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Teams New Features

New Teams Features: A Pandemic Perspective

Nothing like a global pandemic to give pause for reflection and seek perspective.  A lot of people are giving well deserved praised to those on the front lines, health care workers, police, fire and all those necessary workers on the food and essential goods supply chain.  Thank you.

I fell in love with unified communications the first time I worked with Live Communications Server 2003.  I thought at that time the power of presence was something that added incredible value.  Fast forward to current day and I have to send praise to Microsoft and all those that have made it possible for so many to work safely from home.  Not only has Microsoft given us a platform in Microsoft Teams that allows us to collaborate effectively and meet securely but they have been able to quickly shift to add many requested features.  All this right in the middle of a huge 775% increase usage of their online services.  Thank you.

Microsoft has only accelerated the development of this product, and below is a summary of what to look forward to.

When are they coming?

New experiences will be rolling out in June with some additional changes rolling out in July and August 2020.  3 x 3 video and raise hands are hitting tenants now.

What is coming? 

-Pop out meetings and calls into a new window, separate from Teams Client

-In meeting controls move to the upper right  (Seems small but I really like this one! No more disappearing  controls in the middle of the meeting window).

-Video feeds increase to 3X3 video (Hitting tenants now. With a promise of more to come)!

-Raise hands

-Custom backgrounds

Stay tuned as there will be more to come.  The one thing I am not overly excited about is the rollout plan.  In June, the features will be off by default with user capabilities to turn it on in their client.  In July, it will be flipped to on by default with user controls to turn it off in their Teams client.  Finally in August, it will be on by default with no user control to turn it off.  We are in this together and will get through this together.

When this crisis hit, Magenium was in full swing of installing Microsoft Teams Rooms at customers big and small.  Many of our clients were expressing the need for easy to use meeting spaces that allowed them to communicate effectively with many stating the goal of reduced travel to cut costs.  As we move back into our workspaces, I believe those goals will be the same but for very altered reasons, cut costs…yes…stay safer by limiting travel…Definitely!  Being prepared for what is to come as we swing back to work is on all of our minds.

I was sent a study commissioned by one of Magenium’s partners, BitTitan.   It was a survey of IT professionals and influencers as to their companies’ preparedness for the current crisis and the paradigm shift we are experiencing.  Much of the study confirms what we are hearing from clients but it is an interesting read.  I will not steal any thunder from the well done survey, but many of those surveyed were happy their users are able to communicate during this crisis.  We have been extolling the virtues of cloud computing for a long time and Microsoft has shown incredible elasticity with such a demand increase.  Many customers with on premise communications infrastructure are feeling the pain as they were not designed for this shift to remote workers.  Many are rethinking their strategies and the best of them are thinking towards not just this crisis but what comes next.  I am a believer in a new reality.  I have been talking to clients about the growing importance of video in the workplace.  However, I have taken up enough of your time, so I will leave my thoughts on video to my next blog; “Confessions of a Video Convert”.  In the meantime, check out the complimentary survey, “How well was IT prepared for Covid-19?”,  commissioned by BitTitan here.

Stay safe.

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