It’s crazy to think that we are already into the second half of 2020! There is no doubt that with the forced migration to a flexible work environment, Microsoft Teams has played a crucial role for many organisations, both big and small. Today we are looking at what the next six months hold for Microsoft Teams and what great new feature you can expect to see.
Rolling out now
Pop Out Chat
One of those awesome new features that you will start seeing now is the ability to ‘pop-out’ a chat window. For those of you who come from a Skype for Business background, this is an often-sought-after feature that is finally rolling out to tenants as of June. Depending on your tenant settings, you might not be seeing it just yet, but it is coming. To pop out a chat, simply right click on a persons name in chat and select Pop out chat. Each chat will form its own window, rather than stacking on top of each other in a new interface.
To chat to someone, it’s good to know if they are available or not, often indicated by the presence indicator next to someone’s profile picture. This presence indicator is getting an update, decreasing the time between updates to provide you an up to date status of whether someone is free for a quick chat. Like most changes in Teams, you do not need to do anything to enable this feature as it’s gradually rolling out for all tenants.
Lastly, while officially earmarked for release in August, the new contextual search system in Teams is rolling out now. Using the keyboard shortcut Control + F while looking at a channel or chat history will bring up a search prompt, contextualised to what you are viewing. This greatly improves the search function within Teams, allowing you to avoid all the excess ‘noise’ that is irrelevant to what you are searching for.
If you are a heavy user of Planner and Microsoft To-Do, you are no doubt familiar with the ability to view all your assigned Planner tasks within the To-Do app. Well that functionality is coming to Teams too under the name Tasks. Initially it will be displayed as a tab in the left-hand side of Teams during rollout labelled Planner, it will then see a change to Tasks after rollout is complete. You will also have access to it from the channel interface however it recognises context so will only show channel related tasks in that mode. More information on Tasks can be found here.
For those of you with smart watches, suggested replies like ‘okay thank you’ or ‘I’m running late’ provide a one touch solution to quickly convey a simple message when you are busy. This same logic is coming to Teams in July with three suggested replies being presented to users. While we have little information on this feature at the moment, we’re hoping it’s context based.
For those Teams Calling users, Microsoft are introducing a call transfer method labelled as Safe Transfer. When transferring a call between users, if the transferee does not answer the call, the call is then directed back to the transferrer. All indications show that this is an add-on feature and both the traditional transfer (blind transfer) and consult then transfer features are sticking around.
Rolling out in August
Here at MODEX, Lists is one of the most highly anticipated features that is coming to Teams this year. When they were announced at Build 2020 back in May, digital news sites and tech bloggers alike went crazy however many were disappointed to hear that it was an announcement and not a full-fledged release. However, scheduled for August this year, Microsoft Lists will offer a great new way to track information and organise work. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to what Lists is suitable for with templates ranging from asset and issue tracking to onboarding checklists and project planning. We will certainly have more information for you when Lists finally becomes available.
While not as exciting as Microsoft Lists, another interesting feature scheduled for August is the ability to queue messages to send when offline. If you send a message while offline, Teams will queue this message for up to 24 hours and send it once you have an internet connection again. This is great for situations like air travel or when you know you’ll be out of internet coverage for a period of time.
The rest of the year
The rest of these features are earmarked for either Q3 or Q4 this year.
The jump to three by three video for Teams meetings, driven by the rapid shift to distance education appears to be just the start with a massive seven by seven grid scheduled for Q3. The new feature will deliver up to 49 simultaneous video streams. It will be an opt in features for users, available under Multi-Window Meeting Experience once available however there has been no word on the bandwidth impact of this.
Together Mode & Dynamic View
Carrying on with the meetings theme, Together mode and Dynamic view are both scheduled for Q3 this year, bringing a richer video experience to Teams meetings. Together mode leverages AI segmentation technology to digitally place all participants onto a shared background, making it appear as you’re together in a single room in an effort to bridge the isolation gap that work from home presents. Dynamic View brings additional features, allowing you as a user to adjust how content versus video feeds appear during a meeting.
While templates for Teams have existed for quite a while now, users will be able to create new Teams based off templates with support for both Microsoft published and customer specific versions. These templates include Teams such as event management and crisis response as well as industry specific tools such as a retail branch.
Last but not least is the new video filter options for Teams meetings. Filters do just what you would expect, allowing you as a user to adjust light levels and soften focus before joining a meeting. This feature is officially expected during Q4 this year so it is a while away yet unfortunately!
We have covered just 13 of the 69 updates listed for Microsoft Teams. If you want to know more about any of these updates, get in touch with our team at MODEX today. You can also follow Microsoft’s official roadmap here.