clock feature in the Teams Shifts module allows workers to clock in and out of their work shifts and breaks right from their Microsoft Teams app. The option to geo-fence a location is available to mangers to ensure team members are at the designated worksite when clocking in or out.

Microsoft Teams Time Clock

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