Adapting for a new era

Microsoft Teams gets Together mode and slew of other features

Microsoft Teams is getting a bunch of new features, including Together mode to make meeting less tiring, and the company announced a new Teams hardware display.

Microsoft Teams displays (source: Microsoft)

Microsoft is announcing a slew of new features coming to Microsoft Teams, including Together mode and new hardware display.

According to to company, the new features are aimed to help people at work and in education to have a more natural, engaging, and more human virtual interaction in a time where the global health situation made communities around the world shift from a remote model to a hybrid model for work, learning, and life.

There are three main goals that Microsoft wants to tackle with these new Teams features. First, they help you reduce fatigue and feel more connected during meetings. Second, they make meetings a little more inclusive and engaging. And third, they help to streamline the work and save time.

Microsoft Teams new features

Here are the 14 announcements that Microsoft plans to rollout on Teams in the coming weeks and months.

Together mode

Together mode is a new experience for meetings that make use of AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background. The idea is to make it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class.

The feature with auditorium view is rolling out now and will be generally available in August, and more views are planned for future releases.

Dynamic view

Dynamic view is another video experience with a set of enhancements that gives you more control over how you see shared content and other participants in a meeting.

Video filtering

Video filtering is a feature that allow you to use filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera to customize your appearance before a Teams meeting.

Reflect messaging extension

The new Reflect messaging extension gives managers, leaders and teachers an uncomplicated way to check in with how their team or students are feeling. The extension offers suggested check-in questions and the ability to add custom questions that members can respond to in a poll-like experience, and results can be set as anonymous. The company says that the extension will be available in the coming weeks.

Live reactions

Starting with this wave of updates on Microsoft Teams, you’ll able to react during a meeting using emojis. The live reactions feature is a shared feature with PowerPoint Live Presentations, which is also coming to Microsoft Teams.

Chat bubbles

Currently, Microsoft Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. With this new update, chats sent during a meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.

Speaker attribution

Microsoft is also working on adding attributions to live captions allowing everyone to know who is speaking. In addition, live transcripts is expected to arrive this year, including the ability to translate live captions into subtitles in a language that you can understand.

Up to 1000 participants

Teams meetings are growing to support up to 1,000 participants, and up to 20000 participants in view-only mode meetings.

Microsoft Whiteboard

A new update is expected to arrive soon for the Microsoft Whiteboard with new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities.

Tasks app

Tasks offers a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Planner, and Outlook. The company says that it’ll be rolling out in July.

Suggested replies

Suggested replies in Microsoft Teams chat uses assistive AI to create short responses based on the context of the previous message. This feature is also coming in July.

Cortana in Teams

As part of the mobile experience, Microsoft will soon bring Cortana to Teams allowing to ask things like make a call, join a meeting, send chat messages, share files, and more.

Microsoft Teams displays

The company is even announcing the Microsoft Teams display, which is a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience that uses Cortana.

Using natural language, users can ask Cortana to join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat, and more. Also, these devices integrate with your computer, offering easy access to Teams chat, meetings, calling, calendar, and files.

Lenovo and Yealink will be the first companies launching the Microsoft Teams display. These devices are expected to be available in the United States starting later this year.

Touchless meeting

In the Teams mobile app, Microsoft is also building a new room remote, which will provide additional meeting controls such as the ability to leave the meeting, mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, and turn cameras on and off. In addition, voice assistance will be enabled for Microsoft Teams Room devices, allowing in-room participants to ask Cortana to join and leave a meeting, add a participant from the address book to a meeting using their name or phone number, and more.

Alongside the new features and hardware coming later this year, Microsoft has also published a research on how people are now using tools during the global health situation to help understand the future of work.